The Oakland Athletics promoted relief pitcher Daniel Coulombe to the major league roster yesterday. Although he received brief trials with the Athletics last year and the Dodgers in 2014, he is still a rookie. Here's a quick summary of what to expect.
Daniel Coulombe was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 25th round in 2012 out of Texas Tech following a successful senior season as a spot reliever (2.53 ERA, 26/9 K/BB in 21 innings). In 2013 he posted a 4.05 ERA with an 85/48 K/BB in 67 innings in High-A, but a dramatic improvement with his control in 2014 (3.05, 61/17 in 44 innings in High-A, followed by a 31/10 K/BB in 21 Double-A frames) vaulted him into a major league trial when the Dodgers needed a bullpen arm. He threw 4.1 innings and held his own, fanning four with two walks and giving up two earned runs.
Coulombe split 2015 between Triple-A (3.27, 41/24 in 41 innings), Los Angeles (7.56, 7/6 in eight innings) and Oakland (3.52, 4/3 in 7.2 innings) after the Athletics purchased him in September. In 2016 he had an 0.64 ERA in 14 innings for Triple-A Nashville with a 14/2 K/BB.
Listed at 5-10, 190, the 26-year-old southpaw features a mediocre fastball that tops at 93 but is more commonly in the upper-80s. He relies heavily on his cutter, curveball and change-up, working these pitches in the upper-70s to mid-80s ranges. This sounds like a LOOGY profile but Coulombe has posted reverse platoon splits since reaching Double-A. including a .304 lefty/.204 righty split last year in Triple-A. The splits have been more typical LOOGY during his brief major league time, so it will be interesting to see how he is deployed going forward. Given the sample sizes involved it is tough to conclude anything from the numbers alone.
Although he doesn't have a huge margin for error, Coulombe's ability to throw strikes with several different pitches could make him a nice 11th man on a staff.