Throughout the beginning of the 2018 season Drew Pomeranz has been mediocre at best. He currently has a 6.81 over the span of 37 IP. His inflated ERA is due to his lack of innings pitched, but an ERA of almost 7 is horrid at any point of the season. Before Drew makes his second half debut tonight against the Orioles let’s look at what has been wrong with Pomeranz up to this point in the season.
Too Many Walks
This chart below displays Drew Pomeranz’s Base on Balls Percentage and his Left on Base Percentage through the first half of the 2018 season.
As you can see in the graph above, Pomeranz’s LOB% and BB% vary inversely, meaning that as Pomeranz’s Base on Balls Percentage increases his Left on Base Percentage decreases. Which points to the fact that Pomeranz is walking more batters and those batters are then going on to score. Giving us a good reason for Drew’s super-inflated ERA. If Drew wants to succeed during the rest of the season he will need to cut down on the walks, but that is much harder than it looks. Another smaller problem with Pomeranz is his decreased groundball rate (GB%)
Not Enough Groundballs
This season especially, Pomeranz has been allowing more fly balls and line drives. This becomes evident with his rising GB% (Percentage of ground balls hit), as it is down 4.9 percent from last year and down 7.9 percent from two years ago when he was an all-star for the San Diego Padres. Displaying that hitters are having an easier time hitting the ball in the air, thus creating more opportunities to hit home runs. Paired with a higher BB% a lower GB% can be the kiss of death to a starting pitcher who does not strike out a lot of hitters.
Drew’s biggest problem has been his lack of velocity in his first few starts. As the graph below shows his average fastball velocity has been around 95 MPH, but this season his FB velocity has been around 93 MPH, and his FB does not have enough movement or control to be successful when thrown softer than 95 MPH. Without the high velocity to back up his fastball, he has been more prone to harder hit balls and as any casual baseball fans know the harder the ball is hit the more likely it is to allow the hitter to reach base.
With Drew Pomeranz making his second debut of the season tonight against the struggling Orioles look to see an increase in fastball velocity tonight. Tonight, is the perfect time to reintroduce the struggling Pomeranz into this Red Sox rotation. If all goes well Drew’s resurgence will add much needed depth to this already impressive Sox team. Although Drew has had almost two full months to recover from his bicep injury if his fastball velocity is still around 92-93 MPH it is likely that he will be hit around by the lowly Orioles and a second half resurgence will look unlikely.
*All statistics and graphs are courtesy of FanGraphs
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