Saturday, December 15, 2007

Minor Matters: Robert Rohrbaugh

Hello everyone! My name is Chris, and I am a die-hard Mariners fan stationed in South Texas. I will be attempting to cover all M's Minor League news, so stay tuned for news and reports from our farm system.

Given the state of the Mariners’ farm system in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, no one really expects their current farm hands to have an impact anytime soon. Granted, there are not too many in the system that can have an immediate impact, but there are a few here and there. One such player that could help the Mariners in the very near future, possibly as soon as 2008, is LHP Robert Rohrbaugh.

While management seems to think that there are very few options to fill our starting rotation from inside the organization, I submit to them the possibility of giving Rohrbaugh an invite to Spring Training. Seattle drafted Rohrbaugh in the 7th round of the 2005 Amateur Draft out of Clemson University. In the two and a half years since being drafted, he has excelled at every stop within the farm system. A quick look at his professional stats:


The numbers show that his advancement through the system has been well deserved, and if the pattern is followed, could be eligible for an invite to the show in mid-2008. Unfortunately, he is not currently on the 40-man roster, so is not eligible to be called up.

Looking at the numbers, and given a strong Spring should he be invited, I believe it is possible, though maybe not probable, for him to take over the #5 spot in our rotation. He has a fairly decent BB:SO ratio (almost 1:3), and has shined in two leagues that are known to be strong hitter’s leagues. Indeed, he has been at his best in the Cal League and the Pacific League, which are normally very good hitter’s leagues.

There are other indications that giving him a shot may give us a good #5 starter as well. For one, he gives up fewer hits than innings pitched, and is fairly durable and dependable. He is also a very efficient pitcher, and will work deep into most ballgames. In his last 10 starts at Tacoma, he worked into the 7th inning in all but one, and also had back-to-back complete game shutouts, against Memphis and Oklahoma City.

Rohrbaugh has, in scout-speak, three plus pitches, as well as one developing pitch. His fastball comes in at the 87-93 range, and he uses it well to set up his curve and slider. He is also fast developing a plus-plus changeup, that is quickly becoming his best pitch.

It is my firm belief that, should he be given a shot in 2008, he could very possibly give us a reliable #5 starter, or at the very least, another option, should free agents or other internal options not pan out. [RY-ROH]


Walrus said...

Chris or Christofer or no preference?
Either way, welcome.
I agree that Rohrbaugh has a lot of potential, and that he should be given a shot to start for the M's sometime. Just not yet.
Rohr needs to perfect that change-up, and he needs to get better control over his fastball before he comes to the majors.
I think Rohr would be better off in the long run starting the 2008 season in AA for the first month or so to really build up his confidence, then moving to Tacoma, and then in Seattle after the AS Break.

Christopher Meer said...

Chris or Christopher, it really does not matter. :-)

Gonna have to disagree about giving him a shot now. Granted, he was only in Tacoma for half a season, but I would say that he should be fairly confident already. The PCL is well known as a hitter's league, yet he was able to post a 6-3 record, with a 2.95 ERA. I would hesitate to say if he could do that in the PCL, he is, at this point, already a better option than Horacio Ramirez. The main thing is, I am not entirely confident that the Mariners staff is handling some of our prospect correctly.
Don't get me wrong, they are much better now than they used to be. However, I feel that the way they used to rush our prospects into the Majors, and causing injuries and what not, is now causing them to be too cautious, and not promoting soon enough. Eventually, those prospects that could have an impact tire of toiling in the Minors when they know they have what it takes to be helping the parent club.