The Astros made a flashy signing today, inking José Abreu to a three-year deal, so the Mariners countered by...signing a bullpen depth piece. Sigh. No offense to RHP Trevor Gott, the latest member of Los Bomberos, but it does not make the heart quicken, exactly. It’s a Gott signing, but it’s not a Greatt signing. (I’m sorry. Only like one or two more of these.)
The 30-year-old Gott has been in organized ball since 2013, when he was drafted in the sixth round by the Padres, and has pinged around a few different clubs, never really settling anywhere. He got his most extensive look at the bigs in 2019 with the Giants when he tossed over 50 innings with peripherals that outperformed his 4.44 ERA; the same thing happened in 2022, when he was with Milwaukee. We love a bounceback candidate around these parts, and while Gott doesn’t have too far to bounce from a 93 DRA-/4.04 DRA, there’s certainly room for improvement.
Gott’s main issue is that he gets torched by lefties: a .485 SLG last season was unfortunately in line with a career wOBA of .335 against lefties vs. .289 against righties. He’s tried to introduce a changeup to throw to lefties, without success; it’s likely the Mariners will have him go another route in seeking success against southpaws, maybe with some tweaks to his primary arsenal of a fastball (95 MPH) and cutter (91 MPH). Gott also throws a heavy, bowling-ball style curveball, a pitch Milwaukee had him fade because of his inconsistency in getting it in the strike zone, but it could also be a weapon against lefties if he could harness command of the pitch. Recently, Gott has been leaning more on the cutter as his main secondary, which has some whiffle ball movement and heavy drop, similar to the curveball:
At only 5’10”, Gott is a certified Short King, and he brings some of the attendant funk it takes to be successful at this level at that height; when pitching out of the windup, he starts with a wide stance, rocking a little on the mound before kicking off his complex delivery, during which he twists his torso so much he almost shows his numbers to the hitter. He delivers the ball from a 3⁄4 arm slot, with some crossfire action that helps the pitch get above-average vertical break, running away from righties (but right at lefties, which is part of his problem). But the thing that stands out the most is the VAA (Vertical Approach Angle) on his fastball, which measures -4.2 degrees. See if this looks familiar:
Trevor Gott is gonna be a massive piece of this bullpen.— Dominic Cotroneo (@Dom_Cotroneo) April 23, 2022
A pair of K's in a scoreless 7th. pic.twitter.com/9E0CBuYgg1
Gott’s -4.2 VAA is very close to the -3.5 VAA on Paul Sewald’s fastball, and part of the reason Sewald’s fastball, despite unimpressive velocity, is so effective. (For more about VAA, read this explainer from sister site Twinkie Town). The difference here, of course, is that Gott’s fastball has a little more spice on it, on average. While batters slugged over .400 off the pitch last season, there’s probably some positive regression to come, as the xSLG on the pitch was a hundred points lower, indicating Trevor Got Gott more than his fair share (okay okay last Gott pun).
It’s not exactly signing a Silver Slugger on for three years, but this is a savvy acquisition by a front office that has a track record of developing this kind of pitcher. Welcome to Seattle, Trevor, we hope you have a Gott time here. (okay I lied.)