Spencer Howard Lone Phillie in The Athletic’s Top 100 MLB Prospects List
Just one of the Philadelphia Phillies prospects appeared in Keith Law's offseason prospect rankings.
Pitcher Spencer Howard was the only one included in The Athletic’s top 100 MLB prospects compiled by Keith Law.
Howard came in at No. 62.
Howard’s debut in 2020 was disappointing on a few levels, as he didn’t miss as many bats as he should have with his stuff and saw his season end in mid-September after another bout of shoulder stiffness. Howard’s biggest problem was location; he left a lot of pitches right over the heart of the strike zone, or middle-up, and paid for it, allowing four homers just in his first two starts and giving up way more hard contact than you’d expect, most of them on four-seamers and changeups middle-middle or middle-up.
In six big league games with Philadelphia in 2020, Howard struggled going 1-2 with a 5.92 ERA and a WHIP of 1.64. He gave up 30 hits and had 10 walks in just 24.1 innings of work at the big league level.
but as Law points out there was some good things during the 2020 campaign for Howard.
There are glimmers of good news here: Hitters whiffed on nearly a quarter of the sliders he threw, a rate that held up even on sliders in the zone, and he landed his breaking stuff for strikes. He’s going to have to locate his four-seamer better, and get the changeup – his weakest offspeed pitch – down in the zone more, but I still see a mid-rotation starter here if he can get past this on-and-off shoulder issue.
While his 2020 numbers obviously weren't very impressive, the Phillies are hoping the 24-year old will be a part of their starting rotation. Howard has dealt with shoulder issues, and was shut down last season on September 12 due to right shoulder stiffness.
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