Just like we’ve been predicting over the past week or so, the Dodgers are beginning to sign veteran arms to serve as depth for their top minor league clubs.
De Fratus is no stranger to the Dodgers, nor is he a stranger to big league action. The native of Oxnard, CA made his MLB debut for the Phillies as a relief pitcher back in 2011, but has not seen any major league action since his 2015 campaign.
Over those five big league seasons with the Phillies, the 6-foot-4, 225-lb. righty made 191 appearances—all in relief—producing a 4.08 ERA and a 3.83 FIP alongside 170 strikeouts over an even 194 innings of work.
His best year in the majors came in 2014, when he appeared in 54 games, posting a 2.39 ERA and a 1.082 WHIP with 49 strikeouts over 52-2/3 innings.
After spending subsequent time in the Rangers, Nationals, Padres and Mariners farm systems, the Dodgers signed De Fratus to minor league deals at the beginning of the 2018 and 2019 seasons, utilizing him primarily as a starting pitcher.
Between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City last year, De Fratus went 9-13 with a 5.60 ERA over 22 starts, tallying 98 strikeouts in 141-1/3 innings of work. For those same teams in 2018, he produced a 7-9 record over 23 starts, producing a 4.74 ERA with 93 punchouts over an even 133 frames.
Representing the Drillers, he was named as a Texas League All-Star in 2018. In April of 2018, he was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week. After being promoted to OKC about a month later, he snagged the same award in the Pacific Coast League.
He uses mainly a fastball, a slider and a change, although he has more frequently employed a curve and a cutter to his repertoire after being shifted to a starting role. Back in his prime with the Phillies, his heater sat in the 94-95 MPH range, but over recent years in the minors, it has fallen to around 91-92 MPH.
In theory, De Fratus will join pitchers like Mitchell White, Dennis Santana and Victor Gonzalez in the Oklahoma City starting rotation to begin the 2020 season. He will serve as emergency depth to the big league rotation. Because he was signed on a minors deal and has no big league options, the Dodgers would be likely to exhaust their 40-man roster options before purchasing the contract of De Fratus.