== A Second Batch of Bullpenners ==
Here’s the second half of The Watch List for relief pitchers, which is the penultimate group of the “34 More” group. Only the starting pitchers remain.
Interestingly, this group has perhaps the best-known (a guy who’s had his shot at the majors) and least-known (a guy who’s never pitched in the U.S.) members of The Watch List.
Jochi Ogando | 2014 age: 21 | RH
The big Dominican (6-foot-5, 210) has promise, and he stepped up his strikeout rate despite a significant move up in level. There are lots of RH relievers with interesting stuff in the organization right now, but if Ogando can bring down the number of walks and hits he gives up, then he could climb up the chart in a hurry. He’s probably the reliever on this list who came closest to cracking the Spec66.
Raul Pedie | 2014 age: 21 | RH
Rauuuuuuul! OK, not that Raul.
Every once in awhile, you have to throw some guys on the list out of the blue. It’s a Watch List, right?
Pedie has never thrown a pitch in a U.S. league, and he doesn’t fit the profile of the tall power righties that the M’s prefer (he’s 6-foot-0, 175).
And he was older than you’d usually see for a guy in the Dominican League who’s never gotten a chance to come to the states. But check out his numbers. You can’t really dominate much more than that:
- Slash line against: .151/.189/.198
- Only one outing in which he gave up an earned run.
- Allowed a total of 21 baserunners (16 hits, 5 walks) for the entire season (17 G, 29.2 IP).
Maybe that will all fade away against tougher competition, but he’s earned a shot to see.
Chance Ruffin | 2014 age: 25 | RH
Ruffin is never going to live down being one of the key players in the Doug Fister trade, nor the high strikeout rates that made him so tantalizing at the time. Oh, and he was a high draft pick, taken by Detroit a few slots after Seattle took Taijuan Walker.
But his high K-rate was combined with too many walks, and the club sent him all the way down to AA for an extended tour as a starter to make-over his game. He did, indeed, make progress on issuing fewer free passes, though the strikeouts came way down, too. And after going back up to Tacoma to relieve, he looked sharper (1.8 BB/9; 7.6 K/9 in that stint).
The M’s liked what they saw enough to give him a September call-up. He didn’t show much in those nine appearances,
but the M’s have kept the Texas product on the 40-man roster.
Annnnnnd … a swing and a miss! and another!
Ruffin was taken off the 40-man roster, but he cleared waivers and is still with the team. Not released; just not on the 40-man anymore.
As Ruffin’s fellow Texan Rick Perry said … “oops.”
But, during my period of confusion, I was ready to add a guy in Ruffin’s spot, and I’ll keep it here. It’s a guy who’s maybe even more out-of-the-blue than Pedie. With this, we have “35 more.”
Melchor Urquides | 2014 age: 18 | LH
|2013||17||2 Teams||2 Lgs||Rk-FRk||SEA||1||3||6.04||12||6||0||0||0||0||25.1||30||25||17||2||17||30||1.855||10.7||0.7||6.0||10.7||1.76|
There’s very little to go on with Urquides, as baseball-reference.com doesn’t even have his hometown (apparently he’s from Mexico).
And a 6.04 ERA and 1.86 WHIP generally aren’t going to get anyone excited.
But … 17-year-old lefty who can fan 30 in 25.1 IP, and earned an in-season promotion from the Dominican League to Arizona, is worth keeping an eye on.
Forrest Snow | 2014 age: 25 | RH
|2010||21||2 Tms||2 Lgs||2 lvl||SEA||0||1||0.60||25||0||14||0||0||9||45.1||17||3||3||1||16||52||0.728||3.4||0.2||3.2||10.3||3.25|
|2011||22||3 Tms||3 Lgs||3 lvl||SEA||5||12||5.09||28||21||2||1||0||0||143.1||145||85||81||15||42||127||1.305||9.1||0.9||2.6||8.0||3.02|
|2012||23||2 Tms||2 Lgs||2 lvl||SEA||5||9||6.35||32||20||2||0||0||0||117.2||130||90||83||10||67||99||1.674||9.9||0.8||5.1||7.6||1.48|
|2013||24||2 Tms||2 Lgs||2 lvl||SEA||5||5||2.96||42||2||18||0||0||0||82.0||61||27||27||7||28||84||1.085||6.7||0.8||3.1||9.2||3.00|
No one’s been up and down and around and about in this list like Snow. After making a huge splash in 2010 and early 2011, he nosedived just as quickly. He ended up bouncing between Tacoma and Jackson, rotation and bullpen, and never really getting anywhere.
Then he ended up in the “Goon Squad” bullpen at Jackson in 2013 (named for Tyler Burgoon), and he seemed to finally get some of his traction back. After 42.0 solid innings with the AA Generals, Snow earned a third tour of duty at AAA.
There, he continued his strong strikeout rate, but he got hit a bit harder.
The UW product could be higher, but he’s behind too many other RH relief types to be confident that he’ll get shot now that he’s past “prime time” age for prospects. He can’t be ruled out, though.
Richard Vargas | 2014 age: 23 | RH
|2013||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||A-A-||SEA||1||1||3.48||23||0||13||0||0||6||31.0||30||13||12||2||13||36||1.387||8.7||0.6||3.8||10.5||2.77|
This Vargas missed all of 2011, but returned with a solid season at Low-A Clinton in 2012. A spike in his strikeout rate is what gets him on the list, though admittedly part of that came during a brief stay at Everett, where he was old for the league.
But there’s some promise there if he can put it together.