3. Control the Innings of the Young Starters
Barring new injuries or setbacks with current ones, the Phillies starting rotation will look very similar to how it did last season. The likely starting rotation as of right now would be: Jeremy Hellickson, Jerad Eickhoff, Aaron Nola, Vince Velasquez, and one of Jake Thompson or Zach Eflin.
The Phillies still have a lot of youth in the rotation, and in order to preserve their arms, Mackanin will have a similar challenge like last season in limiting the innings of his starters. All of their starters excluding Hellickson and Eickhoff will likely have innings limits for next season.
Nola and Velasquez will be the most heavily watched because the two both dealt with arm injuries last season, especially Nola because his season was cut short by an ulnar collateral ligament sprain.
Does Mackanin go with a six-man rotation by including both Thompson and Eflin in order to preserve arms? That is something to watch during Spring Training and as the season approaches.
Even if a player like Nola isn’t ready to go at the start of the season, Mackanin may include a player like Alec Asher or Ben Lively to a six-man rotation if he wants to start limiting innings early on in the season. How Mackanin pieces together his rotation of young pitchers will be interesting to watch for Phillies management.