I know it is only Spring Training. But let’s look at the 2021 Phillies so far. Some bright spots for the white and red pins striped early on in Spring training.
The original question was who would be joining Nola and Wheeler in the starting rotation. The question is now “Who won’t be?” Joe Girardi currently is looking at some major improvement across the board making the current decision difficult.
Spencer Howard had a dominating 1-2-3 inning this past Friday. He was sporting an overpowering fastball and showed confidence. Vince Velasquez tossed two perfect innings with three strikeouts making his presence felt this past week. Chase Anderson was on Vinny’s heels as well. Newcomer Matt Moore tossed two scoreless only giving up one hit and one walk.
JD Hammer is still the coolest name in sports or in general. The one thing this bullpen has been missing is speed and Hammer is showing off his new fastball. In the loss to the Yankees in Tampa this past Sunday afternoon, the right-hander recorded the last two outs of the third inning. JD struckout Giancarlo Stanton and forcing Luke Voit to fly out to center field with just six pitches.
Hammer is currently a non-roster invitee. He threw three fastballs all of which showed a significant increase in velocity compared to his last season in the majors. Each was clocked at 97 mph. That is over two miles per hour faster than his 2019 average of 94.4 mph. Has Hammer found is Heat? Only time will tell.
On Friday, the Phillies blanked the Pirates, 3-0, show off relievers for the first time this spring training. Archie Bradley, Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado, Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod and JoJo Romero pitched an inning apiece. They collectively only allowed two hits and two walks in six scoreless innings, “K-ing” eight.
Jose Alvarado was shining above the rest. The left-handed reliever flashed a triple-digit two-seam fastball and nasty movement keeping batters off balance. Alvarado faced three batters and threw nine pitches in his inning versus the Pirates. Two of them broke 100 mph, sinkers at 100.0 and 100.3. His other five ranged from 97.3 to 99.4. His velocity progressed with every pitch. Joe Girardi and the pitching staff couldn’t stop smiling.
the 2021 Phillies so far would make you think Scott Kingery is most likely the Opening Day centerfielder. That may be true, but the Phillies do love Kingery as a utility man. Some others are trying to throw their hat in the ring at the centerfield position.
Coming off the bench in six games, Mickey Moniak has been showing off his skills with the bat. He has hit two homers in a game this past week and is currently sitting on a .429 average early this spring. Hopefully, the former #1 overall pick can earn a spot on the roster.
The controversial Odubel Herrera, who made an insane play in the field and hit a deep homer during a start he made this past Thursday. Originally, Herrera has an outside shot at making it back to the Phillies roster but his play is making the decision difficult. The main question is this his streaky play or has he finally developed. The other question is would he be welcomed in the locker room.
This is the 2021 Phillies so far. It is hard to catch all the action with limited TV and radio coverage in the spring. Click here for more Phillies coverage with EoP/