SweetSpot: Paul DePodesta

Gaudin's back in the Show

April, 27, 2009
4/27/09
8:32
PM ET
Not so long ago the youngest player in the American League, Chad Gaudin is back in the majors:
    On Monday, the Padres purchased the contract of the right-handed pitcher from Triple-A Portland. To make room for Gaudin, the club designated right-handed pitcher Eulogio De La Cruz for assignment.

    Gaudin, 26, was signed a Minor League contract April 12 after he was released by the Cubs at the conclusion of Spring Training. He made two starts with Portland, allowing four hits and striking out 10 hitters in 8 2/3 scoreless innings. Gaudin walked two batters during that stretch and did not factor in a decision.

    --snip--

    Guadin was originally signed by Tampa Bay as a 34th-round selection in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft.

    De La Cruz, 25, allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings in three relief appearances for the Padres this season. He does not have a decision and has a 11.84 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 15 games in parts of three Major League seasons with the Tigers (2007), Marlins (2008) and Padres (2009).

As Tim Dierkes notes, it wasn't that long ago that Paul DePodesta seemed quite optimistic about De La Cruz ...
    Described by our scouts as a "little bull with a big arm" DeLaCruz has supposedly thrown 100 mph. Most of the time, however, he sits between 93-97 mph with his fastball, which he complements with both a CB and a CH. He has just 16 innings at the big league level (and they weren't very pretty), but we believe he's big league ready. And now for my standard ending ... we're excited to have him.

    In all seriousness, Eulogio adds some power to our pitching staff that should be helpful regardless of the role.

Well, he obviously wasn't real helpful. Otherwise, designating De La Cruz for assignment doesn't necessarily mean DePodesta was wrong about the guy. How could we possibly know, after 3 1/3 innings? But when you add Chad Gaudin to your 40-man roster you have to remove someone, and roster spots are precious. I guess my only question would be, if your scouts (and the stats) tell you De La Cruz was good enough to help you a month ago, what have you learned about him since then?

He's thrown 19 innings in the majors, so that's really no help at all. In 188 Triple-A innings, he's struck out 146 batters and walked 80. The strikeouts are good (but not great) and the walks are pretty awful. Most of those innings, though, came as a starter. I'd love to know what the Padres have learned in the last four weeks that convinced them he's not one of the 40 most valuable players under their control. Here's hoping DePodesta favors us with an enlightening blog entry.

As for Gaudin, it's hard to believe he just turned 26 a few weeks ago. And it's easy to forget that when he was 24, he tied for the American League lead with 34 starts. Granted, he walked 100 batters that season -- second most in the American League -- but Carlos Zambrano and Scott Kazmir walk a lot of guys, too, and they're pretty good anyway.

Gaudin has some work to do. Last season's 6.26 ERA with the Cubs does not accurate represent his skills, though. I don't know how much he'll help the Padres. But he figures to help them more than Eulogio De La Cruz would have.

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