New England Sports React

Coming From All Angles

Pat Venditte, pitching in this photo at Creighton, is a once-in-a-lifetime ball player.

Have you ever thrown a baseball with both arms, are at least tried? Pretty tough, right? Imagine being able to do so comfortably and with consistency. Impossible, right?

Meet Pat Venditte, a minor league pitcher who specializes in exactly that. Yes, that’s right; he’s a switch pitcher. Sure, you’ve heard of switch hitters before, a commodity that is becoming more regular as the years pass by, but a switch pitcher? I bet you never even entertained the idea, unless, of course, you were brainstorming a plot for baseball’s next summer blockbuster (Moneyball, remember?). But this guy is the real deal. Coming out of Creighton University, Venditte was drafted in 2008 by the Yankees. He currently pitches in their farm system at the Triple-A level for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, but based in his success appears to be nearing a big league debut. When he finally toes a major league rubber, it will be the first time such a commodity has been at that level in almost 100 years (yea, switch pitchers are almost as rare as the Cubs winning the World Series).

Venditte is obviously a fan favorite in the minors due to his rare ability and outstanding numbers at that level, yet isn’t considered a top prospect due to his underwhelming fastball velocity. Throwing right-handed with an over-the-top delivery, he maxes out at 94 miles per hour. Left-handed, however, using a side-arm approach, he reaches just 85 mph. Despite what the scouts say, I think a switch pitcher can be an incredibly valuable asset to a pitching staff. No more worrying about where to put him in the order, no fussing over matchups against specific lineups. Just send him out there and let him decide what the better approach is against a hitter, whether to pitch him from the left side or the right side of the rubber. I’d love to see Venditte make it to the ‘bigs’ and pitch against the notorious sluggers of the league. How would they react to his unique approach and different styles used with it? How would Venditte adjust to the intelligence of major league hitters? The possibilities are endless. One thing’s for certain: his promotion to the majors would likely put more fans in the seats and bring more eyes to the television. And honestly, what league commissioner, especially Bud Selig, would deny the opportunity for an increase in revenue? The likelihood is as rare as a switch pitcher.

-Ryan Hartley

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