Five Phillies prospects who could break out in 2018
By John Town
Spencer Howard was Philadelphia’s second-round draft pick last year. While his 4.45 ERA may not indicate it, he pitched well in Williamsport. Howard’s 2.73 fielding-independent pitching looks much better as opposing hitters had a .349 batting average on balls in play. He struck out 32.5 percent of opposing batters.
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Howard’s walk rate was ridiculously high at 5.72 batters per nine innings, but a few bad innings really spiked that rate. His control wasn’t an issue coming out of college, so that rate should go down in 2018.
When Howard hits Lakewood, we will get a much longer look at what he can do as a professional. If that strikeout rate remains high and the walk rate falls back to normal levels, Howard should be able to dominate Low-A hitters.