2022 was a rough season for Austin Gomber. After showing a good amount of promise in 2021, pitching to a very solid 4.53 ERA (106 ERA+) across 23 starts and beginning 2022 as the clear-cut fourth starter, he struggled to a 5.97 ERA, losing his spot in the rotation in late June/mid July. His ERA did drop to 4.68 since being moved to the bullpen in late July, but the Rockies have been adamant about seeing Gomber as a starter long term, and it’s not hard to see why. After all, this is a guy who was quite solid just last season as a starter, and as we’ll see, has the tools to get guys out multiple times every five games.
It goes without saying that I agree with the Rockies as far as Gomber being a starter goes. As part of my unofficial “Crafting a Gameplan” series, we’re going to take a look at Austin Gomber as a pitcher. We’ll go over his strengths, his weaknesses, and we’ll design a general gameplan for him moving forward based on data, as well as suggest changes we could make to his pitch mix. The two previous entries of this series are down below:
Let’s get to Austin Gomber. But first, we have to make one thing clear about his 2022 season.
Gomber’s 2022 Season Wasn’t That Different to 2021
While his ERA did jump by over a run, other peripherals and ERA estimators were far kinder to Austin Gomber:
Austin Gomber’s peripherals, 2021-22
Now, he did pitch a bit worse in 2022 compared to 2021. His strikeout rate dipped from a very solid 23.2% to a poor 18% and his fastball got annihilated (again). But it wasn’t 5.56 ERA bad, which is why it was puzzling to me that he was removed from the starting rotation at all considering the lack of options the Rockies had. However, water under the bridge and all that. I wanted to get that out of the way before actually tackling Gomber as a pitcher, because discrepancies between ERA and peripherals can sometimes make a pitcher look far worse than he actually is.
Enough conversation. Let’s begin with Austin Gomber’s strengths.
What Austin Gomber Does Well
As always, we’ll start out with a pitcher’s strong suits. Every major-league hurler has at least a few of these, which is why they’re in the Show to begin with. It’s up to us to identify them and build around them. In other words, we want to weaponize what a pitcher does well.
Three Quality Non-Fastballs
This is the main draw of Austin Gomber as a pitcher for me. The lefty has one of the Holy Grails of starting pitching: three good non-fastballs, each with its own shape and velocity range. Gomber throws a slider in the 83-86 MPH range, a changeup in the 81-83 MPH range and a big curveball that sits anywhere between 74-77 MPH. All of them have significant enough differences in shape, too. Having that complete slider/changeup/curveball mix is a blessing for us, because it means a few things:
- We don’t have to theorize a new pitch out of thin air. We have worthy final products already, we just have to make minor changes to how we use them. Will we maybe suggest some changes to these pitches as well? Possibly, but that would be a cherry on top kind of deal. We have three workable pitches fresh out of the box, and that’s a big luxury when designing a gameplan.
- We can attack both righties and lefties. The existence of both a good slider and a good changeup means we have a classic swing-and-miss offering for each side of the plate, and we don’t have to dive into the precise, high-risk, high-reward world of, say, back-foot sliders. Now, we might just do that still, but it’s won’t be a must created by a lack of arsenal flexibility. it’ll be a conscious choice we’ll make.
- We can create defined roles for each pitch. This refers more to his curveball than the other two pitches. Because it’s a big, slower breaking ball in contrast to his hard, sharp slider, we can separate the roles of each pitch. This is a bit of a spoiler, but we could make our curveball the pitch we throw in the zone more often. It’s the kind of breaking ball hitters can give up on early in the count, earning some free strikes, but it’s also not a pitch we should be using all the time as a two-strike weapon for chases, because that’s what the slider is for. This tracks with how Gomber’s curveball and slider have performed, of course. His curveball has been swung at 41% of the time as a Rockie compared to 53.6% for his slider. That’s a big difference that carries over to how often they’re chased out of the zone. As a Rockie, Gomber’s curveball has been chased 23.8% of the time. His slider? 34.2% of the time. For reference, the average MLB chase rate is around 28%, so the difference between his curveball and slider is massive, and something we should take into account when thinking about how we deploy them.
Really, having three different above-average pitches makes things easier for us by providing three strong pillars to build our hurler with. This is a luxury we don’t always have, and it should be appreciated and praised. I think I just did enough of that. Let’s move on.
