Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Welcome to the Blue, Zach Neal!

Considering last nights roller-coaster-of-a-game you shouldn't be surprised by this move. After all, our bullpen arms are a bit overtaxed. Announced just a moment ago, the Dodgers have called up 29-year old right-handed pitcher Zach Neal (#49) from Triple-A Oklahoma City. At the same time, reliever Josh Fields has been placed on paternity list (mazel tov!).

Actually, this move was first announced earlier this afternoon by JP Hoornstra at the OC Register:
Neal’s pitch-to-contact profile is unusual; he’s struck out only 37 batters in 84-2/3 major-league innings. But he has walked only seven batters, and can use a sinker and changeup when effective to induce weak ground balls. 
Neal appeared in three Cactus League games with the Dodgers, allowing nine hits and four runs (all earned) over five innings.
In other words, he's a worm-killer. Eric Stephen at True Blue LA adds more
Among the 394 pitchers with at least 80 major league innings pitched in 2016-17 combined Neal’s 10.7% strikeout rate ranks 394th but his 2.0% walk rate ranks first. 
“Certain guys are different. If you have a guy who strikes out a lot of guys he might walk a lot of guys. My strikeout ratio is always 3-to-1, just sometimes with not a lot of strikeouts,” Neal said during spring training. “I like to pride myself in being consistent, when you call my name you know what you’re going to get every time.”
Per a Dodgers press release:
Neal, 29, was a non-roster invitee in this year’s camp with the Dodgers and appeared in three Cactus League games (one start) with Los Angeles, recording one save and posting a 7.20 ERA (4 ER/5.0 IP), while striking out four without issuing a walk. In 2017, Neal spent the majority of the season with the Oakland Athletics’ Triple-A Nashville, going 4-8 with a 4.82 ERA (53 ER/99.0 IP) in 21 games (16 start) and punched out 43 batters against 10 walks. He made two stints with the Athletics last year, allowing 13 runs in 14.2 innings (7.98 ERA) in six relief appearances. 
The Columbia, South Carolina, native, who enters his first season with the Dodgers, spent the past five years with the Athletics’ organization. In two big league seasons with Oakland (2016-17), he has gone 2-4 with two saves, a 4.89 ERA (46 ER/84.2 IP) and a 1.16 WHIP in 30 career games (six starts). He has struck out 37 batters against just seven walks in 84.2 Major League innings, posting a 5.29 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.74 walks per nine innings. In 174 career minor league games (154 starts), he has gone 56-56 with a 3.84 ERA and has struck out 594 batters against just 175 walks in 923.2 innings over eight professional seasons with the Marlins (2010-12) and the Athletics (2013-17).
In honor of Neal's first appearance in LA Dodger Blue I made a couple of fantasy Baseball cards of him. See them at the very top.

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