Following new club president Andy MacPhail’s stated goal of building the arms and buying the bats, it looks as though he has a good head start with three talented, young arms to build around. Finding a true ace in this year’s amateur draft will be key in taking another step towards being a playoff team.
Neither of Aaron Nola nor Jerad Eickhoff were considered to be a strikeout pitcher when they were acquired. Eickhoff, who pitched excellent in his eight starts last year after coming over from Texas as part of the Hamels deal, doesn’t have Nola’s pedigree.
Many thought his numbers were inflated due to big league hitters and pro scouts having a lack of familiarity with him. This year, both pitchers have pitched well, and both have experienced growing pains, but the big development in their game has been the ability to miss bats.
Nola’s pinpoint command of his fastball and Eickhoff’s knee-buckling curveball have become big strikeout pitches for the young, up and coming pitchers. Both righties are averaging 10.4 K/9. The increased strikeout rate didn’t come at the expense of more walks either. In fact both Nola and Eickhoff are averaging less than 2 BB/9.
Next: Phillies 2016 Fifth Key: Gomez and Neris as Back-End Bullpen