The Phillies have selected right-hander Jeremy Hellickson as their Opening Day starter, per a team announcement on Sunday. Hellickson is slated to start against the Reds on April 3, when the Phillies will open their season on the road in Cincinnati.
This marks Hellickson’s second consecutive Opening Day assignment with Philadelphia. After signing a one-year, $7 million deal with the club in 2016, he delivered some of the best results of his career, turning in a 3.71 ERA, 3.42 K/BB and 3.2 fWAR in 189 innings. He accepted a $17.2 million qualifying offer at the end of the year and is scheduled to hit free agency following the 2017 season.
Grapefruit League competition has not been nearly as kind to Hellickson, tabbing him with 26 hits and 18 runs over 18 innings pitched this spring. His shaky start to the year doesn’t appear to have compromised either his starting role or his Opening Day gig, however, especially considering that he’s the highest-paid player on the roster and has a fairly stable track record in regular season play.