Tuesday, May 15, 2012


In a perfect world, pitcher Donn Roach would bring to the Padres the groundball prowess he demonstrated in the Cal League and awaiting him in San Diego would be the homegrown middle infielders deluxe, Ozzie Smith and Roberto Alomar, each in the pink of his Hall of Fame, groundball-gobbling career.

Roach generates groundballs to the nth degree, which probably owes more to his sinkerball and split-changeup than the extra "n" in his first name. Before the Padres got him this month in the Ernesto Frieri swap with the Los Angeles Angels of La Habra, Roach was a groundball-hitting fungo man unto himself for the Inland Empire 66ers.

Roach's groundball rate was 78 percent, as absurd as it was unsustainable, but the righty's
66-percent groundball clip in low Single A was further evidence that infielders are busy when Roach pitches.

As the baseball men say, Roach should "move through the system" because he "pounds the strikezone" and can "miss bats" (and not only by avoiding caves). Roach showed himself "not afraid" in major league camp with the Angels. He is efficient, not dynamic. His breaking ball is "fringe-average." He is said to "understand who he is."

If and when he does reach the major leagues, either as a "back-end" guy or a "swing man," it's hoped that the Padres actually have a major league infield behind him and that Roach's fastball, which now averages 90-91 mph, is suitably heavy to trick big leaguers. Should Roach encounter Bryce Harper in pregame warmups, the two can reminisce about their days as JUCO teammates.


  1. Thanks Tom, sounds like he should suit Petco even if the fences are moved in - the supposed ease of fielding ground-balls there is supposed to be a plus. How do you currently rate this trade for both organisations?

  2. Raw Toast: The trade must be evaluated according to the missions and needs of each club at the time of the deal. The Angels have made a heavy bet on getting to the playoffs this year. They were off to an awful start. They were desperate for relief pitching. All things considered, they did very well. Frieri already has been of great service to them. Bear in mind that the Angels lost two relievers to injuries within 72 hours AFTER trading for Frieri. Educated guess: They are, and should be, very grateful that they made the trade. The Padres, in contrast, are in "transition" mode. They pick up two C+/B- prospects, one of them a second baseman, a position of need. Seems like a decent move. Replacing a righty reliever in San Diego shouldn't be difficult, generally speaking. I think history bears that out, at least in the Petco era.

    1. Thanks Tom, makes sense. Perhaps the Padres might offer them Street a bit later :)