The Phillies are six deep and all of the pitchers are above average major leaguers. The Phillies traded for 30 year old righty Freddy Garcia to take over the role as ace of the staff. Garcia was 17-9 with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 33 starts for the White Sox last season. Garcia did give up 228 hits and 32 homers in 216.1 innings last season, but he should be helped by moving to the National League. Garcia minimizes the damage by throwing strikes as he only walked 48 batters in 2006. Look for Garcia to win 14-17 games with an ERA from 3.50-4.15 in 2007 for the Phillies.
23 year old lefty Cole Hamels has the best stuff of any of the starters on the Phillies staff. The problem with him is keeping him healthy. In his first three seasons in the minors he only started 28 games, but last season he started 31 games in the majors and minors. Hamels was 9-8 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 23 starts for the Phillies and he whiffed an amazing 145 batters in 132.1 innings in 2006. Major league batters only hit .237 against him last season and lefties only could muster a .207 batting average. If he stays healthy look for him to win 15-17 games with a 3.75-4.25 ERA in 2007. He also could lead the league in K’s if he pitches over 200 innings this year.
29 year old Adam Eaton was 7-4 last season with a 5.12 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP in 13 starts for the Rangers last season. Batters worked Eaton for a .299 batting average last season but he was pitching in a severe hitters’ park in the American League. While it’s true that the Phillies’ home park is a hitters’ paradise it still is in the National League so look for his numbers to improve. If Eaton makes 30+ starts he will win 12-14 of them with a 4.25-4.50 ERA in 2007.
26 year old Brett Myers has immense talent but he never has been an elite pitcher. He was 12-7 with a 3.91 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP for the Phillies last season. Myers whiffed 189 batters in only 198 innings so he has more than enough arm strength but he often challenges hitters and that’s why he gave up 29 homers last season (91 in the last three). This could be the season that Myers excels because the spotlight is off of him right now. Look for Myers to win 15-17 games with an ERA in the high 3’s this season.
44 year old lefty Jamie Moyer just keeps rolling along. He was 11-14 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP for the Mariners and Phillies last season. He pitched very well down the stretch for the Phillies as he was 5-2 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 8 starts for them. Moyer is very dependable as he’s thrown over 200 innings in each of the last six seasons and 8 of the last 9. He also is an amazing 98-65 in this decade. Look for Moyer to win 12-15 games with an ERA of 4.00-4.35 in 2007.
36 year old righty Jon Lieber could be the odd man out in the rotation. He was 9-11 with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 27 starts last year. He did allow a .291 batting average and 27 homers in 168 innings last season but he almost never walks a batter as only 1.29 per 9 innings trotted to first base against him. The Phillies would be smart to stash Lieber in the bullpen to provide insurance in case Adam Eaton or Cole Hamels goes down to injury.