On Tuesday night the infamous Pedro Baez was the losing pitcher of record as he allowed a ninth-inning run in the Dodgers 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins. It was the first loss of the season for Baez, and the Dodger faithful made sure they let him hear it as he left the mound.
Pedro Baez never seems to get his fair treatment when it comes to Dodgers fans. As soon as he runs out of the bullpen gate, he is greeted by boos. Although he is an above average reliever, you would think he’s the second coming of Chris Hatcher by the way fans talk about him on social media., including in our comments.
There is no doubt that Pedro Baez was awful last September, posting an ERA over ten, but outside of September, he was pretty second. His second half stats were skewed by a horrible September, in the first half of the season, Baez had a 1.43 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .208 batting average which is very solid.
The career stats for Pedro Baez further suggest that he is an above average reliever overall. He has an ERA of 3.01, a WHIP of 1.13, and an opposing average allowed of .216. If his name were not Pedro Baez, then most fans would realize those are some solid numbers for a reliever. As soon as Pedro Baez is named, it automatically paints a negative bias in the minds of most Dodgers fans.
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To get better use out of Pedro Baez, Manager Dave Roberts needs to put Baez in better spots to succeed. One area where Baez struggles is with inherited runners on base. While Baez only allowed 10% of inherited baserunners to score last season, his career average is close to 30% of inherited baserunners coming into score. Baez is a better reliever when he comes into the game, and there are no runners on base. Dave Roberts either needs to bring Baez in to start an inning, or at least bring him in when no runners are on base. This is where Baez succeeds most.
The Dodgers and Dave Roberts also need to keep Baez in a sixth or seventh inning role. Tuesday night, Kenley Jansen should’ve pitched the ninth inning, not Baez. Pedro has pitched well in high leverage situations throughout his career as he has limited hitters to a .196 average in high leverage situations. However, it’s clear that Baez is still trying to get back on track after his debacle last September.
If the Dodgers use Pedro Baez in a sixth or seventh inning role, he will be an above average reliever for them. They need to avoid putting him in with runners on base and also using him in the biggest situations. Pedro Baez is what he is, which is a solid reliever when used to start the middle innings but he will struggle if used in tough late-game situations.
For 1.5 million, that is still a bargain for the Dodgers if he is a good middle relief pitcher. Let’s hope that Dave Roberts puts Pedro Baez into better situations if he does then Baez just might get some respect from Dodgers fans.