JOSH WALL, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: January 21, 1987
Drafted: 2nd Round, 74th overall, 2005 (Dodgers)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Angels)
High School: Central Private (LA) HS
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Wall is a tall, lanky pitcher who’s always had trouble maintaining consistent mechanics and velocity. At times he’s thrown in the mid- or even upper-90s, but his fastball also at times has dropped into the upper-80s. In his major league appearances he’s thrown only in the low-90s. He originally threw a curve, but since moving to the bullpen he’s thrown a slider. He’s never had an effective change and has had problems with left-handed hitters. In over nine pro seasons, he’s never had a better than mediocre season. Instead, teams seem to have maintained interest in him based on projectability. The Pirates claimed Wall off waivers from the Angels during the 2014 season.
Wall didn’t pitch very well in a brief debut in the GCL, with more walks than strikeouts.
The Dodgers moved Wall up to advanced rookie ball and he mostly struggled through 14 starts. According to Baseball America, his stuff took a significant step backward, with his fastball dropping to the upper-80s. BA still rated him the 29th best prospect in the Dodgers’ system.
Wall improved in low A, although he still didn’t pitch especially well. His fastball rebounded to sit at 92-93.
Wall put up some ugly numbers in the hitting-happy California League. His home park, Inland Empire, isn’t one of the big hitters parks in that league, but that’s just relative to the league.
The Dodgers returned Wall to high A and he didn’t show any real improvement.
The Dodgers sent Wall back down to low A, where he had about the same season as he’d had way back in 2007.
The Dodgers moved Wall to the bullpen and jumped him up to AA. He managed a decent ERA, but his other numbers weren’t that good. According to BA, his fastball as a reliever sat at 95-98 and he threw an 87-90 mph slider. Left-handed hitters, though, raked him for a .915 OPS. The performance was enough to get Wall added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster and back onto their BA top 30 after a two-year absence.
Wall served as the closer in AAA. This time his peripheral numbers were a little better than his ERA. The Dodgers brought Wall up several times late in the season and he got into seven games. He allowed only five base runners in 5.2 IP, but three of them scored.
Wall opened 2013 in AAA, but got called up in mid-April. He struggled for two weeks, then got sent back down. He didn’t pitch well in AAA, partly due to increased control problems. The Dodgers included him in a July trade with the Marlins for Ricky Nolasco. The Marlins put him on waivers after the season and the Angels claimed him.
Wall again opened in AAA. He got a two-game callup in mid-April that obviously didn’t go well. The Angels put him on waivers in May and the Pirates claimed him. Between injuries–including one to relief prospect Duke Welker–and struggles in the major league rotation, the team’s pitching depth was looking thin by the time they claimed Wall. They may have seen him primarily as short-term bullpen depth. The Pirates assigned him to Indianapolis after the waiver claim. Two months later, they designated Wall for assignment when they claimed Angel Sanchez — with whom he’d been traded to Miami in 2013 — off waivers at the end of July. Wall cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA. Despite the lower ERA, he pitched about the same as he did with the Angels. He had a large platoon split overall, allowing right-handed hitters an OPS of .696 and left-handed hitters .847.
Wall was eligible for minor league free agency after the 2014 season but signed a minor league deal with the Pirates for 2015. He return to Indianapolis to pitch in relief, although he missed some time with injuries. When he pitched, he had easily his best season in the upper minors, improving his control, holding opponents to a 206/288/267 line, and striking out a batter an inning. He dominated right-handed hitters, holding them to a .450 OPS. Left-handed hitters didn’t do all that well, with a .689 mark. The Pirates called Wall up in mid-August to serve as relief depth after a 15-inning game depleted their bullpen. Not surprisingly, he was up for only two days, failed to get into a game, and was designated for assignment when the Pirates activated Josh Harrison. He cleared waivers and was sent to Indianapolis, where he finished out the season.
Wall will be a free agent again after the season. If the Pirates believe his improvement in 2015 was for real, they could try to re-sign him to a minor league deal, but he might prefer to look elsewhere.
|2015: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: $480,000
MiLB Debut: 2005
MLB Debut: 7/22/2012
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/18/11
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2012, 2013, 2014)
MLB Service Time: 0.059
|June 7, 2005: Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2nd round, 74th overall pick; signed on July 3.
November 18, 2011: Contract purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
July 6, 2013: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Angel Sanchez and Steve Ames to the Miami Marlins for Ricky Nolasco and cash.
October 4, 2013: Claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels from the Miami Marlins.
May 22, 2014: Claimed off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Los Angeles Angels.
July 31, 2014: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on August 5.
November 4, 2014: Became a free agent.
January 30, 2015: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
August 19, 2015: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
August 21, 2015: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates; outrighted to AAA on August 26.