2018 Exit Interviews – Luiz Gohara

2018 Exit Interviews – Luiz Gohara

(Our exit interview series looks at how players performed in 2018 along with a preview of their future.)

Luiz Gohara
19.2 innings, 5.95 ERA, 4.53 FIP, 22.0% K-rate, 9.8% BB-rate, 0.0 fWAR

2018: Gohara was often discussed as a possible Rookie of the year candidate entering the season, but an array of problems led to just 77.2 innings when you add in his work in the minors. His father passed away last December, leading to a difficult offseason. Once he arrived in camp, he was sidelined by groin and ankle injuries and didn’t throw a pitch in spring training. He’d also miss time helping his ailing mother in Brazil before suffering a shoulder injury which finally brought his season to a close. When he did pitch, he simply did not look like the guy who shot up through the system last year after opening the season in Florida.

Contract Details: Age-22 when 2019 opens. Team-controlled through at least 2024. Won’t be arbitration-eligible until 2022. Two options remain after using one this season.

Previewing 2019: A much calmer offseason would definitely help Gohara, who must work hard to stay in shape. Certainly with so many other arms – many of which had better 2018 campaigns – it’s possible the Braves may entertain trading Gohara. On the other hand, they will be cautious to not sell low on Gohara, who many still believe has a top-of-the-rotation ceiling.

Beyond the weight concerns, Gohara’s next big task will be to develop a changeup. It’s been on his to-do list for a few years now. The bet the Mariners made when they traded him nearly two years ago was that Gohara either wouldn’t have the ability to stay in shape or develop a changeup to stick as a starter. While he can get outs with his velocity and tremendous slider, he won’t get far into games against right-handed batters without a major league-quality changeup. To this point, it’s just not there for him. More – he is well aware of it. Of the roughly 750 pitches Gohara has thrown in the majors, just 56 of them are changeups. That has to change.

If Gohara does max out as a reliever, he could be a really good one. The fastball/slider combo is of the highest quality when he is on his game. Certainly, the Braves are hoping for more. Both his value to the club and his value in a trade are higher as a starter. And despite all the great arms the Braves have, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Gohara is the best one. He’ll need a big bounce-back season in 2019, though.

Did you know? Gohara has already thrown the second-most innings by a pitcher from Brazil and has the third-most plate appearances by any player from Brazil in major league history. The country has never been known as baseball-rich, though five players from Brazil have debuted in the majors since 2012 – most notably Cleveland’s Yan Gomes.

6 Comments

Please let Gohara come back as a Braves and let him try and work things out. I know he has been working on his changeup—I hope he come back healthy and hitting 99 and with his plus slider—and a change up that is average that is at least average and getting better as year goes. Too much of a ask? Also, Soroka get better, and Touki keep getting better, and Wright of course, since I’m here and all could Weigel come back as a dominate closer type, and I know the door is closing but Wilson is really awesome so I’d it possible to trade newk and Julio by the start of the season and by mid way have someone super over pay for Gausman or Folty—thanks baseball gods—-I’ll ask about outfield and catcher later…..thanks again!

Andy….I’ve posted my possible 2019 and 2020 Braves Starting Rotations…and I feel that by 2020..NONE of the starters currently in The Braves Starting Rotation as of now (Folty, Gausmann, Newcomb, Teheran and Sanchez….not counting Touki, because he isnt ‘a full time member’, just the 6th starter when an off day isnt on the schedule) will be around.

1. I feel that Teheran will be traded this off season. While we have MUCH BETTER/higher upside starting pitching candidates ready to compete come Spring Training 2019….Teheran is still a ‘serviceable’ Starting Pitcher. Given the BOATLOADS of money given to BUMS (like Tyler Chatwood and Ian Kennedy)…Teheran is only owed $11 mil in 2019..and a team option $12 mil in 2020 with a $1 mil buyout. There will be teams like Oakland and Kansas City (among others) with big ballparks AND who need starting pitching who is somewhat cost controlled (potentially only $23 mil owed over the next 2 years to an innings eating pitcher like Teheran….there will be market for Teheran). We’ll be able to unload his salary AND get back either a couple of lower Minors lottery ticket-type young players…or perhaps a bench piece or two who can solidify The Braves 2019 bench.

