Phillies top four 2019 MLB All-Star Game candidates

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 01: Bryce Harper #3 and Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies look on from the on deck circle against the Detroit Tigers at Citizens Bank Park on May 1, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 01: Bryce Harper #3 and Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies look on from the on deck circle against the Detroit Tigers at Citizens Bank Park on May 1, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – APRIL 28: Pitcher Zach Eflin #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action against the Miami Marlins during a game at Citizens Bank Park on April 28, 2019, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Zach Eflin

To pretty much everyone’s surprise, the ace of the Phillies rotation this season has not been Aaron Nola. Instead, that honor goes to Zach Eflin, who has been lights-out so far this year.

Eflin pitched his second complete game and first shutout of the year Saturday night against the Royals. He is the only player with two complete games this year and one of just eight in both leagues with a shutout. Considering how rare complete games and shutouts have become, this is quite the accomplishment for Eflin.

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Beyond that, Eflin has a 5-3 record, 2.47 ERA, 1.020 WHIP, and 5.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio in eight starts. He has allowed more than two runs in only two of those eight starts. Similarly, he has walked more than one batter just twice.

Eflin stands among the best pitchers in the National League, ranking third in pitching wins above replacement (2.0) and 10th among all players. Only German Marquez and Luis Castillo have more pitching WAR than Eflin.

Eflin is also tied for the league lead in wins and ranks second in walks per nine innings and sixth in WHIP, strikeout-to-walk ratio, and ERA.

Without Eflin and Eickhoff, Philadelphia’s rotation would be in shambles right now. Jake Arrieta started hot but has since cooled off. Nola had an extremely rough start, although he is slowly returning to form. Pivetta’s struggles have already been mentioned with Vince Velasquez also having some issues before hitting the disabled list.

There is something to be said for a pitcher who has not one, but two complete games under their belt this early during the season. It’s a rarity to see any more and could be what pushes Eflin into his first career All-Star Game.

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