Cory Gearrin (by Stu)

Taken by the Braves out of nearby Mercer University in the fourth round of the 2007 draft, Cory Gearrin made his big-league debut in 2011 and has jumped back and forth between Gwinnett and Atlanta ever since, generally dominating the minors with mixed results in the majors.

Gearrin is a right-handed side-armer with a 57.1 ground-ball percentage in 38 1/3 major-league innings; he naturally draws comparisons to Peter Moylan, and the idea is that he will be a capable successor in that getting-important-outs-including-but-not-limited-to-double-plays-against-righties role.

He’s primarily a fastball-slider guy, mixing in the occasional changeup, and his fastball (a sinker, naturally) averages right around 90 mph. He strikes out a lot more hitters than you’d expect — 10.6 K/9 in the majors, 10.2 in the minors — but he also walks a lot more than you can really afford in such a specialized reliever, 4 per nine in the majors and throughout his minor-league career. His BABIP with the Braves (.337) is not low, but it’s lower than I expected, given those strikeout numbers and his career ERA, and given all the innings I think I remember in which every hitter he faced hit a double to the wall. His FIP (2.70) and xFIP (3.21) do not align with his ERA (4.70), but I guess this is the sort of thing you get from someone who’s been prone to some Really Bad Innings.

As you’d expect from this type of pitcher (although maybe not quite to this extreme), he’s been great against righties (.149/.245/.174 against) and awful against lefties (.368/.463/.614) — what you might not expect is that 40.6% of the batters he’s faced at the major-league level have been left-handed. (Uh, Fredi?) Some have speculated that he does much better after a day off than after a day of work. Two points: 1) Who doesn’t?, and 2) The stats I’ve looked at don’t really bear that out. He was sometimes dominant on the third day in a row; he sometimes got hit after a day or more off. If the contention were true and bound to last, it would be a real problem, because a guy you can only use against righties every other day is a guy who’s too limited to belong on a major-league roster . . . but I don’t think there’s much to worry about in that regard.

With the acquisition of Jordan Walden, it doesn’t look like Gearrin will have a roster spot (unless the Braves INCLUDE A RELIEVER IN A TRADE FOR JUSTIN UPTON) to open the season, but I’m sure he’ll get a fair amount of work with the big club as the year goes on, as other guys get injured or are ineffective or whatever. This is his last option year, so this will be the last chance for the Braves to jerk him around. When he’s used properly, there’s a lot to work with.

It remains an open question whether a bullpen can afford to have a right-handed specialist like this, but we’re in an era of increased bullpen numbers and specialization, and the Braves made the Moylan thing work for several years — my guess is that he shows enough to warrant a more-secure spot next year, if not by the end of this one.

Author: Stu

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I've been married since July 17, 2004 to my beautiful wife, who also doubles as my best friend. We have an almost-three-years-old Boston Terrier named Lucy who's also pretty awesome. My wife and I both graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2004. I graduated from Law School at the University of Georgia in May of 2007 and am now practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. I really, really love the Atlanta Braves.

93 thoughts on “Cory Gearrin (by Stu)”

  1. Even with the addition of Walden, there’s a place in a 7 man pen for Gearrin: Kimbrel, O’Flaherty, Venters, Avilan, Walden, Lisp, Gearrin. What/who am I missing?

  2. From previous thread:
    As much as I hate to say it, I’m in much closer agreement with Sam about Bonds and the HOF than I was a few years ago. The players union knew steroids use was going on big-time but lobbied against testing and Seilig had no guts to stop it. The only person in this group who should be banned for life from even being mentioned as a footnote in the HOF is Bud Seilig

  3. Yeah, I posted this in the last thread also.

    “This really is bad for baseball in general. Clemens has 7 CY Young awards, Bonds has 762 HR’s, and Rose has 4256 hits. These are the ALL Time leaders in these categories and they all stand a very good chance of not getting elected.”

  4. From other thread, as well:

    I know I was complaining about the first-ballot crap yesterday, but I don’t have a problem with it when it comes to Bonds and Clemens (read: when there’s a reason for it other than “blah blah Joe DiMaggio blah blah”). Both deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, but it doesn’t have to be this year. Let it sit for a little while.

