2012 Dodgers in Review #43: RP Scott Elbert

December 27, 2012 at 6:56 am | Posted in 2012 in Review, Scott Elbert | Leave a comment

2.20 ERA 3.80 FIP 32.2 IP 7.99 K/9 3.58 BB/9 0.1 fWAR B+

2012 in brief: Was quietly a reliable bullpen lefty for the first half before missing most of the second half with left elbow soreness and undergoing surgery in September.

2013 status: Enters final year before being arbitration-eligible and should return as steady member of the bullpen.


Quick: what’s your favorite memory of Scott Elbert this year?

You don’t have one, do you? Well, if you can’t remember much about what a non-closing reliever who got into 43 games did, that probably means he did a solid job. It’s when you start hearing about these guys that you’ve got a problem, and so Elbert’s general lack of publicity is a good sign.

It wasn’t always that way for Elbert, of course, who rebounded from a troubled 2010 marked by his mysterious departure from the organization to mark his first full season in the bigs in 2011. It’s actually kind of interesting to note that despite the fact that Elbert’s been around seemingly forever — 2012 was the fifth year in which he suited up for the Dodgers — and has been a primary lefty for two seasons now, he’s pitched just 92.1 innings in the majors. He’s actually been around for so long that when he debuted with the team on August 29, 2008, not only was Russell Martin leading off, but Jeff Kent & Nomar Garciaparra comprised the middle infield. Of the 15 Dodgers who played that day aside from Elbert, only Matt Kemp & Andre Ethier remain with the team, and otherwise only Martin, Hiroki Kuroda, James Loney, & Juan Pierre seem assured of big league jobs in 2013. Yet still, over four years later, Elbert’s not even reached one hundred innings yet.

That’s the life of the non-elite situational reliever, I suppose, though it’s more than fine for a minimum-salary type. It’s also the kind of guy you usually want to move on from as he reaches arbitration years, but his lack of wins and saves will hurt him with the arbitration board, and the Dodgers are far from a usual team anyway.


It’s that lack of meaningful sample sizes which has led to some wild splits over his two full seasons. As you can see in the chart at right, in 2011, Elbert was slightly better on the road — though not by much — while doing better against lefties, as you’d expect. In 2012, neither of those held true, and in fact they swung wildly in the other other direction. Considering we’re talking about just 30+ innings per year, I’m not sure we can really put a lot of stock into those trends either way, at least not without another year or two of data.

The biggest problem for Elbert last year was that after a good first half, he pitched only 7.2 innings after June thanks to two stints on the disabled list with left shoulder soreness, the second of which ended his season with cleanup surgery in September. He’s expected to be ready for camp, and he should have a spot waiting for him. At the moment, he’s the only lefty in the pen, unless Paco Rodriguez makes the cut or a long-expected trade for a veteran lefty gets made.


Next up! Todd Coffey is a socialism!


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