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2018 Dodgers Player Reviews: Pedro Baez

Some people can’t handle the truth. In the second half of the season and down the stretch, Pedro Baez was the truth. It’s funny because Baez’s final numbers don’t look that differently from the rest of his career. However, it felt like Baez was a right-handed version of a shutdown reliever like Josh Hader down the stretch and in the postseason. Baez clearly harnessed something – that something I don’t know if we ever see again. The bottom line is no matter how things end up for the Baezian wonder; we will always have those days from late in the season of 2018 to remember him fondly by.

Early Season Doldrums/Demotion in June

Baez struggled and had fans barking when he opened the 2018 season with a 4.50 ERA over his first 13 games. Then, that bled into May and although he got things back on track; his role was that of a middle relief innings-eater. In fact, Baez was demoted to the minor leagues on June 6th for roster flexibility (Caleb Ferguson came up).

In late July – Baez wandered back to Los Angeles like a stray cat. Still, more of the same. He allowed a couple of runs for a 6.00 ERA in three innings pitched. But a brighter day would come.

This timeless photo more beautiful than the Mona Lisa should be someday hanging on the walls at Blue Heaven Studios in South Pasadena.

Late Summer Breakout

In August, something flipped. There wasn’t a lot written on the subject, but Pedro Baez become a dominant reliever. He threw 12.2 innings in the month – striking out 15 batters. Baez finished August with a 2.84 ERA and season-low 0.70 WHIP. In fact, the only game he allowed a run in the entire month was in 1/3 inning of work at Coors Field on August 9th. Other than that, Baez didn’t allow a run to score the entire month.

A power fastball in the upper 90’s seemed to be the magic behind the act. Baez was not afraid to challenge hitters, and when he did they did not succeed.

September

By the season’s final calendar month, Baez was throwing in games more towards the back of the bullpen rather than eating innings. It was obvious the confidence in him had grown on the part of the coaching staff, and he continued to flourish.

In 10 innings in September and October, Baez allowed a lone run and a 0.90 WHIP. Again, the only run Baez allowed in the month was a home run at Coors Field on September 9th.

The Dodgers were headed for the postseason, and Pedro Baez was a fixture on the roster.

Postseason

It felt like Baez was on top of his game in October against the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. He threw 2.1 scoreless (and hitless) innings in the NLDS, only to follow that up with 4.1 scoreless against the Brewers. Baez struck out 10 batters in those two series combined.

There was a large fear entering the NLCS of the Brewers’ Josh Hader – but it was apparent to me that the Dodgers had a right-handed version of him in Baez.

Surely, Baez proved he was human in the World Series against Boston. He pitched well, but finally relinquished the complete dominance he displayed the final few months of the season and first two series of the postseason. Still, his 3.86 ERA in the World Series proved he was a key cog on a World Series ball club.

Final Thoughts

Baez really proved that all the times of duress with him as a Dodger were worth the joy he brought in 2018. Of course, it’s hard to say exactly what you get moving forward. Such is life – and life with Pedro Baez. There is the possibility that in his age-31 season he remains a valuable asset. Also is the possibility that we saw the best flashes of Baez we will ever see in the final days of the 2018 season. Either way, let the final scroll state that this man made his mark.

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. Sometimes a person finally has things click. Look at Turner and Muncy. Hopefully Baez has had the same type epiphany and found the mechanics and mental place to allow him to control his incredible ability. He finally stopped walking people. It was maddening as he would continually walk the first batter or two he faced.
    I know he has worked hard and I am glad that he was successful and hopefully has found the answer going forward.
    He can be an important guy in the Dodger Bullpen if he can be the Pedro of August and September 2018.

    • Except for that 1 HR he gave up in Game 5 of WS (CK had already given up 3 before that), Baez was much much better at keeping the baseball in the yard. Could not say the same for many others on this staff.

  2. Of course Baez figures it out in 2018 and not 2017 when it could’ve put us over the top. Typical Dodgers

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