Unconventional Release Point
Another plus for Austin: his release point differs from average, which is never a bad thing. Gomber is a big and tall pitcher, standing at 6’5”, and he throws from a very extreme over the top arm slot. In fact, among the 129 left-handed pitchers to throw at least 1000 pitches since 2021 began, Gomber has the highest average release point (6.66 feet), period. Now, this can create some complications with his four-seamer (we’ll go over them when we get there), but in a vacuum, having a release point that differs from average is not a bad thing, especially if we can weaponize it. More on that later.
No Strike Throwing Problems
As with Márquez and Senzatela, Gomber’s control is more than good enough to start. His ability to throw pitches for strikes, throw first pitch strikes and nail the edges of the zone are all average or better. This means we don’t have to hope for less walks and pray it happens. Free passes are unlikely to be a problem, even though Gomber’s ability to draw chases hasn’t been great (although it’s mostly a fastball problem, as we’ll see). That’s another plus for a hopeful starting pitcher.
So, what do we have? Three quality off-speed pitches, a unique release point, and no significant strike-throwing issues. That’s an excellent foundation for a good pitcher, especially for a starting pitcher. The fact that he has both a good slider and changeup, paired with a big overhand curveball, all with different velocity and shape, is a fantastic feature, as we’ve explained. These are good strengths, and leave us without a ton of weak points to look at. But that’s what we’re going to do now.
What Austin Gomber Doesn’t Do Well
Now, for Gomber’s weaknesses, and we’re going to combine them into one big point because it really is that simple:
This is the root cause of almost all of Gomber’s issues as a hurler. Gomber throws one fastball — a four-seamer. Since becoming a Rockie, opponents have slashed .338/.411/.593 with an 11.7% strikeout rate against Austin’s heater. That’s a 1.004 OPS, and only 13 points behind what Todd Helton slashed in his first ten full seasons in the big leagues (.333/.432/.585/1.017 with an 11.7% strikeout rate). Needless to say, that’s quite bad, and more than enough to counteract his three good pitches. Opponents have slashed .212/.253/.372 with a 25.9% strikeout rate against Gomber’s slider, curveball and changeup combined in 2021-22. What’s wrong with Gomber’s four-seamer?
Lack of Velocity
Austin Gomber is not a hard thrower for modern standards. He averages around 91 MPH on his fastball and maxes out somewhere around 95 MPH. This is subpar velocity for 2022 MLB, when the average heater is around 94 MPH. Gomber does get solid extension towards home plate (about 6.5 feet, above average) and his perceived velocity is around 92 MPH as a result, but that remains below average. Of course, this isn’t the end of the world. While lack of velo tends to put a cap in a pitcher’s potential, it’s very possible to be a good pitcher without elite velocity, especially when you have three good non-fastballs in your back pocket like Austin Gomber does. We can’t sugar coat it, however: Gomber was a soft tosser in 2022, and that lack of velo is something we have to work around.
Vertical Approach Angle
For its low velocity and spin, Gomber’s four-seamer actually has some pretty good vertical movement thanks to his ability to spin it efficiently. In a vacuum, this results in a heater with more or less average rise and a tiny bit of natural cut, impressive movement for a 91 MPH fastball that sees half its games at Coors Field. However, Gomber’s extreme over-the-top release point creates some problems with the pitch and gives him a very small margin for error, thanks (or not thanks) to the vertical approach angle it tends to generate.
We’ve talked about vertical approach angle (VAA), so what is it exactly? Here’s a great primer for it courtesy of Alex Chamberlain, but the general idea is quite simple: VAA is the angle at which a pitch crosses the plate. When talking about four-seamers and having success with them, VAA is important. Think of the dominant four-seamers around the game right now: they’re thrown hard, with good vertical movement, up in the zone, and often from relatively low release points. Many of the best pitchers of all time made their money throwing hard up in the zone, and the trend continues today. Think about dominant power fastballs: Edwin Díaz, Jacob deGrom, prime Craig Kimbrel, Carlos Rodón, Spencer Strider, and so on. A huge part of their success has to do with the deadly combination of elite velocity, good vertical movement, consistent location up in the zone and a low release point. All these things combine to create that “rise” we’ve all heard about a million times that leads to pop-ups and swings and misses. However, it’s possible to have success with a four-seamer that has unremarkable velocity, or even middling movement, if the other variables are elite. Mariners reliever Paul Sewald is an excellent example of a pitcher with subpar velocity and unremarkable movement who nonetheless has success with his four-seamer thanks to an extremely flat VAA created by his low release point and consistent location at the top of the zone. How does this all relate to Gomber, then?
