Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chris Resop

Chris Resop was originally drafted as an outfielder by the Marlins in 2001. He was converted to the bullpen in 2003, and joined the majors in 2005 as a power reliever, pitching for the Fish and Angels.

He had elbow surgery in 2008, followed by some so-so work with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan that same season; in fact, Resop spent all of 2009 with Hanshin’s farm team.

But it did pay off. Armed with a mid-90s fastball, Resop relied entirely on overpowering hitters early in his pitching career. What would you expect from an old outfielder?

In Japan, Resop began the transformation from thrower to pitcher. The rap on him was that his fastball and curve were flat. So he worked on movement for his change and hook and added a two-seam sinker to his arsenal.

Even so, statistically he wasn't much to look at after his Asian tour: Resop's resume in the States was 3-3 with a 6.14 ERA in 58 MLB outings, and for a guy with a 94 MPH heater, he averaged just 6 K/9.

Still, the Braves know pitching and signed him in the spring. Resop had an unusual out clause in the deal, though; if he wasn't in the major leagues by June 15th, he was free to sign with another major league club.

He remained as a starter in his time in the minor leagues, and he looked like an ace for Gwinnett. Resop struck out 87 batters in just under 80 innings for the AAA club while inducing grounders on just under 50% of his balls in play. In 15 starts, he had a 2.09 ERA, 6-3 slate, and an OBA of .183.

After trying to trade him - they had offers, but none they felt were "substantial" enough; bet they'd like to have a mulligan on that - he was called up on June 15th.

But Resop strained an oblique warming up in the bullpen, and got hammered in his outing, getting put on the DL the next day. He made some unimpressive rehab outings for AAA Gwinnett, and on August 2nd was released. The Pirates, reeling after their Blue Light Special bullpen sale, snapped him up.

For once, the Pirates found more than "upside" and unfulfilled promises on the junk heap; they actually found a pitcher that was MLB ready and capable, just dinged up.

He hasn't been dazzling in his month here, but he has been dependable enough that he's taken over the old Evan Meek seventh inning role. He's put together a 4.50 ERA in 17 outings, and in 16 innings has given up 13 hits, 11 walks, and whiffed 20.

He surely fits the physical mold the suits look for. Resop is 6'3", 220 pounds, and is a power pitcher. Does he have a future here? Well, so far, so good, especially if he finds the dish with his stuff. And if he keeps on keepin' on, he'll be a favorite to break camp with the Bucs next spring.

Resop is out of options, but he can’t become a free agent until the end of the 2013 season if he sticks on the big club's roster. And here's the intriguing part - his greatest success has been as a starter. The Pirates have the option to try to stretch him out and get him in the rotation in 2011 if they so choose, although their current plans are to keep him in the bullpen.

The bio for Resop: he was born November 4th, 1982 in Naples, Florida, making him 27. He attended Barron Collier HS, and was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 4th round of the 2001 draft after he graduated.

Resop made his major league debut for the Fish in 2005. After the 2006 season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Kevin Gregg. Then he was released and claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves on October 25, 2007, but spent the next two seasons in Japan after the Braves sold his rights.

The big righty resigned with the Braves prior to the 2010 season, was called up in June (replacing Jesse Chavez), got hurt, released, and on August 4, 2010, Resop was claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Now to see if he's a keeper.

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