MLB Pipeline has ranked 23-year-old Phillies right-handed pitching prospect Spencer Howard among the best at his position.
Leading up to the release of MLB Pipeline’s 2020 Top 100 Prospects List later this month, MLB.com revealed its top 10 prospects among right-handed pitchers on Tuesday. Among those on the list is the Philadelphia Phillies’ Spencer Howard, ranked as the ninth-best.
Howard trails Casey Mize (Detroit Tigers), Nate Pearson (Toronto Blue Jays), Forrest Whitley (Houston Astros), Michael Kopech (Chicago White Sox), Sixto Sanchez (Miami Marlins), Dustin May (Los Angeles Dodgers), Matt Manning (Tigers), and Luis Patino (San Diego Padres).
Howard bests the No. 10-ranked Grayson Rodriguez, of the Baltimore Orioles.
MLB.com’s Jim Callis praises Howard for making “tremendous progress” on his change-up, despite coming “out of Cal Poly in 2017” with it being “below-average.” Howard is also described by Callis as being the “highest riser” of the group:
"A second-round pick in 2017, Howard had an up-and-down first full season in pro ball, though he gave a glimpse of his upside by throwing a no-hitter in the low Class A South Atlantic League playoffs. He took a huge step forward in 2019 despite missing two months with shoulder soreness, significantly improving his changeup and control and capping his year with a strong performance in the Arizona Fall League."
Howard, 23, went 1-1 with a 2.11 ERA across six starts in 2019 Fall League action, along with a 27-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0.938 WHIP spanning 21 1/3 innings.
Howard was among the several internal players recently invited to major-league spring training, along with infielder Alex Bohm; right-handers Connor Brogdon, Ramon Russo, and Addison Russ; southpaws Kyle Dohy, Tyler Gilbert, Damon Jones, and Zach Warren; first baseman Darick Hall; catcher Henri Lartigue; 1B/OF Austin Listi, INF/OF Luke Williams; shortstop Nick Maton; and outfielder Mickey Moniak.
With Zack Wheeler being the only addition to the Phillies starting rotation this offseason, Howard could receive early consideration to join the mix, alongside him, Aaron Nola, and Jake Arrieta.