The 2017 season was symbolic of a roller coaster for Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Pedro Baez, who went from the club’s initial setup man in April to being relegated to mop-up duty by the end of the September.
After an excellent first half, Baez struggled mightily during the latter months of the season. He pitched to a 5.13 ERA and 1.48 WHIP over 26.1 innings, which was in contrast to a 1.43 ERA and 1.22 WHIP prior to the All-Star break.
Despite the disastrous conclusion to his season, Baez is confident he can turn the page and become an important piece of the Dodgers bullpen, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
“I believe in myself,” said Baez, who turns 30 next month. “I feel 100 percent. I’m confident I can help and have a good season.”
“I worked physically and mentally over the winter at the academy in the Dominican,” he said. “I missed a lot of pitches last year and I lost focus, that was a big part of that.”
All-in-all, Baez posted a 2.95 ERA, 4.44 FIP and 1.33 WHIP across 64 innings last season. His peripherals trended in the wrong direction, as Baez struck out less batters and walked more than he did in 2016.
Despite being included on the National League Division Series roster, Baez didn’t appear in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, then he was left off the roster as the Dodgers advanced. Kenley Jansen vouched for his inclusion on the NLDS roster, while manager Dave Roberts also supported Baez making the team.
With the departure of Brandon Morrow, Baez will have an opportunity in Spring Training to seize the up-for-grabs eighth inning role. He’ll have plenty of competition, however, from the likes of Yimi Garcia and Tom Koehler, among others.