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Who is Edwin Escobar?

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Is he the most unknown pitcher to start for the Diamondbacks?

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Today, Edwin Escobar will become the 100th starting pitcher used by the Diamondbacks. But even among the hardcore fans here, many people are asking, who is this guy? The pitchers who get promoted from Triple-A to fill rotation spots for the Diamondbacks usually fall into two categories: rising young prospects whom we've been following through the farm system, or experienced veterans who have had a significant track record over their careers. Escobar is neither: Just 22 years old, he was originally a Rangers signing out of Venezuela in 2008, only joined the D-backs last month, and has two innings of major-league experience.

I'm not sure of any recent precedent for this sort of thing. Perhaps the closest is the trade for Kevin Mulvey from the Minnesota Twins in September 2009: he was the player named later in the Jon Rauch trade, and started four games for the D-backs, despite having only 1.1 innings of major-league experience. If so, the omens aren't good, as Mulvey went 0-3 with a 7.65 ERA and only had three further MLB innings in his career. But even there, we explicitly traded for him. In this case, Escobar was a waiver-wire pick-up, designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox on April 20, in order to add William Cuevas to the 40-man roster.

Despite the lack of service time, the Diamondbacks are already Escobar's fourth organization. From the Rangers, he went to the Giants, being traded to San Francisco on April 1, 2010 for LHP Ben Snyder. His stock rose there, entering the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as their #2 prospect, and Escobar was selected to the World Team roster for the MLB All-Star Futures Game at Target Field that summer. However, just a few weeks later, he was traded to the Red Sox on July 26, as part of the deal for Jake Peavy. Though he got a cup of coffee for Boston late that year, he struggled with form and health at Triple-A in 2015, putting up a 5.07 ERA over 49.2 innings there.

He missed the best part of two months with elbow inflammation, but seems to have rebounded from that a bit. However, his numbers with Reno don't exactly leap out, demanding a promotion to the show. In his five starts for the Aces, Escobar is 2-1 with a 4.68 ERA and a K:BB ratio over 25 innings of 17:6, which is nothing special. On the other hand, the alternatives aren't great. The only regular Aces' starters with a better ERA than Escobar are Braden Shipley - the team likely doesn't want to start the clock there - and Tyler Wagner, whose 3.04 ERA conceals an even less-impressive K:BB ratio of 15:11 in 26.2 innings.

What should we expect from Escobar? Likely not too much, though in his defense, he's still a work in progress, being exactly two months younger than Shipley. The scouting reports tend to use the word "average" a lot, with Edwin not possessing any stand-out pitches, mostly using a fastball, curve and slider mix. His fastball clocks in at the low nineties, but being a left-hander, that may well be enough for him to hang around at the back of the rotation. With neither Shelby Miller nor Rubby De La Rosa due back in the imminent future, it won't take much for Escobar to stick, so we'll probably become quite familiar with him over the coming weeks.