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How the Dodgers Can Fix Blake Treinen

Less is more could go a long way.



On Sunday, the Dodgers officially announced the signing of reliever Blake Treinen to a one-year deal.

For those unfamiliar with Treinen, you surely heard his name at some point in 2018, when he posted arguably one of the best seasons for a reliever in baseball history. However, in 2019, he fell off a cliff.

  Treinen (2018) Treinen (2019)
K% 31.8% 22.2%
BB% 6.7% 13.9%
ERA 0.78 4.91
fWAR 3.6 -0.3

Clearly, the discrepancy between these two sets of numbers are staggering. Those who follow baseball closely are aware that relievers are volatile and their year-to-year value changes often, but rarely do we see a drop-off as large as this.

Of course, the Dodgers signed Treinen with the intent of getting the 2018 version, but what exactly went wrong last season and what do the Dodgers need to fix to allow Treinen to break out again?

Let’s take a look.

Injuries

When looking at Treinen’s numbers last season it’s important to note he wasn’t quite pitching at full health. He battled a shoulder strain in June which kept him out for several weeks. Eventually, he went down in September with a stress reaction in his back.

Both of these injuries are difficult to pitch with as a hard-throwing reliever, and predictably his velocity took a dip. 

Even with this velocity decline, Treinen was still throwing hard, averaging just shy of 96 MPH on his fastball. There is a different facet of Treinen’s game where his injuries may have taken a more significant toll.

Command

On the left is Treinen’s sinker location in 2018, on the right is 2019.

 

While not entirely far off, his primary pitch was clearly finding the zone better two years ago. This is also illustrated in his walk rate, which jumped from 6.7% to 13.9%.

Wild command is usually just dismissed by uttering the broad term “mechanical issue”, but in Treinen’s case, there’s a clear cause. 

This is Treinen’s average horizontal movement each month for the past two seasons. The trend is pretty linear: as time went on, so did the movement on his two fastballs. As a general rule, more movement is good, but Treinen essentially outdid himself. By continuing to add movement to what was already working, he couldn’t command what he was surplussing and his attempt to improve himself backfired.

The average horizontal movement of about -3.5 inches worked terrific in 2018, and when Treinen tried to double that to -6.0 and -7.0, things went off the rails. Surely, new Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior will look to bring Treinen back to what made him so successful in 2018: less movement, more command. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Treinen is a high-upside, low-risk signing that can only benefit the Dodgers. While Treinen probably isn’t as good as his 2018, he definitely isn’t as bad as his 2019. Realistically, with a full season of health, Treinen can solidify himself as a nightmare against right-handed batters and reliable bridge to Kenley Jansen. 

NEXT: Buehler Discusses Potential Extension to Remain in LA

Written by Wyatt Asher

Comments

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  1. This was the first article worth reading on here in a long time. Great read and loved the diagrams to go with it. As a guru, and former player, I really enjoyed the deeper info and numbers too. Thank you Wyatt!

    • You were nobody now you go on here and act like a know it all who’s opinion and approval is worth more. Washed up never-was

      • Grow up dude. You write the most reactionary, emotional takes on this site day after day and call it “deep”. Talk about the article. Give some thoughtful feedback. There is no excuse for this daily garbage. Being a bully online is real easy. But why? Why is this what you want to spend your time doing…? Do better Richard.

        • What a shock It’s Morris the other guy sent from ownership to try and brainwash people. Guess what you guys are failing. Everyone has caught on and are speaking out in case you haven’t noticed around here

          • What on earth did you just say? Were you so emotionally Awol that you couldn’t make sense? I see exactly what is going on here. Insecure grown men worrying about other grown men knowing more, being rational, and calling you out for being a hopeless bully with nothing original or constructive to say. But what i really think…you Richard are a lonely guy who needs some love. I take no comfort in that. So, Love to you Richard. No conspiracy here. My goal is to make sure that the writers on this site who go the distance get more for their effort than giving lonely guys like you space to work out their deep insecurities. Do you really think that Wyatt spent time researching and fact checking this article just to give you space to attack people for appreciating and agreeing with his take? Do better Richard. One more thing Richard. I’m not a guy. Not the “other guy”, not a guy at all. And when you start claiming that commenters are sent from ownership to “brainwash people”…well that is certifiable…crazy.

  2. So the Dodgers FO laid out a fortune for a one year run on a broken player who they think they can fix? Quite possible that he may not even get to perform due to lingering problems….Dodgers medical and rehabilitation to benefit another team once his one year contract runs? FO watching to any DIY home rehab shows!! Way better opportunities missed by Dodgers FO!! I hope I’m wrong, remains to be seen.

    • Better watch out I think that was a reactionary and emotional take because you spoke too much truth

  3. Excellent points, JSA. No club option for 2021? Ouch!

    Let’s hope Blake returns to form for the entire season, so he earns the $10M, hopefully helps us to a championship and hopefully likes being here enough to want to renew. Did he appear to be physically sound when they inked the contract? One would hope they know so.

    Or is he, yikes, still even slightly off from one or both injuries?

    • Hello fellas,can we all just get along.Everone needs to behave Where all grown adults. stop getting but hurt,and don’t let you’re feelings get the best out of you.If by any chance any one feels lonely or needs a hug,This is not the site for that.Lets talk baseball

  4. Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it a necessity last year to be looking for a left handed shut down reliever? Will smith and pomeranz were exactly fitting of that need, the Dodgers didn’t even try! Instead they sign Blake? Injury history and not exactly a need since kenley is the man like Roberts says! Its always good to add to a weak October bull pen but the signing is confusing once again from Andy!

  5. The concerning part of the article is .“a reliable bridge for Kenley Jannsen”. The issue is that Jannsen is unreliable!!!! Set Up Guy and then Urias. KJ is useless. Ask Buhler!

  6. Thank you Wyatt for taking the time to write this thoughtful, researched article. Dodgers Nation needs more of this. Hope you continue to contribute to the site.

  7. Hello fellas,can we all just get along.Everone needs to behave Where all grown adults. stop getting but hurt,and don’t let you’re feelings get the best out of you.If by any chance any one feels lonely or needs a hug,This is not the site for that.Lets talk baseball

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