Tag Archives: Ranger Suarez

Phillies pitching X factors or non-factors?

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the 2020 Philadelphia Phillies will be able to count on the top two pitchers in their starting rotation to produce results at levels competitive with any in the game.

As the month of May draws to a close and June begins in the coming season, Aaron Nola will turn 27 and Zack Wheeler will turn 30 years of age within a week of one another. The two right-handers are legitimate All-Star caliber talents. So we’ll call them givens in the rotation.

Now, let’s also assume that veteran Jake Arrieta, who turns 34 early in spring training and will be looking to establish his continuing value in what will be the final guaranteed season on his contract produces at a legitimate mid-rotation level. If Arrieta can stay healthy that should be considered a reasonable outcome.

And let’s finally assume that Zach Eflin, who will turn 26 as the regular season gets underway in early April, is ready to emerge as another legitimate mid-rotation option. Four of his final seven starts in 2019 were Quality Start outings, and Eflin went five innings in two of the other three. In those seven starts he registered a 2.83 ERA and .239 Batting Average Against, allowing 37 hits over 41.1 innings. So again, it is a reasonable outcome to expect.

All of that falling perfectly into place would give the Phillies four starting pitchers who would keep them competitive in the majority of their games. Given an average of roughly 33 starts for each of those pitchers over a full, healthy, effective season, that would leave at least another 30 games to be started by other pitchers.

In 2019, not counting ‘bullpen games’, the Phillies gave 36 starts to a group of pitchers who were not members of their rotation when the season began: Drew Smyly (12), Jason Vargas (11), Jerad Eickhoff (10), Cole Irvin (3).

As we approach the start of spring training, general manager Matt Klentak and the Phillies brain trust appear ready to pass on the remaining arms available in free agency and go with what the team has right now at the back of the rotation.

So, what are the possibilities, and what are the probabilities? What can the Phillies reasonably expect to get from any of the current fifth-starter pitching options? I rank them here in order of most likely to produce real value to least likely.

