This past week, we've gotten to see a glimpse of the Phillies future in terms of pitching. The trio of Aaron Nola, Severino Gonzalez and Zach Eflin could be anchoring the Phillies rotation in a few years. Yesterday, Eflin got to start on the big league stage for the first time with his new team. He had an okay day, struggling with some control, but settled down nicely after his first inning. Eflin tossed three innings and gave up four runs, one earned, while striking out two and walking one.
Ranked as the fourth best prospect in the Phillies organization by Baseball America, Eflin definitely had some butterflies, but told Phillies.com that it was a good experience to have.
Just a little bit. I had the jitters a little bit. I wasn't nervous, it's not like i could feel anything, it was such a surreal moment and it was good to get my feet wet.
Obviously with nerves going haywire, command isn't going to be on point. Eflin didn't seem to have much control of the strike zone in the first, but settled down nicely in the second, inducing two groundouts after a walk, one being a double play to get two quick outs.
In the first inning, I was a little jittery and in the second inning, I calmed down. It was good to get through the first inning and get the three outs. I felt a lot more comfortable in the second inning, I felt within myself and I was throwing more strikes and just tried to carry that over.
The first batter Eflin faced was the Pirates Josh Harrison, who took the Phillies prospect out of the yard on a 1-1 pitch. Giving up a homer is never really a good thing, but Eflin again enjoyed the moment and the learning experience that it brought. He retired seven of the next nine batters he faced.
I was a little upset with myself, but at the same time I thought it was pretty cool. Ya know, the first Major League hitter I face was Josh Harrison and just goes oppo off me and like I said, it's just a surreal moment.
Eflin is likely to start his season with a stacked pitching rotation in Reading that will include the likes of Aaron Nola, Severino Gonzalez and fellow trade acquisition Tom Windle. So far, Eflin is really enjoying his new team after moving cross country from the Padres organization.
It's going great. Lovin' it, lovin' it, absolutely lovin' it...lovin' the Phillies. It's a lot different organization, but it's my type of organization...nice and classy.
Last season, Eflin pitched for the Advanced 'A' Padres affiliate in Lake Elsinore, CA. In 24 starts, the right-hander went 10-7 with a 3.80 ERA.
With the Phillies in rebuild mode, Ruben Amaro is giving these young arms a chance to get experience at the big league level, because the future is really what counts now rather than what happens this year.
"This year is more about our future than our present," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "This is about finding out, frankly, and this sounds strange, but I'm more interested in the development of the guys in Triple-A and Double-A and A ball than I am necessarily the guys on the [Major League] field." [Phillies.com]
The Phillies head to Dunedin this afternoon for a 1:05 game against the Blue Jays.