After watching the Nationals and Astros in the post season, I am convinced a team needs not one, not two, but three No. 1 caliber starting pitchers. The Nationals have Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. The Astros have Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zach Greinke. All would be No.1’s in just about any other team’s rotation.
Who do the Phillies have as a No.1? Is it Aaron Nola? In Nola’s last seven starts in the regular season with the post season on the line, the Phillies lost all seven of his starts. The Phillies players did not seem to have much interest in playing more than the required 162 games when he pitched and they finished fourth in the five-team National League East because of it.
Reports have it that the Phillies could have had Patrick Corbin who was a free agent last winter but the Nationals outbid them by adding an additional year to his offer. How did that work out for the Phillies Front Office?
With Cole a free agent when the post season ends, it is a no brainer that the Phillies need to sign him. Of course, his agent is Scott Boras’s firm. Should be interesting. Read HERE.
Spencer Howard hits 99
In addition to watching other teams play in the MLB post season, I have focused on the Arizona Fall League’s GAMEDAY feature on MLB.com. I have learned that the Phillies do have two pitchers who could be top of the rotation pitchers, Connor Seabold and Spencer Howard.
I have been hanging on their every pitch. Seabold has been stunning. In his last start, he struck out the last five batters he faced in the fourth and fifth innings and had eight K’s in the five inning of work, overall. He leads or is second in the AFL in just about every starting pitching category after three starts with his 0.75 ERA. He has pitched 12 innings allowed only five hits, one earned run, walked two, struck out 18 for a 0.58 WHIP. He has been stunning! Those numbers are Gerrrit Cole-like! Read HERE.
On the other hand, Howard has not been as impressive. He did manage to strikeout seven in 3.2 innings in his last start but gave up a walk, a triple and two doubles which all figured in the three runs he allowed. Overall, Howard in his three starts has pitched 9.2 inning for a 2.79 ERA. He has allowed the three runs, six hits, walking four, striking out 13 for a 1.03 WHIP.
In every category, Seabold has out-pitched Howard. As the AFL reaches the half way point, Seabold has been great and Howard has just been good. A difference is that Howard can throw in the high 90’s while Seabold has topped at 94.4 and 94.1 in his last two starts.
The Phillies do have two young starters who have the potential to be top of the rotation starters. Seabold turns 24 years-old in January and Howard does the same in July. The 2020 season has to be the breakout year for both of them. It is the time for them to show what they can do at the MLB level and join Nola at the top of the Phillies rotation, if the Phillies have any hope of reaching the post season.