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Dodgers: Building A Playoff Bullpen – One Week Later

May 25, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds during a MLB game at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Last week I took a look at what the bullpen might be like for the Dodgers playoff roster. The list of candidates have not changed but some of the thoughts have. None of the other assumptions have changed; 13 position players, 4 starters and 8 bullpen spots.

Below, I’ll list all the pitchers that have a possibility of making the playoff roster including my predictions for who would be starters. I’m trying to predict what management will do but I will have my own choices later. Of course, management will change the roster based on the opponent.

Changes to the status from last week will be marked with an X or an X based on removal or addition. I’ve also added a column that denotes if they have playoff experience. That was something that I did not talk about in the last article but I could see management using that as a determining factor.

Pitcher Starter Bullpen Playoffs? Notes
Scott Alexander X Alexander is a ground ball machine. Biggest weakness is he can start out without his command which leads to walks. He seems to not lock in and when he elevates, the hitters celebrate. Somehow this wasn’t X’d off last week. Total omission and meant to have him on the list.
John Axford X He is long shot due to injury. He is a veteran who still hits 96 MPH on the gun. His appearance on 9/21 against the Padres produced 3 ground balls but no luck. Not enough to change my prediction.
Pedro Baez X X In his last 10 appearances he’s thrown 9.5 innings while only giving up 1 run. In that time he’s given up 6 hits, 2 walks and struck out 11. He had two more appearances since the last article and continues to do well.
Walker Buehler X Unless management decides to limit his innings he’s a starter.
Tony Cingrani X If Cingrani proves healthy they’ll find a spot for him. His outing on 9/22 hurt his chances. According to J.P. Hoornstra Roberts is evaluating both Cingrani and Josh Fields to see if they can earn a roster spot.
Caleb Ferguson X As of now, Roberts trusts him a lot so I think he makes it. On only one occasion has he pitched on consecutive days. He’s had two more appearances this week and looks to still be a Roberts favorite.
Josh Fields X Another who is coming back from injury. I think it depends on the opponent. Since he is a fly ball pitcher he can’t be on the roster for games in ballparks where the ball flies out. Doc wouldn’t use him in Houston last year. He had back to back strong appearances on 9/22 and 9/23 to help his chances. Per the Hoonstra article he is still a candidate.
Dylan Floro X In his last 10 appearances he hasn’t given up a run. In general, he’s a ground ball pitcher. In some of the smaller ballparks, he should be one of the bullpen arms.
Yimi Garcia X He’s been inconsistent and I doubt would make it. Only one appearance this last week and it didn’t help.
Rich Hill X X I don’t see the Dodgers leaving him out of the rotation. I’m not sold on him right nowWith Stripling not able to go past the third inning Hill will make the rotation. I just hope he pitches at home.
Kenley Jansen X X The biggest key for the Dodgers. He’s looking stronger and more like the old Kenley.
Clayton Kershaw X X Nothing needs to be said.
Ryan Madson X He still hasn’t found his 2017 form. If his next few appearances are lights out then things could change. In his one appearance he had a good first inning then gave up a home run in the next inning. The one thing he could provide is playoff experience.
Kenta Maeda X X A good starter and an excellent reliever. They do need to be careful overworking him in the bullpen.
Zac Rosscup Since mid-August, he’s been awesome. He’s striking out a lot of batters. He could sneak his way onto the roster especially against a team with a lot of left-handed hitters. He only had one short appearance this week. He’s still a dark horse candidate.
Hyun-Jin Ryu X X I think he’s the 3rd starter. He has a calmness and gets a lot of soft contact. In some of these ballparks that will be needed. He’s the clear number 3 for me. He is much better at home that on the road.
Ross Stripling X X He could start but I guarantee he will be on the roster. In the bullpen, his pitch variety will help. He can also go longer if needed. His starts after 3 innings haven’t been good. However, in those first three innings he’s been good, only giving up 1 run in those first innings. Clearly someone who will have a big role in the post-season bullpen. 
Julio Urías X It would take a miracle but I’d love to see him make it. I just think he’s almost out of time for 2019. He’s still not in but his appearance on 9/23 provided a lot of hope.
Pat Venditte He’s been very good since being recalled in late August. The switch-pitcher is an interesting weapon. Only one more appearance last week but did nothing to hurt his chances. He’s still not there yet but getting close.
Alex Wood X X Despite his first bullpen appearance, I see him making the post-season roster. I’m still hoping to see more velocity from him. Too many of his starts get off shaky. That is not good for a reliever. He worked consecutive games on 9/21 and 9/22 with mixed results. His velocity did not top 90 MPH. I think he’s on the bubble and needs to show he has something left. 

What I see above is more guys deserving to be on the post-season roster than there are spots available. Last year, it wasn’t that way and it hurt the team in the World Series, especially games two and three. If the Dodgers win the division they will probably play the Braves. Given that it would be the Braves, here are my choices for the pitching staff.

Starters

  • Kershaw
  • Buehler
  • Ryu
  • Stripling
  • Hill

Bullpen

  • Jansen
  • Maeda
  • Alexander
  • Floro
  • Ferguson
  • Stripling
  • Rosscup
  • Baez
  • Cingrani

This is my second cut on who I’d pick. The only difference between my predictions and my preferences to I have Rosscup over Wood. I added Hill as a starter and moved Stripling to the bullpen. Due to not seeing consistency from Cingrani, I removed him from the bullpen.

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Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

2 Comments

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  1. Actually it’s all over. There’s always tomorrow I guess. Need a bullpen couple of starters and someone who can hit under pressure besides Kemp. Oh that says it all. Kemp is our only clutch hitter.

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