Phillies: Who’re the odd-men out of the starting rotation?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 28: Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Braves won 10-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 28: Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Braves won 10-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 28: Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Braves won 10-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 28: Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff #48 of the Philadelphia Phillies delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning of a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Braves won 10-2. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Jerad Eickhoff

When healthy, Jerad Eickhoff has one of the best curveballs in baseball thanks to a terrific spin rate that brings unhittable movement.

Eickhoff essentially had a lost season after dealing with numbness in his pitching fingers after two impressive seasons in the rotation. He consistently gave solid starts, tossing eight quality starts in 2017 amidst his nerve issue.

Before the injuries Eickhoff was arguably the Phillies’ best starter for a year or two.

That lost season will weight heavily against Eickhoff, who made just one major league start in 2018 and isn’t as familiar to the current major league staff as others.

Eickhoff did strikeout 8 of the 15 batters he faced in his lone major league start in 2018, but was that lone start enough to prove himself?

Because of his injury concerns, it’s more than likely Eickhoff finds himself in the bullpen going forward as a long-man. While that’s surely disappointing for Eickhoff, it could be a blessing in disguise.

Philadelphia doesn’t have an efficient long-man after Mark Leiter Jr. was injured and subsequently designated for assignment. He’d be an upgrade over Adam Morgan, Yacksel Rios, or any other young reliever in the bullpen who could go multiple innings.

I don’t see Eickhoff being traded because of his injury history and teams not wanting to take that risk, so I believe he will be wearing a Phillies uniform next year, except his enteries will come from the bullpen, not the dugout.

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