Rather than choose between Vincent Velasquez and Adam Morgan for the fifth and final spot in the starting rotation, the Phillies might just go with a six-man rotation, Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports. As Salisbury mentions, however, such a decision would leave the Phillies with less bench depth, something manager Pete Mackanin might not want to deal with.
Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola, Charlie Morton, and Jerad Eickhoff are assured rotation spots. Eickhoff started on Tuesday after recovering from a fractured right thumb and pitched well, appearing as if he can get to full strength by the time the regular season begins.
Velasquez, 23, came to the Phillies from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade over the winter. He debuted last season, making seven starts and 12 relief appearances for the Astros, compiling a 4.37 ERA with a 58/21 K/BB ratio over 55 2/3 innings. The Phillies like Velasquez in a starting role at the moment, but some scouts think he could succeed in a high-leverage relief role as well.
Morgan, 26, also debuted last season, posting a 4.48 ERA with a 49/17 K/BB ratio over 84 1/3 innings for the Phillies. He doesn’t have nearly as much upside, but if the Phillies were to choose him for the fifth spot, it would allow them to give Velasquez a bit more seasoning at Triple-A.