Zach Eflin is the face of the Tampa Bay Rays' starting rotation

With Eflin being named the Opening Day starter, it is clear that he is the face of the Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation and pitching staff as a whole.

Los Angeles Angels v Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Angels v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

On Tuesday, nine days ahead of Opening Day, the Tampa Bay Rays named Zach Eflin as their starting pitcher for the opener. It is the first start on an Opening Day in his career, and he marks the 16th different Opening Day starter the Rays have had, as the organization enters their 27th season.

Rays rotation stalwart Zach Eflin earns Opening Day gig

Eflin is entering his second season in St. Petersburg after a career stint with the Philadelphia Phillies. The pickup for Tampa Bay was a success, as Eflin had the best season of his career. He finished with a 3.50 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 186 strikeouts in 177.2 innings pitched. He also rarely walks batters, with a walk rate of 3.4% (99th percentile in all of Major League Baseball).

His 16-8 record was the third-best in MLB behind fellow aces Zac Gallen and Spencer Strider. Out of his 16 wins, 11 of them came at Tropicana Field, which showed how good he was in St. Pete. That was very helpful in getting the Rays the second-best home record in baseball, behind only the Phillies.

With the injuries to the Rays' usual starting rotation that are no secret at this point, Eflin -- for the first half of this season -- is the face of this pitching staff that always seems to be strong in Tampa Bay. He's coming off a career season that saw the Rays get lots of wins when he was on the mound and he gave opposing batters very few opportunities to capitialize off mistakes because of his strike zone command and very few walks.

Rays fans should get a good dose of what Eflin could provide in 2024, as his 2023 was nothing short of special. With fellow ace Tyler Glasnow leaving for the Los Angeles Dodgers and former All-Star Shane McClanahan out for at least the vast majority of 2024 with Tommy John surgery, Eflin could become the ace that Tampa Bay always seems to have.