For anyone who watched the Phillies-Nationals game last night, they saw 23-year-old Vance Worley pitch another great game, going six innings and only giving up one run.
Vance has pitched six innings in each of his two starts, with an ERA of 0.75 and 12 strikeouts. Although fans may be quick to point out that Vance did start against the Mets and Nationals, let's compare him to the two other people who were competing for the Phillies' last spot in the rotation.
Joe Blanton, who is the current fifth starter, is 0-1 in four starts with a 5.92 ERA. But what is even bigger is against those very same Nationals and Mets he is 0-1 with a 10.45 ERA and has only 10 strikeouts. Add in the fact that he is 30 years old and doesn't seem to be good trade bait for any team and it adds up to Blanton possibly having a longer stay on the disabled list than expected.
Going into the season, the other person expected to compete for the fifth spot was Kyle Kendrick. He's pitched eight games this year out of the bullpen and has a 2.08 ERA but is 1-2 in those 13 innings pitched.
Also, manager Charlie Manuel seems to lack confidence in Kendrick, which would explain why guys like Danys Baez, Antonio Bastardo and David Herndon have made more appearances than Kendrick. With a bullpen that is in need of as many reliable arms as it can get, you would think Charlie would be able to call on someone who has been with the ballclub for five years to get three outs for him.
One of the biggest reasons why Vance Worley should at least stay on the major league team—either as the fifth starter or the bullpen—is for trade value.
It is no secret that the Phillies need a bat to help the team out (unless you believe Raul Ibanez will continue the tear he has gone on the last two games for the rest of the year). A lot of teams with available bats could use a 23-year-old starter in their rotation.
If Vance has another great game on Monday in Florida against the Marlins, I think Vance will have secured his spot in the majors for the rest of the year—either with the Phillies or another team.