The Yankees' trade for Chad Gaudin may prove to be one of the most important moves of the 2009 season for any team. Even by writing those words on the day he notched his first win as a Yankee in relief, part of my sense of reason labels this reasoning as absurd.
His career statistics are nothing impressive. In seven big league seasons (only 1 3/4 as a regular starter) Gaudin is a modest 32-35 with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.521 WHIP. This is most definitely not the stat line of a pitcher who — even at the relatively young age of 26 — should be projected for a high level of major league success. The quandary with Gaudin is that if one physically watches him pitch, on some nights, one might project him as one of the future better No. 2 or No. 3 starters in the game based totally on perception..
Gaudin does not have over-powering stuff but he has enough command and a good amount of movement to enable him to strike people out. It is his control that has always been the catalyst for his inconsistency. Chad has always posted good strikeout numbers relative to his innings pitched — posting a career 7.0 K/9 career ratio — but this season his control has once again eluded him at inopportune times, most obviously in Gaudin's poor starts listed below. Not always translating into pure walk numbers, Gaudin consistently getting behind batters in these rough outings forced him into poor pitchers counts, and inevitably he was hammered, not because of his inherent hitability, but because of his sporadic loss of ability to work the corners that is so vital to his success.
Gaudin's worst starts in 2009:
May 3 vs. Dodgers: 5.2 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 5 K
May 14 vs. Cubs: 4.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 H, 7 BB (!), 5 K
May 25 vs. D'backs: 5.1 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 5 BB, 6 K
June 12 vs. Angels: 3 IP, 8 ER, 10 H, 0 BB, 1 K
And his best starts in 2009:
June 23 vs. Mariners: 7 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 1 BB, 11 K
June 28 vs. Rangers: 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 9 K
July 8 vs. D'backs: 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 7 K
July 16 vs. Rockies: 5 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 8 K