Scouting Jerad Eickhoff

The dust is settling from the Cole Hamels trade and the bevy of prospects that the Phillies acquired are starting to find spots on minor league rosters. Alec Asher will start Monday for Lehigh Valley, while his Round Rock teammate, Jerad Eickhoff, has to wait until Tuesday. Here's what we found out about him from scouts and Eickhoff himself.

Like a lot of young pitchers, Jerad Eickhoff has things to work on, but at least he's aware of what those things are and is working to check them off of his to do list. The Rangers were working with Eickhoff to not only make his change-up better, but to use it more and in different situations. Eickhoff admits that he sometimes shies away from the pitch at times, which is something that Phillies scouts apparently had in their reports, because they've already mentioned it to Eickhoff, too.

"It's something that I've always used [the change-up], but that's what I've really been focused on. I've thrown it my entire career, I just haven't incorporated it enough, but I've had it stressed by the Rangers, and now, the Phillies, how important it is. For me, it's a very important pitch, to get them off of the fastball," explained the 25-year old right-hander.

Eickhoff has a fastball that most scouts peg in the 90-93 mile-per-hour range, topping out of 94, but one report put him topping out at 97 m.p.h. The change-up is his third best pitch, with his curve coming in as what is his consensus number-two pitch. The curveball is in the mid-to-upper 70s, giving him good break and a good mix of speeds. The change-up is low-80s. There's also a slider in his repertoire, that's in the low-80s, but it's really just a pitch to keep hitters from sitting on the better pitches.

The change-up really is an important pitch for Eickhoff, because the fastball is a quality pitch and the curveball is above average, giving him two good pitches. Finding that third pitch is the key to use to get batters out is the key.

After his first couple of pro seasons, Eickhoff saw a dip in his strikeout numbers and his walk numbers started to climb. He corrected the problem and has pulled his numbers much more into sync. This season between Double-A and Triple-A, Eickhoff has his KO/9 rate at 8.6 and his BB/9 back down to 2.9 this season.

Throughout his career, Eickhoff has maintained very neutral splits versus right-handed and left-handed hitters. In his fourth minor league season, left-handed hitters hit .248 against him, while righties hit .243 against him. The power numbers against him are also relatively neutral, giving up a home run once every 35.4 batters faced to left-handed hitters and once every 30.5 right-handed batters faced. His career hit spray chart is also pretty neutral.

Eickhoff has thrown just a total of 18 games at the Triple-A level, so he's likely not going to pitch in the majors this season, but should get at least a look in spring training, although a return to Lehigh Valley would be more likely for 2016, unless he turns in staggering performances between now and the spring.

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