Luis Avilan is Quietly Having a Strong Spring

Luis Avilan

There’s some discussion about which relievers are going to occupy the final couple of spots in the Dodger bullpen this season. We know that Kenley Jansen is the closer and Sergio Romo will probably be the set-up man providing the eighth inning duties. Second year southpaw Grant Dayton is likely to make the opening day squad as well. Who is going to be the second left hander is another question. Luis Avilan is making a strong case for himself.

Adam Liberatore should not be forgotten but if he falters or gets hurt, Avilan is waiting in the wings to grab that roster spot. Avilan has actually put up strong numbers for the majority of his career, save for a sloppy season in 2015. The Dodgers acquired Avilan at the trade deadline in 2015 from the Braves alongside Jose Peraza, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, and Hector Olivera in a three-team swap with the Braves and Marlins.

Avilan has a career 2.98 ERA/3.34 FIP and has put up strong strikeout numbers. Over his career he’s struck out 7.7 per nine frames, and posted a 1.16 WHIP. The 27-year old had a strong 2016 season posting a 3-0 record with a 3.20 ERA/2.13 FIP and struck out 28 against 10 walks in 19.2 innings pitched. He had some slight control problems, but he’s averaged 3.2 walks per nine innings over 217 frames. He struck out 12.8/9 during the 2016 campaign which was the highest strikeout rate of his career.

His biggest strength has been his ability to get left handed hitters out. He’s done that pretty well throughout his career. Overall he’s limited lefties to a .215 batting average against, with a .569 OPS against. Last year he held left handers to a .200 batting average against with a .519 OPS against.

This season he is quietly having a solid spring. I know it’s an incredibly small sample size but he’s looked good in early showings. So far he’s tossed 4.1 innings and allowed just one earned run on 3 hits while posting up a 2.08 ERA. In 5 appearances he’s whiffed 6 and walked only 1.

He’s shown good control and has now won two games this spring. He earned the win in Tuesday afternoon’s 6-5 win over the Reds. He came in with two runners on base in the fourth inning and struck out former Dodger Scott Schebler to record the final out of the inning.

During last season’s postseason run Avilan provided the Dodgers with 3.2 innings of scoreless ball. He allowed just 4 hits and struck out 3 while walking only one. He was up and down between the Dodgers and Oklahoma City, through a lot of 2016 but pitched well enough to impress the Dodgers to place him on the postseason roster in both the NLDS and NLCS.

Perhaps he’s done enough to impress the Dodgers again to make the opening day roster? Only time will tell of course, but if he continues to pitch well I think he has a good chance. He gives the Dodgers another option and that’s always a good thing.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda’s Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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43 thoughts on “Luis Avilan is Quietly Having a Strong Spring

  1. Any of you guys as fascinated by warplanes as I am? Next time you’re in the Corona CA area, take the 71 Freeway North toward the 10 Freeway but turn off on Euclid Ave and go 4 or 5 miles to the Chino Airport. It is a very small airport, very old, most of the buildings built in the early days of WW2 when it was an AirCorps training field. Thousands of brave men who later pushed us to victory began their flying careers here on Stearman Biplanes. After the war thousands of surplus planes were flown in here for melting down and being sold as scrap. Later is was the base setting for the TV show, “12 O’clock High”. Then someone thought of starting an Air Museum there, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planes_of_Fame_Air_Museum
    Not sure how many planes there are there now but 20 years ago when I went through it, there were 20 or 30 planes, some flyable, some not. If you happened to go there on the weekend and some of the pilots were around, if you crossed their palm with silver, they would take you for a short spin in a Mustang or other fighter plane. They had a B-17 you could walk through and examine the interior, get a very small feel for what it must have been like for the flyers.
    I understand now there is another Museum that has come in since I was last there, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yanks_Air_Museum#Aircraft_collection
    They are supposed to have almost 200 planes there, from WW1 up through the F15 and the FA18 still in active service. They also have military vehicles, including a Sherman tank I wish I had seen. These two places should tie you up most of the day but do save time to visit Flo’s Airport Restaurant there. Best pancakes I ever ate and damn good biscuits and gravy, too. You will likely find a line at the door, because their food is well known. They open at 5 AM and every cop and truck driver and farmer within driving distance shows up there… My friends and I would go up into the mountains, leaving home in Orange County about 5 AM to avoid the killer traffic, and meet at Flo’s before driving up into the mountains north of where MJ lives. You know, I used to live in Paradise, and damn fool that I am, I left it.

    1. I want to say that I’ve been to Flo’s many moons ago when I was a kid and that I did order the biscuits and gravy because that’s the type of kid I was. We also visited that air museum and I believe I picked up a model B-17 – and if it wasn’t there that I picked up the Testor’s model, it was at the Pearl Harbor museum.

      I grew up in Fullerton, right by the same Euclid Ave., and now live in a spring paradise in the hills east of Fresno.

      1. Jonah

        I think I have been to Flo’s too.

        That is one of those places, that gives you way to much to eat, but that is why, so many people like to go there.

