4 moves the Phillies should make to replace Taijuan Walker before Opening Day

Taijuan Walker will not be ready for Opening Day, and the Phillies need to fill the hole in the rotation. While there are external options at play, there is enough talent on the roster to bandage the wound to start the season

Mar 15, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull
Mar 15, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
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Promote Mick Abel up to the majors

It seems like Mick Abel has been one of the Phillies top prospects for half a decade now, but the kid could get his chance to shine in 2024.

The former first-round draft pick from 2020 has been the No. 2 prospect in the Phillies organization since he debuted in 2021, playing second fiddle to guys like Spencer Howard, Bryson Stott, and now Andrew Painter. Entering his age 22 season, Abel looks ready to make an impact with the major league club.

While he only pitched 2 2/3 innings in 2024 spring training, he looked very polished, finding edges and striking hitters out without allowing any runs. He even baffled one of the premiere hitters, Juan Soto. His stuff speaks for itself, as he has punched out 328 hitters in only 266 innings across his minor league career, leading to an 11.1 strikeout per nine.

The lack of free agent pitcher signings and trades suggests that the Phillies think Abel can produce at the top level this year. Not offering a significant deal to Montgomery could indicate that they expect to use someone like Spencer Turnbull for the first part of the season until the young pitcher is ready and then turn him loose.

The Oregon native won't be on the Phillies' Opening Day roster but can quickly find a path to the majors if pitchers like Turnbull, Sánchez, or Walker struggle in their early outings. In a league where young, power-pitching arms have become a dominant force, the Phillies have one waiting in the wings, itching for the opportunity to make his major league debut.

Abel has a plus fastball and a left-turn slider that could make him very dominant against opposition hitters with no experience against him and little analytics.