Philadelphia Phillies: Projecting The 2018 Starting Rotation
The calendar has turned, and we are officially over two weeks into 2018. You know what that means baseball fans? The MLB season is not too far away! For the Philadelphia Phillies, their first home Spring Training game in Clearwater, Florida is just over a month away (February 22nd).
For the Phillies, their five starting rotation slots are not all locked in yet. So those Spring games will be extremely important in determining who opens the season in the top five. We are here to give you a breakdown of what to expect. Below is our projected 2018 starting rotation for the Philadelphia Phillies
- Aaron Nola, Right-handed – There is only one ace in the current Phillies rotation. While the 24-year-old is not your prototypical “ace” who is sporting a sub-3 ERA, he is still growing. And he will get there. Nola has some nasty stuff, and is overall the best arm on the team. When Opening Day rolls around, there is only one real option to toe the rubber for the Phils.
- Vince Velasquez, Right-handed – After Nola, things get a little dicey. There are two arms, both coming off an injury, who are pretty solid bets of cracking the rotation, as long as they are healthy. One of them is Vince Velasquez, who is coming off surgery to correct a circulation issue in his hand. While he had a 5.13 ERA and 1.50 WHIP a year ago, the injury could be blamed partially. He is a former top prospect, who has some exceptional stuff when he is on his game. If he proves healthy come March, he will be in the top portion of the Phillies rotation.
- Jerad Eickhoff, Right-handed – Eickhoff finds himself in a similar situation as Velasquez. His season was ended with nerve irritation in his pitching hand. All signs point to him being ready to go for the start of Spring Training. Also like Velasquez, he sported a pretty ugly ERA a season ago. His overall skill set is not quite as good as his teammates, so we view him as the three in Philly’s rotation.
- Ben Lively, Right-handed – Here is where the fun starts. Names such as Ben Lively, Jake Thompson, Nick Pivetta and Mark Leiter will be competing for two spots in the rotation. Lively comes off a season in which he started 15 games, winning four, and spun a 4.26 ERA. While he was far from exceptional, he showed enough promise to crack the top five in 2018. Obviously, it will come down to who performs in March. But my gut says Lively comes out on top.
- Jake Thompson, Right-handed – The 23-year-old started eight games in 2017, winning three. He pitched to a 3.88 ERA while putting a ton of people on base with an ugly 1.55 WHIP. He was certainly far from perfect, so winning one of these spots is far from a given. But to be quite honest, none of these options are all that appealing. The same argument can pretty much be made for Pivetta, but at the end of the day, only five names will be making the cut. At least out of camp.
How do you see the Philadelphia Phillies’ starting rotation shaking out for the upcoming 2018 MLB season? Tell us in the comments!