Spencer Howard continuing to progress in the minors with hopes of joining the Phillies rotation this season
Phillies top prospect Spencer Howard continues to progress with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Howard pitched three hitless innings on Tuesday, striking out three and walking one against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The number 33 prospect in baseball has only allowed one hit over five scoreless innings in two starts. The Phillies are slowly building Howard up to potentially join the Phillies’ rotation at some point this season. The organization still has Howard on an innings limit due to his injury history. He has only thrown 44 and 40 pitches in his first two starts in the minors this season, a number that should increase over time.
Girardi is on record saying that he wants to slowly build up Howard and keep him as a potential starter rather than putting him in the bullpen. The Phillies do need help in the back of their rotation. Matt Moore failed to secure the fourth starting position and had an ERA north of nine before missing time due to COVID protocol. He was then moved to the bullpen and Vincent Velasquez took his spot in the rotation.
Velasquez, who is scheduled to pitch again tomorrow, continues to build back trust as a member of the Phillies starting five. In his two starts in May, Vinny Velo is 1-0 and has allowed six hits, two earned runs, and five walks while striking out 12 in just over 11 innings of work.
The Phillies fifth starter, Chase Anderson, has pitched ok in his first season with the Phillies. Anderson went five innings, allowing three hits, two earned runs, and one walk while striking out five in the Phillies 6-2 win vs the Nationals earlier this week.
It’s only a matter of time that we see Howard back up at the major league level, it really just depends on how the Phillies plan to use him. Most likely, he will join the platoon of starting pitchers and be a long innings reliever for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation.
For a team that lacks pitching depth, if the Phillies want a chance at playing in the postseason for the first time in over a decade, they need better performances from the back of their rotation. Spencer Howard could find himself playing a key role in doing just that heading into the Summer months.
Mandatory Credit: Yong Kim: Philadelphia Inquirer