It's just six six days from Opening Day!
Oh wait, what? The season might not start until May? Or June? Or July? Or no baseball at all?
Things are bad right now, but the tiny morsel of good news is that this delay benefits the Phillies.
The team already announced that Andrew McCutchen would not be ready for Opening Day as he recovers from ACL surgery on his left knee. The Phils also did not expect Tommy Hunter and Victor Arano to be ready on March 26.
With the baseball season not starting for who knows how long, all three could be on the Opening Day active roster.
Who else might also be ready? Spencer Lee Howard.
Having only thrown 99 1/3 innings last season combined between double-A Reading (including one playoff start) and six starts in the Arizona Fall League, there was no chance Howard was going to break camp with the big club. The team never revealed their plan to limit his innings, but Howard likely wouldn't have started before the All-Star break.
Now, all bets are off. It's doubtful but entirely possible that if the season begins late enough, Howard could make the leap from double-A to the big leagues for game number one.
Using the Peterson/Verducci model as a loose guide [my note: they suggested increasing the workload by no more than 30%] and erring on the conservative side (manager Joe Girardi has said repeatedly that the Phillies are keeping Howard’s next 10 years in mind), the team could cap the 23-year-old right-hander at roughly 130 innings. In a theoretical 125-game season, he could average five innings per start over 25 starts and be only bumping against his limit.
The delay works out well for the Phils, but how do they compare to other teams?
MLB.com just posted an article outlining the impact on each NL East team. Here's the breakdown of players with a shot of playing in game number one:
Michael Conforto (strained right oblique muscle).
Dellin Betances (who expected to be ready by Opening Day) will have more time to recover from last season’s left Achilles tear.
Yoenis Céspedes (multiple heel injuries and a broken right ankle) and Jed Lowrie ("host of left-side issues" according to MLB.com) may also return.
Cole Hamels was not expected to be ready before the middle of May due to left shoulder inflammation in late January.
Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin with extra time to recover after a shortened offseason after winning it all last year.
Reliever Will Harris (did not pitch in Spring Training with left abdominal injury).
Scherzer bumped back his last scheduled start with a right side ailment that.
Nothing injury related.
There is nothing good about the coronavirus pandemic, but at least it works out well for our home team.
In other words...
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