PDA

View Full Version : Josh Roenicke originally had gridiron dreams



camisadelgolf
07-02-2008, 05:28 PM
I didn't see this anywhere else, even though it's almost definitely been posted by now. Anyway, just in case no one's posted it, here it is from reds.com: http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080702&content_id=3049169&vkey=news_cin&fext=.jsp&c_id=cin

Roenicke originally had gridiron dreams
Right-handed prospect switched sports while at UCLA
By Brandon Harris / MLB.com

Right-hander Josh Roenicke has risen quickly in the Reds Minor League system.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- When Josh Roenicke finished high school and enrolled at UCLA, he didn't exactly envision a career as a professional baseball player.

Roenicke was a football player, and a pretty darn good one. He was the quarterback at Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley, Calif. If there was one career path the former Capital Athletic League football Most Valuable Player had in mind, it had him suiting up in pads and tossing touchdown passes -- not wearing a button-down uniform and throwing 98-mph fastballs.

Sometimes, though, you just can't avoid what's in your blood.

And so, here he is -- the 25-year-old should-be football player, son of one former big league outfielder and nephew of another, who has soared through the Reds Minor League system and made his mark as arguably the hardest-throwing pitcher in the organization.

Roenicke lasted three uninspiring seasons on the Bruins football team, including just one at quarterback before he was moved to wide receiver. After his third year, he left the team and switched his sole focus to baseball, though this time it wasn't with the all-or-nothing hopes of going pro like he had carried onto the football team.

"I was recruited in football, not baseball or basketball, so I thought that was going to be my career," Roenicke said. "I was confident I could go to the NFL as a quarterback, but that fell through. When I first started playing [baseball] in my second year of college, I was a defensive replacement in the outfield. A new staff came in and I told the pitching coach that I pitched in high school, and if he needed me to eat up innings, I could throw strikes."

And so it began. Roenicke quit the football squad after being moved to the scout team in his third year and concentrated all of his attention on baseball, where he played for two more years. He wiggled his way out of the outfield and into the bullpen, and wound up getting drafted by the Reds as a reliever in the 10th round of the 2006 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

Roenicke's father, Gary, won a World Series with Baltimore in 1983 and now works as an Orioles scout. His uncle, Ron, played eight seasons in the Majors and now serves as the bench coach for the Angels. His older brother, Jarett, also played in the Minors, and his younger brother, Jason, was selected by the Blue Jays in this year's Draft.

With his bloodline chock full of baseball, it's easy to see how and why Roenicke needed just 15 1/3 innings of work throughout his career in UCLA's bullpen to get drafted and just two years in the Minors to advance to Triple-A Louisville, where his sizzling fastball and developing curveball have made him one of the hottest young pitchers waiting in line to for a shot at the Majors.

"I think I'm real close," Roenicke said. "I watch a lot of guys pitch in the big leagues, and I feel I'm ready right now. Once I start throwing my curveball for strikes, I think that'll put me over the edge and show that I'm definitely ready. I know when I get up there, it's a different ballgame. But right now, I feel confident and like I'm ready to go."

In many ways, Roenicke is right. His fastball hovers between 92-95 mph and can touch 98 mph when he's on. His curveball has only gotten better since he was promoted from Double-A Chattanooga on May 31, and he's started to work more with his changeup.

But the same fastball that has gotten him all the way to Louisville -- and the same fastball that drew praise from Reds manager Dusty Baker during Roenicke's first big league camp at Spring Training -- is part of the very reason he's yet to step foot on the big stage.

Roenicke was able to merely blow by hitters in Class A and Double-A, but it hasn't been the same in Triple-A where the all-fastball, all-the-time repertoire he's used to won't last and, more often than not, will result in short, problematic outings.

"You just can't throw all fastballs to the hitters in this league," Louisville pitching coach Ted Power said. "If they see five pitches and they're all fastballs, they're going to get the sixth one. You're not going to make them swing and miss.

"It's hard to say exactly how close he is [to being called up]. The thing you have to see from a pitcher in his position is, do they make the right adjustments [with their pitch selection]? Does their game not necessarily get better as far as velocity or break in the curveball, but do they get smarter? Do they learn how to work hitters? It's an all-around knowledge of the game, and I think those are the areas where he needs the most seasoning."

