One of the few bright spots in the dismal 2019 Dodgers bullpen has been right hander Dylan Floro. The Dodgers acquired the 28-year old reliever on July 4 2018 in a trade with the Reds for Zach Neal and international bonus slot money in exchange for two minor leaguers. Up to that point Floro was already a fairly reliable relief option. A local boy who attended Cal State Fullerton was originally drafted by the Rays and progressed through their system
Floro pitched in Tampa Bay for one season before tossing 9.2 innings with the Cubs in 2017. He posted a 6.52 ERA allowing seven earned runs on fifteen hits. The Dodgers actually acquired him off of waivers from the Cubs in 2017 but he never appeared in a major league game. That next winter he signed as a free agent with the Reds and turned in a quality first half of the season. With the Reds he posted a 2.72 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched. He allowed only two home runs and posted a 3.38 FIP during 25 appearances.
Keeping the ball in the park has been one of Floro’s specialties. As a matter of fact he allowed just one home run for the Dodgers in 2018 while posting a 1.63 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched. With the Dodgers in 2018 he struck out 10.1 hitters per nine frames and allowed just 5.9 hits per nine innings. Overall that season he posted a 2.25 ERA and registered 58 punch-outs while walking just 23 in 64 innings. During the postseason he pitched well. While he did allow three earned runs in 2.1 World Series innings, let’s not forget he tossed 4.1 scoreless frames in the NLCS against Milwaukee.
This year he is quietly having a strong season. Despite having a rough outing against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, he still carries a 2.21 ERA in 20.1 innings of work. He’s struck out 15 and walked only two while allowing just seven runs (five earned) in a little over 20 innings. He’s walking less than a batter per nine innings and has a 3.47 FIP.
Floro’s three-pitch mix of his sinker, four-seam fastball and changeup has produced quality results. He generally averages around 93-94 MPH on his sinker and four-seamer and can get a lot of swings and misses. However this season it seems as if he has changed into more of a ground-ball pitcher. He is mostly throwing a lot of four-seamers and sinkers and using his changeup less frequently. His changeup usage has dropped from 8.5% in 2018 to 4.7% in 2019.
He is putting up healthy ground ball rates. In 2018 he had a 55% ground ball percentage, and this year it’s been hovering around 50%. Last year he limited opposing hitters to a .231 batting average against and in 2019 that has improved to a .218 BAA. He can be tough with runners in scoring position. In 2019 with runners in scoring position the National League is hitting just .214 against him. He’s super tough at home too. He sports a 1.17 ERA at Dodger Stadium this season. His ability to induce grounders and keep the ball in the park are his strengths.
Perhaps some of his success can be attributed to a much higher release point this season. Floro may not be an elite reliever and his performance on Wednesday was disappointing. However Floro has proven to be a very reliable bullpen arm for the Dodgers since acquiring him almost a year ago. With limited options in the Dodgers pen this season Floro may prove to be more valuable than anyone could have imagined.