May 13, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Nathan Karns (51) throws a pitch in the first inning of the game against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Karns began the year as the de facto number 3 starter in the Rays’ rotation despite his limited big league experience and so far the results have been pretty good. The Rays needed him to be one the guys to fill the void of all the early injuries and he has given them 51 innings with a 3.71 ERA (xFIP 4.14) and a K/9 of 8.12. His BB/9 of 3.88 is a bit concerning as Karns has always had control issues, but he appears to be effectively wild at times while starting. His 47.2% GB rate has been another nice indicator of his success when he has been around the plate.
Karns will likely have a spot in the rotation for the rest of 2015, but beyond this year is a question. The good news for him is that his fate is in his own hands–if he pitches well, a rotation spot could easily be his. Karns has pitched well so far and could continue to be a factor in the Rays’ plans for the future if he keeps improving his command and changeup.
Next: Erasmo Ramirez