Friday, March 04, 2005

Franquelis Osoria

Most ardent Dodger fans already know about Ryan Ketchner, a swingman in the Seattle organization acquired last season for Jolbert Cabrera. Ketchner looks like he's not too far from being a solid third or fourth starter if his recovery from ulnar nerve transposition goes well.

Franquelis Osoria arguably had a better season than Ketchner last season, but he's suffering from IES (inflated ERA syndrome). He put up a 3.67 ERA in 81 IP at Jacksonville and a 6.48 ERA in 8 IP at Las Vegas. Those numbers don't make him look like a top prospect, considering that at 22 he wasn't particularly young for the competition. However, a look at Osoria's peripherals shows much more promise, as in 2004 he had an excellent ratio of 76 K to 19 BB while only giving up two home runs in 89 innings. By contrast, Ketchner pitched 126 innings with 102 K, 36 BB, and 11 HR.

Using their weighted three year numbers, Ketchner and Osoria are fairly similar; they have nearly identical walk/HBP rates and hit rates on balls in play. Ketchner is the better strikeout pitcher, though they're both good in that department. Osoria has been much better at keeping the ball in the park. Osoria is half a year older. There's a good reason Osoria was added to the 40-man roster last fall to avoid the Rule 5 draft.

Osoria doesn't project as a world-beater, but he's got a decent shot to be a solid contributor at the major league level in the next few years.

My, my. I wonder that he isn't being groomed to acquire something good. He's got four years of service, which would put him near the trade-or-play deadline.
Trade or play deadline? College players who turn pro at 21 or 22 may have a "deadline" of about four years to prove themselves useful, but almost any Dodger prospect joins our system as a teenager. Osoria has made good progress through the system, never stagnating at a level, and will be in Triple A this year with THREE YEARS of minor league options to go, since he was just added to the 40-man roster in November.

I doubt Osoria is going to be traded for "something good." He himself is "something good." I see him replacing either Carrara or Dessens in our bullpen for 2006. He is exactly the kind of pitcher that DePo wants for the Dodgers, as indicated by the Lowe acquisition and Scott Erickson being invited to camp. He's a sinker/slider guy with only average velocity but he gets extraordinary movement on his pitches, and batters can't lift anything he throws. With his low three-quarter delivery that supposedly borders on side-arm, Osoria is deadly against right-handed hitters, but not so much against lefties. He would be much like Paul Quantrill was for us a couple years ago.
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