GLENDALE -- Dodgers right-hander Matt Magill looks to use 2013 as a learning experience heading into 2014. On one hand, he reached a goal and made his major league debut. But on the other hand he didn't pitch very well at the major league level.
His overall numbers were skewed by a couple of spectacularly bad starts, the most memorable on June 2 in Colorado against the Rockies. The Dodgers rotation was skewered by injuries, the bullpen was in need of rest, and Magill was asked to eat some innings that day at Coors Field.
Eat them he did, six in all. But he also allowed nine walks and four home runs, the only player in the modern era to do that.
"It's all part of being a young guy. They needed me to go innings, and for me it wasn't a great performance," Magill said. "But I knew I was out there to help the team, so I tried to grind out as many innings as I could."
Starting pitchers by their nature are mostly creatures of habit and routine, and Magill's 2013 was anything but. Caught between continuing to develop in Triple-A Albuquerque and the Dodgers' need for starters in the early part of the season, Magill often didn't know when or where he would make his next appearance on the mound.
Between April 27 and June 9, Magill had six, five, eight, five, seven, then six days rest between appearances.
"All the young guys go through that limbo part of the game. I was ready to go whenever they needed me," Magill said. There wasn't always a great result, but still I was ready."
Part of that limbo led to Magill totaling just 118⅓ innings between Albuquerque and Los Angeles, 28 fewer than he pitched in 2012. The Dodgers sent Magill to Puerto Rico, where he built up his innings with Indios de Mayaguez.
"It was an awesome experience to go and see that different style of baseball," he said.
Magill enters 2014 looking to make more of an impact, learning from 2013.
"I know my strengths, know what I can and can't do, know check points of where my delivery needs to be, and how to self-correct myself during the game," Magill said. "I got the experience of pitching at Dodger Stadium and being in front of that many people, so now I'm ready to go.
"If I can cut down the walks I know I'll be great."
If only it were that easy.
Magill graduated from Royal High School in Simi Valley and was committed to play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2008 until the Dodgers signed him.
Magill has 26 days of major league service time and two minor league options remaining.
2013: Bursting on to the scene
|2014 projections - Age 24 season|
I think Magill ends up making four starts for the Dodgers and puts up a 4.50 ERA in 22 innings. What's your guess?