Heading into the 2010 season, the Phillies’ bullpen is the biggest question facing the team, but what about their starting pitching depth?
We know the starting rotation will consist of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, and most likely Jamie Moyer. It seems as if Kyle Kendrick will be sent to the bullpen to start the season, even after his impressive spring.
That may be a setback for Kendrick, but it is great news for the Phillies’ pitching depth. Having a major league caliber starting pitcher in the bullpen is a huge asset. He will be available to make a spot start if an injury every creeps up in any of the starters. It’s a lot easier to call up a bullpen arm from Lehigh Valley than to grab a competent starter.
Even with Kendrick sitting in the bullpen out in center field at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies also have some starting pitching depth at the AAA level. One of those names is former Phillie Brandon Duckworth. He was signed to a minor league contract this past offseason after a few years in the Kansas City organization. Duckworth hasn’t been able to recapture the little bit of magic that he had in his first season with the Fightins 9 years ago. He’ll be one of the first options for the Phillies if a starter goes down, if he makes the IronPigs roster.
He’ll be looking to follow the same path that Rodrigo Lopez took to the majors last year. Lopez came up from Lehigh Valley and made a few solid starts for the Phillies when injuries crept up for the starters.
Ryan Vogelsong is another pitcher that it slated to open the seaosn in LV. He’s started 33 games for various clubs at the major league level, so he’ll be another option when the need arises. Andrew Carpenter has also started a game for the Phillies.
No team will go through the full major league season only needing 5 starters. A team needs to be prepared for when the need arises for another starter. With the options that the Phillies have in the bullpen and in their minor league system, they seem to be prepared for that.
Now it’s just up to those players to step up when they’re called upon.