In the endless search for capable, live arms, the Padres have claimed lefty Dillon Overton off waivers from the Seattle Mariners and optioned him to AAA El Paso. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, righty Zach Lee has been designated for assignment. Overton was ranked pretty well in Seattle’s not-great minor league system:
At age 25, Overton has recovered from a Tommy John surgery that has left his fastball sitting in the upper 80’s. In his MLB time this year, he’s featured mainly a fastball-changeup repertoire with a curveball acting as an out pitch. He’s been a swingman in his MLB time, but he worked as a starter for the most part through his minor league career. His pitches don’t draw high grades on their own, as he relies on command rather than pure stuff to generate outs. He’s a fly-ball pitcher, and the more I read about him, the more I see a profile somewhat resembling vintage Jered Weaver - hopefully not the 2017 vintage. John Sickels wrote him up last winter over on MinorLeagueBall, suggesting that he had the potential of a back-end starter due to his command and ability to use velocity changes to deceive hitters.
The corresponding roster move may spell the end of the Zach Lee experiment. The former Dodgers prospect impressed in a spot start with the big league club earlier this year, but he’s struggled to a 5.32 ERA in the admittedly brutal Pacific Coast League. If he passes through waivers, the Padres may retain him on a minor league contract. He’s struggled with his command just as he has throughout his career and his inability to prevent walks may be his undoing.
The addition of Overton adds some depth to a bullpen that’s been heavily taxed due to injuries to the starting rotation, which has forced rookies Dinelson Lamet and Miguel Diaz into the fray. Overton has upside potential that could pay off in the long run, and the Padres organization has a track record of success with pitchers looking for another chance.