Blue Jays Opposing Pitcher Report: Tanner Roark
On Sunday, June 17, the Blue Jays look to sweep the Washington Nationals at home. The nationals send Tanner Roark to the mound, while the Blue Jays counter with Sam Gaviglio.
Tanner Roark faced long odds to make it to the Major Leagues. As a twenty-fifth round draft pick in the 2008 draft, the right-hander had to battle through plenty of adversity to make it as a major league starter.
The righty had an excellent season in 2016 but was unable to back up these numbers in 2017. This season, however, his numbers have been great, posting a 3.63 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 1.115 WHIP, and 111 ERA+ in fourteen appearances.
Interestingly, his one non-start appearance came earlier this month, against Atlanta. The starter pitched a third of an inning, allowing two hits, two earned runs, and one home run. When taking the mound as a starter, Roark has been much better, pitching 10 quality starts, out of a total of thirteen.
The veteran right-hander offers a mix of a few different pitches. Primarily the Nationals starter will use his fastball, but he will also mix in curveballs, sliders, change-ups, and cutters.
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The right-handed hurler has featured his fastball 52.2% of the time this season. Despite averaging a poor velocity of 91 mph, the pitch has been quite effective—allowing a low .233 BAA.
Roark has broken off big breaking hooks 15.9% of the time this season. The righty’s curve has some great movement, maintaining the ability to hard out of the zone, and cut to the glove side. However, despite the pitch’s great movement, the breaking ball has allowed a huge .568 SLGA.
The righty has thrown his swing-and-miss slider 13.4% of the time this season. The slider has produced whiffs at a great rate of 42.55% of swings and has been responsible for 13 strikeouts. Batters haven’t fared much better when making contact on the slider—posting a minuscule .098 BAA.
The former twenty-fifth round pick has thrown his change-up 13% of the time this season. The off-speed pitch maintains great sink and arm side run. However, despite displaying great movement, the change has been responsible for seven extra-base hits and a poor .523 SLGA.
Roark’s offerings are completed by a cutter, which he has thrown 2.6% of the time this season. The cut-fastball has been terrible this season, posting a .500 BAA and horrendous .875 SLGA. However, in limited use, these numbers are likely inflated.
While the right-hander has been very effective to this point in the season, his peripheral numbers suggest that he is due for regression. His current BABIP, which sits at .245, is thirty points lower than his career average, and 55 points lower than last year. His FIP, which accounts for luck on balls in play, suggests that his true skill is worthy of a 4.26 ERA.
The Blue Jays have very limited experience against the Illinois native. In fact, as a team, the Jays have just 51 career at-bats against the righty. Most of this experience is from Curtis Granderson, who has destroyed Roark in his career. Granderson has managed nine hits, including four doubles and a home run, in 27 at-bats. However, all of Randal Grichuk, Russell Martin, and Aledmys Diaz are hitless in their career against the right-hander.
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The Blue Jays are entering one of the most difficult points in their schedule. A quick three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals could help put the Tampa sweep in the rear-view mirror and refocus the team for the brutal weeks ahead. Tanner Roark is the most beatable pitcher the Jays will play this weekend—it’s up to the team to take advantage.