Mariners interested in Cuban pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

Koji Watanabe

The Mariners are scouting Despaigne in Barcelona. Nobody really seems to know who he is or what he does, other than being a pitcher from Cuba. Here's my best attempt.

Here's a new name to file away for the offseason. Cuban right-handed pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne has defected, and he'll be available to sign. According to Jorge Ebro of the El Nuevo Herald, Despaigne has worked out for several teams in Barcelona, where he's been chilling out after escaping Cuba. I was recently in Barcelona, and this makes me jealous of a player we know very little about. Anyways, the Mariners are among those teams. He's obviously a lesser name coming on the heels of the massive Jose Daniel Abreu contract, but he's still somebody to pay attention to.

Despaigne is 26 and has pitched in the Cuba's Serie Nacional for eight years. MLBTR has a good rundown of all of his details, including barriers to entry and his upcoming official showcase in Mexico.

I was able to track down some numbers on Despaigne using a pretty sweet tool called Google, and they aren't particularly impressive. He's 6 foot, 200 lbs. He's a starter who's thrown a bunch of innings relative to the league he's in. The numbers are pretty ordinary.

Age IP ERA K/9 BB/9 H/9 HR/9 K% BB%
2010 23 117.3 4.30 8.1 4.2 8.9 0.5 20.6 10.7
2011 24 130 4.71 6.6 4.3 9.9 0.9 16.1 10.4
2012 25 169.3 2.60 6.8 3.5 7 0.3 18.3 9.4
2013-1 26 83.7 2.58 5.9 2.7 8.2 0.5 16.2 7.4
2013-2 26 59.3 4.25 6.5 4.2 9.6 0.2 16 10.4

2013 is split into two halves because of their playoff system. All numbers courtesy of obstructedview.net.

The site does point out that Despaigne pitched 220 innings in 2012 after including the playoffs, which doesn't seem like much other than the fact that a Cuban season is 96 games long.

Despite his middling ERAs, he keeps the ball in the park, but his control isn't very good, and he doesn't really strike many batters out either, although it seems that he might relative to his league. I'm not sure what there is to see here, but obviously there's something if he's got a bunch of major league teams scouting him.

This is the author's conclusion, which is more than I could ascertain from this:

Overall, Odrisamer has a strange profile. His K-rate is slightly better than Gonzalez's, but his control is easily the worst of the three. What he does seem to do well is prevent runs. He sports a lower hit rate against than either of the other two, and his home run rate is also very good. Who knows? Maybe he throws a knuckleball.

KNUCKLEPUCKBALL

Once Despaigne makes the terrible decision to leave Barcelona for Mexico, we'll probably have a better idea of what he throws and why he's so appealing. Cuban stats are totally weird and in a league where batters like Jose Abreu have an OPS of ten thousand, pitching stats probably need to be taken with a whole bag full of salt.

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