Dodgers Claim LHP Donnie Hart From O’s, DFA Josh Fields

Thursday afternoon, only a few outs into the team’s matinee Cactus League matchup against the Angels, the Dodgers announced a swap of relief pitchers via the waiver wire. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s Roch Kubatko had the news first broken to fans on Twitter, followed shortly after by sources around the Dodgers such as Alanna Rizzo, Ken Gurnick, and Fabian Ardaya.

Donnie Hart, 28, was drafted out of Texas State University by the Baltimore Orioles during the 2013 June Amateur Draft. From there, he worked his way up through the Orioles’ MiLB system before making his big league debut on July 17th of 2016. Although a small sample-size, Hart finished his 22-appearance rookie campaign with an earth-shatteringly low 0.49 ERA. In the seasons following his debut year, 2017 and 2018, Hart tossed a combined 63.0 innings over the two seasons. Now being on the radar of the opposing teams, Hart posted a 3.71 ERA and a 5.59 ERA, respectively in 2017 and 2018.

Something that both game film and stat sheets show as a strong-suit of Hart’s is the ability to keep the ball in the yard, which is something very crucial in today’s age of home run hitters. Hart handles a four-pitch repertoire, according to Brooks Baseball. Hart’s showcase pitch is not his fastball, which has been gunned at just a touch under 90 MPH, but his sinker. The sinkerball was pitched by Hart on over 56.5% of his goes to the plate during the 2018 season with a ground ball per BIP percentage just a touch over 51%.

The rates and outcomes shown in Hart’s time with the Orioles over the past three seasons suggest that Hart pitches with a style very similar to that of his former teammate and All-Star closer, Zach Britton. Both pitchers show a high ratio of ground ball inducing versus a low ratio in that of fly balls. Having a pitcher with even the same structure of someone as star-studded as Britton bodes well for the Dodgers.

In accordance to adding Donnie Hart to the roster, the Dodgers designated Josh Fields for assignment. A tenured Dodger, Fields’ play doesn’t seem to be why the Dodgers opted to move the direction they did. Fields has appeared in only 124 games over the past three seasons he has spent with the Dodgers. Although he posted an impressive 2.61 ERA during his time in the big leagues with the Dodgers, his extended amount of missed time is likely what pushed the Dodgers to DFA-ing Fields.

Donnie Hart becomes arbitration eligible in 2021, and is set to hit the free agent market in 2024. Both talent and contract-wise, Hart is a great pick-up for the Dodgers.