Because of his very high release point, Gomber's average VAA on his four-seamer in 2022 was -5.9°, one of the steepest of any pitcher in the Majors who threw at least 100 fastballs and -0.9° steeper than average. In a vacuum, that’s bad, because the flatter the VAA on a four-seamer, the better. Another problem this steep VAA generates is that Gomber's fastball is theoretically less likely to generate chases up in the zone. This tracks with reality: Gomber's four-seamer's had a chase rate around 19-20% as a Rockie, far lower than MLB average. What does this all mean? It means that the combination of low velocity, average vertical movement and a far steeper VAA than normal creates a fastball that can really only be successful if located perfectly right at the top of the zone, but not too high because it won't generate consistent chases up and out of the zone.
Really, that's the thing with Austin Gomber. In my estimation, he only has one weakness, but it's a huge weakness — it being that his current fastball simply doesn't work and won't work the way he's using it. It's a big enough issue to override his many good qualities, and something we're going to have to fix. Unlike Márquez and Senzatela, Austin Gomber pitches like a 2022 MLB hurler: he throws quite a few non-fastballs in traditional fastball counts, he throws his breaking balls for strikes, he mostly locates his four-seamer high in the zone, and he doesn't throw many fastballs. In fact, Gomber's 40.7% fastball usage as a Rockie is the lowest of any Rockies pitcher to throw meaningful innings over the past two seasons not named Alex Colomé, and far lower than MLB average. There aren't many changes to be made here, and although I will suggest some minor things as far as offspeed usage goes later on, our job for now is all about finding a way for Austin Gomber to have a workable fastball. Let's get to it.
Fixing a Bad Fastball
Let’s do this, then. This version of the Gameplan series will be a bit different than the ones I’ve done previously, mainly because there isn’t as much to fix and what we do need to change is one large topic: his fastball. Because this piece is meant to be educational on top of everything else, we’ll go over some basic theory as well as Gomber himself. When you’re attempting to fix a bad fastball, there are a few things you can do. We’re going to name and explain them, and then go over how they apply to Austin and his heater.
Throw Fewer Fastballs
We’ll start with one of the most widespread answers to the question, “How do I solve the issues my poor fastball presents?” — throw it less. If you have a pitch that has poor traits and/or performs poorly, one simple solution is to throw it less. This is modern pitching strategy 101: throw your good pitches a lot, don’t throw your bad pitches. How does this apply to Austin? We’re not saying Gomber should scrap his four-seamer entirely, as it is my belief that almost every pitch has utility if properly weaponized, but even though he already doesn’t throw it often, he should throw it even less. That 40.7% usage can very easily be more like 25%, or even lower. This is a subpar fastball, and we really shouldn’t throw it the most out of all of our pitches.
Improve the Pitch Itself.
This can be done in a variety of ways, mainly by adding movement and/or velocity to the pitch. As far as four-seamers go, vertical carry and velocity are somewhat related: it’s easier to get plus vertical movement if you sit 96-98 than if you sit 90-92. As we said, Gomber’s fastball actually has pretty solid carry for its velocity thanks to how good he is at imparting true backspin on the pitch. Improving raw spin while maintaining efficiency would be one way to create more induced vertical break, but since it’s well known that it’s very difficult to make raw spin without the use of foreign substances, we’re going to toss this aside as a solution. The velocity, however, is something we’re going to take a look at.
We know Gomber doesn’t throw hard, but he actually threw slightly harder in 2021 (91.6 MPH) than in 2022 (91.0 MPH). It’s not a lot, but when you operate on the fringes of velocity, every tick counts. Don’t believe me? As a Rockie, when Gomber’s fastball has been 91 MPH or lower, opponents have a .491 wOBA (weighted on-base average) against it, which is insanely high. When it’s been 92 MPH or higher, the wOBA goes down to .382, and when it’s 93 MPH or higher it’s just .301. It’s a massive difference based on just a few ticks, and it really highlights how important it is for us to help Gomber throw as hard as he can within healthy limits. We can’t and shouldn’t make him push his body past his breaking point for the sake of sitting 94, but gaining the extra tick back to at least 92 is very important for Austin. Now, I’m not a pitching coach, I don’t know biomechanics in detail, and I obviously haven’t talked with Gomber himself, so I wouldn’t know how he could sit 92-93 instead of 91, but the data is what it is, and I’m pointing it out.
