Time For Ogando To Go Back To The Bullpen

When the Oakland A’s signed Argenis Benitez back in 2002 they hoped the Dominican Republic product would be their outfielder of the future. Then some trouble came. First, he couldn’t hit a curveball to save his life, then in 2005, he was discovered to be involved in a human trafficking ring and was not allowed to enter the country until 2010. Oh, yeah, and his real name was Alexi Ogando.
In the winter of 2005 the Rangers selected Ogando in the Rule 5 draft with plans of converting him into a pitcher. That’s what he did while playing in winter leagues and the Dominican Summer League. He made an impact with the Rangers as a reliever in 2010, was made a starter in 2011, sent back to the bullpen in 2012 and was made a starter again this season. That was a big mistake.

Ogando is not and should not be a starter in baseball. His tools are best used as a reliever. The 2011 season was the only season in which he was ever stretched out in a starter’s role. The Rangers didn’t prepare him for that in the minors as he had five starts in sixty-two games. Then you have to consider that before that he was an outfielder with no experience on the mound. I’m not going to say that converting him to a pitcher was a bad idea, but it sure wasn’t smart thinking to believe he could be a starter. He can’t handle the workload and two trips to the disabled list this season are evident of it. Of course some fans want to blame the medical and training staffs and even Keith Comstock and the rehab group he coordinates.

You can also take a look at his numbers as a reliever versus being a starter and clears where he’s more effective.


Now look at how his velocity has declined:


When Alexi Ogando comes back from this latest DL stint he needs to be placed directly in the bullpen. It will help the team better and save his arm and his health. How many more times does he have to be injured before the front office realizes what they’re doing to him?

Special thanks to fangraphs.com for the data.

James Holland is a Senior Columnist for Shutdown Inning. He can be reached at James.Holland@shutdowninning.com or @SDIJamesHolland on Twitter.
James Holland

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