No. 13: Right-handed pitcher Spencer Howard
The Phillies made a bit of a surprising selection in the second round of this year’s draft, taking Spencer Howard from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He was selected No. 45 overall but was ranked the No. 99 draft prospect according to MLB.com. However, the team liked what they saw in Howard with director of player development Johnny Almaraz saying that they thought Howard was the top righty in this year’s draft.
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Howard throws a fastball in the low-90s, topping out around 94. His secondary pitches get varying reviews, but the consensus is that either his changeup or slider is a potential plus pitch. He also throws a cutter that shows some potential but definitely needs work.
In nine starts with short-season Williamsport, Howard allowed 22 hits and struck out 40 batters.
However, he walked 18 batters in that same span, leading to a 4.45 ERA. The high walk total was uncharacteristic considering his command was arguably his best tool coming out of college. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper said Howard looked “advanced” compared to the rest of the league and that two bad innings caused his ERA to be so high.
Howard has been compared to fellow Phillies prospect Thomas Eshelman, except with a better arsenal. While Howard’s command isn’t the same as Eshelman’s, it’s still strong. He should move rather quickly through the farm system as a solid rotation arm.