Monday, April 22, 2024
Home > Offseason > Dodgers Ink Right Hander Zach Neal To a Minor League Deal

Dodgers Ink Right Hander Zach Neal To a Minor League Deal

Zach Neal

The Dodgers have made another move, this time on the minor league side. Ken Rosenthal is reporting that The Dodgers have inked right hander Zach Neal to a minor league contract. Neal a 29-year old from Colombia, South Carolina spent the majority of the 2017 season pitching for the Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League. Neal also appeared in six games at the major league level with the Oakland Athletics.

Neal pitched in 24 games for the A’s in 2016 as well. Six of those games were as a starter. He posted a 4.24 ERA and struck out only 27 in 70 innings pitched. Neal’s miniscule strikeout rate of 3.5 per nine compliments his ground ball rate of 55.3%. He walked only 6 in 2016 and just one batter in 2017. However he did allow 9.3 hits per nine in his 2016 campaign and 11.7 hits per nine during his 2017 season. Neal posted a 7.98 ERA over 14.2 innings pitched last year.

In 21 appearances and 16 starts at Nashville the sinkerballer posted a 4.84 ERA with a 4-8 record. He struck out just 43 and walked 10 in 99 frames. He also allowed 115 hits with 9 home runs. Neal was a starting pitcher for Nashville in 2016. That year he posted a 7-2 record with a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts.

Overall Neal has a 4.89 ERA and a 4.71 FIP in 84.2 big league frames. He’s posted a 3.9 K/9 rate to go along with a very low 0.7 BB.9 rate over 30 MLB appearances. It looks like the Dodgers are trying to stockpile ground ball pitchers in order to counter all of the home runs that are flying out of the ball parks these days. If Neal cracks the major league roster he should earn the league minimum.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

61 thoughts on “Dodgers Ink Right Hander Zach Neal To a Minor League Deal


    Rams not ready for prime time. There is no great football being played out West. Football has become a southern game.

  2. Yeah. Big disappointment. I mean the Rams.

    Zach Neal sounds like organizational depth.

    Rumor has it AGon is talking to the Mets but if he only gets bench offers, he may choose to stay in LA as a bench player.

    1. Watching that game reminded me of Friday night football in Orange County back in the 60s. We practice all week during the day on a dry field with scuffed balls. I could throw them 50 yards. Friday night dew. With a new ball, wet field, felt like throwing a large bar of wet soap while standing on an icy sidewalk.

      And now we look forward to what? Another Super Bowl with Gnu Inglan in it and the Dodgers playing next October? Why do I bother with this crap? It’s the same thing every year. Maybe I’ll take up painting. Water colors looks interesting.

  3. I don’t know why everyone is trashing the Rams, when we know that True is the reason the Rams looked more like Lambs, then the Rams.

    All True had to do, was just mention the Rams!

    We will be hearing about how all the teams on the west coast, or so causal!

  4. I lay that Ram turd right at the feet of the HC/OC. He totally abandoned the things that got him there: refused to run the ball two plays in a row (until it was over); no slant passes (okay one at the end of the game to #12, and it worked); very little use of the hurry up offense (until the game was essentially over, and it worked); I can’t go on. McVay totally tried to get too tricky and do nothing that had worked all season (you really fooled those Falcons McVay, good job). SOSAR!

    1. No slant passes to the cracks in the windows. With you there. Set the tone – pound Gurley. With you there too. In the playoffs you can’t turn the ball over, and ESPECIALLY not on your end of the field. I’d like to see that game played again in less greasy conditions. These are NOT the same sorry ass Rams. Same sorry ass results but this team is very different.

      1. You are correct about Same Sorry Ass Results (SOSAR) which happens to match Same Sorry Ass Rams (SOSAR), maybe someone is trying to tell us something.

        I told my wife after the 1st Quarter “unless McVay is sandbagging until he gets to the second half, the Rams have no chance of winning this game!”

        Based on when game plans are put in place, this game was decided last Sunday night.

    2. True

      I was just giving you a hard time!

      The announcers said early in that game, what Atlanta’s strategy would be, in that game yesterday, and it sure looked like it worked.

      I am just glad I don’t have any emotional attachment to the Rams, like I use to have!

      My dad died a month before, the Rams finally won their first super bowl.

      And my brother has been a Rams fan, throughout all the pain the Rams have put their fans, through.

  5. This pick up does not make me all warm and fuzzy. Zack Neal???? Ok, I get the depth thing….I get loading up with arms that have some MLB experience. What I would really get is a trade that nets them a true LF and a starting pitcher who can actually pitch more than 5 innings.

    1. Not all moves should necessarily make us feel warm and fuzzy.

      As to the LF point, the front office already said they want to stop blocking players like Toles, Verdugo and Pederson.

      Thus as to Badger’s idea (fostered by a mysterious former poster (how does someone become a former poster? Did they age out? Lose the ability to click? Did net neutrality do them in?)) Why would they move Bellinger (a decidedly younger player, who’s excellent defensively at 1B) to block them (and move him to a position where he may just be average or above average) just to try Kemp at a position he’s never played.

      1. To answer your question about ex posters would be a risk here. Suffice to say many got sick of the b.s. threats and bullying from a certain…. monitor. If you’ve been paying attention this shouldn’t really be a surprise to you.

        Why move a speedy player to the outfield? Duh. Why did they move an excellent infielder like Taylor to centerfield? Why would any organization take a talent like Mickey Mantle, 3.1 home to first, and move him from shortstop to centerfield? Same question could be asked of Robin Yount. Ian Desmond is another more current example. As for Bellinger being an excellent first baseman, seems to me I remember him making some bonehead errors there at first.

        I’m curious Blut, did you grow up playing soccer, or maybe were a cheerleader or something? Some of the odd things you post often have me scratching my head.

        As for young outfielders being “blocked” I call bullshit on that one. We’ve been looking for a starting left fielder for a decade. If we had one in the minors that was any good I think he would be there by now. Just trade them all for Yelich and be done with the search.

        1. That’s nonsense, one about a monitor, two about any repercussions.

          I have been paying attention the only “drama” came when people diverged from talking about baseball. That shouldn’t be hard to do on a blog called, labaseballreport.

          Bellinger, according to everything I’ve read, is a gold-glove caliber 1B. That’s why I call him excellent.

          Of course I grew up playing soccer, who didn’t. I also played tennis, baseball and basketball. Played football in high school, but never cheered, but that’s an oddly anachronistic question? Would you be troubled if I was?

          Call bullshit all you want, I’m just repeating what Zaidi says. He’s closer to the Dodgers mindset than you or I.

      2. Bluto
        Plus, I don’t think Kemp would be here longer than a year. No sense disrupting what works, right? Cody did a good job.

    2. Mr. Norris
      Who FAZ thinks can go 5 innings and who you think can go 5 innings might be two different things. I think FAZ is going to let spring training take care of left field but Kemp is certainly in the mix.

      1. I have always understood that Package….but the point remains, most of the pitchers acquired during the present reign are not innings guys. Not McBrittle, Kazmir, nor Hill. Wood does not really qualify either. They just look at the game a lot differently than I do. I personally think my way is better, but I am not running the Dodgers…

        1. Mr. Norris
          I am agreeing with you, they do think a lot differently than you I think and I wish you were running things as I think your way is better instead of them but I don’t think you rely on luck, they do.

          1. Not only that Package, fortune also favors the bold, as they say. Chapman and Stanton were major whiffs and both dropped in the Yankees’ mitt. Four years from now people will be saying what a bargain pick up Stanton was, vs. the “deadweight” contracts of Harper and Machado.

          2. I think Buzzie Bavasi would take these two for their shirts and they would not even know it. Even Campanis was a very shrewd trader. He once traded his own kid. Baseball is run different now, Bavasi and Campanis were both what have you done for me lately guys. Not picking on Kike specifically, but no way they would keep him on the roster after two years where he hit less than .215. Saber metrics they probably would have laughed at. They went for the best they could get. Bavasi traded Frank Howard and it got him a series title in 65. The 59 team was a hodgepodge of veterans and kids, and won against a much stronger Braves team and then beat the White Sox after getting drubbed 11-0 in game one. Yes, Fortune favors the bold. We have had 3 years of Friedman’s tip toeing around the fringes, we have 3 division titles and one NL pennant. With a little foresight, it could have been very different.

  6. Hey Bear, been meaning to ask you, what do you think of moving Kemp to first base? Had a brief conversation with a former poster about it. We both think it could be a good move. Bellinger is the fastest guy on the team. Taking advantage of that defensively for a few years seems logical to me. He can play first base after he turns 30.

    1. Will playing 1B make Kemp less of a clubhouse cancer or whiny bitch? If not, he has to be jettisoned.

      1. It might convince Bluto he has some value, and if he’s any good could even earn him another contract somewhere. More importantly, it might address 2 issues for us – improve our left field defense and add the RH power we’ve been looking for since Manny and Kemp left.

        Look, I don’t know if it would work. I’m just throwing ideas against the wall here. As for whiny bitch, I don’t really see Kemp as that. Maybe I’m missing something?

