We always knew Blake Treinen had the stuff to be an elite reliever. Dodgers fans didn’t get to personally see it, but a few years back Treinen was the best reliever in baseball.
Back in 2018, he finished sixth in Cy Young voting and 15th in MVP voting when he was with the Athletics. That’s crazy coming from a relief pitcher. Well, there’s a good reason for that. What Treinen did in 2018 was historic.
In 68 games, he posted a 0.78 ERA, 1.82 FIP, 0.83 WHIP and 531 ERA+. He was untouchable, as he delivered one of the best seasons we’ve seen from a reliever in recent memory.
2019 was a down year for him in Oakland, as he posted an ERA of nearly 5.00. Then in 2020 with LA, he posted a 3.86 ERA. He showed flashes of that dominant reliever from 2018, but couldn’t figure it out over the course of a full season.
After a decent start to the 2021 campaign, Treinen turned a switch at the end of the June and has been the best reliever in all of baseball. Before we get to his insane stretch, we’ll just get to his season as a whole.
Among relief pitchers with at least 53 innings of work, Treinen ranks third in ERA (1.84), third in opponents average (.179), first in wOBA (.222), third in strikeout percentage (30.3%) and second in FIP (2.51). So already, he’s near the top when it comes to best relievers in baseball.
Since June 25, Treinen has been arguably the best. Over his last 23 games, Treinen hasn’t allowed a run in 24 2⁄3 innings of work. During this run, he has 29 strikeouts and only six walks, while holding opponents to a .101 average.
Over the last two months, he’s been practically untouchable. He’s been LA’s most reliable and consistent option in the bullpen and has delivered in the clutch on numerous occasions.
What makes Treinen so valuable is his ability to pitch in the game’s biggest situation. Whether that is in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning, Treinen comes in and usually shuts things down. His ability to do this in any inning is what makes him the most valuable option in the Dodgers bullpen.
I know there are people calling for him to replace Kenley Jansen as the Dodgers’ closer, and I totally get that. However, like I mentioned above, I think Treinen’s role is far more valuable as how he’s currently used. Sometimes, the most crucial inning is the seventh or eighth inning. If the heart of the lineup is up or if there are runners on base, wouldn’t you want the best option to come in? That’s what Dave Roberts has done with Treinen.
It’s been quite the season for Treinen, who returned to the Dodgers this offseason after being a free-agent. With so many uncertainties in LA’s bullpen all season, Treinen has consistently been a reliable and much-needed option.
First pitch: 7:10 p.m.
Venue: Dodger Stadium
Opponent: New York Mets
TV: SportsNet LA