by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Phillies are a rebuilding franchkse, and one of the keys to their transformation is the haul of prospects they’ve acquired via trade. One such piece is Jerad Eickhoff, who was part of the Cole Hamels trade. He certainly left an impression in his rookie season, but does that mean we should be excited about his prospects moving forward? First the numbers:
167 Strikeouts (7.62 K/9)
42 Walks(1.92 BB/9)
40.7% Groundball Rate
Obviously his calling card was his control, and he even improved as the season progressed (2.39/1.32). It’s impressive, but is it believable? Over his minor league career he owned a 2.5 BB/9 and was at 2.6 at Triple-A (123.1 IP).
It’s not like he was getting a lot of swings on pitches outside the strike zone (30.0% O-Swing%), so it was more that he was simply in the zone. For a pitcher with the rest of his “skill set”, that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Obviously he’s hardly a groundball pitcher, and in Philadelphia that will likely pose a problem. As it is he was allowing home runs everywhere, but predictably it was worse at home (HR/9)
Then you have the mediocre strikeout rate. He’s not a hard thrower (he averaged 91.0 mph on his fastball last season) and he posted a 7.4 K/9 over his Minor League career (though it did rise to 8.2 at Triple-A). He did get swings and misses off his slider (17.96% Whiff%) and curveball (15.93% Whiff%), but he needs to be able to get to those pitches.
Is there a little bit of potential, given those types of Whiff% and the control he showed? Sure, but the home runs aren’t going to disappear and there’s a pretty good chance that the control regresses. That’s not a good combination, especially calling a hitter’s park home.
At this point he’s nothing more than a deep league flier, or a streaming option when the right matchup is there on the road. Given the depth at starting pitcher, there’s simply too much downside to view him as anything more than that.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference