honor of the Chris Davis’ victory over Darnell McDonald Sunday
night (otherwise referenced as the Orioles 9-6 17-inning victory over
the Red Sox) we thought we’d take a quick look at the 25 man
rosters for all 30 big league teams and see which position player was
best qualified to be an emergency reliever.
course, who is first in line for such emergency duty isn’t
necessarily a function of who is best qualified to do it. Josh
Hamilton’s fragile body isn’t going to take the mound for the
Rangers, nor is Buster Posey going to risk a second serious injury to
win a game in May. And what would be the reaction to Justin Upton
blowing up his UCL throwing the 16th inning of a game?
this is who “Should” be pitching for a team who runs out of
Chris Davis threw 90 at the 2003 Perfect Game National Showcase and
has an extensive pitching background, so it was a good choice.
Another good choice would have been Nick Markakis, who I saw sit at
90-93 with a nasty curveball while at Young Harris (GA) JC and was up
to 95 at times before being drafted in the first round as an
outfielder. J.J. Hardy had two-way promise coming out of high
Ryan Sweeney was an accomplished left handed pitcher in high school
who I teased that he intentionally never topped out at more than 89
mph because he didn’t want to be considered a pitching prospect (he
smiled and didn’t answer). Recent call-up Will Middlebrooks (who
hit a grand slam in the game in question) was a low-90s hurler in
York Yankees: The Yankees are too old to have an obvious
secondary pitcher. I don’t even remember Alex Rodriguez or Derek
Jeter pitching in high school.
Bay: Sean Rodriguez was a solid high school pitcher with a 90
mph fastball. I saw B.J. Upton close out a high school game once and
he was 87-88 with a decent curveball.
There are no obvious candidates but outfielder Colby Rasmus is out,
he blew out his elbow pitching as a sophomore in high school when he
was topping out at 92 mph.
White Sox: Brett Lillibridge can do everything else, I’m sure
he can pitch as well.
Shin-Soo Choo was a low to mid-90s thrower as a prospect, but like a
couple of other players on this list was more highly valued as a
Delmon Young threw in the mid-90s in high school. I can’t
remember the details but I think I remember Brennan Boesch as a
pretty good pitcher, although I could be wrong.
City: Both Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were ignored as high
school pitching prospects because they were such good hitters. But
both were mid-90s throwers, with Hosmer’s velocity from the left
side being especially notable.
Trevor Plouffe was a very solid two-way prospect when he was a 2003
Angeles Angels: Mark Trumbo was considered a better pitching
prospect by many teams when the Angels drafted and signed him as a
position player in 2004.
Brandon Inge closed in college at Virginia Commonwealth.
There was a story circulating a few years ago that Ichiro jumped
onto the bullpen mound long before the gates opened a few years ago
and threw 93-94 with little effort. Observing his outfield arm over
the years, that’s no surprise at all.
I saw Josh Hamilton throw up to 95 in high school and he would
likely have been a first round draft pick as a left handed pitcher if
he wasn’t such a dynamic hitter. Of course, the chances of
Hamilton pitching are roughly the same as Jose Canseco’s pitching
for the Rangers...oops, just kidding.
Jason Heyward and Tyler Pastornicky were both low-90s pitchers in
high school, although Pastornicky had enough effort in his delivery
that it would worry manager Fredi Gonzalez about is availability to
play shortstop the next day.
Gaby Sanchez and Austin Kearns were both strong armed pitchers in
high school, with Kearns getting heavy scouting attention from the
York Mets: Ike Davis was a two-way player at Arizona State and
would likely be one of the better emergency pitchers in the Majors
Like the Yankees, the Phillies older roster doesn’t lend itself to
emergency pitchers as long as Dominic Brown is not active. Any need
would assuredly NOT be filled by Juan Pierre.
Would it be cruel to put Rick Ankiel back on the mound after all he
went through at the end of his pitching career? Bryce Harper threw
in the mid-90s with limited command as a high school sophomore, but
that probably doesn’t surprise anyone.
Cubs: Joe Mather has a 0-1 career record, having lost a game for
the Cardinals in 2010. He’s nominated due to experience.
For as many athletes as the Reds have, they have no obvious pitching
candidate. Todd Frazier would seem to have some potential in that
area, especially looking all the way back to his days as a 12-year
old Little League hero.
Brian Bogusevic was a first round pick out of Tulane as a left
handed pitcher in 2005 before transitioning Rick Ankiel style in
Starting catcher Jonathan Lucroy gets the nod as his younger brother
David was recruited to pitch for Coastal Carolina, who we've seen up
to 91 at our events.
I’m surprised Clint Barmes hasn’t thrown an inning or two in the
big leagues already.
Louis: Tyler Greene was a five-tool player in high school and
has pitching in his background.
Justin Upton has as much chance of taking the mound as Josh
Hamilton, but he threw up to 94 at Perfect Game events. Cody Ransom
and Willie Bloomquist seem like ideal candidates for an inning or
The Rockies are perhaps the deepest team in baseball in
emergency pitchers. Chris Nelson was up to 94 mph at WWBA events and
Jordan Pacheco had a nasty curveball both as a high schooler and at
New Mexico to go with his 88-90 mph fastball. Of course, Todd Helton
was an All-American pitcher at Tennessee a couple of decades ago.
Anyone want to speculate on how hard Troy Tulowitski would throw off
Angeles Dodgers: James Loney was a high school pitching rival of
Jeff Neimann and Scott Kazmir in the Houston prep ranks and
considered an equally deserving pitching prospect by many scouts.
Diego: Mark Kotsay was a similar college pitcher to Todd Helton:
Francisco: Buster Posey was a better pitching prospect out of
high school as a 2004 Aflac All-American and closed at Florida State
while first playing shortstop, then catcher. Brandon Belt was also a
primary left handed pitching prospect out of high school and as a
freshman at San Jacinto JC before becoming a full-time position
player at Texas.