Baseball America has announced that the Dodgers have signed right-handed pitcher Steve Geltz to minor league deal.
Geltz graduated from Wilson High School in Wilson, New York and attended the University at Buffalo. He was not drafted out of college but in 2008 he was signed by the Los Angeles Angels as an amateur free agent.
He pitched for six years in the minor league system with all or parts of five seasons at the AAA level. On March 27, 2013 Geltz was traded by the Angels to the Tampa Bay Rays for right-hander Dane De La Rosa.
His best seasons were with the Rays’ AAA affiliate Durham Bulls of the International League in 2013 and 2014 where he posted ERA’s of less than 3.00 in both years while striking out a total of 140 in 109 innings of work. During his minor league career, he struck out 11.8 batters per nine innings.
Following his two successful years with the Durham Bulls in 2013 and 2014, Geltz received a September call up by the Rays. In September, he made 11 appearances with Tampa Bay posting a 3.24 ERA along with 14 strikeouts in 8.1 innings. The 29-year-old Newfane, New York native had a breakout year with the Rays in 2015 appearing in 70 games over 67 innings along with posting a 3.74 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and 61 strikeouts.
After an impressive outing on opening day in 2015 in which he struck out all four batters he faced, Brooks Baseball completed an analysis of his pitch selection that day. He threw mostly fastballs, with four splitters and four sliders. His fastball averaged 94.4 mph, his splitter came in at 84.1 mph, and his sliders at 83.4 mph. Although his secondary pitches were not out of the ordinary, his fastball was. Was what unusual about his fastball was not its sink but its rise. The rise averaged 13.5 inches which makes it just about the most extreme rising in MLB. Chris Tillman of the Orioles is said to hold the “rising fastball” title.
The 2016 season did not go as well and he was up and down between the Rays and the Durham Bulls. His ERA with the Rays during 2016 ballooned to 5.76 while at the AAA level it held steady at 3.03.
On November 28, 2016, the Milwaukee Brewers claimed Geltz off waivers from Tampa Bay. He was then outrighted to Colorado Springs by the Brewers but elected to become a free agent rather than report to the Sky Sox.
With his Tampa Bay connection to Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers President of Baseball Operations and former Tampa Bay General Manager, it is not surprising that Geltz was signed to a minor league contract by the Dodgers. He will most likely be assigned to the Oklahoma City Dodgers where hopefully he will rediscover the rise on his fastball.