Free agent left-hander Robbie Erlin threw 55.1 innings across 37 appearances in a mediocre 2019 campaign. He gave up a lot of hard contact (43.7%), posted a 5.37 ERA, and saw his walk rate balloon to almost three free passes per nine innings. Erlin’s WHIP also skyrocketed from 1.14 in 2018 to 1.57 last year.
We can’t ignore that some bad luck may have found him; his BABIP was .373, almost 60 points higher than his career norm. That, coupled with the big jump in walk rate (2.7% to 6.0%), put Erlin in a lot of bad situations. Although he did manage to post a 3.61 FIP, that doesn’t sound like a pitcher destined for an especially promising 2020 season, if he’s picked up at all. So what value can be drawn from Erlin?
Well, for starters, Erlin mixes his pitches really well. The ability to keep hitters on their toes is advantageous regardless of how good your stuff is. In Erlin’s case, his stuff needs to be good, and there are ways in which he can make that happen.
Let’s first take a glance at Erlin’s five-pitch arsenal: a two- and four-seamer, a slider that is sometimes mistaken for a cutter, a curveball, and a changeup:
Erlin has experience as a starter and a…