I've been moderately excited about Zach Eflin since the Phillies acquired him in the Jimmy Rollins trade on Dec. 19, 2014. A former first rounder with the San Diego Padres, his stuff looked good when you watched him on video. His minor league numbers, while light on strikeouts, were impressive. He didn't give up homers or walks, he had two straight seasons of 120 innings pitched.
Maybe he wouldn't be a star, but he could be someone the Phillies could plop into the No. 4 spot in the rotation.
He looked good when I saw him in person, too.
When he got called up to start a June game, I was excited. Then he gave up nine runs in less than three innings.
Eflin had a rocky two months in Philly. He had three starts in which he gave up seven or more runs in five innings or fewer. Was he a poor man's Kyle Kendrick?
He had two complete games, one a shutout. That stands out. They came against Atlanta, a bad team, and Pittsburgh, a playoff caliber team.
Between those five great and terrible starts, he looked like an average starter.
June 19: 2 runs on one walk and four hits over 5.2 innings.
June 24: 1 run (no earned) on five hits and no walks over 6 innings.
June 29: 4 runs (3 earned) on six hits and no walks over 6 innings.
July 10: 2 runs on seven hits and two walks over six innings.
July 17: 3 runs on five hits and two walks in six innings
Aug. 2: 6 runs on six hits and three walks in five innings.
That last start, and his final appearance (7 runs over three innings) were probably affected by the issues that lead to postseason surgery.
Since his surgery, he seems to be progressing.
First day of throwing in the books! Felt amazing getting out there pain free. Truly blessed with the people I have supporting and guiding me— Zach Eflin (@zeflin12) November 30, 2016
The Phillies have stockpiled young arms and Eflin is one who could have a long future in Philadelphia, or be part of a trade for the third time in his career. He, Jake Thompson and Aaron Nola are no longer considered prospects. but the Phillies eighth (Franklin Kilome), ninth (Kevin Gowdy), 10th (Mark Appel) and 15th (Ricardo Pinto) best prospects according to MLB pipeline are all starting pitchers.
No doubt some of these guys will miss, but what we've seen from Thompson and Eflin surely have us thinking a brighter future is on the way.
2016 grade: B
Will we see him again in 2017: Most likely