LOS ANGELES -- Among the 17 non-roster invitees to big league camp in spring training announced by the Dodgers on Friday, the one with the most major league experience — in innings pitched — is left-hander David Huff.
The 30-year-old went to Edison High School in Huntington Beach, then played college ball at UC Irvine, Cypress College, then finally UCLA, and was drafted by the Indians as a supplemental first round pick, No. 39 overall, in the 2006 draft, a compensation pick for Cleveland losing relief pitcher Bob Howry.
Huff split time between the Giants and Yankees bullpens in 2014, putting up a 3.36 ERA and 4.13 FIP in 46 games, with 39 strikeouts and 23 walks in 59 mostly low-leverage innings. Huff was a long-man for the Yankees and put up a 1.85 ERA in 30 games and 39 innings.
With three years, 62 days of major league service time, Huff would have been eligible for salary arbitration, but he was non-tendered by the Yankees on Dec. 2, making him a free agent. Should Huff find his way onto the Dodgers' 40-man roster, he is out of options, having used option years in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
In parts of six major league seasons he is 25-28 with a 5.02 ERA in 115 games, including 54 starts, with 227 strikeouts and 129 walks in 382 innings for the Indians, Yankees and Giants.
He began as a starter with Cleveland, making his major league debut in 2009. While in Triple-A Columbus in 2010 Huff was scratched from a start on a Saturday in July because he was going to be called up to make a spot start for the Indians on Sunday. But after he — or someone with access to his account — tweeted about his pending start the Indians weren't too happy and instead went in a different direction for the next day.
Huff has primarily started during his time in the minors, with 116 of his 127 appearances on the farm starts. But his major league time the last two seasons has switched to mostly relief, where he is a different pitcher:
As a starter in his career, Huff has a 5.57 ERA, 4.99 FIP, 12.2-percent strikeout rate 7.4-percent walk rate, a 36.3-percent ground ball rate, and opposing batters are hitting .298/.351/.498 against him, roughly Matt Kemp (a .289/.352/.502 hitter from 2009-2014).
As a relief pitcher, Huff has a 3.34 ERA, 4.10 FIP, 17.5-percent strikeout rate 8.4-percent walk rate, a 45.8-percent ground ball rate, and opposing batters are hitting .244/.309/.359 against him, roughly Brandon Crawford (.242/.310/.359).
The odds of Huff landing a spot in the Dodgers bullpen are long, but are especially unlikely as a left-handed specialist. The southpaw has a reverse platoon split in his career, with left-handed batters hitting .300/.366/.474 against him, compared to .278/.329/.462 for right-handed batters.
However, in 2014 lefties did hit just .257/.304/.305 against him.
The Dodgers already have left-handed relief pitchers J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Adam Liberatore and Daniel Coulombe on the 40-man roster, but Huff could at the very least provide some experienced depth in the minors, only a plane flight away in Oklahoma City.