Dodgers Add Two Pitchers On Low Risk High Reward Deals

The Dodgers signed two pitchers yesterday. One’s official and the other isn’t, yet. They’re a far cry from any blockbuster acquisition fans are looking for the team to make but still are theoretically proficient moves.

Jimmy Nelson, outside of 2017 (4.8 fWAR/3.49 ERA/3.05 FIP/29 starts), hasn’t had a remarkable career. With less than a month left in his most notable ’17 season, Nelson went on the ten-day DL with right shoulder impingement beginning a nearly two-year absence from baseball due to shoulder and elbow issues.

Sure, he pitched a few games in 2019 — ten appearances in total with only three of them as a starter. Four of the ten came in June, which included his three starts. He would give up 14 runs with 14 walks (plus 1 intentional) in 14 innings pitched then placed on the injured list for the next two months with an elbow injury. He was able to throw out of the bullpen for six games to end the season. And aside from back to back outings where he gave up a total of 4 runs (the only runs he allowed in his last appearances), September may have been a window into what his future maybe with the Dodgers.

Nelson has only made twelve relief appearances in his career, and overall they aren’t appealing, but before ’19, the last time he came out of the ‘pen was in 2014 and for only two outings. That makes his most recent outings this past September the most reliable info to go on, albeit a small sample. What stood out the most was his high strikeout rate to walk rate (25.0%). Also, the velocity on his pitches was more in line with his career averages. That could be troublesome because, as a reliever, balls are thrown with more action and velocity. But regardless, he pitched effectively.

Nelson’s reportedly competing for a final rotation spot. But with the three batter minimum for relievers and the rotation filled with probable starters likely to go for shorter outings, one can make a good case for the Dodgers to carry multiple multi-inning relievers.

Edubray Ramos, 27, has spent his career with the Phillies. He’s a fastball (~95mph)/slider (~83mph) pitcher while mixing in the occasional changeup (~88mph). From 2016 to 2018, Ramos held a respectable 84 ERA- and 77 FIP- to go along with a 3.55 SIERA. Other overall standout statistics in that timespan were his 26.6 K%, 9.2 BB%, and his 8.8 home run per flyball percentage. He also did well against righties putting up a 2.61 ERA, 2.41 FIP, and a 19.8 K-BB% while holding them to a .261 wOBA.

In 2019, his numbers dived. It’s hard to pinpoint why. He sat out a good portion of the season due to shoulder issues. He also started the season in the minors before being called up. The easy answer here is he was dealing with shoulder problems throughout the season. So, if he’s 100%, good chance he makes the 40 man roster. Whether he’ll be on the active roster to start the season will likely depend on how well he does in the Cactus League.

Oskar is an editor and writer for Dodgers-Lowdown. Follow him on Twitter @2rawsko94. Photo credit: Brew Crew Ball (Nelson) and Philadelphia Inquirer (Ramos)