Pedro Báez has now pitched for the Dodgers for six seasons. Where has the time gone? He’s still one of the more “popular” players on the team, whether that be in a positive or negative way. Regardless of how fans view him, he delivered yet another solid and consistent season out of the bullpen.
What went right
Though the bullpen saw a number of different arms in 2019, Báez proved yet again to be one of the more consistent and reliable options. He appeared in 71 games, the second most of his career. His seven wins were a career-high, and his WHIP of 0.947 was the lowest since his rookie season in 2014. He had 69 strikeouts in 69 2⁄3 innings, while posting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3-1, his best since 2016. Additionally, he held opponents to a .173 average, the best of his career.
Báez had a few really good stretches throughout the course of the season. Over 28 games from the end of April through the beginning of June, he was among one of the best relievers in the game. He posted a 1.40 ERA while opponents hit only .143 against him.
He had another really good stretch of 28 games to close the season. From the middle of July until the end of September, he had a 2.25 ERA while opponents hit .163 against him.
Though fans will remember him for the blown leads, he was actually one of the more clutch pitchers for the Dodgers, and across all of baseball. In high-leverage situations, opponents hit only .135, with 31 percent of hitters striking out. With the game tied, opponents were only 1-for-31 against Baez, according to Baseball Reference.
What went wrong
As I mentioned, he had two really good stretches of 28 games. In between those two stretches were where he bad one took place. From July 7 through August 28, Báez had an ERA of 5.63, while having a WHIP of 1.26. Though his ERA was inflated during this stretch, it was only largely due to four really poor outings. He still posted a lot of scoreless frames during the stretch.
Stats: 7-2, 3.10 ERA, 0.947 WHIP, 69 2⁄3 innings, 69 strikeouts, 134 ERA+, 3.52 FIP
Game of the year
In an early-season matchup with the Pirates, the Dodgers turned to Báez with a two-run lead in the eighth. He entered the game with the bases loaded and nobody out. Needing only 10 pitches, he got three consecutive outs, including a strikeout of Pittsburg’s best hitter Josh Bell to escape the inning untouched. (Go to 4:24 in the video)
Báez will return for his seventh season with the Dodgers in 2020. He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free-agent in 2021.