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Marco Gonzalez is finally healthy and on a hot streak

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Buy shares now. You can always sell if this continues.

USA TODAY Sports/Peter Rogers Illustrations

I realize I’m a day late posting this. I meant to get this up late last week but life got in the way and due to that you might have missed out on his third consecutive start without allowing an earned run. I first caught a glimpse of Marco Gonzalez after his April 29th start vs. Cleveland. At that time he had not allowed more than four earned runs in an outing sporting a 9.73 K/9 and 1.57 BB/9 with a 3-2 record and an ERA of 5.02. The ERA was off-putting but when you looked at just about everything else it was on a good trend.

History

Drafted 19th overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2013 MLB draft out of Gonzaga, Marco pitched just six innings in rookie ball before being promoted up to not lower A or regular A but A+. He spent 2013 and 2014 at A+ and while there, it was all about the twos. He kept his ERA below two, he had two wins, two losses, he had around two walks per nine innings and had around seven strikeouts per nine.

By the end of 2014 he worked his way up to Triple-A with a phenomenal 4-1 record 3.35 ERA 7.69 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9 then joining the Cardinals in the playoffs where he had four wins, 4.15 ERA and 8.05 K/9. Shoulder injuries derailed his 2015 year forcing him to miss a few months. He worked his way through the ranks making one start with the Cardinals where he faced Washington in September and allowed four earned runs in 2 2/3 IP).

2016 brought the dreaded torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow which meant Tommy John Surgery. In July of 2017 he had again worked his way back up to Triple-A posting two wins and a 4.50 ERA with 6.75 K/9 when he was traded to the Mariners in exchange for Tyler O’Neill (who is also playing well). He made 10 starts with the Mariners allowing fewer than three runs in six; however he was pitching fewer than five innings in most outings not allowing for much depth.

This Year

2018 has been a nice breakout for him, while not necessarily his rookie year, it’s the first year he’s pitched at least 50 innings at the Major League level. He is currently at five wins, three losses, a 3.60 ERA, 7.95 K/9; 2.25 BB/9 and allowing fewer than one HR per 9. He has played 11 games, six against teams below .500 and five against teams over .500. He’s allowed 4 runs or more in four of his 11 games and allowed one run or fewer in four of his 11 games. While three of his first four starts had him pitching fewer than five innings, all of his last seven starts have had more than five innings pitched and he has exceeded a 2:1 K/BB ratio in nine of his 11 starts. The point here is that his 2018 season has not been mired by one really good or bad start but instead a steady progression of above average starts with a handful of below average starts, all the while keeping his earned runs at four or below in each start.

Pitching Profile

He uses his fastball most (38% of the time) but features four well commanded pitches that he uses regularly including a a curve (21% of the time), slider (16% of the time) and changeup (25% of the time). His slider has been his worse pitch so far which is largely why he is using it the least of his four pitches. His curveball is probably his best pitch and has been touched up very lightly in five of his starts but went virtually untouched in the remaining six. Taking out a Cleveland start where his fastball was knocked around mightily, he has been good there especially over his last three where his streak of zero earned runs sits. He is better against lefties (.242 AVG) than righties (.285 AVG) but is more prone to allowing home runs vs. lefties. Home vs. Away has been largely the same with .277 AVG at home and .280 AVG on the road.

Expectations

He has had a bit of luck on his back with a BABIP of .343. Expect his BABIP to be up more around the .380 area. His strikeouts are legit as are the Mariners, so his win total should remain strong. While his current 0.00 ERA over three starts with combined 12 strikeouts is impressive, those starts were against Texas, Oakland, and Detroit (who are a combined 14-16 over their last combined 30 games). Expect to see some regression in runs allowed but I think a sub-4.00 ERA is possible with 12+ wins. His WHIP has never been above average and should be expected to sit north of 1.40 due to him walking a batter ever four innings and allowing just over a hit per inning.

Fantasy Effect

As long as he’s healthy, I’m keeping him in my lineup. I expect one of his next two starts to yield around four runs allowed but as long as he’s keeping his overall ERA south of four with at least 2.5 K/BB and a win 60% of the time he is definitely fantasy relevant.

Poll

How serious is he regressing?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    So much so he is not ownable in all but the deepest of leagues
    (5 votes)
  • 65%
    A little but still worth owning in 12+ team leagues
    (15 votes)
  • 13%
    Cutoff is less than 10 teams
    (3 votes)
23 votes total Vote Now