Dodgers Bullpen: Pedro Baez Has Finally Arrived

Although it took many years of patience from Dodgers management alongside endless moments of booing from the Los Angeles faithful, Pedro Baez has finally emerged as one of the club’s most trustworthy relievers.

Saturday night’s 1-1/3 innings of relief may have been one of his most impressive appearances to date. Although he walked one batter, he didn’t allow a single hit, shutting down the Brewers when the Dodgers needed it the most. Some pundits believe that it’s the effectiveness of his slider and changeup that has made the difference, but to me, it certainly appears that his self-confidence has elevated his game tremendously. He’s not pensive in the least—he wants to be given the ball in the game’s most critical moments, it seems.

“’I feel good to have won their confidence,” Baez told reporters recently. “I feel good. I just got to keep working every day and pushing to move forward.”

A converted third baseman, Baez made his big league debut in 2014 when he was equipped with a fastball that was a straight as an arrow and a slider that was very rough in composition. Scouts were impressed with his heat, though, so much so that he became a regular part of the relief crew the following year. Over the past few seasons, there were indeed some rough points, so many that a number of folks close to the club wondered when the team would cut ties with the 30-year-old righty.

His 2017 campaign seemed to show a bit of improvement, yet his peripheral numbers were still on the downside. Despite his 2.95 ERA, his FIP was an ugly 4.44 and his walk rate was still astronomically high at 4.1 BB/9. Still, knowing his ceiling was definitely on the high side, management stuck by him. The only question was if the investment would ever pay off. Many followers thought not.

“We felt strongly that this version of Pedro Baez was the best we had ever seen,” Dodgers’ boss Andrew Friedman said at the time. “And as we’re saying that to ourselves he was struggling. But just believing in his makeup, his right arm, and the weapons that he possessed at that time, we felt confident that he would get through it.”

Although Baez gave the impression of being the same shell of himself through most of 2018, he began to dramatically turn things around during the latter part of the summer. While he had a 4.14 ERA through early August, he posted a 0.38 ERA from August 13 until the end of the regular season. What’s more, from September 11 through the final regular-season game on October 1, the righty didn’t allow a single run while only allowing three hits. During that stretch, some argued that he was the most successful reliever in the majors.

As far as the 2018 postseason goes, Baez has already made four key appearances between both the NLDS and the NLCS. Through those four games, he has thrown 4-2/3 innings, striking out five while allowing just two walks and one hit. As the latter part of the NLCS approaches, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s used in the highest leverage scenarios, perhaps even throwing in the high-stress eighth-inning hold situations.

It’s quite remarkable how much things changed over the course of a single year. Although he was a member of the 2017 NLDS roster, he didn’t throw a single pitch in the series. Subsequently, he was left off the NLCS roster against the Cubs and the World Series roster against the Astros.

Yet, as well as his secondary pitches have emerged to compliment his fastball, he’s equipped with one other weapon that will be enormously valuable in his efforts moving forward—belief in his own personal ability to succeed.

 

Advertisements

Dodgers Recall Pedro Baez & Edward Paredes

baez2
(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

Ahead of the series finale in Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday morning recalled right-handed pitcher Pedro Baez and left-handed pitcher Edward Paredes from Triple-A Oklahoma City. To create room on the active roster, the Dodgers placed left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain and optioned left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson back to OKC.

Continue reading “Dodgers Recall Pedro Baez & Edward Paredes”

Dodgers Promote Caleb Ferguson to Majors, Option Pedro Baez to OKC

ferguson

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson from Triple-A Oklahoma City, with the youngster slated to make his big league debut with a start against the Pirates.

Continue reading “Dodgers Promote Caleb Ferguson to Majors, Option Pedro Baez to OKC”

The Bizarro Worlds of Pedro Baez & Tony Cingrani

baez2
(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

In case you missed yesterday’s column, the theme of the story surrounded the sputtering offense of the Dodgers, although we did reflect on how it seemed that other areas of the club sometimes have tendencies to under-perform on any given day.

Continue reading “The Bizarro Worlds of Pedro Baez & Tony Cingrani”

With Tom Koehler Down, Who Will Own the Eighth Inning?

Tom-Koehler
(Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

We’re halfway through the third week of spring training and, so far, the Los Angeles Dodgers news from Camelback Ranch has been fairly tame. Norovirus swept through the clubhouse this past week, sending over two dozen Dodgers back to their bunks (and, presumably, their bathrooms) for a couple days before running its course.

Continue reading “With Tom Koehler Down, Who Will Own the Eighth Inning?”

Dodgers 2018 Bullpen: Exploring Several Potential Eighth-Inning Relief Options

Josh-Fields
(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

Many media outlets who cover the Dodgers have been spending quite a bit of time this winter discussing the components of the prospective 2018 bullpen, and we are no exception. For the most part, the group who will make up this season’s relief corp is defined, but which roles each pitcher will ultimately assume—sans Kenley Jansen—may take some time to develop. Last season, after a few years of searching, the club’s quest to find a quality eighth-inning arm was finally fulfilled when righty Brandon Morrow eventually settled into the part; however, that exact pursuit will begin anew when players begin reporting to spring training next month.

Continue reading “Dodgers 2018 Bullpen: Exploring Several Potential Eighth-Inning Relief Options”

Dodgers Bullpen: What Lies Ahead for Pedro Baez?

petey

Needless to say, the journey through the 2017 season for righty reliever Pedro Baez was a rocky one. Near the halfway point of the campaign, his ERA was almost microscopic, yet when the Dodgers‘ roster was selected for the NLCS against the Cubs, his name was omitted. In early September, he was frequently booed by fans at Dodger Stadium, as skipper Dave Roberts took to the press a number of times to defend him.

Continue reading “Dodgers Bullpen: What Lies Ahead for Pedro Baez?”

Pedro Baez Still Could Make Dodgers’ NLDS Roster, in Theory

petey

The final series of the regular season in Colorado has been nothing short of action-packed, to say the least. The offense of the Dodgers has once again been showing some signs of waking up in critical situations, and the relief corps has proven that it’s capable of taming one of the hottest offenses on the senior circuit. Yet, among all these exciting twists and turns, there are still a few playoff roster spots up for grabs. One of the vacancies which has seemingly been garnering the most attention among those familiar with the club is the final spot in the Dodgers’ bullpen.

Continue reading “Pedro Baez Still Could Make Dodgers’ NLDS Roster, in Theory”

Coors Field Probably Isn’t the Best Place to Audition for a Playoff Roster

Hyun-Jin-Ryu
(Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports)

All week long, most of the discussions around the Dodgers blogosphere have been surrounding the impending 25-man roster for the upcoming NLDS. While the majority of the key decisions certainly have already been made, there are a few spots which have come down to the final series of the regular season, with a few of them involving the prospective starting rotation and bullpen. Unfortunately for the pitchers doing the auditioning, Coors Field isn’t exactly the ideal spot to plead a case.

Continue reading “Coors Field Probably Isn’t the Best Place to Audition for a Playoff Roster”

Dodgers 2017 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition

adrian-gonzalez-yasmani-grandal-yasiel-puig-corey-seager
(Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports)

*****Check out this link for our most recent round of roster projections*****

As there’s still the matters of wrapping up the division, vying for home-field advantage, and putting together some much-needed continuity inside the final nine games of the regular season, many fans of the Dodgers can’t help but look ahead and wonder which players will be called upon for the 25-man roster when the postseason arrives in just a few short weeks.

Continue reading “Dodgers 2017 Playoff Roster Projections: First Edition”