    • Spencer Howard: I released my most recent Phillies top 20 prospects just prior to Christmas, and Howard ranked at #2 on the list. The 23-year-old has just a half-dozen starts at Double-A and is most likely to begin the season back at Reading or with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. I wouldn’t expect him to be ready, or at least for the Phillies to feel he is ready, until at least mid-late May, more likely in June or even in the season’s second half. But he is the most talented arm here, and it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see Howard give the Phillies a dozen or so starts this coming season.
    • Vince Velasquez: Vinnie made 23 starts in 2019 and has made 92 over his four seasons with the Phillies. That experience and his natural talent make him the odds-on favorite to land a rotation spot out of spring training. Now, can he keep it? Over the last three seasons he has cumulative 4.93 ERA, 4.64 FIP, and 1.393 WHIP marks over 336 innings pitched. If those numbers don’t improve early on, the club can no longer wait to move on from Velasquez, who turns 28 in early June, as a starting pitcher.
    • Nick Pivetta: The righty will turn 27 on Valentine’s Day and opened last season filling the fifth starter role. After 13 disastrous starts in which he allowed 78 hits including 16 home runs over 69 innings with a 5.74 ERA and .307 BAbip mark, Pivetta was relegated to the bullpen, never to return to the rotation. His results were no better in relief, as he allowed 25 hits over 24.2 IP across 17 games with a 4.38 ERA and .333 BAbip. There is perhaps no pitcher with more to prove entering the spring, and no pitcher with as wide-ranging a possible outcome. Rotation? Bullpen? Riding buses back in the minor leagues?
    • Cole Irvin: The southpaw turns 26 at the end of January and will still technically be a rookie in 2020 since he pitched in just 41.2 innings with the Phillies last year. In those innings he failed to impress, allowing 45 hits across 16 appearances. He was given three starts in May. The first two were promising. But after he was blown up at Wrigley Field in late May, Irvin was relegated to the bullpen and never given another opportunity in the rotation. In the minors he was used almost exclusively as a starter, going 34-15 with a 3.07 ERA over four seasons. The Phillies infamously have been unable to develop a left-handed starter. It would not be a major upset to see Irvin beat out Velasquez and Pivetta in spring training and earn a role in the rotation to begin the season.
    • Enyel De Los Santos: Despite the fact that he has made appearances with the Phillies in each of the past two seasons, De Los Santos also maintains his official MLB rookie eligibility into 2020 and ranked #8 on my Phillies top 20 prospects list in December. The Phillies have used him in a dozen scattered games including giving him three starting opportunities. The righty turned 25 on Christmas Day and has produced solid results over five minor league seasons. He could become an effective reliever, but also could end up trade bait and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him have a few solid seasons at the back of the rotation for some team in the future.
    • Adonis Medina: Considered for a few years as one of the Phillies’ top pitching prospects, Medina’s star has faded considerably over the last year or so. He still ranked #5 on my list of the club’s top prospects in December, but if I used such symbols it would have been with a downward arrow next to his name. Medina’s ERA has risen in each of the last three years, last season reaching an unacceptable 4.94 mark over 22 games (21 starts.) Also, his strikeouts have plummeted each of the last two seasons while his walk rate is rising. All of the trends are negative at this point. He turned just 24-years-old a month ago, so has time to turn it around. He and Howard will likely be the 1-2 combo at Lehigh Valley at some point in 2020, racing to see who gets the call to Philly first. Right now, odds are that won’t be Medina.
    • Ranger Suarez: A real darkhorse in this race. But as a left-hander with starting experience, Suarez has to be mentioned. Like De Los Santos, he also has made appearances with the Phillies in each of the last two seasons. Unlike De Los Santos, he no longer has rookie eligibility. Suarez pitched in 37 games with the big club in 2019, all out of the bullpen. That was after three of his four appearances in 2018 had been starts. All seven of his Triple-A appearances last year were as a starter, however. Suarez is just 24 years of age. He won’t turn 25 until late August. While he could make the big club out of spring training, the most likely scenario is that he opens the 2020 season back with Lehigh Valley as a starter. But at some point during the season, expect to see him back up to bolster the Phillies bullpen. Any opportunity in the big-league rotation is likely to be short-lived and on an emergency basis, based strictly on the timing of such a Phillies start coinciding with his turn in the Triple-A rotation.

Of course, there is always the wildcard possibility. No, I’m not talking about the playoff berth. I mean the wildcard that another pitcher could be added. Smyly remains available, and at the right price it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Phillies try to bring him back on a one-year deal.

Also, if the Phillies stand pat with what they have and still manage to contend, the month of July will almost certainly be filled with rumors of trades for some veteran pitchers who are available at that point.

Can any of these organizational pitchers emerge to become a true X factor in the Philadelphia Phillies starting pitching rotation this year? Or will they instead either flip to the bullpen, or in a worse-case scenario for some, become complete non-factors in the 2020 season?

 

MORE RECENT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES CONTENT:

Phillies will try to take series over Giants on Wednesday night

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Phillies welcome the Giants back in to Citizens Bank Park

The Philadelphia Phillies (56-50) and San Francisco Giants (54-53) continue their series on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philly.

As a result of their 4-2 victory in the series opener on Tuesday night, the Phillies have moved into a tie for the second National League Wildcard playoff berth with the Chicago Cubs, trailing the Washington Nationals by just a half-game and tied with the Nats in the loss column.
The loss dropped the Giants three games back in that loss column. San Francisco entered the series as the hottest team in Major League Baseball over the last six weeks, having won 23 of their previous 33 games to get back into the postseason picture.
Just prior to the MLB trade deadline, which passed at 4:00 pm this afternoon, both clubs swung deals. The Phillies added veteran outfielder Corey Dickerson from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Giants sent relievers Sam DysonDrew PomeranzMark Melancon and Ray Black away, with Melancon going to the Atlanta Braves. San Francisco also acquired second baseman Scooter Gennett from the Cincinnati Reds.
After coming with what appeared to be a very weak, inexperienced lineup on Tuesday night, Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who will be retiring after this season, has loaded the batting order with veterans for this Wednesday night tilt.
With scattered showers and thunderstorms in the forecast, tonight’s game could prove a challenge for the pitching staffs of both clubs. Storms have already been rolling through Philly on and off during the afternoon. There is a 60% chance at the scheduled first pitch, dropping to 40% throughout the remainder of the ball game.

WEDNESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES

  1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  4. Bryce Harper RF
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Adam Haseley LF
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Vince Velasquez P

GIANTS

  1. Brandon Belt 1B
  2. Buster Posey C
  3. Pablo Sandoval 3B
  4. Alex Dickerson LF
  5. Brandon Crawford SS
  6. Kevin Pillar CF
  7. Mike Yastrzemski RF
  8. Joe Panik 2B
  9. Jeff Samardzija P

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

Phillies – Vince Velasquez: 3-5, 4.46 ERA, 65 hits over 66.2 IP across 22 games (12 starts) with a 79/26 K:BB. Velasquez has made three career starts vs the Giants: 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 13 hits over 17.1 IP with a 27/5 K:BB
Giants – Jeff Samardzija (34/RH): 7-8, 3.95 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 1.178 WHIP, 105 hits over 116.1 IP across 21 starts with a 102/32 K:BB. Samardizja is in his 12th year in the big-leagues and is signed through the 2020 season.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • Since their season-long seven-game losing streak ended on June 24, the Phillies have won 17 of their last 29 games and their .586 winning percentage in that stretch ranks tied for third among all National League teams.
  • After Tuesday night’s victory, the Phillies are now 35-13 when scoring first, 49-13 when scoring four or more runs, 45-6 when leading into the late innings (after six), 36-5 win outhitting their opposition, 50-27 when hitting at least one home run.
  • The Phillies have now won seven straight games against the Giants at Citizens Bank Park. It is the club’s longest win streak against San Francisco since winning eight in a row over the 1990-91 seasons at Veteran’s Stadium.
  • Since June 24, the Phillies are averaging 5.07 runs per game, nearly a half-run improvement over their performance across the season’s first 77 games.
  • Rhys Hoskins (79) and Bryce Harper (71) rank 1-2 in the National League in Walks. The Phillies have not had a pair of teammates lead the league at 1-2 in free passes since Gavvy Cravath and Dave Bancroft with the 1915 NL pennant winners.
  • Phillies three southpaw relievers have been hot. Adam Morgan has allowed 1 unearned run on 3 hits with 10 K’s in 8.2 IP during July and has held opponents to a .165/.259/.272 slash line this season, with lefty hitters just 2-30 (.067) with 11 SO against him since May 13. Jose Alvarez has not allowed a run in his last 10.1 IP across 9 appearances, has a 1.62 ERA over 33.1 IP since April 19, and lefty batters are hitting just 4-for-25 (.160) against him since June 22, including 1 for the last 15. Ranger Suarez had a 0.68 ERA for more than a month, allowing just 1 earned run over 13.1 IP across 10 appearances between June 23 and July 24.

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Phillies Nation places Alec Bohm at top of latest Phillies Top 20 Prospects rankings

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Alec Bohm ascends to the top of the Phillies prospect rankings

The Phillies Nation official Top 20 Philadelphia Phillies prospect ranking is being updated here based on a survey of select members of our current staff taken as Spring Training wound down back in late March.

