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2017 IBI Preview Capsule: Carlos Frias

While the Indians have one of the more vaunted rotations in baseball, last postseason proved that you can never have enough pitching depth. Well, they managed to add a bit of depth by acquiring right-hander Carlos Frias from the Dodgers. The IBI's Jake Dungan looks at what he brings to the table in the latest 2017 preview capsule.

The IBI Preview Capsules are back for 2017 as Jake Dungan takes an in-depth look at all the players who could impact the Tribe in the upcoming season from the established stars to the prospects on the verge of being called up to the majors to the non-roster invites to spring training.

Carlos Frias, RHP

Throws: Right -- Bats: Right -- Entering his age-27 season -- Contract: Pre-arbitration (Eligible for arbitration in 2019)

2016 In Review: After showing promise as a major league starter in 2015 where he went 5-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 17 games (13 starts) for the Dodgers, Carlos Frias hit some speedbumps last season making only one appearance with the big league club and just 10 in the minors, including only six starts, as back and oblique injuries derailed his season on separate occasions. Frias allowed only two hits in four innings during his lone outing with the Dodgers and went 3-3 with a 3.95 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A. The Indians acquired him for cash considerations this offseason after Los Angeles had designated him for assignment. The 27-year-old offers Cleveland another potential depth option for their starting rotation and bullpen in case, knock on wood, more injuries should occur similar to last season.

Versus Right-handers: Frias's splits have remained steady throughout his minor and major league career. He'll have most of his success against right-handed hitters, as was the case last year where they batted .202 with a .537 OPS in 99 minor and major league plate appearances. He'll also typically post a healthier strikeout to walk ratio against batters of the right-handed persuasion with a 2.94 mark in his major league career thus far, although last season the Dominican native had more strikeouts against lefties. Then again, in only 11 games, there's not a lot to go on, especially with the difference being only three punchouts.

Versus Left-handers: Probably one of the reasons why Frias is no longer with the Dodgers is because of his struggles against left-handed hitters. In parts of three big league seasons, southpaws have combined to hit a whopping .340 with an .864 OPS against the right-hander with more extra base hits and fewer strikeouts, half as much to be exact at 25 with a strikeout to walk ratio of just 1.47 compared to right-handers. Last year, those numbers were somewhat better with lefties batting .289 with a .743 OPS and a 3.17 strikeout to walk ratio, but once again, those splits are based on a smaller sample size due to the time he spent on the disabled list.

Pitch Mix: As primarily a groundball pitcher, Frias makes his bones with pitch movement and, in particular, fastball movement. His heater can touch the mid-90s, but it's his two-seamer and cutter that do most of the heavy lifting. In 2015, which has been his longest major league stint up to this point, his cutter rated very favorably on the PITCHf/x scale at 4.3 runs above average. Even in just four innings last season, it still checked in at 1.5 runs above average. In addition to his fastball and its variations, the 27-year-old also throws in an occasional curveball and changeup to mix things up. Still, Frias is primarily a fastball pitcher and will pitch to contact to try and get the ball hit on the ground.

Fantasy Impact: Frias is coming from being a prospect with one organization to a depth pitcher with another, so likewise perspective can change. With the Indians he becomes a guy that you hope you don't have to see during the season as his addition to the big league roster would likely coincide with an injury to another pitcher. And despite him being a natural starter, that's what would have to happen in order for the Dominican hurler to crack the Tribe rotation in 2017. So right now the path back to the majors for Frias would have to be in the bullpen. Steamer and Depth Charts have those very expectations in 2017 as Frias is projected to make 15 big league appearances going 1-1 with a 3.93 ERA, but working exclusively as a reliever. Barring any health issues with the Tribe staff in spring training or further roster decisions that would put him on the move again, the right-hander will likely start the year in Columbus, but will also be one of the first considered if and when a spot opens up.

Summary: While chances are slim of Carlos Frias becoming a household name in Cleveland, this is the kind of pickup that, although it may fly under the radar at the time, could prove to be of some help during the season. The Indians have not only built themselves a highly talented starting roster, but they have also fortified their depth in a way that could help them sustain the hardships of injury and poor performance that can throw a wrench into a long regular season campaign. Obviously injury losses eventually caught up with them in the World Series, but their depth helped absorb major blows throughout the season. Frias is that type of addition where although it doesn't make the headlines, it can become a saving grace during the dog days of summer.

Check out our other 2017 Preview Capsules here:

Jake Dungan is the Managing Editor for IBI and a podcast host on the Smoke Signals Network. Email him at jdungan@indiansbaseballinsider.com or follow him on Twitter @JakeDBaseball.


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