From the horse's mouth: Why Jake Odorizzi stunk last season but trading for him does not stink for the Twins

The Minnesota Twins announced that they traded their 20th prospect Jermaine Palacios to the Tampa Bay Rays for RHP Jake Odorizzi.  This is the second recent "buy low" acquisition of a pitcher who had a rough 2017, but all signs point to an improvement in 2018.  I have discussed why the acquisition of Anibal Sanchez makes sense for the Twins here; the reasons that Odorizzi will improve are slightly different.

Today (2/18/18) the Front Office show on MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette had an exclusive interview with Odorizzi.   In that Odorizzi mentioned that hamstring and back issues in 2017, impacted him "quite a bit" last season.  Especially his back bothered him since Spring Training.  As a result he made mechanical adjustments to compensate for the pain, which created "bad habits" cutting his extension point short when finishing pitches and became more of a "side to side" vs "up and down" pitcher.  He was "constantly tinkering" until he went to the DL got enough rest and came back feeling the way he "should feel."  It took him "a bit" to fix his mechanics, but felt good at the end of the season.

And the numbers support this.

After he returned from the DL in August, for the rest of the season, his pitching line looked like this:

3.51 ERA, 48-2/3 IP, 26 BB, 45 K, .186 OBA, average Game Score 53

In September, when his mechanics cleared up his line looked like this:

1.03 ERA, 26-1/3 IP, 9 BB, 30 K,  .116 OBA, average Game Score 64

The Twins will be thrilled if they get the September Odorizzi.  These are Ace numbers, but they will not mind getting the August to September Odorizzi.  And all of that for their number 20 prospect who was behind 3 other shortstops (Nick Gordon, Wander Javier, and Royce Lewis, alphabetically) in the Twins' shortstop prospect depth.   This is a great trade for the Twins and they will reap the benefits in 2018.

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