Should The Phillies Pay Zach Eflin?

Eflin

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Sunday's game will be one to remember, even if Zach Eflin's 12 strikeout performance may not be the main reason. Eflin for the most part carried a pathetic offense for seven innings, allowing only two solo home runs against the best team in baseball. He allowed only four hits and had 12 whiffs on his curveball. 

Eflin is another polarizing player to Phillies fans, but he's been molding himself into a solid starter over the last three seasons. Since 2020, Eflin has about an average ERA of 4.02 but a drastically lower FIP at 3.46. He is striking out about a batter per inning and has done a good job at limiting walks with only 1.7 walks per nine. 

Even though his 2021 was cut short due to injuries, he's been a pretty reliable arm. In 35 starts over this span, he's pitched over 200 innings, which is pretty difficult to ask of most starters in today's game. 

While we can mention this period, his jump this season feels significant given the circumstances. Eflin is on a contract year with the team and should be demanding a payday so taking this leap is important. 

Diving deeper into the numbers, a smart team will want to pay Eflin some cash. While his strikeout rate hasn't jumped as it did in 2020, he has taken other significant leaps to produce high-quality pitching. 

Eflin is doing a great job at limiting hard contact with an average exit velocity of 83.2 miles per hour, which is in the top one percent of pitchers. His hard-hit rate is only 27.5 percent, nearly 12 percent better than 2021, and he's only allowed five barrels on 109 batted balls. 

Any analyst would tell you that any pitcher's ability to limit hard contact will lead to success but Eflin has been one of the best in the entire sport. 

The one off-the-page leap has been the development of his curveball with a whiff percentage of 47.2 percent and a .148 opponent batting average making it the best secondary in his arsenal. Eflin trusts his curveball much more this year and is throwing it over 18 percent of the time, the most of any secondary pitch.  

Back to the original question of this article, should the Phillies pay him? That answer might have to be yes. 

The Phillies rotation could look a lot thinner in a couple of seasons with both Eflin and Kyle Gibson set to be free agents this year and Aaron Nola the following season.

While yes they do have three high potential prospects in the system in Andrew Painter, Mick Abel, and Griff McGarry, none of them will likely see the show in the next two seasons and it would be nearly a miracle if all of them hit their ceilings. 

Eflin also is only 28 and might be hitting the prime of his career with this leap so it would be quite dangerous to let him walk. 

There's a chance Eflin may not reach his full potential in Philadelphia, with Alec Bohm having a solid offensive season and Rhys Hoskins still around, it is not the best roster for a ground ball pitcher. There are two sides to negotiations and Eflin should probably want better defense around him. 

Is it a slam dunk that they must bring back Eflin? I would wait until the end of the season to find that out but he is making a very strong case right now. The Phillies did agree to a 15 million dollar mutual option extension with him for next season but those usually don't exercise. If the Phillies want to keep Eflin around, it will require a real payday. 


Joel Embiid Named to 2021-22 All-NBA Second Team

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Joel Embiid has been selected to the All-NBA Second Team, totaling 414 points, including 57 total votes for First Team. Accompanying him on the Second Team will be Ja Morant, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan and Kevin Durant.

Embiid finished with more total points than Jayson Tatum, who made the All-NBA First Team, but was held back from making the First Team due to the NBA's rule about "players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position at which they received the most voting points."

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Phillies: 2022’s Priority for July

 

By Tal Venada, Sports Talk Philly Contributor

While the Philadelphia Phillies faithful decide if their club is a winner, a loser or a .500 team, they are the same every season whether they’re atop the division, in the pack’s middle, or near the basement. They’re all three!    

 

Deadline Acquisition:

For Phillies fans, there’s now and there’s then. And they’ll change their thinking based on whether it’s April 1 or July 20 even if their positions are diametrically opposite. Regardless, some locals will demand top talent despite the exec’s yardstick: the standings and July’s record.  

Put Another Way:

“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he's losing; nobody wants you to quit when you're ahead.” - Jackie Robinson

At this point, many believe the Fightins are a disappointment with the New York Mets comfortably atop the National League East, but they’ll need more than Pete Alonso for power. And they have rotation injuries again. So, either the Phils and/or Atlanta Braves could topple them or effectuate a three-club race. 

During March, the signings of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Costellanos were fuel for wishful thinking. And many wanted Didi Gregorius and Alec Bohm off the squad despite the additions. In fact, some may believe they’ll fail and confirm their preseason suspicions.     

The humidors have affected the power of many sluggers, but warmer weather will correct this issue until September. And selling low on Bohm and eating Gregorius’ contract  have proven patience is a front-office asset. But imagine the howls if Bohm was hitting .300 for another franchise.  

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Despite Another All-Defensive Honor, Matisse Thybulle's Future With Sixers is Uncertain

By Matt Gregan, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Matisse Thybulle is just 25 years old and on Friday, for the second consecutive season, was named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team. Despite that, his future with the Philadelphia 76ers remains uncertain going forward. Deciding what to do with Thybulle is just one of many important decisions president of basketball operations Daryl Morey will have to make in order to propel this roster into true championship contention.

Thybulle, a defensive specialist, stepped into the role of being the Sixers' best perimeter defender this season, averaging 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks in 25.5 minutes per game. He has a knack for finding his way to the basketball often by disrupting the passing lanes. He is a risk-taker who plays an aggressive style of defense which at times can cause him to get beat while at other times allows him to make some brilliant defensive plays. Overall he is one of the NBA's best young talents on the defensive end of the floor.

Despite his strong defensive play, he is clearly a flawed player. He cannot stay on the floor because he is an offensive liability. He scored just 5.7 points per game and has failed to make enough improvements to be at least a semi-productive player offensively. There were countless number of times where he was on the floor and the opposing defense left him alone because he poses no threat.

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