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Dodgers' Holmes named AFL's Pitcher of the Week

MLB.com

Ben Holmes, a lefty in the Dodgers' system, has been named the Arizona Fall League's Pitcher of the Week.

In Holmes' lone outing last week, he pitched five innings of one-hit, no-run baseball and fanned six in the process. The outing, which was Holmes' fifth start this Fall league, brought his ERA down to 2.29.

Ben Holmes, a lefty in the Dodgers' system, has been named the Arizona Fall League's Pitcher of the Week.

In Holmes' lone outing last week, he pitched five innings of one-hit, no-run baseball and fanned six in the process. The outing, which was Holmes' fifth start this Fall league, brought his ERA down to 2.29.

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He is currently tied for the league lead in strikeouts (23) with Astros No. 2 prospect Forrest Whitley, and he is fourth in innings pitched with 19 2/3.

"I mean it's awesome, it's just an awesome experience," Holmes said of his time in the Fall League. "I was kind of stagnant for a while in the other organization [Miami] and the Dodgers gave me kind of a fresh breath of air. Just a new start."

The 27-year-old is the oldest player in the AFL. Holmes turned down being drafted twice, after high school and then after his junior season at Oregon State, and went on to be a first team All-American during his senior year at OSU.

During the 2018 season, his fifth in the Marlins' organization, Holmes was released after pitching just 11 1/3 innings.

"Just stay ready," Holmes said of his mindset following the release. "I was hoping an affiliated-ball [team] would call and if not, I was gonna go down the [Independent] Ball rout, work my way up that way. I knew I wasn't done. My arm was healthy, I felt good. So, I needed to just keep throwing and stay in shape."

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The Dodgers did call, and in 12 starts with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa, Holmes posted a 2.29 ERA with 55 strikeouts.

"One foot at a time," Holmes said. "Keep my mind where my feet are, don't get too far ahead, don't think about the past too much. Just one step forward at a time."

An aspect of Holmes' game that makes him unique is his use of a variety of pitches.

"I'm kind of a kitchen-sink guy," Holmes said. "Five different pitches so I try to just mix them all in. If I can get them in and around the zone it gives hitters a lot more to think about. So, I can kind of sneak the fastball by them at certain counts."

Since joining the Dodgers, Holmes added a curveball back into his arsenal and also started throwing a cutter. He hopes to use the rest of the Fall League to continue working on all his pitches.

"Just continuing to kind of master my new repertoire and use the new pitches that I've added since coming over with the Dodgers, and just keep adding them into my game," Holmes said.

Drake Dunaway is a senior journalism student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a partnership between MLB.com and ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.