Right-hander Zach Eflin was the key target when the Phillies dealt former National League MVP Jimmy Rollins this off-season. With a load of buzz about this young hurler, Eflin will look to prove himself worthy of being part of a trade for an organizational legend.
Selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 draft by San Diego out of Hagerty High School in FL, Eflin made his professional debut that same year as a member of the rookie level Arizona League Padres. In four games (three starts), the six-foot-four 200-pounder posted a 0-1 record with a 7.71 ERA, as an 18-year-old.
After making minimal impact upon his minor league debut, Eflin came back strong in 2013, tallying a 7-6 record along with a 2.73 ERA, a .239 batting average against and a 6.52 K/9 mark in 22 starts with Class A Fort Worth.
Last season, as a 20-year-old, Eflin sported a 10-7 record with a 3.80 ERA and a 6.54 K/9 in 24 starts for Lake Elsinore in the Class A California League.
Eflin, who turns 21-year-old on April 8th, has a mid-90’s fastball, a quality curve ball with some nice break as well as a change up that has great potential which he is working to perfect. Consistency with his mechanics is said to be a big plus for the youngster. He’ll need to work on solidifying one of his breaking balls as an out pitch. With age on his side, there’s plenty of time for his offerings to develop and fully come together.
Last season the Florida native took considerable strides in shaking his reputation as a fly ball pitcher, increasing his ground ball rate a hefty amount. After sporting a 37.9% mark in 2013, he notched an exceptional 50.2% mark in 2014.
Not only was Eflin part of the Rollins trade with the Dodgers, Los Angeles flipped him immediately after they acquired him from the Padres in a swap for two-time All-Star Matt Kemp.
The possible ETA for Eflin arriving in the big leagues could be 2016 with a ceiling as a middle of the rotation starter, possibly higher in the order. Look for him to be an anchor for the anticipated deep rotation with Double-A Reading to kick off this coming season.
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