Matt Klentak needs to start unloading some of this pitching depth because this is getting really hard. There are several pitchers who could return from last year, but several others are knocking on the door from the short-season leagues. The rotation could look very different at the end of the season compared to the beginning as players move up to Clearwater or go back to extended spring training.
Bailey Falter, Adonis Medina, and JoJo Romero will all likely be promoted from short-season Williamsport to start the year in Low-A. Each performed well enough there to warrant the opportunity to play their first full season.
If the team feels aggressive enough, they may also promote Sixto Sanchez after his breakout season in the Gulf Coast League. He will still be just 18 years old when the season starts, but it shouldn’t be too much of leap for Sanchez to overcome.
Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts actually projected Lakewood to use a six-man rotation with Kevin Gowdy and Ranger Suarez. Gowdy pitched just nine professional innings last year, but he “was the most polished high school pitcher in the draft, and without his injury him starting in Lakewood is probably not a question” according to Winkelman. Suarez posted a 2.81 ERA in Williamsport last season after four years in the rookie-level leagues.
Predicting Williamsport’s or the GCL’s starting rotation won’t do any good at this point in time because many players on each team’s roster will come from the 2017 draft.