The San Diego Padres are reportedly shopping some of their pitchers, and are now dumping others.
Today, the Chicago Cubs claimed 24-year-old righty Donn Roach off of waivers from the Padres, adding him to their 40-man roster, which now stands at 38.
Roach, who turns 25 next month, made his big league debut in relief for the Padres last year, throwing 30.1 innings over 16 appearances, and posting a 4.75 ERA, 4.75 FIP, and a 4.66 xFIP (wow, he really earned that ERA). He struck out 17 and walked 15, while allowing an enormous 64.4% groundball rate.
Roach was an Angels third round pick back in 2010, and was traded to the Padres in 2012 in the Ernesto Frieri/Alexei Amarista deal. Although he was never really a top prospect, Roach performed well as he rose up through the ranks in the Angels’ and Padres’ systems.
For his minor league career above rookie ball, Roach has an ERA of 3.32 and an identical FIP to match (what kind of black magic does this guy possess?). The strikeout rate is just 15.8% in the minors, but the walk rate is decent at 7.2%.
Where Roach really butters his bread (can you use the expression that way?) is on the ground. In his minor league career, Roach’s groundball rate is an extreme 61.4%. That is mighty intriguing. As you would expect, then, Roach trades a high BABIP against for virtually no homers and extra double plays.
Roach had mostly been a starter throughout his career before moving into the pen with the big league team last year. So we’ll see what the Cubs have planned for him if he makes it through the Winter on the 40-man roster. By my count, Roach does have minor league options left, so, if he stays on the 40-man through the offseason, the Cubs could option him to AAA Iowa at the end of Spring Training if he hasn’t won a spot on the big league team.
I’ll have more on Roach once we get a sense of how the Cubs are viewing him. If it’s as a back-end starter roll of the dice type, well, the team sure is overflowing with those guys. Which is fine, but, at 38 on the 40-man roster and with an active offseason ahead (which should hopefully include adding two sure-fire starters), it’s going to be interesting.
One thing’s for sure: A+ name, Donn Roach.