4.76 ERA 5.04 FIP 6.35 K/9 1.59 BB/9 -0.1 fWAR (inc.)
2012 in brief: Longtime starting prospect found success as a reliever in minors and finally made major league debut.
2013 status: Could battle for bullpen role in camp, but starting off as depth back in Triple-A seems far more likely.
Josh Wall wasn’t so much an afterthought headed into 2012 so much as he was not thought of at all. The 2005 2nd-round pick was entering his eighth season with the organization and had yet to even make it to Triple-A; hell, in 2010 he was bumped back to low-A Great Lakes after two seasons spent with high-A Inland Empire. But after six seasons spent trying to be a starter, Wall was shifted to the bullpen in 2011 and responded with the best year of his career in 2012, striking out 52 in 53.2 innings for the Isotopes.
Wall got his first big-league chance in July, taking Javy Guerra‘s roster spot when Guerra was placed on the bereavement list, and his first appearance was memorable, pitching a scoreless 11th inning to “earn the win” as the Dodgers avoided being swept in New York. We didn’t see him again for a month, when he returned on August 27, the same day he was named a PCL postseason all-star. His travels had just begun; he pitched in two games before being sent down to make room for Matt Guerrier, then came back up again on September 4 when Guerra injured his oblique. Nearly two weeks later, he finally made his Dodger Stadium debut on September 16, and pitched three single scoreless innings in mop-up duty over the rest of the month.
Wall actually didn’t have an earned run charged to him in six of his seven appearances, though the one bad outing in Colorado inflated his ERA. (ERA is stupid for relievers.) That’s great, but it’s probably not going to matter. Though he flashed an impressive fastball (averaging 93.5 MPH) Wall’s got a low ceiling as a middle reliever at best. With so many returning pitchers ahead of him and returnees as well, Wall’s immediate future is as minor-league depth. As depth goes, you could do a whole lot worse.
Next up! I can’t tell you. Seriously. I’d like it if you came back to the site again.