Results tagged ‘ Hampton Roads baseball players ’
Who is he?
Another hometown minor-league veteran, a left-handed starting pitcher out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach and the University of Virginia. Ballard was drafted by the Rangers organization, and never actually pitched well; his best season was a 7-6, 3.71 ERA as a 25-year-old in AA. He continued that pattern in the first half of 2011 with Norfolk, putting up a 4.91 ERA in 10 games (officially 9 starts, but really 10 because his one relief appearance came after a rehabbing major leaguer pitched 3 innings.) He then was assigned to Bowie as part of a roster squeeze, where he did pitch quite well (8-3, 3.33 ERA; with a 13-112 BB/K ratio.
His time at Bowie got him another minor-league contract, as he signed with the Nationals in the off-season. There’s no reason to believe that he’ll be a major-leaguer, unless he becomes effective as a left-handed spot relief pitcher. In his current role, he’ll probably hang around AAA for a few years, generally going 6-8 with an ERA of 4.85.
In its annualProspect Handbook,Baseball Americaprovides profiles on the top 30 prospects for each organization. In addition, they provide a “depth chart” showing all of the prospects at each position, generally 2-5 at each position; 10-12 left-handed pitchers, and 20-25 right-handed pitchers. Not only has Ballard never made the top 30 prospects for his organization, he’s never made the depth chart. That’s a pretty good indication that he’s not a good prospect.
Is he done?
On the one hand, you’d think he would be. Rupe, who played his high school ball in Hampton Roads, signed a minor-league free-agent deal with the Orioles, presumably because Norfolk was their AAA team. Surprisingly, he made the Orioles out of spring training. He pitched for a month, as roughly a replacement-level pitcher, and was sent down when the Orioles wanted or needed a change. At Norfolk, he was awful, compiling a 7.07 ERA before being released. If a player gets released in his hometown, it’s a pretty good indication that he’s not going have much of a career.
On the other hand, he did pitch reasonably well in 2010 — a 2.92 ERA with Omaha, as a part-time closer. So, if he wants to and has a good agent, Rupe can try to sell 2010 and find a team willing to use him as AAA fodder.
It’s really interesting that I didn’t actually see Rupe pitch in all that many games, and when I did, he usually was pitching long/garbage relief. As a long man and in garbage relief, he was pretty effective. But when he pitched in key situations, he was rocked.
The other interesting thing is that Rupe really hasn’t pitched well, anywhere, for any length of time. His best stat lines are partial seasons of 15 or so starts, 50-70 innings pitched, after which he was promoted or traded. He’s never had good control, averaging a pretty consistent 4-5 walks per nine innings. And his strikeout rate has plummeted to around 6 per nine innings.
If I were a general manager, I certainly wouldn’t make much of an effort to sign Josh Rupe; but if I needed an arm for a minor-league team, I wouldn’t reject him out of hand. I imagine that pretty much sums up his future.