Phillies: Three players who could make or break the 2020 season
By Hunter Doyle
Spencer Howard could be the boost the Philadelphia Phillies need this year.
It might be a blessing in disguise if Spencer Howard gets called up to the big leagues in 2020. While he’s definitely expected to be a successful major league starter in the near future, some fans would prefer that the Phillies stay patient rather than rush his development. However, since there is no minor league baseball this season, this is the only way the 23-year-old can stay sharp and stay on the mound.
It wouldn’t be a great decision to waste an entire year in the middle of his development. Not to mention, since it’s a shortened season the Phillies don’t have to worry about shutting him down after a certain number of innings towards the end of the year.
This season also possesses plenty of uncertainty meaning that anyone could get the virus at any time. The 60-player pool is there for a reason and every player will need to be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Considering that Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, and Ranger Suarez are competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, it’s safe to say it’s anyone’s job. If Spencer Howard pitches well leading up to the start of the season, maybe the ‘Phils’ give him a shot and he sneaks into the rotation. It seems more likely that he’ll join the team midseason at some point though considering his lack of experience.
The six-foot-two, 205-pound right-hander has only pitched in six games at the double-a level and seven games at the single-a advanced level which is a bit concerning. Despite this, he’s still ranked as MLB.com‘s 34th prospect in baseball. He’s reportedly touched 99 mph on the radar gun with his fastball and mixes in a reliable changeup, a nasty slider, and an above-average curveball. The command could improve but when you can get the velocity and movement on all of your pitches as Howard can, you’re going to be able to have some measure of success at any level.