Báez with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017
|Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 52|
|Born: March 11, 1988|
Baní, Dominican Republic
|May 5, 2014, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 15, 2019)
|Earned run average||3.04|
Minor Leagues: 2007 - 2013Edit
Báez signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent on January 22, 2007 and began his career as a third baseman that season with the Gulf Coast Dodgers. In 53 games, he hit .274. His 39 RBI ranked second in the Gulf Coast League and he was rated as having the best infield arm in the Dodgers organization. He split the 2008 season between the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer Baseball League and the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League, hitting .229 in 120 games with 13 home runs and 66 RBI. He played in 79 games in 2009 for the Inland Empire 66ers of the California League, hitting .286 with 10 homers and 61 RBI. He was again cited by Baseball America as having the best infield arm in the Dodgers system and represented the World team in the 2009 All-Star Futures Game.
In 2010 Báez spent most of the season with the 66ers, but finished the year with the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Class AA Southern League. He played in 84 games, hitting .263 with six homers and 45 RBI. He was selected to the World team at the All-Star Futures Game for a second straight season. Báez appeared in 32 games early in 2011 with the Lookouts, hitting only .210 before spending most of the season on the disabled list. In 2012 with the Lookouts, he was selected to the mid-season Southern League all-star team. Between the Lookouts and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, he played in 128 games and hit .221 with 11 homers and 59 RBI. He was rated by Baseball America as being the Dodgers best minor league defensive infielder and having the best infield arm.
After the 2012 season, the Dodgers decided that they would attempt to convert Báez from third base and make him a pitcher. The Dodgers added Báez to the 40-man roster on November 20, 2013. He was assigned, as a pitcher, to the Quakes to start the 2013 season but was promoted to Chattanooga at mid-season. Between the two levels, he appeared in 48 games out of the bullpen and was 3-3 with a 3.88 ERA. He then pitched for the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League after the season.
Los Angeles DodgersEdit
Báez began the 2014 season with the Lookouts and was called up to the Majors for the first time on May 5, 2014. He made his MLB debut later that night against the Washington Nationals. He allowed a single and a two run homer to his first two batters before retiring the next three players in his one inning of work. He returned to the minors following the game. After another one game appearance for the Dodgers in July, he joined the bullpen in August and remained there the rest of the season. In 20 appearances, he had an ERA of 2.63, struck out 18 and walked 5. In 2015, he pitched in 52 games with a 3.35 ERA. In the minors, with Chattanooga and the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, he pitched in 40 games with a 3.86 ERA and 12 saves. He made the roster for the 2014 National League Division Series (NLDS) against the St. Louis Cardinals, and allowed two runs in 2 1⁄3 innings. The runs he allowed were on a two-run homer by Matt Holliday in game one.
Báez made the 2015 Dodgers opening day roster. He went 4–2 with a 3.35 ERA in 51 innings over 52 games with 60 strikeouts against only 11 walks. His first major league win came when he threw 1 1⁄3 scoreless innings of relief against the Colorado Rockies on May 10. The following week Báez was placed on the DL with a right pectoral strain and completed 3 scoreless innings in three rehab appearances in Triple-A Oklahoma City before returning to the big league club. In game three of the 2015 NLDS, all three of the batters he faced reached base, two by walk, and he was charged with three runs without getting an out.
In 2016 Báez ranked second among Dodger relievers with career-high marks in games (73) and innings (74). He went 3–2 with a 3.04 ERA and 83 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .195 batting average. He also allowed 11 home runs and walked 22 batters. He pitched 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings over four games against the Nationals in the 2016 NLDS but allowed six runs in 3 1⁄3 innings in three games of the 2016 National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. The slow pace of play employed by Báez during the 2016 postseason drew criticism from reporters and is frequently referenced in support of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's quest to speed up baseball with "pace of play" initiatives.
Báez was hit with a ball while throwing batting practice early in spring training in 2017, which caused him to miss most of training camp and begin the season on the disabled list. He rejoined the team on April 14. In a team-leading 66 relief appearances for the 2017 Dodgers he was 3–6 with a 2.95 ERA and 64 strikeouts. He struggled with his command in September, giving up five home runs over a short span and finding himself booed by the home fans. Báez was on the Dodgers roster for the 2017 NLDS but did not appear in a game and was removed from the playoff roster for subsequent series. After receiving written warnings from Commissioner Rob Manfred, Báez decreased his average time between pitches and Jeremy Jeffress took over the distinction of the slowest relief pitcher in 2017. Báez agreed to terms with the Dodgers on a $1.5 million contract for 2018 to avoid salary arbitration.
In his fifth major league season Báez posted a 2.88 ERA in 55 relief appearances. He struck out 62 batters in 56 1/3 innings of work and held opposing batters to a .220 average. During the 2018 postseason, Báez went 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 11 1/3 innings, striking out 14 batters against 5 walks.
Báez became the team’s most reliable reliever in mid-August around the time Kenley Jansen went down with a heart problem.
On September 1st, in a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Báez picked up his first career save.
During the 2018 MLB Players Weekend, Báez wore the nickname "LA MULA" ("THE MULE" in Spanish) on his jersey. Báez says he earned the nickname for his tremendous work ethic in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen.
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