Phillies: Solving the Zach Eflin mystery for 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Pitcher Zach Eflin #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies hands the ball to manager Gabe Kapler #19 as he walks off the mound with Rhys Hoskins #17 looking on during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 11, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 11: Pitcher Zach Eflin #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies hands the ball to manager Gabe Kapler #19 as he walks off the mound with Rhys Hoskins #17 looking on during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 11, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Rollins even delivered again for the Phillies with trade for Eflin from the Dodgers. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. /

In the hunt:       

While the Phillies acquired Zach Eflin and lefty Tom Windle, the Los Angeles Dodgers received Jimmy Rollins as a one-campaign stopgap. However, they included Eflin in the swap after picking him up from the San Diego Padres. J-Roll pays dividends, again?

In typical Rollins’ fashion, Windle was also last among the 10 moundsman who had any success above Single-A+ ball: Two balancing throw-ins didn’t. But Windle had a 4.26 ERA for his 42 Triple-A relief appearances last season, and a 4.26 ERA has basically been his performance as a starter or reliever at each level after Single-A.

While Windle has left the red pinstripes and joined the Boston Red Sox organization for ’20, Mark Appel had retired following two injury-plagued summers after finishing 2017 with a 5-4 mark and a 5.27 ERA for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Yes, he was 2013’s number one pick overall in the draft by the Houston Astros.

Tom Eshelman was the fans’ answer to the Fightins’ starting staff in ’17: He went 10-3 with a 2.23 ERA. Therefore, armchair GMs felt Klentak should burn a 40-man spot, or he doesn’t know what he’s doing. As for Eshelman, he made four starts and six relief outings for 2019’s Baltimore Orioles: He went 1-2 with a 6.50 ERA.

Alec Asher will be with the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins for 2020 after playing Atlantic League ball for 2019. In 2018 with the Milwaukee Brewers’ Double-A team, he was 6-4 with a 6.05 ERA for 16 starts and five relief appearances. But he went 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA in five starts for 2016’s Fightins.

For Marlon Byrd, the Cincinnati Reds traded Ben Lively to the Phils. And he went 4-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 15 starts for 2017’s red pinstripes. Last year, though, he was 6-2 with a 4.48 ERA in his 27 appearances (17 relief) for the Triple-A affiliates of the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks (still there).