- Full name Donn Mitchell Roach
- Born 12/14/1989 in Las Vegas, NV
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Arizona
- Debut 04/02/2014
Drafted in the C-B round (115th overall) by the Los Angeles Angels in 2010 (signed for $261,000).
View Draft ReportRoach won three state championships at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas and was a 40th-round pick out of high school by the Angels in 2008, but he didn't sign and headed to Arizona, where he went 1-4, 7.84 with 22 strikeouts and 22 walks over 41 innings as a freshman. He transferred to Southern Nevada this year to play with Bryan and Bryce Harper, whom he's known since he was 10 years old. His fastball regained the giddy-up it had in high school, getting back up to 90-94 mph and touching 95. It's a big leap from the 86-88 mph he showed at Arizona. Roach credits the boost to getting back to a lower arm slot that he had in high school. He also scrapped his splitter for a curveball that shows flashes of being an above-average pitch. Roach doesn't have much projection remaining. Coupled with the uncertainty of what version of Roach teams will be getting, he'll be a bit of a wild card on draft day. If he can maintain his current stuff, he could be a good middle-of-the-rotation starter or a set-up man.
Organization Prospect Rankings
A junior-college teammate of Bryce Harper, Roach toned down his delivery after signing with the Angels and has ranked as one of the more extreme groundball pitchers in the minors. He ranked seventh among minor league ERA title qualifiers with a groundout/airout ratio of 2.4 in 2013, his first extended exposure at Double-A San Antonio. Roach throws his sinker with below-average velocity at 87-89 mph but with 100 percent conviction and solid-average life. He throws an average, mid-80s splitter that helps him evade bats, but not nearly so many as he had at high Class A Lake Elsinore in 2012. His strikeout rate dropped from 7.4 per nine innings to 4.9 between 2012 and 2013. Roach throws consistent strikes with an easy arm action--especially in the second half, when he walked 13 batters in 14 starts--and his fringy, mid-70s slurve gives him a different look the second time through the order. If everything breaks right for him, Roach could be a groundball-oriented No. 5 starter or middle reliever.
A teammate of Bryce Harper's at JC of Southern Nevada in 2010, Roach was the second Coyote drafted that year, going in the supplemental third round to the Angels. Los Angeles helped Roach soften his landing and improve his direction to the plate, and he turned in a fine relief season at low Class A in 2011, fanning 68 in 70 innings and notching a 3.6 groundout/airout ratio. He continued to keep the ball on the ground while shifting to the rotation in 2012, both before and after the Angels traded him (along with Alexi Amarista) to the Padres for Ernesto Frieri in May. He generated 3.5 groundball outs for every one in the air in 2012 to rank first among minor league pitchers with at least 100 innings. Roach lacks premium stuff, but he buys into the sinkerballer mentality, pounding the zone with a steady diet of 89-92 mph two-seamers with sinking action, seeking to induce groundball contact in the first two or three pitches. He'll throw a tumbling splitter for swings and misses when he gets two strikes, while incorporating a slurve for a different look the second time through the order. He completes the package by fielding his position and holding baserunners (he allowed 13 steal attempts all year). San Diego shut down Roach in mid-July due to his jump in innings, but he profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter or groundball-oriented reliever.
Roach won three Nevada state championships at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas and attended Arizona as a college freshman before transferring to JC of Southern Nevada for the 2010 season. After he ran up a 6.04 ERA in his 2010 pro debut, the Angels worked on streamlining his mechanics, softening his landing and improving his direction to the plate. He turned in a strong full-season debut with Cedar Rapids in 2011, showing three pitches and finishing second in the minors among qualified relievers with a 3.6 groundout/ airout ratio. Roach sits at 90-92 mph with his fastball, which lives at the bottom of the strike zone. His slurvy breaking ball features high-70s velocity and late tilt at times. Instead of a traditional changeup, he shows strong feel for a splitter. Roach loses control in some outings because his busy delivery can be difficult to repeat. With three pitches and a taste of pro success under his belt, he'll move to the rotation in high Class A this season.
For a junior college team, Southern Nevada received unprecedented scouting exposure in 2010 because of the presence of eventual No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper. Eight more Coyotes followed Harper off the draft board, including four in the top 10 rounds. The quick-armed Roach was the highest regarded of the non-Harper faction. He signed for $261,000 as the 115th overall pick, a compensation choice after the third round awarded to the Angels for their failure to sign third-rounder Josh Spence a year earlier. Roach won three state championships at Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas and attended Arizona as a freshman. He transferred to Southern Nevada as a sophomore, following brothers Bryce and Bryan Harper, whom he has known since he was 10 years old. Roach throws a power sinker that sits at 91-93 mph and touches 95, as well as a hard high-70s slider that rates as solid-average. Both pitches are geared toward keeping the ball on the ground. He uses a splitter for a change of pace but it's fringy at best, and Los Angeles wants him to emphasize his fastball anyway. Roach logged 103 innings during the college season and came to the Angels gassed. They placed him in the bullpen for three weeks, using the time to streamline his max-effort delivery by softening his landing and improving his direction to the plate. He returned with a vengeance for the Pioneer League playoffs, striking out nine in 51⁄3 innings. Roach has back-of-the-rotation potential if his command improves with a cleaner delivery. He'll pitch in low Class A during his first full pro season.
Minor League Top Prospects
In early May, the Angels traded Roach to the Padres in the deal that sent Ernesto Frieri to Los Angeles. While Frieri became a mainstay of the Angels' bullpen, Roach dominated the minors' most challenging circuit for pitchers. He was a prolific ground-ball artist in the Cal League, racking up a 3.8 groundout/flyout ratio. Roach lives off his devastating sinker, which sits in the low 90s and tops out at 94. He routinely pitches deep into games getting quick outs with the sinker. When he does go deeper in counts, he turns to his tumbling splitter to get swings and misses. Roach does have a third pitch, a downer curveball in the mid-70s. He doesn't go to the curve much, usually employing it early in counts on his second or third trip through the order. He's a good athlete with a clean delivery and a feel for moving the ball around the strike zone.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the California League in 2012
- Rated Best Control in the California League in 2012