A Case For Wilmer Font

Wilmer Font is a 27 year old RHSP for the OKC Dodgers.  He is not on the 40 man roster, and is a little old to be considered a prospect, but he has had a tremendous season and is more than worthy of a September callup.

The La Guaira, Venezuela native stands 6’4” and weighs 209 pounds.  He signed with the Rangers and began his professional career as a 17 year old in the AZL in 2007.  His career was postponed by TJ surgery in 2010, but continued his climb and became a very highly regarded pitcher in the Rangers organization.  In 2012, Baseball American rated Wilmer Font as having the best fastball in the organization. Wilmer made his ML debut in September 2012.  He moved up and down with the Rangers in 2013, and was released at the end of the 2014 season.

Font signed with the Reds but was again released in March 2015.  He resurfaced in a Canadian Independent League team in Ottawa, and was signed by Toronto on July 4, 2016.  In December 2016, Font signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers, and was assigned to OKC to be one of the starting pitchers.

All he has done since becoming a Dodger is impress.

ERA                        3.58                        #1 in PCL – next best is 4.11

K                             170                         #1 in PCL – next most is 144

WHIP                     1.13                        #1 in PCL – next best 1.26

Wins                      9                              #4 in PCL – #1 has 11 (Justin Masterson)

IP                            128.1                     #6 in PCL

He was honored and chosen to be the starter for the PCL in mid-season ASG against the International League.  With his 170K, he has allowed 34 BB for a K/BB ratio of 5.0.

Font has a full arsenal with curve, slider, a nasty swing and miss splitter, and a devastating fastball.

OKC pitching coach, Matt Herges, has been asked if he is ready for the Big League.  Herges believes he is ready.  If not as a starter, then definitely as a middle innings reliever.  Asked if he could become a one inning high leverage reliever, per Herges “That’s something that I think about, I mean he could sit on 99, he’s got that in him, I mean he’s touching 97 multiple times a game.” Herges added, “That’s why I think it would work in any role, the ability to land a curveball, the ability to control both sides of the plate with his slider and the split-finger is rarely thrown for a strike and with the elite elevation, there’s not a role he can’t do in my mind.”

When asked why they turned him loose and why the high fastball has been so effective, Herges opined,

“I think his whole life, it’s probably been you got to throw the ball down, you got to the throw the ball down, and that’s harder to do for some guys than for others.”  “So we’ve opened that up for him and we have encouraged him to throw his curveball on 0-0 counts.”

Wilmer Font has experienced it all.  From La Guaira, Venezuela to the United States and professional baseball, TJ surgery, making a major league roster, being released, continuing his dream in a Canadian Independent League, to being perhaps the best pitcher in the PCL, to being on the verge of making a ML roster again.  The Dodgers love the high rising fastball, especially from their relievers.  He is younger and more effective than Fabio Castillo and Jordan Jankowski.  IMO he deserves a chance.  I want an opportunity to see him challenge Nolan Arenado with a high rising fastball as Ross Stripling did earlier this year.  The Dodgers freed him up with his fastball, now let’s see them free him up to be on the 40 man and get called up in September.

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 47 Comments

  1. Agone looks to be swinging a good bat. So how close could he be to swinging a hot bat. And I’m not going only by my line of sight. Monday and Kennedy both say the same thing, Agons swing looks good. So I say we should have an outfield of Puig, Taylor in center and Belly in left. Taylor is a very very good outfielder right now and improving all the time. Keep Agone at 1st for the time being. At least vs righties. See where that goes. I think Agon has more than a few good hits left in him. Hope the pitchers are all healthy for the worrisome 2nd season tournament. Specifically Kersh, Wood, Darvish and Hill. BP is very very good right now. Love the Dodgers overall chances this year. But the tournament is a treacherous fickle thing. Gulp!!

    1. You forgot Granderson who has been hot. The OF should be Granderson, Taylor and Puig and Bellinger to 1B and Gonzalez to the bench, (or I guess Forsythe to the bench and Taylor to 2B?)

  2. Per Houston Mitchell of the Times:
    “The Dodgers are 76-21 in games in which Bellinger appears. When he doesn’t play, they are 14-15.”
    My eyes don’t deceive me – the Dodgers aren’t hitting – no Cody.

    “Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .194/.235/.355 since he returned from the DL. If he continues this type of hitting, he should be on the bench when Bellinger returns.
    The one thing I forgot about Gonzalez is how painfully slowly he runs. He’s so slow, that you can hear the “Chariots of Fire” theme when he runs.”
    Bellinger to 1B; Adrian to the bench please.

