Pat Venditte is a novelty, a singular character, and a person that makes baseball more interesting with his existence. I am glad there is a Pat Venditte in the MLB. Pat Venditte is no longer a Seattle Mariner, however, and this is a fact I am quite alright with.
The #Mariners have acquired MiLB outfielder Joey Curletta from the Phillies in exchange for MiLB switch-handed pitcher Pat Venditte.— MarinersPR (@MarinersPR) March 12, 2017
Venditte struggled in Seattle after being acquired from the Blue Jays for minor-league INF Tim Lopes, who, unfortunately, might be a halfway decent infielder one day. Venditte’s SHP designation belied the truth of the matter: for his career he’s run a 3.31 FIP against lefties and a 6.43 FIP against righties. Last year for Seattle, frequently called into long relief and mop-up duties, he had trouble with both. After being waived this offseason, Venditte was an NRI this offseason at camp, but has been working for Team Italy in their upstart WBC campaign. A Salvador Perez home run soured an otherwise strong outing, and, almost assuredly unrelatedly, that would be Venditte’s final inning as a member of the Mariners organization.
Joey Curletta turned 23 four days ago, and looks, honestly, like a Jack Z fever dream. In fact, Kiley McDaniel says the magic words that if you repeat thrice make the cue ball awaken from his cryosleep.
21. Joey Curletta, RF Video: Physical monster (6’4/245) is compared to Mark Trumbo for his frame, plus raw power and plus arm that helped him hit 94 mph in high school, all similar to Trumbo’s two-way amateur profile. Curletta is still working on getting to the power in games but there is feel to hit and easy upside as an everyday player if he can put it all together.
At 6’4, 245 lbs, the R/R corner outfielder is a human block of raw power. He came to the Phillies as a PTBNL in the trade last year that brought the Dodgers Carlos Ruiz, but was included in late September, so he never played a game for the Philadelphia organization. Curletta hit decently after signing straight out of high school as a 6th round pick in the 2012 draft. His arm is potent, but his range is sub-par. His ability to demolish a ball that he makes contact with is, simply, immense.
Unfortunately, as you might imagine, the contact is the issue. After a 28.8 K% in High-A that was counteracted by a .267/.338/.496 line, with 13 HRs in 302 PAs, and a 120 wRC+ in 2016, Curletta’s jump to AA had a tougher curve. A 34.6 K% and a .206/.280/.371 line, and an 88 wRC+ indicate the young outfielder has adjustments to make.
Perhaps the improvements of Tyler O’Neill have encouraged the Mariners that they can help Curletta. Maybe they want to turn him into a pitcher again. He is clay to be molded.