Jake Odorizzi #68 – 2013 Top 100
Tampa Bay Rays
Date of Birth: March 27th, 1990(age 23)
Origin: 1st Round Pick(#32 overall) in 2008 out of Highland HS(IL)
JD Sussman: Odorizzi was unimpressive in his Major League debut; he started two games and lasted just 7.2 innings and threw 152 pitches. One has to wonder if his poor showing was weighed heavily in Dayton Moore’s decision to move Odorizzi to the Rays. Recall, the Royals have had significant difficultly developing arms over the last decade and Odorizzi’s stock – and his ability to miss bats – has been in decline since his Double-A debut in 2011. Maybe it was time the organization looked elsewhere for pitching. Odorizzi offers the Rays a cheap, major league ready, back to middle rotation arm.
Al Skorupa: I don’t really have any bad things to say about Jacob Odorizzi but I agree with JD’s back to middle rotation projection. He’s a good example of how illusory minor league strikeout totals can be: if you were looking only at the numbers you probably were expecting Odorizzi to mature into a 1 or 2 starter.
That was never really fair, as Odorizzi had a number of qualities that lead to high strikeout totals in the lower minors. Mixing a deep arsenal of pitches and working up in the zone are two ways to eat up young hitters. On top of that, A ball sluggers are less likely to make you pay for lapses of command. The Rays have certainly been better and had a little more luck developing (and remaking) pitchers recently than Kansas City. So I’m very interested to see their plans for Odorizzi. Despite the flaws in his game, Odorrizi is a real nice arm who should be at least a 4 starter.
Conor Dowley: I like many of the things that Odorizzi brings to the table, but at this stage I just don’t think he’s going to stick in the rotation. His command is too hot-and-cold, and he just doesn’t have a good enough third pitch to make it work long-term. The slider is probably his best secondary pitch, with excellent bite and good depth, but past that he has a slurvy curveball that’s not terribly convincing, and a wildly inconsistent changeup. To me that screams bullpen, and since he has the ability to reach back and hit the mid 90′s or a touch more, he could be a pretty good back-end guy.
Fantasy Outlook by David Wiers:
In the second half of 2011, Odorizzi struggled in Double-A and stumbled through 12 starts to post a 4.72 ERA and 5.09 FIP in not even 70 innings. His strikeout rate plummeted an amazing 13% from High-A to Double-A and his walk rate took a small jump just over 1%. His second stint in Double-A went much better, as the first half of 2012 saw Odorizzi cruise through seven starts and get his strikeout rate above 30% yet again. Superficially, his promotion to Triple-A went smoothly, as he sported a shiny 2.93 ERA, but that masked his much higher 4.19 FIP. He pitched effectively enough that he earned two starts in the majors.
Two starts isn’t much to go on, but in that very brief stint, he did flash his typical insanely high flyball numbers. According to the excellent website MinorLeagueCentral.com, Odorizzi has never once at any level posted at ground ball rate above 37%. His fly ball tendencies will play much better at his new park in Tampa Bay, as Tropicana of just 85 and 91 for left-handed and right-handed hitters respectively. I don’t expect Odorizzi to continue with his gaudy strikeout totals, but he should be an efficient and useful fantasy starter as early as this season.
He is still a spot starter/stream candidate for right now, but as Odorizzi acclimates to his new environment, I expect him to be a “start against any team while at home/in a big ball park” type player. His new home will really play to his strengths. As a team, the Rays gave up just 55 home runs at home all year; the lowest mark in the AL and the second lowest in all of MLB. Look for Odorizzi to be a solid sleeper candidate. If he happens to start the season in Triple-A (which is probably the safest bet), look to stash him as a late/last round flier.
I’ll be targeting Odorizzi in my deeper leagues, as I think he is a lottery ticket this season and beyond. Odorizzi will be playing his age-23 season and will potentially start the year in the majors. I’d say his future is awfully bright.