For what is undoubtedly a star-studded 40-man roster that the Dodgers possess in 2021, the team’s front office has been known to kick the tires on players who hadn’t panned out with their previous team.
Names like Max Muncy, Justin Turner and Chris Taylor are typically the topic of discussion concerning diamonds in the rough or guys who evolve into excellent ballplayers once joining the Dodgers.
The team’s recent version of the latter appears to be right-handed relief pitcher Phil Bickford.
The former 2015 first round draft pick has been electric down the stretch, striking out 51 and allowing a .190 batting average against his opponents in 45 appearances this year. This comes a little over four months after being designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers on April 28.
But what’s key in the 26-year-old arm’s success with the team this year has been the confidence that he’s maintained emphatically.
“I feel like that’s an important thing for anybody in any sport,” Bickford said when asked how beneficial his confidence in his own ability has been.
The Newbury Park native credited not only the organization for helping him tap into the potential that made him a prized draft prospect but the veterans in the clubhouse who have pushed him to new heights as well. Bickford confirmed as much in a recent interview with AM570’s Dave Vassegh
“They absolutely have. I’d be lying to myself if they haven’t. It really is special. It helps to have a veteran presence not only on the pitching staff but also on the position player side. There’s a lot of people who’ve been doing it for a long time… picking their brains. Seeing how they approach every single day that they show up helps mold my brain and my approach.”
Bickford said he capitalizes on opportunities to “pick the brain” of players and emulate those who have been in his shoes and could possibly edify him during his development.
“Being a sponge helps a lot in anything,” Bickford said. “And that’s been the approach, just to want to get better everyday.”
The Dodgers will face off against the Giants tonight in a series with huge postseason implications and will presumptively rely on the arm of the wiry right-hander at some point.
Bickford currently owns a 3-1 record with a 2.72 ERA this season.