One of the many things that the Dodgers excel at is resurrecting pitchers' careers. Fans might get frustrated with the front office's fixation with sabermetrics, but it has yielded plenty of positive results when it comes to unsung and unheralded pitchers suddenly performing at a high level on Dodgers blue. LA signs castoffs and turns them into quality relievers time and time again.
That includes guys like Tony Cingrani, Joe Blanton, Alex Wood, and Yency Almonte. So how do the Dodgers do it? What is the secret sauce? Almonte himself recently stated that the pitching coaches know their stuff, and that's help him turn his career around.
Yency isn't the only former Colorado pitcher to praise the Dodgers uncanny ability to fix broken arms. In a recent New York Times article, starter Tyler Anderson discussed how the Dodgers openly solicit feedback and ideas from the pitchers themselves. It's not just a one way street with the coaching staff.
“I feel like they never write anything off here. Some teams, if you try stuff, they don’t really like trying new things. Whereas they’re not afraid to try new things here — and they also know how to weed out things that don’t work.”
The Dodgers are the kings of identifying a pitcher's strengths, and then leveraging that strength to produce positive results. For Anderson, it was using his changeup more than he has for much of his career. According to FanGraphs pitch values, it's been by far Mr. Duck's most effective pitch (2.64).
It's not always addition by addition though, the Dodgers also cut out pitches they don't deem effective. For Almonte, that was getting away from his fastball and relying heavily on his slider.
The results speak for themselves. Almonte has a 1.74 ERA in 18 appearances this year, while Anderson owns a 3.18 ERA in 13 starts.
If you're a pitcher in need of a reboot, the engineers at the Dodgers are the ones to work with.