One of the Phillies best prospects had another outstanding performance.
Rated by MLB Pipeline as the Phillies’ second-best pitching prospect, Howard dominated in Altoona in Friday’s 1-0 loss. Howard threw six shutout innings allowing just three hits with eight strikeouts and no walks. Of his 88 pitches, 67 percent were for a strike.
Howard also went 1-2 at the dish while Garrett Cleavinger took the loss after allowing an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth.
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Howard has cruised through the majority of his 14 innings with Reading, striking out 22 batters and allowing just three earned runs. He’s carried this momentum over from Clearwater where he had a 1.29 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 35 innings. In 12 starts this year Howard has yet to walk more than two batters in a game.
Last season he threw a no-hitter for Lakewood to help clinch a playoff series win.
The 23-year-old should get at least three more starts for Reading before the regular season wraps up on Sept. 2 in Trenton. A prospect-laden club, Reading sits atop the Eastern League standings with 69 wins, the best record in the Eastern Division in the second-half, and 21 games above .500.
Howard was one of three top-10 prospects who played for Reading Friday night. Former first overall pick Mickey Moniak went 0-4 with a strikeout and top prospect Alec Bohm was also hitless, but did manage a walk.
Jose Gomez, a 22-year-old infielder acquired in the Pat Neshek trade, went 2-4 in the shutout loss, during which Reading left 16 runners on base.
David Parkinson, the club’s 19th-ranked prospect, gets the ball Saturday night in Altoona. The 2017 12th round pick, sporting a 3.33 ERA, is searching for a team-high ninth win.