    Also, this is probably unfair and is certainly not very scientific, but if I were a voter, I would deal with the steroids era thusly: If there is good evidence that a player did steroids but, in my mind, the player is one of the very best players of all-time, and therefore likely would’ve had a very good case even without the steroids, I’d vote for them (though again, probably not on the first ballot). If their numbers merit inclusion but they’re farther down the list, I wouldn’t vote for them. So I would vote for Bonds and Clemens starting next year, but I would probably never vote for McGwire, Sosa, Palmeiro, etc. If it’s possible that a player did steroids but there really isn’t any credible evidence, I’m not holding that against them when voting. So Piazza and Bagwell would get my vote without a second thought. Also, this would apply going forward, so I would probably not vote for Manny Ramirez, for instance. Just my two cents on the topic.

  5. Sounds like Cory’s gearrin up for the I-85 shuffle again this year, amiright?

    I floated the notion to Stu that Gearrin is the Juan Francisco of the pitching staff, in that matchups are unusually determinative to their success. If this was the 1970s or earlier, you could carry Francisco but not Gearrin. Nowadays, the reverse is true.

  6. My position on the HOF is quite simple, really. None of the candidates are on MLB’s Permanently Ineligible list. Therefore, they are eligible for the Hall. Vote for them on their merits as performers.

    No rational observer could come up with a case where Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens are not HOF caliber performers.

  7. Interesting point. Perhaps they should be on the permanently ineligible list and remove all doubt. Though, what do you do with the guy who got voted in and subsequent evidence shows that he was a user? By extension, you would have to remove them from the HoF, No?

    Bonds and Clemons definitely had HoF caliber performances, but I could have a HoF calibre career in cf if they let me play with a fishing net (defensively at least).

  8. No rational observer could come up with a case where Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens are not HOF caliber performers.

    Absolutely true. Which is why we have to be treated to pearls like this one:

    We know some pitchers extended their playing careers, we know some people hit the ball farther, but nobody hit .406, nobody had a 56-game hitting streak, no pitcher won 30 games, no pitcher won 35 games, no pitcher won 25 games. Maybe that helps you make it less onerous, but at the same time, those motherf—ers should suffer for a while. –Ken Burns

  9. KLaw just did his top 25 under 25:
    3. Heyward
    19. Freeman
    21. Simmons
    23. Kimbrel

    No other team had that many players on the list. Let’s add Stanton and make it five.

  10. Buster Olney ‏@Buster_ESPN
    Another sign of the erosion in the relationship between the D-Backs and Justin Upton: The Uptown signs are coming down, as @Gambo620 reports

    Pretty much have to trade him at this point dont they?

  11. @13 – Contracts aside, there’s no way I’d trade away Simmons to get Freeman. Would anyone else? I suppose Law has always been a little skeptical of Simmons’ bat though.

  12. I mean, he’s basically got them as a toss-up.

    I really wish we could get a Heyward extension done. I have to imagine Wren has tried, so maybe Heyward is really looking to maximize his possible earnings.

  13. As a conservationist by profession who also likes jazz, baseball, and has at least a passing interest in the Civil War and the Dust Bowl, let me say that I thoroughly hate Ken Burns.

  14. Ken Burns is a 60 year old man with a jet-black bowl cut.

    I enjoy most of his work, but if looking like a pedophile were reason enough to hate someone… Well, then I would probably hate Ken Burns.

  15. Big Boi was on First Take this morning and said the key to a Falcons’ victory will be the players ability to stay away from Magic City and Diamonds.

    Truer words have never been spoken (I’m looking at you John Abraham).

  16. The funny thing is that’s probably one of the Top 5 most cogent points ever uttered on First Take.

  17. Stu, good write up. I think the reason for the big difference in ERA and FIP is a relatively small sample size.

  18. Apparently J Up rejected a trade to Seattle. Hey D’backs, pretty sure he wouldn’t reject a trade to Atlanta.

  19. Good write-up, Stu.
    I learned something from it.
    Now, I hope Cory gets another chance, but won’t mind if he’s part of a trade package.

