It may not look like it with the slush and snow on the ground but the calendar confirms that it is, in fact, February. February – the month of love, the month of presidents, and, most importantly, the month of pitchers and catchers. The Phillies are now under three weeks away from loading up the bats, balls, catching equipment, and more and heading down to Clearwater. Let’s take a look at some of the players you can expect to see in Spring Training that are not official members of the roster.
Who: Sean O’Sullivan
Age and position: 27, right-handed starter
You may know him from: Spent parts of five seasons as a Major League swingman
Chances of making the Phillies out of Spring Training: F
Chances of making the Phillies in 2015: C
Anticipated 2015 starting level: Starter in Lehigh Valley
With 40 men already on the 40-man roster to start the season, any non-roster invitee has a tough hill to climb to make the Phillies out of camp. O’Sullivan reached the Majors in 2009 as a 21-year old where he went 4-2 with a 5.92 ERA for a team that came two wins short of the World Series. That was about the best year O’Sullivan would have in the Majors.
In small Major League samples, the ERA, WHIP, FIP, and xFIP are high, aside from a solid seven game run in 2013 with the Padres. O’Sullivan does not have platoon advantage against righties and would generally be best used as he was for the Phillies last season: emergency starter. O’Sullivan went 6-10 with a 4.31 ERA in Triple-A Lehigh Valley at a time when he should be faring better against that level of competition when compared to his experience level.
The road to the Opening Day roster isn’t impossible for O’Sullivan but it is improbable. With the 40-man roster full, O’Sullivan has to stand out in a group that includes 12 pitchers on the 40-man that have starting pitching experience including newcomers Andy Oliver and Joely Rodriguez, young pitchers David Buchanan, Ethan Martin, Adam Morgan, and Johnathan Pettibone, and fellow non-roster invitee Kevin Slowey. This isn’t to say O’Sullivan won’t see the light of day with the Phillies in 2015 – the Phillies have used 23 and 24 pitchers in 2014 and 2013 respectively so O’Sullivan, if he chooses to stay with the Phillies organization in their minor league camp, he likely will get a shot as an emergency starter or long man at some point.