Names like Justin Verlander and Jacob deGrom dominate the free agent market when it comes to starting pitchers this offseason. The smaller signings could make just as big of an impact for teams looking to upgrade a starting rotation, though. It's best not to underestimate a player like Zach Eflin.
Eflin has been a model of consistency since 2019, posting an ERA between 3.97 and 4.17 in each of the last four seasons. He regularly pounds the strike zone and found success a reliever this past postseason as well. Let's take a look at three of the most likely landing spots for Eflin in free agency.
Zach Eflin Free Agency
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers should not be ruled out when it comes to any free agent given their front office's willingness to spend money. Los Angeles is a World Series contender because of its powerful lineup, but it could use a boost on the mound. Both Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney could be lost to free agency, while Walker Buehler missed most of 2022 with an elbow injury. Eflin could slide in as a reliable No. 4 starter. He posted a 45.2% ground ball percentage and 4.8% walk percentage this past season, which showcases the difference his mid-90s sinker can make. It seems like the perfect time for LA to buy in on a 28-year-old that knows how to limit the long ball.
2. Detroit Tigers
Eflin is one of the youngest starting pitchers on the open market, making him a prime candidate to be swooped up by a rebuilding team. He may even be able to sign for more than his expected market value if he commits to a deal of three or more years. The Tigers fit the mold of a team looking for a controllable starter. Detroit posted a team ERA of 4.06 in 2022 (No. 21 in MLB) and saw just one starting pitcher finish with an ERA under 3.50 (Matt Manning). Eflin logged a career-best 1.12 WHIP this past season and gave up just 8 home runs in 75.2 innings. It seems as if he is only tapping into his true potential after a slow start to his career.
1. Kansas City Royals
The Royals find themselves in the same boat as the Tigers after rostering a pitching staff that posted a 4.70 ERA last season (No. 27 in MLB). However, they have the young studs in place to make a playoff run sooner rather than later. Bobby Witt and MJ Melendez give this team hope at the plate, which makes the idea of improving on the mound a must. Not only does Eflin know how to keep ball from leaving the yard, but he also keeps runners off the base paths entirely. Opposing hitters posted an on-base percentage of just .288 against him in 2022. That was the best mark of Eflin's young career. He'd fit in well with a coaching staff looking for their next ace.
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.