Louisville manager Rick Sweet said he's regularly asked for updates by the Reds on how Roenicke is performing, and so far, he hasn't much of anything but good news to relay.

Roenicke has a 2.70 ERA with 14 strikeouts through 13 1/3 innings of work. He's given up 13 hits, which he admits is a result of his affinity for throwing the fastball at inopportune times, and pitched a scoreless inning in his last outing on Saturday.

"I think about it every once in a while -- I was just in high A last year and now I'm in Triple-A, and I've only been playing for two years," Roenicke said. "I know a lot of guys who've spent a lot of time in the Minor Leagues. It's exciting and a really good feeling knowing that I'm that close. It's been really fun, and I'm really excited for the rest of the year. We'll see what happens."

OnBaseMachine
07-02-2008, 05:41 PM
Good article. According to Baseball America he also throws a nasty cutter with splitter action on it. It's also nice to see him develop a breaking pitch too. Hopefully he's in Cincy by the end of the month.

camisadelgolf
07-02-2008, 05:47 PM
He should have a fresh arm by the time he gets to Cincinnati. He's 26 years old next month and has thrown less than 100 professional innings.

crazyredfan40
07-02-2008, 10:09 PM
He should have a fresh arm by the time he gets to Cincinnati. He's 26 years old next month and has thrown less than 100 professional innings.

This is probably the reason why they have held him back a little, that and to work on his control...

Think that he will be up for sure sometime this season...

ChatterRed
07-02-2008, 10:09 PM
He should have a fresh arm by the time he gets to Cincinnati. He's 26 years old next month and has thrown less than 100 professional innings.


I agree. Good point.

Mario-Rijo
07-05-2008, 02:46 AM
Good article. According to Baseball America he also throws a nasty cutter with splitter action on it. It's also nice to see him develop a breaking pitch too. Hopefully he's in Cincy by the end of the month.

What would that look like? Sorta like a 2 to 8 slurve, but with more velocity?

lollipopcurve
07-05-2008, 09:54 AM
Whatever his 2nd pitch is, he's going to need it. Not all that encouraging to hear he's been heavily fastball-reliant.

Screwball
07-05-2008, 10:34 AM
Whatever his 2nd pitch is, he's going to need it. Not all that encouraging to hear he's been heavily fastball-reliant.

When your fastball can hit 98, why not rely on it?

GoReds33
07-05-2008, 11:56 AM
When your fastball can hit 98, why not rely on it?I agree. For a one inning type pitcher, one dominant pitch is all you need.

lollipopcurve
07-05-2008, 12:21 PM
I agree. For a one inning type pitcher, one dominant pitch is all you need.

Strongly disagree. Dibble could throw 100 mph, but he still used his slider quite a bit. Roenicke "touches" 98, which means he can hit that number every now and again,
but not often. So, if his average fastball is 94-95, and that's the only pitch he can make major league hitters respect, he'll struggle in the bigs.

OnBaseMachine
07-05-2008, 12:38 PM
Strongly disagree. Dibble could throw 100 mph, but he still used his slider quite a bit. Roenicke "touches" 98, which means he can hit that number every now and again,
but not often. So, if his average fastball is 94-95, and that's the only pitch he can make major league hitters respect, he'll struggle in the bigs.

Baseball America says he throws a nasty cutter that has so much action it is sometimes described as a splitter. Throw is a breaking ball that seems to be getting better and he's got more than enough to get by IMO. We need to remember he only been pitching for two year or so.

GoReds33
07-05-2008, 12:40 PM
Strongly disagree. Dibble could throw 100 mph, but he still used his slider quite a bit. Roenicke "touches" 98, which means he can hit that number every now and again,
but not often. So, if his average fastball is 94-95, and that's the only pitch he can make major league hitters respect, he'll struggle in the bigs.I see your point, but you are comparing a 26 year old minor leaguer to one of the best relievers in the last 20 years. That's not a fair comparison, IMO.

lollipopcurve
07-05-2008, 02:15 PM
Baseball America says he throws a nasty cutter that has so much action it is sometimes described as a splitter. Throw is a breaking ball that seems to be getting better and he's got more than enough to get by IMO. We need to remember he only been pitching for two year or so.

I've read what you've read. That's why I was disappointed by the article -- it sounds as if he's been relying too much on his fastball and not developing his 2nd pitch to the point that it's major league ready. I thought he was a bit closer.

