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Dodgers: Doc Compares LHP Darien Núñez to Aroldis Chapman

New guy gets a WILD comparison on day 1.



The Dodgers made a move prior to Thursday’s game in Miami to get another arm up. They called up left-handed hurler Darien Núñez to make his MLB debut at the age of 28. It was a surprise to many fans given that there are few who have watched Nunez over the last few years. 

But Núñez has moved through the Dodgers system relatively quickly after defecting from Cuba. He made his professional debut in 2018 and the 2020 season was obviously a wash due to the pandemic. But he has impressed at all levels and quickly made his way to Triple-A this year. 

With the OKC Dodgers, Núñez was striking out a bunch of guys and keeping the ERA down. When he struggled, it was with his command. But when asked about Núñez before Thursday’s game, Dave Roberts gave him a WILD comparison. 

I think people kind of talk about comps, and he’s sort of a comp to Aroldis Champman. From Cuba, left-handed, kind of has the same kind of demeanor on the mound and characteristics. He’s fastball, change-up, and he mixes in a little breaking ball. 

If Núñez can bring the same life and action on his fastball that Chapman has, the Dodgers will be in a GREAT spot. He was supposed to make his big league debut on Thursday, but Julio Urias was able to pitch deep into the game and hand things over to Blake Treinen.

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Roberts later said that they would have put Núñez in the game if the lead was a little bigger. But the expectation is that he will be able to pitch at some point this weekend. With a depleted bullpen, Núñez will help out a lot leading up to the All-Star Game break next week. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. “Roberts later said that they would have put Núñez in the game if the lead was a little bigger.”
    This has to be one of the most absurd reasons I’ve ever heard! The Dodgers can blow a lead whether it’s a 2-run lead or an 8-run lead. When LA blows a lead, it’s because TWO things have happened: 1) Pitching has gone south and, 2) Hitting has gone south with the pitching. It won’t matter how big or how small the lead is. If you have confidence in your pitcher to throw strikes, put him in. What’s the difference between that and putting in a pitcher who couldn’t find the strike zone with a map and a GPS…and then sitting there and watching him load the bases? How many of the Dodger starters given up a HR in the 1st inning? WAY too many. How many have given up a HR when the game is close, with the Dodgers on the short end to start with? How many have had a fantastic breaking ball that makes the opposing batter look silly, only to have a 1-2 or 0-2 count, then throw a fastball that looks as big as a watermelon when it reaches home plate…and watch it disappear into the outfield seats? It comes down to this: it makes no difference how much your lead is over the other team. Either you believe your pitcher can do it or he can’t.

  2. If he’s at the Aroldis Chapman wild and crazy beginning phase we’re in for more of the recent phase! Get him straightened out development minors then you’re talking needed help!

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