Clay’s Choice: Darin Gorski

Also the founder of Kutztown University Vital Sports, I recently did a study of one of the Golden Bears’ pitchers, Darin Gorski. The southpaw is expected to be an early round draft pick in June’s draft and so I added him to my Clay’s Choice list.

gorski3With June’s major league baseball entry draft only two months away, now is as good a time as any to check up on the major league potential of Kutztown University’s own Darin Gorski. The left-handed starting pitcher was ranked as the fourth best prospect in Division-II by Baseball America and has been outstanding so far this season. Gorski is a junior and could return for his senior season, but the odds are pretty good that he will get drafted in the early rounds of the entry draft.

I did an extremely in-depth analysis of each of Gorski’s pitching appearances since his arrival at Kutztown prior to the 2007 season. He has made 33 appearances in his career (as of April 10), which includes 25 starts. His numbers, which I’ll get to in more depth shortly, have been noticeably consistent over the last three seasons, but it’s not hard to see the progressive improvements from start to start. Since only 10 of his 166 1/3 career innings pitched were of the relief variety, I’m going to scrap them and focus only on his contributions as a starter.

Gorski made just six starts in his rookie season back in 2007. In 30 1/3 innings of work as a starter, he struck out in impressive 27 opposing hitters, while walking 13. His ERA was 2.67, WHIP was 1.12, and opponents hit just .191 against him. An ideal pitching prospect would strike a lot of people out, induce ground balls, and avoid walks and fly balls. Gorski proved he had potential to meet those requirements in his freshman campaign, but his 3.9 BB/9 and 30:26 GO/FO ratio needed improvement.

The southpaw went on to make 12 starts in 2008 and, although he showed improvement in several categories, his numbers through 2 seasons all but mirrored his stats after his freshman campaign. In that sophomore season, he struck out 83, walked 27, and allowed 63 hits in 81 1/3 innings of work. His ERA was 2.43, his WHIP was 1.11, and opponents hit .210 against him. His K/9 improved to 9.2 and his BB/9 was slightly better at 3.0. Although he struck out hitters at a higher rate, Gorski allowed his GO/FO ratio to even out at 101:101. Because homeruns are hit at a much lower rate in division-II (as opposed to the major leagues), Gorski can thrive despite the 1.00 GO/FO ratio. However, that is a figure that will need improvement as he works his way through the minor leagues.

Gorski’s batting average on balls in play (BABIP) increased from .244 his rookie season to .265 his sophomore year. For you advanced stats beginners, this means that balls hit into the field of play by opposing hitters were falling in for hits at a higher rate. On the other hand, his left on base percentage (LOB%) increased quite a bit from 67% to 74%. BABIP is widely considered to be all but uncontrollable by the pitcher and the 74% LOB% is probably closer to where his career average will end up. All that being said, it’s safe to say that Gorski pitched better his sophomore season, but was a bit less lucky.

Heading into his junior season, there was plenty reason to believe Gorski was the real deal and would be even better. So far, he has not disappointed. In seven starts, he has tossed 44 innings, allowing 27 hits, while striking out 51 and walking 13. Although there is still quite a ways to go this season, his 1.23 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, .172 opponent batting average, 1.77 fielding independent ERA (FIP), 10.4 K/9, and 2.7 BB/9 are all career bests. His GO/FO ratio has remained right on his career average at 34:35.

Taking a look at Gorski’s numbers in 25 career starts, it is clear to see what is attracting major league baseball scouts. In 155 2/3 innings of work, he has allowed just 111 hits, while striking out 161 and walking 53. Despite the 135:136 FO/GO ratio, he has allowed only 6 career homers, including none thus far in 2009. His career ERA is 2.14, WHIP is 1.05, FIP is 2.87, opponent’s batting average is .196, K/9 is a whopping 9.3, and BB/9 is 3.1.

That’s about all you need to know about Darin Gorski. It looks like he will be an early round pick in the entry draft, which is set for June 9-10. Meanwhile, Gorski and the Kutztown University Golden Bears, ranked in the top 15 in Division-II, will look to win the PSAC Championship, before heading off to compete at the Regional and National level.

Keep up with Darin’s progress and that of the Golden Bears at Kutztown University Vital Sports or by logging on to the official KU Athletics website.

Photo Credit: Tony Vazquez

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