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May 4, 2013

Fantasy Beat

Jeremy Guthrie and His New Success

by Paul Sporer

Jeremy Guthrie has a 3.06 ERA through five starts which looks like a continuation of his post-trade work with the Royals from last season when he had a 3.16 ERA in 91 innings over 14 starts. All told, he had a 3.14 ERA in 123 2/3 innings with 1.10 WHIP. He is blasting the zone resulting in a minuscule 5.8 percent walk rate – a marked improvement over his 6.9 percent career rate. His strikeout rate is at 16 percent as a Royal, up from a 14.3 career mark. Everything seems to suggest he has found a new level of production in his early-30s with his new club.

That strikes me as odd, though.

You don’t usually see a guy with 1111 innings of a certain level of production become something significantly better in their 30s. At least not without a major change in their pitch mix either by adding a pitch or using what he has differently. There hasn’t been any of that with Guthrie which made his improvement even more suspicious. This split of his innings as a Royal definitely stood out:







vs. CWS






vs. Rest








Guthrie has owned his Saturday night opponent since becoming a Royal and it is driving his new found success. Against the rest of the league, he’s simply been the solid, if unspectacular Jeremy Guthrie we’ve known for nearly a decade, but he’s a Cy Young frontrunner against the Pale Hose. Let’s see if he continues the dominance tonight in Kauffman Stadium.

For those wondering, two of these five starts have come in Kauffman Stadium and he’s allowed five runs, but only one earned in 13 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts and two walks. 

Paul Sporer is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Paul's other articles. You can contact Paul by clicking here

8 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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May 04, 2013 20:11 PM
rating: 2

Guess what happened? Complete game shutout! Nailed it, Paul. Can you go deeper into why so good against the Sox?

May 05, 2013 05:05 AM
rating: 1

Small sample size fluke. It's 35 innings.

May 06, 2013 05:48 AM
rating: -1
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

Dismissing it entirely as SSS is kind of a lazy way to look at it and I don't really agree, either. It's now 45 of 123 innings with the Royals.

May 06, 2013 05:54 AM
Old School

I was watching the Royals telecast on Saturday night and the announcers were giving a lot of credit to Dave Eiland, the Royals pitching coach. Don't know if there's anything to that, but at least that was part of their take....

May 06, 2013 06:18 AM
rating: 1
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

That makes sense especially since he's also been crediting with some nice work re: Ervin Santana and building on some things that the Angels started late last season (look at his Aug/Sept from '12).

May 06, 2013 06:20 AM

Guthrie's improvement is "suspicious?" What do you mean, "suspicious?" It sounds like you are accusing him of something. It's really very simple; and Dave Eiland talked about it late last season. As the Yankees pitching coach, he had watched Guthrie for many years, and always felt that batters could see the ball out of his hand too well. Eiland suggested a bit of a hip turn in his windup, and when Guthrie incorporated that beginning in his fourth start after joining the Royals, it did wonders for him. Nothing "suspicious" about it, and both Eiland and Guthrie have been very public in discussing what he changed.

May 06, 2013 08:01 AM
rating: 0
BP staff member Paul Sporer
BP staff

I didn't call anything suspicious nor was I accusing of anything. I thought the conceit of the piece was rather straightforward. His new found success is against one team so whatever he and Eiland are doing, it's really only worked against the White Sox and he's been his regular solid, league average self otherwise. I don't quite understand the intense reaction.

May 06, 2013 08:04 AM
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