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Can we trust Odorizzi?
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - When it comes to K/9, Tampa Bay Rays starter Jake Odorizzi is in elite company.

Six pitchers have a K/9 above 10 (minimum 70 innings). One is Odorizzi, and the others are Yu Darvish, Stephen Strasburg, David Price, Max Scherzer and Masahiro Tanaka.

But Odorizzi, who has been traded in packages for Zack Greinke and James Shields since he was drafted 32nd overall in 2008, doesn't inspire confidence that he can be used in any scenario, and that's why he's still available in 87 percent of Yahoo leagues.

The right-hander's 3.15 FIP portends a much better ERA than his 4.29, but he'd have to sustain his K/9 and HR/9 in order to actually see improvement. That could be difficult for him to accomplish.

Odorizzi doesn't have an off-speed put-away pitch. He uses his four-seam fastball, which averages 90.4 mph, and his splitter to get the majority of his strikeouts. He's going to have to continue to be very sharp with his location of those pitches to keep his K/9 above 9.5.

His swing-and-miss rate (swings without contact divided by total strikes) is 16.6 percent, which is only slightly above the MLB average. Darvish, Strasburg, Scherzer and Tanaka all have swing-and-miss rates of at least 18.2 percent, and Price's is 17.5 percent.

Odorizzi also has been a disaster away from Tropicana Field.

In six road starts, Odorizzi has recorded a 7.16 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP, compared to a 2.70 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over 50 innings at home.

He could be particularly susceptible to implosions in parks that typically allow a lot of home runs, given he has a 42.6 percent fly-ball rate. He has a 11.1 percent HR/FB on the road, compared to 5.9 percent at home.

Tropicana Field has a slightly above-average Park Factor for home runs this season, but it typically has been a neutral to below-average home run park.

Odorizzi has posted a 2.88 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in 50 innings over his last nine starts after recording a 6.83 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP in his first six starts, but seven of those starts came at Tropicana Field.

His two road starts during that span don't offer much information. He was dominant in one, allowing one hit over six scoreless innings against the Seattle Mariners, and awful in the other, giving up five runs on six hits in 3 1/3 against the Boston Red Sox.

Odorizzi's next two starts are scheduled to come away the Trop against the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, so we should have our answer soon as to whether or not we can trust him as more than a matchup-to-matchup pitcher.

I'm wary of using him for either of those starts.

Odorizzi's FIP says he should have an ERA in the low threes, but as his K/9 decreases and his HR/9 rises, he should settle in as a 3.90-ERA type of starter.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.