2. Annibal Sanchez is a Free Agent after this season. While he’s had a good year for The Braves…no doubt he’ll leave because (1. The Braves have cheaper, younger, potentially higher upside Starting Pitching candidates..2. he’ll probably get some pricey offers..and given his age/injury history…it’s a NO BRAINER that The Braves let him walk after The Season ends).

3. Folty has three arbitration years left after The 2018 Season ends (he was a Super Two this past offseason..which will play a role in his salary rising faster than it would if he wasnt a Super Two). Unless some team offers The Braves a ‘too good to be true’ offer for Folty….I dont see a scenario where Folty isnt in The Braves 2019 Starting Rotation. While Folty has made significant progress in 2018…he still has some things to work on. If Folty continues to progress towards being a possible #1/ace-like Starting Pitcher…then AA should try and sign Folty to a contract that buys out his 1st few years of Free Agency. However, if Folty wants to play it ‘year by year’…then The Braves would be smart to look into trading him after The 2019 Season ends. If he has a really good year in 2019 that is even better than his 2018 Season…he’ll command a HUGE return (he’ll have 2 more seasons of team control after 2019 ends). With THE PLETHORA of young/cheap Starting Pitching candidates coming up….The Braves may incorporate a strategy where we pay position players a significant portion of the payroll (especially if AA is active in the upcoming Free Agent Offseason AND during The Winter Meetings when it comes to adding power to the middle of the lineup)…while going with younger starting pitchers (and moving the surplus starters who cant crack the rotation into the bullpen).

4. Sean Newcomb isnt eligible for arbitration..until after The 2019 Season ends. If Newcomb can show in 2019 that he can keep the walks down AND lower his pitch counts (in other words, QUIT FREAKING NIBBLING)…then what I said about Folty can be applied to Newcomb. However, I’m not sold on Newcomb’s long term prospects. The Nibbling/pitch counts/walks…I dont know if he’ll be able to harness his NO DOUBT GREAT STUFF into becoming a truly TOP OF THE ROTATION type lefty Starting Pitcher.

5. Kevin Gausmann…he has two years left before he become a Free Agent after The 2020 Season. To be honest, he may be someone whose a potential trade chip at The July 2019 Trade Deadline…ESPECIALLY if the guys we have starting at Triple A to begin The 2019 Season…show that they are ready for prime time, lol. I just dont see Gausmann being around long term (not with the prospects we have).

Unless AA makes some trade this upcoming offseason involving our pitching prospects…I see a possible 2019 Starting Rotation of the following:

1. Folty
2. Gausmann
3. Newcomb
4. Touki Tousiant
5. Mike Soroka

However, Kyle Wright, Bryce Wilson, Max Fried, Luis Gohara, Patrick Weigel (I know, The Talking Chop CLOWNS keep going ON AND ON about him being a reliever in 2019..however dude was GREAT as a starting pitcher prior to his injury in May of 2017….he only pitched one inning at a time late in The 2018 Season..because he was coming back from the injury) and Kolby Allard (he has some work to do in the offseason..and he’ll have to pitch REALLY WELL in AAA in 2019..however I feel that if he can better LOCATE his stuff, he has a future in MLB. However, it may not be with The Braves)….all will be chomping at the bit to make The Braves 2019 Starting Rotation (whether out of Spring Training OR sometime during The 2019 Season).

Also waiting in the wings in The Minors…are Ian Anderson and Kyle Muller (among the obvious candidates). Unless these prospects I listed face A RASH of injuries (which is possible…let’s not forget what happened in 2012-2013..when The Braves lost the likes of Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to serious injuries..NONE of them were with The Braves after The 2014 Season ended…which I feel led to The Rebuild being a no-brainer by Coppy. There were NO REPLACEMENTS available in The Minors, other than Julio Teheran, lol).

Quality starting pitching is HELLA EXPENSIVE (whether via Free Agency OR via The Trade Route). The Braves would be SMART to hold onto these young guys as long as possible!

Once we’ve built what we feel is our long term Starting Pitching staff (with a few in The Bullpen available for long relief/spot starts)…I’d like to see AA keep a few in AAA….and possibly trade a few of ‘the excess’ ones who cant crack our rotation, yet obviously have talent that attracts the interest of other teams. We can trade someone like Kolby Allard..for some lower level pitching prospects who are several years away. By 2020-2021..Kyle Muller may not be able to crack our Starting Rotation (he’d be someone we could trade to replenish our Farm System).

