Pedro Baez has been an enigma for the Dodgers. It wasn’t too long ago that he was booed entering games at Dodger Stadium. Was he really better in 2018?
Should Dodger fans boo their own pitcher before he even throws a pitch at Dodger Stadium? This was a debate the last few years and it was because of Pedro Baez. Baez has been an enigma for Dodger fans and he has not received the benefit of the doubt from many of them. After being booed over the past few seasons, Baez turned into a beloved member of the Dodgers in 2018.
While Pedro Baez was solid as usual in 2018, it was not like he had some sort of breakthrough season, and his stats overall were worse than his previous two seasons. In 2018, Pedro Baez allowed a .238 average against and .267 OBP in high leverage situations. That is worse than his 2017 average against of .183 and his 2016 average of .196 allowed in high leverage outings.
When it comes to stranding runners on base, Baez left 79% of inherited runners stranded in 2018, which was also lower than his previous two seasons. In 2017, he left 84% of baserunners on base and in 2016 his stranded rate was an even 80%. Pedro Baez’s breakout actually happened in 2016 and while he was solid last season, it was not like he had his best season.
More from LA Dodgers News
- Kevin Kiermaier being ‘top target’ to replace Cody Bellinger is bad sign for Dodgers
- Giants laughably sign pitcher that Dodgers absolutely own
- Dave Roberts’ quote about Padres in NLDS should motivate Dodgers
- Former Astro seemingly takes uncalled for shot at Cody Bellinger after Cubs deal
- Dodgers’ 2023 lineup without Trea Turner isn’t as impressive as it should be
Baez’s 2018 season was about the media of his 2016 and 2017 season. While it was a good year it was not his best, although it was nice to see Dodger fans finally show Petey some love. This article is not meant to rain on his parade though as Pedro was much better in one category and that is the long ball. Baez allowed just 0.64 HR/9IP which was cut in half from his 2016 and 2017 rate.
The other improvement in Baez’s game cannot be measured by stats but rather with the eyes. In 2018, Pedro was much more consistent with his changeup and did a much better job locating it for strikes. He also threw it the more often than any other time in his career with a usage rate of 14.9%. That is up almost five percent from the 2017 season, and it will be interesting to see if that keeps trending up in 2019.
Pedro Baez has been an underrated reliever during his Dodger tenure. He has been booed, ridiculed for unusual balks, and made fun of for how long he takes in between pitches but he is a very solid reliever. With an improved changeup and lower home run allowed rate, the 2019 season could be the season that Baez develops into a mainstay for the seventh inning setup role.