The Philadelphia Phillies’ Starting Rotation Is Not In As Bad Of Shape As It Might Seem
The Philadelphia Phillies’ starting rotation is not in as bad of shape as it might seem. Opening day of the MLB Season is only a few days away, and yet, the Phillies are already feeling the effects of wear and tear. No, not from this season, but from a combination of the World Baseball Classic, a long World Series run in 2022, and a shortened offseason. A Phillies’ starting rotation that looked like it could include Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suarez, Taijuan Walker, and Andrew Painter, now looks to be destined to be Nola, Wheeler, Walker, Bailey Falter, and Matt Strahm, at least to start the season. These changes come after Ranger Suarez developed some forearm soreness in the World Baseball Classic and Andrew Painter suffered a UCL sprain in spring training, which have, understandably, diminished some of the excitement about the Phillies’ rotation early on in the season. Looking at the numbers, though, there is still reason to be excited about the 5 starters the Phils have to begin the year.
Last year, the Phillies’ starting rotation for the start of the 2022 season included Nola, Wheeler, Suarez, Zach Eflin, and Kyle Gibson, the latter two having less than ideal campaigns and ending the season not in the rotation. Going into the year, here’s how the numbers looked for career ERAs and Innings Pitched for each of those pitchers:
Nola: 3.68 ERA, 1023 IP
Wheeler: 3.51 ERA, 1033 IP
Suarez: 2.64 ERA, 173 IP
Eflin: 4.55 ERA, 583 IP
Gibson: 4.45 ERA, 1336 IP
Now, compare that to this year’s rotation, and the numbers that they come into the season with:
Nola: 3.60 ERA, 1228 IP
Wheeler: 3.42 ERA, 1186 IP
Taijuan Walker: 3.49 ERA, 898 IP
Bailey Falter: 4.36 ERA, 117 IP
Matt Strahm: 3.81 ERA, 304 IP
It’s a very interesting case study, and when you match up the pitchers from each year by spot in the rotation, there’s an argument to be made that each of the options for 2023 are better than their counterparts in 2022. Now, we do have to factor in the wear and tear on Nola and Wheeler as possible reasons for a regression this year, but that is an estimation, not a definite. If you’re worried about the Phillies’ rotation in 2023, well, maybe looking at last year will comfort you as to the ceiling of this team not being significantly affected.