Dodgers Sign Justin De Fratus

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(Rich Crimi/MiLB.com)

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.

According to our friend Jeff Todd at MLBTR, Los Angeles over the weekend signed 32-year-old journeyman pitcher Justin De Fratus to a minor league deal.

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.

 

33 thoughts on “Dodgers Sign Justin De Fratus

  1. In the yes vs. no on Andrew Friedman vote, I’m much more heavily to the yes side, but today I have to call him out. His inactivity has caused Dennis to write an entire post on a pitcher whose last decent season in the majors was 5 years ago and who, most likely, will never put on an L.A. Dodger uniform.
    Which of these names doesn’t fit?: Cole, Strasburg, Rendon, Betts, Lindor, Hader, Clevinger, Bryant, Donaldson, De Fratus.

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      1. I’m afraid we’ll have to disqualify you from contributing here any longer Dennis. It was nice while it lasted. 🙂

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  2. Maybe if we keep pounding on DeFratus, he’ll turn into another Morrow (the L.A. version). Someone should come up with an algorithm that goes into the archives of blogs and pulls up negative statements from commenters on guys who turn their careers around. If ballplayers have to put up with our unflattering comments, we should have to be made to face the music when we’re totally wrong. If you’re reading this Justin, I apologize in advance.

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      1. So tell me my friend, do you keep a written list of obscure Dodger relievers just so you can insert them into conversations like this? Although I must admit, the name Qackenbush has a certain panache and is definitely worth inserting into any conversation.

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      2. Another blast from the past. I just checked his numbers and they are testimony to how relief pitchers’ years go all over the place, results wise. He had a pretty good career, including a very good half year here and a pretty horrible one.

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      3. You left one out. Guduan.

        I’m gonna just sit and wait. I see no reason to seek conclusion on these issues when it’s still the first week of January. Patience. There’s still time for a steely eyed Friedman demarche. I’m confident that either something will happen, or something won’t happen. Either way, that’s a happening, and a happening is what we are looking for.

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      4. If we ignore the fact that the Astros suspended him for disciplinary reasons last year, Guduan probably has more potential than De Fratus. But, it’s not exactly the same as getting Hader (which I assume will happen tomorrow).

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      5. Tomorrow’s Sunday. Give it another day.

        Yeah, I hear Guduan has some unhittable stuff. Maybe because it’s nowhere near the strike zone, but, who knows.

        Have you heard the joke going around about him? It’s a Guduan. (feels to me we’ve been here before…….)

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Yes, I believe we have been here before, but a good joke is worth repeating.
        My man Olaf works on Sundays. That’s when the trade will go down. They need to get Hader on a plane for a Monday press conference.

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  3. I remember a lot of guys who came out of no where and had really good years. One classic flame out that stands out to me was Von McDaniel. He was a 19 year old when he debuted for the Cardinals in 1957. His first game he threw a 2 hit shut out over the Dodgers. He went on to a 7-5 record that year with an ERA in the mid 3’s. He never won another MLB game. Trouble with his mechanics so messed him up that he turned into a 3rd baseman in the minors. He died in the mid 90’s. His brother, Lindy, was a star reliever for the Cardinals in those years. Lindy is still living in his home town of Hollis Oklahoma and is 84 years old.

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  4. MLB.com story about the 11 top free agents remaining. Naturally, none of them are connected with the Dodgers. Although there is one they should revisit in my mind, Daniel Hudson. I just think the guys experience and the fact he has K type stuff and can get lefty’s out makes him very valuable. Not sure what he would cost, but i would not like seeing him go to another NL rival.

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    1. I just read that MLB.com article about the next 10 World Series winners. We win in 2022. Yea us! This year it’s the Yankees over the Braves. Don’t know about the Braves. The Yankees look pretty good.

      Hudson huh? Yeah, sure. Why not. He’s as good as Kelly, right?

      The Patriots lost. That’s a good thing I suppose. I got the Seahawks and the Saints today. Donaldson? He’s not coming to LA so …. who cares.

      98.5 wins is the Dodgers O/U. What you got?

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      1. I think 95 at least. Unless someone else does something dramatic, they still are the class of the division. I think Buehler becomes the ace, and CK will be good for at least 14 wins.

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  5. Story on Dodger web site about Verdugo. He is HOPING to be ready for opening day. I would think that is the main reason Joc has not been shipped out to some other team. Verdugo is not involved in any baseball related activity. And from the sound of his comments, I do not think he is all that sure it will happen anytime soon. Expecting him to be ready to go at the end of March is stretching it a bit.

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    1. What exactly is wrong with Verdugo? He’s been out months. He’s young, he should heal quickly. Now, in early January, we are hearing late March? That doesn’t add up.

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      1. He had a problem during his rehab back in August, and the initial diagnosis was a back strain, and the an oblique strain. So far it seems that the back is feeling ok some days, and not so ok on others. Not sure what kind of exercises he is doing to get it better, but to me it sounds like they really do not know what or why his back is taking so long to heal.

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      2. I wonder how Verdugo’s back problem compares with what Kershaw had/has? I know that CK started training differently in order to avoid more problems and I guess it’s worked fairly well recently.

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      3. I think what surprises me is that these young players who are in really good shape are having back problems. That was part of the reason Seager was out for a while.

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      4. A back strain. An oblique. That was in August. Last picture I saw he looked like a cream puff. The Dodgers are “not concerned about his long term health going forward”, meaning what? they expect him to live to a ripe old age? If he’s not available that is a huge loss. He’s only 23 and slashed .294/..342/.475. Numbers like that are not easily replaceable.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Quote today from Kasten, not sure which site it was on, but I think it was one of the Dodger blogs…digest or blue or one of those. He quoted that the team they have right now is not the team that will be in the playoffs. He also said that he expected them to go over the tax. Now whether he is just blowing smoke to placate the masses remains to be seen.

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    1. I read that too.

      They are open for business, but there is really no need to leap off the dock. Look at the roster. It’s good. It would be nice to know if Verdugo was going to make it, but he wasn’t around most of the second half and we were fine. If need be we can cruise to the deadline as is and control the Division. We have several young exciting players in their prime and a stacked system. I say again, we are in the drivers seat here.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am not optimistic about Verdugo at all. It just sounds like he is no where near ready to do baseball related stuff. And spring training only 5 weeks away. We will see if he attends the pre season workouts they have at Dodger Stadium.

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  7. Look what happened to trace Thompson, he started off well, hurt his back, and was never the same. Hope we don’t see a repeat with verdugo. I am getting a little nervous about him, though.
    I’ll take the under on the 98.5 scoop. I see the team winning 95 to 98 games this season, which should still earn the division, and possibly home field advantage, in the playoffs, if we can get out of the first round.

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    1. That quote from Kasten was on Dodger Report. Finally found the re Post of it on MLBTR. I would be nervous about Verdugo too there Keith. He injured it on artificial turf, so I am thinking when they were in Tampa. He went on the IL on the 6th of August and never returned. I think that lack of progress is one reason they have not dealt Joc yet.

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    1. DC signs another player, Thames was signed to a 1 year deal today. So, they are loading up. We are doomed! The Rockies signed Dodger nemesis Kelvy Thomlinson to a deal! Guy hurt LA many times.

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