No. 16: Right-handed pitcher Thomas Eshelman
I have liked Thomas Eshelman since the Phillies acquired him from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade after the 2015 season. Considering how the other players from the trade have fared, Eshelman may ultimately wind up being the best thing Philadelphia got in the trade.
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Eshelman’s profile is more or less the same since being drafted in 2015. He exhibited 80-grade command at Cal-State Fullerton, and for the most part he still possesses that command. In 150 innings this year, Eshelman walked just 18 batters. Thanks to his command, Eshelman elevates what is an average arsenal at best and makes it work. He finished the year with a 2.40 ERA and 0.973 WHIP between Reading and Lehigh Valley. After his strong season, he received the Paul Owens Award as the top minor-league pitcher in Philadelphia’s farm system.
While Eshelman will never be a top-tier starter, he is about as safe of a prospect as there can be. Thanks to his command, he should be a serviceable back-end starter for the team.
Eshelman doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, so a return to the minor-leagues next season is likely. If his success continues, he shouldn’t be stuck there for too much longer.