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2015 Dodgers review: Juan Nicasio

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Here is a look at right-hander Juan Nicasio, who led the Dodgers in relief innings in 2015.

What went right

Nicasio was one of two scrap heap pickups by the new front office in their first month, along with Mike Bolsinger, to make major contributions to the pitching staff. The Dodgers acquired Nicasio, who was designated for assignment by the Rockies, on Nov. 24 in exchange for minor league outfielder Noel Cuevas, and proved to be a key piece of the Dodgers bullpen.

The conversion to relief helped Nicasio's stuff play up, and despite facing 149 fewer batters than he did in 2014, he struck out two more batter in 2015, with a career-high 25-percent strikeout rate.

The right-hander averaged 95.75 mph on his fastball in 2015 per Brooks Baseball, an increase of over 2 mph, and his slider had a similar increase, checking in at 86.92 mph.

Nicasio allowed only one home run in 53 games, and was death to right-handers, holding them to hitting .226/.298/.335 with 49 strikeouts and 15 walks.

The Dodgers bullpen was a bit of a revolving door of roles outside of Kenley Jansen at closer for most of the season, but Nicasio was one of manager Don Mattingly's most trusted setup men at various points in the campaign. Nicasio led the team with 14 holds.

In the first two months of the season Nicasio was especially effective, with a 1.29 ERA in 16 games, with 28 strikeouts (32.6 percent K rate) and 11 walks in 21 innings.

What went wrong

Nicasio also led Dodgers relievers with 32 walks, setting a career high with a 12.3-percent walk rate.

Lefties destroyed Nicasio all year, hitting .348/.477/.493 with more walks (17) than strikeouts (16).

Nicasio was bitten by the injury bug in August, missing 12 games on the disabled list with a left abdominal strain.

He faded a bit down the stretch, allowing nine runs on 17 hits in his final nine innings, and after his return from the DL on Aug. 25 had almost as many walks (10) as strikeouts (13) the rest of the way. That led to Nicasio getting left off the roster for the National League Division Series against the Mets.

2015 particulars

Age: 28

Stats: 53 games, one start, 3.86 ERA, 2.83 FIP, 65 K, 32 BB, 58⅓ IP, 0.3 rWAR, 0.9 fWAR

Salary: $2.3 million

Game of the year

Nicasio pitched three scoreless innings in relief against the Diamondbacks on May 2, retiring all nine batters he faced, including two strikeouts, to earn the win. It was tied for the longest scoreless outing by a Dodgers relief pitcher in 2015.

Roster status

Nicasio has four years, 84 days of service time and is eligible for salary arbitration, with his salary making him a potential risk to get non-tendered on Dec. 2 if the two sides can't reach a deal for 2016 before then.

Nicasio is out of options.