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Through tech and data, Yency Almonte finds his groove

The former Rockies reliever is pitching better than ever, and the Dodgers’ approach has made all the difference.

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

When the Rockies let go of Yency Almonte last October, the reliever had a 7.55 ERA. That, of course, didn’t stop the Dodgers from signing him.

With training and technology, Almonte suddenly turned a corner. He updated his slider, replaced his four-seam fastball with a two-seamer, and tweaked the location and target of most pitches to keep his sinkers in and sliders away. By June, the result were in: Almonte struck out nearly half the batters he faced and walked just one in almost 15 innings in Triple-A Oklahoma City, showing much more promise than teams may have expected.

Former teammate Jake McGee, who also spent time with the Dodgers after being cut by the Rockies, called Almonte to recommend the Dodgers.

“They know their stuff,” McGee said. “They’re gonna teach you a lot of new things that you probably didn’t get in Colorado.”

Though Almonte hoped for a big-league contract, that endorsement, combined with the Dodgers’ promise to make him better, swayed him.

And McGee was right. The Dodgers introduced Almonte to a gold mine of technology, data, and analysis that he had never encountered before, allowing Almonte to pinpoint exactly what was and wasn’t working with each pitch.

Now, Almonte is back in the majors, striking out more than one batter per inning over his first 15 innings of work.

“He’s an invaluable kind of Swiss army knife guy that every bullpen needs,” Dodgers pitching coach Mark Prior said.

Nick Groke and Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic have more details on Almonte’s successs.

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