Meet New Dodger John Ely

Meet New Dodger John Ely by Caleb Bacon
John Ely | AP Photo/Carlos Delgado

24 year-old rookie pitcher John Ely looks like a surfer, speaks like a Midwesterner, and throws like an All-Star.

Through his first seven big league starts, Ely’s dominant pitching performances, can do attitude, and socks-out old school style, add up to him being pretty fly for a nice guy.

“I’m very impressed,” Dodger manager Joe Torre told LAist after Ely’s last start.

Ely’s record is 3-2 though his wins and losses tell only a little. The dominant right-hander’s 2.54 ERA is one of the best on the team and he’s struck out 37 while walking just eight.

“I feel like I belong on this team, I feel like I belong up here,” said John Ely (pronounced Eli) who has also spent time in the minor league this season.

When talking to his teammates or the media, he smiles, laughs often, and is full of "goshes."

“He’s just kind of a cool character,” said Josh Rawitch, Dodgers Vice President of Communication. “You like to see success happen to good people and he seems like a really good person.”

In order to learn more about John Ely, let's consult those around him, and the man himself.

What’s his game plan from the mound?

“I’m trying to keep our team in the game every time I go out,” Ely told LAist.

Is some of his success coming from the fact that he’s new to National League batters?

Joe Torre doesn’t think so.

“He sort of puts you on your heels a little bit as a hitter because he works so quickly,” Torre said. “As a hitter, you get familiar with a pitcher, you have an idea of what you want to hit. He’s able to throw as many different pitches for strikes -- that makes it a little tougher to do that.”

What does Uncle Joe mean by “works so quickly”?

“He’s very unlike a lot of the pitchers anymore these days. That’s why they still talk about pace of game and speed it up and always talking about the hitter getting in and out of the box -- but a lot of time the pitcher takes a lot of time to deliver too.”

Do fantasy geeks salivate over him?

Yes. His last six consecutive starts have been what stat geeks call a quality start (meaning a game pitched of at least six innings while permitting no more than three earned runs.) The last young Dodger to do so was Hideo Nomo in 1995.

Does he have any more cool nerdy stats?

His streak of 89 consecutive batters faced without giving up a walk.

Where did he play his college ball?

University of Miami -- the Ohio one.

He’s listed at 6’2”, 200 pounds. Is this true?

Perhaps wishful thinking. He’s 5’10” or 5’11” and would weight 200 pounds if holding two bowling balls.

Does he get nervous?

Joe Torre: “He doesn’t seem to have an issue with taking the mound in any ballpark in any city. He’s been tested in some pretty good ones -- Chicago, New York, of course here in LA, which, to me, would be the most pressure.”

Who is another pitcher he’s bested?

When Ely has started, the Dodgers have defeated Arizona Diamondback superace Dan Harren twice. (Ely collected one victory, and one no decision thanks to extra innings.)

The first time he beat Harren and the Diamondbacks he received double-digit run support. The second time his Dodgers scored but one run in the tenth innings. Did Ely take run support personally?

“It’s an up and down thing, sometime you get run support, sometimes you don’t,” said Ely after that game. “I’m just happy I was able to keep us in the game. There was really nothing for me to be upset about.”

Is Ely's having fun helping performances?

“People say it all the time, but baseball is a kids game,” said Josh Rawitch. “I think it’s got to help you if you’re able to relax and have fun.”

Joe Torre: “Guys seem to feed off the enthusiasm.”

When can I see him pitch?

John Ely is scheduled to start today at 1:10 p.m. against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium. Tim Hudson (6-1, 2.30 ERA) throws for the Braves.

Additional Reporting by Jimmy Bramlett

Follow Caleb Bacon on Twitter @thecalebbacon.