“Looking good, Jesse!”
“Feeling good, White Sox beat writers!”
It seems like Southside Showdown as a blogging entity, has probably dedicated too much time and energy to the travails of Jesse Crain’s abductor muscle (ESPN’s Bruce Levine is just calling it his groin).
It might have been spurred on by looking into the two identified replacements, Ramon Troncoso and Brian Omogrosso–a battle of ‘Has had MLB success but not in a while’ and ‘Conquered the minors but no signs yet of doing more.’
Troncoso spent last season getting obliterated for the Dodgers Triple-A squad, after being booted from the 40-man roster in March. His one shining year of effectiveness came when he posted a 2.72 ERA in 2009 over 82.2 innings of work. Emphasis on the ‘82.2.’
Mike Petriello of Dodgers blog ‘Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness’ tells a tale of a reliever whose peripherals never backed up his production, and was ridden hard and put away wet by his manager.
"“You can’t completely absolve Joe Torre. Troncoso’s average fastball velocity has dropped from 92.8 MPH to 92.5 to 90.7 in his three seasons under Torre, and if the overuse hasn’t led to a full-fledged blowout, it seems clear the wear-and-tear has had some effect.”"
Troncoso doesn’t have strikeout stuff, or the plus-velocity that the White Sox so often covet, and was experiencing diminishing returns in his groundball rate. Perhaps he’s healthier now arm-wise, but he’s also recovering from being struck in the face with a line drive (knocking out four teeth) during winter ball.
Decent spring training ERA, though.
Having weathered the hell of Tommy John surgery and a torn labrum already in his career, Omogrosso has spent the last two years slowly working his way up the chain of the upper minors. His 4.56 ERA in Triple-A last season wasn’t pretty, but 59 strikeouts and 12 walks in 47.1 innings sure was.
He’s never flashed that kind of control before, or since working his way up to the show. His 2.57 ERA was roughly a run-and-a-half to two runs better than his strikeout rate suggested it had any right to be. He’s got a perfect ERA on the spring, but also has more walks than strikeouts.
This is not to suggest the 28 year-old is not a major-leaguer, because he is, and will be one at some point this season. But he’s not overpowering, or going to be swapped in for Jesse Crain without anyone noticing. If anything, it would result in Matt Thornton getting ridden harder as an all-purpose setup man early in the year, which wouldn’t be the best for maintaining Thornton nor for retiring right-handed batters in late-game situations.
So this is good news:
And it allows us to move on to the next minor spring training injury overreaction.
Hey, there it is!
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan