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Community Projection Review: Tom Gorzelanny

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NAME POS. COMMUNITY ZiPS ACTUAL
Tom Gorzelanny SP 4.06 ERA, 162 IP, 124 K, 62 BB 4.11 ERA, 153 IP, 110 K, 58 BB 3.88 ERA, 201.7 IP, 135 K, 68 BB

Depending on how you count it, the best guess was probably that of Psk84, who said Gorzo would pitch 170 innings with a 3.85 ERA, 140 Ks, and 50 walks.

Most of the guesses were a little off, simply because most people thought (wisely, in my opinion) that Gorzelanny wouldn't end up pitching so much. There were also a number of people who thought (again, wisely, I think) that Gorzelanny's strikeout rate would rise a bunch. Gorzo had just 40 strikeouts in 60.3 innings in 2006, but he'd been a strikeout-per-inning guy in the minors.

Maybe that was expecting too much. Whatever. I'm not going to worry too much about it, because Gorzelanny did just about everything else well. He struck out twice as many guys as he walked, he mostly kept the ball on the ground, and he pitched a ton of innings.

Obviously, it's way too early to say how Gorzelanny's career will turn out, but one of his top BB-Ref comparables is Doug Drabek, and aside from Drabek being right-handed and all, you can see how a Drabek-like career might be a kind of best-case scenario for Gorzelanny.

Like Gorzo, Drabek had decent stuff but wasn't a flamethrower. Both guys had limited success as 23-year-old rookies despite dubious K/BB numbers, then posted 3.88 ERAs while striking out almost exactly six batters per nine innings as 24-year-olds. Both guys were good, but not great, at keeping the ball in the park in their early careers.

Drabek continued to improve after his age-24 season, mostly because he got even better at limiting homers. He almost became a serious horse, posting at least 219 innings in six consecutive years beginning with his age-25 season.

Comparing players across eras is tricky, and I was in middle school when Drabek left the Bucs and signed with the Astros, so I'll leave it to you to comment further on the comparison. But I think we can all agree that if Gorzelanny turns out to be anything like Drabek, that'd be pretty great. Either way, the similarities in their careers so far are striking.