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PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Spencer Howard #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the first inning during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 14, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

I don’t consider myself “old school” but I guess with this one ill sound like the old man who you see in McDonald’s every morning at 6am drinking his coffee while reading the news paper. Yelling at clouds, talking about a simpler time and how we should revert back to the old ways. BUT…

“Back in my day” it was pretty simple. If you were a top prospect you came up, you got a year to prove yourself, and it was sink or swim. There was none of this “lets sit him against righties!” OR “Hes at a pitch count!” AKA, there was no coddling. But the Phillies, a team I love, seem to think that prospects need a pair of pampers. The one’s that they do let play cant play at their natural position. Its not a real surprise this team has struggled developing talent.

I couldn’t believe it a few years back when the Phillies signed second basemen Scott Kingery to a contract BEFORE he had ever played a game. The logic is sound. Buy out his arbitration years because you think he will be a star player for you. So when hes actually worth $10 million you’re only paying him $3. The Phillies weren’t the first to do it, and Scott Kingery wont even be the last player they do it with. This will become the norm pretty soon. But while I couldn’t believe they did it, I didn’t have a problem with it. All signs pointed to the Phillies making the right move. Even MLB insiders raved about Kingery’s potential.

What I had a problem with is Kingery spending his first pro season of baseball trying to learn every OTHER position except his natural position, second base.

“Hey kid! You ever play center field?”

“ahh… no…”

“well its not that hard! Just like shagging balls during BP!”

Kingery struggled, and many attributed it to the fact he was learning to play the outfield, and third base. Is it a cop out? Maybe. But its clear that the Phillies didn’t put Kingery in an ideal situation. His next year he fared much better. Last season he was ravaged by Covid. This season….look I have no idea. While I, unlike many, think the jury is still out on Kingery (although this season is make or break for him, and its trending towards break than make) the fact remains that the Phillies DID NOT put him in an ideal situation.

They’re doing the same with Spencer Howard.

Can ANYONE explain to me why Spencer Howard isn’t in the Phillies starting rotation? OH! that’s right! Because the Phillies have their top prospect tabbed to come in for long relief when the journeyman pitcher they signed for the back of the rotation gets shelled…..makes sense!

The last few seasons the Phillies have done this. Bringing top STARTING pitching prospects up and instead of having them do what they’ve been doing for their careers (starting) they have them pitch out of the bullpen. And dont think that doesnt effect a pitcher. Especially when you’re pitching out of one of the worst bullpens in Major League History, as was the case last season when the Phillies brought up Ranger Suarez. Suarez was a starting pitcher for his ENTIRE minor league career. So the Phillies, who needed starting pitching help, decided it would be best to throw the young man in the bullpen. Maybe the Phillies know better than me (their track record however isn’t favorable) but that’s idiotic. It might be the old school in me, but it used to be “kids a starting pitcher? have him start and IF he struggles, put him in the bullpen.” but the Phillies and their analytics have done away with conventional wisdom.

Spencer Howard has started all 47 games hes ever pitched in during his minor leagues career. So what the hell is he doing coming in for long relief? “BuT HeS NoT StReChEd OuT” REALLY? What difference does it make? Matt Moore and Chase Anderson can barely give you 4 innings! And id rather watch Spencer Howard start that game and give you four innings, than two journeyman pitchers. But no! instead we get treated to Anderson and Moore while the geniuses in the Phillies front office decide the best way to “stretch Howard out” is having him pitch 2-3 innings once every 4-5 days. I dont care if Howard gets shelled. Because hes young and the future and I expect that there are going to be some bumps. I know what Matt Moore and Chase Anderson are. I have NO IDEA what Spencer Howard is/could be in this rotation.

I cant get over the neglect that the Phillies front office continues to get away with. This isnt rocket science. Were not talking quantum physics. The Phillies need a starting pitcher (actually they need two.) the Phillies have a top pitching prospect who they are jerking around, having him pitch mop up duty. Stop making this harder than it is.

START. SPENCER. HOWARD.