After elbow surgery sidelined him for all of the 2022 season, Victor González was back in the majors and was a useful left-hander for stretches in the Dodgers bullpen in 2023.
González didn’t make the opening day roster, but during his four major league stints this season was on the active roster for 94 games. He was the third left-handed reliever behind Caleb Ferguson and Alex Vesia in the Dodgers bullpen, with González’s longest stretch a 10-week stint from the end of April to the beginning of July.
Relievers pitch a relatively small number of innings, so one blow-up outing could have an outsized effect on the overall statistics. González had three different games in a stretch of two and a half weeks just before the All-Star break in which he allowed three runs, after which he was optioned to Triple-A for a month.
Dodgers bullpen scoreless outings
González had four games in which he allowed three runs but allowed runs in only seven of his 34 appearances. He had the fifth-highest percentage of scoreless outings among the ten Dodgers relievers who made at least 20 appearances this season.
Once he returned to the Dodgers in August, and again over the final weekend of the regular season. González allowed just one run in his final 10 innings.
González broke out a changeup occasionally this year, throwing it 6.5 percent of the time, his first time using the pitch since 2020. He threw all 33 of his changeups against right-handers, finishing off four strikeouts with the pitch, and holding batters to one single in the 10 at-bats that ended on that pitch.
That allowed González to hold righties to hit just .191/.288/.302 against him, even better than he fared vs. left-handed batters (.259/.307/.362).
González pitched in only three games classified as high leverage by Baseball Reference, and his .710 average leverage index (1.000 is average) was ninth-highest among the 10 regular or at least semi-regular relievers.
Stats: 4.01 ERA, 3.18 xERA, 3.40 FIP, 33⅔ IP, 30 K, 10 BB
Salary: unknown, likely somewhere a tad north of the $720,000 minimum salary
Game of the year
May 17 was a scramble game for the Dodgers pitching staff against the Twins, with Dustin May leaving after only one inning with an elbow injury that would end his season and eventually require surgery. Dylan Covey filled in with aplomb, covering four innings while allowing two runs in emergency duty. But he also allowed the first four batters to reach in the sixth inning, and left with the bases loaded and nobody out in a tie game.
Enter González, who induced a harmless popout to first base by Jorge Polanco, then got Donovan Solano swinging, finishing him off with a changeup. Then came old friend Kyle Farmer, who flew out harmlessly to left field to end the threat with no runs in.
Opposing batters were hitless in four at-bats with the bases loaded against González on the season, with one sacrifice fly.
González on the season had a 2.30 ERA in 15⅔ innings at Dodger Stadium, and a 5.50 ERA in 18 innings on the road.
With three years, 58 days of major league service time, González is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time. MLB Trade Rumors projects González to earn $1 million in 2024.
González is also out of options, making his hold on a 40-man roster spot tenuous.