Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat reliever Cameron Lamb has been picked up by the Houston Astros overnight in the Minor League Phase of the Rule 5 draft held at baseball's winter meetings.
The Rule 5 draft is designed to ensure that teams do not stockpile too many prospects in their minor league system, while the draft is primarily used for selections to the Major League Roster, there is a Minor League phase where Cameron Lamb was picked at the AAA level.
The 23 year old side arm pitcher is now designated to pitch with the Oaklahoma City Redhawks after having a successful season with the Giant's Low-A affiliate Salem Keizer Volcanoes, with a 2-1 record and a 2.42 ERA. Lamb's successful season is continuing with the Alcohol. Think Again Perth Heat, where he is yet to allow a run in five relief appearances.
The Astro's selections in this draft have been closely followed in the baseball world, after Houston made a high profile and unconventional selection of the acclaimed Kevin Goldstein as their Head of Scouting. Goldstein has a cult following amongst baseball fans, as the former Managing Partner of Baseball Prospectus and up until last month was the host of Baseball Prospectus' Up and In podcast.
"Cameron Lamb's a guy who kind of came on late for us, a name we barely knew until we started doing some more scouting work and looking into the stats." said Goldstein on the Astros website. "He's an Australian kid and is pitching right now for his Australian club and appears on his national team. Kind of average velocity fast ball, he's dropped his arm a little bit, he's almost side arm. He does two things we really like, he doesn't walk anybody and he gets ground balls. Those two skills really appeal to us and we've had some good reports on him from our people in Australia."
Heat Manager Steve Fish was full of praise for Cameron Lamb, who believes the move will not only be beneficial for Lamb, but also to the Astros, where he's moved from the current World Champion San Francisco Giants. "He's been in an organisation with a lot of prospects and they haven't made the right moves to protect him. Going to the Astros he's got a great opportunity as there's more room to move than any other. I see what they see in Cam. He's dominated at the levels he's been playing at and he gets ground balls. I can't say enough good things about the guy, I think it's going to be a huge lift in his career."
Cameron Lamb credited the attention received from the Astros to a new action developed over the past year, moving from an overarm action to almost side arm. "It's been a great improvement. It's enhances the movement I've got on my fastball with a completely new feel and look to it." said Cameron Lamb. "I've not spoken to anyone at the Astros yet but it's great to be able to play at a higher level and I'm looking forward to finishing out this season with the Heat and getting ready for spring."
Cameron Lamb wasn't the only Heat player to change sides in the Minor League Draft. Former Heat player Robbie Widlansky was picked up by the Los Angeles Angels from the Baltimore Orioles. After spending 2012 in AA where he hit .316 and was named an organisational All-Star, Widlansky will be given a shot in at a higher level by the Angels after being selected in the AAA phase.