A closer look at Odrisamer Despaigne
July, 21, 2014
By Eric Karabell | ESPN Insider
Denis Poroy/Getty ImagesOdrisamer Despaigne has held opposing hitters to a .177 average in his first five big-league starts.
His name is Odrisamer Despaigne, and you're forgiven if you don't know much about the Cuban right-hander that toils for the San Diego Padres. The franchise that has never had a no-hitter in its history (7,264 regular season games) came close Sunday afternoon. That's right, the Padres have a spacious ballpark and have had some pretty good pitching in their 46 seasons -- from Randy Jones to Bruce Hurst and Jake Peavy -- but San Diego has never had a pitcher toss what San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum has done twice versus the Padres in just the past year. Despaigne, a 27-year-old defector who signed a minor-league deal in May, nearly made history in his fifth big-league start, falling four outs short.
Alas, New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy ruined the fun with a two-out, eighth-inning double to left center field and then spoiled Despaigne's chances at a win when he scored on a David Wright single, but let's examine this pitcher. After all, Despaigne boasts a 1.31 ERA and 0.90 WHIP after 34 1/3 innings, but that's not nearly enough to know if there's a fantasy monster lurking. My immediate take the past few weeks has been that he is not someone to invest in due to his paltry strikeout rate. Despaigne has whiffed 17 hitters in a month, so he's not helping anyone there. Good innings matter, but if he's not going to win much -- Sunday was a great example as the offensively inept Padres scored once in eight innings -- and he's not adding strikeouts, that's a problem.