In today's Rule 5 Draft the Sox picked up big righty reliever Nick Debarr. Debarr was a 14th round pick by Tampa Bay in the 2002 amateur draft. Debarr is 6' 4" 220 lbs. and pitched for Visalia in the California league last year. He came back last year from Tommy John surgery, apparently very well.
Here's a quick scouting blurb on him from Rays Baseball in 2004:
"DeBarr is a hoss; 6’4, 220, 20 years-old, possess a low-90’s fastball that BA thinks could improve as DeBarr continues to add strength, a plus splitter and a decent slider. He had better results when he became more aggressive, a trait he will need to keep as he moves up to Bakersfield this year."
What do we like about Nick? A good K rate (avg. 6.8 but nearly 8 last year), has fixed the K:BB rate (up to nearly 4:1 last year after a tough previous season), and a low WHIP (1.13 last year), and of course he has the prototypical "pitcher's build". What's not to like? Well, he's only had success at high-A, so he's a longshot to stick on the 25-man roster for the season. He'd really need to surprise.
Naturally, when your bullpen features Mike Timlin, you want to amass as many options as possible, and if Debarr can locate his fastball and in fact has a plus secondary pitch, he could help this team. Under normal circumstances we could decide we like him and trade or send cash to Tampa Bay to keep him, but since Tampa Bay despises our FO that might be tough. It may well be a situation where we throw him into the fire, and it's sink or swim. Or, I guess he might be a trading chip to be used in the near term, or kicked back to TB.
At any rate, for $50K, it seems like a reasonable chance to take. As I've always maintained, nothing's more fun than rooting for the longshot, so here's to Nick.
The other positive outcome from the Rule 5 Draft is that exposed Red Sox prospect Chad Spann was not claimed by any team. This probably explains why he was left unprotected. Spann has a ways to go yet, certainly defensively, but has the potential to be a big-league contributor, so I'm happy he stays with us. Moerover, Pawtucket already has a lot of holes on that team, and I don't want them to suck. So there's that.
And a week until the Matsuzaka deadline...