        I did see the Arizona exhibit when I was in Hawaii, and that was eye opening, with all of the names, of the men that died there, at Pearl Harbor.

    2. Jonah:
      I too, am fascinated with war planes especially WW2. Growing up I had most of the plastic models made by Revell, Hasegawa, Lindberg Line etc.
      I had the F4F Hellcat, P-51 Mustang, B-17 & B-25, etc. I also had the Zero and Spitfire but the country I was most fasinated with was Germany as they had so many different styles an types. I had more German planes than all other nations combined.

      1. They have almost all of ours and a lot of foreign warplanes at Yankee Museum. And all in flying condition, I believe.

  2. The problem is most of our leftie relievers have been good, but besides Kenley and Romo, there hasn’t been an outstanding right hander, that has been consistently good, during spring training.

    I think Avilan really improved last year, after he had to start the season, in AAA, because he had some bad appearances, early.

    He doesn’t have any options left, and Libertore does, so Libertore will probably have to start in AAA, which isn’t fair at all, but that is baseball.

    I guess that pitcher that came from the Padres, has been pitching well lately, which is good, because we haven’t had any good rightie, to take Hatcher’s spot.

    But since Hatcher has good stuff, and no options left, they will probably put him on the team, or the DL, like they have, in the past.

    I was hoping that Fields would step up in spring training, because he was pretty decent last year, after a few games.

    He also has good stuff too, so we will have to see.

    Opening day will be here soon.

  3. Better check that comment there MJ. after a rocky first outing, Morrow has been pretty consistent. He has given up 5 runs, but 4 came in his first appearance. 8 K’s, no walks. Geltz has pitched well, so has Sierra and Spitzbarth. Baez has yet to throw a pitch. Hatcher has had 1 good outing. His last time out against the Angels. Granted, all of those guys with the exception of Morrow are long shots to make the team. They have 1 open roster spot right now and I think Morrow is in line to get it. Those who thought the Dodgers could trade Ethier, think again. He stated he has no inclination to waive his no-trade clause. So, either he makes the team, or they do the Crawford move and release him. Taylor has to be considered the front runner for the utility job. Hitting over .400, and playing flawless defense.

    1. Michael

      I said the pitcher from the Padres has been pitching well, lately.

      I just couldn’t remember his name, but I did mention him, if you read my post.

      And I didn’t think those other young pitchers, are on the forty man roster, are they?

    1. Jonah

      I looked Norris up, and he had pretty good three years in a row, before last year.

      And he is only a year older then Barnes, so I see, your point.

      All I can think, is that Barnes will be cheaper, if he can hit major league pitching, and the Dodgers will have him under a team friendly contract, for a few years.

      I think the Nats might regret letting Norris go.

      Did they finally sign Weiters?

      If they did, he probably is going to cost more, and he wasn’t that good, after being off, in the previous year, to have that TJ surgery.

      But Nats fan’s, probably know Weiters well, because he played for the Orioles, for quite a while.

      When I looked up Norris, I noticed that there was one more player, with the last name Norris, playing Major League Baseball, besides Bud Norris, who was on the team, last year, for a while.

      I didn’t know Michael had two other sons, besides Bud, playing Major League Baseball.

      1. Barnes is the Poster Boy for unproven, Grandal is very injury prone, and not another qualified catcher in the system. Three good reasons to sign Norris.

        1. That is why I think Roberts needs to give more rest to Grandal, to keep him healthy.

          And that will give Barnes more at bats, to see if he is going to hit major league, hitting,

        1. Yeah. Well Dodgers are way down the waiver list, but would be interesting to see (if it comes out) if they put in a claim.

          1. They can’t “put in a claim” now, he has cleared waivers and been released. He is a free agent now, he negotiates his new deals. Well, him and his agent…

  4. I read that when Taylor came to the team last year, he had a sore arm, so maybe we didn’t get to see the real Taylor, last year.

    He is the best defensive shortstop, of the utility players, and he has the most speed, of the three.

    So if he can get acclimated to centerfield, he would probably be the best choice, of the three.

    Kike was three for four in the one game he played in, in the WBA, but he wasn’t facing good pitching, or any major league pitcher.

    Because Italy doesn’t have but one major league pitcher on there roster, if what I read, was correct.

    Kike has only played in that one game, but that game was a blow out, and I don’t see him, getting much playing time, beyond that one game.

    Because Puerta Rico has three really good major league shortstops, on there team.

    Correa from the Astros, the Indians, really good shortstop, and Baez from the Cubs, who doesn’t play short for the Cubs, but he is a natural shortstop, that is playing second, for the Cubs.

  5. Why not just go with Barnes? Yeah, he’s unproven, but he’s done well at the minor league level. Do the pitchers have confidence in him? If not, why is he still here? If not, then yeah on Norris. It’s time for the guys FAZ brought in to step up and show us what it was Fried Zaidi saw in them. Forsythe, Thompson, Hernandez, Hatcher, Wood, Dayton, Liberatore, Hill, McCarthy, Barnes …. others……. all with career years. It happens we win.

  6. Actually Michael is right about Morrow. He’s been great since his horrible first game.

    May be a nice sneaky piece this year !

  7. LA Times took a stab at the early season rotation:

    Kershaw
    Hill
    Maeda
    Wood
    McCarthy

    With Stripling in the long role.

    Also, alluded to Roberts and the Front Office wanting to go with a 7 man pen, not 8.

    This frees up an extra bench spot:
    Ethier, Barnes, Utley, SVS and Kike/Taylor

    1. Agree. We will see a ton of shuttling with AAA.

      Posted this elsewhere:
      Keith Law has a very nice writeup of Mitch White. It’s a pay article, so I won’t cut and paste, but the highlight:

      White went with the 65th overall pick in that draft, but if teams redrafted today, he might go in the top five overall.

      Good times indeed in Dodger-land.

      Reply

      1. Ok, I’ll reply.

        6’4″ 225, throws mid 90’s and can spin the ball down. What’s not to like? Teach him to pull the string and hit the corners and he’s in the rotation in 2.5 years.

  8. McCarthy so so today. 3 plus innings, 3 runs and gave up 2 homers. Urias lit up a little. Taylor now hitting .522. Anyone still think Kike beats him out for the last position slot? In the NL, you need 5 bench guys. With double switches, and guys facing 1 hitter, you need that versatility with your position players. If the starters do their jobs, the BP should be ok.

    1. Michael

      Thanks I didn’t see the game today, because it wasn’t on, the Dodger Channel.

      I only saw the box score.

      I saw that McCarthy had two HRs, hit off of him.

      And that was one of his big problems, even when he seemed to be pitching well, at times.

      But I know it was just spring training.

      Thankfully tomorrow’s game, is on TV.

      I almost had a heart attack, because my dog got into some of my candy, and I thought I might have to take him in to the vet.

      He got into some caramels.

      I thought caramels had chocolate in them for some reason, but thank God, they don’t.

      You know how that goes.

      First your only worried about your dogs health, and then, you think of the vet bill next.

      1. Heck, no chocolate bar was safe when the wolf was around. So too chickens, cats, steaks, hamburgers, and barbecued ribs.. You did not turn your back on any kind of sandwich, bowl of chicken noodle soup, pan of spaghetti, can of sardines, etc. But he would not eat hot dogs! Go figure…

        1. Jonah

          Maybe he was kosher and he wanted the really good hot dogs, like Hewbrew National, or Nathan’s.

          He is such a beautiful dog, but I know he was much more, to you, and your family.

          That is the good thing with bigger dogs, because they weigh more, they can take more.

          Thankfully my dog can’t reach anything back on a table, or self, but he has gotten stuff, close to edge.

          He got my BLT, with avocado once, at the edge of the table.

          But he doesn’t gain weight.

          We take a short walk, after dinner, every night.

    2. Michael

      Like I already said, we probably didn’t see the best of Taylor last year, because his arm, was bothering him.

      He sure came to spring training ready.

  9. Speaking of limited benches, how many times did we use two pinch hitters in the same at bat last year.

    For example we bring up a righty PH to face a lefty, the other team brings in a right hander, we pull the right handed PH for a left handed PH.

    With a limited bench it’s harder to do. Where would you even find that stat?

    1. Artieboy

      I could be wrong, but I don’t think Roberts, did that as much, as Mattingly did, especially with Ethier.

      But we will have to see with Ethier this year.

      I think Ethier hit that HR in the play offs, off a leftie.

  10. I saw Taylor play at Seattle. He was always a good defensive SS. Seattle had high hopes for him. His hitting was his weakness. I understand he has put on weight and has gotten stronger. I hope he makes the team . He could be a very good addition to the team. I also like Culbertson. He is a gamer.

  11. I always tape the ST games and watch then at night. I am watching the game right now. Bellinger had 3 RBI’s. Thompson had two hits and a walk. Young guys looking good.

  12. Who were they hitting against al? Maybe the same guys they were clobbering in the minors. I think I saw Judge Judy in the box score. Bad day for pitchers – 19 earned runs.

    Nice to see Taylor hitting his way on to this team. He’s the best backup shortstop we have. Kiké may be invisible before long, though he’s not having a bad Spring. He sure hasn’t played much.

    1. Both Turner and Thompson hit their dingers against Henson. Former Giant who spent most of last year at AAA Fresno. Henson won 12 for SF in 15. And he threw a no no against the Mets. Seattle used a bunch of pitchers, but Fein, Bergman, Machi and Owings all have MLB experience. Bergman who they lit up was with the Rockies last year. Owings, you might remember from his days with the D-Backs. Ryu vs the Cubbies today.

      1. I think you mean Heston and he was ok in ’15. Sucked last year. Bergman and Machi had ERA’s over 5. We know Fien. I do remember Owings – ERA around 6 one year here, but that seems like a long time ago. Didn’t even know he was still pitching.

        Yep, bad day for pitching but the Dodgers did get some good wood. I’m anxious to see what they do against starters later this month.

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