GLENDALE, ARIZ. -- Pedro Baez, whose pitching resume consisted of one inning in an instructional league game, is already being talked about for an appearance in a Spring Training contest after an eye-opening bullpen session with guru Sandy Koufax on Monday.
Baez, who turns 25 next month, was signed for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic, and was considered the organization's best third-base prospect. But with a .247 average in six Minor League seasons, he was given the Kenley Jansen treatment and sent to the mound, as Jansen was after failing to hit as a catcher.
Baez showed Koufax a natural delivery, a fastball in the mid-90s and a curveball more advanced than many of his fellow Minor Leaguers who have been at this pitching thing for years. Koufax told other staff members he'd like to see Baez in a game this spring.
Baez is expected to open the season at Class A Rancho Cucamonga. Jansen was switched to reliever in the middle of his fifth professional season at Class A. Jansen opened the next season at Class A -- was promoted after 11 games to Double-A -- and after 22 games there, he showed up in the Dodgers' bullpen, where he posted a 0.67 ERA in 25 games.