A 5-2 mark with a 2.90 ERA and 5.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio up in Lehigh Valley was good enough to get Zach Eflin a call-up to the Phillies.
With Vince Velasquez on the shelf for 15 days, Eflin, acquired in the Jimmy Rollins deal, will get at least a few starts to show the big league eyes what he’s capable of. His first coming on Tuesday.
Aside from his impressive Triple-A numbers, there’s more to Eflin.
He’s now the Phillies baby on the roster
At 22-years-old, Eflin will be the youngest player on a team featuring plenty of fresh faces. The previous leaders in the clubhouse were Tyler Goeddel, Maikel Franco and Aaron Nola all at 23. Goeddel, born in October, held about a two-month advantage on Franco. Eflin was also the third-youngest pitcher in the International League with the IronPigs.
His sinkerball fools batters
At 6-foot-6, Eflin can get some power from his windup. So when he goes to throw his sinker, he can really get some movement on it as evidence by the opposition hitting just .199 against him. He once induced 13 groundballs, a season-high, in seven scoreless innings on May 19.
He was the “prospect to be named later” in the Matt Kemp to San Diego deal
Back in 2014 during the winter meetings, the Los Angeles Dodgers shipped Matt Kemp to San Diego for Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland and a prospect to be named later. The latter would turn out to be Eflin. At the time, the right-hander had played two minor league seasons, posting a 7-7 record with a 3.02 ERA between rookie ball and Single-A.
His youth was filled with tragedy
In an ESPN.com story, Eflin opened up about his childhood. In 2012, he told ESPN’s Brandon Parker that, “my mother was an alcoholic, so my dad thought baseball was a good way to do some father-son bonding and give me a break from the environment.” That was a result of tragedy that struck his family in 1995 when his grandfather passed away followed by his 7-year-old sister who was lost due to complications from leukemia. That all happened when he was less than 2 years old.
He was set to go to UCF
A native of Orlando and a graduate of Paul J. Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Florida, Eflin had committed to his hometown college, the University of Central Florida. He was set to go there until he was selected with the 33rd overall selection in the first round of the 2012 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres. With a $1.2 million signing bonus coming his way, Eflin headed to the Arizona League to begin his major league career.