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Right-hander Chris Dula to come to Spring Training?

The Milwaukee Brewers made a signing on Tuesday! It wasn’t Troy Tulowitzki, Yasmani Grandal, or Dallas Keuchel. Chris Dula signed a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.

Chris Dula is the latest in a string of signings by the Milwaukee Brewers that include Jake Hager, Deolis Guerra, and Tuffy Gosewisch. Who says the off season isn’t exciting? Let’s take a look at where the newest addition came from, and why the Brewers signed him.

Where did Dula come from?

Good question. Dula pitched in the USPBL in 2018. The United Shore Professional Baseball League is so tiny that Baseball-Reference doesn’t update stats!

Appearing in 35 games for the Utica Unicorns, Dula worked 31 innings, and managed a 5.23 ERA. He struck out 49, and walked 39. He also holds the USPBL record for the fastest pitch. He was clocked at 102 MPH, and regularly hit triple digits. He averaged 99 MPH on his fastball in the 2018 USPBL All-Star game.

In 2017, Dula split time between the Frontier League and the Atlantic League. He posted a 4.66 ERA in 9 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and 11 walks.

Was he drafted?

He sure was! Dula was selected in the 25th round of the 2013 amateur draft by the Texas Rangers.

How about his age?

Dula won’t turn 27 until next August.

Why did the Brewers sign Dula?

There aren’t many guys on the independent circuit who can hit triple digits on a radar gun. The velocity alone is reason enough for a Major League team like the Milwaukee Brewers to take a shot on a player like Dula. The worst case scenario is that he does a Rick Vaughn impression in Spring Training, and even then he’ll probably still get assigned to a Minor League team to start the year.

Next: Were the Brewers close to adding Mike Minor?

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Velocity like Dula’s is rare enough at the Major League level that someone was bound to take a chance on him. Given the Milwaukee Brewers track record of developing pitchers, this appears to be a good fit on the surface. Dula needs to learn to control his 100 MPH+ heat, and the Brewers hope to do that. He’s the longest of long shots for the Major League roster, but if he’s throwing a side session in Phoenix, it may end up worth seeing.

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