Taking part in the survey were Editorial Director Tim Kelly, lead writer Matthew Veasey (yours truly) and staff writers Alec Whitaker and Drew Rhoades.
We each presented individual Phillies top 20 prospect lists. These were subsequently compiled into what you find presented below as our official ranking.
As always, the staff here at Phillies Nation follow the organization on a regular basis, from the lowest levels of the minor leagues on up through the big league club. We regularly read evaluations from industry experts and those who closely follow the team.
In forming our opinions we incorporate those of the scouts and industry experts from various sources including MLB PipelineBaseball AmericaFangraphs and a variety of other respected outside resources. We also attend games in person at a number of levels and watch televised broadcasts of the big club and minor league affiliates. As often as possible, we work to see players and prospects actually perform on the field with our own eyes as well.
This latest Phillies Nation version of the current Phillies Top 20 Prospects is meant to present fans of the team with a clearer picture of the very best youngsters now moving through the organization’s minor league system.
Our usual standards applied: in order for players to be considered, they must have not used up their rookie qualifications of 130 big-league at-bats or 50 innings pitched with Major League Baseball.
To come up with each player’s ranking, I simply took each of our staffer’s lists and assigned a numeric point value based on those lists. A first place ranking from our staffer got you one point, a fifth place spot five, a 12th place spot got you 12 points and so on.
A dozen prospects found themselves on all four of our lists. You will find them as the No. 1-12 ranked prospects below. The next five from 13-17 were named on three of our four lists. The final three players at 18-20 were on two lists. Two other players were also named on two lists but ranked lower overall.
Full write-ups on the top 10 are supplied with 11-20 simply ranked. And once again as a bonus, players who were mentioned by at least one of our staffers but who did not make the overall top 20 are presented as well.
We hope you enjoy, and feel free to let us know about someone who you think we should be looking at for our next ranking in the late summer, your favorites who may not have made the list.


