14 November 2011

MiL Free Agent Pitchers of Interest

Miguel Socolovich
The Orioles mentioned recently that they are paying attention to the MiL free agent market.  It was not exactly the news many Orioles fans were craving.  MiL free agents are typically a motley assortment of players who either do one or two things kind of well, used to be highly rated, or simply provide organizational depth.  All three can be useful.  A player with one or two tools may be able to develop those established tools well enough to overcome a lack of ability in other areas.  A formerly high rated prospect may simply need more time or a different line of instruction to turn the potential into actual performance.  An organizational player is important because he simply allows your other prospects to perform.

In this post I will be focusing on ten MiL free agent pitchers.  My approach is a simple one.  I am looking for players who are 26 or younger and have shown ability to miss bats, strike guys out, or induce a lot of ground balls.

Brendan Wise, RHRP
26 years old
(AAA) 5.7 k/9, 4.2 b/9, 62% GB, 84% Contact, 4.08 SIERA

Wise is a Tigers draftee from the 2005 draft.  He basically lives off a solid two seamer that has been reported as coming in at 90 mph.  He also uses a workable slider as a change of pace pitch.  Wise could be a solid option by keeping the ball on the ground for a team like the Orioles whose home stadium is kind to fly ball hitters.

Leyson Septimo, LHRP
26 years old
(AA) 9.6 k/9, 6.6 b/9, 40% GB, 78% Contact, 4.39 SIERA

Septimo was a promising IFA from the Dominican Republic in the Diamondbacks' organization.  He was blessed with a strong arm, but not much of a bat.  In a way to get some value out of him, the team flipped him over to the mound.  Arizona gave up on him last year and he was claimed by the White Sox.  After a terrible stretch with them, they let him go as a free agent.  A hard throwing lefty can be a special thing.

Miguel Socolovich, RHRP
25 years old
(AAA) 11.5 k/9, 4.4 b/9, 33% GB, 65% contact, 3.08 SIERA

Socolovich was originally in the Red Sox organization, but was dealt to get David Aardsma from the ChiSox.  I do not really know much about him as I tend to largely overlook relief arms.  A Sox Prospect report says he predominantly uses his fastball, sitting around 88 - 92 mph.  However, that would have to be a rather old report and I am not sure how accurate it was.  Just looking at the numbers, Socolovich looks very interesting with a high strikeout rate and batters swinging and missing 35% of the time.

Will Inman, RHSP
24 years old
(AAA) 9.1 k/9, 4.2 b/9, 42% GB, 82% contact, 3.93 SIERA

Inman's 5.61 ERA looked awful, but his peripherals were decent.  He is not the top 100 prospect Baseball America thought of him as in 2007, but there is still potential there.  He will not overpower batters and will often sit in the high 80s with his fastball.  He would do well to fill out a MiL AAA rotation.

Jose De La Torre, RHRP
26 years old
(mix) 9.6 k/9, 4.8 b/9, 49% GB, 66% contact, 3.72 SIERA

De La Torre has been somewhat injury prone during his career with arm and back ailments.  He is known for throwing a very good slider of which he does not exactly have the best control.  He is another player I think is worth a flyer.

Jake Stevens, LHRP
26 years old
(mix) 7.8 k/9, 3.6 b/9, 43% GB, 73% contact, 4.19 SIERA

Stevens pitched for the Orioles organization in 2009.  They had picked him up after poor performance and injuries derailed his career with the Atlanta Braves.  He was considered a top 100 prospect by Baseball America in 2005.  The report on him then raved about the makings of his curveball.  He is the second and last LHP on this list.

Jhonny Nunez, RHRP
26 years old
(AAA) 9.6 k/9, 3.5 b/9, 37% GB, 74% contact, 3.40 SIERA

Nunez has been sitting in the ChiSox organization for the last couple years and has been relatively successful there.  He features a mid to low 90s fastball and an average slider.  As expected, it translates to him being lights out against righties and quite hittable against lefties.  There does seem to be potential here.

Daryl Thompson, RHSP
26 years old
(AAA) 8.1 k/9, 2.6 b/9, 34% GB, 77% contact, 3.74 SIERA

Thompson has had a couple cups of coffee with the Reds and they have not gone well.  He commands a straight 90 mph fastball quite well and uses an inconsistent curveball.  He also uses a simple change of pace change up.  He is hittable and lefties do a little more damage against him.  I would think a shift to relief pitching might be able to put a little more velocity on his fastball and make him more useful.


If I was the Orioles, I would look to bring in Daryl Thompson, Will Inman, Miguel Socolovich, Leyson Septimo, and Jake Stevens.  This grouping would give them more depth with young starting pitching that has a slight chance for improvement.  Socolovich provides a promising right handed arm that misses a lot of bat.  Septimo and Stevens can be useful lefties out of the pen.  They each have a tool or two that gives hope for more than replacement value at the MLB level.  However, none of these are definites.  I would actually like to sign all of these guys and distribute them among Bowie and Norfolk because there are pitcher within our system that are interesting.

It is awfully early to make such pronouncements, but I would envision Norfolk's pitching as this:
RHSP Steve Johnson
RHSP Daryl Thompson
RHSP Will Inman
LHSP Chris Tillman (though I would prefer him in the Orioles pen)
RHSP Tim Bascom

RHRP Sean Gleason
LHRP Cole McCurry
RHRP Wynn Pelzer
LHRP Zach Phillips
RHRP Pat Egan
RHRP Miguel Socolovich
LHRP Leyson Septimo
Bowie's pitching:
RHSP Oliver Drake
RHSP Bobby Bundy
LHSP Richard Zagone
LHSP Nick Haughian
LHSP Jacob Petit

RHRP Zach Clark
RHRP Brandon Cooney
RHRP Dan Klein
LHRP Jason Gurka
RHRP Kenny Moreland
LHRP Chris Petrini
RHRP Ryan Berry
As you may notice, all of the Bowie pitchers are from within the organization.  I don't think what is left above is all that much better than what is already here.  Part of that is the state of the Orioles' system, but another part is that simply there is often little talent available coming from six year free agents.  I would consider moving Zach Clark down to Frederick to be a relief pitcher for another lefty, so maybe Jake Stevens could fit in here.  Or probably better would be to drop Septimo to Bowie and have Stevens up in Norfolk.


3RunHomer said...

Inman might be another guy who could take a step forward with a switch to the bullpen.

How about some older MiFA too? Logan Kensing? Mark Prior? One advantage a bad team like the O's has is they can afford to take flyers on longshots -- they aren't going to the playoffs anyway.

Anonymous said...

The more I look at track record of older players is that they really don't return to usable form. I would prefer younger arms where there is more hope.


Anonymous said...

Can't believe the o's are in the state they are in. Another year of suffering through 162 games with the blue light special collection of arms. How can we be sooooooo bad.

-O's FAN