by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
What exactly is a “prototypical Padres pitcher” at this point anyways? The trend certainly has been that they thrive at home and struggle on the road, as we have seen with even their best pitchers (like Andrew Cashner). When it comes to Robbie Erlin, he currently fits that mold:
- Home – 2.92 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
- Road – 6.26 ERA, 1.61 WHIP
There has been a significant difference in his BABIP (.227 vs. .400), though it’s not like his line drive rates (22.4%/27.5%) have been special regardless of where he’s pitched. His line drive rate has been better in May, at 15.4%, which also includes one start on the road. There’s some promise there, but is it really enough?
It’s not a huge surprise that Erlin has been a better pitcher at home, considering his 38.8% groundball rate. Its a favorable locale, especially for a pitcher who is generating strikeouts (7.36 K/9) to go along with solid control (2.08 BB/9). That has always been the case with Erlin, as he features minor league career marks of 9.5 and 1.8.
With a 9.3% SwStr%, the potential is there for him to maintain his strikeout rate. Coupled with the control you would think that he could succeed anywhere. A 25.2% line drive rate is high, regardles, and he should be able to improve upon it both at home and on the road.
Prior to last season Baseball America gave the following scouting report of Erlin:
“Erlin emphasizes feel over raw stuff. He sits at 88-90 mph, tops out at 92 and commands his fastball to both sides of the plate. That sets up a quality curveball and a fading changeup that averages more than 10 mph of separation from his heater. Erlin trusts his low-70s downer curve, throwing it in any count and buckling knees when batters aren’t expecting it. Since reaching Double-A, he has begun mixing in a low-80s cutter/slider and a two-seamer to give righties something else to worry about.”
When pitching at home, Erlin would definitely appear to be a worthwhile streaming option immediately. On the road? We’d like to see a little bit more success. That said, depending on the format there is definite value to Erlin given what should be an extremely useful WHIP.
Who I May Consider Him Over:
Bronson Arroyo, Charlie Morton (aka back end options)
Free agent guide:
10 Team League – Too shallow to trust
12 Team League – Streaming Option
14+ Team League – Worth Owning
NL-Only – Must Own
Keeper League – Same as league size
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball America, Baseball Reference