Phillies: Three players with something to prove in spring training

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 16: Vince Velasquez #21 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 16, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JUNE 16: Vince Velasquez #21 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on June 16, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – AUGUST 23: Vince Velasquez #21 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 23, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Teams are wearing special color schemed uniforms with players choosing nicknames to display for Players’ Weekend. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Vince Velasquez

With Jake Arrieta returning from injury and the free agent signing of Zack Wheeler, a place in the starting rotation is no guarantee for Vince Velasquez.

He’s currently listed fifth in the rotation on the MLB.com depth chart, behind Aaron Nola, Wheeler, Arrieta and Zach Eflin.

Velasquez finished last season with a 7-8 record, 4.91 ERA, 1.389 WHIP and 0.1 WAR.

Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies /

Philadelphia Phillies

Compared to the four pitchers projected ahead of him, he was last in ERA and WAR, while better than only Eflin in record and Arrieta in WHIP.

Another factor against Velasquez is how rough he finished last year.

During the first four months, he gave up 35 earned runs over 71.2 innings for a 4.42 ERA. During the final two months, he gave up 29 earned runs over 45.2 innings for a 5.77 ERA.

Oddly enough, he posted a record of 4-2 during that final stretch, compared to 3-6 before that.

With the Phillies having an improved rotation heading into this season and Velasquez struggling with ERA down the stretch, he will need to prove during spring training that he still belongs as one of the team’s primary starters in 2020.

While there are many candidates who fit the bill as someone with the most to prove, Williams, Irvin and Velasquez are three Phillies with something to prove during spring training.