Today I want to write about the competitive NL east. Now when you think NL east you probably think about the two top dogs, the Nats and the Mets, battling it out for the top spot. But I’m pretty sure you don’t think of the Phillies, as of right now they’re 24-17 and only 0.5 games back of the Nats for first place. So today I just want to write about how the Phillies are doing what they’re doing.
Before I get started I have to mention that I do not think the Phillies can keep this up all year. Sorry to any Philadelphia fans who read this but they’re built for the future not right now. The reason they’re surprisingly doing well right now is the pitching, specifically the young starters. Aaron Nola, 22, was a top ten pick just a couple years ago he doesn’t have the best stuff out there but he really knows how to pitch. Vincent Velasquez, 23, was acquired from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade over the winter now he’s the stuff guy that’s just learning how to pitch. Velasquez sits 94-95 mph with his fastball and can touch 97, plus he has a pretty good curveball. I wouldn’t say Velasquez will continue to progress and will be the future ace of the Phillies but he’ll make a good number 2. Now Aaron Nola on the other hand will be the future ace of the Phillies, if he isn’t already considered their ace. Nola might only be around 90 mph with his fastball but he can really locate it, it also sinks it’s not a straight 4 seamer, he also has a good change up and his slurve (mixture of a slider and a curveball) is also very good. That’s 3 pitches he can locate and in my book that’s an ace. And we haven’t even seen Mark Appel yet who was a number 1 overall pick, he possesses a 95 mph sinker he just hasn’t quite figured it out in the minors yet. So this Phillies rotation isn’t just a fluke and can get better I just don’t think they have enough offense to keep up with the Nats and the Mets the entire year.