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Dodgers: Edwin Uceta Might Not Quite Be Big League Ready

The right-hander needs more seasoning at Triple-A.



The Dodgers are in quite the predicament. They are currently without two starters. Their bullpen has lost key arms to injuries and, as such, is being overtaxed. And, of course, the offense is inconsistent. With that being said, it’s a miracle that they are still 54-35 and second in the division. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are definitely desperate times. Normally games wouldn’t be put in the hands of Triple-A players with little MLB experience, but what can you do when the world is falling apart? Because of the issues facing the Dodgers, guys like Edwin Uceta have been pushed into situations where they clearly do not belong.

Even Dave Roberts vaguely acknowledged that Uceta would not typically be put in tight situations with the game on the line. 

“Certainly the world’s not perfect. It’s kind of a byproduct of where our guys are at, as far as workload and how things have played out.”

Uceta has eaten up innings for the Dodgers, but it’s clear he is not ready to pitch in the big leagues, or at the very least in Los Angeles. While he has struck out 18 in 16.2 innings of work, he’s also allowed 11 walks and 18 runs (3 unearned) on 18 hits. It’s clear that he is just overmatched at the highest level, costing the team multiple leads or increasing the deficit. 

Take Friday night’s game as the latest example. Down 3-2 in the top of the ninth, all hopes of a comeback dwindled away. Uceta gave up a hit and walked 3 with two runs eventually crossing home plate. You can say it’s Dave Robert’s fault for calling on him in a high leverage situation, yet who else can he turn to? Roberts can certainly shoulder some of the blame, but not all of the cards he’s been dealt can get the job done.

Los Angeles isn’t a rebuilding team that can allow Uceta to iron out the wrinkles. They’re a contender who needs to still climb out of the hole they’re in to seize first place and a spot in the postseason. Props to Uceta for his service to the team, but he shouldn’t see a big league mound again anytime soon. Not when the Dodgers can get outside help through the trade market or can find other internal ones such as former Padre Kevin Quackenbush who has MLB experience. 

Final Thoughts 

The team needs to do something new to patch the holes in their sinking boat because Uceta isn’t cutting it. He has potential, but he’s starting to look like a Dennis Santana type of pitcher, lots of upside but little results. If he can’t find more success on the mound, he could very well face a similar future. 

NEXT: Doc Compares LHP Darien Núñez to Aroldis Chapman

Written by Adam Salcido

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  1. It”s not just Uceta. There have been at least three or four other pitchers the Dodgers have trotted out this season that were Not Ready For Prime Time. For several years the Dodgers have acted like all bullpen arms are interchangeable, that they are completely fungible, that they can save money because every reliever can be a league minimum salary guy. With nearly 20 blown saves half way through the season, that’s not working out so well.

    • Exactly right. More than a few call ups have not been major league ready. Uceta had 12 innings in AAA. He also weighs 155 pounds. Worse, a close look reveals that the Dodger farm system is not as sparkling and promising as it once was. I’m talking both pitchers and hitters. Who is running this show and why is the farm system so empty?

  2. Uceta not major league ready? I new that the first time I saw him, but Doc keeps sending him out there in high pressure situations, and to nobody’s surprise, except for maybe Doc’s, he fails. It’s not just Uceta; I understand injuries, but it’s a trend: can’t get people out, too many walks, can’t stop anyone from stealing. Mark Prior and the rest of the pitching coaching staff need to be replaced. Oh and all the hitting coaches are garbage; fire them all too.

    • Manager too!!! He is the one who lets the hitters swing for the fences with the elevated swing causing SOs + pop-ups. He’s the one who decides which pitcher to bring in. He says Uceta is not ready for tight situations with the game on the line but he keeps calling on him in situations just like that.

    • Yes you moron, fire the hitting coaches. I bet you weren’t saying that last year, were you?

      • Well someone’s head’s gonna roll if they don’t get it together. And I say this after watching the Dodgers wipe out the Dbacks with 22 runs. Let’s hope this fire stays lit. It ain’t 2020 anymore and we all have short memories.

  3. Send him down and please get Bellinger out of the 4 spot ASAP! He’s killing us. Better get another starter or we’re looking at third place real soon. Can’t compete with the Padres and Giants with this staff and pathetic hitting.

    • Roberts will never do that because he is afraid he will hurt Bellinger’s feelings. Rather be everybody’s buddy than a good big league manager. I stopped counting how many games he’s cost us with his inept managing.

