Name: Jose Oyervidez
Position: Starting Pitcher
Height: 5-foot-11 Weight: 195
After not pitching above short-season A-ball, Oyervidez was ticketed to Double-A Mobile for the 2005 season. And after not pitching more than 41 innings through a season, and only having 72.1 under his belt for his career, the right-hander made 27 starts that encompassed 153.2 innings of work.
"He was sent to Double-A because of need and, believe me, we did not plan on him going there because he had never pitched above Low-A," Bill Bryk, the Padres' minor league field coordinator, said. "He was in extended and we sent him there and he ended up staying there. He pitched well enough to stay there, to his credit."
While he had not been a starter in previous tours through the system, Oyervidez had a successful debut in many regards. He struck out 130 and held the opposition to a .232 batting average against. He was even better with runners in scoring position (RISP), holding opponents to a .211 mark and .186 average with RISP and two outs.
"He was a sleeper and kind of came out of nowhere," offered Bryk.
Over his full slate of starts, he allowed just three first inning runs. Oyervidez ended the year with a 7-9 record and a 3.81 ERA.
Plaguing him throughout the year? His command.
Oyervidez walked 82 batters – good for fifth-worst among all minor league pitchers. Forty-two of those free passes came with the bases empty. He walked four batters or more in 12 of his starts and three or more in 18 outings. His numbers equate to 4.80 walks per nine innings of work and elevated his WHIP to 1.37.
Cutting those walks in half would lower his WHIP to a dominating 1.11.
"Command," Bryk echoed. "But every time we thought about sending him back, he pitched a good game. He has four major league pitches: a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup.
"He really matured. He got married and is a lot more focused. He was one of the surprises to come from Low-A and to pitch competitively."
It is also no surprise that he surrendered a team-leading 16 homers, resulting from balls that were frequently left up in the zone.
What is a surprise is his ability to avoid the big inning. Kaz Ishii was successful walking the world by having a deceptive windup, making it difficult to locate his ball. Oyervidez has the pitches to move up the ladder and needs to find the command to stick.
He is a guy who won a lot of support for his play in 2005 and his future will be tied to how driven he is to improve upon his shortcomings.