The answer to the big question, is of course that the 2016 Phillies are still bad. They went 63-99 last year, they traded a good player and brought in a lot of meh players and a ton of youth. But this team also went 34-37 over the second half of the year after a disastrous 29-62 start to the year, so there may be hope. The biggest source of hope is probably in the rotation where meh is a giant upgrade.
In case you forgot how bad it was last year, here is a refresher on some things that happened in the rotation:
- Aaron Harang – 29 GS 172.1 IP 4.86 ERA
- Jerome Williams – 21 GS (31 G) 121.0 IP 5.80 ERA
- David Buchanan – 15 GS 74.2 IP 6.99 ERA
- Sean O’Sullivan – 13 GS 71.0 IP 6.08 ERA
- Severino Gonzalez – 7 GS 30.2 IP 7.92 ERA
- Chad Billingsley – 7 GS 37.0 IP 5.84 ERA
- Alec Asher – 7 GS 29.0 IP 9.31 ERA
- Kevin Correia – 5 GS 23.1 IP 6.56 ERA
- Phillippe Aumont – 1 GS 4.0 IP 13.50 ERA
- Dustin McGowan – 1 GS (14 G) 23.1 IP 6.94 ERA
That is a grand total of 106 starts, 586.2 IP, and a 6.12 ERA, which is not good. In the second half we saw this happen:
Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff – 128.2 IP 3.21 ERA 2.2 BB/9 8.2 K/9
Everyone Else – 260.2 IP 5.83 ERA 2.5 BB/9 5.4 K/9
The good news is that Eickhoff and Nola are the only two SPs that are locks to return, with the only other possible holdover being Adam Morgan and his 4.48 ERA. Instead this is what the Phillies are looking to be going with in their last three rotation spots.
|2015 ERA||2013-2015 ERA|
Those are not exactly Cy Young Award winning numbers, nor do we expect that those 3 pitchers are going to cover the 586.2 innings of dreck on their own. The good news on that is the AAA depth looks to be Adam Morgan, Vincent Velasquez, Mark Appel, Jake Thompson, and Zach Eflin a group that might actually be better than the Phillies current back end 3 (but that is a different post). But let’s just say that the Phillies’ new starting pitchers post a combined 4.60 ERA, which is frankly putrid, and give 100 innings each. That is a 50 run improvement in just those 300 innings.
A full year of Nola and Eickhoff will help as well. A 3.21 ERA is a bit optimistic, but if they can put up a combined 3.50 ERA than is a 2.3 RA/9 improvement over pitchers that aren’t them. Which if those two can just double their second half output over a full year is a 30-35 run improvement on the rest of the pitching staff.
So this is not a playoff rotation, no one is going to confuse it for that. But the Phillies starting pitchers posted the second worst ERA in the majors last year at 5.23, and that contributed greatly to a horrible season. It is not unreasonable that with the added depth and full years of their young pitchers that the Phillies can shave nearly a run off of that number in 2016, which should help them to carry over some of their success from the end of 2015 into 2016.