Spectometer Plateau Leap Alert: Kyle Hunter

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 you wondered, when Danny Hultzen was shut down, why Kyle Hunter was the guy sent to the Arizona Fall League in his place.

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.


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