Skip to main content

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #1 RHP Spencer Howard

I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone.  Plus you'll get exclusive interviews as well as other content you won't be able to enjoy anywhere else.  I could use, and I would value, your backing.

Spencer Howard, image- Jay Floyd
Right-handed pitcher Spencer Howard is this outlet’s choice as the Phillies’ top overall prospect. Howard was the team’s second round draft selection in 2017 (45th overall) out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has proven to be an exceptional hurler in his time in the minor leagues.

In college, in his draft year/sophomore season, Howard sported an 8-1 record with a 1.95 ERA and a 10 K/9 mark over 17 appearances (12 starts) for the Mustangs. As a red shirt freshman the previous year, he posted a 2.95 ERA in 21 appearances (two starts).

After signing his first professional contract, Howard debuted with Class A short-season Williamsport, where he notched a 1-1 record with a 4.45 ERA and a .214 batting average against while striking out 40 and walking 18 in 28 1/3 innings in nine starts. Following the regular season, he participated in the Florida Instructional League.

Howard felt great levels of comfort with his Lakewood teammates, describing his situation as being among “good-ass dudes playing some baseball”. While there, he experienced some highs and some lows, as he notched a 1.89 ERA in four April starts, then came back down to Earth to sport an 8.79 ERA in four May starts for the BlueClaws.

He turned a corner, however, in late June. Starting with a six-inning, no-run, 10 strike out performance against Hagerstown on June 29th, Howard would post a 1.52 ERA over his final 11 starts of the regular season. The success didn’t end there, as Howard had the best day of his life in the post-season, clinching his team’s trip to the South Atlantic League finals by tossing a nine-inning no-hitter against division rival Kannapolis.

Overall, in 23 regular season starts with Lakewood, Howard tallied a 9-8 record with a 3.78 ERA with an 11.8 K/9 mark and a .240 batting average against.

In 2019, Howard opened his campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he was sidelined with a shoulder injury just four starts into his season.  After roughly two months on the shelf, Howard returned to the mound.  In total, he made seven starts with Clearwater, posting a 2-1 record with 1.29 ERA, a .162 batting average against and a 12.3 K/9 mark.

Howard was promoted to Double-A Reading in July, making six regular season starts there, collecting a 1-0 record with a 2.35 ERA, a .180 batting average against as well as an 11.2 K/9 mark. 

Over the most recent off-season, Howard made up for some of that lost time by participating in the Arizona Fall League, where he faced many of baseball's top minor league talents.  In six appearances for the Scorpions, Howard notched a 1-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.  Additionally, he struck out 27 batters in 21 1/3 innings of work. 

Consistency with his delivery is critical for Howard and he knows that's where he can run into trouble with his control. As he moves forward, this will be a key focus for the talented California native.

The 23-year-old has a remarkable feel for all four of his offerings. Howard's pitch repertoire includes a blazing fastball that has clocked in the triple digits quite steadily at times. More commonly it resides around 96-97 MPH. He’s also equipped with an exceptional cutter that resembles a slider, a curveball that features very good break and a superior change up that has fade and fools opposing batters frequently.

Work ethic is a standout quality for the six-foot-three 205-pounder according to Phillies developmental personnel.  A dominant pitcher, Howard has the potential to be a front line big league starter.

Howard was invited to big league spring training this year, but has missed time with a knee injury.

I would expect Howard to open the season back with Double-A Reading, but it shouldn't be long before he gets the opportunity to test his skills at the Triple-A level.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws OF Justin Crawford

Justin Crawford w/ junior reporter Evan At the age of 19, outfielder Justin Crawford has played his way into the conversation of being considered as one of baseball's top prospects. The son of four-time MLB All-Star Carl Crawford, Justin has looked every bit as impressive as his position as the 17th overall draft selection last year would have most fans thinking he should be.  He opened the season with Class A Clearwater where, in 69 games, he notched a .344/.399/.478 slash line.  And since mid-August when he was promoted to Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, the younger Crawford has posted a .300/.364/.440 line.  He's also stolen 44 bases in 52 attempts overall. And while the BlueClaws enter the final week of the regular season 1/2 game out of first place in their division, I spoke with Justin Crawford about the team's hopes of making the postseason for the first time since 2018. I also asked Justin about the similarities and differences between his skillset and his father'

Jersey Shore clinches playoff berth on final day of regular season

Ottto Kemp, image- Jay Floyd With an extra-inning victory over first-half division champions Hudson Valley on Sunday, the Class A Advanced Jersey Shore BlueClaws clinched the team's first playoff appearance since 2018, winning the second-half division title. Key performers in the BlueClaws' clincher were righty hurler Jason Ruffcorn, who threw three innings of relief to earn the victory and third baseman Otto Kemp, notched three hits, a walk, two stolen bases and plated the game winning run in the 11th inning on a sacrifice fly.  On top of that, Kemp, who turned 24-years-old on Saturday, made an absolute game-saving defensive play to help the club hold their lead in the bottom of the 11th frame. One of Jersey Shore's most consistent performers all season long has been right-handed reliever Cam Wynne.  The Phillies' 20th round draft pick in 2021 out of Nebraska.  In 34 appearances, one start, the 24-year-old tallied a 1-1 record with one save, a 2.44 ERA and a .190 batti

McGwire Stays Phony, Despite Admitting Drug Use

Mark McGwire made an effort to publicly come clean today, admitting to the world that he took performance enhancing drugs during his playing career. Steroids and human growth hormones were among the drugs that McGwire admitted to using. MLB Network featured a one on one interview with Bob Costas and McGwire on Monday evening. The broadcast was virtually garbage, thanks to McGwire. Ahead is a list of quotes from McGwire's interview. McGwire repeatedly stated his point of view that there were no dishonorable intentions involved when taking steroids, and that he was merely using them as a means to recover from varying ailments. When asked if he felt like he cheated... "As I look back now...I can see how people would say that. As far as the talent goes and the hand-eye coordination, the ability, the genetics I was given...I don't see it." "I did not take this for any strength purposes." Denial. Read on for similar B.S. He whined about the abuse he's taken at