Phillies: Projecting 2017 Starting Rotation on Opening Day

Apr 18, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff (48) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff (48) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Injuries and youth have hurt the Phillies this season, but will those same issues carry over into 2017?

Unfortunately, many of the same issues the Phillies had in 2016 will in fact carry over to next season.

The biggest issue will be the health of Aaron Nola, who does have a tear of the Tommy John ligament. Nola is opting for rehab over surgery, which is something Masahiro Tanaka did with the Yankees. Hopefully the rehab and a throwing program will get Nola on track to pitch in April.

Vincent Velasquez was arguably the Phillies best pitcher this season with a ton of upside. If he stays healthy, he could be a potential ace in a championship rotation.

Jerad Eickhoff has proven to be a workhorse for the Phillies, pitching 191.1 innings this season with one start to go. He most likely won’t reach 200 innings, as the Phillies will look to protect what looks to be the future #3 pitcher for them going forward.

Jake Thompson did not look ready to be an everyday starting in the majors. A start in Triple-A Lehigh Valley would be best for the Phillies top pitching prospect, who is just 22-years old.

Adam Morgan showed he still has flaws in his game, and would be a candidate to start once again in Triple-A. He will get his chance to be the fifth option next year, but there likely won’t be room for him.

Alec Asher has made a case for being the fifth option next year coming off his 80-game suspension. He has a 1.66 ERA this season since returning, and has yet to lose a game this year.

Mark Appel is still working his way back from injury, and we have heard nothing regarding the former number one overall pick. Acquired in the Ken Giles trade, Appel has been a forgotten name in the Phillies organization.

Jeremy Hellickson will receive a first round tender from the Phillies, but will most likely decline so he can earn a long-term deal worth more money. He expressed interest in returning, but that seems more like nice guy talk.

Jul 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (56) reacts after getting Powerade dumped on him by right fielder Jimmy Paredes (41) and second baseman Andres Blanco (4)after beating the Atlanta Braves and picking up his first major league win at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Braves, 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin (56) reacts after getting Powerade dumped on him by right fielder Jimmy Paredes (41) and second baseman Andres Blanco (4)after beating the Atlanta Braves and picking up his first major league win at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Braves, 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Zach Eflin looked to be a promising piece to the future before having surgery on both his knees for patellar tendinitis. I would be shocked if he was ready to pitch in April. If he does not start the year on the disabled list, I would expect the Phillies to let him work his way back slowly in Lehigh Valley.

Two final names in the organization who could make a push are David Buchanan and Ben Lively. Buchanan suffered an injury since being in Philadelphia and has yet to return. Lively on the other hand was brought over in a trade and pitched very well in the minors. He will most likely start the season in Lehigh Valley, but be one of the top options to make his major league debut next season if needed.

Matt Klentak will look to add arms to the equation over the offseason, but looking at the rotation today, you can project Velasquez and Eickhoff to be there. Hopefully Nola and Eflin are healthy, and Asher can show what he’s flashed this season.

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