The Phillies traded minor-league outfielder Joey Curletta for switch-pitcher Pat Venditte from the Mariners, and he should provide an interesting storyline if nothing else.
The Phillies have several switch-hitters on their roster, but now they have a switch-pitcher after trading minor-league outfielder Joey Curletta for Pat Venditte from the Seattle Mariners. He will join the team as a non-roster invitee after his time in the World Baseball Classic with Team Italy is over.
In 41 career major-league games, Venditte has a 4.97 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and 1.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He has pitched in the majors for Athletics, Blue Jays, and Mariners.
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Venditte’s claim to fame is obvious as he throws with both his right and left hand in games. Upon being drafted and heading to the minor-leagues, a dilemma ensued as switch-hitters would simply switch the batters box they stood in after Venditte switched his hand, and vice versa. This inevitable cycle eventually led to the “Venditte Rule,” stating pitchers had to visually indicate which hand they will use to throw each at-bat.
Since the rule limits Venditte’s effectiveness against switch-hitters, Matt Kory of Fangraphs said “it should be called the Anti-Venditte Rule.”
In three games this spring with the Mariners, Venditte has allowed two runs in three innings. He does have five strikeouts and no walks for what it’s worth.
Outside of his switch-throwing ability, Venditte isn’t that exciting of a pitcher. According to PITCHf/x, Venditte’s sinker averaged just 84 mph in 2016. He also mixed in a slider and changeup, but the latter was the only to have an above-average pitch value according to Fangraphs.
Philadelphia acquired Curletta as the player to be named later to complete the Carlos Ruiz trade. The 23-year old never played a game in a Phils uniform as they acquired him after the minor-league season ended last year.
If Venditte makes it through camp with the Phils, it’s hard to imagine him seeing any time at the major-league level this season. More likely than not, he’ll add a little flair to Triple-A Lehigh Valley bullpen.
This move won’t make any major impact for Philadelphia, but it’ll give fans something a bit different to look at during spring training.