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Layne Somsen started out the 2015 season with the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The 26-year-old allowed a run in 2.0 innings in the first game of the season. He didn’t pitch again for a week, when he tossed 3.0 shutout innings with two walks and four strikeouts. After another five days of rest he took the mound again for another 3.0 shutout innings of work with three more strikeouts. In the final week of April he would make a start in the second game of a double header, tossing 5.0 shutout frames and four days later add in 3.0 perfect innings. In 16.0 total innings, Somsen would post a 0.56 ERA with five walks and 16 strikeouts to go along with a 0.75 WHIP.
May began on a sour note for the right hander as he allowed four earned runs in 2.1 innings against Jackson on the 4th. He would rebound well in the second week by making two appearances with 3.0 shutout innings of work. He continued things with 2.0 shutout innings against Mississippi. Things fell apart the next time out though as Somsen allowed three runs on four walks in 0.1 innings. He finished up the month by allowing two runs in 4.0 innings, walking three more batters. For the month he posted a 5.52 ERA in 14.2 innings with 10 walks and 15 strikeouts. The walks got out of control at the end of the month, walking seven batters in his final 4.1 innings.
On June 2nd Layne Somsen made his final appearance for Pensacola, tossing 2.0 shutout innings with a walk. On the 5th he would take the mound for the Louisville Bats, making a start where he tossed 4.0 shutout innings with a walk and six strikeouts. His next outing would be another start, allowing a run with four walks in 5.0 innings. The reliever returned to the bullpen four days later and tossed a shutout frame of work before making a start two nights later. Against Gwinnett he took a comebacker off of his foot and broke a toe, exiting after 2.1 innings. He finished the month with 14.1 innings of 1.26 ERA baseball with seven walks and 11 strikeouts.
After missing the final two weeks of June, all of July and the first week of August, Layne Somsen returned to the mound for the Bats on the 7th and threw a shutout frame of work. He followed that up with a perfect inning against Columbus the next time out. Over his next three games he would run into problems, allowing six runs in 6.0 innings. The final week of August saw three outings and just one run allowed in 5.0 total innings (1.80 ERA). The last week of the season would see Somsen make three appearances, all of the shutout variety in 4.1 innings. In the final month of the season after missing seven weeks he posted a 3.63 ERA in 17.1 innings with eight walks and 18 strikeouts.
After the regular season was over the Cincinnati Reds sent the right hander out to the Arizona Fall League to get some additional innings on his arm after missing time with a broken toe during the season. He would pitch in nine games and post a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 innings with four walks and 13 strikeouts over the five week season for Peoria.
Layne Somsen Scouting Report
Fastball | The pitch works in the 90-92 MPH range most nights and touches 94 on occasion. The pitch has good cutting action to it.
Curveball | Working in the low 80’s, the pitch shows itself as an above-average offering at times with good 12-6 breaking action. It’s an average offering most of the time though.
Change Up | Not a pitch he goes to nearly as often, but is there when he needs it. It’s a solid offering, though a little bit firm as it works in the mid 80’s. Like his fastball, it’s got some cutting action to it.
Somsen works with a high 3/4 arm slot, almost an over-the-top motion that gives his pitches good downward plane. The arm angle and cut on his fastball has led to high groundball rates throughout his career and 2015 was no different as 56% of the balls in play he allowed were on the ground. His walk rate was a little higher than you’d like to see in 2015, though the struggles with control came in smaller stretches and weren’t a season long issue.
The stuff won’t wow you from the right arm of Layne Somsen, but it’s solid across the board and he certainly gives most hitters a different look. He probably profiles best as a 5th or 6th inning reliever who can eat up some innings in a longer relief kind of role that it seems the Reds were grooming him for with more than half of his games pitches being at least two innings long.