If there is one thing the Dodgers have learned over the years it’s that you can truly never have enough pitching. An Andrew Friedman special is low risk high reward relievers and that is what Brad Boxberger could be in 2019.
The Dodgers have one of the more underrated bullpens in baseball and after signing Joe Kelly this off-season their pen is stacking up nicely. Still, if there is one thing that we should know by now its the old saying “you can never have enough pitching” is a true statement. With relievers such as Tony Cingrani and Josh Fields being injury prone, the Dodgers should sign a reclamation project reliever and they can get one that doesn’t need much work in Brad Boxberger.
The Diamondbacks acquired Boxberger hoping that he could bolster their bullpen and serve as the team’s primary closer. That didn’t quite work out as he pitched to a 4.39 ERA in 2018. The primary culprit for Boxberger was an increase in walks. In 2017, Brad Boxberger walked 3.3 batters per nine innings and in 2018 that jumped all the way up to 5.4 batters walked per nine innings.
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Outside of the increase in walks, Boxberger was in line with his usual statistics. He allowed a .221 opponent’s average in 2018 which was slightly up from the .215 average he allowed in 2017. He allowed seven hits per nine innings in both seasons and that is right in line with his 6.9 hits allowed per nine innings pitched. Brad Boxberger also held up in strikeout department where he averaged 11.9 K/9IP which is also in line with his career norm of 11.6 K/9IP.
If Boxberger can get back his command of the strike zone, he could be a low risk high reward signing that has panned out for the Dodgers in recent seasons like Joe Blanton and Brandon Morrow. One stat that Brad improved on in 2018 was his ground ball percentage. For his career he has gotten a 41.7% ground ball percentage and this jumped up to 46.1% in 2018. With the majority of his games in Dodger Stadium he can get away with more fly balls than he did at Chase Field but a higher ground ball percentage won’t hurt.
Andrew Friedman doesn’t like to spend big money on his bullpen and to this point he has put together solid pens at a low cost other than Kenley Jansen’s big deal and the newly signed Joe Kelly. Adding Brad Boxberger would be a relatively low cost move that shouldn’t cost more than a couple million and he is a prime bounce back candidate for 2019.