So yesterday we took a look at Edwin Encarnacion, the young third baseman acquired in the Scott Rolen trade. Today, we'll take a look at relief pitcher Josh Roenicke, who will turn 27 on Tuesday.
Roenicke was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1982, but grew up in Nevada City, California, where he was a three-sport athlete in high school. Roenicke attended UCLA for both football and baseball, but soon concentrated full-time on baseball, where he was primarily a centre fielder but also did a little pitching out of the bullpen (like, 15 or so innings in his entire college career little), showing a mid-90s fastball. Josh was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds, as a pitcher, in the 10th round of the 2006 draft.
Roenicke, a hard-throwing righty, worked his way through the Reds' minor league system, showing good strikeout stuff (10.9 K/9 IP throughout his career in the minors) but somewhat erratic control (3.8 BB/9, fluctuating wildly, as is not uncommon for relievers due to the low number of overall innings thrown). Roenicke made his major-league debut in September of last season and got into 5 games that month.
Josh started 2009 in AAA Louisville but soon made his way up to the Reds, and he has done a very nice job in his 11 big-league appearances this season, with 14 Ks and 4 walks over 13 1/3 innings. He replaced Jeremy Accardo in the Jays' bullpen and considers himself a potential closer but is open-minded about his role. With a mid- to high-90s fastball and quality slider, there's no reason to disagree. Though the Jays are taking a wait-and-see approach with Roenicke right now, they are open to the possibility of him closing at some point.
Roenicke has baseball in his genes: his younger brother Jason (a 2008 draftee) pitches for the Jays' single-A affiliate Lansing Lugnuts, his father was a major-league outfielder who was drafted, in the first round, by the Expos, and had a long career with the Orioles (hence both Roenicke boys being born in Baltimore) and his uncle Ron had a 11-year major-league career with a number of teams.
Josh throws a hard fastball that sits in the mid 90s and creeps up into the high 90s. He also throws a cut fastball that moves a lot more than a typical cutter, causing some to call it a slider. His mechanics are generally considered sound and he isn't much of a groundballer, generally getting as many outs in the air as on the ground.
Welcome to the Jays, Josh.