    • Bellinger needs to get sent down to AAA. Last year he did poorly, now this year too. How long of a leash will he be given? He definitely has the ability as he has shown in 2019, but something needs to be done asap to get to the root cause of his lack of performance and fix it. By the way, I hardly hear or read anything regarding Bellinger’s crappy performance this year. Puzzling….

  4. I hope the Dodgers become very aware of the stolen base like the second. We all know what happens when a runner steals second like he is now in a great position to make it home. So basic and important to winning the game. Continue doing this and you’ll be on your way. You have to at least start here. Then came bunting something the Dodgers don’t do. The pick off lets try it

  5. All good points here, folks. Exactly the case and as I said before , this year’s team is a far cry from last years and it angers me to no end that Roberts keep Bellinger batting 4th, when last year he batted 6th. That’s where he should be . But Uceta must go, because how many more games does he have to show Roberts and Dodgers he’s not MLB ready? Teams can and will run on Dodgers at will and this offense is so inept that again, I can see October slipping away. Just look at last night’s game and that Marlins series. Roberts just has shown an inability to manage the lineups or the pitching.

  6. Agree, Bellinger swings for the fences every time. I thought he adjusted his swing when he was on IR. Great fielder lousy hitter. Turner goes 3/4 then gets rested the next day. Wow. You have to play small ball and learn to bunt! Taylor looks tired, he has been carrying the team but is starting to slump . Too many errors because players are moved around too much. Uceta does not belong in the majors!

  7. Last year was a very easy year to manage the ball club. Basically the Dodgers were on autopilot. The shortened season worked to their advantage. This year- with a regular season, mounting injuries, and a much stronger division due to the resurgence of the Padres and Giants- the Dodgers need someone who can actually manage and coach the team. Unfortunately, this season has shown that Roberts has demonstrated no managerial capabilities at all.

      • Of course Roberts doesn’t trust any of his pitchers passed the 5th inning. Everyone in the bullpen will probably have 65 or 70 appearances. Injuries certainly play a major part, but Lux and Beaty and some of these other young guys are most certainly not Major League ready yet, if ever.

  8. Why is Dave Roberts sending in three rookies with a record of not capable in a 9th grade situation with a 3 to 2 deficit. He had others capable of holding the score so the bottom of the 9th could be doable for us to catch up (who knows even win) against a sup par D Backs closer. The roof caved and these rookies managed to give the opponent two free runs on walks with the bases full. No championship on the horizon with this decision making.

  9. It’s good to hear how concerned everybody is during these past couple of weeks of frustrations, but watching Doc in the dugout and listening to his interviews, seems like he’s not concerned a bit in throwing away games. Yes, last night was very alarming in his demeanor like the game is already lost. There’s no fighting comeback energy…. no life if not holding a lead. There are signs showing of a team that is losing it. I refrained from criticizing Doc all season, but a team that is playing sloppy & lazy defense, no situational hitting w/ too many LOB, non aggressive base running when opportunities arises, and questionable pitching decisions have me thinking Doc knows the end will be coming in title hopes or his job.

    • Don’t forget how teams, especially the Padres will run and steal bases on the Dodgers at will. In fact every team knows this and will exploit this problem Dodgers have to the fullest. Oh, if I’m correct a LHP is pitching for the Dbacks. Enough said….

  10. Surprised they are using a bunch of guys who are clearly not major league material, like Uceta and Reed, while guys like Graterol are kept in the minors. I never thought I’d be advocating for Quackenbush, but the guy has plenty of major league experience, and he hasn’t given up a run in like 22 games in AAA where teams average like 9 runs a game. Sad to see them throw away so many games. Pepiot has major league stuff and has been dominating AA, I’d rather see him get a start, then these bullpen games with so many weak hands.

    • Are you sure of this? What source are you getting all of this info.? If it is true, why Uceta, Reed, Vesia, and even Clevenger ahead of them?

  11. Talk about the Cycle of Abuse. Roberts calls up the AAA relievers to torment us and then one by one they get sent down and we all breathe a collective sigh of relief. Then, here they come again to torment us some more. It’s already happened multiple times this season and will happen again. Like many Dodgers’s fans I just can’t hang with White, Uceta, Vesia, Reed etc, etc.
    Mercifully, Santana has been traded and Nate Jones is gone. But “the hits” just keep on coming.
    Only Phil “The Smoker You Drink, The Pitcher You Get” Bickford has panned out. Nunez was praised last night for pitching pretty well but even factoring in the poor D behind him, you could smell a multiple run inning last night in his 2nd inning of work. We all ask one thing of Roberts and the Dodgers’ FO, even taking into account all of the injuries: make sure all relief pitchers utilized in the second half, are MLB ready–whatever the results turn out to be.

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