What can we expect from Kyle Lohse

According to Jon Heyman, the Brewers will sign free agent Kyle Lohse to a 3 year, $33M deal. There is less than a week left in Spring Training, what can we expect from Lohse in 2013?

Lohse is a 12 year veteran that has been throwing simulated games in Arizona since the beginning of Spring Training. So we have to assume he’s close to being in decent pitching shape, so it most likely won’t take him too long to get up to speed and be ready to log innings for the Brewers. Over the last 5 years he’s averaged 27 starts and 162 innings per year. Over that same period of time, he’s posted and ERA of 3.90 a WHIP of 1.279. He has had plus plus control over the last 5 years with at 2.2 BB/9 while he hasn’t exactly missed a ton of bats with a K/9 rate of 5.6.

In 2012 Lohse went 16-3 over 211 innings with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.090 WHIP. He had a great year, of course. But can he sustain that kind of production moving forward. Especially knowing that he’s 34 years old. I say no.

Lohse had a career high, 77.2 LOB% and strikeout total (143). I don’t think either of those can be counted out as we look at what kind of production to expect from Lohse. He’s a slight fly ball pitcher (27.7%) and his new home ballpark, Miller Park, has a HR Park Factor of 1.631, the highest in MLB. So we can expect that he’ll give up more home runs in 2013 than his career low 0.81 HR/9 in 2012.

I don’t think Lohse will fall apart and become the pitcher he was earlier in his career with an ERA over 4.50 and a WHIP over 1.500, but I do think he’ll regress from the numbers he put up last season. The ESPN Fantasy department has Lohse’s 2013 numbers as 181.0 IP, 122 Ks, 14 wins, a 3.63 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. I think those numbers are generous, especially taking into account where he’ll be pitching his home games.

I think a more realistic line for Lohse would look like 170.0 IP, 103 Ks, 13 wins, a 3.85 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Those numbers can still get you some value, but I would hesitate to pay much for him in a draft, or trade. I think he’s a factor in deep mixed leagues and NL only leagues.

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