Phillies 2021 Spring Training Preview: Pitching Staff

Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Matt Moore #45, formerly of the San Francisco Giants (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Matt Moore

A weird signing by the Phillies comes up next in Matt Moore on a 1-year deal. Moore was a former Tampa Bay Rays prospect who put together some good seasons early in his career but fell off and went to the NPB this last season.

Moore began his first 2 full seasons with promising years, 3.81 ERA, 3.93 FIP, and a 4.35 xFIP his first full season in 2012, and 2013 he was even better with a 3.29 ERA, 3.95 FIP, and a 4.32 xFIP.

In 2014 and 2015 he didn’t throw a lot of innings due to a sprained UCL, this would start his downfall since he hasn’t been the same pitcher at all.

The next step in Matt Moore’s journey was the NPB, going to the SoftBank Hawks in 2020 to get his career back on track.

That season Moore went 6-3 in 13 games, 78 innings pitched and had a 2.65 ERA and that was enough promise for him to sign in Philadelphia.

Explaining what the expectations should be for Moore seems pretty impossible, the NBP is a good league but how will his numbers translate to the MLB? What did he change in his pitching? We won’t know until the beginning of the season to see where things stand on Moore.

Spencer Howard

The No. 1-ranked Phillies prospect on, Spencer Howard spent 2020 mostly in the Majors and made 6 starts in the shortened season to not amazing results.

78 ERA+, 5.86 FIP, and a 5.03 xFIP is garbage and there’s no other way to say it nonetheless, there are somethings we can point out that maybe gave Howard a disadvantage.

In a weird 2020 season, you can argue this is very hard for prospects who are just getting called up, let’s face it this past season was weird and it might be harder for someone just getting into the Majors.

Before this season, Howard was making his case to be the Phillies best prospect, in Double-A in 2019, Howard showed great signs with a 2.35 ERA, 2.62 FIP, and a 2.66 FIP in 30.2 innings. It is not like Howard can’t pitch, another possibility for why he struggled could be from making the jump from Double-A to the Majors.

Sometimes you may need time in Triple-A before making the jump to Major League Baseball and that is ok.

The only reason we could be concerned is if Howard is not pitching well in Triple-A, that could be a sign he isn’t developing at the pace they need him to, and if that’s the case, Phillies fans should panic.

Overall, expect Howard in Triple-A to begin the season and if he pitches well, he could be called up as the 5th starter, especially if Chase Anderson and/or Matt Moore are not performing.