Phillies: Three players with something to prove in spring training
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.
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.