This is another installment in our series grading the individual performances of the key members of the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Each player will receive a classic grade on the scale of A through F, based on their hitting, fielding, and whatever else the author wants to consider. Check out our other previous installments in the related section below. Today, I’ll be reviewing Jake Odorizzi’s season.
There doesn’t seem to be any better time to do this, with Odorizzi now officially back with the Twins for 2020. He earned the qualifying offer last season with a career year and he will have a lot of motivation to build on it this season.
The first time All Star is coming off a 2019 season where he posted a 3.51 ERA (6th in AL among starters), 3.36 FIP, 10.08 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, and 4.3 WAR. He was one of just 14 starters to post a K/9 of 10 or better along with a BB/9 of 3.00 or lower. His 4.3 WAR was also good for 19th in baseball.
There were only two real issues—going deep into games, and one really rough stretch. He averaged just 5 1⁄3 innings per start, but he has the ability to go six or seven. He also had that really rough patch in the middle of the season. Here is 2019 split into three parts:
- April/May: 58.1 IP, 2.16 ERA, 3.09 FIP, 17.9 K-BB%
- June/July: 50.1 IP, 5.54 ERA, 4.86 ERA, 16.1 K-BB%
- August/September: 50.1 IP, 3.04 ERA, 2.16 FIP, 23.1 K-BB%
Jake basically said he got away from his routine and became more relaxed in the middle of the season because he was pitching so well. Of course when he struggled for two months he went back to his early ways and was at his best in the final months.
He actually had a weird season in terms of results from the juiced ball. Despite being a fly ball pitcher (44.3%, 5th highest in MLB) and giving up a lot of hard contact (42.3%, 7th highest in MLB), he had the best HR/FB% in baseball at just 8.8%. Whatever he did to keep the ball in the park was working in a season where nobody kept the ball in the park.
Odorizzi talked a lot about how he went to a Florida baseball ranch during the off season and committed himself to being the best version of himself. The ranch helped him improve his fastball to new levels of velocity and effectiveness. After sitting around 91 MPH for his fastball every season, he averaged 92.9 MPH in 2019. He also increased his swinging strike rate from 11.6% to 15%.
In a free agent class loaded with top end starting pitching, Odorizzi would have been a top six option so it’s excellent that the Twins were able to get him on the QO. He is a solid number two starter that will hopefully continue to build on a solid season.
Overall grade: A-
What grade do you give Jake Odorizzi’s 2019?
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