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Game CX Thread: Royals at Twins

How much longer can this go on?

Burch Smith follows through after throwing a pitch.
Burch Smith has some work to do if he wants to stay in the rotation.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

There are still more than 50 games remaining before this season ends. Folks, I remember the 2015 season and that year flew by. If you’ve become a fan since 2013, welcome to the real grind of a baseball season. There’s nothing like the feeling you get when your favorite baseball team is completely out of it by May and you’ve just got to sit through more baseball, still.

This is a tough time, but it’s also the time for fans to get creative in the ways they follow and enjoy the team. This is when legends are born and stories that you’ll tell your grandchildren get made. So buckle in.

Today’s game feature’s last year’s Twins ace, Jose Berrios. For some reason, I had thought he was having a much rougher season, this year, but looking at his line it turns out he not only hasn’t missed a beat from last year but he’s actually improved. He’s striking out more and allowing fewer baserunners which means he’s already matched his fWAR total from last season with 10+ starts remaining.

On the other end of the spectrum lies Burch Smith. Burch is hanging on to his spot in the rotation largely because the wins and losses matter less than seeing what a young guy like him can do. Also, most of the other starters are hurt or even worse. The bad news for Burch is that in four career starts for the Royals he’s got a 7.47 ERA. The good news is that it looks like a lot of his issues could be attributed to bad luck. He’s had a terrible strand rate of 46.9% while the average strand rate, from which pitchers usually don’t vary too much, is 72%. He’s struck out more than a batter per inning which is a great stat to see, especially in a starter, and his FIP sits at a much nicer 3.94. There are no guarantees in baseball, but there’s every reason to think he might turn out to be halfway decent at this starting thing given a larger sample size. The biggest thing he can control is his walk rate which is currently sitting at 3.45/9 BB/IP. If he can bring that down and find some good or even neutral luck he could very well turn into a back-mid rotation arm. That would be a huge pickup from the Rule 5 draft which has already seen Brad Keller seemingly turn into a superstar before our very eyes.