The Phillies rode a strong rotation last season to a NL championship pennant, and much of that group is set to return for Philadelphia in 2023. It’s a big season for the Phillies, a win-now team that could lose several of this group’s key figures after the end of this upcoming season. This includes the man who should be set to be the ace yet again for the Phillies.
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A Look at the Phillies Rotation Options for 2023
- RHP Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA, 10.3 K/9)
- RHP Zack Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA, 9.6 K/9)
- RHP Taijuan Walker (12-5, 3.49 ERA, 8.3 K/9)
- LHP Ranger Suárez (10-7, 3.65 ERA, 7.5 K/9)
- LHP Bailey Falter (6-4, 3.86 ERA, 7.9 K/9)
There’s not much drama at the top of the rotation, as the Phillies return two of the league’s top right-handed hurlers for 2023. Ace Aaron Nola is set to headline the Philadelphia rotation, a year after the 29-year-old struck out 235 batters over 205 innings, and recorded a 3.25 ERA for the defending NL champs. Nola possesses one of the game’s more lethal arsenals, highlighted by a plus curveball and a solid change to go along with his mid-90s fastball. But with just one more left before he can go to free agency, Nola’s future in Philadelphia is uncertain.
Nola should be backed up Zack Wheeler, who is entering the fourth season of the five-year deal he signed with the Phillies back in the winter of 2019. Wheeler did spend some time on the IL last season, but did excel when healthy. Armed with a hard fastball and plus slider, Wheeler struck out 163 over 153 innings, and posted very impressive 2.82 ERA and 1.04 WHIP figures. In the postseason, the 32-year-old delivered quality production in his first playoff action. Wheeler struck out 33 over 35.2 innings in the 2022 MLB Playoffs.
Wheeler is set to be joined in the rotation by another former Met, in Taijuan Walker. Walker signed with the Phillies this offseason, coming off a two-year stint with the Mets. From 2021-22, Walker went 19-16 with a 3.98 ERA, 2.8 BB/9, and 7.9 K/9. The 30-year-old won’t rack up the Ks, but can beat hitters with an above-average split-change, as well as a slider. Walker should fit in the middle of the Phillies rotation.
LHP Ranger Suárez settled into a rotation role in 2021, and stayed there for all of last season. The 27-year-old rode a solid sinker/changeup combo to 10 wins and a solid 3.65 ERA, and the Phillies will hope for similar numbers against in 2023.
Now as far as the fifth slot goes, the Phillies didn’t add a significant name to its starting rotation group after picking up Walker. With Noah Syndergaard and Zach Eflin both gone, it appears that LHP Bailey Falter could get the first crack at filling the fifth spot. Falter did impress at times last season, winning six games as a starter and flexed a solid 8.3 K/9 in that role. It’s possible that a name like Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, or Griff McGarry get action with the Phillies at some point in 2023, but don’t expect either of those names to start.