His velocity directly affects his movement, too. Down below is his movement when he’s throwing 93:
And here is his movement when throwing 91 or below:
It’s obviously quite clear. When Gomber throws with intent and really tries to blow the ball through the catcher's mitt, he gets some pretty good vertical movement, but when he’s at 91 or below it tends to flatten out. This is standard stuff, but I wanted to give you a visual example of how velocity affects his effectiveness.
Change the Gameplan
Another thing you can do to improve fastball performance is change how you use the pitch itself. It may be a fine offering by itself, but maybe the way you’re deploying it in terms of location, sequencing or handedness is actively generating worse results than it should. Does this apply to Gomber? Kind of. He has to throw it higher in the zone than he typically does, but it’s not a massive adjustment because he already throws it up more than most Rockies hurlers do. Gomber’s average four-seamer was thrown at 2.74 feet of height last season, and he needs to go a bit higher than that to find success. When Gomber’s thrown his four-seamer at 2.90 feet of height or higher as a Rockie, he has a .356 expected wOBA (xwOBA) and a 84.7 MPH exit velo against. When he throws it at 2.89 feet of height or lower, he has a .429 xwOBA and a 91.8 MPH exit velo against. In other words, we’re aiming for the very upper third/fourth of the zone. It’s a tight window made tighter by Gomber's overhand release point and average movement, but that's the nature of a soft tosser in today's game, and that’s where Gomber needs to be on average location-wise for his four-seamer to work.
Throw a Different Fastball
Another of the elemental answers to work around a poor fastball is to throw a different kind of fastball. I've mentioned this before with Ryan Feltner and his sinker, and with a pitcher like Austin Gomber, whose four-seam fastball is unlikely to be a plus pitch in any way, it makes all the sense in the world to see if he could throw a different kind of fastball to pair with his current heater. Once again, we don't want to remove his four-seamer altogether. I'm a big advocate for the value of having more than one fastball type, especially for pitchers without high level stuff, and Gomber is a clear example of a hurler who'd benefit from throwing more than just a four-seam.
Therefore, what I'd suggest is working with Austin to see if he can get comfortable with throwing a sinker. Here we enter the realm of the unknown and the guessing, of course, because I'm essentially making a pitch up, but please stick with me. We'd need to see how Gomber releases and spins the ball, first and foremost. Based on how efficient he is at spinning his four-seamer, my guess is his sinker profile would also be very much of the true axis kind, rather than a low efficiency, seam-shifted sinker like the one Ryan Feltner throws. In other words, we're likely looking at creating movement with spin moreso than gravity, and while seam-shifted based sinkers tend to translate better to altitude, we shouldn't discourage a Rockies pitcher from throwing a sinker with a true axis if that's what he's comfortable with. Assuming that we can help Gomber to get familiar with an effective sinker grip, we can then deploy our four-seam fastball and sinker based heavily on matchups and the weaknesses of the batter at the plate, as well as taking things like platoon advantage into account. We'll look at how we want to do that shortly, but first let's answer a question.
Why a sinker?
Why The Sinker Is Our Choice
There are a few reasons for this. First of all, we went for a sinker and not a cutter because the hypothetical cutter doesn't really have a spot in Gomber's arsenal. His slider is pretty firm and sharp for his fastball velo, typically only around 6-7 MPH slower than the heater, so we don't really have a big gap in shape or velocity to sneak our cutter into. Cutters excel when used as the bridge between a fastball and a bigger, slower breaking ball, but when a pitcher already has a sharp slider, the cutter doesn't have a real purpose. Another reason is that sinkers, obviously, create groundballs, and when you pitch half your games at altitude you'll take every grounder you can get. But the main reason I believe in a sinker for Gomber is his release point.
We talked about vertical approach angle (VAA) a lot when going over his four-seamer's shortcomings, but for a sinker, Gomber's high release point can be a real plus, as we could hypothetically create some truly steep approach angles down in the zone with a sinking fastball from that kind of arm slot if Gomber can find a good sinker grip that works for him. Sinkers are not quite as affected by VAA as four-seamers are, but it still plays a part, and the steeper the sinker, the more margin for error it has within the zone. Remember how we said we could "weaponize" Gomber's arm slot when talking about his unconventional release point? This is what I had in mind -we might have less margin for error with our four-seamer, but we'll have more margin for error with our sinker.
And that's fixing a bad fastball for you. To sum it up:
- We're going to throw less four-seamers. 40.7% is low, but not low enough.
- We need to help Gomber sit at least at 92 MPH. Every tick is important when your velocity is subpar to begin with.
