BOBBY LaFROMBOISE, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 25, 1986
Drafted: 8th round, 252nd overall, 2008 (Mariners)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Padres)
College: University of New Mexico
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|LaFromboise is a left-handed reliever who had one big season in the minors, in 2012, that got him a 40-man roster spot. Otherwise, he’s put up ordinary numbers. He’s never made one of Baseball America’s team or league top prospect lists. His fastball averages right about 90, and he throws a slider and change. He throws sidearm, but overall he’s had only a mild platoon split in the minors. He was in the latter part of his worst pro season when the Pirates claimed him off waivers.
LaFroimboise pitched mostly as a starter in short season ball and put up solid numbers.
LaFromboise spent all season in low A, where at 23 he was a little old for the level. He started off as a reliever but moved to the rotation around mid-May. He was more effective as a reliever. He had no platoon split at all: right-handed batters hit 273/314/407 against him, left-handed batters 279/308/406.
The Mariners used LaFromboise as a swing man in the California League. Like most pitchers, he found the high-offense California League more difficult than other environs. This time he pitched a little better as a starter. He had only a mild platoon split.
The Mariners moved LaFromboise permanently to the bullpen in AA. He put up very ordinary numbers. The one significant difference was his platoon split: .782 OPS by RH batters and .685 by LH.
LaFromboise had a big season, split between AA and AAA. His K rate increased significantly and, for the first and only time in his career, he had fewer hits allowed than innings pitched. In fact, his H/9 was 50% lower than in any other season. The Mariners added him to their 40-man roster in the fall.
The Mariners sent LaFromboise back to AAA to start the season. They called him up briefly in April and July, and then brought him up for September. With the exception of his K rate, which remained above one per inning, his numbers returned more or less to where they’d been most of his career. He even had a reverse platoon split in AAA. Seattle designated him for assignment after the season and the Padres claimed him.
The Padres sent LaFromboise to AAA, where he stayed until late August when they designated him for assignment. He mostly struggled, with opponents hitting .309 against him. He had a moderate platoon split, with RH hitters posting an OPS of .821 against him and LH hitters .728. The Pirates claimed him off waivers. They sent him to AAA and then called him up for September. He pitched well, but faced only 14 batters. Clint Hurdle did not use him as a lefty specialist; nine of the 14 were right-handed.
LaFromboise spent most of the season in the Indianapolis bullpen. He got into one game for the Pirates in May, then was called up in September. In AAA he pitched well apart from occasional control problems. He had a slight reverse platoon split. In September he pitched fairly often, mainly in mop up roles. He pitched well except for a grand slam he served up to Jason Heyward. Clint Hurdle actually used LaFromboise as a lefty specialist; two-thirds of the hitters he faced were left-handed.
LaFromboise was one of many waiver pickups by the Pirates in the second half of 2014, when they seemed to claim every player who fell to them. He’s never pitched especially well except for his big 2012 season and then in 2015. The Pirates had numerous chances to call LaFromboise up during the season, but only did so the one time in May and then once rosters expanded. Instead, they called up Chris Volstad, Deolis Guerra and, on multiple occasions, Wilfredo Boscan even though those pitchers had to be added to the 40-man roster and LaFromboise was already on it. It’s possible the team was looking for long relievers and didn’t see LaFromboise serving in that role. He’s now out of options, so he won’t be able to serve as AAA bullpen depth unless he makes it through waivers. Whether the Pirates see him as somebody who could make the team out of spring training isn’t clear.
|2016: Major league minimum|
|Signing Bonus: $70,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 4/10/2013
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2012
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2013, 2014, 2015)
MLB Service Time: 0.111
|June 7, 2005: Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 23rd round, 695th overall pick.
June 7, 2007: Drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 14th round, 433rd overall pick.
June 5, 2008: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 8th round, 252nd overall pick; signed on June 10.
November 20, 2012: Contract purchased by the Seattle Mariners.
March 14, 2014: Designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners.
April 2, 2014: Claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres from the Seattle Mariners.
August 20, 2014: Designated for assignment by the San Diego Padres.
August 24, 2014: Claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the San Diego Padres.