- Full name Joshua James Roenicke
- Born 08/04/1982 in Baltimore, MD
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School UCLA
- Debut 09/13/2008
Drafted in the 10th round (294th overall) by the Cincinnati Reds in 2006 (signed for $20,000).
View Draft ReportThe fifth-year senior is son of ex-big leaguer Gary. Brent Rustich was the Bruins' closer until he got hurt, and Roenicke took over for him while doubling as the team's center fielder (he's a plus defender there, but his bat is short). The 23-year-old Roenicke has shown 95 mph with his fastball and will spin a plus slider at times. His inexperience keeps him from repeating his mechanics consistently, but he's athletic at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds and has arm strength, two good building blocks for pitchers.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Roenicke went to UCLA on a football scholarship as a quarterback/wide receiver before walking on to the baseball team and becoming the Bruins' closer. He also was a plus defender in center field, though his bat was short for pro ball. He signed with the Reds for $20,000 as a fifth-year senior drafted in the 10th round, and came to the Blue Jays in the Scott Rolen trade last summer. Roenicke made it to the big leagues quickly thanks to his power arm out of the bullpen. His fastball sits at 93-95 mph and peaks at 98 with some natural life. He also mixes in a high-80s cutter that runs and sinks. A tough competitor, he's not afraid to challenge hitters. Roenicke mostly works off his four-seam and cut fastballs. He also throws a hard slider that's inconsistent, and an adequate changeup that he rarely uses. He can fall in love with the radar gun and sometimes asks for his readings after coming off the mound. He may have tried too hard after the trade, overthrowing and battling his control. Though he scuffled with Toronto, Roenicke has nothing left to prove in Triple-A. A potential closer, the Blue Jays will give him the opportunity to make the big league bullpen in spring training.
At spring training last year, Roenicke made a big impression by coming into manager Dusty Baker's office and introducing himself. He also impressed on the mound, where Roenicke quickly showed he had the organization's best arm. His fastball is a plus-plus pitch with natural life, sitting at 94-95 mph and touching 99. He has the natural athleticism expected from a former college quarterback/wide receiver. He walked on to UCLA's baseball team after coming to school on a football scholarship. Besides his fastball, Roenicke also throws an 88-89 mph cutter and an inconsistent slider. He also has an adequate changeup, but he rarely uses it as a short reliever. When he's on, Roenicke can strike out the side, as he did in his final big league outing of the season, but he can get too enamored with velocity and focus on firing fastballs rather than setting up hitters. He'll come to spring training with a chance to earn a job in the Cincinnati bullpen and has the stuff to eventually pitch at the back end of it. The son of former outfielder Gary Roenicke and the nephew of Ron Roenicke, Josh became the family's third big leaguer when he earned a September callup. He also has two brothers, Jarrett and Jason, who are minor leaguers.
Roenicke originally went to UCLA as a wide receiver, but after failing to catch a pass in two seasons he chose to emulate his father Gary and uncle Ron, former major league outfielders. After signing for $20,000, Roenicke has flown through the system, reaching Double-A in his first full pro season. Roenicke dominates hitters with a live 93-95 mph fastball that he'll run up to 98 mph on occasion. His fastball has late movement that adds to its effectiveness. He pairs it with an 87-89 mph cutter that has so much action that one opposing manager described it as a splitter. He's an excellent athlete and has the fearless approach to close games. As expected from a recently converted outfielder, Roenicke is still an unpolished pitcher. His control is just adequate and he'll have to sharpen his command before he makes it to the big leagues. He's still learning about setting up batters and proper pitch selection. He's already 25, but Roenicke is making up for a lot of lost time with his rapid rise. He could be in Cincinnati by September and should be at least a big league set-up man with a chance to develop into a closer.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Fastball in the Cincinnati Reds in 2009
- Rated Best Reliever in the Florida State League in 2007