Thursday, February 27, 2020
Copyrighted by Sarah Morris, 2020
When Major League Baseball instituted a three-batter minimum for a reliever, they practically did away with the left-handed specialist. From the early 1980s, a left-handed reliever who could get left-handed hitters consistently has been a staple. However, with the new rule, many left-handed relievers will lose their Major-League jobs as Major League Baseball attempts to decrease the time of games, but Dodger left-handed specialist Adam Kolarek is determined to keep his job.
Born in Maryland, Koralek has dominated at every level of baseball. The New York Mets drafted Koralek in the 11th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft.
Although Koralek experienced success in the Mets’ Minor-League system, he did not go up quickly through the system. In 2016, as a Minor-League free agent, Koralek signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, where he made his Major-League debut.
His sidearm delivery baffles most left-handed hitters. Unlike most left-handed specialists, Koralek can throw in the low 90s and has a slider with good movement.
On July 31, 2019, the Dodgers acquired Koralek from the Rays. As a Dodger, Koralek had 0.77 ERA with two wins in 11.2 innings.
Before the Dodgers obtained Kolarek, they did not have a left-handed reliever specialist. Scott Alexander began the season with the Dodgers, but he missed most of the 2019 season -with a thumb injury. Although Alexander still is a Dodger, Alexander has not appeared in a game. Tony Cingrani had arm injuries in 2019 before the Dodgers traded him to the Saint Louis Cardinals at the 2019 trading deadline. Caleb Ferguson, who has had a good spring, was ineffective and had physical problems in 2019, so he spent most of the summer in Oklahoma City (Triple-A).
This spring Koralek has had good performances. Thursday, he retired the Cleveland Indians in order in the third inning, including two right-handers. If Koralek can retire both right-handers and left-handers, he will be an asset to the Dodger bullpen.