Tom Eshelman looked around the Phillies clubhouse on Wednesday afternoon and glanced at the collection of prospects who dotted the room. Each of them, the righthanded pitcher said, hopes to start this season in the major leagues. But it is Eshelman whose hopes seem most realistic.
The Phillies have three certainties – Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez – for their starting rotation. Nick Pivetta, whom the organization holds in high regard, can also be considered a safe bet. Unless the Phillies sign a starter before spring training, there will be five young pitchers competing for the final rotation role.