The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted left-handed relief pitcher Grant Dayton to the major leagues this morning. Dayton is a bit unusual: he's a 28 year old lefty with an exceptionally good performance record who has seldom ranked on prospect lists. Let's take a look.
Dayton was originally drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 11th round in 2010 from Auburn University. From the outset he was a successful relief pitcher and moved up the ladder steadily, reaching Double-A in 2013 and Triple-A in 2014. He was solidly effective, notably with a 2.83 ERA and a 35/5 K/BB in 35 innings last year for Triple-A New Orleans, but never received a major league opportunity. He was traded to the Dodgers last summer and continued performing well in his new organization, posting a 2.44 ERA with an 85/10 K/BB in 48 innings this year between Double-A and Triple-A.
Yes, 85 strikeouts in 48 innings.
Over his career he has a 2.79 ERA in 390 innings with a 498/128 K/BB. Yes, 498 strikeouts, 124 walks.
Dayton is a 6-2, 195 pound lefty born November 25, 1987. Despite his obscene strikeout rates he isn't an especially hard thrower, topping out in the low 90s and averaging right around 89. He'll mix in a slider and a change-up, both pitches rated solid-average on their own merits. Yet while his individual pitches on their own don't draw raves, the entire package plays up due to his command and willingness to attack hitters aggressively. His platoon splits are close to even and right-handers don't seem to pick him up much better than lefties do, so he is not necessarily confined to LOOGY work.
He may be just a 28-year-old reliever on the surface but he's a damn interesting one.
Despite his long tenure in the minors there is hardly any public video for Dayton. There's a brief clip here, starting at 1:46.