This afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays claimed right-hander Donn Roach on waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
He's played the waiver game before. He spent much of 2014 with the San Diego Padres but was claimed on waivers by the Chicago Cubs last fall. He spent the early part of 2015 at Triple-A Iowa and performed well (2.33 ERA in 89 innings), making one start for the major league team and getting beat up (eight hits, four runs in 3.1 innings). The Cubs out-righted him and he was claimed on waivers by the Reds in mid-July.
He did not pitch well for Triple-A Louisville (6.00 ERA in seven starts, 57 hits in 42 innings); the Reds saw enough and now he's with the Jays.
None of these transactions are momentous, of course.
On the surface Roach is a fungible Triple-A/Quadruple-A type arm and these guys bounce around a lot. However, if you've followed Roach for any length of time, you know that he's rather unusual: he is an extreme ground ball pitcher. In 131 innings in Triple-A this year, Roach has a 51/23 K/BB (note the very low strikeout rate) but a 2.53 GO/AO. In 34 innings in his major league career, he has a 3.22 GO/AO. 0
Personally, I've found Roach interesting since he was in college, an exception to the norm given that my taste in pitching usually leans to the fascist side. Crash Davis would love Donn Roach.
So, a discussion question for the house:
A) will Donn Roach will ever be able to turn his ground ball skills into a workable major league career?
B) If he does, would it be as a starter or reliever?
i will put my own opinion in the comments thread.