Blitz Dorsey
07-05-2008, 02:24 PM
Dibble was a World Champion... of the world!

As for Roenicke, I agree he will need to master a second pitch and throw a third one effectively in order to be a good MLB reliever. However, as it stands right now, I'm just thrilled we got one hell of a steal getting this guy out of the 10th round a couple years ago. You can learn a good curve and/or change. You can't learn how to throw 95 (topping out at 98). Having young power arms in the system like Roenicke and Stewart makes Blitz a happy boy (and a third-person typer).

camisadelgolf
07-06-2008, 07:24 AM
Dibble was a World Champion... of the world!

As for Roenicke, I agree he will need to master a second pitch and throw a third one effectively in order to be a good MLB reliever. However, as it stands right now, I'm just thrilled we got one hell of a steal getting this guy out of the 10th round a couple years ago. You can learn a good curve and/or change. You can't learn how to throw 95 (topping out at 98). Having young power arms in the system like Roenicke and Stewart makes Blitz a happy boy (and a third-person typer).

I don't know that he needs to master a second pitch, but I think he at least good command of it. We're talking about a guy who has at least one dominant pitch, and he will be throwing only one inning at a time.

Does anyone else here think Jim Bowden would already be trying to stretch Roenicke into a starting pitcher? Sometimes I laugh at thinking about the 'what if' Bowden scenarios.

Anyway, as I mentioned in another thread, it's pretty nice to imagine a bullpen of Josh Roenicke, Zach Stewart, Sean Watson, Bill Bray, Jared Burton, Danny Herrera, etc.

Blitz Dorsey
07-07-2008, 10:06 PM
I don't know that he needs to master a second pitch, but I think he at least good command of it. We're talking about a guy who has at least one dominant pitch, and he will be throwing only one inning at a time.

Does anyone else here think Jim Bowden would already be trying to stretch Roenicke into a starting pitcher? Sometimes I laugh at thinking about the 'what if' Bowden scenarios.

Anyway, as I mentioned in another thread, it's pretty nice to imagine a bullpen of Josh Roenicke, Zach Stewart, Sean Watson, Bill Bray, Jared Burton, Danny Herrera, etc.

Watson needs to step it up before I get excited about him. A second-round pick out of college should be at least in AAA by now and knocking on the door of the Bigs. Watson is basically a mediocre AA pitcher right now. But the Reds did him no favors by bouncing him around between being a starter and reliever.

camisadelgolf
07-08-2008, 06:15 AM
Watson needs to step it up before I get excited about him. A second-round pick out of college should be at least in AAA by now and knocking on the door of the Bigs. Watson is basically a mediocre AA pitcher right now. But the Reds did him no favors by bouncing him around between being a starter and reliever.

I'm not ready to bank on Watson being an effective reliever just yet, but before 2008, he was pretty exciting. This year, he's been pushed into the closer role. As a result, I think he's throwing harder and losing control. Prior to this year, his control was exceptional, so when it comes back, I think he could be a nasty reliever.

fearofpopvol1
08-04-2008, 03:47 PM
Btw, today is Josh's birthday. Happy Birthday!

OnBaseMachine
08-04-2008, 03:50 PM
I'd like to see his birthday present be a callup to Cincinnati. He's now got a 1.98 ERA and 5 BB/28 K ratio in 27.1 innings with Louisville and overall he has a 2.55 ERA and 17 BB/56 K ratio in 49.1 innings.

fearofpopvol1
08-04-2008, 04:43 PM
I'd like to see his birthday present be a callup to Cincinnati. He's now got a 1.98 ERA and 5 BB/28 K ratio in 27.1 innings with Louisville and overall he has a 2.55 ERA and 17 BB/56 K ratio in 49.1 innings.

I think he'll be called up in September and I don't think it's a bad thing at all that it's taken a little bit longer.

cincyinco
08-05-2008, 03:11 AM
I agree. Given that Josh is still also relatively new to pitching I am glad the reds have been pretty deliberate with his time table. No need to have him turn into Ryan wagner part duex.

AFalcon10
08-05-2008, 11:03 AM
I saw this guy pitch in Charlotte the ohter day, he had electric stuff. He's been labeled as the Reds' closer of the future.. I can definately see it .. looking for a sepetember call up and possibly making the club out of ST next year.