        1. Badger,

          You are mistaking my position on Kemp. I don’t know if he has value, what would convince me he has (will have/had) is if the market proved it. The last two times he has been evaluated by the market (in trades) he has been exchanged for negligible assets.

          I know so little about baseball, I have to go on what others and what the market conveys.

  7. Cody actually had better numbers, against lefties, then righties, last year.

    And I don’t think Kemp would enjoy being moved, to another position, his first year back, on the team.

    And actually Kemp had better numbers against righties last year, then lefties.

  8. My take on Kemp moving. Playing 1st is not that easy. I know, I played the position for years. And at his age, I do not think Matt would take to that too well. As far as what Blue said about Kemp being a club house cancer, there has been no conversation to that since he left the Dodgers. Neither in San Diego or Atlanta. If anything he was hard working and a model team mate. A lot of that came from his dislike of Mattingly and the position move in 2014. Bellinger is a natural 1st baseman and saved a lot of errant throws last year. He did make some rookie blunders, but for the most part, he was as good as Gonzalez if not better. I do not get the kids are blocked BS. The Dodgers have been looking for a regular LF for years. Pederson was not blocked…he stepped right into the CF role…..he did not hold it. Injuries have limited Toles. He has yet to prove he is the everyday guy…Verdugo has not proved anything yet except he is a pretty good AAA outfielder. Thompson was penciled in as the LF regular, and we all know what happened to him. It has been a long time since the same player ran out to the LF position everyday. So I stick with the idea we still need an everyday LF and a good starting pitcher….the rest at this point are just roster fodder.

  9. Agree with Michael. I do however think there is a chance we see Bellinger in the outfield and that is at CF, if Taylor plays back to his career average and Verdugo can’t figure out big league pitching. Having a gold glove caliber 1B for us is huge. I don’t see Kemp at first.

    Cervenka at ThinkBlue has two nice write ups on Alexander and Jake Peter.

    1. Right now the only backup 1st baseman on the Dodgers is Segedin, and I doubt he even makes the team out of spring training, as a matter of fact I doubt he is still with the team come April. For those reasons I do not see Bellinger in the outfield at all unless they sign someone who has that kind of back ground. Had Adrian Gonzalez stayed with the Dodgers, then yes, Cody would be in the outfield now and then.

      1. With his speed Bellinger could very well be our best defensive outfielder. Anybody can play first base. Hell, even Michael played first bass. (see what I did there) The question we have, and have had for a while, is who plays left field? Are we going to have another platoon out there? Is Toles the guy? Does Verdugo, who OPS’d .825 at AAA have to go do it again? Trayce Thompson. Heck, just checked the Dodgers Depth Chart – LEFT FIELD: Hernandez, Bellinger, Pederson Toles. Kemp isn’t even listed. He’s listed as the 4th string right fielder.

        These are legitimate questions that may not be answered until Opening Day.

        1. It is Badger (to me at least) a question of is vs. could be. Of certainty vs. possibly

          Bellinger IS the best 1B by far on the Dodgers.

          Anyone COULD play first, but certainly not as well as Bellinger.

        2. Yeah I played 1st base..I also caught and played the outfield and even pitched a little. And I am a lefty. I had a left handed catchers mitt I found at the special services equipment bin at Ft Bliss, but I loved playing first since you were in on so many plays.

        3. Brings back memories of the great Dodger teams of the 50’s — allstars at nearly every position except that left field was always in flux. Remember Andy Pafko as a Dodger? Third base was often unsettled too.

          1. Correct on those points Harlan….Billy Cox gave 3rd some stability until he was traded, then it was manned at various times by Rocky Bridges, Don Hoak, Jim Gilliam, I think Jackie played a few games over there. Don Zimmer, Randy Jackson played some on the 57 team. Left field was manned by Pafko for 2 years and then it was Shuba, Amoros, Gilliam, Walt Moryn, and a number of others long forgotten.

  10. Bluto, I think Badger is saying Bellinger IS our best LF and our best 1st base and he’s clearly better than the current alternatives at both. Bellinger has better range and a stronger arm than Joc and Toles (remember he fired off a 100+mph throw during the year from CF). If one values versatility, one has to figure these things out and place the best available player at the position that helps the most.

    Where I (and perhaps Michael) differ with Badger is on the importance of Bellinger at first base. I think Bellinger saved a lot of borderline throws from Seager and Turner. I know both are plus defenders based on stats, but I’m going with my eye test here.

    1. I think an outfield of Bellinger, Taylor and Puig could lead all of baseball in defensive runs saved. I think Kemp at the least important defensive position on the field contains his defensive negative WAR liability and puts 30 home runs and 100 RBIs on the board.

      Just trying to help think of ways to help this team win.

