If I was talented at this writing thing, this whole post would be a brilliant piece of writing. But I am not one who thrives on creativity, so you will need to settle for me just writing a normal piece with a disappointing headline.
I mentioned it early in the season, but the Phillies major league rotation was built to be a stall tactic. The kids weren’t ready yet, and someone has to take the ball every 5 days. So far someone has taken the ball every 5 days, but the results have been disastrous both to the Phillies record and their bullpen. There had been some hope that maybe some of these retreads but enough together to be traded, but that doesn’t look to be the case either. However, on the directive of not bringing anyone along too quickly, they have worked perfectly. But now is the time for movement within the Phillies system to move up all those players the Phillies have taken it slow with. The first pieces are in motion as Sean O’Sullivan and Kevin Correia were shipped out of the Phillies rotation with Severino Gonzalez and David Buchanan taking their spots. Let’s see where everything stands right now at 12:09 PM Central Time and see where things could go from there.
Phillies (5 Man Rotation): Cole Hamels, Adam Morgan, David Buchanan, Chad Billingsley, Severino Gonzalez, Aaron Harang (DL), Jerome Williams (DL), Cliff Lee (DL), Jonathan Pettibone (DL)
Lehigh Valley (5 Man Rotation): Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Sean O’Sullivan (outrighted), Jason Berken, Anthony Vasquez, Chris Leroux*
Reading (5 Man Rotation): Ben Lively, Mark Leiter Jr, Colin Kleven, Reinier Roibal, Hoby Milner, Zach Eflin*
Clearwater (5 Man Rotation): David Whitehead, Matt Imhof, Victor Arano, Ricardo Pinto, Brandon Leibrandt, Yacksel Rios#
Lakewood (6 Man Rotation): Tyler Viza, Shane Watson, Elniery Garcia, Ranfi Casimiro, Austin Davis, Will Morris
Williamsport (6 Man Rotation): Luke Leftwich, Tyler Gilbert, Mitch Gueller, Alejandro Arteaga, Franklyn Kilome#, Jose Taveras, Luis Morales, Denton Keys
Bold – Rotation Lock, Italics – Primarily a reliever in 2015, * – Pan Am Games, # – No Longer Listed In Rotation
Clearwater is clearly the most stable rotation, though it now looks like Yacksel Rios is now without a home. They have not been afraid to use him out of either the rotation or bullpen so he is probably fine. It really starts to get complicated at the top of the system. The major league rotation has 5 arms in it right now, but speculation is that Aaron Nola will be ready very soon, and that doesn’t solve the problem of what they do with Jerome Williams and Aaron Harang when they are off the DL. This still leaves the IronPigs rotation as Jesse Biddle and a bunch of filler. Reading isn’t much better as it has some former starters in the bullpen (but I doubt the org wants to jerk Tom Windle and Joely Rodriguez around), but it does only have to last about a week before Zach Eflin comes back from Pan Am Games. The fun intrigue is in Lakewood and Williamsport. The BlueClaws opened up 3 rotation spots with the trade of Chris Oliver and Josh Taylor, and release of Yoel Mecias, and only filled one with Shane Watson making his debut. According to Mitch Rupert, Franklyn Kilome is not longer listed as Friday’s starter with Jose Taveras moving up a day. Leftwich and Gilbert pitched on same day last time out, but were previously listed to be starting on separate days.
I expect to see some more major shifts happening soon, especially if the Phillies continue to move major league pitchers either in trades or by releasing them. It will be interesting to see how things settle, but for now there are some changes in motion right now.