Just about all Phillies baseball articles are reporting about the past these days such as Dick Allen for the HOF, the 1993 Phillies team, Ferguson Jenkins when he was in the Phillies organization etc. We like to look toward the future!
Baseball America is writing about the future of minor league baseball with a story entitled “A 2020 Minor League Baseball Season Grows More and More Unlikely”. Read HERE. They followed it up with an article about “One Wild Evening: Spencer Howard Relives His 2018 No-Hitter.” Read HERE. Now those were stories that caught our attention.
We have spent the last nine years closely following Phillies minor league baseball. It all started in Dunedin with Adam Morgan as the opening night starter and Hector Neris came out of the pen in the first game of the 2012 season for the Clearwater Threshers. Now, Morgan and Neris are the senior Phillies home-grown players on the 40-man roster.
If the Baseball American article is correct and the minor league season is in jeopardy because of COVID-19, it will be an empty summer of baseball for us. Still we would expect some type of minor league baseball during the summer based on the Extended Spring Training concept with no fans allowed at the minor league complexes. At the major league level, all 30 teams play could play the 2020 season in Arizona with an abbreviated schedule.
The Phillies do not have a lot of young prospects expected to make the major league roster in 2020 even with roster expansion. The one exception is Spencer Howard. He was major league ready last season but never was given the opportunity.
We watched Howard dominate the Florida State League early last season and after coming back from a reported shoulder injury before he was called up to Reading to finish the season. He pitched an 11 strikeout game and a five-inning, no-hitter for Clearwater. He threw a dominating, seven-inning, two-hitter for Reading in the Eastern League playoffs and finished up the season with six starts in the Arizona Fall League.
The Phillies did allow Howard to pitch the final inning played at Spectrum Field on March 11th of just before major league Spring Training was cancelled.
For some reason the Phillies have been slow to promote Howard. We can only hope he makes his MLB debut sometime in 2020 but who knows when or where!