San Francisco Giants’ farm hand Dan Runzler has been released so that he can sign with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s NPB.
Giants’ fans certainly remember Runzler, who looked very promising in 2010 at age 25, when he posted a 3.03 ERA in 41 major league games. Unfortunately, while his stuff was excellent, his command was not. He got by with it at first, but once the major leaguers realized he couldn’t pound the strike zone, they patienced him back to the minors for good.
Runzler’s stuff still looks great (103 Ks in 98.2 IP over the last two seasons at AAA Fresno), but he’s still wild as all hell (73 walks).
Clearly, what the Buffaloes are hoping is that with NPB’s wider strike zone and a slightly lower caliber of hitters, Runzler will be better able to take advantage of his great stuff, sort of like Marc Kroon, who was simply too wild for MLB, but used his high 90’s fastball to become NPB’s highest profile closer for five seasons between 2005 and 2009.