      1. I get it Badger, and it’s not a bad idea at all. I’m just more of a skeptic on Kemp, but I also think it will be hardest to trade him so trying him at first could be ok. Hanley Ramirez did ok on first base as I recall, although a former SS will have an easier time there than an outfielder.

        We will see how everything shakes out in ST, or before, if the FAZ manages to trade one of Joc or Toles. The guy I want traded the most is Grandal. Nothing at all on that front, which actually makes me think something may be in the works ….

        1. Yeah, I’ve traded both Joc and Grandal already. But most might say I’m not as patient as Friedman.

          If Kemp is in shape, obviously he can still hit, it would be smart to figure out a way to use him. FAZ are supposed to smart. Figure it out. Releasing him sounds dumb to me.

          I wonder if Joc is on a weight loss program.

          It could be said that the off season goals have been met, that being reset the luxury cap and add a pitcher or two in the bullpen. It’s probably a playoff team already. That’s what they want. Just to get there again.

          I don’t much care for January. January Jones is ok. I remember a Miss January 1968. Connie Kreski. She was ok. She shared a bunker with me in Vietnam. As did Angela Dorian. Ok. I’m done.

        2. I hope you are right about Grandal.

          I’d love to see him moved, even for a middling arm or prospect.

          But what do I know?

    2. Thanks YF,

      That is what Badger is saying, I’m saying just because HE thinks Bellinger is the best LF on the team means diddly to me. The fact that SCOUTS say Bellinger is a Gold Glove caliber 1B means a lot to me.

      That’s a summary of what I’m trying to say.

      1. And you parroting what OTHERS think means diddly to me.

        There are a number of good fielding first baseman in the league. Yeah, Bellinger is very athletic down there, with the range to cut off easy plays for the second baseman and the arm to whiz it briskly past the pitcher scrambling to cover first base. The fastest guy on the team, with a gun for an arm, playing first base seems odd to me. But then, I’m not a SCOUT.

        And Gold Glove means nothing. You ought to know that as Matt Kemp, YOUR GUY, has two of them, posting negative dWAR’s in both years he received them. Bet you didn’t know that.

        Well, what else do the SCOUTS say? I wonder how many thought Jansen’s best shot at making a Major League roster was as a catcher?

        1. All true.

          Scouts are wrong some of the time. So are baseball execs. Zero point zero percent of baseball exec are 100% correct, 100% of the time.


          But both have careers in baseball. The Malcolm Gladwell 1000 hours thing. They are still much more informed and knowledgable than you or I when it comes to baseball, because of this.

          I work in marketing for a start-up. Don’t look to me for an opinion on Cody Bellinger’s potential at an OF position, it would be worth as much as a fake name like Bluto.

          In regards to that, the Gold Glove mention was intended to be used in a symbolic manner than a literal one. (IOW: Bellinger will be very good at 1B)

          1. Here’s a scoop for you: Bellinger will be very good wherever he plays.

            IMO Bellinger would be one of the best outfielders in MLB. And it’s a quantifiable fact that a best outfielder saves more runs defensively than a very good first baseman.

            But, the consensus here seems to be don’t move him. So if I’m President – you’re all fired. Just kidding. I believe in democracy. You can all have a vote that will be ignored.

  11. Remember Cody hurt himself playing RF in Detroit. What the F was he doing playing RF? I know, I know versatility.

    115 hits in approx 100 innings. Sounds like he keeps his defense on their toes.

    1. Artieboy
      I did not forget Cody playing RF when he barely turned his ankle and the team put him on the 10 day DL so another player could continue to play his position at 1st base for several games. Thankfully, that player is gone. Cody should continue to play his position at 1st base in my opinion.

  12. Leave Bellinger where he is. He is the best 1st baseman on the team, and I think 1st base is a very important defensive position. Guys like Dick Stuart who were lousy fielders made it look very hard to play there….I can name a lot of immobile bad defensive 1st basemen. The Dodgers for the most part since their coming to Los Angeles have always had pretty good defensive guys over there. Garvey was lousy at third but found his niche at 1st. Throwing was his big problem, he could always field. I think there is less chance of injury for Cody at first. A couple of games in the OF and he gets hurt? No, you cannot take that kind of risk with your best source of power on a team where there are really no other 30 HR threats save maybe Joc or Puig if he turns it up a notch.

  13. Story on the Dodgers website says they are pretty happy with the lineup they can run out there every day and it looked like this C Barnes 1B Bellinger, 2B Forsythe, 3B Turner, SS Seager, LF Pederson, CF Taylor, RF Puig. I would guess that means Grandal is a backup….and Pederson has won LF…amazing since spring training has not even started. But it definitely shows where some players are in the pecking order…..

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