Something’s gotta give. The Phillies have loaded up with starting pitching and continue to add with the trade for Clay Buchholz on Monday.
This list does not include Franklyn Kilome who turns 22-years-old in June. He may be the best of the younger starters in the minor league system. He pitched 20 straight shutout innings, striking out 24 over his final three starts going 3-0 for Lakewood to close out the 2016 season. He did not need to be protected on the 40-man.
Below are listed the starting pitching from last season on the Phillies 40-man roster with the number of starts and classification:
Drew Anderson (15, A-, A+), Mark Appel ( 8, AAA), Alec Asher ( 5 MLB, 12, AAA, AA, Rookie), Clay Buchholz ( 21, MLB), Zach Eflin ( 11, MLB, 11 AAA), Jerad Eickhoff ( 33, MLB), Elniery Garcia ( 1, AA, 19, A+), Jeremy Hellickson ( 32, MLB), Ben Lively ( 20, AAA, 9, AA), Adam Morgan ( 21, MLB), Aaron Nola, ( 20, MLB), Ricardo Pinto, ( 25, AA), Nick Pivetta ( 5, AAA, 22, AA), Jake Thompson ( 10,MLB, 21 AAA), Alberto Tirado ( 11, A-), Vince Velasquez ( 24, MLB).
In addition to the 16 starters on the 40-man roster, the Phillie have five more starters listed on the current Reading AA roster including Tom Eschelman, Mark Leiter, Will Morris, John Richy and Tyler Viza.
Not counting Kilome, they have 21 starting pitchers who can be considered starting pitchers at the upper levels of the organization.
Only Anderson and Tirado did not have at least one start above A ball in 2016.
Only Garcia and Morgan are lefties. In Garcia’s last three starts in 20 innings at the A+ and AA levels to end the 2016 season, he went 3-0 striking out 22.
The Phillies had ten different pitchers who started for them in 2016.
Going into spring training it looks like Hellickson, Buchholz, Eickhoff and Velasquez are locks for four of the five starting spots in the Phillies rotation. Along with Aaron Nola, Alec Asher should be in the hunt to battle for the fifth spot to start the season.
Asher has just finished up his stint in the Dominican Winter League regular season where he led all starting pitchers with a 0.76 WHIP in eight starts for the first place winner, the Gigantes del Cibao.
Alec Asher pitching (Photo Courtesy of the Gigantes)
Clearly, the Phillies are over running with starting pitching candidates at the upper levels in the organization. Read HERE.
Last season at the A ball level the Phillies went with six-man rotations and five-man rotations at the MLB, AAA and AA levels. Ten different pitchers started games for the Phillies in 2016.
The real problem in 2017 will be scoring runs as it was last season. The Phillies were dead last in scoring runs in all of major league baseball in 2016. Subtract Ryan Howard’s 59 RBIs and replace him with Howie Kendrick’s 40 RBIs from last season in the lineup this season and the run scoring situation appears to only get worse!