New Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Chad Kuhl
Chad Kuhl spent the last five seasons with Pittsburgh but he will be with the Colorado Rockies in 2022. He’s been OK as a starter throughout his career (4.44 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 107 ERA-, 109 FIP-) but last season, he saw a real decline. His ERA jumped to 4.82 (116 ERA-) and his FIP jumped to 5.31 (126 FIP-). It was his second straight season with a FIP- above 120, which, for me, is a bad sign of how he’ll perform in the future. The same goes for his xFIP, which last season was 4.90. The initial outlook doesn’t seem great.
One other strange thing about Kuhl’s stats last season were his home/road splits. Now, as Rockies fans are well aware, you shouldn’t look at a player’s home/road splits and instead look at the full picture. But I just couldn’t look away from Kuhl’s stats. He posted up a 2.41 ERA in PNC Park, his home stadium, and that was paired with a 7.32 ERA on the road. What worries me here is that, besides the obvious disparity, his xFIP was nearly the same whether at home or on the road (4.81 at home, 4.99 on the road).
What those numbers tell me is that his success at PNC Park was a result of a large amount of luck. Last season PNC Park had a league-average park factor, so I’m worried that we’re more likely to see subpar results out of Kuhl this season.
Kuhl has a pitch mix that’s mostly fastballs and sliders. He’ll mix in curveballs as well with a fairly minimal amount of changeups. He doesn’t give up many fly balls, which is great for Coors, but it doesn’t translate to a super high groundball rate. He gives up a decent amount of line drives, which is where a lot of damage can obviously be done. If he can increase his groundball rate from 44 percent to above 50 percent, which is a large ask, that may help him get better results than what he’s seen in prior years.