Assessing the players: Randy Choate
Time to assess the “left specialist” Randy Choate. Choate is one of Maddon’s favorite pitchers and uses him often to get key outs late in games, but most of the time, Choate simply chokes on the mound. With his side arm delivery, Choate often leaves the ball over the plate which only leads to trouble. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers behind the “specialist.”
Choate finished the season with a 4-3 record, an ERA of 4.23 while striking out 40 and walking 17. Choate pitched 44.2 innings of relief while giving up 41 hits, 21 runs (3 homeruns) and kept hitters to a .252 batting average against him.
Choate’s side arm delivery is very unique and also very difficult to control at times. Because he drops his arm angle so low, it is hard to locate the pitches that he wants on a consistent basis. When Choate is on and the arm angle is correct, he can locate the pitches low and inside to left hand batters and make them swing over top of it. But when the angle is off, the pitch moves to the center of the plate where hitters can simply launch it. With velocity around 91 on his fastball, Choate needs location on his pitches and this season, he never found it. Look at the numbers, 41 hits in 44.2 innings pitched, that gives you an average of 93%. In 93% of the innings he pitched, he gave up a hit. How is this relief pitching? Choate simply is not that good.
Choate is now a free agent, but there are probably few teams that are willing to spend the money to sign a veteran pitcher who is just underperforming every season. He will probably end up coming back to the Rays and probably give up more hits and runs. Final grade: D –