After a successful first season with the Los Angele Dodgers, Blake Treinen has proven himself to be the relief pitcher the team wants on the mound and can lean on in big moments.
He leads all Dodgers relievers with 59.1 innings pitched and has posted a 1.97 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 29.9% strikeout rate and 7.8% walk rate. His 1.7 WAR ranks him as the fifth most valuable reliever in baseball.
Manager Dave Roberts recently said Treinen has “been so valuable” to the team and that he is even on the level of Walker Buehler, the favorite to win the 2021 National League Cy Young Award.
“I think if you’re talking about pitchers on our staff, Walker certainly comes to mind, but Blake has been just as valuable as Walker, in my opinion,” Roberts said. “Every night he pitches he’s facing the best guys in their lineup.”
Treinen had a stretch of not allowing an earned run in 24.2 innings pitched, spanning from June 25 to Aug. 19. That was snapped by the New York Mets on Aug. 21, but Treinen has responded with 4.2 scoreless innings over his last five appearances.
“His slider is pretty much unhittable right now, he’s locating his cutter, two-seamer is moving a lot,” Will Smith said. “Just executing pitches and putting guys away.”
While some would argue the Dodgers should make Treinen their closer, Roberts would argue that h is too valuable in a fireman role that allows him to face the best hitters in the biggest spots each game instead of being a lock for the ninth inning.
What’s clicked for Treinen
Last season, Treinen was an important part of the Dodgers’ World Series run, but Roberts described his 2020 as “good, not great.”
Treinen pitched to a 3.86 ERA and 3.15 FIP across 25.2 innings, but this season he has looked like a completely new reliever and arguably the best in baseball.
“Transitioning as far as new ballclub, but in the second half I thought he was really good and throughout the postseason,” Roberts said of the improvement this year.
“I really had a good feeling about him coming into the season as far as knowing the surroundings, body is in shape because he obviously takes really good care of himself. The stuff is elite, the sinker, the cutter, the slider, all elite.
“And when he wants to run a four-seamer up there at 97 or 98 (mph), he can do that now.”
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