Feb 22, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Oakland Athletics pitcher Fernando Abad poses for a portrait during photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Ready for something weird?
Despite having a relatively unique surname, newly acquired reliever Fernando Abad is not the only Abad to have his presence grace the organization of the Oakland Athletics. In fact, the only other “Abad” listed in Major League history is one Andy Abad who appeared in a solitary September game for the 2001 Oakland Athletics. While I have no recollection of the elder Abad’s lone playing appearance, I do vaguely recall him standing awkwardly in the back of the locker room sipping a Bud Light on camera after the Athletics clinched the 2001 Wild Card. So there’s that.
The present day Abad, should have an opportunity to make a greater impact in Oakland starting next month as the southpaw is expected to be considered for a spot on the opening day roster. In competition with Joe Savery and Drew Pomeranz for one of the remaining bullpen vacancies, Abad’s proven track big league track record and impressive showing this spring should give him an advantage over his competition.
Drawing the attention of advanced scouts and Oakland’s coaching staff alike, Abad’s electric arsenal was a topic of conversation between A’s beat writer Susan Slusser and one such talent evaluator recently who proclaimed his stuff was “simply filthy”.
Athletics manager Bob Melvin however, offered a more detailed opinion.
"“He’s been throwing 95 [mph] with a wipeout breaking ball,” Melvin said. “When he’s gotten in trouble a little bit is when he’s tried to throw some changeups and establish that third pitch.”"
The third pitch in question has been identified as something akin to a slurve, and Melvin went on to add that the 28-year old’s expected role as a situational left-handed reliever may make the addition of a third pitch obsolete due to the potency of his fastball and slider.
Acquired in an off-season trade with the Washington Nationals, the Dominican plied his trade in our District Capital last season posting a 3.35 ERA, 3.26 FIP, with 7.6 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 37 2/3 innings pitched. Strangely enough, Abad struggled against lefty hitters allowing a .306/.338/.452 slash line in 65 plate appearances. A mark, that he will surely need to improve on if he hopes to at least hold the resident LOOGY role until Eric O’Flaherty returns mid-season.