ROBBY ROWLAND
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: December 15, 1991
Height: 6′ 6″
Weight: 205
Bats: Both
Throws: Right
Drafted: 3rd round, 88th overall, 2010 (Arizona)
How Acquired: Trade (for Brett Lorin)
High School: Cloverdale (CA) HS
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Pirates acquired Rowland from Arizona for Brett Lorin, whom the Diamondbacks had selected in the Rule 5 draft. Arizona picked Rowland in the 3rd round in 2010 out of high school, with the idea that he was highly projectable. This was due in part to his size and in part to the fact that he’s very athletic; he was an outstanding basketball player and had scholarship offers for that sport, but preferred baseball. When drafted, he threw in the upper-80s to low-90s, with several secondary pitches, including a splitter that served as his out pitch.  So far he’s been a very strong groundball pitcher.

2010
R+: 4-6-0, 5.67 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 54.0 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 6.7 K/9

Arizona sent Rowland to the Pioneer League, which is a tough assignment for a pitcher just drafted out of high school. It’s a more advanced rookie league than the Gulf Coast or Arizona League, and it’s an extreme hitter’s league. On top of that, the D’backs’ affiliate plays in an extreme hitter’s park relative to the league. Rowland pitched respectably under the circumstances.

2011
R+: 1-7-0, 8.07 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 68.0 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 6.9 K/9

The Diamondbacks sent Rowland back to the Pioneer League and he altered his pitching motion, moving his arm slot to straight over the top from a three-quarters angle in order to throw a 12-to-6 curve. He got hit much harder, including an alarming 15 HRs, one every four and a half innings. The one positive sign was a very low walk total, but that sometimes happens when hitters find a pitcher very easy to hit.

2012
A:  9-5-0, 3.30 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 106.1 IP, 1.9 BB/9, 5.2 K/9

Rowland started off in extended spring training, then joined West Virginia in mid-May.  He made a dramatic turnaround and was the Power’s most effective starter the rest of the year.  He still has a very low K rate and allowed slightly more than a hit per inning, but considering his 2011 struggles, as well as the facts that he was moving up a level and pitched the year at age 20, it was a very good season.  He may have been helped by the Diamondbacks having moved his arm slot back to three-quarters before the trade.  That’s already a trend in the Pirates’ organization.

2013
A+:  4-11-0, 4.82 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 127.0 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 4.7 K/9

Rowland didn’t have a successful season in high A.  He didn’t exactly get bombed; opponents hit .268 against him and he did an OK job of keeping the ball in the park, giving up ten HRs.  But his K rate was lower than ever and he had control problems at times.  He had a huge platoon split, as lefties hit .352 against him and righties .214.

Rowland will return to Bradenton in 2014, with his role being uncertain at the start of the season.  He’ll pitch all year at age 22, which won’t be a bad age for the level.

STATS
Baseball Reference — Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2014: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $395,000
MiLB Debut: 2010
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2016
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2014
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 8, 2010: Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round, 88th overall pick; signed on June 18.
March 31, 2010: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Brett Lorin.