Nefi Ogando was acquired from the Boston Red Sox for John McDonald in a trade on August 31, 2013. I remember watching him in the Instructional League that fall. He appeared to have a superior fastball. And although he kept it down in the strike zone, it looked to be straight as an arrow. During 2014, he pitched in relief for Reading all season. And in spite of a somewhat poor season, he was selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League. His regular season numbers were –
- G IP H R ER HR HB BB K Avg. WHIP GO/AO W L SV SVO
- AA 48 56.0 64 41 39 6 6 28 57 .291 1.64 1.68 5 1 7 11
His 48 appearances and 57 strike outs were career highs. He posted a 9.16 K/9. However, he also posted career worsts with .291 opponents’ batting average and 1.64 WHIP. He also allowed 4.50 BB/9 and 2.04 K/BB.
Ogando responded with a strong showing in Arizona. He made 12 appearances and allowed runs in only 4 of them. He recorded 1 win and converted 3 of 4 save opportunities. His AFL numbers –
- 14.2 IP, 13 hits, 5 runs, 5 earned runs, 1 HRs, 4 BB, 15 K, 2 WP, 1 Balk
Ogando threw 228 pitches, 148 for strikes, in his 12 appearances. He inherited 3 runners (all in the same game) and allowed one to score. He pitched 2.0 innings on 3 occasions, 1.0 inning on 8 occasions, and .2 innings once.
Ogando had an ERA of 3.07, a WHIP of 1.16, and a SSS GA/AO of 4.00. He had a 9.20 K/9, a 2.45 BB/9, and a 3.75 K/BB. He threw 65% of his pitches for strikes.
Ogando pitched three times at Surprise Stadium. His 5 innings in these three appearances provide an 89 pitch sample. He allowed 5 hits, 2 walks, 2 earned runs, and a save blowing home run. He struck out 6 and picked up a win in one appearance.
Gameday indicated that Ogando threw 70 fastballs, 3 changeups, 3 cutters, and 13 sliders. In these three appearances, he threw fastballs 78.65% of the time and sliders 14.6% of the time.
Most of his fastballs were at 96-97 mph although he hit 98 mph on several pitches and dropped as low as 93 mph on a few others. He threw his fastball for strikes 61.4% of the time. Three of his strike outs came on fastballs, all swinging. He induced 7 swinging strikes and 16 foul balls on fastballs, as well as getting 8 called strikes. Of the 12 fastballs put in play, 7 became outs. All 5 hits he allowed came on fastballs. Four of the hits came on 96-97 mph pitches including the save-blowing home run. The fifth hit came on a 93 mph fastball. One of the hits was a line drive double to CF where the batter was thrown out at third base, CF to SS to 3B. (Outfield assist to Roman Quinn!)
His 3 changeups were at 86 mph. Two were thrown for strikes, one a strike out swinging.
His 3 cutters ranged from 88-90 mph. All three were thrown for strikes, one a strike out swinging.
His 13 sliders were in the 87-90 mph range. Only 6 were thrown for strikes – 1 swinging strike, 1 called strike, and 4 fouls. A strike out was recorded on a foul tip. One of his two wild pitches came on a slider during the 3 games in the sample.
Ogando throws hard and is able to induce batters to miss pitches. He certainly performed better in Arizona than he had in the Eastern League. He too is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. It remains to be seen if his performance against the superior talent he faced in the fall will see him added to the 40-man roster. It’s possible that his high strike out rate and 97 mph fastball might just get it done.