- We must aim for the very top of the zone as a general target for our four-seamer. We can pitch both inside and outside, but ideally we always want to stay in the upper fourth of the zone, as well as slightly above it. A minimum of 2.90 feet of height is what we're usually targeting.
- We truly have to try to develop a sinker to pair with our four-seam. Since our fastball is never going to be plus because of the low velocity, we must give ourselves as many weapons as possible to attack hitters with.
Now, after that long setup, here is the actual gameplan you came here for. Because I want to try something different for this series, we’re going to make a gameplan based on the handedness of the batter at the plate. We’ll go over how we use our weapons against lefties and righties, while also making distinctive changes based on swing path (among other things).
As a Rockie, Austin Gomber has mainly been a four-seam/changeup pitcher against right-handers. About two thirds of his pitches (42% 4SF, 24.6% CH) have been heaters and cambios, and while the fastball has not performed well (.445 wOBA), the changeup has (.282 wOBA). The other third of his pitches has been made up almost equally of curveballs (.266 wOBA) and sliders (.309 wOBA). Even though we hypothetically have a new sinker to play with, I’d suggest keeping it on the shelf against RHH. Why? Because since 2015 began, left-on-right sinkers have a .363 wOBA, 90.8 MPH exit velo and 7.6º launch angle against. Left-on-left sinkers, on the other hand, have a .304 wOBA, 85.2 MPH exit velo and 0.3º launch angle against. Sixty points of wOBA difference is massive, and it leads us to an easy conclusion: unless Gomber develops a plus-plus sinker somehow, we should drastically cut down our sinker usage versus righties, with most of the few sinkers we throw coming against batters with flatter swings that can be susceptible to fastballs down.
Therefore, when facing righties, we’re going to follow this gameplan:
- Drastically cut down on fastball usage. From 42%, we want to be at 30% or lower. Of the few fastballs we throw, most will be four-seamers, right at the top of the zone and ideally up and in, except against batters with flatter swings (this is what scouting and data is for), against whom we can throw some sinkers down and to the arm-side here and there.
- Throw a few more changeups. Out of the ones he throws now, the change is Gomber’s best groundball pitch against righties, and one they have a hard time squaring up in general. It’s not a plus-plus pitch we can be throwing 45% of the time, but we should be able to get the changeup usage from 24.6% to about 30%. He has solid feel for locating it down and away, and his overhand delivery means he’s not as reliant on depth to have success with this pitch. Against righties, it’s a good offering we can stand to throw a bit more.
- Throw more curveballs! Gomber’s curve has a .266 wOBA against RHH, but the peripherals paint an even better picture (a .212 expected wOBA and a 38.7% strikeout rate). It’s a big, gorgeous curveball, exactly the type of pitch batters can give up on early in the count and have trouble squaring up even if they recognize it. It can be a called strike machine for us in those early counts, and even sometimes an unconventional finishing pitch with two strikes. Don’t throw it for chases consistently, however, because you won’t get them with regularity. Its big shape and slow velocity works against it in this regard.
- Harder, back-foot sliders can definitely work. Gomber’s slider has been his least used and least effective pitch against RHH so far, but there’s a pocket (albeit a precise one) for it to work. Over the past few seasons, the lefty slider inside (and down and in) against a righty has generated a .264 wOBA and a 41.2% strikeout rate. This is taking both in-zone and out-of-zone sliders into account, by the way. Most interestingly, however, when a lefty’s thrown a slider down and in against a righty at 86 MPH or harder, we have a .228 wOBA and 46.1% strikeout rate against. Gomber’s slider is typically around 84-85 MPH, so my suggestion would be for him to see if he can manipulate that slider and throw it a bit harder and mostly down and in against righties. A benchmark we can look for: as a whole, left-on-right sliders thrown at 87 MPH or higher have a .250 wOBA against since 2015, whereas left-on-right sliders at 84 MPH or lower have a .294 wOBA against. This is not a groundbreaking development, of course, as it’s well known that a breaking ball’s velocity plays a huge part in its success, but it’s something we’d do well to remember in Gomber’s case. In short: while we don’t need to throw a ton of sliders to righties, it’s still a pitch can use and we should try to throw it harder. Left-on-left sliders aren’t as dependent on velocity to generate great results, but left-on-right sliders are. If we can help Austin average 86+ MPH on his slider when throwing to righties, it’s going to be a good pitch for him.
