Wandisson Charles' Lands On 40-Man Roster
Throw hard easy.
This mantra sounds simple, but it can be a daunting challenge for a young pitcher who has grown up putting big numbers on radar guns.
Righthander Wandisson Charles spent his younger days trying to reach those big numbers on the gun, winding his body to get everything he could out of his fastball.
“Early on, it was about seeing how hard he could throw. He’d grunt and groan, with smoke coming out of his ears," Athletics pitching coordinator Gil Patterson joked. "He’s made the transformation from a power thrower to a power pitcher.”
The 24-year-old Bani, Dominican Republic, native is close to making the transition to a major league pitcher. The A's added him to the 40-man roster to exempt him from the Rule 5 draft.
At 6-foot-4, 263 pounds, Charles, who was signed in March 2015, presents an imposing figure on the mound. He averages 97 mph on his fastball and hits triple digits. But early in his career, that fastball often strayed far from the strike zone.
Throw hard easy, the pitching coaches kept telling him. Find a rhythm and hit the strike zone. And Charles kept listening.
He made great improvement during his time at the alternate training site this year. In 2019 he recorded a 2.89 ERA in 40 games with 93 strikeouts in 62.1 innings between the Class A levels and Double-A Midland.
“We did a couple of things at instructs to keep his head on line a little longer,” Patterson said. “He started throwing a few good sliders and even a few good changeups.”
Patterson said Charles' slider is hard and has late break. His changeup is improving, and that will be part of the continuing learning process.
“For him, it’s about consistency,” A's farm director Ed Sprague said. “He’s made a lot of strides on command and throwing strikes. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point, he doesn’t see the big leagues this year.”
Deichmann had been ticketed for Triple-A before the pandemic shut down baseball. He has played well and shown excellent power when healthy. He is considered a solid right field candidate and future power hitter.
Romero served on Oakland's taxi squad at the end of the season. Sprague said Romero has both the velocity and stuff to become an integral part of the bullpen in the very near future.