The Dodgers will start the 2021 season with a great bullpen and starting rotation. There is no question about that at this point. But while the talent is there, Dave Roberts still needs to go through the list of names and decide who will make the Opening Day roster.
One battle in the bullpen is with left-handed pitching. The Dodgers will have Victor Gonzalez as their main southpaw reliever to start the year, but Roberts has expressed the desire to have one more out in the pen. That competition has come down to Alex Vesia, Scott Alexander, and Garrett Cleavinger.
Through 4 appearances, Cleavinger has been outstanding for the Dodgers this Spring. He has struck out 7 batters in 4 innings and kept the ball on the ground pretty consistently. He’s pitched so well that he might be pushing himself into the conversation to make the Opening Day roster. Dave Roberts talked about him and what he brings to the table after his last outing.
As far as upside, he’s a leverage reliever. He’s a guy that gets lefties/righties out. He can command a fastball — he can spin it, spike it, shorten it. I think with Cleav, it’s continue to get him familiar with what we’re doing, get him more comfortable. From that first outing to [last night], he’s continuing to get more comfortable executing pitches and I expect a lot of good things from him this year.
The Dodgers traded for Cleavinger in December of 2020 in a three-team trade with the Phillies and Rays. Cleav has made just one Major League appearance and gave up a solo homerun in 0.2 innings.
Clearly, Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers saw something in him that they liked. It could have been the ridiculous spin rate on his slider and curveball, or perhaps just the need for another left-handed pitcher out of the bullpen.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, interviews, live streams, and more!