Last off season Andrew Friedman made an unusual free agent signing. He signed a starting pitcher, even though that was the one position many thought the Rays had the most depth. Rays fans know that although they had traded James Shields, surely Chris Archer, Alex Colome, newly acquired Jake Odorizzi or Jeff Niemann could fill Shields spot just fine. But Friedman always a bit out of the box signed Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona), and basically handed him a job in the Rays rotation as long as he didn’t fall off a cliff in spring training.
Now let’s fast forward five starts into the year, Hernandez isn’t doing all that well statistically. For the sake of this article let’s call them the dummy stats. High ERA, bad win/loss numbers, you get the picture. I’m sure the knee jerk fan is screaming to put him in the pen, unload Kyle Farnsworth and recall one of Durham’s starters. I love Alex Torres but that’s for another day.
Let’s see what’s the trouble with Roberto. Those that know me love the fact I don’t get very statistical but I think this calls for a statistical explanation so here’s my theory.
Hernandez has a career GB% of 58. Thus far this season it’s down to 52. He also owns a career K/9 of 5.5 this season he sits at 8.8 just a tad below the great Justin Verlander. So is this a problem? It’s hard to tell but the answer might be found in the most startling stat of all, HR/FB%. Hernandez has a career 11.5 HR/FB% and in his first five starts that has soared to 23.8%. That has got to normalize or Roberto will be long gone. Also a stat I like to look at in relation to career norms is LOB%. Hernandez sits at a very low 62% LOB while his career is 68 still below league average.
So what do I conclude? He stays in the rotation and hopefully those numbers start to normalize back to career levels and he’ll give the Rays what they thought they were buying, a middle of the rotation starting pitcher who can go beyond the sixth inning. As always Go Rays