Right-handed pitcher Thomas Eshelman joined the Phillies organization this off-season as part of the return from Houston from the Ken Giles trade. With the right amount of progress, Eshelman could become the steal of the deal.
Control is definitely the big factor in Eshelman’s game, as he notched a collegiate career record 0.4 BB/9 mark in three years at Cal State Fullerton, where he was a multi-time All-American. He possessed a 313-to-18 strike out-to-walk ratio in his college career. For his 2015 junior campaign, Eshelman sported a 1.58 ERA in 18 outings.
Scouts had Eshelman classified as one of the most polished pitchers in last year’s draft.
After becoming Houston’s 2nd round draft choice (46th overall) in 2015 and signing for a reported $1.1 million, the 21-year-old started four total games at two levels of the Astros’ system.
As a member of the rookie level Gulf Coast League Astros, Eshelman allowed two earned runs while striking out three and walking two in four innings of work. He was then promoted to Class A Quad Cities where he allowed three earned runs while striking out five and walking three in 6 1/3 innings.
Reports state that Eshelman’s arsenal does not include an offering that grades as better than average. Equipped with a fastball that features good sink and can touch 93 MPH, he more often will sit in the upper-80’s and lower-90’s. He also throws a quality curve ball along with a slider and a change up.
At six-foot-three, 210 pounds, Eshelman could continue to develop physically and add velocity.
The ability to locate pitches helps Eshelman greatly, as he has an ability to throw any pitch in any count, so the concept of a “hitter’s count” doesn’t really apply with him. Considering that command is something that typically comes later with pitching prospects and that Eshelman already has it, he’s well ahead of the game in that regard.
Projected as a back-end starting pitcher, the California native’s ceiling likely isn’t the highest among pitchers on this list.
Look for Eshelman to be an anchor in the Class A Advanced Clearwater rotation in the coming season.
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