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The Dodgers Could Take a Look at Brad Boxberger

Recently DFA’d by the Royals, Boxberger is only a year removed from being a solid back-end guy.

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 13: Pitcher Brad Boxberger #31 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 13, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The Dodgers need bullpen help, which is no secret. The thing is, where do they get it from? The bargain bin or proven sources? How about a combination of both? The Dodgers could find that in Brad Boxberger.

After the Kansas City Royals designated him for assignment on Sunday, I can guarantee you many teams are lining up for a chance at a minor league pact for his services.

To get an accurate mental picture of what exactly Brad Boxberger is at this stage in his career, let’s start four years ago:

2015

In 2015, Brad Boxberger was an All-Star. He finished the season with a 3.71 ERA and 3.92 ERA to go with a fantastic 27.1 K% and 41 saves for the Tampa Bay Rays. Then, he got hurt.

2016

2016 saw Boxberger only toss 24 1/3 innings to a 4.81 ERA and 6.17 DRA. Yikes. However, it was a small sample size and he wholly deserves the benefit of the doubt considering his excellent track record prior to getting hurt, the injury itself, and the small nature of the sample size. He rebounded in 2017, though.

2017

2017 was about as good of a rebound Boxberger could have had albeit in another small sample size of 29 1/3 innings. He held a 3.38 ERA and 2.89 DRA. Pretty good. He even held an elite 33.1 K%.

2018

In 2018, he became the closer for the division-rival Arizona Diamondbacks and picked up 32 saves and a 4.39 ERA. The earned run average is not great, but it is important to note that with a new team, Boxberger changed his usage rates in a way that were not conducive to success. In the first half, Boxberger’s ERA was 3.06, but in the second half, it rose to 7.00.

2019

Boxberger is seeing once again: bad luck.

Although Boxberger has gotten ‘hit around’ this season, he is in a very good class of relief pitching. He stands in the 95th percentile in allowed exit velocity and the 68th percentile in hard hit rate, according to Baseball Savant. For reference, Kenley Jansen is allowing a 98th percentile exit velocity on the season. Julio Urias a 99th percentile. Pretty good.

Overall

There is reason to believe Boxberger could thrive in a setting that needs him and learning from one of the best pitching coaches in the business in Rick Honeycutt. In no way, shape, or form is Boxberger going to be the savior of the ‘pen. We should hunt for bigger fish. Still, he is someone to keep an eye on. There is a great deal of potential with someone who saved 32 games as recently as last year.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

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  1. You forgot he is a local boy from Tustin and USC! His 2014 stats pre-injury status were off the charts! Struck out over 100+ in 60+ innings? Let’s face it, the Diamondbacks needed a back end scape goat and didn’t want to pay a long term deal in arbitration and the Royals are 25 games out before the all star break and didn’t want to pay the undisclosed bonus money to go no where fast. Bring the kid to LA…..and I agree, Utley did nothing wrong

  2. Chase Utley slid extremely late. Actually, he didnt even slide. He played the game hard, I give him that, but his slide was deserving of a fine or suspension.

  3. Would he be open to a minor league contract? If so, good move. Bad idea to just give him a 25 man roster spot when cellar-dwellers like KC didn’t need him.

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