JOSH LINDBLOM, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 15, 1987
Drafted: 2nd Round, 61st Overall, 2008 (Dodgers)
How Acquired: Minor league free agent
College: Purdue University
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Lindblom struggled as a starter in college, but saw his velocity increase to 94-95 mph as a reliever, leading the Dodgers to draft him in the second round. As a pro, he’s moved back and forth between starting and relieving, and has done much better at the latter. In the majors, his velocity has averaged about 90 as a starter and 92 as a reliever. When he was drafted, his fastball was described as “heavy,” but he’s been an extreme flyball pitcher and has had some trouble with gopher balls. In the majors, he’s leaned heavily on a slider, and has also thrown a curve and change. Possibly due to the slider, he’s had an extreme platoon split in the majors, with left-handed hitters batting 276/375/473 against him and right-handed hitters 202/278/341. The Pirates acquired him on a waiver claim in 2014, then released him a few days later so he could pursue a contract in Korea. He spent two years as a starter there, then signed a minor league deal with the Pirates for 2017.
Lindblom had a strong debut over eight starts in low A. The Dodgers moved him up to AA for one start. Baseball America rated him the Dodgers’ fourth best prospect after the season.
Lindblom nearly made the Dodgers’ roster as a reliever out of camp, but opened the season in AA instead. He pitched much better than the ERA indicates. The Dodgers moved him up to AAA at mid-season and he pitched mainly in relief the rest of the way. He ranked as the team’s fifth best prospect after the season.
Lindblom opened the season in the AAA rotation. Through ten starts he got hit very hard, with velocity that dropped into the upper-80s. The Dodgers moved him to relief and his velocity rebounded partially, but he didn’t pitch much better. On the season, hitters posted a 340/395/530 line against him.
The Dodgers sent Lindblom down to AA to open the season, where he pitched as a closer, but he was called up at the end of May. He shuttled back and forth between AA and the majors several times over the remainder of the season. Not surprisingly, he dominated in AA, but he also pitched well for the Dodgers.
Lindblom spent the season in the majors, pitching in relief. The first four months came with the Dodgers, but they included him in a deadline deal for Shane Victorino. He pitched well much of the time, but had control problems after joining the Phillies and had problems all year with gopher balls, allowing 13. At 4.49, his xFIP was one run higher than his overall ERA of 3.55. After the season, the Phillies sent him to Texas for Michael Young.
Texas sent Lindblom to AAA at the start of the season and moved him to starting. He was up and down between AAA and the majors a number of times. He made eight appearances for the Rangers, five of them starts. Lindblom pitched well in AAA but not in the majors. After the season, the Rangers traded him to Oakland.
Lindblom started one game at the beginning of the season, then Oakland sent him to AAA to pitch in the rotation. He struggled as a starter, with opponents hitting .282 against him. He spent the last two months on the disabled list, except for one relief appearance at the end of the season. Oakland designated him for assignment after the season and the Pirates claimed him off waivers. A few days later, they designated him for assignment to clear roster space. They ended up releasing him so he could pursue an opportunity in Korea.
Lindblom made 32 starts for Lotte and pitched very well in the high-offense KBO.
Lindblom returned to Lotte and had less success, with weaker control being one reason. He had trouble with gopher balls in both years, allowing 28 in 2015 and 27 in 2016, but the hitter’s environment probably accounted for some of that.
Lindblom doesn’t seem to fit any of the Pirates’ preferences. He’s not a groundball pitcher and doesn’t have overpowering stuff, although he’s generally had decent K rates. Even though his repertoire seems better suited to starting, he’s been far better as a reliever, although only against right-handed batters. He got an invitation to major league spring training, though, and pitched surprisingly well there, getting cut late in camp. He’ll open the 2017 in the Indianapolis rotation, although that may change once Nick Kingham recovers from an ankle injury.
UPDATE: The Pirates called Lindblom up in early May when Jameson Taillon went on the disabled list. Lindblom got hit hard through four appearances, then went on the DL himself with an oblique injury. When he returned, the Pirates outrighted him to AAA.
2017: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $663,000
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 6/1/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: 2017
MLB FA Eligible: 2022
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 5/29/2011
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2011, 2013, 2014)
MLB Service Time: 1.101
|June 7, 2005: Drafted in the 3rd round, 104th overall, by the Houston Astros.
June 5, 2008: Drafted in the 2nd round, 61st overall, by the Los Angeles Dodgers; signed on June 20.
May 29, 2011: Contract purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
July 31, 2012: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Ethan Martin and Stefan Jarrin to the Philadelphia Phillies for Shane Victorino.
December 9, 2012: Traded by the Philadelphia Phillies with Lisalverto Bonilla to the Texas Rangers for Michael Young and cash.
December 3, 2013: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Craig Gentry to the Oakland Athletics for Chris Bostick and Michael Choice.
November 28, 2014: Designated for assignment by the Oakland Athletics.
December 8, 2014: Claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Oakland Athletics.
December 12, 2014: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; released on December 19.
December 16, 2016: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
May 6, 2017: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
June 24, 2017: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.