Last night Curtis Partch made his Major League debut. It is something that I am sure he has dreamed about since he was a kid and finally at age 26 he was able to fulfill that dream. Unfortunately his debut was something that Reds fans want to forget and that Curtis Partch will never be able to even if he would like to. The big right hander was brought in to face Matt Holiday with the bases loaded in extra inning. On the 6th pitch of the at bat Matt Holiday hit the baseball 455 feet into the upper deck for a grand slam to put the game away. It was not the way you expect things to go.
Partch had been solid in the minor leagues this season. Between Pensacola and Louisville he had posted a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings with 12 walks, 41 strikeouts and just one home run allowed. The walk rate was much higher in Louisville at 4.2 batters per 9 innings, but he was still missing a lot of bats with 11.2 strikeouts per 9 innings as well. He has lowered the walk rates over the previous two weeks, so he was trending in the right direction when he was called up.
Partch has always been a hard thrower, hitting 95 MPH as a starter from time to time but he really picked it up out of the bullpen when he wound up there last season. He has been sitting in the 93-97 MPH range out of the bullpen for the last year and even hit 99 earlier this year in Louisville. Last night, he filled up his scouting report perfectly as his low speed on his fastball was 93 and his top speed was 97. Last year in the 2013 Prospect Guide I wrote this about his slider:
He mixed in a slider in the 85-89 MPH range as well, though the pitch is inconsistent at times.
While Partch only threw two sliders last night, you could see that neither of them was where you want them located. The first one was up and out of the zone. The second one was dead middle of the strikezone and landed 455 feet later. Last night, the pitch wasn’t there for Partch and unfortunately the Cardinals aren’t the team that you can get away with mistakes against. He also threw one change up in the next at bat at 83 MPH. He throws a rising fastball and at least last night, his change up had plenty of rise on it too. Not as much as the fastball, but still more than you would like to see. With that said, he only threw one on the night so you can’t really put much into that.
What does it all mean? Well, no one really knows. But I do think that Curtis Partch can help this team out of the bullpen, though even before the game last night happened I would have told you that he probably fits a lot better at this time as the first guy out of the bullpen rather than toward the back end. His fastball will play in the Majors at 93-97 with a lot of rise to it. The offspeed stuff leaves a bit to be desired and his control isn’t the best, so picking and choosing his match ups will be needed, especially early on.