Impact: Gorzelanny in Washington

Back in 2007, left-handed hurler Tom Gorzelanny looked like a bright young pitcher poised to be a fixture in the Pirates rotation for years to come. The next season, inconsistency and an arm injury spelled the beginning of the end for his time in Pittsburgh. The Cubs decided to take a shot at the then 26-year-old. Last season, Gorzelanny pitched his way into the starting rotation and onto some fantasy baseball rosters. How will a move away from the friendly confines affect his 2011 outlook?

There was a lot to like about what Gorzelanny did in 2010. He posted a 7.86 K/9, held a slightly above average whiff rate and limited his home run damage, which had hurt him the past two seasons. However, there were plenty of issues to go along with the positives. Gorzelanny walked 4.5 batters per nine innings and allowed 136 hits in 136.1 innings pitched. That combination led to a 1.50 WHIP, which fantasy GM’s simply couldn’t use.

Going from Wrigley to Nationals park is a plus for 2011 and he should get a rotation spot from the get-go. However, Gorzelanny is the type of pitcher with limited upside that is more likely to drive fantasy owners crazy than anything else. His numbers were anything but consistent in 2010. Outside of April and May, Gorzolanny failed to post an FIP under 4.00 and posted BB/9 rates of 7.15 for June, 5.10 for July, 3.45 for August and 7.50 for September. His career K/BB rate against lefties is 2.78 while it is only 1.38 against right-handed hitters.

If Gorzelanny can improve his command, he could be a useful piece to a deeper league rotation. However, the risk should be duly noted. His 136.1 innings were his most since 2007, he has only thrown 200-plus innings once (in 2007) and hasn’t thrown over 150 innings (minors and majors combined) since that 2007 season.

If nothing else, Gorzelanny should be a nice waiver wire plug-in against left-handed heavy lineups. While there is some upside in an overall improvement, there is plenty of risk to go along with it.