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Phillies' Howard to make MLB debut Sunday

No. 36 overall prospect to start against Braves in Philadelphia
Spencer Howard posted a 2.03 ERA over 71 innings at three different levels in 2019. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)
@brianjstultz
August 8, 2020

The wait for Spencer Howard is almost over. The second-ranked Phillies prospect will be called up from the team's alternate training site to make his Major League debut on Sunday against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park, MLB.com reported. “I have no official announcement,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters

The wait for Spencer Howard is almost over.

The second-ranked Phillies prospect will be called up from the team's alternate training site to make his Major League debut on Sunday against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park, MLB.com reported.

“I have no official announcement,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Saturday, “but you can expect a young right-hander to start tomorrow. I'll just leave it at that. [His] initials are S.H."

The 6-foot-3 right-hander is in his fourth season of pro ball. Pitching at three Minor League levels last year, Howard went 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA over 71 frames, despite missing two months due to a shoulder injury.

Ranked as MLB Pipeline's No. 36 overall prospect, he reached Double-A on July 26 and started six games for Reading, going 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA, 38 strikeouts and only nine walks over 30 2/3 innings. His longest outings there were six innings, which he accomplished twice, and both were scoreless efforts.

A 2017 second-round Draft pick out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Howard showed even more of his potential in the Arizona Fall League, posting a 2.11 ERA and 27 strikeouts over 21 1/3 frames.

"He was able to command his fastball," Phillies director of player development Josh Bonifay told MiLB.com in March. "He was able to command his curveball. He's able to use it as an out pitch and for strikes. He throws a changeup whenever he wants -- ahead, behind in the count. When he's throwing it off the same release angle as his fastball, it's very difficult to pick up. He got comfortable throwing all four pitches for strikes quickly."

Last month, the 24-year-old earned an endorsement from Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper.

“If Spencer Howard isn't starting in our rotation by Game 6 in New York against the New York Yankees, there’s a problem,” Harper said on Twitch. “That’s all I’ll say.”

Brian Stultz is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianjstultz.