Ross Ohlendorf’s Potential Call-up Complicates Matters Further


Generally when a pitcher has been doing well down at triple-A and is ready to be called up, it is a good sign. However, this year for the Red Sox– all it’s done is complicate matters with Aaron Cook, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and now, Ross Ohlendorf. Ohlendorf has an opt-out to his contract that can be exercised if he is not on the 40-man roster by June 1. With the Red Sox’ pitching at a miserable 28th in the league this season, there’s no reason for them to waste a good arm like Ohlendorf and I don’t think that they will.

Before last season with the Pirates, Ohlendorf was rounding into a solid major league pitcher. However, he was troubled by shoulder issues all year long and put up a miserable season in which he went 1-3 with an 8.15 ERA in 9 starts for Pittsburgh– which allowed the Red Sox to pick him up on a minor league contract last winter. He has been healthy for the most part this year, though, and has been putting up solid numbers at triple-A Pawtucket; he currently stands at 4-3 with a 4.07 ERA. His strikeout numbers haven’t been fabulous at 5.9 per nine innings, but he has shown good control with only 2.4 walks per nine.

Ohlendorf may not be perfectly suited for Fenway Park, as he is a fly ball pitcher (0.68 GB:FB ratio), and he only had a 36.2% ground ball rate in the majors last year. However, even with those fly ball numbers, he doesn’t allow a huge amount of home runs– just 0.55 per nine innings this year. He does not throw tremendously hard, he is generally in the low 90’s, but he does have a wide arsenal of pitches. According to FanGraphs, he throws a fastball, slider, cutter, and change and the main reason for his lack of success last year was his lack of command of the change and cutter– forcing him to throw his fastball more often which became ineffective.

The Red Sox pitching has been better of late– particularly their bullpen– but it’s worth bring Ohlendorf up. He would probably be most effective out of the rotation, possibly giving the Red Sox the possibility of moving Daniel Bard back to the bullpen. He can’t be worse than Clay Buchholz has been this season (he did pitch well yesterday, though!) and I’d like to try him out. When the team has the 28th ranked pitching in baseball, I’d generally call up a guy who has proven he can put up an ERA around 4.00 at the major league level.