Those lines above represent the silence we’ve heard the past few days from the Phillies. As the Hot Stove has been burning at a temperature hotter than the sun (5,778 Kelvin, to be exact), the Philly faithful have anxiously been awaiting some sort of news of what prized free-agent star(s) will be donning the red pinstripes next season. Castellanos? Bryant? Stroman? Schwarber? ANYONE?!
But with less than eight hours to go until the lockout, the only thing the Phillies have done is let their career leader in strikeouts/only consistent arm out of the bullpen, Hector Neris, sign with the Houston Astros.
Many Phillies fans are wondering how this is possible given the current roster and the fact that our arch-rivals in New York now have the best pitching duo possibly of all-time, in addition to signing Phillies target Starling Marte.
But there has been one name that IS on the Phillies roster that has been garnering lots of conversation, and that name is Matt Vierling.
The 2018 5th-rounder out of Notre Dame (how about that Brian Kelly guy, eh?) hit.324/.364/.479 with 2 HR and 6 RBI in 34 games for the Phils last year. A fairly unheralded prospect (not in the top-25 in the Phillies system entering last season), Vierling put together an impressive (albeit small) sample of what he could do for this team as a true utility player.
For a team that only has one starting outfielder from last season under contract in 2022 (you may have heard of him, Bryce Harper aka MV3), Vierling’s versatility could prove to be extremely valuable for the Phils. He is by no means a defensive savant in the outfield, but he is far from a liability and has the athleticism and baseball IQ to really grow into a full-fledged MLB starter.
Matt Vierling cannot stop hitting.
The @Phillies No. 25 prospect is 11-for-19 to start his MLB career after a game-tying RBI double. pic.twitter.com/cp2lrHVm5w
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 4, 2021
34 games and 77 at-bats are not enough for me to truly say whether he will be good enough to be an MLB starter for the next X amount of years. BUT, the sample size I saw last year instilled enough confidence in me to say he will be good enough to compete for that starting spot and serve as a valuable role player that a team with champsionship aspirations needs on its roster.
If the Phils end up signing some of the marquee outfielders in this free agent class, Vierling’s time as a starter may not come unless an injury happens. If not? We’ll get a chance to see what we have in a young, homegrown player that fans already love.
Here are some videos of Vierling doing sick baseball stuff. Enjoy!
Matt Vierling robs a grand slam! pic.twitter.com/BWPP5qZ83d
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) March 11, 2021
Matt Vierling's first career home run!!#RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/sa1CQGXCni
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 25, 2021