Pat Vendette is the pitcher that you didn't know you needed. He's been in the minor leagues for eight seasons, mostly with the Yankees, but has finally gotten the call. The Oakland A's have officially placed him on the big league roster, and will join their bullpen today according to Gary Sharp of The Zone 1620.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Venditte, he's a pitcher that can throw with both his left and his right hand. There are switch hitters, and now baseball has its first switch pitcher in years.
Imagine the scenario. Your team's switch hitter is up, and Vendtte is brought in to face him. The two are about to embark on a baseball adventure, trying to out maneuver one another in picking what side to bat (or pitch) from. This whole scenario actually played out in the minor leagues, and forced MLB to adopt what is known as the "Venditte Rule". He's required to first indicate to the umpire what hand he is throwing with, then the batter picks what side he wants to bat from.
On paper, Venditte seems to be Billy Beane's dream relief pitcher; a man that is matchup proof. A manager can bring him in to face anybody and create the matchup that he needs to gain an advantage.
His numbers prove that he has pitched well throughout his minor league career to deserve a shot, and has some real value. Venditte is not just a gimmick, as evidence by his 1.36 ERA in 33 innings pitched. He has a great K/9 rate of 9.00, while his walk rate is slightly below average at 3.55. He keeps the ball in the ballpark and has a BABIP of .217 this season.
While baseball has always been in a love affair with statistics, numbers don't truly do Venditte justice. If you've never seen the man with the six-fingered glove pitch before, do yourself a favor and check out the video below.