Today we continue our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 power rankings by looking at the starting rotation.
As the Phillies enter spring training in less than two weeks, not much has changed with the starting rotation as we grow nearer to pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater, Florida. The only significant deal the Phillies have made all offseason was re-signing Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million deal to stay in Philadelphia. Could an extension for Zack Wheeler be next?
Anchored by the one-two punch of co-aces Wheeler and Nola, the top of the Phillies rotation is one of the best in the National League. Three through five, the Phillies are solid yet unremarkable on paper, but Cristopher Sánchez, Taijuan Walker, and Ranger Suárez were mostly reliable options in 2023. Barring injuries or acquisitions, these are the five players who will toe the rubber for the Phillies every fifth day this season.
Let's take a look at the power rankings for the Phillies starting rotation heading into this season.
No. 5: Cristopher Sánchez
Last season saw some injuries to the rotation to begin the 2023 campaign. With Ranger Suárez placed on the IL to start the season, the Phillies turned to Matt Strahm and Cristopher Sánchez to start games in the early going. When Suárez returned in May, Strahm was placed back in the bullpen and Sánchez took over the fifth spot in the rotation. With no significant injuries and free agent signings entering spring training, the spot appears to be Sánchez's to lose.
Sánchez had a solid, if unremarkable, 2023 as part of the Phillies rotation. In 19 games (18 starts), he had a record of 3-5 with a 3.44 ERA in 99 1/3 innings while striking out 96 (8.70 K/9). The 27-year-old will never light up radar guns with velocity, and his 92.1 mph sinker was mostly unreliable last season as hitters feasted on the pitch with a .298 batting average.
By comparison, his changeup held opposing hitters to a .145 average and produced 55 strikeouts. There's room for improvement for Sánchez if he wants to take the next step as a major league starting pitcher.
Sánchez will likely begin the season in the rotation unless one of the Phillies prospects, like Mick Abel or Griff McGarry, force their way onto the roster with a breakout spring training. It's also worth noting that the free agent market for starting pitchers is still active. If the team signs another starter, Sánchez is likely the odd man out of the rotation, and that's why he's No. 5 in the Phillies starting rotation Power Rankings.