The Chicago Cubs have moved Tom Gorzelanny around, from the rotation to the bullpen and then back again. With the talk of Carlos Zambrano returning to the bullpen, if he ever returns to the active roster, it appears that Gorzelanny is entrenched into the rotation.

The question for fantasy owners is if he can prove usable in the second half. First, let’s take a look at his numbers through 17 appearances (11 starts):

3 Wins
68.0 Innings
3.31 ERA
1.43 WHIP
69 Strikeouts (9.1 K/9)
35 Walks (4.6 BB/9)
.321 BABIP


He has 62 strikeouts in 61.2 innings as a starting pitcher. Clearly, the strikeout rate is not a function of working in relief. While he hadn’t shown the strikeout rate in the major leagues prior to 2009 (6.2 K/9 over his career heading into ‘10), Gorzelanny was a strikeout pitcher in the minors.  In 437.1 minor league innings, he posted an 8.6 K/9.

It simply appears that it took him time to figure things out in the major leagues, but his strikeout rate is very much for real.

Gorzelanny’s control has actually regressed from his younger days. He posted a BB/9 of 2.8, including three different stints at Triple-A, over his minor league career:

  • 2007 – 2.4 (99.2 IP)
  • 2008 – 1.0 (35.0 IP)
  • 2009 – 3.1 (87.0 IP)


It’s odd, but his control has been worse in the bullpen then in the rotation, though that’s not to say that he’s been good as a starter. He has 29 walks over 61.2 innings as a starting pitcher (4.3 BB/9).

Given his history, the potential to improve his control just makes Gorzelanny all the more attractive to fantasy owners.

He’s not a groundball pitcher (43.8 percent in ‘10 vs. 42.5 percent over his career), yet he’s allowed just four home runs this season. That’s one issue to watch, because it’s highly unlikely that he maintains a 0.5 HR/9. A regression there is going to hurt his ERA, although it’s not all bad.

Gorzelanny has been slightly unlucky, with his .321 BABIP.  An improvement there, as well as a decrease in the walk rate, will mean fewer runners on base. That will help to offset the increase in home runs, so his ERA should continue to be strong.

Whenever you have a pitcher with the potential to strikeout a batter per inning, he’s likely to have value. When you look at Gorzelanny, you see the strikeouts and a potentially improved WHIP (improved luck and a potential drop in walks) in his future. What’s not to like? He has the potential to have value in all formats, which makes him worth stashing if you need strikeouts.

What are your thoughts? Is Gorzelanny someone you want to own, or do you think he’s going to decline in the second half?

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