Phillies: Five pitchers to keep an eye on in spring training
I know this seems like the easy way out, but I beg to differ. Eickhoff lost almost all of last season after experiencing back stiffness and nerve irritation in his right hand in 2017, a strained lat muscle in March 2018, and more tingling in his fingers as the 2018 season progressed.
Eickhoff appeared in only three games in September of 2018, starting one, allowing four earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched. He had a mediocre 2017 season after posting a solid year in 2016.
Eickhoff will be competing with the likes of Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, and Zach Eflin for one of the starting pitching spots. I’d argue that out of the four of them, two will get the nod. I don’t think the Phillies are done making acquisitions on the pitching end quite yet. This group is a good collection of 4th and 5th starters, with Eflin leading the way.
The clock is ticking on Eickhoff. He is going to have to really prove that he is better than Eflin, Pivetta, and Velasquez because he will turn 29 in July and has not shown any reason for Gabe Kapler and the front office to believe he is the right choice moving forward. Granted, he hasn’t really had a chance the last two years, but that certainly does not help him.
Ultimately, I do not believe Eickhoff will make the roster, but it will be intriguing to see what kind of performance he puts on once pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks.