Maybe you liked what Charlie Furbush brought to the table in 2013: very tough on lefties, but also hard for right-hand hitters to handle.
And maybe the two things are related … because maybe Kyle Hunter is evolving into Furbush II.
Furbush is a bit taller and has more oomph on his fastball, while Hunter is better at avoiding walks, but both have shown the ability to transcend LOOGY-hood with outings that also shut down righties.
We’ll start with Hunter’s overall line, which is plenty good:
71.1 IP | 1.80 ERA | 3.33 FIP | 1.13 WHIP | 2.6 BB/9 | 7.1 K/9
His numbers are actually weighed down a bit since he gave up two homers in 12.1 IP at High Desert, and, given his track record, it seems fairly unlikely that he would have done that in a different park. His FIP at Jackson alone was 3.11.
But let’s zoom in on his batting-against splits:
vs. RH: .233/.280/.333 for ISO-against of .100
vs. LH: .207/.286/.244 for ISO-against of .037
In other words, lefties were pretty helpless against him, but righties didn’t exactly light him up. And that ISO-against vs. RH is inflated by those High Desert dingers.
Now compare Furbush:
vs. RH: .221/.307/.382 for ISO-against of .161
vs. LH: .173/.266/.236 for ISO-against of .063
Again, Furbush will strike out more hitters (and walk more, too), but the pattern is similar.
Why does Hunter qualify for plateau-leap status? First, he handled the rapid promotion (Clinton last year; mostly Jackson this year) with ease. Second, despite his unlucky stint at High Desert, his ISO-against plunged under .100. It was .066 at Jackson. We take that as a very good sign.