When the Dodgers first recalled Carlos Frias, I was as surprised as I assume you were. But, the Dodgers just might have something with the 24-year-old right-hander — out of the bullpen, not in the rotation.
Frias made an excellent spot-start on Sept. 3 — 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K — but the phrase, “Quit while you’re ahead,” comes to mind here. Frias is destined for the bullpen, as his minor-league track record would indicate he isn’t a long-term starting pitcher. And this is coming from someone who saw the best start of his professional career last year (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 11 K). Logan White was in attendance for that game, too.
While he has the repertoire to start (in theory), his stuff would play up a lot of the bullpen. Besides, the Dodgers are going to be set at starting pitcher anyway after they sign Jon Lester this winter. It’d be nice to see him get a start ahead of Roberto Hernandez, but that won’t happen. Besides, the bullpen is in shambles, and Frias might play a bigger-than-expected role in it come October. Hell, he already has played a bigger role.
In 10 MLB games (SSS), Frias as respectable 3.63 ERA, 3.26 FIP and a great 6.4 H/9 and 1.2 BB/9. That will absolutely play. He has a mid-90s fastball (up from the low-90s in the minors), a surprisingly effective cutter, a curveball and a changeup. Once he is a full-time reliever, he’ll probably ditch one of those pitches (preferably the curveball) to focus on the other offerings. In all likelihood, he’s a middle/long reliever, but he could get some setup chances if his fastball remains consistent and he has a pitch to get lefties out (and so far, he’s better against them than righties).
Let’s not overreact. The Dodgers potentially have a late-bloomer in Frias, as I mentioned in the preaseason Top 50, but he probably isn’t the second coming of — *trying to think of a non-race-based comp … can’t do it* — Pedro Martinez, but he has a chance to be a quality pitcher in the majors.
Shameless plug: Jared and I discussed Frias a bit on this week’s “Dugout Blues” podcast. Have a listen, won’t you?
Frias is what he is, and that could be a nice late-inning option for a veteran-heavy (and bad) Dodger bullpen. He could have a Chris Withrow-like impact on the ‘pen, as long as Don Mattingly isn’t afraid to use him. His arm talent is second only to Kenley Jansen in the bullpen, which is something that can’t be taught. And he looks poised on the mound; like he doesn’t get rattled too easily. That’s one of the most encouraging things of all. Ride the Frias train until it derails — that is, if it derails.