Left-handed pitcher Troy Patton made his Padres debut this past Sunday and walked the only batter he faced. Inauspicious as that may seem, the Padres have high hopes for the man who came back from Baltimore in the trade for catcher Nick Hundley.
Patton’s final two appearances as an Oriole were his worst of the season, 1.2 IP, 5R, 5H, HR, 3BB, 0k, but that followed a stretch of six scoreless appearances over 12 days. Making the trade on his past efforts, the Padres hope Patton can regain the form that saw him post a 3.06 ERA over 110 games in 2012 and 2013.
The possibilities of a left-hander from the ‘pen are endless on any squad. Early indications according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock are the workload for Patton could be more than just to face left-handed hitters. But even if Patton is slated more for full innings than for single batters, a look at his splits is warranted.
So far this season righties are hitting .357 against Patton while lefties are posting a .308 average. His strike out to walk ration jumps up over 1 against left-handers while it stands at just 0.5 vs righties.
The turn in the story, and an indicator he may be used as an all encompassing reliever opposed to a lefty specialist comes in his career numbers. Over his seven seasons in the big leagues, lefties posted a .249 batting average and struck out 64 times. Meanwhile, right handed hitters, in 31 more at bats, are hitting 15 points lower at .234 with 64 punch outs.
Time will tell just how successful Patton, a 28 year old former ninth round pick by the Houston Astros in 2004, becomes in whatever role he carves out, but undoubtedly his potential value against hitters from both sides of the plate will give the Padres plenty of flexibility as the feel out just how much of an asset Troy Patton can be.