    1. Dodger rick

      Agone is hitting 250 against righties, and Forsythe is hitting 209 against righties.

      And Forsythe’s OPS is a 100 points lower then Agone’s OPS, against righties.

      And Agone will only be starting against righties, and when was the last time that Forsythe hit a ball out of the park, like Agone did, yesterday?

      Agone has only played in seven games, so I think we need to give him a little more time, to get his timing down!

      We have been giving Forsythe much more time then just 7 games, to do the same!

      There is no risk here, because Agone will only stay in the line up, if he is producing.

      And we know this will happen, because when Joc didn’t hit, he was sent down to AAA!

      1. With all do respect what does Forsythe have to do with A-gone? Come playoff time, it should be Granderson or Gonzalez in the lineup not both against righties unless they move Taylor to 2nd which they are not. Gonzalez plays a position where is he supposed to hit HR’s. Unless Gonzalez and Grandal are going to keep going back to back I dread seeing them in the middle of the lineup back to back.

        1. Hawkeye

          I don’t want them to hit back to back.

          But Cody will be back tomorrow, and that will change!

          And Agone will hit farther back in the line up.

          I used Forsythe because he is the weakest bat, in our line up, against righties.

          And Forsthye hasn’t been platooned at all much.

          Agone is a better bat then Forsythe is against righties, and Forsythe is the only bat in our line up, that doesn’t hit with much power.

          Who would you rather have up, in a RBI situation, Agone or Forsythe?

          Agone may not hit with a lot of power, but Cody will be in the line up, and he makes up for any power loss in Agone.

          And maybe Agone will surprise you, and hit with more power, then you think!

          He has been hitting the ball hard!

          Why must Forsythe be in the line up, against righties, when he is hitting 209 against righties, and is slugging 300 against righties?

          And when Forsythe hits eighth, and there is someone out on base, in scoring position, with two outs, Forsythe will take a walk, instead try to get a hit, with a pitcher coming up next.

          1. It’s irrelevant because it isn’t Forsythe or Adrian. Forsythe has been having excellent AB’s. Subtract his numbers after he came off the DL and re-started his season and they are quite good. Do I wish he had more power sure, but his .OBP is much higher than Adrians’s and if we’re comparign the two he actually has twice as many HR’s now as Gonzalez. His .OPS is higher too, but like I said it is irrelevant. It comes down to Granderson, Gonzalez, and Puig. Pick two. As for taking a walk in the 8 hole, Puig did too, It’s going to happen. Don’t chase just because they pitched around you.

    2. Agon es beter in defense than Cody. Defenly is a beter 1b. Cody is faster, but he has to konw about 1b more

      1. Daniel,

        Personally, I think Cody Bellinger is the best defensive 1B in all of baseball. He’s not only fast, but he’s the fastest Dodger. Adrian has a Gold Glove but he doesn’t get to as much as he used too and he’s slow.

  3. Unless it is a spot start, there is no room for Font in the crowded rotation when Kershaw, Yu and Wood return and McCarthy is going on a rehab stint. Now a middle relief spot seems very possible and his stuff would play up in that role. We need someone besides Stripling and Stewart and the two Tony’s to eat some innings. The starter for tomorrow’s game has still not been announced (I assume it’s Darvish) and maybe Font could take the ball Sunday, but Stripling is more likely as he is already here and no 40 man spot needed. With Darvish we would still have only 4 starters but only for a few more days.

    This was a nice read, seems the author feels the NL portion of the playoffs is a foregone conclusion.

    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/20436129/way-too-early-world-series-preview-beat-dodgers

      1. I don’t think my bet would move the line but it opened at -7000 and I got it at -400 and it has now gone back up to -600 or -650. That opening line is the odds makers true opinion but money moves the line to get half bet on each side and a lot came in on the underdog so they had to move the line. Now the private jets are landing in Vegas and the big $$ will be on Mayweather and the masses will back the underdog. McGregor is $100 to win $425 so there is a big middle for the sports book. I predict a unanimous decision for Floyd unless Conor gets mad and gets disqualified.

