With much of the attention being given to righty flamethrower Brusdar Graterol as far as newly acquired relief pitchers go, another bullpen arm that could make some noise this spring belongs to southpaw Reymin Guduan.
For those fans not familiar with Guduan, the Dodgers signed him as a minor league free agent last December. Up until that point, the Dominican native had spent his entire career in the Houston Astros system, where he contributed 10 years throwing in the minors and parts of three seasons pitching in the majors.
Guduan, 27, made his Cactus League debut with the Dodgers on Saturday by throwing a perfect sixth inning in the team’s 10-4 victory over division rival San Francisco.
In early August of last year, Guduan was suspended by the Astros for the remainder of the season for violating team policy. He was later activated from the restricted list and designated for assignment in September, eventually clearing waivers to become a free agent. There was never any formal release indicating the reasoning behind the suspension, but some reporters have stated that it was a disciplinary issue revolving around a clubhouse altercation at Triple-A.
In those informal reports, it was suggested that Guduan threw baseball equipment at a teammate after he was egged for not being able to throw a strike. Indeed, if there’s anything that’s hampering the progress of Guduan, it’s his spotty command.
Regardless of the accusations, in a concise scouting report by John Sickels at minorleagueball.com two years ago, the control factor came to the forefront.
“Guduan throws extremely hard for a lefty (normally sitting in the 95-97 MPH range). He’s been clocked as high as 100 in the minors. The fastball has movement and he combines it with an impressive slider. Unfortunately, Guduan’s pitches have so much movement and velocity that he has trouble controlling them. Despite all the hard stuff, he’s had consistent difficulty keeping right-handed batters from hitting him hard, probably due to lack of an effective off-speed pitch. His control has improved from terrible to below average over the last two years and further improvement could make him dominant. That hasn’t happened yet, though. No one will give up on him quickly due to his arm strength.”
Here’s a look at where his fastball and slider have sat velocity-wise during his time in the majors:
The Dodgers are evidence of one of those teams that think there might be something there with regards to talent. Apparently, Los Angeles management liked the 6-foot-4, 205-pounder enough to extend an invitation to the big league side of spring camp.
Lifetime in the minors, Guduan has appeared in 243 games—31 of which were starts—and has thrown an even 382 innings, registering a not-so-impressive 4.64 ERA and a 1.715 WHIP. On top of those numbers, he has tallied career marks of an 11.1 K/9 and a whopping 6.2 BB/9.
If there’s a silver lining to Guduan’s game, it’s the fact that he’s shown he can keep the ball in the yard. He has allowed just 22 homers over his 10 years on the farm, translating to a reasonable 0.52 HR/9. What’s more, he has spent much of that time throwing in the pitcher-friendly confines of the Pacific Coast League.
During his brief time in the bigs, Guduan has made 32 appearances, registering a monstrous 8.03 ERA and a 1.986 WHIP alongside a 9.5 K/9 and a 5.8 BB/9 over 24-2/3 innings.
Obviously, he has no options on his player contract, so in order for him to be promoted to the majors, the Dodgers would need to purchase his contract from Triple-A Oklahoma City or wherever he begins the season.
Nevertheless, if he shows that he’s able to finally harness his control and keep runners off base on the farm, a major league promotion would not be out of the realm of possibility.