Clayton Richard will play a large role in who wins the NL West. In what follows I will break down his 2010 performance and give my thoughts on what to expect from him moving forward.
Clayton Richard, SP, Padres
6’5″, 240 lbs.
Bats: L Throws: L
Born: September 12, 1983 (Lafayette, IN)
Drafted: Eighth round selection in 2005 by the White Sox
MINOR LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS
2005 (Rookie, Single-A): He appeared in only 13 games tossing 51.1 inning after being drafted out of Michigan. He had a 2.85 ERA and 8.6 K/9 mark in Rookie ball before three middling appearances at Single-A (5.23 ERA, 1.45 WHIP).
2006 (Single-A, High-A): Was 6-6 with a 3.67 ERA over 18 appearances for Winston-Salem. His WHIP was poor at 1.52 as his K/9 mark dipped to 5.1. In four starts at High-A he was 1-3 with a 4.56 ERA and 1.48 WHIP.
2007 (High-A): His record was a mere 8-12, but he posted a solid 3.63 ERA over 161.1 inning (a minor league high). His K/BB was poor at 1.68 and he allowed almost a hit an inning (159) leading to a 1.35 WHIP.
2008 (Double-A, Triple-A): Finally he broke through. At Double-A he was 6-6 with a strong 2.47 ERA and 0.98 WHIP, numbers that improved when he moved to Triple-A when he went 6-0 with a 2.45 ERA an a 0.84 WHIP.
MAJOR LEAGUE CAREER
2008: He appeared in 13 games with the White Sox making eight starts. He had trouble getting batters out with a 6.04 ERA, 1.55 WHIP an a .303 BAA over 47.2 innings.
2009: He made 26 appearances with the Sox, including 14 starts, before he was dealt to the Padres. He went 4-3 with a 4.65 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in the AL before posting very similar numbers with the Padres over 12 starts: 5-2, 4.08 ERA, 1.47 WHIP.
2010 stats: 13-9, 3.71 ERA, 152 Ks, 1.40 WHIP in 196.1 IP
The most obvious place to start with Richard is that he is a totally different pitcher at home and on the road. Here are his 2010 splits:
Home: 3.16 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.01 K/9, 2.29 K/BB, .227 BAA
Away: 4.37 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 5.76 K/9, 1.66 K/BB, .307 BAA
At home he is a fantasy star, while on the road you would be better off starting a guy like Randy Wolf (yikes). No mere one year occurrence, here are his career numbers at Petco versus everywhere else.
Petco: 10-6, 2.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.02 K/9, 2.14 K/BB over 141.2 IP
Others: 14-13, 5.04 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 5.95 K/9, 1.67 K/BB over 255.1 IP
Those are some rather massive splits and they have to be a huge concern to fantasy owners.
As for his overall work this season there was some improvement. He pushed his K/9 rate up a quarter of a point to 6.97, while at the same time dropping his walk rate by seven tenths down to 3.48 (compared to his 2009 effort). At the same time, his 6.97 K/9 mark is slightly below the 2010 big league average of 7.11, while his K/BB mark of 2.00 is also below the big league average (2.17). Not really much goodness here, other than the slight growth he showed from 2009 to 2010.
As for his ability to keep the ball on the ground, his GB/FB was solid at 1.39, though that was worse than his career 1.45 mark while at the same time being a 3-year worst. His 19.2 line drive rate was pretty much league average, and his .314 BABIP was a dead on match for his career rate. The bottom line is that his BAA is right about where it should be (.266).
Richard was very, very good against left-handed batters with a 1.02 WHIP, a 3.15 K/BB mark, an a .225 BAA. However, he was sub par when facing righties with a 1.56 WHIP, a 1.76 K/BB mark, and a .281 BAA.
Finally, he continued an odd trend of being a better pitcher under the lights.
Day: 4.73 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 6.35 K/9, 1.59 K/BB
Night: 3.12 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 7.33 K/9, 2.30 K/BB
The bottom line with Richard is if you started him in a home game, that was played at nighttime, against a lineup filled with left-handed batters, you were almost guaranteed to find yourself with one dynamite performance.
Richard is set to pitch on Friday night versus the Giants in what might be a must win for the Padres. I’m not going to predict how he will do in that outing other than to say that he has given up six or more earned runs in two of his last three starts and that he will be pitching on the road. If you read the report, you will know what to do if you are a Richard owner.
Long-term, until he learns to clean up his work on the road, Richard shouldn’t be counted on to produce numbers any better than we saw from him this season, which means he is nothing more than a depth option in standard mixed leagues.
By Ray Flowers