IN HIS FIRST five days on the job, manager Pete Mackanin has made it known more than once that it's high time for younger players to begin to get on the field more in 2015, the first season the Phillies have committed to a rebuild.
"The whole point of this year basically is to see young guys, help us get ready for next year and beyond," Mackanin said of a question about the likelihood of veterans moving before the trade deadline at the end of the month.
The Phillies already have begun to filter younger players into the regular lineup, with Freddy Galvis at the outset of the season, and more recently, Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez in the infield, too. But what about the pitching staff?
The Phillies' rotation just finished a month of June that can't be called anything other than a disaster. (OK, disaster is going too far - Cole Hamels wasn't seriously injured).
But the results were downright horrid. The starting rotation went 2-15 with a 6.39 ERA in 27 games.
It's the fewest wins from a Phillies rotation in a calendar month since the 1997 rotation went 2-15 in June. It's the highest ERA from a Phillies rotation in a calendar month since June of 2006 (7.42).
Take away Hamels, which could happen before the aforementioned deadline, and that rotation had a 7.10 ERA last month. So when is the influx of young talent coming to build the rotation for 2016 and beyond?
The Phils' front office is practicing patience with 2014 first-round pick Aaron Nola, who was promoted to Triple A Lehigh Valley last month. Other candidates for the 2016 rotation are a step below Nola, at Double A Reading.
"I think the patience factor is important," Mackanin said. "I think there are a few guys in the minor leagues we're all anxious to see as you guys are. It's up to [general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.] and his front-office people to decide whether or not these guys are ready to make the move up here and we want them as comfortable as possible. It's important to make your first exposure, to the big leagues, get that out of the way. Then you can make decisions based on that. But it's always important to see how a player, a pitcher or a position player, is going to react in his first outing or his first game."
But could Nola arrive before the end of the month? It almost seems natural - or maybe just from a public relations standpoint - to plug in the team's best pitching prospect if and when Hamels is traded.
Nola, 22, is 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA since joining Lehigh Valley. He has struck out 18 and walked five in 17 2/3 innings.
Nola is 10-3 with a 1.81 ERA in 15 starts this season between Lehigh and Reading.
"I don't want to overstep my bounds because I don't know what Ruben's plans are, but I know for a fact that he's . . . everyone's anxious to see Nola," Mackanin said. "And they're just going to pick the time that's right. They're going to pick the time that they feel is most beneficial not only to him but the team. When that time is, I can't be specific because I want to leave that up to Ruben and upstairs."
Phillies top prospect J.P. Crawford has only been in the Eastern League for a month but he's made a strong enough showing to earn a spot at the All-Star Game.
Crawford was one of four members of Double A Reading to be named to the All-Star roster. The 20-year-old shortstop and 2013 first-round pick entered yesterday hitting .268 with a .785 OPS, eight doubles, two triples, and two home runs in 30 games since being promoted from Class A Clearwater.
Centerfielder Roman Quinn (.306, 29 stolen bases), first baseman Brock Stassi (.313, seven home runs), and righthander Zach Eflin (5-4, 2.88 ERA) were also named to the Eastern League All-Star Game. But Quinn is out until August with a hip flexor and Eflin is committed to pitch for Team USA in the Pan-Am Games, which take place in Toronto from July 10-19.