Daily Dodger in review: The real Scott Elbert arrives
SCOTT ELBERT, 26, reliever.
Final 2011 stats: 0-1, 2.43 ERA, two saves, 1.23 WHIP, 9.2 strikeouts and 3.8 walks per nine innings in 47 games.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: From the great unknown, to pretty decent, to very good, it was an interesting ride in 2011 for Elbert. Which considering where he was coming from, made for an excellent season.
Elbert came up for one game in 2010, pitched poorly, was immediately sent back to triple-A Albuquerque and then soon disappeared. He was given permission to leave the club for personal reasons, never fully explained, though he later alluded to the pressure of being a No.1 draft pick and young husband and father of two.
He started last season in the minors but was called up May 11, ironically, when Hong-Chih Kuo was put on the disabled list because of an anxiety disorder. He never returned to the minors. Elbert had a couple of rough moments in the first half, but found his footing and turned in a terrific second half (0.84 ERA). Overall, he held left-handers to a .191 batting average and .250 slugging percentage.
The bad: On July 4, his ERA was 5.73, though most of the damage had come in three outings. He gave up an earned run in only twice more in his next 28 games.
What’s next: He is out of options, so he is assured of a place on next year’s roster.
The take: You have to feel happy for Elbert, who was able to put rough call-ups the previous three seasons (6.84 ERA) behind him and finally stick.
He did it as a reliever, which wasn’t the original plan, but now seems to suit him. I’m sure he’d hope his rise from a 2004 No.1 draft pick to the major leagues would have been more along the meteoric Clayton Kershaw path, but he is in the big leagues now and seems to have put past wildness and troubles behind him.
The Dodgers best hope so, because with Kuo’s status uncertain, Elbert could be the only left-hander in the bullpen.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Scott Elbert. Credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images.