Over the last year, no Dodger has received more backlash from fans than Pedro Baez. From being booed at Dodger Stadium, to public outcry on social media, Baez wasn’t much of a fan-favorite. In 2018, he put all the criticism aside, and established himself as one of, if not, the best reliever in LA’s bullpen.
What went right
From August 13 until the end of the season, you could make the case that Baez was the best relief pitcher in the national league. With at least 19 innings pitched, he led the NL in ERA (0.47) and opponents average (.108).
During that stretch, Baez struck out 19, and only allowed one run, which came via the home run. Over the course of eight appearances from August 13 to August 30, Baez went 8 2⁄3 innings without allowing a base hit.
Baez continued his hot pitching into the postseason, where he appeared in 10 games. In October, Baez had a 1.59 ERA, and allowed only four hits over the course of 11 1⁄3 innings. He struck out 14.
What went wrong
On June 15, Baez was placed on the disabled-list with right biceps tendinitis. He would go nearly six weeks in-between appearances.
After he returned, he allowed a run in two of his first three appearances. His worst outing came on August 9 in Colorado. In just 1⁄3 of an inning, Baez allowed three hits and four runs, putting his ERA at 4.14, the highest it had been since April.
Luckily for Baez, it was after this outing in which his season turned around for the better.
Stats: 4-3, 2.88 ERA, 56 1⁄3 IP, 62 SO, 23 BB, 135 ERA+, 3.16 FIP, 1.225 WHIP
Game of the year
His best outing came earlier in the season. On April 17 in San Diego, Baez retired all four batters he faced. All four outs came via the strikeout. It was one of two times in 2018 in which Baez struck out four in an appearance.
Baez has four years and 59 days of major league service time. He was tendered a contract for 2019, and is eligible for arbitration until after the 2020 season, when he is set to become a free agent.