by Daniel Gettinger
I really like Chad Gaudin. Yeah he can be wild, but he also has decent stuff, which helps him miss bats and keep the ball in the yard. Unfortunately, the traditional stats do not paint a pretty picture. Since joining the Padres, Gaudin has gone 2-6 with a 5.98 ERA. Amongst NL pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched, only four pitchers have a worse ERA than Gaudin. Josh Geer’s is just as bad.
Luckily, ERA and win percentage do not tell the complete story. I believe there is reason for optimism going forward. Gaudin has a FIP of 4.28, a full 1.72 points below his ERA. His xFIP, a measure similar to FIP, but which attempts to normalize home run rates is 4.47. A bit higher than his FIP, but still much lower than his ERA.
The reason for the large differential between Gaudin’s ERA and his defense independent marks may be the scary combination of a high batting average on balls in play, and a low strand rate. Gaudin’s BABIP of 0.336 is the ninth highest in the NL amongst pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched. And pitchers with a high BABIP are not necessarily bad. Tim Lincecum and Cole Hamels are amongst those with an even higher BABIP than Gaudin. Gaudin’s BABIP should regress towards the mean.
Gaudin’s strand rate is just as bad as his BABIP. Chad has stranded just 63.2% of base runners this season. Sixth worst in the NL (amongst pitchers with 50 or more innings pitched). Much like we expect his BABIP to regress towards the mean, so too should his strand rate. Had a more reasonable percentage of base runners not been allowed to score, Gaudin’s ERA would look much prettier.
Chad Gaudin will never be a great pitcher. He walks too many batters. But he strikes people out, and does not give up the long ball too often. Poor luck has masked what has actually been an okay season. I see no reason to revise my previous prediction that Gaudin will be a league average pitcher for the Padres. I urge fans to have similar patience as we wait for regression to work its magic.