Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Welcome to the Blue, Layne Somsen!

The Dodgers just announced this afternoon that they have claimed right-handed relief pitcher Layne Somsen from the Yankees.  In late May he had been claimed off waivers by the Yankees from the Cincinnati Reds.  So, the Dodgers are his third team this season.  Via a Dodgers press release:
Somsen, 27, appeared in two games with Cincinnati this season (5 ER/2.1 IP) in his first big league action and has combined to go 1-0 with a 1.44 ERA, a .149 opponents’ batting average and a 1.00 WHIP in 14 minor league appearances this year at Triple-A with the Reds’ and Yankees’ affiliates.  The Dodgers will be his third organization of 2016, with Somsen opening the campaign with the Reds’ organization before being claimed by the Yankees on May 24.

The South Dakota native has gone 10-5 with a 2.42 ERA in 90 games (seven starts) in four minor league seasons in the Reds’ (2013-16) and Yankees’ (2016) organizations, limiting opposing hitters to a .208 batting average and striking out better than a batter per inning with 193 Ks in 189.2 innings. Somsen was originally selected by the Reds in the 22nd round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of South Dakota State.
Somsen is a late bloomer.  He was drafted out of college as a 24-year old and quickly rose up the ranks in Cincinnati.   In April this season he made his Major League debut when outfielder Jay Bruce took paternity leave.  In his first Major League appearance he did fine - facing four batters and eliciting groundball outs to three of them.  His second appearance wasn't as good.  He struggled during his first inning of work, but got out unscathed.  Somsen then came back out for a second inning and got rocked by two home runs that scored five runs.  Soon thereafter, the Reds left him unprotected and the Yankees swooped in.  Per Zach Buchanan at
The Cincinnati Reds had hoped to sneak right-handed reliever Layne Somsen through waivers as they created a 40-man roster spot for Tuesday starter Daniel Wright. They weren’t so lucky.
“There’s one club that claimed him, and it was the Yankees,” said Walt Jocketty, Cincinnati’s president of baseball operations. I was talking with (Yankees general manager Brian) Cashman this morning. They liked him and they’re short on pitching at Triple-A and he had options left. That’s the risk you run when you take a guy like him and run him through waivers.”
Now the Dodgers do the same to the Yankees.  Per a scouting report by John Sickels at Minor League Ball:
As noted, Somsen isn't a big guy, listed officially at 6-0, 190 but more probably 5-11 in reality. There's athleticism there and enough arm strength to get his fastball to 94 MPH peaks with general readings around 90-91. The fastball has movement, looks more like a cutter at times, and often plays up. He'll mix in a curveball and change-up and delivers everything with mechanics that draw frequent comparisons to Tim Lincecum. Doug Gray at notes that Somsen's command could be tighter but he gets a lot of ground balls and profiles as a middle or long reliever.
He will be sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City and provide depth to the bullpen.  In celebration of his joining the Dodgers system I made the above fantasy Baseball card of him.  I used a photo grabbed from Argus Leader/ and the 1984 Donruss Baseball card design.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference:

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