Phillies: Rotation surprises in 2020, 2008, 1980

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 23: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on Players Weekend before the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on Friday, August 23, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 23: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on Players Weekend before the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on Friday, August 23, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 8
Next
Phillies
Will Price and Realmuto make a noticeable difference in Wheeler’s performances for the Phillies? Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. /

Second-slot moundsmen:       

In Phillies championship history, their number-two hurlers have suffered injury or ineffectiveness. Basically, a second-slot arm has a 3.25 to 3.60 ERA, and the red pinstripes were fortunate with lower-slotted pieces having a high-caliber season when counted-on veterans struggled.

Phillies two-slot starters:

  • 1980:
  • Christenson, 26: 14 Gms., 73 2/3 Inn., 5-1, a 4.03 ERA, a 1.2 fWAR and a 1.21 WHIP.
    Espinosa, 26.5: 12 Gms., 76 1/3 Inn., 3-5, a 3.77 ERA, a 0.0 fWAR and a 1.69 WHIP.
  • Bystrom, 22: 6 Gms. (1 relief), 36 Inn., 5-0, a 1.50 ERA, a 0.9 fWAR and a 0.97 WHIP.
  • 2008: Myers, 27: 30 Gms., 190 Inn., 10-13, a 4.55 ERA, a 2.1 fWAR and a 1.38 WHIP.
  • 2019: Wheeler, 29.5: 31 Gms., 195 1/3 Inn., 11-8, a 3.96 ERA, a 4.7 fWAR and a 1.26 WHIP.

In three out of five years, Christenson had recorded a 3.68 ERA or lower with a 3.24 ERA in 1978 after going 19-6 in 1977, but he missed most of 1980 because of elbow surgery. He, though, returned in August for eight starts: 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA for 48 frames.

While only pitching for two months during an injury-plagued 162, Espinosa went 3-5 with a 3.77 ERA. But Bystrom, a September call-up, replaced the injured starter with a 5-0 record and a 1.50 ERA. However, the rookie had a 4.26 career ERA because he was above the 4.00 ERA mark from 1982 on.

Entering ’08, Myers’ stats had resembled a three-slot hurler, but he then had a 162 with opposite halves separated by a month in the minors with his required approval. In the first half, he had produced a dreadful 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA, but he earned his way back to the Show. And he then went 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA.

On the surface, Wheeler was the first choice of many franchises, and he had thrived in the second halves of 2018 and 2019. He went 5-2 with a 2.83 ERA last summer after logging a 7-1 mark with a 1.68 ERA in ’18. Translation: He could be a postseason asset so don’t write him off by April’s end.

Overall, the flamethrower was 23-15 with a 3.65 ERA for his last two campaigns, and many front-office types expect him to elevate his game to the top tier. Plus the Fightins opted for a successful front-of-the-rotation arm with the upside to dominate. Additionally, a newcomer  wants to prove himself to fans and teammates.