This past season was supposed to be a huge year for Luiz Gohara. After he rode the rocket ship from Single-A to the big leagues in the 2017 season, it seemed as if Gohara would be the breakout star of the Braves’ rotation and a glowing projection from ZiPS did nothing but help build the hype further for the big flamethrower from Brazil.
Despite the fact that he only had five starts under his belt, a projection of 3.2 WAR from ZiPS had a lot of people (myself included) wagging their tongues and salivating at the possibilities for Gohara — especially considering how young he was. If all went well and he did indeed reach the level that the projections had in store for him, then this was going to be the year where the Braves finally found a potential ace at the major league level. The possibilities seemed endless!
Bottom line, what did he do in 2018? Unfortunately for Luiz Gohara, 2018 was a season that was wrought with unfortunate events and terrible luck. He went into spring training dealing with a lingering groin injury and just before he was going to make his first start in spring training, Gohara sprained his ankle during fielding drills and ended up missing the vast majority of March while dealing with recovery from that injury.
That was also a rough period off the field for Gohara, since he was also dealing with the death of his father in the run-up to pitchers and catchers reporting for 2018 spring training. Injuries and sad times off of the field would be an extremely unfortunate running theme for Gohara as the season progressed.
Gohara finally made his debut in mid-May and eventually made a start for his fourth apperance of the season. He never really looked spectacular for long stretches, but he still showed flashes of the potential that he still has. He tallied a 2.45 ERA, 3.98 FIP, with 11 strikeouts and six walks over the 11 innings he pitched during that time. You figured that once he got into a groove as far as the season was concerned, then he’d settle in and become a vital part of the pitching staff.
Unfortunately, that never materialized for Gohara. He had to return to Brazil to visit his ailing mother after making his first start of the season and once he returned to the mound, it wasn’t pretty. He made five relief appearances and he had at least one earned run in all but one of those appearances. That included an extremely ill-fated relief stint in San Diego, but we will get to that later.
In a cruel twist of fate, his only scoreless appearance of the season on July 8 ended up being his final appearance at the major league level in 2018. He spent the rest of the year at Triple-A and his injury luck didn’t get better at the lower level, either. This man had a rough year.
The main point is that there were some high expectations for Gohara in 2018 and he finished it having thrown way more innings with the Gwinnett Stripers than with the Atlanta Braves. There’s still plenty of high hopes for Gohara, but he hit a major bump in the road during this past season.
Will Gohara be on the roster next year? Despite all of the struggles he dealt with in 2018, you have to imagine that he’ll receive a mulligan and be given every opportunity to contribute to the big league squad in 2019. There’s always a possibility that he could be traded if Alex Anthopoulos decided to dip into the Braves’ vast ocean of young talent. A potential mid-rotation starter who can still throw with the velocity he throws at is still very much worth keeping around, so I doubt that he’ll be moved and he’ll go into spring training fighting for a rotational spot.
What is he going to do next year? If all goes well — meaning that he stays in shape, stays healthy and continues to keep his velocity high while building on the peripheral stats that had us all so excited after the end of 2017 and going into 2018 — then there’s no reason to believe that Luiz Gohara won’t be a productive member of Atlanta’s pitching staff in some way in 2018.
However, there’s always the chance that the bad luck from last season could linger into 2019 and he’ll just be dealing with another frustrating season on his hands. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but it’s all in the air as far as Gohara is concerned. He will absolutely be one to keep an eye on in 2019.
Highlight of 2018: Here’s Gohara bamboozling a few Phillies batters during his only start of the season.
Lowlight of 2018: Welp, it’s time to look at that night in San Diego. The Braves had a chance at hanging with the dreaded Padres in the house of horrors known as Petco Park, but then Gohara entered the game and promptly gave up six runs and did not make it out of the frame.