The changeup is Eflin’s primary offspeed pitch. It doesn’t have much vertical drop and must be located properly just below the zone to be effective. In terms of whiffs, it’s well below league average, and generated just a 12.1% K rate against it in 2019, down 8% from 2018.
The curveball is Eflin’s out pitch. He doesn’t throw it much, but it has a very solid 34% whiff rate (whiffs per swing). It’s the only pitch in his arsenal that managed a strikeout rate over 30%. Eflin should increase the curve’s usage, but should continue keeping it out of the zone, because it gets crushed with a .565 wOBA on contact.
Eflin’s fastball averages 94 mph and he has a slight variation with sinking action that generates ground balls over 60% of the time. It has a decent SwStr% but was crushed in 2019 with a HR/FB% over 20%. Eflin should lose the sinking variation to his pitch and focus on his four-seam grip utilizing it up in the zone more frequently.
Elfin only threw his cutter 12 times in 2019 but never threw it in 2018. It has more drop than cutter action acting almost like his changeup with a few ticks off the velocity. Depending on its usage in 2020, it could be a good compliment to his fastball.
Eflin’s primary breaking pitch is his sweeping slider. It generated a modest 10.3% SwStr%, well below-average for a slider and is not used as a prototypical putaway pitch. Eflin can throw his slider for strikes and it was effective at limiting hard contact.
For the second straight year, Eflin’s four-seamer took another step forward in several aspects. First, the pitch’s velocity was up 1.5 mph from 2017. Even more encouraging was that the pitch’s minVel was up 3.1 mph from 2017, to 90.5. Eflin threw the pitch in the zone at a fantastic rate, 60.8%, and upped his K% from 13.8% in 2017 to 26.2% in 2018. However, I’m not sure he can keep up that K% with only an 8.1 SwStr% and a 23.9 O-swing%.
Eflin’s slider was just a few percentage points away from being a Money Pitch (47.1 Zone%, 35.5 O-swing%, 12.5 SwStr%) and earned a 6.2 pVal. Thanks to an increase in O-swing% (21.8% in 2017, 35.5% in 2018), Eflin’s K% on the pitch skyrocketed from 10.3% to 25.2%.
Like his four-seamer, Eflin’s two-seamer also ticked up in velocity by 1.0 mph. It was a Money Pitch, producing 42.9 Zone%, 40.9 O-swing% and 10.4 SwStr%. However, the pitch had only a 4.2 K%. 2019 should see this pitch take another step forward.
Eflin’s changeup lost a decent amount of vertical movement, going from 7.1 zMOV in 2017 to 2.9 zMOV in 2018, which led to the pitch being hit pretty hard (.390 wOBA). In small samples of the pitch in 2016 and 2017, it produced 28.6 and 33.3 IFFB%, respectively, but in 2018 the pitch didn’t produce any pop ups.
Eflin’s curveball was only used 5.59% of the time, but the pitch produced decent results (.154 BAA). However, he struggled some with the control of the pitch (or it was mostly used as a chase pitch), as he threw it for more balls (62) than strikes (49).