Next Year’s Rotation
It’s never too early to start thinking about next season, especially when the current one isn’t that great. Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay will be back. Cliff Lee will probably be back, but I really don’t think that is set in stone. I wouldn’t be shocked if Lee is traded during the off-season. Vance Worley will most likely be back in the rotation. After that there are some question marks. Kyle Kendrick has pitched well as a starter lately, but he’s not the most consistent guy in the world. That leaves an open spot for at least one more starter.
Recently, Phillies pitching prospect Jonathan Pettibone was promoted to AAA. Pettibone has been thought of highly, but does not have dominating stuff. He relies more on control than velocity. However, his numbers are dominating. According to Matt Gelb of the Inquirer, he is 4-0 with an ERA of 1.69 in 5 games in AAA. While he will obviously not have a full season in AAA, I would have to think he will get a good look by the Phillies in spring training, especially if he continues to dominate.
Another guy I’ve written about who has dominated AAA as a starting pitcher is Tyler Cloyd. He has not been as highly regarded as Pettibone, but the numbers he has put up are hard to ignore. He is 12-1 with an ERA of 2.27 and a WHIP of 1.03. He’s another guy that should have a shot at winning the 5th spot.
Of course, the Phillies may want to find a free agent pitcher with more experience than these would-be rookies. That could be a definite possibility as the Phillies are hoping to compete again next year. Then again, not doing this could free up money for a top-tier outfielder.