Mid-Season Review: The Rotation | The Process Report

Mid-Season Review: The Rotation

The All-Star Break is here. The Rays are 55-41, 2 1/2 games back of the division lead, and sit atop the American League’s Wild Card standings by half a game. Here is a look at the performance of Tampa Bay’s rotation:

David Price: The reigning American League Cy Young winner was off to a rough start even before a triceps injury wiped out six weeks of his season. Getting injured is never good, but the time off seemed to do well for Price. He returned just in time to feast on the soft part of the Rays schedule. The lefty was extremely efficient upon his return, and despite the weaker competition, he exhibited a process that should be successful against better lineups: spotting fastballs glove-side, working his cutter arm-side, and dropping changeups and breaking balls in between.

Matt Moore: An All Star for the first time in his career. Despite the solid record and ERA, the most impressive part of Moore’s first half was the maturity and growth showed after a horrendous three-start stretch. Armed with a plus fastball and good breaking ball, the southpaw has become a company man, embracing his changeup more and more; so much so he is now throwing it against fellow left-handers.

Roberto Hernandez: The Hernandez experience proves that not everything Andrew Friedman touches turns to gold. That said, the big right-hander has not been a sack of coal either. Brought in to bring some stability to the back-end of the rotation, Hernandez has averaged six innings per start. He is using his alternative pitches (changeup and breaking ball) more which has led to an increase in strikeouts and fewer walks. Half of the balls put in play against him stay on the ground, but when he leaves the ball elevated, he has been hit a hard.

Jeremy Hellickson: After years of outperforming his peripheral statistics, those with crystal balls have perennially predicted regression for Hellickson. He struggled early in the season, especially while pitching with the lead, but got on a roll in June. In a twist, Hellickson’s support stats are now better than his ERA. His changeup remains one of the better pitches of its kind and has been a two-strike weapon. His current strikeout-to-walk rate would be a full-season best for him.

Alex Cobb: The best news from Cobb’s first half is that he is okay after taking a line drive to the head in June. Prior to the injury, he was the Rays’ most consistent – and arguably best – starter, picking up the baton from the similarly skilled James Shields. Like Shields, he uses his secondary pitches in primary counts and vice versa. Do not be surprised if the Rays target Cobb, as they did with Shields, as a potential extension candidate.

Chris Archer: In the final two weeks leading in to the break, Archer flourished against weaker competition. That said, he has always had the tools to be a front-end starter. His changeup is becoming a nuisance for opposing hitters and his four-seam fastball is providing more stability in the strike zone. The hope is he takes the information learned during this most recent stretch – both mental and the muscle memory of throwing strikes – and excels as the opposing talent increases in the second half.

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  1. […] Price’s mid-season review, Tommy noted the left-hander was “extremely efficient upon his return,” and that he […]

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