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) /
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Although reports indicate a battle between Velasquez and Pivetta for the bottom rung, lefty Suarez could be a surprise candidate. Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images. /

Comparison:

While Phillies rookie Walk was an innings-eating five compared to the disastrous Eaton, Velasquez could provide a similar 150 frames except with a 4.20 ERA if Bryan Price works closely with him. But Suarez or Nick Pivetta could challenge for the open spot.

In 1980 and 2008, Ruthven and Moyer began their seasons as four-slot arms. However, their final numbers were like a two and three respectively, and Arrieta could finish ’20 in a similar fashion. Plus it shows how unpredictable anticipated outcomes are.

Unfortunately, Lerch in ’80 and Kendrick in ’08 came off two summers and a rookie campaign respectively with mid-rotation stats. But they recorded over 5.00 ERAs in those 162s and pitched more like Eaton than Velasquez. Meanwhile, Eflin still had a 4.13 ERA despite a rookie analytics-oriented coach.

In 1980, Christenson, the two-slot hurler, was only effective after returning late in the season. Plus Espinosa and rookie Bystrom made unexpected contributions no one had foreseen especially in January. Currently, Wheeler will slot behind Nola to form a one-two punch.

While Nola’s potential is ahead of him, he is behind Carlton and Hamels, but he has outperformed the initial estimates of being a three or maybe a two. Perhaps, the years after the four aces have distorted fans’ expectations for a five-man staff due to a once-in-a-lifetime advantage.

Blaming Klentak despite a more traditional rotation, some fans have stated he should have plugged every shortcoming by mid-December or sooner. But what adjective would Owens and Gillick use for these expectations instead of reasonable? Impossible!