Jake Odorizzi’s K-Rate May Be Best Kept Secret In Baseball

Impressive Rookie Campaign Highlighted By The Strikeout

Jake Odorizzi earned the win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night to improve to his record to 5-8 and after allowing just three runs (two earned) he lowered his ERA to 4.01.

In earning the victory he had to wait out a 55-pitch Blue Jays inning as the Rays broke the game open and took a commanding 8-2 lead. After the game he spoke about the difficulty of staying warm during the long inning but at the same time admitted that you never want to be upset about run support.

His bubblegum card numbers of 5-8 with a 4.01 ERA tell very little of the impressive rookie season that he is putting together.

Since the beginning of May he has an ERA of 3.14 (27ER/77.1IP) after posting a 6.85 ERA (18ER/23.2IP). He has allowed three earned runs or less in seven straight outings which is the  most on the Rays staff this season (David Price currently has streak of six).

He is starting to go a little deeper in games and maybe earning more of manager Joe Maddon‘s trust as he has thrown over 100 pitches in each of his last five starts, including 107 tonight, after only throwing over 100 in four of his first 14 starts.

The most impressive part of his rookie season has been his ability to strike batters out. In 41 career Triple-A appearances (40 starts) he had a strikeout per nine inning (K/9) rate of 8.2.

Translating that 8.2 K/9 rate to the big leagues would be impressive but to increase it to the magnitude that he has is really something that was not expected.

After striking out seven Blue Jays in his 6.2 innings of work on Saturday evening he has now struck out 116 batters in 101 innings of work which translated to a K/9 rate of 10.33.

Entering tonight’s game his K/9 rate ranked behind some pretty impressive company: Clayton Kershaw (11.77), Yu Darvish (11.08), Stephen Strasburg (10.56), and Max Scherzer (10.40).

 Jonathan C. Mitchell over at The Florida Post noted that Odorizzi is in historic company for K/9 rate for rookie pitchers (minimum 15 starts).

The top five rookies all pitched for National League teams led byKerry Wood with the Chicago Cubs in 1998 (12.58), Dwight Gooden with the Mets in 1984 (11.39), Mark Prior with the Cubs in 2002 (11.34), Hideo Nomo with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1995 (11.10), Brandon Beachy with the Atlanta Braves in 2011 (10.74).

Francisco Liriano checks in with the American League Rookie Record of 10.71 K/9 set back in 2006 as a member of the Minnesota Twins.

He is on a pace to reach 196 strikeout this season which would break the Rays franchise record for rookies held by Matt Moore in 2012.

He becomes the sixth straight Rays rookie to record a 100 strikeout season. They’ve had seven rookies reach the 100-strikeout plateau since 2009 while only having three reach it in the 11 seasons prior (1998-2008).

Hear the rest of the interview:

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.