The Dodgers have reportedly signed right-handed pitcher Zach Neal to a minor-league deal per Ken Rosenthal. Neal has pitched 84 2/3 innings in the majors over the past two seasons with the Oakland A’s and has a 4.89 ERA with a 2-4 record.
Neal has ties with general manager Farhan Zaidi from back when Zaidi worked for Oakland’s front office. Neal has had difficulty staying in the majors, but in 8 seasons in the minors, he holds an even 56-56 record with a 3.84 ERA and a 3.39 strikeout to walk ratio.
Neal isn’t a pitcher that will blow hitters away but is a veteran pitcher that could compete for a roster spot coming out of spring training. His average fastball sits at the low 90’s, but Neal still manages to get hitters to make soft contact. Neal held hitters to a 86 MPH exit velocity last season. He mixes in a slider, curveball, and change-up to keep hitters off balance.
He was drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 17th round in 2010 and joined the A’s in 2014. In the majors, Neal has reverse splits holding left-handed hitters to a .250 average while allowing right-handed hitters to hit .344.
Neal is another arm that will compete for a roster spot in spring training. He’s a pitcher that attacks the strike zone and projects to be another arm out of the bullpen to eat up innings. His numbers won’t wow any fanbase, but if Rich Hill is any indication, the will to get to the bigs might bring out the best in him.
The invitation will mark the fourth time Neal has been invited to spring training. In his career, he hasn’t fared well with a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings while holding hitters to a .286 batting average.
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