After taking a look at one potential eighth-inning option yesterday in righty Chris Hatcher, we now move on to flamethrower Josh Ravin, who undoubtedly has all the necessary tools to make a huge impact in the Dodgers 2017 bullpen.
Equipped with a rifle of an arm to accelerate the baseball into triple digits, Ravin was born in West Hills, California and was drafted by the Reds in the fifth round of the 2006 draft. A career minor leaguer, the 6’4″ 215 lb. righty finally made his major league debut for the Dodgers in 2015 after being buried in several different farm systems for 10 years. In addition to his four-seamer, Ravin also commands a very hard slider, normally clocked in the 85-87 range. He had a progressing changeup back in his starting pitching days, but put the development on the back-burner when he converted to a reliever full-time back in 2012.
Despite being hampered by numerous nagging injuries throughout his career — groin, forearm, shoulder, hamstring, and knee problems — Ravin appeared to be on cue to emerge in 2016, but a freak car accident resulting in a broken left arm put those plans on temporary hold early in the year, subsequently sending him to the 60-day disabled list. To add insult to injury, he was suspended 80 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance later in May. Ravin attributed his PED usage to the exploitation of a supplement aiding him in the recovery of intestinal flu, one which he didn’t realize was a violation of the system in place by MLB.
In spite of the aforementioned struggles, the 28-year-old Ravin did rebound to take the mound later in the 2016 season, tallying a 0.93 ERA and a 0.621 WHIP in 10 games, striking out 13 batters while allowing only two hits and four walks in 9-2/3 innings down the stretch run of the regular season.
According to Eric Stephen of True Blue LA, Ravin struck out 13 of 35 batters faced (37.1%), a strikeout rate behind only Kenley Jansen (41.4%) and Grant Dayton (38.6%) among all 31 Dodgers to throw a pitch in 2016. All this while primarily utilizing a four-seamer which averaged 97.65 MPH — tops on the entire squad.
But because of his suspension for a banned substance earlier in the year, Ravin was ineligible for either of the NLDS or NLCS rosters.
Moving forward into 2017, Ravin’s case is extremely similar to Hatcher’s in the sense that he’s blessed with an overwhelming amount of talent, yet he’s been hampered by multiple injuries over the course of his career. The fact that he does have one option year remaining plays well in his hand, which almost assures that he’ll have a spot on the 40-man roster, and may even make a strong case for the 25-man if he’s productive during Cactus League play this spring.
And as it may sound borderline delusional to some, perhaps the biggest motivating factor of all for Ravin is the actuality of being an incredibly huge fan of the Dodgers while growing up. Ultimately, in the greater scope of true ambition, sometimes the opportunity to fulfill one’s childhood dream can indeed provide an unimaginable boost of spirit and fortitude.