[Editor’s note: The stats in this story have been updated to reflect Tuesday night’s loss.]
The Los Angeles Dodgers relievers have been superb in 2020. The lineup figured to be potent, the rotation consistent, but the bullpen has been dominant. Manager Dave Roberts and Pitching Coach Mark Prior have effectively deployed their array of relievers and lead the National League in Bullpen ERA (2.00).
Let’s get into our Dodger Reliever Power Rankings:
1. Kenley Jansen
Despite the declining velocity on his cutter (91.4 MPH AVG in 2020) and despite the blown save in San Fransisco last night, Jansen boasts a 1.42 ERA. He’s back to attacking hitters while limiting hard contact.
His finest moment this year? Striking out Mike Trout looking on three straight pitches to wrap up the win. Something that nobody would have bet on after a shaky 2018 campaign.
Kenley Jansen gets Mike Trout to take 3 straight pitches to end the game pic.twitter.com/eQFREOCeMx
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) August 16, 2020
A return to his peak seems unlikely, but this is the best Jansen has pitched since 2017.
2. Joe Kelly
Wait, has Kelly really been the Dodgers second best reliever this year? No, but he’s the hero baseball deserves and the one it needs right now. He did what Commissioner Rob Manfred failed to do – punish the Houston Asterisks for cheating with zero remorse.
With all the happened with Correa last night, the Bregman at bat vs. Joe Kelly is truly underappreciated.
The execution. The fear on AB's face. But it's the Yawn that is amazing! pic.twitter.com/i7rTYpoFr8
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) July 29, 2020
He’s currently on the Injured List and will serve his five game suspension when he returns. What a legend.
3. Adam Kolarek
The new three batter minimum threatened to render the LOOGY (look it up kids) ineffective for the 2020 season. It has been just the opposite. Right-handed batters are hitting a paltry .167 against the lefty reliever. The former Tampa Bay Ray hasn’t coughed up a run this year – earned or unearned.
On top of that, opponents have hit a total of zero extra base hits against him. Zero. Zilch. Zip. Nada.
4. Caleb Ferguson
Ferguson, like Jansen, looks vastly improved from the 2019 season. After dumping his curveball and committing to a fastball-slider combination, he’s terrorized hitters (19K in 12.2 IP). Elevated fastballs averaging 95.7 MPH and limited walks (1.4 BB/9) have turned Fergie into a beast.
He’s allowed five hits this season and has an insane ERA+ of 614.
5. Dylan Floro
Floro ranks second in innings pitched (14.0) and has the third lowest ERA on the team for a reliever (0.64). His go-to pitch, a wicked sinker, has neutralized left-handed batters (.100 OBP) this season. He’s given up just one walk to the tune of a 0.85 WHIP.
6. Blake Treinen
Another Andrew Freidman reliever reclamation project, Treinen has brought back some of his 2018 magic that earned him a sixth-place AL Cy Young finish. Locating his power sinker keys his success. When he’s throwing it for strikes, he’s nearly unhittable. However, when he has no clue where it’s going, he gets into trouble (7BB in 13 IP).
Blake Treinen, Throwing Blitzballs.
[Two Ridiculous Turbo Sinkers and a Filthy Slider] pic.twitter.com/XTn0Eozm2h
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 25, 2020
Treinen and his bowling ball sinker must be dialed in for the Dodgers to succeed in October.
7. Jake McGee
Fastballs, fastballs, and fastballs, that’s what Jake McGee does. The reliever has ridden his heater to success so far in 2020 by throwing it 96.4% of the time. He’s stranded over 80% of baserunners buoyed by a career-high 37.5% strikeout rate.
McGee might be a regression candidate (.190 BABIP), but man is it fun to watch a guy pump fastballs by hitters even when they know it’s coming.
8. Brusdar Graterol
The highest ceiling of this group belongs to Graterol. The off the charts movement and velocity, both his fastball and power sinkers live above 98 MPH, have some fans believing the Dodgers may already have their future closer on the roster.
However, sometimes seeing his believing…
Brusdar Graterol brought the ? to strike out Manny Machado. pic.twitter.com/rf34LIupAE
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 13, 2020
9. Victor Gonzalez
The Mexican lefty reliever earned his first win this past weekend but has yet to pitch against a top flight offense. He’s appeared in games against the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Mariners so far this season. A converted starter, Gonzalez seems to have the poise and presence to contribute when called upon. Maybe that’s because he looks 50 years old?
10. Scott Alexander
In his third year with the Dodgers, Alexander has the highest ground ball rate of his career (72.7%) and his lowest ERA (2.00). He’s struggled mightily against right handed hitting (.333 BAA), but devastated lefties (.083). The three batter minimum hampers Alexander’s potential as a top shelf reliever for the Dodgers.
11. Dennis Santana
Santana’s heroic performance in extras against the Houston Asterisks (0 H,0 ER, 2.1 IP) highlights an up and down 2020 for the young reliever. He’s coughed up a total of 9 earned runs in 4.2 innings of work against two dreadful offenses: Seattle and San Francisco.
Ice in his veins ???
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 30, 2020
After another rocky appearance against Colorado and the walk off in San Fran, Santana might not be long for this roster.
12. Pedro Baez
Before he landed on the IL in August, Baez yielded earned runs in each of his last three outings. The 32-year-old reliever perennially puts together above average regular season numbers before crushing Dodger fan’s hopes and dreams in the playoffs. Also, if you’re going to work that slow on the mound, at least be good. He owns a 4.15 career postseason ERA in 21.2 IP. Enough said.
13. Josh Sborz
There might not be a Dodger whose been optioned more than Sborz in the last couple of years. He last appeared for the Dodgers in September 2019. By the time you’re done reading this, he’ll have already been optioned to the Alternative Training Site.
How would you rank the 2020 Dodgers relievers this season?