by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Red Sox’ Drew Pomeranz is coming off another solid season, posting an ERA below 3.50 for the fourth straight season (though in two of those he spent significant time coming out of the bullpen). It’s over the past two years that he’s made 30+ starts and on the surface the results are promising:
He has paired a strong ERA with strikeouts and solid control, so what exactly is there no to like? The jump in his WHIP is obviously one red flag, as he saw his line drive rate (16.6% to 21.9%) and BABIP (.268 to .310) both regress significantly. That alone gives reason for pause, but it’s not he only risk involved (and that doesn’t even include the current injury he’s battling):
Pomeranz does not bring an impressive groundball rate to the table, with a 43.2% mark in ’17. Considering his 0.98 HR/9 last season, there’s obviously reason to think that a regression is in his future. It’s not to say that he’s going to suddenly become a home run machine, but would a 1.20 type mark be a surprise?
He appears to be consistent, but his SwStr% regressed in ’17 with his 9.9% not backing up a strikeout per inning (he actually posted an 8.18 K/9 in the second half of 2017). Predominantly a fourseam fastball (46.11%) and curveball (36.90%) pitcher, neither generated many swings and misses a year ago either (Whiff%):
- Fourseam – 11.83%
- Curveball – 9.62%
There also was a distinct regression in his control, and considering his 28.7% O-Swing% it shouldn’t be a shock:
- First Half – 3.20
- Second Half – 3.98
It would appear that a drop off in both departments could be in his future.
Not only did his BABIP see a drop, Pomeranz has benefited from a lot of luck in his strand rate over each of the past two seasons:
- 2016 – 80.1%
- 2017 – 80.0%
Sooner or later you would expect the luck to catch up with him.
There is a relatively long list of concerns building for Pomeranz:
- Strikeout regression (which we saw in 2017)
- Control regression (which we saw in 2017)
- Home run risk
- Sooner or later his strand rate will plummet
You put that all together and does there appear to be a reason to invest in Pomeranz at any cost? Pitching in the AL East complicates matters even further making him an impossible sell. While the numbers may tempt you, Pomeranz is a player i don’t expect to own in any format.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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|Starting Pitchers||1-20: 02/20/18|