(Sorry yet another abbreviated Weekend Recap due to the holiday weekend)
Pitcher Spotlight: Zach Eflin 8.2 IP 4 H 2 R 0 ER 0 BB 5 K 1 HR 102 pitches (70 strikes)
The line should have been 9.0 IP 1 H 0 R 0 BB 5 K, but KC Serna airmailed a routine ground ball that would have been the final out of the game. Instead Eflin allowed a home run to the next batter before allowing two singles and being pulled for Lee Ridenhour. It was a masterful performance for Eflin who has been incredible for the Phillies since coming over in the Jimmy Rollins trade. He is the youngest player in the Eastern League (10th youngest in AA), and has shown a good feel for the level. The lack of strikeouts has been brought up as a concern and it relates directly with the development of his slider. Right now it is not a swing and miss pitch for him and so there is more contact because he is living in the strikezone with his fastball and changeup, both of which generate weak contact. The most encouraging thing has been the control for Eflin who has a 1.6 BB/9 on the year that has helped him to pitch at least 8 innings in half of his games and do it very efficiently (topped 100 pitches only in the attempt at the complete game). It may not be a finished dominant product, but there is a lot of foundation to build on with Eflin and he is young enough to continue to just get better.
Hitter Spotlight: Gabriel Lino 6-14 3 2Bs 1 HR 1 BB 2 K
Lino was a bit of an afterthought coming into the year, but that tends to happen if you hit .223/.281/.303 after being pushed to an unfamiliar level, but Lino has taken to AA to a surprising level of success. He has big time raw power and a cannon arm, the concern has been his receiving behind the plate and his contact abilities at the plate. After his strong weekend Lino has a .269/.337/.452 line on the year in AA, while sporting his highest BB% (7.7%) since 2012, and his lowest K% (23.1%) since his stateside debut in 2011. Lino is still very young (turned 22 on May 17), and is back on track after being demoted to Williamsport in 2013. Lino has shown off his strong arm so far on defense with 13 caught stealings in 27 attempts to go with a handful of pickoffs. His receiving is improved, but there is still a lot of work to go, especially catching to his glove side. It is still really early, but the with Tommy Joseph’s continued concussions and Cameron Rupp’s lack of success there may be room for Lino to force his way into the catching discussion sooner than later. He will need Rule 5 protection this year (was eligible last year) so it will be important for him to have continued success.
Reading Rotation Watch:
Two Aaron Nola starts and none by Jesse Biddle this week as the rotation had a pretty good turn through highlighted by Eflin and Nola’s first start.
234.0 IP 205 H (7.9/9) 84 ER (3.23 ERA) 16 HR (0.6/9) 70 BB (2.7/9) 161 K (6.2/9)
Continued drops in H/9 and BB/9 for the rotation, some drop in strikeouts though. The ERA number from last week may have been off as the rotation only allowed 12 ER this week, so last week’s ERs should have been 72 for an ERA of 3.33 bringing us a slight drop in ERA this week.
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