Most of the Phillies roster has been set in stone for some time, but the fifth spot in the rotation has been somewhat in question over the last few weeks. But with an injury and a cloud of secrecy around it to one of the Phillies’ top pitching prospects, it looks very much like it’s all to Bailey Falter to start the year.
A Look at Falter
Phillies LHP Bailey Falter struggled in his first MLB season, but put together a nice sophomore campaign last season. Across 20 outings (16 starts) and 84.1 IP, Falter went 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA and 74 strikeouts. On top of those stats, Falter posted a very respectable 1.8 BB/9.
The left-hander won’t blow anyone away with his stuff, but will use his assortment of pitches to throw off timing and get hitters uncomfortable. Falter can pound the zone with a sinker, and then change the eye angles with a slider, curveball, and a change that he’ll break out from time to time. It’s an approach that allowed Falter to generate plenty of weak pop-up and fly balls.
When we took a shot at projecting the Phillies rotation late in the winter, we mentioned that the Phillies rotation — aside from the fifth spot — was set in stone. We listed Falter as the top contender in the fifth spot, but Andrew Painter turned heads early in camp. However, an elbow injury that we don’t know the full extent of does murky the waters a bit for Painter’s bid to assume the fifth spot in the rotation and join Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Taijuan Walker, and Ranger Suarez.
A Look at the Phillies Rotation
Top Phillies prospect Andrew Painter seemed at first to be a long shot to make it out of camp this spring. The 19-year-old possesses incredible stuff, but has yet to pitch above AA. In fact, Painter’s only thrown 28.1 IP above A ball in his career thus far. Given that, a conservative approach for the young, yet talented righty made sense. But after curious chatter from the team and an electric opening salvo in Grapefruit League action, that changed a bit.
With the elbow injury that Painter sustained early in the spring, though, Falter seems more or less like a lock at this point. Thus far this spring, Falter has held his own. The 25-year-old has struck out five over 3.2 IP, and owns a 4.93 ERA. While Philadelphia does have an alternative option like Michael Plassmeyer, Falter’s resume and stuff does set him up to start the year as the fifth starter in Philly.