Rangers Claim Roe

The Rangers claimed 27 year-old right handed pitcher Chaz Roe off of waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, and proceeded to add him to the 40 man roster. Roe was the 32nd overall selection in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Lexington (Ky.) Lafayette High School by the Colorado Rockies, where he failed to ever develop into what the Rockies had hoped was a legit starter when he was drafted.
When searching for information in regards to Roe on Fangraphs, one will discover there was one previous piece of information written about him. Fangraphs prospect writer Marc Hulet authored this particular evaluation of Roe on November 24th 2008, “A supplemental first round selection from the 2005 draft, Chaz Roe has recently been passed by a number of pitching prospects in the system. He struggled through some injuries in 2008, a year after pitching a career-high 170 innings. Roe spent the majority of the season in Double-A, where he allowed 98 hits in 105.1 innings with rates of 2.91 BB/9 and 5.98 K/9. His walk rates have improved each of the last three seasons, but his strikeouts rates have dropped over that same period. Roe may be suited to the bullpen with a low-90s fastball and plus curveball. His change-up is lacking.”

In their 2011 annual, Baseball Prospectus wrote this about the great nephew of 1960 World Series hero, Bill Mazeroski, “A supplemental pick out of an Ohio high school in 2005, tall, lean righty starter Roe failed to impress in his Triple-A debut in 2010. Bad luck on balls in play (.367 BABIP) played a large role in that, but Roe’s pedestrian peripherals fail to inspire much confidence. He looks like little more than an organizational arm at the moment, but he won’t serve in that capacity in Colorado, since the Rockies dealt Roe to the Mariners in December for Jose Lopez.”

What made me chuckle when reading BP’s evaluation of Roe is the fact he did not actually attend high school in Ohio, which is probably indicative of how mediocre and underwhelming Roe has been during his time in professional baseball. Both accounts do not speak too highly of Roe as he was essentially a non-prospect. He even spent the 2012 season with the independent Laredo Lemurs before signing with the D-Backs in September of 2012.

At first glance, nothing about Chaz Roe appears to be too interesting. In 22.1 innings in 2013, Roe yielded an ERA of 4.03, while walking 13 hitters unintentionally. However, Roe did generate an xFIP of 3.68, strikeout 24, and induce ground balls at a clip of 57.1%. Also, in 22 minor league innings in 2013, Roe struck out 23.0% of hitters, while only walking 4.6%. Roe has completely ditched the change-up Hulet was critical of five years ago, and is relying heavily on a two-seamer, which would explain the high ground ball percentage, and slider that is quite effective at prompting whiffs.

One has mentioned how xFIP has some predictive value, and Dave Cameron has written how teams are beginning to pay for pitchers who have posted solid xFIPshttp://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/tim-lincecum-and-the-slow-death-of-era/ , with Tim Lincecum being the latest example. Last off season, the Pittsburgh Pirates added two pitchers whose ERAs in ’12 were above average, but had still posted quality xFIPs. Both pitchers rewarded the Pirates faith in the xFIP statistic as Francisco Liriano and Mark Melancon produced outstanding seasons.

Pitchers who are able to induce ground balls and strike hitters out can be very valuable, and if Roe is anything similar to the type of pitcher he was in ’13, albeit in an extremely small sample, he could potentially be a contributor out of the pen in ’14. If Roe returns to previous form, then the Rangers do not lose anything of substance as Roe cost very little to add to the roster.

The best way to construct a bullpen is with cheap, cost-effective young hurlers, and minor league journeymen. General Manager Jon Daniels has struck gold in the past with pitchers similar to Roe in Darren O’Day, and more recently Neal Cotts. Claiming a Chaz Roe off of waivers, and seeing the possibility of potential value is the type of move an astute, shrewd general manager makes.

Dustin Dietz is a Staff Writer for ShutDownInning. He can be reached at Dustin.Dietz@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @DustinDietz18
Dustin Dietz
Dustin graduated from the University of North Texas with a degree in Radio/TV/Film, and a minor in history. He will often write about pitching mechanics and analytical baseball stuff. You will more than likely disagree with the majority of what he writes or says. In his spare time, Dustin time travels and plays at a replacement level in slow pitch softball leagues.

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