As teams settle on their Opening Day rosters, some unknown names will sneak onto 25-man rosters –particularly in the bullpens. Consider this some dirt on a few of these mystery men.
Nathan Adcock (Royals)
The Mariners’ 2006 fifth round pick, Adcock is now with his third organization in a matter of two and a half seasons. Pittsburgh acquired Adcock in the Jack Wilson and Ian Snell trade, but left him exposed in the Rule 5. Adcock’s stuff is what is as he uses a low-90s fastball and throws strikes, but his minor league career strikeout-to-walk ratio is just 1.91. He’s never thrown a pitch in Double-A or above, yet the Royals evidently like him enough to place him in their bullpen, at least long enough for him to pull a hamstring or dislocate a pinky finger. As with all Rule 5 picks, Adcock cannot be optioned to the minors unless the Royals acquire his rights through an additional trade.
Michael Crotta (Pirates)
Crotta started throughout his minor league career and showed a strong commitment towards pitching to contact. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is prettier than Adcock’s (3.04 career) and his groundball rates have exceeded 60 percent in every season since 2007 –spanning three levels of competition. If nothing else, Crotta is a fresher face than Jeff Karstens or Sean Gallagher in the back of Clint Hurdle’s bullpen.
Samuel Deduno (Padres)
Don’t expect Deduno to stick around for long. Resident Padres’ fan Marc Normandin suggests Deduno could be the one to go once Mat Latos returns –possibly in a matter of days, not weeks. Claimed off waivers from the Rockies before camp, Deduno found his way into four big league games last season (including a so-so outing against the Pads). His fastball, which can touch the mid-90s, and plus curve did more to endear him to Bud Black and Jed Hoyer than his cup of coffee ever could. A minor league starter with health and control issues, expect Deduno’s future to consist of the bullpen.
Tom Wilhelmsen (Mariners)
Quite possibly the longest of long shots in baseball to win an Opening Day spot, Wihelmsen pitched in the minor leagues last season for the first time since 2003 thanks to drug issues and soul-searching. Wihelmsen appeared in 15 games in the low-minors with Seattle last season and pitched well. Still, like Adcock, he has never thrown a pitch above Class-A, and here he is breaking camp in the majors. Unlike Adcock, he throws hard and doesn’t have Rule 5 machinations hanging over him. The M’s simply think he is ready to contribute now.