After 39.1 innings of uninspiring baseball with the Padres in 2017, Brandon Maurer was shipped to the Royals in a midseason trade that caught the attention of many. Unfortunately, he brought his struggles with him. With an offseason to find and fix the issues with his game, can Maurer bounce back in 2018?
If you haven’t read my Kings of Kauffman season preview for Kevin McCarthy, I highly suggest doing so. Kevin is a reliever looking to carry his 2017 success into this season. A Royal that didn’t experience much success last season was Brandon Maurer. After spending the majority of his career with the Mariners, Maurer joined the Padres in 2015. Posting a 3.00 ERA in 51 innings that season, the hype surrounding Maurer began to build.
Finishing the season with a 4.52 ERA, it was evident that Brandon Maurer needed to reevaluate his approach on the mound. Though his FIP remained relatively low (3.46), there were still many questions surrounding the young righty heading into 2017. With many expecting him to rebound, he did everything but that.
What did he offer last season?
In 42 appearances with San Diego, Maurer pitched 39.1 innings of 25-run, 38-strikeout baseball – “good” for a 5.72 ERA. He was undoubtedly trending downward and did litte to prove otherwise. The then-26-year-old was traded to Kansas City on July 24. Also included in the trade were Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter, Matt Strahm, Travis Wood and Esteury Ruiz. The hope among the Royals organization was that a change of scenery would benefit Maurer. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
In 26 appearances with the Royals, Maurer allowed 18 runs in 20 innings but did manage to strike out 21 batters. An 8.10 ERA was not what the team had hoped for, to say the least. Overall, Maurer’s season ERA of 6.52 was well below the line of being acceptable. Could a 3.93 FIP indicate some rotten luck on Maurer’s end? Perhaps, but it’s important to be cautious heading into the 2018 season.
What can we expect in 2018?
Here’s what Steamer projects Brandon Maurer to contribute to the Royals this season:
- 65 appearances
- 65 innings pitched
- 4.32 ERA
- 59 K
65 innings pitched is high, especially when considering the rebuild and potential “throw this guy in the bullpen and see what we have in him” are imminent. I’m going to take slightly under 65 innings pitched and under 65 appearances. Lowering a 6.52 ERA to 4.32 would be impressive, but I think it’ll be a bit higher than 4.32. Considering he’s posted an ERA higher than that in four out of his five major league seasons, I feel confident taking the over. Maurer’s K/9 should hover around the same figure it was in 2017 (8.95), but it won’t amount to 59 strikeouts. I’m going under on K’s.
Brandon Maurer has had one great season out of five in the MLB. His play has worsened from 2015-2016 and 2016-2017. Even his low FIP has begun to rise. With that said, the 27-year-old still has plenty of time to turn it around and 2018 should be the start of that process. Don’t expect 2015-like numbers, but a solid improvement is not out of the question at all. Maurer is one of many relievers looking to get back on track – keep an eye on him in 2018.
What do you think, Royals fans? Will Maurer’s nosedive continue? Does he have a turnaround in him? Will he even finish the year with the club? Let us know what YOU think!