That escalated quickly. Per Doug Padilla, a little more than a week after claiming him off waivers from Toronto, the White Sox have made Kyle Drabek the 7th man in the bullpen. Since we haven't had much time to get familiar, what do we know about Mr. Drabek?
There's the obvious stuff — he's Doug Drabek's son, and this transaction doesn't get as much fanfare as the last one he was involved with when he was part of Toronto's return for trading Roy Halladay. Part of that is because he is essentially a failed prospect at this point. A former first round pick, Drabek spent two years as a Baseball America Top 100 prospect, peaking at No. 29 prior to the 2011 season. He featured mid-90s velocity and a huge curveball that was very highly regarded.
Then he tried to make the leap to the majors and for two years he walked more hitters than he struck out, and sported an ERA of 5.40 over the course of 150 innings. It seems quite clear that his only hope at a productive major league career is in relief — he simply walks too many hitters.
The optimist would look at his profile and say, "Hey, his problem was that he couldn't make it as a starter and his control isn't that good. A move to the bullpen fixes the former, and the White Sox have had success fixing the latter."
I wouldn't rule it out. The guy had an excellent pedigree once upon a time, and it looks like he's gotten ground balls at a solid clip as well. Cooper has done well with less to work with. And, with his history as a starter, perhaps Drabek can give multiple innings in a mop-up role or in preserving huge leads.
His control is probably quite bad — but it could still be better than Maikel Cleto's and Daniel Webb's. Still, he was available on waivers for a reason; sometimes busted starting pitching prospects can turn into good relievers, but I am keeping my expectations low.
This is likely as much of an indictment of guys like Cleto and Webb as anything else — or a way of saying, "We plan on winning this year, we can't afford to have guys like that learning in the majors anymore."
Frankly, I am just hoping the White Sox keep adding guys from that trade and acquire Travis d'Arnaud next, but throwing as many arms as possible at the bullpen problem isn't the worst idea either.
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