Who Will Be the Fifth Starter? – Phillies Nation
2014 Spring Training

Who Will Be the Fifth Starter?

Cole Hamels took the mound Wednesday morning to throw a bullpen session to gauge how his shoulder is feeling. Because of Hamels’ injury, there is a vacated spot in the Phillies’ rotation. Here are the leading candidates to take that spot and how they are doing two weeks into Spring Training.

The Front-Runner

Jeff Manship

In three outings, Manship has posted a 1.29 ERA over seven innings pitched with six strikeouts. Manship is a five-year Major League vet who relies on an 89 MPH fastball with an 80 MPH curve and an 84 MPH change-up to get hitters out. The lack of separation between his fastball and change-up scares me a bit, as does his career 6.42 ERA. But make no mistake about it, Manship has played his way into the conversation and the role as the front-runner.

Stock is Rising

David Buchanan

Buchanan, 24, was a relative unknown quantity by most Phillies’ fans headed into this season. Drawing frequent comparisons to Kyle Kendrick, Buchanan will strike out about 5.6 batters per 9 IP but issue a couple free passes as well. After throwing three scoreless innings yesterday against the Braves, Buchanan’s stock is rising. Buchanan has a 1.50 ERA in 6 IP across three outings.

Stock is Falling

Sean O’Sullivan

Since making his debut at age 21 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2009, O’Sullivan has battled frequent bouts of injury and inconsistency in the Major Leagues. Yesterday’s performance (6 ER in 2.2 IP) may be a red-flag that the inconsistency is on its way. O’Sullivan’s spring ERA now sits at 7.04 ERA.

Dark Horse

Mario Hollands

Hollands, 25, is making the most of an opportunity in Phillies’ camp as a non-roster invite. Old for his level from 2010 through 2012, Hollands counting stats weren’t very good, earning himself a return trip to Clearwater in 2013 after reaching Triple-A Lehigh Valley at age 23 in 2012. Hollands has impressed in camp, though, pitching 6.1 innings with a 1.42 ERA striking out five.

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