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April 18, 2022

Phillies starting pitcher confidence meter after two go-rounds

Every Phillies starter has had two chances to pitch this season, and, well, it's been pretty ugly.

A staff that was projected to be among the best in baseball has a 5.68 ERA — more than an entire run worse than the bullpen. They have won just three games and have lost five.

So who do we trust the most after two go-rounds? Here's a rundown of our confidence meter in each current Phillies starter.

(Note: Each player's rating is based on a 1-10 scale of how confident we feel when they take the mound for a start so far this season)

1. Kyle Gibson

3.09 ERA, 11.2 IP, .175 BAA, 16 K

Confidence: 6/10 

Gibson has had the only quality start this season and his numbers across the board are extremely impressive. However, if the Phillies end the year with the 34-year-old Gibson as their best starter, things will probably not end with a playoff berth this season. Gibson is pretty much an average MLB starter, with a 4.44 career ERA and 80-84 record. The odds are he reverts to the mean as the season progresses. However, with pretty much every other arm performing worse than an average hurler, he's currently boasting the best number on our confidence meter. Here's hoping someone knocks him down in the coming weeks.

2. Zach Eflin

4.50 ERA, 8 IP, .267 BAA, 7 K

Confidence: 5/10

Eflin is coming back from an injury last year and he has shown promising signs, albeit in just eight innings of work so far this season. His ERA thus far is the second best of the starters and he is the only one who has not relented a home run so far. He's not leaps and bounds ahead of any of the others starters as far as giving fans confidence when he is pitching, but there is a little more reason for optimism as he has not thoroughly imploded in his first two starts this year.

3. Zack Wheeler

9.39 ERA, 7.2 IP, .303 BAA, 6 K

Confidence: 5/10

Wheeler has been the Phillies worst starter, mostly due to allowing seven runs in three innings this weekend in Miami — his second worst outing ever. He wasn't bad in his first appearance against the Mets, and his track record is certainly enough to earn him the benefit of the doubt that he will figure it out and be effective again. But his velocity is down — a troubling feature that could be a sign of worse things at play. We are timid in our hopes for Wheeler but if anyone can turn it around, it's the Cy Young runner up.

4. Aaron Nola

6.75 ERA, 9.1 IP, .206 BAA, 12 K

Confidence: 4/10

Nola has never really resembled the top tier pitcher he was a few seasons ago and seems more like a career middle of the rotation arm, not a top one. He was very effective in his first start until he took the field for the sixth inning against the Athletics. He was pretty awful in Start 2 though, and has given up three homers and hit three batters. His strikeout numbers are promising, however, and chances are he'll find a way to live in the low 4's ERA-wise with lots of K's and homers.

5. Ranger Suarez

5.87 ERA, 7.2 IP, .333 BAA, 5 K

Confidence: 2/10

Yes, Suarez won his last start, the only win the Phillies got against the Marlins. But his numbers are not confidence-inspiring. He has five strikeouts and four walks, and a WHIP near 2 after his first two appearances. He's allowed a team high 11 hits, and has benefitted from a team best 10.3 runs in support per start. Without a veteran record of pitching well, Suarez is going to have to show that he can do it this season and keep his role in the rotation. 

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