Justin Grimm Is This Year’s Scott Feldman

Can you guess who’s 3rd on the Rangers in starts this year? Don’t let the title of this article get in the way.

I’ve gone on the record multiple times opining that Justin Grimm should not be a Major League starting pitcher right now. That’s not to say he can’t, or won’t, develop into a fine middle- or back-of-the-rotation starter somewhere along the line of his career, but the organizational preference wasn’t to have him starting games in Arlington in 2013.

Of course, reality most of the time shits on what’s supposed to look right on paper, so Grimm is where he is for very logical reasons.

As a semi-objective Rangers’ fan, I can appreciate the role Justin has played in supplementing some of the lost rotation production in the first half (+0.6 fWAR), but that’s also to acknowledge that I won’t be terribly surprised or saddened if he doesn’t throw another inning for the Rangers this season.

Unrelated, but Justin Grimm did leave in the 4th inning of Friday night’s game in Detroit because of “forearm tightness.”

I’m not a doctor, but I do pay attention to trends. In Grimm’s last 5 starts he’s thrown a total of 22.0 IP (4.4 IP/start), and has allowed 32 hits, 23 runs (21 ER), and possesses a K:BB ratio of 13:9. He’s getting lit up, sure, but what’s more troubling is how the bullpen has essentially been forced to throw the other half of his last 5 starts. The Ranger bullpen has been excellent in 2013, but it can’t keep up if the starters continually exit before the 6th inning.

All this said, Justin Grimm isn’t as bad as you think. His 2013 has been reminiscent of Scott Feldman‘s 2012, because all the peripherals point to positive regression, it just hasn’t (yet) materialized.

For instance, his BABIP on the season is .347. League-average is closer to .300.

His LOB% is 63.8%. League-average is generally nearer the 72%-76% range.

His xFIP is 4.28 — nothing to sneeze at in the American League — though his ERA has ballooned to an untenable 6.37. This suggests Justin is underachieving his earned run average by a full 2.0-plus points in 2013.

For the record, Scott Feldman’s xFIP in 2012 was 3.87; his ERA was 5.09.

Mainly, I just really, really really really want the All Star Break to get here. I’ve arrived at the place where I couldn’t care less what the outcomes are over the next two days in Detroit; I just want Adrian Beltre to get time off. I want the bullpen to get rested up. I want Yu Darvish‘s arm to be as sparkling as ever on July 22nd.

I want so many things, but right now I just want the nothingness of the next week to get here.

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