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2018 Dodgers Player Review: Caleb Ferguson

Caleb Ferguson
Aug 30, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Caleb Ferguson (64) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

At just 21 years of age, Caleb Ferguson performed well enough during the season to make an impact on this Dodgers ball club. He made the postseason roster and did everything Roberts asked of him. This is only the beginning for the young left-hander. Ferguson spent a total of 10 games in Double-A and Triple-A combined.

Early Rough Patch

When Caleb Ferguson got the call up to the Dodgers, they needed him in the starting rotation due to an injured pitching staff. His Major League debut came in a June 6th game in Pittsburgh. Ferguson started that game but was pulled after allowing 2 hits, 4 runs, and 3 walks in just 1.2 innings of work.

His next start came just 6 days later in a home matchup against the Rangers. Ferguson worked 4 innings and allowed just two runs on five base hits. The big problem for Ferguson was the high pitch count. If five innings of work against the Giants, he allowed just three runs, but his pitch count was at 84.

Roberts’ was in a difficult spot, not knowing how to handle this situation. Ferguson’s stay in Los Angeles was extended a little longer for the time being. Due to continuous injuries on the pitching side of things, Ferguson made the move to the bullpen.

A Brand New Caleb

Making the transition from the starting rotation to the bullpen is something a player never wants to go through. Even fellow teammate Kenta Maeda made the move to the bullpen due to his struggles as a starter. Something we thought we’d never see, the great Felix Hernandez was forced to the bullpen during the 2018 season. Even the best have their ups and downs.

With Ferguson in the bullpen, the pitch count was something the young man no longer had to worry about. Another issue for Ferguson as a starter was missed locations. Too many at-bats were stretched out. Below is a table of Ferguson’s splits as a starter and reliever.

Split W L W-L% ERA G GS GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP BF WHIP SO9 SO/W
as Starter 0 1 .000 7.59 3 3 0 0 10.2 9 10 9 2 6 12 2 48 1.406 10.1 2.00
as Reliever 7 1 .875 2.35 26 0 7 2 38.1 34 11 10 6 6 47 1 154 1.043 11.0 7.83

Obviously a small sample size as his time as a starting pitcher, but the relief numbers are much more efficient as a reliever. Nine runs scored in just 10.2 innings as a starter. Only ten runs in 38.1 innings when working out of the bullpen. Ferguson also faced over 100 more batters as a reliever.

Ferguson ended the season with a 3.49 ERA, striking out 59 in 49 innings of work. There aren’t too many numbers that’ll jump off the page when you look at Ferguson’s season stat line. The fastball is what you will see from Ferguson a majority of the time while mixing in his looping curveball and hard changeup when ahead in the count.

Season Team FB% SL% CT% CB% CH% SF% KN% XX%
2018 Dodgers 71.9% (93.9) 0.1% (82.0) 24.8% (75.6) 3.1% (84.9) 0.5%

Final Thoughts

Caleb Ferguson starting his professional career in the minors mainly as a starting pitcher. Heading into the 2019 season, Robert’s and the front office are loaded with plenty of 4 and 5 starter options. Guys like Maeda, Urias, and Ferguson, just to name a few, are all viable options for the starting rotation.

Whether the Dodgers continue to roll with Ferguson in the bullpen or mold him into the potential starting pitcher they know he can be is a big decision. Keeping Caleb Ferguson on the big league club is a must. The young man has proven himself, whether it be in the starting rotation or out of the bullpen.

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Written by Tyler Hawk

Currently living in Central California. Life-long Dodgers and Chargers fan.

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