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Grant Dayton has shown in his near 90 innings sample that, when healthy, he can be an effective reliever with surprisingly high K-rates. Unfortunately for Dayton staying healthy has been tough, hence the 90 total innings collected through his age 32 season.

In 2020, Dayton showed promise once again as he pitched 27.1 innings of 2.30 ERA baseball, limiting walks to 3.6/9 while striking out 10.5/9. What’s likely the most important stat for a lefty, the ability to keep left-handed hitters off the bases, Dayton proved more than adequate, holding them to a .398 OPS in 38 plate appearances. For the most part, Dayton was granted low leverage appearances and was highly successful, but he also found success in a small sample of high-leverage innings. However, with Will Smith, A.J. Minter, and Tyler Matzek in the 2021 bullpen, I foresee Dayton staying in middle relief, likely throwing multiple innings if the situation calls for it.

Grant Dayton Advanced Metrics

Advanced metrics have never really seen eye to eye with Dayton’s ERA as both his career FIP (4.47) and xFIP (4.52) come in much higher than his 3.07 ERA. This is the sole reason why his value of what actually occurred on the field (BRef) was 0.8 in 2020 while what was expected (Fangraphs) was 0.1 Why is this, you might ask? Dayton was aided by some good fortune as his BABIP against was quite low (.261) while the line drive % went up as did barrel rate. However, the ball stayed in the park, therefore the ERA wasn’t impacted too much. Also falling in the category of not impacting the 2.30 ERA ….6 of 10 runners Dayton inherited scored, which is a much higher % than one would want.

Grant Dayton, 2021

Dayton settled for a non-guaranteed contract for $900K instead of going through arbitration. Truthfully, I think it was a take it or leave it offer and Dayton, of being on the fringy side of MLB, took the money. Dayton will be given the opportunity to retain his role as an effective middle relief option that likely appears in low-leverage situations. If he can show in spring training the same track record we’ve seen these past 2 years, he’ll be a cheap option for Anthopoulos to help fill out what should be a very effective bullpen.

Thanks for reading Grant Dayton’s 2020 Player Review. If you enjoyed this piece, check out this one on another relief pitcher.