The Process Versus Alexi Ogando | The Process Report

The Process Versus Alexi Ogando

A consistent role is the only thing separating Alexi Ogando from recognition as one of the game’s nastiest pitchers. Having flip-flopped between the bullpen and rotation in each of his four big-league seasons, Ogando is again back in the rotation. He’ll face the Rays on Monday night as he tries following up an impressive 10-strikeout performance against the Astros.

Ogando carries electric stuff in a reedy package. His delivery is awkward and arm-heavy, with short arm action in the back. It looks like he belongs in the bullpen. But Ogando’s stuff is something else. His fastball can touch into the upper-90s and features lively arm-side run. He backs it up with a slider that boasts two-plane movement.

Here’s where things get interesting. In the past Ogando was primarily a two-pitch pitcher with an occasional work-in-progress changeup thrown in. But again Houston he made two big changes: 1) he used his slider as his primary pitch and 2) he showed previously unseen confidence in the changeup. It’s easy to write off a game against Houston as a glorified exhibition but pitchers do not typically experiment with drastic alterations like Ogando did. Even when faced with an overmatched opponent.

Despite the weird mechanics Ogando throws strikes. He’s walked fewer batters per nine innings throughout his career than David Price has. This isn’t a situation where the Rays can sit back and let a feral arm do its bidding for them. Yet this also is not a situation where there’s a clear gameplan to employ. At least not from a lineup perspective. Ogando has been worse against lefties for much of his career, however, it was only relative to his dominance against right-handed batters—and that was before he furthered his changeup.

When putting together a lineup Joe Maddon could go one of two ways. He could load up with left-handers and play the odds, or he could make Ogando back into a two-pitch pitcher by using a right-handed heavy lineup. This seems counter-intuitive given the above but we’ve seen Maddon go with theory over practice before when it comes to restricting an opposing pitcher’s arsenal. Of course this would make more sense if Ogando’s changeup were his best secondary pitch. It’s not so in all likelihood Ogando will see the lefties, just as he did the only other time he started against the Rays.

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  1. […] Rays look to face a Texas Rangers team that somehow seems to be slipping under the radar.  R.J. Anderson has a nice look at tonight’s starter Alexi Ogando and here’s a statistical look from Baseball-Reference that contains some interesting nuggs. […]

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