The Cincinnati Reds have signed right handed pitcher Ben Rowen to a minor league deal for 2018. Chris Cotillo of SB Nation was the first to report this.

Ben Rowen just turned 29-years-old in November. He’s spent small parts of two seasons in the Major Leagues. In 2014 he had 8.2 innings with the Rangers with a 4.15 ERA. In 2016 he threw 3.0 innings with the Brewers and allowed five runs in that span. He’s been very hittable in his limited big league action, giving up 20 hits in 11.2 innings.

In 2017 Ben Rowen spent his entire season pitching in Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast League. His season was solid, but unspectacular. He posted a 4.41 ERA, which was better than the league average of 4.73. The Las Vegas team ERA was 5.40, so he was significantly better than his team was. He pitched in 54 games, all out of the bullpen, throwing 63.1 innings. The walk rate was low, giving up just 13 free passes during the year. But, his hit rate was very high, allowing 80 on the season. His strikeout rate was solid, fanning 52 of the 273 batters he faced.

Perhaps the biggest strength for Ben Rowen has been his ability to induce ground balls throughout his career. 2017 was the worst year of his career in terms of ground ball rate, and it wasn’t close. His 53% rate was still above-average. But, his previous career low was 62% among any stop that he pitched at least 30.0 innings or more.

Where things get fun, if only for those who will be watching, is that Ben Rowen is a super-low arm angle guy. Like, submariner. He throws in the low 80’s with his fastball, but it truly is a rising fastball given that he’s releasing the ball at an upward angle. Check out this video from his Major League debut back in 2014:

I’m not sure if he’ll see much time with the big league club. But, if for no other reason than how he goes about pitching, he will be fun to watch during the season.

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13 Responses

  1. MK

    Kind of reminds me of former Red Ted Abernathy. Looked up Ted and he pretty much bounced around and didn’t get it until he was 29 and 30. This is a lightning in a bottle type pick.

  2. Colorado Red

    Another minor league guy to throw against the wall, and see if any of them stck

  3. DanD

    Interesting report from Zach Buchanan from the Inquirer that Reds are interested in Dave Hernandez. Would be a nice signing. If not would not mind seeing Matt Belisle coming back.

    The article mentions if not Hernandez then they are still looking at other relievers. I know Travis Wood is still available, what other relievers are left.

    • Doug Gray

      He would be helpful. What he can’t do, though, is go back to his career norm fly ball rate. Last year he was at the best rate he’s been at in the big leagues and the only time he’s ever been over 40%. In GABP you simply can’t give up fly balls like he has in the past and expect to find a lot of success.

  4. John

    So confused on what the reds are doing …….. quality or quantity ?!?

  5. Red Lobster

    It’s late. Slow off season. Lots of variables. Assume as is:





    *Davis (when healthy)