  20. From mlbtraderumors: The Mariners offered a four-player package to the D’Backs, according to Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Arizona would have received Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor and one of Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen or James Paxton.

  21. Tweet from Bowman:

    Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
    If Braves made an offer similar to one SEA made for Upton it would likely include Teheran or Delgado,JV or EOF, Ahmed and Gearrin

    I don’t think I mind that too much….

  22. We’re talking about a very good player who would be under control for 3 more years. Yeah, I’d think about that.

    So long as Avilan isn’t in the deal, of course.

  23. Sounds like Texas made their final offer prior to Arizona making the deal with Seattle that was vetoed by Upton. According to Bob Nightengale of USAToday, Arizona made one final offer to Texas before agreeing to the Seattle deal and Texas thought the asking price was too steep. Nightengale also said that the Braves make the most sense as a trade partner for Upton.

  24. “Teheran or Delgado,JV or EOF, Ahmed and Gearrin” for J. Upton?

    You’ve got to be kidding me. I would NEVER do that. I’d even be really hard pressed to offer Teheran straight up, who was the best pitching prospect in baseball (remember?) a year ago, and nothing that he did last year, at age 21, changed that, IMHO. I also really wonder why JV and EOF are so undervalued, esp. in times like these where even lesser middle relievers command $5-10 mil salaries. You never know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone I guess.

    Where does all the love for J. Upton come from anyway? Check his home/road splits, he has never hit much outside of Arizona. His defense is very good, sure, but we are not looking for defense, we are looking for offense, esp. in LF.

    Which ballclub is better off, one with Teheran + EOF and, say, Gattis in LF (AND Ahmed and still Gearrin on the farm AND thirtysomething million saved over three years), or one without all of those players and $36 mil spent on J. Upton? The answer is obvious to me.

  25. Teheran, Peraza or Ahmed, Avilan and Spruill seems comparable to me and I’d do it. Might would rather give Delgado but I’m nor sure.

  26. I’d much rather trade Delgado than Teheran. Delgado’s career has been marked with good K rates but consistently elevated BB rates at every level. By contrast, Teheran hasn’t struck out as many batters (at least not since reaching AAA) but has shown he can keep free passes to a reasonable level. Delgado profiles as a good #3 – 4 starter, but Teheran looks like he could be a #2 starter soon, with ace upside.

  27. I’m not crazy about upton. He starts to get pretty expensive in 2014 and 2015. Not that it’s an unreasonable amount of money, but I’d rather try and keep Heyward, Freeman, Prado than throw all of that money at the Uptons.

  28. Teheran and Gattis are both prospects who have shown exactly nothing at the Major League level.

    So were Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus.

    Teheran ist 21 years old, what is he supposed to “have done at the Major League level”?? You might want to check out what Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux did at age 21. Their numbers indicated hopeless causes, but their talent was apparent.

    Gattis has hit at every level so far. He deserves at least a shot, IMHO.

    $13 mil/per plus a truckload of talent for J. Upton? No, thank you.

  29. @50 He’s worth 13 million per and when he goes on the market he’ll get even more. Gattis hasn’t even hit at AAA yet and you’re giving him the LF spot, and just because x number of great players hadn’t shown their skills at 21 doesn’t mean Teheran is going to be a hall of famer. You’ve got to give to get and J Upton is a very valuable commodity and he fills a giant hole that we can’t fill otherwise, unless Gattis becomes Josh Willingham.

  30. @51 Agree 100%. Since they picked up Walden, it makes one of the relievers available, and Ahmed is blocked by Simmons anyway. You have to give to get, and giving up one of Teheran or Delgado and Gearrin are parts I think we can afford to lose. Dealing from a position of strength to get a much needed left fielder instead of holding on to the much coveted “young pitching” that doesn’t seem to always develop sounds like a good plan to me

  31. So they want a starter, lh’d reliver, and a mid prospect for Upton and some think that’s way too high of a price? Delgado, Venters, and Ahmed isn’t close to the Tex type deal. Wren absolutely should pay that price for him.

