According to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN, the Dodgers are interested in signing right hander Scott Baker. The 33-year old right hander was released by the Yankees earlier this week after a less than impressive showing in spring camp.
Baker was a regular in the Minnesota Twin’s rotation for over six years from 2005-2011. Until he succumbed to Tommy John surgery in 2012. Baker never put up very impressive numbers with the Twins. Although part of that could have been because of the offense rich environment of the Metrodome, and Target Field.
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Baker does have a lot of pitches in his arsenal, but none of them are considered extraordinary. He had a plus fastball, (Two-seamer and Four-seamer), he also uses a cutter. Against right handers he primarily throws the four-seamer/slider, but against lefties he uses his two-seamer. According to the scouting reports, the rest of his pitches are not exactly incredible. He has a slider, changeup, and a knuckle curve. However he no longer throws the curve because of his injuries, and his change and slider are not thrown as often. He has also seen his velocity on his fastballs dip down into the upper 80’s as well. He’s always been a solid control pitcher, but can’t reach the same speeds that he used to before he got hurt.
After debuting for the Twins in 2005, Baker has averaged a 4.25 ERA/4.04 FIP, along with about 12 wins per season. Baker won 11 games in 2008, posting an 11-4 record, with a 3.45 ERA/3.79 FIP. That year he whiffed 141 and walked just 42. In 2009, he finished with a 15-9 record, and 4.37 ERA/4.05 FIP. That season he struck out 162, and walked 48 in 200 innings pitched.
Those were his best seasons. In 2010, Baker finished with a 12-9 record, and posted a 4.49 ERA/3.96 FIP. That year he whiffed 148 and walked 43. The following season in 2011, he made just 21 starts, before getting hurt.
Baker has always put up good strikeout to walk ratios, but has been homer prone, and allowed too many base runners. During his nine MLB seasons Baker has a career strikeout to walk ratio of nearly 3.5-1. Overall He has posted a 66-52 record, 4.25 ERA/4.04 FIP, and a 7.1 strikeout per nine rate in 191 games. He’s allowed a 2.1 walk per nine rate, but a 1.2 home run per nine rate. He averaged 27 home runs allowed per season. This could be something park adjusted, and pitching in spacious Chavez Ravine would alleviate some of those long balls, but being a fly ball pitcher is never a good thing.
Baker pitched in just three games for the Cubs in 2013, then signed with the Rangers last season. He had a rough year, posting a 3-4 record with a 5.47 ERA/4.78 FIP in 25 games. He started eight games in Texas, whiffing 55 and walking 14 in a little over 80 frames.
Baker was drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 2003 amateur draft, making his MLB debut at the age of 23. He pitched in four games for the Yankees this spring, posting a 7.84 ERA, allowing nine earned runs on fourteen hits in a little over ten innings of work. Although he did strike out ten and walk none.
I would assume he would be signed to take over Hyun-jin Ryu’s spot in the rotation until the Korean left hander returns from injury. I just hope he doesn’t turn out to be another Ricky Nolasco. Limiting walks is great, but not allowing runs, and keeping the ball in the park is better.
What do you guys think of Scott Baker?