This morning, the Astros signed left-handed pitcher Neal Musser, formerly of the Kansas City Royals, to a minor league contract. It begs the question: Are we trying to sign every left-hander that spent time in Kansas City’s system in 2008?
Between Tyler Lumsden, Rule 5 draftee Gilbert De La Vara, and now Musser, it certainly does seem like it.
I didn’t know much about Musser, so I headed over to BaseRef to check him out. He’s only thrown 25.2 innings in the big leagues, and has gone 0-1 with a 4.21 ERA, 111 ERA+, and a 1.831 WHIP with 19 strikeouts and 15 walks. Not electric, it would seem, but in such a small sample size, it’s tough to determine.
His AAA numbers are a little better. Beginning in 2004, he has thrown 317 AAA innings in the Mets, Royals, and Diamondbacks systems. Though not all statistics, such as wins, are available for these years, the rough breakdown is this:
15-21 (.417), 14 saves, 4.20 ERA, 1.429 WHIP, 248 K, 144 BB, 28 HR
Again, not exactly a world-beater. And at 28 years old, we pretty much know what we’re getting. I’m not one to discount the value of left-handed pitching, but Musser seems a bit of an odd pick-up at this point in his career. Certainly, he lacks the upside of young lefties like Lumsden, De La Vara, and Wesley Wright.
But that’s the beauty of minor league pitching, especially in a weak farm system: You have to throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall and hope some of it sticks.