Dillon Maples, drafted in the 14th round in 2011, gained notoriety after a successful A-ball stint in 2013 as a starter. Very little positive light was cast upon him in the nearly four years since. Until this year.
Today, Maples is being groomed not as a starter, but as a high leverage reliever capable of striking out every other batter he faces.
In 17.1 innings with Iowa this year, the 25-year-old has struck out 14 batters per nine innings and recorded a 2.08 ERA. It’s possible Maples sees MLB time once September leads to expanded rosters, but he’ll have to be added to the 40-man roster for that to happen. That means someone currently occupying a spot there would have to go as a result.
Such a move would not be without risk. Despite impressive strikeout numbers, the hard-throwing righty has racked up 5.71 BB/9 at AAA. If Maples is to ever be seriously considered for a shut-down role, the excessive walks will need to calm down. Then again, Carl Edwards Jr. posted BB/9 marks of 6.82 and 6.04 in his AAA stints in 2015 and ’16.