Dustin McGowan – The Next Chris Carpenter?

The Toronto Blue Jays today announced that Dustin McGowan would be in the starting rotation to begin the 2014 season.  It was not completely unexpected given the state of the current rotation and what McGowan had shown during 2013 in the bullpen and over a few innings in spring training this year.  However this is certainly rolling the dice and Alex Anthopoulos is taking a chance on a starting pitcher with good stuff but a hideous track record of poor health.

What can we expect from a pitcher who hasn’t started more than 19 games in one big league season since 2008?

Let us have a look at his last two seasons as a full-time starting pitcher with the Blue Jays:

  IP      ERA   xFIP   K/9   BB/9   HR/9   K/BB   GB%  
D. McGowan – 2007 169.2 4.08 3.79 7.64 3.24 0.74 2.36 53.0
D. McGowan – 2008 111.1 4.37 4.27 6.87 3.07 0.73 2.24 41.4
Pitcher X 124.2 2.96 4.03 7.80 2.96 0.87 2.63 41.1

Pitcher X has similar numbers overall when compared to Dustin McGowan’s numbers when he was last trying to establish himself as a big league starting pitcher.  Pitcher X is none other than Brandon Morrow’s 2012 season.

McGowan was touching 94.7 MPH on his heater in 2007/2008 and that is the exact level he was hitting last season out of the bullpen.  I would expect his velocity to dip a little bit making the full transition to the starting rotation nearly six years removed from being a full-time starter.

If Dustin McGowan can split the difference of 2007/2008 and provide 150+ innings as a starting pitcher that would certainly be a bonus.  I can’t say I had any expectation McGowan would even return to the big leagues let alone be counted upon every five days.

I think the best case scenario is Dustin McGowan remains healthy all season and helps fans get over the sting of watching former Blue Jays SP Chris Carpenter reinvigorate his career with the St. Louis Cardinals.  The worst case scenario is we have to watch McGowan end his career for good.  All things considered I think this is a risk worth taking.


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    On another note, I wouldn’t want to be the Jays press manager on Opening Day at the Rog. Not only is it opening day for 2014, but the starting pitchers are Dustin McGowan and Masahiro Tanaka. What a nightmare.

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