Scouting Report: Tom Gorzelanny: Is He Worth Owning?

The Chicago Cubs have moved Tom Gorzelanny around, from the rotation to the bullpen and then back again.  With the talk of Carlos Zambrano being returned to the bullpen, if he ever returns to the active roster, it appears that Gorzelanny is entrenched into the rotation.

The question for fantasy owners is if he can prove usable in the second half.  First let’s take a look at his numbers thus far in his 17 appearances (11 starts):

3 Wins
68.0 Innings
3.31 ERA
1.43 WHIP
69 Strikeouts (9.1 K/9)
35 Walks (4.6 BB/9)
.321 BABIP

He has 62 strikeouts in 61.2 innings as a starting pitcher, so clearly the strikeout rate is not a function of working in relief.  While he hadn’t shown the strikeout rate in the major leagues prior to 2009 (6.2 K/9 over his career heading into ’10), he was a strikeout pitcher in the minor leagues.  In 437.1 minor league innings he posted an 8.6 K/9.

It simply appears that it took him time to figure things out in the major leagues, but the strikeout rate is very much for real.

The control has actually regressed from his younger days.  Over his minor league career he posted a BB/9 of 2.8, including three different stints at Triple-A:

  • 2007 – 2.4 (99.2 IP)
  • 2008 – 1.0 (35.0 IP)
  • 2009 – 3.1 (87.0 IP)

It’s odd, but his control has been worse in the bullpen then in the rotation, though that’s not to say that he’s been good as a starter.  He has 29 walks over 61.2 innings as a starting pitcher (4.3 BB/9).

Given his history, the potential for an improvement in the control just makes him all the more attractive to fantasy owners.

He’s not a groundball pitcher (43.8% in ’10 vs. 42.5% over his career), yet he’s allowed just four home runs this season.  That’s one issue to watch, because it’s highly unlikely that he maintains a 0.5 HR/9.  A regression there is going to hurt his ERA, though it’s not all bad.

Gorzelanny has been slightly unlikely, with his .321 BABIP.  An improvement there, as well as a decrease in the walk rate, will mean fewer runners on base.  That will help to offset the increase in home runs, so his ERA should continue to be strong.

Whenever you have a pitcher with the potential to strikeout a batter per inning, he’s likely to have value.  When you look at Gorzelanny, you see the strikeouts and a potential improved WHIP (improved luck and a potential drop in walks) in his future.  What’s not to like?  I would say he has the potential to have value in all formats, which makes him worth stashing if you are in need of strikeouts.

What are your thoughts?  Is Gorzelanny someone you want to own or do you think he’s going to decline in the second half?

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  1. Yummy says:

    I picked him up this week merely for his 2 starts. Squeaked a win in the first one. He is no more than waiver wire fodder especially if the Cubs start selling.

  2. Nick Tenaglia says:

    If the Cubs start selling Gorzo becomes even more valuable to this team. I believe this upcoming offseason will be his second arbitration-eligible year, meaning that the Cubs will definitely be keeping him around for the next 2 years. Furthermore, with Ted Lilly’s contract expiring after this season, big questions about Big Z and the likelihood that Carlos Silva is being displayed right now to be used as trade bait, there is potential for Gorzo to end up being a #2 or 3 starter next year.

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