Andy Sonnanstine’s 2008 so far
With a 3 – 0 record and a 1.54 ERA over his past three starts Sonnanstine is pushing his way into a full time gig in the Rays Rotation.
Note: Last season we did a bio piece and scouting report on Sonnanstine.
Basic Stats via Game Log
What killed Sonnanstine last season was the long ball. While the overall number of HR per game is in line with 2007, we can see via the game logs that he hasn’t allowed an HR in his past three starts and three HR’s were “clustered” in his third start of the season. Known for his amazing SO/BB ratio in the minors, Sonnanstine still carries a respectable ratio near 3 this season and close to 4 for his career. Again this is a small sample but Sonnanstine appears to currently be on a role, allowing only 4 ER over his past three starts in 23.1 IP.
Batted Ball Stats
Although we’re only a month into the season, Andy has seen a small decline in Line Drive (LD%) and a big increase in GB%. His K/G has declined. The DER (defensive efficiency style stat) is much higher due to the defensive upgrades in the Rays infield.
I’m purposely skipping the charts, etc. We’ll primarily focus on Sonnanstine’s repertoire. He throws five different pitches a minimum of 10% of the time, which certainly will keep hitters off-balance. One thing that we can notice however is that almost everything outside of his curve is thrown in the 81 – 87 ratio. I’d like to see more of a differential in his fastball to change. Currently his curve is acting as more of an off-speed offering than the change. The movement levels of his fastball is a mixture of downward drop and horizontal “cutting” action and would grade out as average in the pitch f/x world. The 25+% curve thrown ratio is one of the highest in baseball.
Crowded Rotation in Tampa
Quote from June 11th 2007 Article: “If Sonnanstine can emergence as a legitimate #3 or #4 starter, the Devil Rays should be tough to beat in a season or two, with a projected 2009 rotation of Kazmir, Shields, Price, Jeff Niemann & Sonnanstine.”
This certainly holds true today but this may end up hurting Sonnanstine’s playing time. The addition of Matt Garza and the possible fulfillment of potential from Edwin Jackson (see 2007’s Edwin Jackson – Comeback Kid?), Sonnanstine is fighting for his short-term starting future this season. With Price most likely healthy and MLB ready by the start of 2008, the first four rotation spots in Tampa will be locked in with Kaz, Shields, Garza & Price. Andy is however winning himself some points with Rays manager Joe Maddon by going deep into games and giving the still suspect Rays bullpen some time off. We’ll keep a close eye on Andy & his various stat lines throughout the season. Times certainly are changing when the Rays may have too many starting pitchers.