Welcome to the Bench: Pat Venditte

Background
Born: 6/30/1985 (30 years old) Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Drafted: 20th round (620th overall) in 2008 by New York Yankees
Teams: Oakland A’s (2015)
Positions: Pitcher
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 185 lbs
Bat: Both
Throw: Both
Full Baseball Reference Bio

Pat Venditte Stats
Full FanGraphs Profile

The Call-Up
Wednesday, April 13th, the Jays designate relief pitcher Arnold Leon for assignment and call up Pat Venditte from AAA Buffalo.

What he brings to the team

Well this is kind of awesome. Venditte almost broke camp with the Jays as their de facto middle relief “lefty”. He had an awesome spring in which he had 3 strikeouts with a WHIP of 0.60 over 8.1 innings. But when all was said and done the Jays tabbed Ryan Tepera, the reverse-splits righty, as their middle relief option versus left-handed batters (although they signed Morales and sent down Tepera before he could even throw a pitch).

The general consensus from every piece that I’ve read about Venditte points out that he is much more effective with his left hand–versus left-handed hitters he sports a .104 batting average against contrasting a .274 versus righties. His PITCHf/x data says that he primarily throws a slider and sinker with a max velocity of about 87 MPH, but I’m not even going to pretend to wrap my head around what he throws with what arm. He throws a funky side-arm delivery from both arms that creates a tonne of movement.

Two dominant  innings in Buffalo later and the Jays can’t seem to keep this wily, enigmatic octopus down any longer. It certainly didn’t hurt that Leon was kind of garbage. I realize that it has only been a 2 inning sample size for both player, but Leon looked like he was throwing batting practice out there!

For more on Venditte’s unconventional journey to the MLB check out this awesome piece by John Lott of Blue Jays Nation:
“Pat Venditte’s Incredible Journey to the Big Leagues”

Why he’s on the bench

Just in case you’re wondering what it looks like when a switch-hitter faces a switch-pitcher.

Venditte has been labelled, or even pigeon-holed, as a sort of lefty specialist. Which is kind of funny considering his right had is his “dominant” hand. Since being sent down Venditte has worked on his right-handed delivery for the past two weeks.

I have no idea to what extent this tweet is true, but I just eat up anecdotes like this. I’m all in on Venditte. If he can really start to hit his spots more consistently from the right side and continue to to throw all of his pitches with funky movement, I’d start buying Venditte stock right now.

When Pat Attack makes his way from the bullpen my brother starts singing “Whoa Venditte” to the tune of Ram Jam’s Black Betty. It’s been funny so far but I can see it getting old pretty quickly.

 

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