Phillies: Three players who need to “over-perform” in 2020
Zach Eflin, SP
Following the signing of Zack Wheeler, the top of the Phillies rotation is now set for years to come. The one-two punch of Aaron Nola and “Wheels” should prove to be a strong point for Philly in 2020. However, what’s missing is a truly reliable #3 in the starting rotation.
Jake Arrieta is clearly past his prime, Vince Velasquez should be a reliever, and putting faith back into Nick Pivetta is a recipe for disaster.
Enter Zach Eflin. Now there are some confusing reports surrounding Eflin and what he brings to the table for the Phillies. For the most part, he’s been a seriously bad option for the Phillies as a starting pitcher.
Eflin has a career 4.73 ERA through four seasons of major league work, and despite having his moments in 2019, he overall finished the year with a 4.13 ERA and a team-high 13 losses. His 11.88 ERA in the month of July led to a stint in the bullpen and some serious questions regarding his physical condition.
The Phillies don’t need Eflin to be great in 2020, but they do need him to over-perform. Baseball-Reference.com is currently predicting Eflin to go 10-10 with a 4.41 ERA in 2020. That simply won’t be good enough.
The NL East is absolutely stacked with offensive talent and the Phillies failed to add a legit #3 to their starting rotation this off-season. Assuming Arrieta won’t ever get back to his Chicago form, the Phils desperately need Eflin to find a way to become that reliable third pitcher.
Seeing Eflin turn into a sub-4.00 ERA type pitcher who consistently pitches past the sixth inning would be a huge boost to a team that is entering 2020 with a pretty weak rotation. With the help of a better coaching staff and maybe some better conditioning training, Eflin has no reason not to reach that level of play.