PHILLIES NATION: PHILLIES TOP 20 PROSPECTS
  1. Alec Bohm, 3B: After the Phillies dealt away their consensus top prospect in pitcher Sixto Sanchez back in early February in the J.T. Realmuto trade, Bohm has ascended to the organizational throne. Well, at least in the eyes of three of our four participating staffers. The third overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft out of Wichita State, Bohm is billed as an advanced bat with both power and high-average potential who controls the strike zone well and who simply needs to prove that he can stay at the hot corner for the long-term. That will be his mission as he opens his first full professional season at Low-A Lakewood. If he produces as expected, you will at least see Bohm at High-A Clearwater before the summer is out. If he both hits and fields the position well you might even see him at Double-A Reading around the time that he turns 23 years of age in early August. Maikel Franco is off to a hot start in Philly. Rhys Hoskins has first base nailed down. However, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming in a couple of years, we may see the Designated Hitter in the National League starting in the early-2020s. That could pave the way for Bohm’s promotion, if he doesn’t force a tough decision before hand.
  2. Adonis Medina, RHP: With the trade of Sanchez, Medina has inherited the title of top pitching prospect in the Phillies system. He also received the other top overall prospect vote from our Drew Rhoades, who stated the following: “the unanimous top pitching prospect for the Phillies, and for good reason. Medina has a 3.21 ERA in five seasons in the minors, and while his 4.12 ERA last season was a bump up from his 2017 3.01 ERA, he still has the stuff (9.9 SO/9 in 2018) to make it in the majors.” MLB Pipeline says “Pure stuff-wise, Medina is as electric as perhaps any prospect’s in baseball and when he’s locked in, he can be virtually unhittable. He uses his three-pitch mix to miss a lot of bats, striking out 10 per nine innings in his first two years of full-season ball.” Our Tim Kelly stated the following: “… it is worth noting that of the 51 earned runs that Medina surrendered in 111.1 innings at Single-A Clearwater, 26 of those runs came in just four starts. If he can limit his outliers in 2019, he could rise up through the Phillies system relatively quickly.”  He won’t turn 23 years old until a week before Christmas. Medina opens the season with Double-A Reading and, assuming he continues on his current developmental path, should reach Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the season is over. If his season is strong enough and he remains healthy you might even see him get a September cup of coffee in Philadelphia.
  3. Adam Haseley, OF: Haseley turns 23 in the second week of April, and the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft will open the season with Double-A Reading. Though Bohm got my top prospect vote, I had Haseley in my second position. I’m a fan of his toolbox. The kid can flat-out rake, with a sweet left-handed swing that consistently finds the barrel of the bat. Pipeline reports that he “…doesn’t strike out a ton and can draw walks and there’s the chance for more power to come as he learns to add more leverage to his swing, something he did more of later in his first season.” Though Haseley slashed just .167/.211/.250 in the Grapefruit League last month, he impressed many, including our Alec Whitaker: “…impressed me with his ability to hit to all fields. He brings speed, hustle, and solid defense to the table as well. He didn’t hit incredibly well in Spring Training, but he did other things well and gained valuable experience.” This will be an extremely important season for Haseley. The Phillies appear set in the outfield over the next couple of seasons, so he doesn’t have to be rushed. Produce this year in Reading and next year at Lehigh Valley, and 2021 could find him pushing his way to the Phillies. It’s entirely possible he pushes his way towards the majors much quicker. If he forces the organization’s hand sooner, it will be a good problem to have.
  4. JoJo Romero, LHP: Since Cole Hamels broke into the big-leagues in 2006 the Phillies have not developed a left-handed starter who has made a difference in their rotation other than J.A. Happ, who was dealt away in the 2010 Roy Oswalt trade, after one solid season. He won’t turn 23 until September, but Romero is not far off from helping the Phillies. Pipeline writes: “At his best, Romero commands his fastball to both sides of the plate and goes right after hitters, something he struggled with in the early going a year ago. Strong and athletic, he shouldn’t need too much more time to be ready for a gig as a mid-rotation starter.” If he remains healthy and productive this year, we might even see him get a promotion to Philadelphia later in the season. For now, he opens the season as part of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley rotation looking to both work on his control and demonstrate that he can get more advanced hitters out on a regular basis.
