How The Starting Right Fielder Position Battle Is Going So Far During Spring Training

Gavin Sheets, Dominic Fletcher, and Zach DeLoach are competing for the starting job. Veterans Rafael Ortega, Mark Payton, Brett Phillips, and Kevin Pillar are also vying for the job.
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Sheets, Ortega, Phillips, Payton, and Pillar are not great options.

Then again, that seems to be the theme of the players Getz brought in this season.

Sheets is trying to finally get regular at-bats.

He finished as a -1.4 fWAR player with 10 home runs and a wRC+ of 61 in 118 games in 2023. He is a career -24.1 fWAR defensive player. Maybe that is because he came up as first baseman and then was asked to play outfield to get his left-handed bat into the lineup.

Sheets has pop in his bat, so giving him some at-bats to see if he can smash 20 or more home runs is not the worst idea. The problem is he does not fit into Getz' desire for better defense.

He is having the best Spring Training so far among his competitors with a .263/.391/.632 slash line.

Phillips has always been all glove and no bat.

He is a career .186 hitter who played just 33 games in the majors last season with the Los Angeles Angels. Covering the outfield is his calling card as he is a career 29.5 defensive fWAR player.

He is one of the many former Kansas City Royals on the Spring Training roster. That at least gives him a running chance to make the roster as a late-inning defensive replacement.

At this point, he should be nothing more than an organizational depth piece mining his time at Triple-A Charlotte where he only gets a call-up if there is an injury.

His .182 spring batting average along with a .348 OPS is evidence of that.

If he does make the big-league roster, he should only see the field during the rare times Grifol elects to start Eloy Jimenez in right to get a different bat in the lineup at DH.