  4. Nice article. Pitchers especially can develop later in life. Hitters, if you have not figured it out by 25, usually they do not make it. Maybe as a pinch hitter. Pitchers can develop a new pitch, and get better command. What does intrigue me is Fonts fast ball and splitter. Throwing 97 as a starter is very good. I just do not have the confidence in Stripling and Stewart right now for long relief. They are ok, but maybe we could do better. Maybe Font could be the one. It is worth a try.

    I did comment on yesterday’s article about Baez. He certainly looked better and was using other pitches besides his fast ball. Location was also better. I liked what Baez did. Also Grandal was calling a different game.

  5. I believe Font could be very effective in the bullpen, but if they don;t call him up by August 31st, he’s toast.

  6. How many games do you guys think Gary Sanchez and Dillon Betances should/will get for that brawl yesterday?

    1. American League pitchers are chickens>*#. They know they won’t get thrown at with the stupid DH. But I would think the batters that get plunked instead of them can’t be too thrilled about it. Pitchers are wimps. There, I said it… but please don’t tell Gibson, Drysdale, or Ryan.

    2. Sanchez got 4 which is a joke. Miggy got 7. Sanchez should have got at least 10 for acting like a punk. When I watched the replay the thing that stood out to me was Sanchez sucker punching guys on the ground. I can’t stand Joe Torre and he shouldn’t be in that position. A little Yankee bias taking place.

  7. Probably a bit premature, but as I see it, Agon should be in the lineup against righthanded pitching, and Bellinger should be in the lineup everyday, shifting between LF and 1B. When Belly is at 1B, Kike` should be starting in LF.

    Not concerned about Agon’s average at this point. It appears to me that at least some his power has returned, and that his timing is gradually returning. For me, Agon is the replacement for Pederson, and so far looks to be a vast improvement. I hate Agon’s slothfulness, but overall his game is an improvement over what we’ve had all year. He lengthens the lineup, and his slowness of foot is less of an issue lower down in the lineup.

    As for Wilmer Font, I don’t have a clue. But if he’s as good as Mark describes, then add him to the 40, on which there are several names that could easily be let go. In fact, I noticed that Walker Buehler is not yet on the 40, and wonder if the Dodgers would move him there before they have to, especially if the more experienced Wilmer Font is a viable alternative.

    1. Hmm, not sure where my reply went so I will take a 2nd shot at it. So, you would put Puig to the bench then against righties? Taylor isn’t moving to 2nd base this year at least. So, you have to pick two of these three to play against righties-Puig, Gonzo, or Granderson. Come playoff time, I am not weakening both 1st base defense and RF defense by playing both Granderson and Gonzalez. Of the the three Gonzalez’s bat plays the best off the bench too. Now if the veterans and manager in the dugout thinks Puig is letting the moment get the better of him then sure go with the two old guys, but I prefer the better defense of Granderson in LF, Puig in RF, Bellinger at 1B with some plodding runner coming off the bench. Agone will have to show me a lot more to change my mind, but to me it is either Granderson or Gonzalez in the lineup not both because it was Granderson who was brought in to get Joc’s AB’s not Gonzalez.

      1. Hawkeye

        Granderson has played center at times this year, and he has better numbers then Joc does, on defense!

      2. Hawkeye

        Also Barnes can play second too, and he has much better numbers against righties, then Forsythe does!

        1. Hawkeye

          Why do you insist that Forsythe is the only one that can play second, and be in the line up, against righties?

          His OPS against righties in not even in the 600s.

          Puig is also very capable, of playing center too.

          I agree with what Mark said.

          Agone is average or a little above, on defense at first.

          Cody is average or above, out in the outfield.

          And actually Cody can play center too!

          And like Mark said, if Agone is healthy and hitting, he is a much better bat, then most of the players on this team.

          And I would rather have Agone up to bat, with a RBI situation, then a lot of players on this team.

          And the qualifier for all of this, is that Agone has to be healthy and hitting.

          I love you Hawkeye but I don’t get why you believe Forsythe should be in this line up, against righties!

          1. Puig is very capable of playing CF. I think he would be very good at it. Taylor is not playing anywhere but CF at this point though. They aren’t going to start playing Barnes at 2B as a starter. Just isn’t going to happen at this point in the season. Pre-season the front office said they wanted his focus to be on catcher this year. Agone is definitely still a good defensive first baseman, but he’s coming off the bench for me come playoff time unless he starts driving the ball with authority consistently. Forsythe’s OPS is over .700 now. His AB’s are getting better and better. I’ll take his .370 .OBP and good defense at 2B. I think Tayjor would be great at 2B, but it aint happening unless Giancarlo Stanton magically becomes a Dodger. Give me the youth and athleticism over Gonzalez.

  8. I agree with you Hawkeye. Agon will be on the bench. Granderson, Taylor and Puig will be in the outfield. Let Utley and Forsythe platoon. That is a very strong defensive team. The pitching will work its way out in September. Who starts and who is in the pen. The thing I love about Roberts is that he gives everyone a chance to prove what they can do. If they do not make the team it is because they have not proven themselves. There will be some tough decisions.

  9. Grant Dayton to have TJ surgery. He will be out for the remainder of this year and most of next year. Could that be the opening for Font??

    1. Adam Liberatore has started his rehab. He pitched one inning last night at AZL. He is currently on the 60 Day DL. So if he looks like he can make it back, he will probably get that spot. But there are other potential opportunities for Font.

    2. Bummer about Dayton. He did a great job in 2016. I was definitely a big fan partly because I was at his MLB debut last year. It was a 16 inning game in St. Louis and he showed no fear. Let’s hope Liberatore can get right and shore up the Dodgers greatest vulnerability.

  10. Stripling announced as starter for tomorrow’s game, probably Darvish on Sunday. Kershaw pitches Sat too, that would set him up for a Thurs the 31st return from the DL against Az if all goes well. With an off day Monday everyone else gets an extra day. There are only 2 off days the entire month of Sept, the 14th and 28th so a 6 man rotation when Wood is ready would not be a bad idea. It will be interesting to see if McCarthy makes it back this year, I believe they are just trying to show he is healthy to move him in the off season. The way Ryu has pitched recently and his $7M salary next year he would make a good insurance policy to bring him back for a final season.

  11. Dodgers – 11 LOB on 8/23
    15 LOB on 8/24
    5 LOB through 3 innings tonight

    This is why I say they’ve cooled off – the LOB wasn’t a problem in the last 3 months

  12. The Dodgers have left 9 on base through 8 but have the lead thanks to 2 HR’s by Puig and Forsythe and a single by Grandal after a walk and SB by Turner. Puig is having good at bats recently. Ravin looked filthy, strikes out the side on 11 pitches. Maeda and the bullpen have combined for a 1 hitter through 8. The scoreboard does not show it but the team has dominated this game after a 7 game road trip and flight home. Looks like playoff baseball to me against a team who is in the division and wild card race and has a lot more to play for.

  13. Maeda and company give up one hit. This one game removed from Hill’s masterpiece.
    `
    Forsythe and Grandal starting to round back into form. Forsythe playing good defense too.
    `
    All this with 80% of the conceivable starting rotation on the DL, as well as the Rookie of the Year.
    `
    Really a deep strong team. When the rosters expand it’s conceivable there could be a righty and lefty lineup of equal value.
    `
    That’s amazing.

  14. Jansen works the 9th on 8 pitches and finishes off a combined 1 hitter. Turner is at .332 and Blackmon is at .337. I was really impressed by tonight’s game as they could have come out flat but played really well. The Dodgers will be fine, everyone relax, as Aaron Rodgers likes to say. If Stripling can go 4 as Roberts plans I like their chances tomorrow as the bullpen is rested and ready.

  15. So, here’s a question for everyone. If the Dodgers could add one more guy in an August trade who would it be? You can pick anyone not named Stanton. I still find Ziegler interesting.

    1. Hawkeye – I’m certainly no expert on these things like many of you guys – but if I could add one piece, it is still an 8th inning, preferably LH reliever as not sure either Watson or Cingrani are currently the answer.
      It would be a shame, after adding Darvish & Grandy to ultimately have the same Achilles heel as we all suspected.
      Is it possible at this time of year or does it depend on Waivers etc?
      I know the TD has passed – so how does it work?

      1. Watford, this explains it.

        https://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2017/8/3/16084370/mlb-trades-august-deadline-explainer

        I like Cingrani, his stuff is filthy and he was a starter plus under team control for 2 more seasons. Watson is probably a rental but his stuff is nasty too. Give Honeycutt a bit more time with both because command is their main issue. Avilan will be on the playoff roster and Ryu may move to the pen so only room for 1 more LHP. Ravin just blew the hitters away tonight, he is a keeper for me.

  16. Puig certainly has changed. Almost every at bat is a quality at bat. I would give a lot of credit to Turner Ward. I do not like the way he catches a regular fly ball. However, he has never missed one. It is entertaining.

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