So, after yet another excellent outing Friday night in Kansas City, Tanner Roark now has 4 wins, a miniscule 1.10 ERA, a ridiculous 349 ERA+ and has pitched 16 innings and only given up 10 hits. By way of comparison, in 12 MLB innings Nathan Karns gave up 17 hits, 6 walks and 10 earned runs. On Friday night he stranded two runners he inherited from the wholly ineffective Gio Gonzalez and then pitched through the 8th inning giving up just one hit against a hot offense who had pounded our 2012 Cy Young candidate.
Tanner Roark, where have you been all my life??
Small sample sizes, yes. But Roark has been effective in 5 of his 6 of his appearances thus far (his worst outing was in his hometown; understandable as his family looked on). He hits corners, he doesn’t walk guys, he works inside, he gets a ton of jams and flairs. He has decent enough velocity and stuff, which is less important than being able to command your pitches. 90mph at the knees on the black is better than 96mph over the middle of the plate (ask Greg Maddux what he thinks of command versus velocity).
Are we looking at a potential 5th starter for 2014? At some point in the off-season we’re going to have this discussion. Clearly the team has more than one viable candidate for a 5th starter. The days of paying Edwin Jackson and Dan Haren tens of millions of dollars to be mediocre-to-ineffective 4th starters looks like it may be over. Ross Detwiler‘s up and down career may put him in jeopardy of losing his rotation spot next spring. At the very least Roark seems to have an inside track on the long-man/spot starter role that just a few weeks ago we thought was Ross Ohlendorf‘s to lose.
Stay tuned; with the Nats out of it September is going to be a great time to feature Roark in a starting role (along with perhaps Karns and maybe even someone like Danny Rosenbaum or even the surprising Caleb Clay) as an audition for 2014.
By way of comparison, in 12 MLB innings Nathan Karns gave up 17 hits, 6 walks and 10 earned runs.