Jeff Belge was born in Syracuse, New York in late 1997. He stayed in New York for college as he went to St. Johns University of the Big East Conference. Before pitching for St. Johns he was drafted by the Red Sox in the 2016 draft in the 32nd round. After his Junior season he was drafted again in 2019, this time in the 18th round with the Dodgers. Fortunately, he decided to sign with the Dodgers.
Major Congratulations in order for @Syracuse1848 native Jeff Belge!
His father sent these to me tonight, after being drafted by the LA Dodgers last week, Jeff officially signed on today and is now in their system. Great to see the Henninger grad begin his journey!@CNYCentral pic.twitter.com/3dexOvZL5C
— Niko Tamurian (@NikoTamurian) June 12, 2019
First Professional Season
Initially, the Dodgers assigned Belge to one of their Arizona League teams for his professional debut. After only two games they sent him to the Ogden Raptors where Belge spent most of the rest of the season. With the Raptors he threw 17 innings, giving up only 10 hits, striking out 26 while sporting a 0.53 ERA.
Welcome to the professional ranks, Jeff Belge! The 6'5" 18th rounder out of St. John's has racked up a tidy 2.16 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 12 K/4 BB line since he was drafted. Belge uses a traditional 4-pitch mix featuring a 92-94 mph cutter… #DodgersOnTheFarm #DraftDebuts pic.twitter.com/B0wCNBwKCu
— Dodgers Player Development (@DodgerPlayerDev) July 27, 2019
Those numbers earned Belge a late season promotion to the full season Great Lakes Loons for the last few regular season games and the playoffs. For the full season he threw 23.1 innings, with an ERA of 1.16. He ended up with 31 strike outs and gave up only 13 hits. This ended up as a nice professional debut.
I was able to ask Jeff what his plans or goals that he is working towards. He responded:
Some things I’m working on/goals is to cut down my walk rate. Most of my goals are centered around just being in the zone more often so that I can use my arsenal to it’s full potential. On top of that, just finding ways to further develop all of my pitches and understanding myself as a pitcher.
One other question I had was if it looked like he would continue as a reliever and he responded with “yes I believe that is the plan for the future”.
I’ve seen reports of Belge topping out at 95-96 MPH with his fastball. Another strong pitch for him is a slider. It will be interesting to see if the Dodgers work on another pitch with him or they could just continue to refine his existing two pitches. My guess is they continue to refine his existing pitches as Jeff works on controlling those pitches better. There is no better coaching staff than what the Dodgers have in their minor league system and Belge will greatly benefit.
With the 2020 season in such chaos who knows when it will start again, but I would expect Jeff Belge to begin with the Loons again. Soon enough we’d end up seeing him with the High-A Quakes. Once a player gets to the Quakes more Dodgers fans in Southern California will have a chance to see them.