Phillies sign Logan Forsythe, yet another first baseman

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on from the dugout prior to the game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 27, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 5-4 in fifteenth inning. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 27: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on from the dugout prior to the game against the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on September 27, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 5-4 in fifteenth inning. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Phillies may not announce it, but they seem to be putting at least a little pressure on their incumbent first baseman.

It has been noted in this space recently that the Philadelphia Phillies have signed a great number of veteran MLB players (10 before Super Bowl Sunday) to minor league contracts with invitations to play in Florida with the guys expected to be on the team. One of these players is a potential first baseman.

Additionally, the team recently had one of their minor league infielders called the best third base prospect around. The Phillies list that player, Alec Bohm, as a third baseman-first baseman on their website.

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And around mid-day on Super Bowl Sunday, the Fightin’s added another player to the line of possible bench players, signing 33-year-old Logan Forsythe to yet another minor league contract with a big-league Spring Training invitation. The thing about Forsythe is that he is now the third player figuratively lined up behind the Phillies current first sacker, Rhys Hoskins.

He is also the second minor league invitee to camp this season with a career batting average higher than Hoskins’ .239. Neil Walker leads the incumbent by a healthy 28 points; Forsythe’s lead is a narrower seven points.

In four “minor league” seasons, counting college summer experience and the Arizona Fall League as separate campaigns, Alec Bohm has hit .313. His other numbers will be discounted here as a matter of comparing apples and oranges.

In terms of fielding, Walker and Hoskins are probably even at first base. Both of them are better than Forsythe, whose career fielding numbers are not especially inspiring. (His career 1B fielding percentage is five points behind last year’s NL league leaders’, a significant gap for first basemen; his 2019 figure is two points back of those leaders.) Interestingly, however, Forsythe can also play second, third and short, and despite being with the Rangers for the last two years, had no games as the DH last summer.

Looking past batting average for Hoskins, Walker and Forsythe, Hoskins has advantages in OBP, SLG, and walks per 162 games. He has a near 2-to-1 advantage in walks, trotting down to first an average of 107 times. However, that may not be the virtue is once was thought to be, and it actually accounts for his leads over the two veterans in OBP (.364 to Walker’s .339 and Forsythe’s .327).

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In other words, Rhys Hoskins can not have been greatly happy to hear of the Phillies latest signing, whether or not the team has publicly said, “Here’s another guy to push Rhys.”