On a pitching rotation plagued by injuries, growing pains, and replacements, Jerad Eickhoff quietly was able to make himself one of the most valuable players in Major League Baseball; however, “most valuable” should be taken in the most literal way possible.
Eickhoff’s curveball did not fool hitters like that of Clayton Kershaw; he did not strike out as many batters as Max Scherzer. Nonetheless, Jerad did exactly what was needed from him throughout the entirety of the season. He was never placed on the disabled list (and his 33 games started was tied for 3rd in the National League), and he always managed to give the bullpen, which worked so much due to the fact that many of the younger pitchers were not able to pitch deep into games, a easy night (because he ranked 8th among NL pitchers in innings pitched). His 11-14 record was nothing magnificent, nor was his 3.65 ERA; actually, those numbers are average.
Jerad Eickhoff was considered the Phillies’ team MVP by many, and rightly so. Rarely were there cold streaks from Eickhoff, unlike the team’s all-star, Odubel Herrera, whose averaged dropped 17 points after his appearance in the Mid-Summer Classic. El Torito’s second half play was a prime example of the issues that troubled the team for the entire season: Pete Mackanin’s players were streaky, and few, if any, produced on a nightly basis. Maikel Franco hit five home runs in the week leading up to the all-star break. Post-break, Franco hit seven homers.
The six-foot, four-inch righty found a way to get the job done every fifth day, and the consistency that he brought to the young Phillies’ rotation, especially one which suffered numerous injuries as the season progressed, was invaluable to the struggling baseball team. Personally, I am excited for the continuation of Eickhoff’s development into a dominant major league pitcher. Speculation as to which players will make up the five spots in Philadelphia’s future pitching rotation, but the organization can feel confident in knowing that one of those slots has been secured.
Photo by Editosaurus (via Wikimedia Commons)