Left-handed pitcher Lael Lockhart got a brief taste of professional baseball this summer. Lockhart, who was selected in the ninth round in July, was able to make 10 relief appearances in pro ball in 2021.
In his 13.2 innings pitched between rookie-ball and High-A, Lockhart racked up 25 strikeouts and maintained a WHIP of 1.39 out of the pen.
Lockhart’s success on the mound comes from the command of his four pitches. Currently using a mix of a fastball, a slider, a cut-changeup, and a curveball, Lockhart is able to keep hitters off-balance.
“I’m working more middle to the top of the zone, because that’s how my pitches are working lately,” explained Lockhart. “My fastball is what I’m riding with and everything else tunnels off of it. As long as I can command that upper zone fastball, it keeps hitters honest, and if I’m able to land my offspeed pitches in the zone, it makes it that much harder on the hitters, and I’m trying to do that on a consistent basis.”
And that consistency is the focus of Lockhart’s offseason, as he’s working on all of his pitches as a member of the Dodgers’ Instructional League roster.
“I’m working on the up-zone fastball,” said Lockhart. “I’m working on commanding it side to side, in and out, and up in the zone.”
In addition to the fastball, Lockhart also has goals for his secondary offerings this offseason.
“I want to land my offspeed pitches in the zone more consistently and more aggressively.” Lockhart added.
All of this will help Lockhart enjoy his bullpen role even more. Making the transition from starter to reliever between college baseball and pro ball was a welcomed change for the prospect.
“The thing I love about the bullpen is that you get another outing in a day or two,” said Lockhart. “As a starter you have to wait four, five, or six days after a bad outing, but as a reliever you get right back out there. I really like the consistency of working out of the bullpen and the opportunity to get the ball every other day.”
Be sure to follow Lael Lockhart, as he continues to work on his pitches and be a reliable bullpen arm in the Los Angeles Dodgers system for years to come.