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Expectations for Odorizzi

Taking a deeper look at Jake Odorizzi’s past, performance, and projections

2021 World Series Game 1: Atlanta Braves v. Houston Astros Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Last year, the Astros signed Jake Odorizzi to a 2 year deal (plus player option or buy-out) after Framber Valdez broke his finger and suddenly made the Astros rotation look much shakier.

Odorizzi is guaranteed $23.5MM. That takes the form of a $6MM signing bonus, a $6MM salary in 2021, a $5MM salary in 2022, and a $6.5MM player option for 2023. The option comes with a $3.25MM buyout. Performance escalators can max the option out at $12.5MM while also bringing the potential buyout figure up to $6.25MM. Combining to make 30 appearances from 2021-22 will bring Odorizzi to just shy of $24MM over those two seasons in salary, while incentives could push the deal up to $30MM.

On top of the $5MM base salary for the 2022 season, Odorizzi would make $500K for reaching 100 innings pitched, $1MM apiece for throwing 110, 120, 130, 140, and 150 innings, with another $1.25MM if he reaches the 160 inning mark.

His deal was structured in such a way that the Astros are likely to buy out the 3rd year, which spread the AAV over 3 years instead of two. The incentive based on innings may be a contributing factor as to Odorizzi’s comments last year.

As for his performance, Odorizzi pitched 104.2 IP of 4.21 ERA (4.70 xERA / 4.62 SIERA) for 1.1 WAR.

None of those stats are particularly inspiring, but many people forget that league average ERA was 4.32, which allowed Odorizzi to sneak by as just above average (102 ERA+).

As you look back through Odorizzi’s career, he has accumulated a 3.95 ERA across his 1,147 IP and 14.7 WAR across 10 years, so although last year likely was impacted by his late start to spring - it was not a massive outlier from his career averages.

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/jake-odorizzi-543606?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb

His analytical stats and arsenal do not inspire confidence, ranking in the bottom part of the league in almost every category other than BB%. You have to wonder if Odorizzi’s league average performance was more of an accumulation of luck than necessary indicative of what his performance will continue to be.

Normally, I’m a big believer in the Astros approach to changing pitchers, but Odorizzi actually came from the Twins, who have Wes Johnson as their pitching coach. Wes follows a very similar set of ideology as Strom, even being quoted about how big of a fan he is of Strom’s work. (Derek Johnson and Wes Johnson are probably the most Strom-esque counterparts in the league right now).

As I take a look back, Odorizzi removed the sinker from his arsenal back in 2017. His arsenal does not play to the spin rate approach, clocking in well below average on both his fastball and breaking pitches. Interestingly enough, Odorizzi is actually throwing with more velocity than he was from 2012-2018.

His best season was 2019, with a 3.51 ERA across 159 IP, where his K/9 jumped from a career 8.52 to 10.08, with the biggest uptick in his K% on his 4-seamer and Split finger.

Next season, the projections show Odorizzi producing 85 IP of 4.19 ERA (0.7 WAR). Personally, I think this season will likely have a larger number of injuries than usual with the abbreviated spring training, and Odorizzi provides the Astros with a solid reliable back of the rotation inning eater.

Depth Chart Projections: 85IP, 4.19 ERA, 4.36 FIP. 0.7 WAR

2021: 104.2 IP, 4.21ERA, 4.48 FIP, 1.1

Poll

Do you think Odorizzi will beat his Depth Chart Projections

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Yes and will beat 2021 results
    (101 votes)
  • 8%
    He will beat projections but worse than 2021
    (17 votes)
  • 24%
    The projection seems right
    (48 votes)
  • 16%
    He will perform below the level projected.
    (32 votes)
198 votes total Vote Now