The Minnesota Twins traded for Jake Odorizzi this offseason to solidify their starting rotation but some of his results have been baffling.
The Minnesota Twins pulled off what still feels like a coup by acquiring Jake Odorizzi this past offseason from the Tampa Bay Rays. Odorizzi has been able to fill a role in the Twins starting rotation and helped to give it some depth that was not there in 2017. After some early season success, things have began to look rough in several starts for the right-hander.
After being spotted a two run lead on an Eddie Rosario home run, Odorizzi was only able to complete 1.2 innings on Saturday afternoon. Odorizzi had a smooth first inning followed up by a disastrous second in which he allowed six runs to score. Odorizzi now owns the highest ERA of any Twins starter at 4.97.
What was strange is that none of those runs came off of Odorizzi’s perceived weakness coming into the season after the trade, home runs. In fact, most of the early hits in the inning seemed pretty harmless until some line drives later on.
What has been encouraging is that Odorizzi has had several key numbers move in a positive direction. His HR/FB rate is down from 15.5% in 2017 to 12.5%. A positive sign as has already been alluded to because back when the Twins acquired Odorizzi the long ball seemed to be his Achilles heel. He has also carried a good swinging strike rate of 11.4% and a 9.0 K/9 into 2018.
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What has been bad is that Odorizzi’s walk rate continues to climb. After finishing 2017 with a BB/9 of 3.83 in 2017 it is currently higher than that at 4.07. With a walk and a hit by pitch extending the second inning on Saturday we have some recent evidence on just how a walk can truly haunt a pitcher.
Based on some of the positive signs from Odorizzi it seems like there is maybe something that numbers can’t explain going on with him. Whether it is his mechanics or something else with his delivery I don’t know, but there was something interesting about the hits he gave up on Saturday. Four of those hits according to MLB.com’s Gamecast came off of his splitter.
It could mean absolutely nothing, but it does make me wonder if there isn’t something more going on with Odorizzi’s splitter that batters are getting a good read on. His splitter could not be getting the movement it usually does. Maybe he is even tipping something in his delivery so batters know what is coming. Not having a scout’s eye I will have to leave that up to someone else to examine.
In the end it continues to seem baffling that Odorizzi is finding some great successes or improvement in certain areas of his game. Yet the overall results as of late are hindering the Twins. In no way stronger than on Saturday.