  5. Mickey Moniak, OF: “The former No. 1 overall pick slashed .286/.332/.442 with 29 RBIs and 17 walks after the All-Star Break a season ago. Now 20, this will be a crucial season.” That was the breakdown from Tim Kelly, pointing out the 2018 second-half breakthrough, which those who remain in Moniak’s corner are hanging their hats upon. Consider me one of them. I simply cannot believe that the Phillies would get it so wrong with the top overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. Pipeline stated “…he’s reportedly already added more strength this off-season to help him show more extra-base thump. He was more consistent defensively as well and showed he could help a team in center field even when he wasn’t swing the bat as well.” Moniak turns 21 years old in May and joins Haseley in the Reading outfield this season in what will be a crucial year for him to finally put it all together.
  6. Luis Garcia, SS: Easily the most disparate vote-getter among our staff, who ranked him third, sixth, ninth and 11th on our individual lists. With Garcia, it’s all about whether you value potential over a more proven record at advanced levels and closeness to helping the big club. The 18-year-old has that high potential in his corner. Pipeline describes it perfectly: “It’s hard not to get excited about Garcia’s tools, though it should be tempered with the fact that much of it is projection and the teenager has a long way to go.” When Sanchez was still in the system this past off-season, Baseball America ranked Garcia third behind Sixto and Bohm saying he is “at least a few years away, but he could soon become the Phillies top prospect as a potential plus hitter with plus defense at a premium position.” In ranking him third, Kelly pointed out that ESPN’s Jeff Passan has predicted that Garcia would be the club’s number one prospect at the end of this season.
  7. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP: It’s difficult to see where De Los Santos fits in with the Phillies, assuming he isn’t used as trade bait at some point. Alec Whitaker believes that “he may be better off served in the bullpen long-term. If that is the case, he has a chance to become an effective reliever.” His fastball and change are already good enough to help the Phillies bullpen right now. However, the organization will pitch him as part of their season-opening six-man rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He doesn’t turn 24 until Christmas Day, so time remains on this side. Expect to see him back with the Phillies again at some point this year when the need arrives for an emergency pitcher in either role.
  8. Spencer Howard, RHP: He’ll turn 23 years old at the end of July and will open the season fronting the High-A Clearwater rotation. As he gets more innings under his belt and the six-man Reading rotation sorts itself out, expect to see Howard at Double-A before that birthday. “He misses plenty of bats and has the stuff to be a frontline starter,” per Pipeline. “The only thing that could hold him back is his command and control. If he can build off of his improvements in finding the strike zone as well as consistent mechanics on his breaking stuff, he could reach that ceiling in the near future.
  9. Ranger Suarez, LHP: As Whitaker points out “He’s a lefty, which makes him vital to the Phillies – who lack lefty pitching. He’s probably destined for the bullpen, but he has back-end starter potential.” If Suarez pitches well as part of the IronPigs six-man rotation he will simply be waiting, like De Los Santos, for another opportunity in Philadelphia. His chance could come sooner due to his southpaw status, especially if Adam Morgan and Jose Alvarez let the Phillies down. Pipeline gets it right again: “His ceiling is limited to that of a back-end stater, but he’s ready to help out now.
  10. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF: Rhoades wrote “I love Jhailyn’s potential as a slugger. Back in 2017, former director of player development Joe Jordan called Ortiz a “hitter with power.” He isn’t wrong. Ortiz hit 13 home runs in 110 games last season, albeit with a .225 average. In 2017, Ortiz hit .302, so perhaps he’ll continue to grow as a contact hitter.”  Pipeline backs up that assessment of Ortiz power in their report which calls the tool “at least a 70 on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.” For Ortiz, who will play all of the 2019 season at age 20, it will be all about proving he can be something more than an all-or-nothing type. He begins the year battling a hamstring strain, and should open his season with High-A Clearwater once healthy.
  11. Cole Irvin, LHP
  12. Francisco Morales, RHP
  13. Arquimedes Gamboa, SS
  14. Rafael Marchan, C
  15. Mauricio Llovera, RHP
  16. Kyle Young, LHP
  17. David Parkinson, LHP
  18. Simon Muzziotti, OF
  19. Cornelius Randolph, OF
  20. Kyle Dohy, LHP

