8th Inning Boom Or Dust: Making A Case For Dustin McGowan


Jun 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Dustin McGowan (29) pitches during the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays just keep turning out quality arms in the bullpen. It turns out the latest surprise is another former Blue Jays Starter.

The cat is well out of the bag with Brett Cecil now that he is an All Star but how about the performance of Dustin McGowan?

For a guy who hasn’t started big league games since 2008, he sure seems to look good on the mound. What adds to the “feel good” part of the McGowan story is that coming into this season he has only been in 5 big league games since his up-and-down 2008 season. Based on how he has performed, I don’t think it’s out of the question to have him and Steve Delabar share the 8th inning roles the rest of the season.

Lets have a quick look at some numbers for 2013

•IP: 10.1
•ERA 1.74
•K/BB 13/4

•HR/FB 25%
•Ground Ball% 58.3

While it has only been 10.1 innings thus far this year let me make a few points:

•Only 2ER given up this season and both came when he just came up

•Any time you have a reliever come in the game you want them to throw strikes. Dustin is pitching at more then a 3:1 K/BB rate which is great. Also note he has only walked one batter in his last 5 appearances.

•The HR/FB rate of 25% is well above his career numbers (9.7%) which leads me to think he has been unlucky and that these numbers should decrease down closer to the norm.

•Dustin has been using his sinker with great success as his ground ball rate is an outstanding 58.3%. This number is also a career high and 10% higher then his career numbers. While this number may also lower a bit toward the mean, Dustin will still be effective with an above 50% GB rate.

To summarize: The GTA has been waiting patiently, hoping Dustin McGowan could return and produce at this level. Now a mainstay in the Bullpen, he should be given the opportunity to set up for Jansen. His ability to get the ground ball and/or strike batters out at a high rate makes him valuable to this team, and their second half success.