The obvious Farm System Stocking Avenue…would be trading Folty, Newcomb and Gausmann….to make room for what I feel could very well be The 2020 Opening Day Starting Rotation:

1. Mike Soroka
2. Touki Tousiant
3. Kyle Wright
4. Bryce Wilson
5. Luis Gohara/Ian Anderson

Wouldnt that be a potentially YOUNG/CHEAP/HIGH UPSIDE Starting 5?

I feel that Max Fried cant stay healthy enough to be a long term starting rotation candidate. His stuff is great…however I’d like to see him fill an Andrew Miller-like role in The Bullpen.

Paul,

Yeah thats an awesome rotation. I know the braves brass has leaned towards having experience in the starting staff–I hope Newk has a good post season and they trade him and Julio in the offseason and Folty by the deadline. If folty signs a big deal for 3 or 4 years then okay–if not I hope we get what we can. I don’t believe they will trade Newk or Folty till maybe the deadline next year, and only if the young guys are pushing them out. I am crossing my fingers. Go Braves.

Because the Phillies and Braves play each other 7 times, the Braves” lead is not quite as secure as it seems. Those series give the Phillies an opportunity that most teams down 6 and a half this late don”t get. If, God forbid, the Phils take 6 of 7 from the Braves, it gets pretty dicey. In that scenario, if the Braves split their other remaining games, the Braves finish 87-75. The Phillies could go 7-4 in their other remaining games and finish tied with the Braves. If the Braves can take even 2 of the 7 from the Phillies, that increases the odds greatly, and taking 3 or 4 from the Phillies means we should be home free. I know the Phillies are playing like crap and they are not likely to take 6 of 7 from the Braves. On the other hand, I remember 2011. And one of my earliest baseball memories is the Phillies epic collapse in 1964.

DiannaHildebran….I think that your math is a little off.

If Philly were to take 6 of 7 against us in our last 7 games…The Braves record would be 85-74..while Philly’s would be 84-74. Philly has 4 games starting Monday in Colorado..while The Braves play 3 games starting Tuesday at The Mets. If The Braves were sweep The Mets…The Phillies would end up tied with The Braves IF they were to sweep The Rockies (highly unlikely that they sweep The Rockies in Colorado..but ‘anything’s possible’, lol).

Now if Atlanta were to only win 1 of 3 at The Mets..then Philly could tie The Braves by splitting the 4 game series against The Rockies (and win it if they were to win 3 of 4…still unlikely, but not impossible).

The Braves would have to play HISTORICALLY BAD (while The Phillies would have to play HISTORICALLY GREAT) in order to The NL East.

Regardless, even if The Phillies were to sweep The Braves this weekend (with the way that The Braves are playing at home..not an impossible endeavor)…we’d still have a 1 1/2 game lead over them going into The Final Week of the season. The Phillies have to fly all the way to Colorado for 4 games (with no off day)….Philly is a BAD road team (while The Rockies PLAY VERY WELL at home). I dont see Philly doing any better than splitting those 4 games (probably end up losing 3 of those 4 games).

The Braves play MUCH BETTER on the road. Even if Philly sweeps us at home…I believe that we’d end up winning at least 2 of those 3 games at The Mets..and if The Rockies can put a beating on The Phillies..there’s a chance that those last 3 games in Colorado ‘may not’ mean anything.

We win 2 of 3 against The Mets….The Rockies sweep The Phillies…we’d have a 4 game lead going into those last 3 games in Philly. However if we were to sweep The Mets…then if The Rockies win 3 of those 4 games against Philly…it’s over!

Losing 3 of 4 against Philly would SUCK (because we would not be able to clinch in front of our fans at home…AND it would ‘delay’ The Braves being able to set up our rotation/rest our starters for The Playoffs). However Philly only winning 3 of 4..would only lower our lead to 3 1/2 games going into the final week of The Season. For Philly to have a chance for those 3 games in Philly against The Braves to mean something…they would have to sweep The Rockies (or win 3 of 4 while The Mets basically SWEPT The Braves next week)…which I highly doubt happens.

Either way, it looks good for The Braves (I am SO GLAD that The Phillies have 4 GAMES AT The Rockies next week….AND that Colorado is going to be playing to win those games..because they are NECK AND NECK with The Dodgers for The Division AND The Cardinals for The Wild Card). If The Phillies were playing The Marlins or The Padres…we’d potentially be in ‘trouble’, lol!

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