Saturday, December 1, 2012

Juan Oramas Released: Scouting Report

Juan Oramas was non tendered by Padres making him a free agent. He is expected to sign back with the Padres, but could sign with anyone. He had Tommy John Surgery during the season and isn't expected to be ready to pitch again until the season starts again. Because the return from Tommy John Surgery seems so high, and the majority of the time pitchers come all the way back velocity wise etc., I will make the assumption in this article that the Oramas we saw before the injury/surgery is the one that you will see once he is healthy again. Without access to a medical license, his medical profile, or even a way to contact him, this is the only way I can do a writeup on him. The 22 year old left-hander has a noticeable lack of height at just 5-10 which does make you question his durability as a starter (he has pitched mostly as a starter in his career and most of his relief appearances were early on in his career).

Oramas was born in Mexico, but spent his first two years in the Padres system (2007-2008) in the Dominican Summer League. Despite being effective, he had to go pitch in the Mexican League (loaned by the Padres) where he had a 2.31 ERA and 3.27 FIP in a league where the average ERA was 4.96. He was back in the Padres organization in 2010. After a solid year mainly spent in the California League (3.71 FIP against the league average ERA of 4.57), Oramas got to pitch in AA in 2011 (and made one awful AAA start in the tough park, 116 park factor in 2012, in Reno). In 18 starts (19 appearances and 104.2 innings) Oramas had a 3.40 FIP and 3.35 SIERA, not showing much home or road splits (and was actually more homer prone in San Antonio's friendly park). This year, he threw 35.1 innings in AA before the surgery and wasn't himself, with a lower strikeout rate and higher walk and home run rates.

I watched a little video of him from a couple of years ago along with one of his outings from this year (on MiLB.TV). He has an extremely violent looking delivery that ends with him coming hard and fast over the top. He has a pretty large leg kick without a long or unrepeatable stride. The arm action is just really tough to watch. I can't see how he can be a starter with that delivery. He is known for a slightly below average fastball, a decent curve, and a mediocre changeup. The change has decent horizontal and vertical fade to his arm-side while the fastball is mostly straight with a little bit of arm-side movement. In the sample I watched, it looked like was throwing mainly medium height, perhaps a little dangerous for a mediocre fastball. He seemed to be really changeup heavy not throwing the curveball hardly at all. Perhaps counter-intuitively, he doesn't throw a slow curve, and instead throws a pretty hard biting curveball. It doesn't have great movement or break, but like his other two pitches, he has good control of it.

The lefty is predictably better against lefties than righties, with similar K/BB rates but more homer prone against righties (though his BABIP is higher against lefties, most likely randomness). He is not a ground-ball guy, instead relying on good strikeout and walk rates along with a lot of infield pop ups. The injury set him back, as Padres Prospects saw him as polished enough that he could have made it to the big leagues by the middle of the season. I think it is pretty obvious that he is a reliever long term, especially since the arm injury. However, his pitch mix should allow him to pitch mostly without splits so he can pitch more on leverage than on the platoon of the opposing batter.

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