    Move Gattis behind the plate in Gwinnett for 2014 when Bmac is gone. Bethancourt hasn’t shown that his bat will be close to being ready.

  32. “Delgado, Venters, and Ahmed” sounds a hell of a lot better than Teheran, EOF, Ahmed and Gearrin.

  33. Thing is, Franklin is probably a better prospect than Ahmed while Walker, like it or not, is probably now a higher rated prospect than Teheran. A year ago? Maybe not. But this isn’t a year ago. In my opinion, the Braves would have to give more than Teheran, Ahmed, Gearrin, and Venters.

  34. 56—To match the Ms’ offer, I agree. Not sure they’d have to match that offer now, though.

    Delgado/O’Flaherty/Ahmed/Something seems like something both sides could be interested in. And if they insist on Teheran over Delgado, so be it.

  35. Would they though, if Tex is out and Sea won’t work, seems ARI’s position has weakened. Also, Upton told ARI all along he would reject a trade to SEA. Who’s to say the rumored offer is even correct? Bit of a conspiracy theory, but maybe SEA just wanted to up the price for TEX if they knew Upton would reject a trade.

  36. I would pull the trigger on Teheran/Delgado, Venters/O’Flaherty, Ahmed and Gearrin.

    -There’s still only a spot for one of Teheran/Delgado even with Beachy out. When Beachy comes back, there’s not a spot in the rotation for either of them. Yeah, I know…Maholm and Hudson won’t be around forever, still unsure about Minor, blah blah blah. At some point, we can’t keep stashing these guys down in Triple-A. It actually hurts us to not get something for them.
    -If Avilan is so damn great, why wouldn’t you be willing to trade one of EOF/Venters? Do we really need three lefty setup men? I mean, there are still more right-handers in the league than lefties. At some point, we’re gonna need to get a righty in there.
    -Ahmed is the type of prospect you should always be willing to trade. He’s a good prospect, but he’s not exactly can’t-miss, he’s not close to the majors, and you can get another prospect just like him if you draft well in six months.
    -Gearrin is the type of player you should always be willing to trade. He’s a AAAA pitcher. Useful in the dregs of someone’s bullpen, but probably not much more than that. If I were Wren, I’d trade him right now for tickets to Cirque du Soleil or something.

    This solves our LF problem. Why on earth would we not do it? So that we can hug Teheran like a hippy hugging a tree? Have him continue to waste away in the minors? He doesn’t need more time at Triple-A. If he’s ever gonna develop, he needs to be thrown into a Major League rotation in the No. 4 spot for a year to see what he does and how he handles it. That’s what we did for Glavine and the Cubs did for Maddux. We can’t do that for Teheran right now. He might develop into a good starting pitcher, but at some point we have to face the fact that it’s not gonna be with us.

  37. With all the mixed reports from our own organization on Teheran, I don’t think you can project his career path as being much better than Delgado at this point. Both should be available for being a piece in the Upton deal. Gearrin is a spare part.

  38. In my eyes the bullpen is ridiculously stacked at this point. We’ve got, what, at least 6 well above average guys in there. If you’ve got to toss in a couple to get a guy who completely solidifies your line, I think you do it.

  39. We’ll have to agree to disagree. I stand my point that $13 mil plus a truckload of talent for .250/.325/.406 hitting (or slightly above that, thanks Alex for the link @45) is just crazy. And I’ll leave it at that.

  40. I am a little concerned about the home/road splits as well. The link @45 does provide some comfort, but it reads more as a general warning against making a player’s home/road split determinative. OK, duly noted….but JUpton’s split is STILL extreme.

  41. Didn’t Uggla have fantastic hitting stats at Turner Field before he became a Brave? Sorry, I don’t put a lot of stock in that outside of Coors.

  42. I feel like there are enough completely unique scenarios in Coors (the outfield dimensions, the thin air, the humidifier, the effect on breaking balls) that it’s a total outlier and I’m not sure any other park compares.

  43. I’m always hesitant to send a haul of top prospects & relievers for a guy who hasn’t really proven himself. At least Texeira proved he could hit consistently (though it is true Upton is younger and has more years of control). I’m already concerned that BJ isn’t going to make the mark to justify his salary. I think Wren should keep his powder dry and see how the market develops.

