Aaron Civale’s start to the 2022 season has not gone how anybody planned. His struggles continued Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, where he only pitched three innings and gave up six hits and six runs.
I am a big fan of Civale. He is a cool-headed and calm pitcher who when is locked in has some nasty stuff. But clearly, something is off. One of the reasons that Civale may be struggling so much is that he is visibly getting tired early on in games.
Today's broadcast mentioned that Civale was sick during Spring Training and has not had the time to build up the stamina to stay in games. This could be one of the reasons for his early-season struggles. I think that once Civale is at full strength he will be fine, but what should the Guardians do until that happens?
One option could be plugging Eli Morgan into the rotation.
Even though Morgan is coming out of the bullpen right now, starting is nothing new for him. Last year Morgan started 18 games where he had an ERA of 5.34, which is admittedly pretty high for a starter. However, his ERA continued to fall each month as he got more comfortable in that role.
In 2022, Morgan pitched in four games and has started one of those. Through these four games, he has an ERA of 5.00 but has shown some areas of promise in his advanced stats.
Morgan ranks in the 80th percentile in K percentage, in the 72nd percentile in whiff percentage, and in the 73rd percentile in chase rate. This shows that Morgan has the ability to get outs and could build off this if he was in the starting rotation. Morgan's batted ball profile is also similar to John Means and J.A. Happ, who are respectable pitchers in their own right.
If the Guardians were to swap out Morgan for Civale in the rotation, it would not be a groundbreaking change that immediately changes the Guardians’ season. However, it could be a short-term solution to give Civale time to get back to the pitcher we know him as and build up the confidence and experience in a promising pitcher in Morgan.
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