First, here’s an introduction. My name is Jack Marsh. I’m 15, and I have been writing about sports for a while now on my own (And on Royals Review) and I needed to get another outlet for my writing. Thankfully, I submitted some of my work to KC Young Guns, and they liked it. I feel very lucky to have this privilege of writing for KC Young Guns, and I really appreciate getting the opportunity to write here.
The Royals made a major trade today, sending Jonathan Sanchez (and his delightful 7.76 ERA and WHIP of 2.044) to the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie (And his just as delightful 6.35 ERA and 1.688 WHIP). If you barely skim the trade and what we got in return, you would probably say that it was trading a bad pitcher for a just as bad pitcher. However, if you look a little deeper into the numbers, you will see that Jeremy Guthrie is a good #3 starter who simply struggles in hitter’s parks because he is a fly-ball pitcher.
Let’s start with the basics. Jeremy Guthrie is an adequate pitcher who doesn’t strike out a lot of guys (Career 5.4 Strikeouts per 9 IP), but focuses on pitching to contact and getting outs through it (40.7% Career Groundball rate and 40.4% Flyball rate). By picthing with a high Flyball percentage, you probably aren’t going to survive at Coors Field (the toughest hitter’s park/home run park in the MLB), and the stats show that he did not.
At Coors Field, Guthrie had a 9.50 ERA. Away from Coors Field, Guthrie had a 3.67 ERA. When you consider that The K is a neutral hitter/pitcher park, you can expect some improvement. When you see that his BABIP (Batting average on balls in play) is .340 at home, you can expect even more.
Considering that Jonathan Sanchez has been the lesser pitcher AWAY from Coors Field than Jeremy Guthrie, you can probably expect him to do even worse when he’s there.
If you look at the type of pitcher Guthrie is and the way he performs away from Coors, this trade could be considered a major steal for the Royals. The only down side to the trade for the Royals is having to eat up Guthrie’s $8.2 million contract.