Have a debut, Spencer Howard.
The exciting, 23-year-old right-hander made his first-ever start at the Double A level Friday night, starting for Reading on the road against New Hampshire.
And, wow, did Howard get off to a hot start. He struck out the first four batters he faced, flashing a well-located fastball low in the zone. It consistently hit 98 mph.
The first strikeout came on a 98 mph heater with two-seam movement. The batter was late and stood no chance.
The next two K's both came on high fastballs, again at 98 mph.
Howard allowed two singles and threw a wild pitch in the second inning but struck out the side again. He picked up two more whiffs apiece in the third and fourth innings, striking out 10 of the 20 batters he faced.
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Howard also showed a curveball that had some impressive snap to it.
A second-round pick in 2017 out of Cal Poly, Howard could soon make an impact for the Phillies. He could be in their 2020 plans as a high-upside arm in the rotation, and if he continues to fare well at Double A, there is at least a possibility he could help the Phillies late this season.
Several teams wanted to trade for Howard this past winter and you can bet clubs like the Diamondbacks, Rangers, Blue Jays and Tigers want him in exchange for their starting pitchers. Unsurprisingly, the Phillies are uninterested in moving him.
For more about Howard's background and the organization's expectations for him, check out this piece from Jim Salisbury.
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