David Maialetti/Staff Photographer – Philly.com
When the Padres selected right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin 33rd overall in the 2012 MLB Draft they knew they were getting quality arm that had the potential to stick as a starter. His pitches carried movement. His mid-90’s fastball, arguably his pitch, dove away from right-handed batters leaving them baffled. The curve he threw was equally as devastating and many scouts believed that if he was able to develop his change-up he had the opportunity to be a top of the rotation starter for San Diego for years to come.
That is, until he was dealt to the Phillies this offseason.
Eflin was part of the package that the Padres shipped to the Dodgers in exchange for outfielder Matt Kemp, who in turn dealt him to Phillies along with fellow pitcher Tom Windle in exchange for Jimmy Rollins. While Windle has struggled this year so far, Eflin has shined just two starts into the Double A season for the Reading Fightin Phils.
Through his two starts, Eflin is 2-0 in 14 innings pitched. He has given up just 7 hits and walked 2 while striking out 7 as well. Most importantly though, he’s given up zero earned runs and was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week following those performances.
While the season is young, there’s already been chatter in the front office of giving Eflin the call-up and an opportunity to prove himself at the Major League level. At just 21 years of age, an early call-up would be a stark contrast from how the front has handled their prospects in recent years. The mindset of the Phillies brass has tended to be to leave players in the minors for longer than what many fans deem necessary. Calling up prospects like Eflin, Nola, and corner infielder Maikel Franco at some point this year may however, be a small part of the overall big change that the front office needs to make.