The Phillies have promoted one of their top prospects right before the trade deadline.
Phillies pitching prospect Spencer Howard has been promoted to Double-A Reading, according to Mike Drago of the Reading Eagle.
Howard, rated by MLB Pipeline as their fourth-best prospect, is projected to make his Fightin’ Phils debut on Friday.
The 22-year-old righty will make the 1,068 mile trip to Reading from Clearwater, where he had a 1.29 ERA in seven starts. Howard walked just five batters and struck out 48 for the Threshers prior to his promotion.
Howard now joins fellow top prospects Alec Bohm, Mickey Moniak, JoJo Romero, and Adonis Medina on a loaded Reading roster.
While Howard is certainly due for a promotion, it comes less than a week until the trade deadline. By getting in one start against a heightened level of competition, Howard could be showcasing himself to teams looking to add young pitching prospects.
Philadelphia was unwilling to trade Howard in the offseason, not even for J.T. Realmuto back in February. Along with Bohm and Medina, Howard is one of the Phillies most valuable trade pieces during the Wednesday, July 31 trade deadline.
It would take a lot for the Phillies to trade Howard, but if a team such as Detroit demands a young starter in exchange for multiple years of Matthew Boyd, do the Phillies flinch with Howard? They’re unlikely to trade Bohm, who projects to be their everyday third baseman as early as opening day next year.
Philadelphia has struggled to develop starting pitching, making the prospects of trading Howard and/or Medina a tough pill to swallow.
Keep an eye on Howard’s first Double-A start, which will reportedly be Friday in New Hampshire. If he performs well, it could be his only appearance for the Fightin’ Phils.