by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to value Jake Odorizzi is an interesting case study, because there are a lot of interesting pieces that go into getting a pitcher with a 4.10 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 10.40 K/9. The question is what can we reasonably expect moving forward? Let’s dive in and try to answer that question.
His strikeout rate is probably his most impressive skill, thus far, but how believable is it? While he does own an above average 10.0% SwStr% (league average is 9.3%), does it justify that type of K/9 (league average is 7.73)? You wouldn’t think so…
Now you have to take into account his minor league numbers. While he was at 9.1 overall, let’s look at his marks as he climbed the ranks:
- Double-A (106.2 IP) – 8.5
- Triple-A (231.2 IP) – 8.2
Those numbers hardly back up this years inflated mark. It’s certainly not a number that we’d buy into.
Odorizzi owns a .321 BABIP, so we want to say that he’s had poor luck, but his 73.9% strand rate and 22.3% line drive rate tell a slightly different story. While he did have the line drive rate down to 16.0% in June, he owns a career 23.4% mark. Plus, at Triple-A he’s posted marks of 20.0% and 22.6% the past two years.
In other words, the ability to limit lime drives has not been his strong suit. That tells us that while the BABIP may be slightly unlucky, we also can’t expect a significant improvement.
Odorizzi has been better in June (2.70 BB/9) and July (2.31), but that hasn’t been the story of his career. He has a 3.36 mark in 131.1 innings in the Majors and was at 3.1 at Triple-A. That’s not to say that control is going to be a detriment to his success, but it also can’t be viewed as an asset.
Obviously this isn’t something that’s mandatory for success, but with a 34.0% mark we have to think that he could be prone to more home runs than he has been thus far (0.86 HR/9). Considering he was at 0.9 in Triple-A, it’s a reasonable assumption.
So what exactly do we have here?
A pitcher whose control and groundball ability are hardly assets…
A pitcher whose strikeout rate appears destined to regress…
A pitcher who appears to have been plagued by poor luck, but really hasn’t been…
He obviously isn’t a sell high candidate, considering the ERA, but he also isn’t someone I’d be going out looking to buy. There’s too much potential downside, given his makeup, to invest heavily in him.
I’d rather own Zack Wheeler or Jose Quintana over Odorizzi
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Minor League Central
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