Drew Pomeranz: More than just a flash in the pan

Jim McIsaac

Drew Pomeranz continued to prove on Tuesday night that his success is very much for real, and he's found his niche in the Oakland Athletics' starting rotation.

Drew Pomeranz didn't take home a win in his road start against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night. However, in getting hit with a no-decision in the eventual 14-inning loss to the Halos, the young starter for the Oakland Athletics continued to prove that he is very much for real as an impressive entity within their rotation.

Pomeranz, who came over to the A's in the Brett Anderson trade with the Colorado Rockies after being dealt to Colorado in the trade that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland (yay, run-on sentences), has firmly established himself as a starter for the A's after serving as a reliever earlier in the year. The 25-year-old had a handful of starts under his belt prior to joining the A's, including 22 in 2012, but had really struggled to establish himself at the big league level.

His ERA with Colorado last year was up at 6.23, to go along with a 6.46 FIP. He had an incredibly hard time keeping the walks down, issuing almost eight free passes per nine innings, and was a victim of an unusually high home run rate for a guy with such an impressive ground ball percentage. The change of scenery, and home field, has certainly benefitted Pomeranz for the better, as evident by his performance thus far in 2014.

As a reliever this year, Pomeranz did some very good things. He went for a 1.98 ERA, although a 4.69 FIP, and struck out over seven hitters per nine, while keeping those walks down under four per nine. His WHIP in that stretch was a respectable 1.24. Since his transition to the rotation, made possible by the struggles of the back end of the rotation (a.k.a. Dan Straily falling flat on his face), Pomeranz has managed to build on those numbers.

In his time as a starter this year, Pomeranz has posted a 1.88 ERA and dropped his WHIP down to just 1.10. His FIP is a very respectable 3.88. He's cut those walks down to 3.52 per nine, while getting his strikeouts up to 7.75 K/9. His groundball rate still remains in about the same neighborhood in which it resided last year, up at 48.8 percent. He doesn't have a tremendously overpowering arsenal of pitches, with his fastball sitting low-90s mixed primarily with a curveball that averages about 80, but his control and mix of pitches that he does have has helped him to find success.

Overall, Pomeranz's numbers on the season feature a 1.90 ERA, though his FIP is still just a touch over four. His walks are down to about 3.6 per nine, while punching out just under eight per nine innings. The biggest thing for Pomeranz, though, is that he's in about as perfect a situation for a pitcher of his skill set could be. A groundball pitcher like that belongs with a team like Oakland, who fields the ball so well (save Josh Donaldson's recent stretch) and wins ballgames due to their defensive skill. To say he's a perfect fit with this club would probably be an understatement.

Which is why it's easy to look at his numbers and say that he is very for real. We know what Pomeranz is capable of and what he brings to the table. He isn't a frontline starter, but has provided some stability to the back end of the A's rotation, while the defense behind him has helped him immensely. It's a wonderful marriage that has been a blessing for an A's team that needed that stability with health woes threatening to derail their starting five before the season even started.

***Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.

Randy Holt is a staff writer for Athletics Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.

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