Originally selected by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2015 MLB Draft, right-handed pitching prospect Thomas Eshelman was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in the Ken Giles/Mark Appel deal in December of that year, and since then has steadily rose through to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2017. Named by the Phillies as their Minor League Pitcher of the Year at the end of this summer, Eshelman finished 13-3 with a 2.40 ERA and three complete games over 23 starts. Across 150 innings in that span, he allowed just 128 hits (.233 opponents’ batting average) and 18 walks while striking out 102 batters. Set to turn 24 years old in the middle of next year (DOB: June 20, 1994), Eshelman is on the doorstep of the big leagues and coming off the best season of his professional career at exactly the right time.
All that said, and even with above-average control and nearly pinpoint command, Thomas Eshelman doesn’t do it with even average velocity on his fastball. Because of that, he’s fallen through the cracks in terms of recognition from a broader audience outside of the Philadelphia Phillies. But while he may not have the natural stuff to be a frontline starter or future ace, Eshelman’s consistency will get him to the big leagues and should establish him once there as a workhorse back-end rotation arm. Below, we have a full Thomas Eshelman scouting report that includes game video, tool grades, pitch breakdowns, and some notes on future projection for the Philadelphia Phillies farmhand.
Thomas Eshelman, Philadelphia Phillies — 2017 Scouting Report
Dates observed in 2017: July 17
Thomas Eshelman Scouting Report — Philadelphia Phillies — 2017 Game Video
Thomas Eshelman Scouting Report — Notes & Analysis
One of the more polished college arms when he entered pro ball, Thomas Eshelman will prove to be a total steal for the Philadelphia Phillies — one that’ll somewhat redeem the ill-fated Mark Appel add in that 2015 trade. Most upper 80s/90 mph starters get pretty quickly found out once they reach the high minors without the stuff to miss the bats of better hitters, but most of those pitchers don’t have Eshelman’s command profile. Very, very few guys across pro ball have the ability Eshelman does to dot both sides of the plate with his entire (and deep) arsenal, and while he’ll always pitch to contact, you’d be wise to bet on Eshelman exceeding expectations. Kyle Hendricks is a best-case scenario comp, but he and Eshelman do a lot of the same things, have similar arsenals, hide the ball very well, and survive on plus-plus command. Let’s not go so far as to predict the Philadelphia Phillies have the second coming of Hendricks here, but, seriously: Thomas Eshelman will far exceed expectations with what appears to most to be pedestrian stuff.
Thomas Eshelman Scouting Report — Future Projection
Barring something unforeseen, Thomas Eshelman will be pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018, perhaps even to start the season depending on how winter and spring training shake out. Realistically, I think he settles into a back-end rotation role with the consistency and command profile to start 30+ times a year with exceptional competitiveness, if lacking in power stuff. If he does fall short of that, Eshelman’s arsenal and attacking ways make him a natural lock as a low-leverage long reliever.
Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Consistency, command profile, and polish to settle in as successful back-end rotation arm in the big leagues (50)
MLB ETA: 2018