After a successful and promising rookie campaign for the Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Faria’s 2018 season was a disaster. Battling injuries and inconsistencies, Faria struggled in Tampa. What happened? Where does he fit in 2019?
After a very successful first season in Tampa Bay, I tabbed Jake Faria to be a fixture in the rotation for the foreseeable future. But now, after an injury riddled 2018 that was compounded with inconsistencies, my prediction is in jeopardy.
Many questions remain unanswered after the disappointing 2018 season from Faria. Will he make the 2019 Opening Day roster? If he makes the 25-man roster, will he be a starter or in the pen? Will he return to his 2017 form? I don’t know if he will be a starter, let alone make the Opening Day roster, and the Rays would be lying if they said they know what will happen with Jake Faria.
What happened in 2018 for Faria? His season start with inconsistencies only to be compounded with an injury. Once returning from injury, Faria was without a defined job and the inconsistencies again followed.
Inconsistencies prior to injury:
Beginning the year healthy, Jake Faria was far from his 2017 form. In 10 starts, Faria went 3-3 but only pitched into the 6th five times out of ten. In his best start of the year, which came on April 30th, Faria threw 8 shutout innings striking out 6. It appeared as though Faria had made he necessary adjustments as the very next start he only gave up one run over 5.1 innings.
Five days later, after giving up 7 runs over 6 innings, the questioned remained… What was wrong with Jake Faria? He would go on to make two additional starts, during the latter of the two, Faria strained his left oblique and the Rays subsequently place him on the 10-day DL.
Seven days after placing Jake Faria on the 10-day DL, the Tampa Bay Rays transferred him to the 60-day DL, only further decimating their starting staff. The oblique strain was worse than anticipated and Faria would end up missing the end of May and all of June and July.
Inconsistencies Post Injury:
Jake Faria would return on August 1st to a rotation that now included Tyler Glasnow. Not only was Tyler Glasnow a new addition, but by this time the Rays had fully adopted the Opener in all its glory. A lot had changed since Faria last pitched in May. He now entered a rotation in flux with no real role available for him to fill.
Would he start? Probably not, due to the fact that he had to work back from injury and the duo of Blake Snell and Glasnow were turning heads. Could he fill a “bulk” role? Probably not, the Rays had reliable choices out of the pen in Ryan Yarborough and Yonny Chirinos, and Faria simply hadn’t been reliable. There was no where for Faria to go.
He would go to make seven more appearances scattered around a mid August demotion to Durham. Of those seven appearances, only 2 were starts and in both he failed to reach the 4th. He would allow 10 runs across 17.1 innings of work.
2017 v.s. 2018:
When a pitcher struggles as Faria did in 2018, especially after such a good 2017, we look to see that he was doing differently. As we could have guessed, his ERA+ plummeted from 123 in 2017 to 77 in 2018. Along with his ERA+, his walk percentage rose while his strikeout percentage fell, which is only a good combination if you are a hitter. He also relied on his fastball more and his slider less.
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His BB% rose from 8.7% to 11.7% adding more traffic on the base paths. Faria’s K% fell from 23.5% to 17.8%, as a result more balls are put in play and the result is out of his control. As a result of the added baserunners and falling behind in counts, Faria had to lean on his fastball more heavily this year and that took away from his ability to throw his slider which was a put away pitch in 2017. He threw 6% more fastballs and 6% less sliders.
Where to go from here:
Jake Faria will need to hit the reset button in 2019. I’d love to see him back in the rotation alongside Snell and Glasnow, but if the Rays go out and sign a free agent starter, Jake Faria could be out of a job and likely headed to Durham or a relief role. We will see what happens, but I am sure the Tampa Bay Rays are hoping that Faria can turn things around in 2019, I sure am.