Yes, the Phillies still have not replaced Cole Hamels in the starting rotation and it’s been 4 1/2 seasons later. He last started for the Phillies on July 25th in 2015 when he pitched that no-hitter against the Cubs.
Since then the Phillies have tried a few lefties in the rotation but they did not last long. Finally, last season they did received a few good starts from lefty Drew Smyly but they let him go and he remains a free agent.
We have watched several lefties try to crack the Phillies starting rotation from the left side and fail since Hamels. They included the likes of Adam Morgan, to Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin but were all found wanting as starters. Now, we believe the Phillies have a bevy of potential southpaws who someday might ready to be major league starters. Perhaps just not this season, though.
The senior lefty starter in farm system is Damon Jones. We watched him dominate the Florida State League where he pitched to a 1.54 ERA in 11 starts to begin the 2019 season. He plateaued throwing the major league baseball at AAA to end the season. He lost control and command. He walked 26 with a 6.62 ERA in 34 innings with Lehigh Valley after pitching to a 0.82 in 22 innings in four starts with Reading. Watch Jones pitch to begin the 2019 season in Clearwater below.
Next comes Bailey Falter and David Parkinson who both pitched at AA Reading. In what turned out to be the final game of the season for Falter, we watched him on MiLB-TV a brilliant seven inning two-hit shutout against Richmond on July 6th. He was then quickly placed on the disabled list after the game never to be heard from for the rest of the season. Also, we watched Parkinson pitch a brilliant three-hit, seven-inning shutout against the Trenton Thunder in the 2019 Eastern League playoffs in September.
The lefty starter in the Phillies system, who might be the best of them all, is Ethan Lindow. He will pitch at only baseball age 21 in 2020. We were at the only game Lindow pitched for the Threshers at Spectrum Field in mid-August last season. After his call up from Lakewood, he made three starts for the Threshers and pitched to a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings to end the 2019 season. We would not be surprised to see him be the opening night starter for the Threshers in April. That will be must see baseball!
At the lowest levels of the Phillies minor league system, two lefty starting pitching prospects recently caught our attention. One was 6’5, Erik Miller who will turn 22-years-old in February. He was a fourth round draft pick in 2020 and pitched to a 1.50 ERA striking out 50 in 35 innings at three different levels. We watched him pitch in Fall Instructs, watch Below.
We have been watching another lefty, 6’4″ 22-year-old Australian Josh Hendrickson on the internet in the Australian Baseball League. Read about Hendrickson in our previous blog, HERE.
If you are coming down to the Carpenter Complex for Phillies minor league spring training in March, these six left-handed starting pitchers are the ones to watch. One or two of these guys need to break out and work their way into the Phillies starting rotation at some point sooner than later.