A great question asked by Greg in the comments:
Can someone explain why Mark Worrell doesn’t seem to be in the team’s plans? Guy’s got a minor-league career K/9 rate of 10.5. FIP last year at Memphis was 2.86. (And, of course, we know he can hit in the big leagues.) What am I missing?
The numbers present a very strong case for Worrell, look no further than his MLE-57.7 innings, K/9 10.77, BB/9 4.68, .233 batting average against, 3.19 FIP. If that doesn’t do it for you, 25.6% of the batters he faced went down swinging, the third highest rate in the PCL for relievers, behind only Jason Motte and Jason Bulger. I mean, with those kinds of results, one would think we’d be talking about him in the same breath as Motte and Perez.
The thing about Worrell is that he is such an oddball, er, um..unique. He never throws from a windup. He throws from a wide variety of arm slots and angles, but mostly sidearm when facing right-handed batters and over the top facing southpaws. He keeps his front shoulder completely closed off to the batter until his right arm forces it open. When he finishes his delivery, it looks like he wobbles off the mound. He throws two different fastballs, depending on what his opponents handedness. All of it is very quirky, to say the least.
Why I’m not shocked that he gets no love is that unless you have exceptional stuff as a sidearmer or a submariner- a real out pitch -you probably will get ignored longer than you deserve to be. Despite the numbers, by all accounts I’ve ever heard, Worrell’s stuff isn’t exceptional. His repertoire consists of an low-nineties fastball, an average slider and change. But it does plays up because of all the deception.
I certainly don’t think it’s fair that he’s overlooked. It was one thing for him to obliterate the Florida State League, it’s whole other ball of wax for him to have dominated the PCL. I don’t think he’s closer material, but he should make a decent middle reliever. One thing to note is that throughout his minor league career, he does possess somewhat of a noticeable platoon split-4.25 FIP versus lefties, 3.31 against right-handers, so he’s probably more of a situational type in the majors. That would come in handy when facing the likes of Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez late in a game, of course.
He has big league potential. I wouldn’t say you are missing anything, Greg. Worrell’s biggest problem is that he has Perez, Motte, McClellan, Franklin and Kinney all ahead of him on the depth chart. His future may lie elsewhere.