Phil Gosselin: Hometown Hero

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I’m guessing you hadn’t expected Phil Gosselin to be an X-Factor for the Phillies this season. However, 2020 has been a wild ride, and, well, here we are. After his performance Saturday against the Marlins, it’s time to take a closer look at this 31-year-old journeyman.  

Phil Gosselin: Hometown Hero 

Many kids grow up wanting to play for their favorite team one day, and for Phil Gosselin, that dream’s become a reality. Gosselin grew up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, where he attended Malvern Prep High School, and was a die-hard Phillies fan. And now, at age 31, he may have finally found himself a spot in the MLB, with his hometown team.  

A Struggle Finding His Way:

Throughout the first seven years of his career, Phil Gosselin has yet to stick with one team. A fifth-round draft pick by Atlanta in 2010, Gosselin made his MLB debut in 2013 for the Braves, and made seven plate appearances that year. 

Since then, “Barrels” has played for five other teams, (including Philly), often shifting from Triple-A to the MLB level. Coming into this season, he’s yet to have more than 316 plate appearances, and hasn’t appeared in more than 146 games with any given team. His best year was 2015, when he hit three home runs and recorded 15 RBIs, despite only appearing in 44 games. 

After brief stints with Arizona, Pittsburgh, Texas, and Cincinnati, Gosselin got the chance to play for his hometown team last season, when Andrew McCutchen got hurt. That stint, however,  was shortlived, as he was DFA’d by the ballclub after just 44 games. When the Phillies signed several proven veterans, Gosselin was seen as a long shot to even make the team this year.  

Gosselin Catching Fire: 

Prior to the league suspension, Gosselin would have had little to no chance of making the Opening Day team. However, three months off may have been exactly what he needed. In the Phillies intrasquad games, Gosselin became a tough out, and that continued into their three exhibition games. With Logan Forsythe and Josh Harrison struggling, the team gave Gosselin a spot on their Opening Day roster. 

Phil Gosselin came into Saturday’s game with only seven career home runs. With lefty Caleb Smith on the mound for Miami, Joe Girardi inserted Gosselin into the lineup as a designated hitter, replacing lefty hitter Jay Bruce. Gosselin gave the team a huge boost, smashing two home runs while going 3 for 3 and reaching base on all four of his plate appearances. Don’t look now, but he’s currently leading the MLB in batting average, OBP, SLG, OBP, and tied for home runs. 

Going Forward: 

Here’s the thing: while it’s nice to see a player having a breakout game, I have to keep my expectations in check. Phil Gosselin is not going to be an All-Star caliber player, however, he can certainly give this team a much-needed boost in their lineup. Though a designated hitter on Saturday, Gosselin’s been used as a utility man in the past. At the very least, he’ll continue to platoon at DH with Jay Bruce, playing when facing left-handed opposing pitchers. 

One option could include putting Gosselin at second base, while moving Scott Kingery to center field. This move would knock Roman Quinn out of the everyday lineup, and the Phillies could use Quinn as a pinch-runner late in games. 

It’s also worth noting that any player could go down at any time with a positive  COVID-19 test. Therefore, teams need additional players such as Gosselin who can step in when someone steps out. It’s fantastic to see a hometown hero finally find success at the MLB level, and hopefully, he can continue to perform well for this ballclub. 

Follow me on Twitter @PodolskyDanny

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