Phillies: Three players who need to “over-perform” in 2020

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 16: Zach Eflin #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch in the top of the first inning against the New York Mets in game two of the doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park on August 16, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

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. 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.