The Cincinnati Reds have announced that they’ve acquired left-handed pitcher Phillip Diehl on waivers from the Colorado Rockies. He’s been assigned to the alternate site in Louisville for the time being. To create room for him on the 40-man roster the team placed Michael Lorenzen on the 60-day injured list.
Phillip Diehl has limited big league experience. He’s pitched for the Rockies in each of the last two seasons, totaling 16 games and 13.1 innings. The results haven’t been stellar as he’s posted an 8.78 ERA while allowing 17 hits, three home runs, walked three hitters, and he’s picked up 12 strikeouts. The sample size is very small here, so it should be cautioned to not read much into it and that’s before even considering the Coors Field factor in it all.
In 2019 he threw 7.1 innings for the Rockies at the big league level. But he also pitched in Double-A and Triple-A for them. Things were polar opposites at each level. In 11 games in Double-A Hartford he threw 13.1 shutout innings while allowing just five hits and three walks while picking up 12 strikeouts. But in Triple-A, where he pitched in the Pacific Coast League that saw home run records set by nearly every team in the league thanks to the juiced baseball that year in Triple-A, he struggled – like many pitchers did. In 45.1 innings he posted a 6.75 ERA thanks in large part to 15 home runs allowed – or basically three home runs per 9-innings pitched. He walked 15 batters for Albuquerque, but did pick up 52 strikeouts.
Phillip Diehl is a 3-pitch guy, showing a fastball, slider, and a change up – though he’s only thrown one change up in the big leagues over his limited big league career. His fastball doesn’t have much velocity, averaging 90.2 MPH last season and 90.9 MPH in 2019. His slider works in the 77-82 MPH range. Velocity is something that won’t jump out at you, but he spins the ball well and since he was picked up by the Spincinnati Reds, that makes sense. His fastball averaged a spin rate of 2565 RPM in 2020 and his slider was at 2742 RPM.
There were 551 pitchers who threw at least 100 fastballs in the 2020 season according to Baseball Savant. A spin rate of 2565 would rank 25th best in baseball, or in the top 5% of baseball. There were 298 pitchers that threw at least 50 sliders in the 2020 season. A spin rate of 2742 would rank 32nd in baseball, or in the top 11% of baseball. Spin it he does.
For Michael Lorenzen, the right-handed pitcher has been dealing with a shoulder injury that was initially not expected to be a long-term issue, but it’s turned out to be a longer time period off of the mound than initially expected. He last pitched on March 15th in spring training when he threw 3.2 innings against the Los Angeles Angels. Lorenzen, who still isn’t pitching, won’t be eligible to return until May 31st. Unlike the 10-day injured list that can be retroactive into spring training, the 60-day injured list does not work that way and a player on it is not eligible to return until the 61st day of the regular season.