How much of a difference will veteran starter, Clayton Richard, have on Toronto’s 2019 rotation over Sam Gaviglio?
For starters, this is not a rotation battle piece. I just thought it’d fun to do a comparative piece with these two Blue Jays starters.
After the 2018 season, the 28-yr-old Sam Gaviglio was written off by most Blue Jays followers despite being a saving grace for much of the season. A season which saw many of the teams top 5 starting pitchers spending considerable time on the disabled list or underachieve.
The offseason acquisitions of Matt Shoemaker and Clayton Richard have pushed Gaviglio down the depth SP depth charts. Picking up the pair of veteran starters helped round out a Blue Jays rotation which consists of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Ryan Borucki. Or so we hope.
Adding Shoemaker was viewed as a nice buy-low signing after an injury-plagued 2018. A return to form in 2019, along with a team friendly contract with team control will make him an attractive asset at this year’s trade deadline. Or they could hold onto him as a reliable starter at the back of the rotation.
However, the addition of the 35-yr-old Richard was more of a head-scratcher. This got me thinking…..how much better will the Blue Jays rotation be with Richard versus Gaviglio?
All things considered, Richard should be considered a lock for a rotation spot with Gaviglio heading to Triple-A to serve as minor league depth. Gaviglio has a minor league option remaining for 2019; therefore, will not be required to pass through waivers. This option also allows Toronto to use Gaviglio as a spot starter when needed, due to injury or fatigue.
Both starters have spent time in the bullpen. Toronto could keep both on the 25-man roster, rolling with the hot hand or hotter hand.
According to Brooks Baseball (click) Richard:
Relied primarily on his Sinker (91mph) and Slider (81mph), also mixing in a Fourseam Fastball (91mph) and Change (85mph).
According to Brooks Baseball (click) Gaviglio:
Relied primarily on his Sinker (89mph) and Slider (84mph), also mixing in a Change (83mph), Fourseam Fastball (89mph) and Curve (79mph).
A Look Back at 2018
Sam Gaviglio made 24 starts with a pair of relief appearances over 123.2 IP as a member of the Blue Jays. He went 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA and a 4.16 xFIP. Gaviglio finished as a 0.9 WAR starter.
Home: 2-3, 3.41 ERA
Away: 1-7, 7.91 ERA
LHB: .279 BA
RHB: .283 BA
1st Half: 2-3, 4.58 ERA
2nd Half: 1-7, 5.94 ERA
Fangraphs: 7.64 K/9, 2.77 BB/9, .313 BABIP, 48.9 GB%, 16.7 HR/FB, and 1.38 WHIP.
Clayton Richard made 27 starts over 158.2 IP as a member of the San Diego Padres. He went 7-11 with a 5.33 ERA and a 4.24 xFIP. Richard finished as a 0.7 WAR starter.
Home: 2-3, 3.94 ERA
Away: 5-8, 6.67 ERA
LHB: .242 BA
RHB: .269 BA
1st Half: 7-8, 4.43 ERA
2nd Half: 0-3, 8.57 ERA
Fangraphs: 6.13 K/9, 3.40 BB/9, .289 BABIP, 56.8 GB%, 17.8 HR/FB, and 1.44 WHIP.
The 2019 Projections
Gaviglio is expected to make 40 appearances, 10 to 11 starts, throwing close to 100 innings. THE BAT, ATC, and Steamer expect Gaviglio to go 4-6 with an ERA between 4.60 to 4.86 while striking out 7.12 to 7.46 per 9IP and walking 2.46 to 2.85 per 9IP.
Richard is expected to make between 21 to 27 starts, throwing close to 123 innings. THE BAT, ATC, and Steamer expect Richard to go win between 6-7 games and 8-9 losses with an ERA between 4.67 and 5.11 while striking out 5.76 to 6.31 per 9IP and walking 3.24 to 3.78 per 9IP.
In my opinion, neither pitcher will make much of a difference to the success of Toronto in 2019. Neither pitcher is expected to put All-Star numbers or win a Cy Young award in 2019. Having both pitchers on the 25-man roster will, however, aid in the development of the pitchers currently in the system. Richard may not strike out as many batters as Gaviglio. Gaviglio may not be able to pitch as deep into games as Richard. But both pitchers provide the Front Office with a pair of place holders until one if the younger starters prove they are ready to take the next step.
For now, let’s all hope that Richard can throw close to 200 innings while not serving up 20 to 24 home runs in the homer-friendly confines of the AL East.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.