The Milwaukee Brewers have been more active in signing players from the independent leagues in recent years under the David Stearns regime, and yesterday the club dipped into that talent pool once again and inked a flame throwing right-hander:
We've signed RHP Chris Dula to a minor league contract.— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) December 18, 2018
Dula, 26, began his career as a 25th round pick of the Texas Rangers back in 2013. He possesses outstanding stuff but has had little idea where it’s going, and because of that he didn’t last too long in affiliated ball. Dula briefly reached Class A-Advanced in 2016, but was eventually released by the Rangers after that season. In 70 appearances and 82.0 innings in the lower minors, Dula worked to a 5.38 ERA with 84 strikeouts but a whopping 67 walks, 22 hit batters, and 25 wild pitches.
Dula found work in the Atlantic and Frontier Leagues in 2017, but pitched in 2018 he pitched in a rung of pro ball so low that it isn’t even listed on Baseball-Reference. Dula suited up for the Utica Unicorns this past season, a squad in the four-team United Shore Professional Baseball League that plays in the greater Detroit metro area. In 35 games and 31 innings pitched, Dula punched out 49 batters, but he also yielded 39 walks and a 5.23 ERA.
Dula set velocity records during his stint in the USPBL, touching 102 miles per hour during a game while regularly hitting triple digits. That’s not necessarily a skill that can be taught, but the Brewers will be hoping that they can instruct the now 26 year old Dula how to locate the strike zone more regularly. He was an infielder in college and only had five innings of experience under his belt when he was drafted, so there is still a bit of a learning curve for the right-hander. Still, Dula was praised by the USPBL’s director of baseball operations on his way out:
“The USPBL allowed Dula to have time to work through aspects of his pitching delivery that had previously led to inconsistencies with command during his career,” said Justin Orenduff, the USPBL’s director of baseball operations. “Dula has possibly the best arm we will ever see in the USPBL, setting and breaking his own velocity records time and time again with a fastball that exceeds 100 miles per hour.”
Dula becomes the 26th player signed by an MLB franchise out of the USPBL since the league’s inception in 2016, and the second by the Brewers. They also inked pitcher Logan Gillaspie earlier in 2018, and he went on to post a 3.26 ERA and 16:4 K/BB ratio in 19.1 innings between the AZL and Pioneer League this year.
The Brewers also announced the following minor league player releases:
We've released the following players:— Brewers Player Dev (@BrewersPD) December 18, 2018
RHP Nestor Batista
INF Rafael Brito
INF Kenny Corey
RHP Roberto Delgado
INF Luis Manon
C Johan Mojica
RHP Claudio Mota
C Joel Munoz
C Moises Perez
LHP Brandon Presley
RHP Ricardo Velasquez
We wish the best of luck to these players in the future.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and USPBL.com