The latest in the series, as Kram futilely attempts to predict who will suit up for the IronPigs on April 9. We’ll try to avoid “predicting” trades and injuries…
On to the pitchers, and we’ll do starters first:
*Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
That’s a lot of arms. It’s a good problem to have, though, and ensures at least a modicum of quality for both Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley where trades and injuries may be concerned. Let’s have the discussion and begin weeding them out before I get to my prediction. There are a lot of variable and moving pieces here–I’ll make another prediction: Our five starters on April 9 roster will be completely different 5 at All Star Break. Things will be moving–but that should make for an exciting season!
First, let’s weed out the MLB guys. I only listed them so that we could get a handle on who might be in Philadelphia, and who might not. As previous, the 40-man roster guys have asterisks. Certainly, trades may have an impact here, as well as injuries. The first one we can discuss, though, is Billingsly. He’s reportedly ahead of schedule which would have had him ready for the Majors by mid-April or sooner. I think he’ll be fine to start in Philly! The only thing that could happen would be for him to get a “rehab” assignment right off the bat and get sent to AAA. However, in April it would be more likely they’d keep him in Clearwater for that kind of work, given the weather an everything. Harang is already missing starts and icing his back, too. While these guys may be fine to start the season, I have little confidence that they’ll still be around mid-season–for whatever reason.
I’m going to eliminate David Buchanan as well. Even though he has an option available, I think they keep him in Philly one way or another to start. But, it’s not beyond the realm to have him make a trip or two through the rotation in Allentown before he goes back up, so he needs to be considered.
Next, I’m going to eliminate Jon Pettibone. Unfortunately, he’s still recovering from shoulder problems which sidelined him most of last season. I think he’s throwing, but won’t throw a “bullpen” until next week, and no “live bp” until another week or two. I have him starting in EST (Extended Spring Training).
Next, let me put some guys in the bullpen. I’m not saying they won’t be starters, but that I think they’ll start as relievers until things open up a bit. We’ll get news of that during the season when you get wind of someone getting “stretched out.” So I’m going to put Ethan Martin, Kevin Slowey, Paul Clemens, Adam Loewen, and Hoby Milner in the ‘pen–somewhere, somehow. Ethan is with the starters now, to get innings, but I think he’ll be shifted back to the ‘pen once the season opens–perhaps in Allentown as a co-starter as innings are always limited anyway right off the bat. Loewen and Milner may find their way back to the rotation somewhere, but should start in the pen where each may see his stuff “play up.”
Back to Reading: It’s a crowded field, and there are a couple prospect-types in Reading who will need innings, but I think they start down there with the five–I’m not going to say “Baby Aces” but–“Brothers in Arms.” It’s Money For Nothing with that potential rotation: Jesse Biddle, Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin, Tom Joseph Windle, and Ed Bennett “Ben” Lively. Biddle is in MLB camp and getting looks from the staff there, courtesy of his 40-man spot. He’s healthy and nice things are being written. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see him start in Allentown.
Now I’m down to six for the IronPigs, and I’m going to put Sean O’Sullivan in the ‘pen for a few minutes. Here’s the thing, with Buchanan and MAG available–somewhere–as sixth and seventh starters for Philadelphia in the event of trade or injury, they don’t need SOS stretched out right away, and they know what he can do. Hence:
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
“Next Man Up” if these guys can’t go: Sean O’Sullivan, Ethan Martin, Jesse Biddle
I know it’s a fool’s errand, this predicting stuff. I might change my own mind as the results flow through from Clearwater. But that’s how I see it right now. What do you think? Who did I miss? Where am I way off? Leave your feedback below.
See you at the park,