Simply put, Zach Eflin will be pitching for his major league life in 2019. Will he be able to secure his future in the Phillies rotation?
Fellow TBOH contributor John Town gave Zach Eflin a B- grade after the 2018 season, which I would say is an unfortunate grade for how good he looked in the middle of the season. Zach Eflin began the Phillies’ 2018 campaign drawing the short straw, not joining the rotation until Ben Lively got injured in April.
Even after Eflin got the call, he stumbled out of the gate in May, going 1-2 in five starts with an ERA of 4.50. In June, Eflin showed why he was drafted in the first round by San Diego in 2012. The right-handed starter went 5-0 in five starts, posted a 1.76 ERA and only allowed a total of six runs.
Yet, the second half of the season was a struggle for Eflin, only winning four games from July to October (12 starts), with an ERA of 5.76. Also, as in every other big league stint, he dealt with injuries in the late stages of the season, including a strained oblique that kept him out of a pivotal September series.
This was the first season that Eflin threw over 100 innings, so the tapering off at the end of the season was anticipated. I’d rather focus on the first half of his season because I think he’ll be able to withstand the grind of a full season in 2019. In his first 12 starts, he had seven wins. Actually, he finished second on the team in wins (11) even though he had the least amount of starts in the rotation.
Through the first half of the season, Eflin posted a 3.15 ERA, and a batting average against of .233, with 67 strikeouts and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.79. Those are some above average numbers for the fifth starter in the rotation, and I think expectations for Eflin will be more related to longevity rather than numbers.