Jeanmar Gomez has been the biggest surprise in all of MLB. Yeah, I said it. It might seem like a bold statement, but if you look at his numbers, it really isn’t. Gomez is a career 16-16 pitcher with a 4.69 ERA and 1.434 WHIP in 249.2 innings. In 2013, Gomez is 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.070 WHIP in 11 appearances (six starts). The Pittsburgh Pirates haven’t lost any games that Gomez has started. So, yeah, I would say that improving upon an ERA by more than two runs is a pretty big surprise.
I don’t want to rain on the Gomez parade, but he isn’t going to continue his surprising start. His advanced statistics show that he will regress significantly. Gomez’s xFIP is currently sitting at 4.27, while his ERA is 2.30, meaning that he is getting extremely lucky thus far in 2013. His peripherals are ridiculous, including an 85% stranded runners rate and a .203 BABIP. His BABIP being that low is amazing, especially since he allows so many balls to be put in play because of a very low 4.8 K/9.
At some point more than 20% of the balls put in play against Gomez will start to fall in for hits, and that will raise his WHIP and ERA. It’s not impossible for Gomez to continue pitching this well, but history shows he will regress back to the mean and his ERA will eventually creep closer to his 4.27 xFIP. As much as I would like to see Gomez continue his All-Star type numbers, I fear it’s only a matter of time before he returns to his numbers like he had with the Cleveland Indians.
For the people that want to see Gomez stay in the rotation even when Charlie Morton returns from the disabled list, keep in mind that Gomez will eventually let you down. Gomez belongs in the bullpen when the rest of the starting rotation is healthy and able to contribute.