Can the Dodgers expect the next Ryan Dempster with latest call-up?
There’s an old adage that says something about when one door closes, another one opens. That couldn’t be more true for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This is a season in which Dodger fans have to be saying in unison, “What have we done to deserve this?” Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse for the Dodgers, we find out that future Clayton Kershaw rotation friend Rubby De La Rosa is done for the year.
However, with De La Rosa’s injury also comes hope. How so? Now that De La Rosa is on the way to Tommy John surgery (isn’t it good that Tommy John wasn’t named Doug Mientkiewicz?), we get to check out our next future ace — Nathan Eovaldi.
Eovaldi, who should get the call from double-A Chattanooga to Los Angeles any day now, was a teammate of De La Rosa. The 21-year-old Eovaldi has posted a mediocre 6-5 record at double-A this season, but has a sterling 2.62 ERA.
In 103 innings pitched, Eovaldi has struck out 99 batters. In his three seasons in the Los Angeles system, Eovaldi has compiled 13 wins and 16 losses. Beyond these numbers, what do we really know about Nathan Eovaldi? Besides being from Texas, what can Dodger fans expect from the 6′-3″ kid?
If you are to believe someone who makes his living scouting Major League Baseball, the Dodgers have another Ryan Dempster in Eovaldi. Dempster, who pitches for the Chicago Cubs, has stuck around the big leagues for the past 14 years.
Over those 14 years, with three different teams, Dempster has won 110 games and has lost the same number. Dempster also has a career 4.41 ERA, which won’t win any Cy Young Awards.
However, Dempster has posted two 15-win seasons and one 17-win season. In 2006 with the Cubs, Dempster was 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA.
How do we know that the young Eovaldi and Dempster deserve to be compared in the same breath? Because a Major League Baseball scout went to Chattanooga, Tennessee, this summer to check out De La Rosa and Eovaldi.
What did the scout think of Eovaldi? This is what he wrote: “From a velocity standpoint, Eovaldi nearly matched Rubby De La Rosa pitch for pitch. As impressive as that statement is, Eovaldi’s fastball lacked the movement to make the offering elite.
“A good comparison is Ryan Dempster, who has parlayed a fastball/slider heavy arsenal into a long and pretty successful big league career.”
So, based on this scout’s impression of Eovaldi, he might never become Clayton Kershaw for the Dodgers. But if he becomes the next Ryan Dempster, I, for one, can live with that.