Eickhoff, Young Arms, Leave a Positive Impression in 2015

Eickhoff is a reason to be hopeful for Phillies fans. Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

Photo by Richard Wilkins Jr.

Yesterday, Jerad Eickhoff pitched his final game of the 2015 season. He went into the off-season with seven innings of shut-out ball, striking out ten along the way. He showed a lot of poise to pitch out of trouble late in his start, and he continued to show strike out stuff that is lead by his lethal breaking ball. While Eickhoff was considered maybe the fourth or fifth best piece in the Cole Hamels trade from Texas, he has been excellent so far in the Phillies organization, dominating for Lehigh Valley and pitching well for the Phillies. He will finish his rookie season 3-3, with a 2.65 ERA, 51 innings pitched, 49 strikeouts to 13 walks, and a 1.039 WHIP. His stats don’t appear to be too crazy lucky either, as his FIP is 3.26.

If Eickhoff were the only bright-spot amongst the younger arms, that would still be alright, but he’s not. Aaron Nola was shut down after his last start, ending a rookie campaign that was also pretty good. He finished 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA, throwing 77.2 innings, striking out 68 to 19 walks, and posting a 1.197 WHIP. His FIP was a little higher 4.04, but he had a lot more good starts than bad in his first season. The highly touted prospect is one that Phillies fans are hoping will slot high into their future rotation. While Eickhoff is still a plenty young 25, Nola is all of 22 right now.

A third young pitcher also threw fairly well for this team in 2015, 25 year old Adam Morgan. The 25 year old went 5-7, with a 4.48 ERA over 84.1 innings pitched for the Phillies, striking out 49 to 17 walks, while posting a 1.245 WHIP. It was his first season back after missing a year and a half for shoulder surgery, so while the stats may not jump out at you, the fact that he was able to hold down a spot for this season means that the lefty has a real shot to slot in the back end of next year and beyond’s rotations.

Sure, not all the younger arms had decent seasons. David Buchanan’s sophomore season was a nightmare, and Severino Gonzalez did not appear nearly ready. Alec Asher was excellent in AAA, but struggled in the majors, and probably needs to start 2016 out in AAA to work on some things. The 40 man roster is crowded with all six of the pitchers mentioned, as well as the injured Matt Harrison on the big club, AAA starter and hyped prospect Jesse Biddle, and AA/AAA swing-man Joely Rodriguez all on the roster now, and guys like Thompson, Eflin, Lively, Pivetta, and Pinto all waiting in the wings. Spots on the roster for next season will be very competitive this Winter, and some guys could get squeezed.

Even with that said, the Phillies have three young arms- Eickhoff, Nola, and Morgan- that have shown they can pitch in the majors, and that they may help the 2016 team. That should excite a restless fanbase.


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