In 2015, the Phillies had the second worst ERA of any starting rotation in the National League at 5.23. Only the Rockies were worse than them with a 5.77 ERA. It’s a new-look Phillies’ rotation from years past with Cliff Lee still a free agent and Cole Hamels being traded at last year’s deadline to the Texas Rangers.
Last year, there were guys like Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, and Sean O’Sullivan in the rotation during the first month of the season. This year, there is a lot more youth in the starting five. Philadelphia did add a couple veteran free agents to their rotation this winter. They signed Jeremy Hellickson, who went 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA with the Diamondbacks last season and Charlie Morton, who was 9-9 with a 4.81 ERA with the Pirates. Also, they have Matt Harrison (who they acquired in the Hamels deal), but he has a back injury that could cause him to miss the whole season:
However, the story of the Phillies’ rotation this season is going to be their youth. Aaron Nola, who was their first round pick in 2014, went 6-2 in 13 starts last year with a 3.95 ERA. Also, keep an eye on Jerad Eickhoff, who had a 2.65 ERA in his eight starts (3-3 record). However, Eickhoff (also acquired in the Hamels deal) fractured his right thumb in a bunting drill.
The story for me to watch in this rotation is how do a couple of the former Astros do? In the Ken Giles trade, the Phillies acquired Vincent Velasquez, who made seven starts with Houston last year during their playoff run and they acquired former number one pick, Mark Appel. While Appel will likely start the year at triple-A Lehigh Valley, he could finally get his big league debut this season, if he stays healthy.
Next: Number Four