Wandy Rodriguez is one of the better left-handed starting pitchers in the National League, even if that’s sometimes difficult to discern given that he plays for a team that is fairly inept in Houston. As a result of a lack of offensive support, Wandy has gone 22-23 the past two season causing people to often overlook his work on the hill. Due $10 in 2012, $13 million in 2013 and $13 million in 2014 (there is a $2.5 million buyout for ’14), the Astros may look to move Wandy this offseason (the Rockies are known to be very interested). What type of pitcher will Wandy be for whichever team he ends up pitching for in 2012? A very solid one if you ask me.
Wandy isn’t exactly the pitcher you think of when you talk about durability, but it should be noted that he has thrown 190 or more innings each of the past three years. There are only six other lefties in baseball in that club and that supports the contention that Rodriguez is one of the better lefties in the game if we can show that his performance has been impressive.
Rodriguez isn’t a massive strikeout arm in the mold of other Astros’ arms like J.R. Richard, Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott, but Wandy does own a 7.68 K/9 mark in his career, and in three of the past four season that K/9 mark of his has been better than 8.20. Moreover, when you combine the Ks and the innings you end up with a hurler who has struck out at least 165 batters in each of the past three years. There are only five other lefties in that club of 165 K men the last three years.
Unfortauntely, Wandy has seen his walk total increase the last couple of years as he walked a then career worst 68 in 2010 followed up by issuing 69 last year. After seeing his BB/9 dip below 2.90 in 2008-09, it’s disappointing to see that it has crept back up anove 3.10 the last two seasons. Still, he’s right about the league average here so it’s not awful. The result is a K/BB mark of at least 2.41 in each of the past five years, thought again, the mark has dipped to solid the last two years after being strong in 2008-09.
In terms of batted balls, Wandy has done a better job the past couple of years at generating grounders. In fact, he’s a pretty decent ground ball artist who has posted a GB-rate of 44.9 percent or better the past three years. The result has been a solid GB/FB ratio of 1.21 or better in each of those years culminating in a 1.49 mark in 2010. He’s also posted exactly the same number in the line drive category the past two years at 20.0 percent, right about identical to the big league average. He’s also about big league average when it comes to his HR/F ratio. However, there’s room for improvement here as his 13.0 percent mark last season was a six year high, and coming on the heels of 3-straight seasons below 10 percent some regression in 2012 would seem like a fair bet to place.
So in Rordiguez we have a fairly durable arm that posts strong strikeout totals and keeps the walks in check. He’s also better than average at inducing grounders which also help him to remain fairly consistent – not necessarily from start to start, but from season to season. Check out his numbers the past four years.
ERA: 3.54, 3.02, 3.60, 3.49
WHIP: 1.31, 1.24, 1.29, 1.31
Wandy isn’t likely to challenge for the Cy Young Award, and he’s not exactly a fantasy ace, but he is a solid, dependable arm that should be prized in mixed leagues in 2012.
By Ray Flowers