The Atlanta Braves, desperate for shortstop help, traded AAA pitcher Todd Redmond to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul Janish. Redmond in the 39th round by the Pirates back in 2004. He was later traded to the Braves organization. He has pitched entirely in AAA since 2009, starting 97 games. In that time, he has put up a respectable 3.78 ERA with 7.5 K/9IP and 2.6 BB/9IP. Over the last two seasons, he has a 3.71 FIP and 3.74 SIERA, striking out nearly 21% of batters, with a 19.4 LD% (league average is about 18.7% this year).
Todd Redmond has sort of a low 3/4 delivery that seemed inconsistent. He seemed to be releasing the ball higher (or lower) at times. Whether this was by design or not, I simply don’t know. Redmond is a fastball/slider/change right-handed pitcher. The fastball doesn’t look real impressive velocity wise, sitting at 87-88 MPH and looks straight. He touched 91 MPH a couple of times. The slider is a soft slider at 76-78 MPH with some soft loop. His changeup is 86 MPH on average, which is not very much speed differential at all.
Redmond throws a lot of strikes, but it doesn’t look like he has real good command or control of his pitches. His slider tends to hang up in the zone and become a meatball at times. In the couple games I watched him pitch, he was getting hit pretty hard, and it was because of a combination of lack of stuff and too many pitches in the middle of the plate. He gave up a monster bomb to Domonic Brown on a fastball down the middle in one of the games. Even when the slider was down, hitters recognized it and could still make good contact on it because it was so soft.
As perhaps a twisted product of fate (or a product of random variance and scheduling), Redmond and Janish faced each other on July 12th, Redmond’s last start with the Braves organization. In the first at-bat, Janish hit a little ground-ball to short and the shortstop didn’t make the play but it was ruled a hit. In the 2nd battle between the two, Janish took an outside fastball up for a strike. Redmond then came with the slider and Janish hit it about 20 feet and Redmond tagged him out. In the 3rd at-bat, Redmond started with a high fastball to make it 1-0. A breaking ball way off the plate made it 2-0 followed by a foul on a hanging slider. A high fastball taken by Janish made it a 3-1 count, and it was a full count after Janish lined a slider on the outside corner foul. Janish then weakly popped out to 1st in foul territory on a high outside pitch.
In other at-bats I saw, it looked like Janish was getting thrown a lot of breaking balls, even early in the count. This would suggest that it is in the scouting report that Janish has problems chasing the breaking ball. In his MLB career (324 games), he actually saw a lot of fastballs, but it appeared that he was chasing the breaking ball. It also could be the case that Janish simply can’t hit it. He seemed to weakly foul off everyone he got in the at-bats I watched him. It isn’t a bad looking swing as far as bat speed goes, but he seems to dip his front shoulder a little bit and really hurt his chances of hitting the ball hard. While he was a good contact guy in the majors, but slugged just .302 with an .080 ISO despite an average line drive rate (he seemed to be hurt by a lot of infield fly-balls). So far in AAA this year, he has a league average line drive rate (more infield fly-balls than average) and an above average ISO. He is also making way more contact than league average and seeing just an above league average amount of pitches per plate appearance.
Defensively, Janish appears to have good range (though not elite, he isn’t going to show up on a lot of highlight reels for the Braves) and an okay arm. According to UZR, Janish was the 3rd best defensive shortstop in baseball in 2009. Defense appears to be the only reason Janish was in the Majors previously. Even if he doesn’t really hit, getting a good defensive shortstop for a AAA right-handed starter that throws less than 90 MPH on average seems to be a pretty good deal for the Braves.