Drew Anderson, Jerad Eickhoff provide back-end Phillies rotation insurance

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Zach Eflin has had a solid spring at back of Phillies rotation

As the club’s decision-makers have whittled away at the final Opening Day roster decisions over the last week or so, both the starting lineup and starting pitching rotation have solidified.

The regular starting lineup will see Rhys HoskinsCesar HernandezJean Segura and Maikel Franco around the infield. Andrew McCutchenOdubel Herrera and Bryce Harper will start in the outfield. Behind the dish, J.T. Realmuto will see most of the action.
On the mound it will be Aaron NolaNick PivettaJake ArrietaVince Velasquez and Zach Eflin in the starting rotation. Those are the same five starting pitchers who made 150 of the 162 starts for the team a year ago.
The club should feel confident in the first three of those arms. Nola was a 2018 NL Cy Young Award finalist and is one of the top young pitchers in the game today. Arrieta is a grizzled veteran with a Cy Young already in his trophy case. Pivetta is a strikeout pitcher who is widely considered as one of Major League Baseball’s leading breakout candidates.
The spotlight will be on the two pitchers at the back of that rotation. How Velasquez and Eflin pitch could go a long way towards determining whether this vastly improved Phillies squad can actually contend for the National League East Division crown or an NL Wildcard postseason position.
Eflin had a solid spring. He led the club with 20.1 innings pitched down in Florida, delivering a 1.08 WHIP and .224 batting average against over five starts. Eflin surrendered just 17 hits and produced an 18/5 K:BB ratio.
Velasquez’ performance was less inspiring. He allowed nine earned runs and 11 hits over 6.1 innings across just three starts. Hitters produced a .379 batting average against him despite the fact that Velasquez remained overpowering at times, evidenced by his 15 strikeouts.
There has always been a vocal minority of Phillies followers who have believed that Velasquez would best thrive in a bullpen role. His strikeout stuff could eventually even thrive in the closer role. However, the Phillies are just not ready to give up on his potential as a starting pitcher – yet.
What we did learn during spring training was that, should Velasquez continue to struggle or injuries strike the others, the Phillies have what appear to be reasonable options.
Jerad Eickhoff was re-assigned to the minor leagues. He will open in the rotation for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Eickhoff proved this spring that he was fully recovered from a battle with carpal tunnel syndrome. He held batters to a .206 BAA over nine innings and now needs to stretch himself out, building up innings after tossing just 5.1 last year.
Also at Lehigh Valley will be 25-year-old Drew Anderson, who was perhaps the breakthrough performer here in Clearwater. Anderson allowed just six hits over 12.2 innings with a 12/2 K:BB ratio while holding opposing hitters to a .143 BAA and registering a 0.71 ERA and 0.63 WHIP.
Anderson made 19 solid starts at Triple-A a year ago, and also contributed five appearances with the Phillies, including his lone big-league start July 8 at Pittsburgh.
Others who could get the call for a spot/emergency start at some point depending on when it might be needed and their own availability are right-hander Enyel De Los Santos and left-hander Ranger Suarez, each of whom made their Phillies and Major League Baseball debut a year ago under similar circumstances.
With expectations elevated this year, expect that the Phillies will have little patience with Velasquez. He probably has at least the month of April in the rotation. But if he doesn’t produce, it won’t be long before either Eickhoff or Anderson is replacing him. Both showed over the past month that they are ready for that shot.

First round of a dozen spring cuts leaves Phillies with 49 players in big-league camp

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Enyel De Los Santos was among first dozen Phillies reassignments

The Philadelphia Phillies dropped an 8-2 decision on Monday to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. With that game in the books the club has now officially passed the halfway point of its Grapefruit League schedule.

The Phillies record under the Florida sun sits at 9-7 following the defeat. They now have 14 games remaining on their schedule prior to heading back north for the March 28 regular season opener against the division-rival Atlanta Braves.
Following their game on Saturday, March 9, a first round of seven players were reassigned. After today’s game another round of five reassignments was announced. These dozen roster moves are part of the effort to cut down to the 25 players who will be in the home clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park on Opening Day.
Both 22-year-old pitcher Adonis Medina, who is the Phillies #2 prospect now per MLB Pipeline, and 21-year-old shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa, considered their#13 prospect, were optioned to Double-A Reading on Saturday.

Today the Phillies optioned pitchers Enyel De Los SantosAustin Davis and Edgar Garcia to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. De Los Santos is the team’s #6 prospect and made his Major League Baseball debut last season, appearing in seven games and making two starts on the mound. Davis saw action in 32 games with the Phillies last season as a situational left-hander.
Reassigned to the minor league camp over the two days were pitchers Cole IrvinJoJo Romero and Tyler Gilbert, catcher Deivy Grullon, first baseman Austin Listi, infielder Malquin Canelo and outfielder Mickey Moniak. Romero is the Phillies #7 prospect, Moniak #9 and Irvin #16 per MLB Pipeline.
The 20-year-old Moniak was the top overall pick of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. While he has struggled for much of his professional career, he finally began to hit the ball with more authority last summer. Listi was the 2018 Paul Owens Award winner as the top performing position player prospect in the Phillies minor league system.
Given the improvements to the overall Phillies roster, none of these players were expected to make the team out of spring training. The team still has a crowd of 49 players at major league camp, and more cuts can be expected at some point during the coming week.

NOTE: the Phillies further announced that pitcher Ranger Suarez was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following Monday’s spring game.