Two years ago, Pedro Baez was a light-hitting third baseman with a questionable future. But after 2014, he figures prominently in the Dodgers bullpen.
What went right
In just his second season after switching from third base to the mound, Pedro Baez made his major league debut in 2014. Baez pitched in one game in Washington on May 5, though his time with the big club was brief, getting the call as the closest healthy relief pitcher available after a week of roster turnover on the pitching staff.
Baez got his third call to the majors in early August, and this time for good, thanks to a paltry four walks in 22⅔ innings in Triple-A Albuquerque, with 20 strikeouts.
The right-hander saved 12 games in 12 attempts between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Albuquerque.
Baez struck out 18 and walked only five batters in the majors in 24 innings, and put up a 2.63 ERA, 3.88 FIP and 3.96 xFIP. Baez allowed two runs in his major league debut and two runs in his regular season finale, but in between allowed only three runs in 18 games, with a 1.21 ERA.
In Game 4 of the NLDS in St. Louis, Baez pitched 1⅔ scoreless innings with two strikeouts, keeping the Dodgers within a run.
What went wrong
Though the unforgettable legacy of Game 1 of the NLDS is Clayton Kershaw blowing a 6-1 lead, culminating in a three-run double by Matt Carpenter to give the Cardinals the lead in the seventh inning, it was Baez who followed by pouring gasoline on the fire. Baez walked Randal Grichuk then served up a three-run home run to Matt Holliday that proved to be the most crushing in what ended up a 10-9 Dodgers loss.
Salary: $500,000; pro-rated while in majors
Game of the year
Baez retired all four batters he faced, including one strikeout, in the seventh and eighth innings in a 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks on Sept. 5.
Baez has 59 days of service time, and has two option years remaining.