Emilio Ogando has been on fire over his last eight starts. Ogando wasn’t having a great season with several starts that had lasted less than 3.0 innings. I saw him throw multiple times last year and couldn’t believe this was the same guy I watched last year. Ogando finished the year strong and I thought he would be in Omaha to start this season until some off season moves pushed him back to NWA. After lasting just 3.0 innings and giving up 9 ER on July 12, Ogando turned the corner.
Ogando has given up 4 earned runs in his last 48.0 innings pitched. Four. In this same time frame, he has allowed only 25 hits and 16 free bases compared to 33 K. That’s 41 base runners or a 0.85 WHIP. Take a look at his opponents slash line real quick. .154/.240/.210. Wow. That’s amazing. Line drives for this time frame are sitting at 18%. Ground balls at 44%. Fly balls are at 38%. He’s doing something right and getting extremely weak contact. In fact, opponents have a .185 BABIP. Now, some would say that he is due for regression and that may be the case but I say this is just making up for a rough start to the season.
Ogando was sitting 88-91 most of this season but I’ve heard some reports he has finally gotten through what may have been some dead arm and has been up to 93. The thing that is so impressive from Ogando though is his curve. He is a LOOGY at his floor because that thing can make any LHH flinch. The curve has tight spin and drops hard across the zone. This is a late moving pitch. There is a lot of vertical movement to it but it is not quite a 12-6. It is more of a 1-7 from the catcher’s view. He throws it for strikes and can throw it as a swing and miss pitch in the dirt as well. The change up equalizes the RHHs because it is tough to pick up and has some sink and arm side run. Again, his spin is excellent making it tougher to pick up.
Earlier this year his stuff was up in the zone and he was pitching backwards a lot. Now, he can attack hitters multiple ways with a firmer fastball and improved location. These changes, and perhaps finally being healthy, has lead to a fantastic 6-week stretch for him. I’m looking forward to watching him make one more start in person.
The Royals drafted Ogando in the 12th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of St. Thomas University in Florida. St. Thomas is an NAIA school that is located in the Miami area. Ogando is a fifth year player who signed as a 20-year-old meaning that he is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this December. The biggest problem now is that he is who he is. He is maxed out physically as a 25-year-old and his stuff is not changing at this point. Ogando will continue to get better with experience as he adjusts to each level. By the way, his birthday was 14 days ago so happy late birthday if you read this Emilio! I’m not sure what the Royals will do with him and they might not know yet either. I think he may be behind a few guys and I’m not sure if there is sufficient room on the 40-man roster but he is definitely opening some eyes and is capable and deserving of a longer look in professional baseball.