SF Giants signing of Jake McGee led to Dodgers trading for Cal State East Bay’s Alex Vesia

SAN FRANCISCO — When the Giants made a move to sign free agent pitcher Jake McGee, it left the Los Angeles Dodgers looking for a replacement left arm in their bullpen.

The arm turned out to be Alex Vesia, who pitched in local anonymity for four years at Cal State East Bay in Hayward.

Vesia, 24, arrived via trade from the Miami Marlins on Feb. 12, three days after McGee agreed to terms with the Giants on a two-year contract worth $7 million.

The Dodgers dealt Dylan Floro, an experienced reliever, to Miami in exchange for Vesia, who who was 0-1 and gave up nine hits and three home runs in 4 1/3 innings as rookie in 2020. Also going from the Marlins to the Dodgers was right-hander Kyle Hurt.

“It was quite a shock, actually. I had no idea that was even a thought in the Marlins’ organization,” Vesia told reporters at the time. “Kind of took two or three days for it to settle in and everything.”

Like McGee, Vesia is left-handed and relies on a mid-90s fastball. He went 3-1 in the regular season with a 2.25 earned run average and 51 strikeouts in 40 innings. He has pitched twice in the National League Division Series against the Giants, giving up an eighth-inning home run to Brandon Crawford in Game 1 at Oracle Park in 2/3 of an inning and no runs in 2/3 of an inning in Game 4.

He’s more han a specialist signed to get left-handed batters out. Lefties are hitting .123 against Vesia, and right-handers just .129 — although five of his six home runs surrendered have come against right-handers.

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“If you look at the roster, Alex Vesia has emerged as a guy I trust who gets lefties out, gets righties out,” manager Dave Roberts said told the Orange County Register in September.  “He’s pitched in big spots.”

Vesia was a ninth-round draft pick by Miami in 2018 after a 24-17 record and 3.01 earned run average at East Bay.

Dodgers reliever Alex Vesia reacts to a strikeout of Mauricio Dubon against the Giants on Sept. 4 in Los Angeles. Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group

“His work ethic was off the charts when he was here, he was upper 80s, touched 90s, so you thought he had a chance,” East Bay coach Mike Cummins said. “Three years later pitching for the Dodgers in the playoffs? Probably that seems a little far-fetched, but once he got into minor league baseball with the Marlins it was lights out.”

Vesia, 24, blew through the minors at warp speed, posting an 11-2 record, a 1.57 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 109 innings in two seasons. His rookie season in Miami was derailed for the most part after going on the COVID-19 list in August and spending 3 1/2 weeks in quarantine.

Cummins, who took over the program in Vesia’s junior year, saw the left-hander struggle with expectations as a junior before blossoming as a senior.

“I think he put a lot of pressure on himself my first year here to get …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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