The future of the starting rotation for the Philadelphia Phillies looks pretty bright, albeit rather early to say concretely that the young arms within the organization are destined to pan out.
Aaron Nola, considered by many to be the head of the rotation as of right now, is currently rehabbing in Clearwater, Fla after suffering both a low-grade sprain of his UCL and flexor pronator tendon in August. Shortly after the diagnosis, Nola was shut down for the remainder of the season and given a PRP injection.
Phillies player development director Joe Jordan has said that Aaron Nola is progressing in his recovery, and is expected to finish his workouts within the next few weeks if everything goes well. After that, Nola will head home to prepare for Spring Training during the rest of the offseason.
After going 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in his rookie season, his sophomore campaign was filled with plenty of troubling moments for fans - especially during the months of June and July.
Carrying a season ERA of 2.88 into June, Nola struggled with command and routinely gave up more than six runs per outing, with Nola giving up more than three runs in seven of his last nine starts before being shutdown.
If healthy, Aaron Nola is expected to be a lock to make the Opening Day Roster.
However, highly toted prospect Mark Appel, also recovering from injury, is expected to start the season with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Received in the Ken Giles trade a year ago, Appel was selected with the first overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft, and is currently recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur from his right elbow this past June.
Appel is 19-14 in his minor league career with a 5.04 ERA, and the Phillies are hoping that a change of scenery can revitalize the career of the former first round pick.