The Dodgers front office has had a busy week. Clayton Kershaw’s return to the team was short-lived, as he was removed from Thursday’s game after just 62 pitches and subsequently placed on the DL with a lower back strain. With Kershaw’s injury, the team now has 4 of the 5 starters from their early-season rotation on the DL – including Maeda (hip), Hill (blister), Ryu (groin).
In a move to shore up organizational pitching depth, the team claimed left-handed pitcher P.J. Conlon off waivers from the New York Mets.
A huge thank you to the Mets organization for everything over the past few years, especially the opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream of playing in the Major Leagues. I’m excited for this next chapter with the #Dodgers and can’t wait to get started!
— PJ Conlon (@pjconlon29) June 2, 2018
The 24 year old pitcher, who will report to Triple-A Oklahoma City, made his MLB debut with the Mets on May 7th and in two appearances with the team has an unimpressive 11.12 ERA. His Triple-A numbers are also unspectacular, as he posted a 6.58 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 10 walks in 39 innings. However, his numbers in lower levels of the organization look much better. He’s drawn comparisons to Jamie Moyer, and justifiably so. His stuff is far from overpowering – his fastball sits between 87 to 90 mph, and he depends on his ability to control all four of his pitches to keep hitters off balance and draw soft contact. For most of his professional career he has managed to do exactly that. He was named to the South Atlantic League’s All-Star team after leading the league in wins and ERA. He rocketed through the Met’s organization, spending no more than 1 year at each level in their system.
Here’s how he describes his pitching philosophy:
I’d describe myself as a shorter lefty who doesn’t have great velocity. I’m about 6-foot and will top out at 91 on a good day. I’m usually between 87-90, but I can run the ball and do different things with it. I don’t really throw anything straight.
I pride myself in being able to throw all four of my pitches for strikes, and for the most part I’m able to put them where I want. My plan of attack is basically to keep guys guessing and off balance. I don’t let them get too comfortable by being too predictable.
In his short time in the Majors, Conlon has looked very hittable. Nonetheless, this front office has been aggressive in their pursuit of organizational depth, especially at the minor league level, and has a knack for polishing “diamonds in the rough.”
Interesting note: Conlon was born in Belfast, Ireland and became the first Irish-born player to reach the Majors in over 70 years. He played college baseball at the University of San Diego.
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