Yesterday, Tyler Waldron was transferred out of West Virginia with a destination of “TBA”. At this time of year, that could mean a lot of things, one of which being a trade rumor. For Waldron, it ended up meaning a promotion to Bradenton. Looking at the numbers, you wouldn’t guess that he’s ready for a promotion to the next level. However, his numbers have been a bit misleading to how good he has pitched.
Waldron has a 4.82 ERA in 97 innings this season. Most of that has been due to a 6.26 ERA in the month of July, spanning 27.1 innings. His secondary numbers have looked strong, despite the poor ERAs. He’s allowed 91 hits in 97 innings this year. He’s got a 64:26 K/BB ratio. One issue has been the long ball, as Waldron has given up 14 homers this year, for a 1.3 HR/9 ratio. However, he’s cut back on his homers, allowing one in his last seven starts, spanning 36.1 innings. He’s only allowed five homers in 59.1 innings since June started, after allowing nine homers in 37.2 innings in April and May.
A big change for Waldron has been his ability to get groundouts. Prior to the South Atlantic League All-Star break, he had a 1.39 GO/AO ratio. Since the break, he’s had a 3.05 GO/AO ratio, which is excellent. One other nice change has been his effectiveness against left handers, with a .242 BAA, after allowing a .306 BAA versus left handers last year.
When I saw him on June 30th, he looked good outside of the third inning. He eased through the first two innings, then started getting hit hard in the third, allowing all three of his earned runs on the night. He exited after four innings of work. Waldron was working in the 90-92 MPH range, although he left a few up in the third, leading to hard hits.
Long term, Waldron profiles best as a power reliever, with the ability to touch 95 MPH with his fastball. He looked better in the starting role this year than when I saw him in State College last year, but he’s not dominant enough, with low strikeout totals, which isn’t good in low-A for a guy who came from the college ranks. Best case scenario he profiles as a back of the rotation starter, although that will take continued improvements like we’ve seen in the last two months, with the lowered home run rates, the increased ground balls, and the improved numbers against left handers that we’ve seen all year.