  44. I, personally, think there IS something to guys in AZ and CO having disparate home/road splits, and I think it’s not just that they play in parks that make them look good, but that that fact is juxtaposed with the heaviest part of their “road” AB’s coming in some of the best PITCHER’s parks in baseball.

    I’m not deep enough in to stats.. but don’t they have stats available that are adjusted for park effects on an AB per Ballpark basis? Instead of lumping all his “away” at bats together, isn’t something available that weighs his performance in the 900 or so ABs he’s had in pitcher’s parks like SD, SF and LA against what those parks have done to the league, on average?

  45. Note to admins: @68 I was trying to link to a SABR conference. Instead it seems to send one to my personal email.

    Anyway you can delete that post? Thanks.

  46. Look, the Braves aren’t going to be players on the FA market for top hitters for the foreseeable future. Players with top hitter upside that are signed to long term deals rarely get traded because they are very expensive to buy on the open market. J Upton is probably worth a mild overpay by the Braves in terms of talent just to get a solution in place for a few years that they can budget around, if the goal is to try and compete for the division. There just aren’t going to be that many trains leaving the station the team can get in on.

  47. 1. SABR conferences are hysterically funny once you find Dial, Dimino, Gleeman and the rest of the stat dorks at the bar.

    2. Justin Upton’s home/road splits are notable and noteworthy. Much like his little brother, you’re acquiring him for what *can be* as much as for what he *is.*

    3. The package suggested above:

    b. JV/EOF: middle relievers are fungible
    c. Ahmed: interesting, low minors infielder

    If that offer is on the table from Arizona, pull the trigger.

  48. Agreed, Smitty. I suspect Gilmartin is no longer part of any potential offer. Seattle’s off the table. Texas is “moving on.” AZ has navigated itself into a near “must-sell” position, and the bidders are getting few and far between.

  49. I like Upton, but I have to think his trade value is somewhat diminished if both Seattle and Texas are out.

  50. I wrote the piece a couple weeks ago making the case that you have to pay McCann after the season. If we get J. Upton, I’m willing to retract that statement.

    Delgado + Venters + Ahmed + low-minors lotto ticket. Get it done!

  51. I’m a little annoyed that it seems MLBTR is stoking a Mets/Phillies/Braves bidding war for Jupton.

    If we don’t get him, and if the Mets or Phillies give up their prospects for him, I guess it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to see them consign themselves to mediocrity…but, yes, agree that we have to get Jupton now. The price is right, we can pay it, and basically everything in @71

  52. I missed @20…where to start? Statements like @12 and the short shrift he’s given to advanced stats. But really, it’s his tendency to whitewash/over-romanticize/oversimplify…and yet maintain an air of scholasticism/sanctimony.

    I get that his films are a good gateway for people who, say, never cared about national parks. But I don’t like that the more I know about a subject area he’s covered, the more I tend to disagree with his portrayal of it.

  53. @84 I really do enjoy the first several discs of Baseball, but once it gets into the 50’s it lost me, and the one he did in 2010 was infuriating.

  54. @82 I’m trying to hope that the vague utterances from the Mets/Phillies about outfielders is them just trying to drive the price up without committing, before we inevitably get Jupton. Please oh please oh please…

  55. Any personal criticisms of Burns I may have are in fact tempered by the fact that he legitimately gives a damn about many things I hold dear. It’s not hard to see that he falls in love with particular subject matter experts sometimes, and advances their opinions as if they were settled fact – Marsalis in Jazz , Foote in the Civil War, middle aged NY/Boston fans in general in Baseball. It’s a good product, but certainly cloying.

  56. It certainly seems like there will be two Uptons in our outfield right now. It does concern me that Wren let Seattle submit a better offer.

    Man, is it January or what? Just imagine how bad it will be for us in February. Pitchers and catchers, where are you?!

  57. Seattle’s offer is irrelevant. It’s one less team that can trade for him. Texas may have moved on. Wren will still need to come up with a decent package but his trade value has taken a hit. Arizona can’t keep him now either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *