The Dodgers made a move prior to Thursday’s game in Miami to get another arm up. They called up left-handed hurler Darien Núñez to make his MLB debut at the age of 28. It was a surprise to many fans given that there are few who have watched Nunez over the last few years.
But Núñez has moved through the Dodgers system relatively quickly after defecting from Cuba. He made his professional debut in 2018 and the 2020 season was obviously a wash due to the pandemic. But he has impressed at all levels and quickly made his way to Triple-A this year.
With the OKC Dodgers, Núñez was striking out a bunch of guys and keeping the ERA down. When he struggled, it was with his command. But when asked about Núñez before Thursday’s game, Dave Roberts gave him a WILD comparison.
I think people kind of talk about comps, and he’s sort of a comp to Aroldis Champman. From Cuba, left-handed, kind of has the same kind of demeanor on the mound and characteristics. He’s fastball, change-up, and he mixes in a little breaking ball.
If Núñez can bring the same life and action on his fastball that Chapman has, the Dodgers will be in a GREAT spot. He was supposed to make his big league debut on Thursday, but Julio Urias was able to pitch deep into the game and hand things over to Blake Treinen.
Roberts later said that they would have put Núñez in the game if the lead was a little bigger. But the expectation is that he will be able to pitch at some point this weekend. With a depleted bullpen, Núñez will help out a lot leading up to the All-Star Game break next week.