Trahan Struggled With 2-Outs in '05
"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Nationals' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of David Trahan, we'll look how he did at home versus the road, how he pitched with runners in scoring position, and more, while pitching for both the Savannah Sand Gnats and the Vermont Expos.
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The Next Step Right-handed pitcher (RHP) David Trahan, selected in the 11th round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Alvin Community College, has shown an ability to get out batters in the NY-Penn League as a member of the Vermont Expos. In two seasons, including his nine appearances with Vermont this past season, Trahan owns a 2.67 ERA in 29 appearances for the Expos.
His transition to full-season league baseball with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2005 however did not go as well, posting a 3-10 mark with a 6.52 ERA in 34 appearances in the South Atlantic League. For the purposes of this article, we'll focus on his splits with Savannah, seeing as he logged the majority of his time in 2005 with the Sand Gnats.
Flatlining All Year: David Trahan had his best month in 2005 for Savannah in July, posting a 4.50 ERA in just two appearances (he made 8 appearances for Vermont in July). His ERA never dipped below 5.00 in any other month this past season, including a 7.45 ERA in his first eight appearances with Savannah to begin the year.
As bad as his start was with the Sand Gnats, Trahan's finish wasn't any better. He went 0-5 in his last eight appearances with Savannah, posting an 8.10 ERA during that time and he didn't throw scoreless outings in consecutive appearances over his final 19 games.
Struggled Against Righties? Opposing left-handed batters in the South Atlantic League hit a robust .330 off of him this past season. While it is a much higher number than Trahan and the Nationals would like to see, it isn't too unexpected for a right-handed pitcher making his long-season league debut.
However, the right-handed hurler allowed opposing right-handed batters to tee off of him to the tune of a .318 average, a number not acceptable considering the traditional baseball matchups. Even more than the average was the amount of extra-base hits Trahan served up to righties. 39% of the hits he allowed to right-handed batters went for extra bases, a big reason for the lofty ERA.
Better Suited For The Bullpen? Trahan's ERA was somewhat lower as a starter for Savannah in 2005, albeit in just three starts. He posted a 6.10 ERA as a starter and a 6.61 ERA as a reliever. Considering the small sample size however, not too many conclusions can be drawn about how he should be used.
However, opposing batters hit just .239 off of him when the bases were empty this past season, a more than acceptable batting average against. That number jumped all the way up to .393 with runners on base, which is a clear indication that Trahan prefers to pitch out of the wind-up.
All five of his home runs served up with Savannah this past season came with runners on base and 18 of his 25 extra-base hits allowed came out of the stretch. So while his ERA's may not show he favors being a starter, his splits clearly indicate he does.
Dropping The Hammer: Opposing batters batted .302 off of Trahan when leading off an inning, a number too high for either a starter or a reliever. And while hitters enjoyed more success off of him with runners in scoring position (.364 average allowed with RISP), it was Trahan's lack of success with two outs that really got him into trouble in the South Atlantic League this past season.
Opposing batters hit .357 off of him overall with runners on base and with two outs in 2005, including a .333 batting average with runners in scoring position and with two outs. Bearing down and getting more batters out when there's two outs in the inning would shave a considerable amount of runs off of his ERA. Once he learns to pitch better in those situations, his confidence would increase and his turnaround could have a snow-ball effect as a result.
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