An under-the-radar move made this year is one that Pittsburgh Pirates fans should keep an eye on in 2013. The Buccos acquired right-handed pitcher Robby Rowland in exchange for right-handed pitcher Brett Lorin last season. It was a swap that typically doesn’t garner a few hundred words, but this is rather interesting.
Just to entice you to read through this, Lorin was awful in Double-A this season. He pitched 102.2 innings to the tune of a 6.40 ERA.
Rowland pitched well for West Virginia in 19 starts putting up a 3.30 ERA.
But anyway, back to the story. Way back in December, Lorin was plucked off the Pirates roster by Arizona in the Major League phase of the Rule Five Draft. It surprised us to say the least.
These moves typically don’t work out this way, but the Bucs might be on to something with the sinker baller Rowland. The 6’6″ righty was picked by the Diamondbacks in the third round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
The numbers he put up as a senior at Cloverdale (CA) High School were sick–117 strikeouts in 65 innings and a 0.32 ERA. But in 2010, Rowland’s debut in rookie ball was bad–really bad–almost six runs per nine innings over 14 starts. But still, Rowland was pegged by Baseball America as the 16th-best prospect in the Pioneer League and 21st-best prospect in the Diamondbacks system.
In 2011, it got worse, Rowland repeated in the Pioneer League and his ERA actually went up to 8.07 with 52 punchouts in 14 starts.
Rowland transformed into a sinker baller and was West Virginia’s most consistent starter this year, but be sure to check out his blog entry here on his first season with the Pirates.
Rowland looks at his transformation from a strikeout pitcher to a sinkerballer looking to get an out with three pitchers, he addresses his trade to the Pirates organization and provides some funny information on life in the minors.