Should the Phillies begin the 2023 season with a 6-man starting rotation?
The Philadelphia Phillies will enter the 2023 MLB season with a National League Pennant under their belts and plenty of new options to work into their lineup, starting rotation, and bullpen.
The addition of Taijuan Walker and the emergence of Andrew Painter paired with Bailey Falter should set the Phillies up with plenty of starting rotation options ahead of Opening Day.
The Phillies should open 2023 with a 6-Man Rotation
- Aaron Nola
- Zack Wheeler
- Ranger Suarez
- Taijuan Walker
- Andrew Painter
- Bailey Falter
The general consensus with 6-man rotations is negative due to your top starters getting fewer opportunities to be on the mound. While that’s a fair argument to make, the Phillies have the arms to pull it off, while giving their two workhorses in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler well deserved rest to start the season.
The newest signing of Taijuan Walker was a great signing for the Phillies due to his signs of flashiness and ability to throw a healthy amount of innings each season. Taijuan Walker is one of 26 pitchers in the league that has thrown 150+ innings in both of the last two seasons. His 2022 season was a major improvement from 2021, lowering his ERA an entire point.
Walker logged 157.1 innings in 2022, tallying a 3.49 ERA in 29 total starts for the New York Mets. He struck out 132 batters while logging an ERA+ of 111, with a 3.65 FIP and a 1.195 WHIP. He struck out 7.6 batters every nine innings while allowing under one home run a game. Walker allowed just one home run every other start in 2022.
The first four members of the Phillies’ 2023 starting rotation are basically set in stone with Nola, Wheeler, Suarez, and Walker easily filling those spots. From there, questions will need to be answered down in Clearwater.
- Is Bailey Falter good enough to earn the fifth spot in the rotation on a regular basis?
- Is Andrew Painter and/or Griff McGarry ready to make the jump to The Show?
The Fascinating Development of Andrew Painter
Andrew Painter is the best prospect the Phillies organization has ever seen. From a team that’s been the laughing point of failed prospects over the years, the Phillies struck gold with their three premium arms in the minor leagues.
Mick Abel, Griff McGarry, and Andrew Painter all have very promising futures with the Phillies organization.
Painter, just 19 years old, went absolutely ballistic in his first full year of minor league action, tallying a 1.48 ERA in 26 starts between three leagues. Painter started his season off in Single-A with Clearwater and threw a 1.40 ERA in 9 starts before being moved to High-A. He threw a 0.98 ERA in 8 starts with Jersey Shore, tallying 49 strikeouts, good for a K/9 of 12.0.
Andrew Painter was elevated to Double-A Reading along with Mick Abel back on August 14th and threw five more starts for the Fightin Phils, allowing just 8 earned runs in 28.1 innings. Along with slugging lefty Darick Hall, Painter was honored with the Paul Owens Award on Thursday at the Phillies game. Painter also took home Baseball America’s Pitcher of the Year Award, along with MiLB’s POTY award.
It’s safe to say Painter is something this club has never seen before. The only question with Painter remains that he’s never pitched a game in AAA. Some say the talent in AA is just as good as AAA, and with how Painter has pitched, it seems like he could start Game 7 of the World Series and dominate. But do the Phillies take the risk?
Rob Thomson has spoken highly of Painter on multiple occasions, who is now the 24th-ranked prospect in all of baseball. Andrew Painter will pitch for the Phillies in 2023; it’s just unknown when he’ll make his debut. If he’s ready by Opening Day, the Phillies need to have him up in the majors throwing every six days.
Bailey Falter should round out the Phillies’ 6-man rotation
Losing Zach Eflin was a big blow to the Phillies rotation in 2022, but the left-handed slinger Bailey Falter stepped up over the final months of the season in Eflin’s absence and made his presence known.
Falter posted a 3.86 ERA in 2022 with 16 starts (20 appearances). He logged 84 total innings, allowing 85 hits and 36 earned runs. Falter tallied an ERA+ of 106, along with a 1.214 WHIP and 7.9 SO/9. He tossed a 2.45 ERA in three August starts along with a 3.51 in five September starts. The addition of Falter not only provided insurance once Eflin hit the IL, but provided another left-handed arm toward the back end of the rotation.