Josh Outman Provides Tribe’s Bullpen With More Left Handed Depth
At the end of the 2013 season the Cleveland Indians tendered a contract offer to outfielder Drew Stubbs who more than likely was not going to be on the 2014 squad at his expected salary of $3.8M. The Indians were actively shopping Stubbs and on December 18th they found a trade partner in the Colorado Rockies who in exchange sent left-handed reliever Josh Outman to the Tribe.
The 2013 Indians struggled finding consistency from any left-handed reliever for much of the 2013 season as Nick Hagadone and Rich Hill both struggled. At the trade deadline the team picked up Marc Rzepczynski who came in and really provided Terry Francona the consistency he was looking for allowing just 2 earned runs in his 20.1 innings of work while striking out 17 and walking 6 (2 intentional).
The Indians hope that having a second capable left-handed reliever will bode well for the team over the course of 162 games. The former starter was converted to full-time reliever at the end of the 2012 season and in 2013 appeared in 61 games. Overall, Outman’s numbers are quite mundane, 3-0 with a 4.55 ERA and a strike out rate of 8.8 K/9 and a walk rate of 3.8 BB/9.
A lot of the dents in Josh Outman’s 2013 campaign are the result of very poor performance against right-handed batters who posted a triple slash line of .347/.423/.459 while he held left-handed batters to .198/.278/.261 line.
His performance against right-handed and left-handed batters aren’t a one-year wonder for him either. In his career right-handed batters have battered him to the tune of .303/.376/.468 while he gets his revenge against left-handed batters silencing them to a .189/.251/.272 line.
Rockies manager Walt Weiss figured out the best way to use him after the 2013 All-Star break. In the first half he faced 83 right-handed batters and 76 against lefties. His results versus RHB (.343 [24 for 70]) and LHB (.217 [15 for 69]) mirrored his career struggles.
After the break he was used much more as a situational lefty allowing him to thrive in a role he’s best suited for. In the 2nd half of the season he faced only 32 right-handed batters who still hit .358 (1o for 28) but remained active against left-handed batters facing 50 batters and holding them to a .167 (7 for 42).
In Cleveland, Josh Outman will use his fastball/slider/changeup mix to generate a fair amount of groundballs (51.3% in 2013) mostly against left-handed batters allowing Terry Francona the ability to have two lefties that he can rely on each and every night. His overall numbers should improve as he won’t be facing an equal distribution of right-handed and left-handed batters.
Josh Outman is a student of the mechanics of pitching and has a rather odd delivery that he would like to use. Read about it here (LINK).
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