The Philadelphia Phillies will be selecting first overall in the upcoming MLB draft. This is because they finished 2015 with the worst record in baseball. It was widely presumed that the Phillies would finish as a bottom three team again this year, if not have back to back number one picks come 2017. However, a tiny miracle has occurred. On May 4th, 2016 the Phillies are five games over .500 and just 2.5 out of first place in the NL East.
Much of the Phillies' success thus far is due to the rise of youngsters Aaron Nola and Vincent Velasquez. Nola started 13 games for the Phillies last season and was nothing special posting a 3.59 ERA and just 68 strikeouts in 77.2 innings pitched. This season though Nola has been the team's ace. Through six games he has a 2.92 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 40 innings. He was a highly ranked prospect last year and certainly has the stuff to stick around:
Velasquez was obtained as part of the Ken Giles trade this winter. While Giles currently sports a 7.94 ERA in the Astros bullpen Velasquez sits at 1.44 with a very impressive 11.2 strikeouts per nine. Back on April 14th he threw a complete game, three-hit, 16 strikeout shutout of the Padres. He became just the seventh pitcher in MLB history to throw a shutout with 16 strikeouts and zero walks.
The pitching has been the Phillies saving grace thus far, as they rank 13th out of 30 in team ERA but 27th in runs scored. While the 16-11 start is certainly encouraging odds are Nola and Velasquez will be on strict innings limits this year, regardless of whether or not the team is in contention. More help is on the way, as the Phillies have some of the best prospects in baseball. Their time will come. Just don't expect it to be already happening.