Brace Yourselves, Spencer Howard Is Coming
In what seems like an eternity that fans have been clamoring for his debut on the mound in Phillies pinstripes, we may finally be on the horizon of Spencer Howard pitching for the big league team.
The Phillies Sunday pitching slot is still listed as TBA and beat writers from Jim Salisbury to Matt Gelb are hinting that Howard’s time to shine could certainly be the reasoning for the TBA listing.
Howard only pitched in 13 games and threw 75.2 innings last season between Clearwater and Reading, but the stuff is there. Overall between A and AA he finished with a 2.03 ERA, struck out 86 batters, and only walked 14 batters.
Howard’s fastball hits in the upper 90s and has a four-pitch repertoire that could easily catapult him to the top of the Phillies rotation in no time. Howard has had the makeup of a true Ace and if Bryan Price gets a chance to rub off some of his magic as an elite pitching coach, the sky’s the limit for Howard in a Phillies uniform. We’ve daydreamed about a top three rotation of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Spencer Howard since Wheeler inked his contract this offseason. It would be the best three man pairing in this rotation since 2011.
There’s no better way for the Joe Girardi and his staff to get Howard ready for the big leagues than throwing him in the deep end during this condensed season. Give him an opportunity to face big league hitting and see how his stuff translates at the highest level. The biggest fear would be using Howard in a relief role rather than letting him be a starter like he’s going to be for the vast majority of his MLB career. We’ve seen what happens to our young pitchers when you yo-yo them between the thought of starting and being a reliever; it doesn’t work.
Holding him out until know was inevitable because every MLB franchise is going to manipulate the system to have as much control over their young players as possible, but it’s time to let the kids play. The only bummer about Howard’s potential debut against Atlanta on Sunday is we won’t get to hear Dan Baker over the PA microphone say, “Now pitching for the Phillies… Spencer Howwwwwwarddddd!” It’s about that time everyone. Welcome to the Spencer Howard era, enjoy the show.