RONALD BELISARIO, turns 30 on Dec. 31, reliever
Final 2012 stats: 8-1, 2.54 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings, .187 opponents batting average.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: Had the finest of his three major-league seasons by most statistical analysis. Looked a lot like the guy who unexpectedly exploded upon the scene in 2009. Stuff can truly be nasty.
After serving an initial 25-game suspension for testing positive for cocaine -- and being unable to get a visa to play at all in 2011 --- returned to fairly dominate. Gave the Dodgers a hard-throwing, reliable set-up man. Right-handers batted only .142 against him. Had no off-field escapades. Has his visa for another four years.
The bad: ERA went from 1.69 at home to 3.48 on the road. Had a 16-game stretch from July 8 to Aug. 13 where he posted a 6.88 ERA, but otherwise was remarkably consistent. Of the 53 batters he got to three balls on in the count, 29 of the walked.
What’s next: More back-of-the bullpen assignments. He and Kenley Jansen are scheduled to be the main set-up men for closer Brandon League next season.
The take: You had to be impressed with the way Belisario pitched last season, particularly given the unknown surrounding how long it had been since he last threw in the majors. Although, that’s a long way from him finishing third in the Sporting News’ comeback player of the year tally in the National League.
If in some ways his past makes it difficult to count on Belisario, then anything good you get out of him is sort of bonus-point material. The Dodgers got a lot of bonus points in 2012.
They have surrounded him with several hard throwers in the bullpen, so it’s not like there are no other right-handed options should he self-implode. But for now it appears he has his career and personal life headed in the right direction, and he helps set a foundation for what could prove one of the league’s best bullpens.