What We Should Expect From Luke French
Luke French, one of the two pitchers acquired from the Tigers in the Jarrod Washburn deal, will make his Mariner debut tonight, against the Kansas City Royals – but what should we expect from him? Well, it’s not like Snell’s Mariner debut, where he was facing a powerhouse lineup, and it probably wouldn’t have been fair to judge him by his results. Tonight is different, French is facing the Royals.
The Royals as a team have the fourth lowest wOBA in baseball at .309, better than only the Reds, Padres, and Giants. They also have one of the lowest HR/FB rates in baseball, at 8.4%. If there’s any team we should expect Luke French to do well against, it’s the Royals.
We know what type of pitcher he is – he’s a finesse lefty with a below average fastball, an average change, and a good slider. He’s an extreme fly ball pitcher with a great outfield defense behind him, and he’s facing a team that doesn’t hit very many home runs. He’s basically a 23 year old version of Jarrod Washburn, and he’s going to benefit from pitching for this Mariners team in exactly the same way.
His HR/FB rate since coming to the big leagues has been ridiculously flukey, and that isn’t sustainable, but the odds of him getting hit by home run rate regression against the Royals aren’t that great. It’s going to happen, but there’s a good chance it won’t happen tonight. If he throws strikes, and uses his best pitch – his slider, effectively, he should be able to get good results against such a weak lineup.
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