So that’s our gameplan against righties. We can probably see a final mix of roughly 30% fastballs, 30% changeups, 20% curveballs and 20% sliders, give or take a few percentage points. The main idea is we really need to isolate our fastball usage depending on the batter’s swing path, and locate the four-seamer as close to the upper fourth of the zone as possible. We want curveballs for called strikes, hard back-foot sliders, and the changeup as our putaway pitch. Let’s see what we do against lefties.
When facing left-handers, Gomber goes from a four-pitch mix to an extremely heavy slider-fastball pitcher -almost 85% of his pitches to LHH as a Rockie have been sliders (.230 wOBA, 46.5% usage) and fastballs (.361 wOBA, 37.1% usage). His curveball is his third most used offering (.224 wOBA, 14.2% usage), and his changeup is basically never throw to a lefty (2.2%). This heavy dose of sliders really isn't a bad gameplan at all, as the results show, but with our new sinker we can make some changes to other parts of the approach.
- No major changes to his slider usage. As you might have guessed, I have no problems with Gomber throwing so many sliders to lefties. Throwing your best offering a lot? Against the type of batters it’s most effective against? Sounds great to me. There’s also no real need for Gomber to throw his slider in any different way. Left-on-left sliders are extremely effective pitches almost no matter the velocity (unless we get into the upper 70’s), so there’s no issues here. Keep throwing that slider to lefties.
- Throw a few more curveballs (again)! Just like to righties, we can throw a few more curveballs to lefties. Now, Gomber’s curveball isn’t a pitch we should be throwing 30% of the time (it’s a big, slow breaking ball we can’t really use as a chase pitch in 2-strike counts), but 20% is perfectly doable. Austin’s curveball has performed well against LHH, and there’s no real reason we can’t use it at least 15-20% of the time.
- Keep the changeup in the shelf. If you have a true plus changeup, you can typically throw it to the same handed hitters without a care in the world, especially if it’s a power changeup. If your changeup is more in the average/above average space, however, you should probably use it with context in mind, and since we already have our slider and curveball, there’s no reason for us to try and get that changeup to dip beneath the barrel of a lefty. Austin already does this, of course, so it’s not a change -more of a confirmation. Let’s keep it moving.
- Throw more sinkers than four-seamers. As we went over in the “vs righties” section, left-on-left sinkers are a real weapon, and Austin’s extreme over the top release point can create some nasty angles on his sinker if he finds a grip he’s comfortable with. Therefore, we’d be throwing the slider down and to our glove side and the sinker down and to the arm side. We’ll still keep the four-seamer in rotation, of course, as it’s a good weapon against batters with steep, uphill swings you can beat up in the zone and likely tunnels better with the curveball we still want to throw a fair amount.
And that’s it, really. Against lefties, Gomber’s gameplan is already pretty sound, and we’d mainly be replacing a good chunk of his four-seamer usage with the sinker we’re hoping he can start throwing. His slider is a very good pitch we can throw a ton, we can land curveballs for strikes, and there’s no real need to use our changeup.
That’s how I would personally approach helping Austin Gomber with finding his way back into the rotation. We want to add a new pitch and make tiny adjustments with the many good tools we already have at our disposal to work around the weakness that is his fastball. We’re effectively creating two very different pitchers depending on batter handedness, which is what you should do unless you have a bunch of plus-plus pitches in your arsenal (and even if you do, as many of the aces around baseball will attest). We went from a balanced, changeup/four-seam/curveball/slider/sinker mix against righties to a far more horizontal, sinker/slider dominant mix against lefties, with some curveballs and four-seamers in the mix for called strikes and steep swing paths respectively. It’s very important to deploy our two fastballs with batter handedness and swing path in mind, as it will allow us to put two below average pitches in a position to deliver solid results and help the rest of our quite good and cohesive arsenal play up.
Some might have given up on Gomber after his difficult 2022 season, but I’m not one of those people. Lefties with a unique release point, no significant strike-throwing isssues and three quality non-fastballs do not grow on trees, and I’m quite confident in Austin Gomber moving forward. He has a lot of tools to be a consistently good part of a Rockies rotation that desperately needs stability, and while the phrase “internal improvements” can be an eye-roll for many, in this case it’s warranted.
This is a study made through my own research and conclusions. In order for it to be truly complete, it would require things such a biomechanical breakdown and some feedback from the pitcher himself, among others, which is data I don’t have access to. I suggest to take what I present more as a suggestion than a stone-cold fact.
★ ★ ★
Please keep in mind our Purple Row Community Guidelines when you’re commenting. Thanks!