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Dodgers: Reliever Power Rankings

Ranking the Dodgers relievers halfway through the 2020 MLB season.



[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.

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.

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.

If only Doc had used him against the Nat-nevermind.

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).

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…

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.

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?

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Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Number one fear in life is dying without ever seeing a Dodgers Championship. Host of The Series Sweep Podcast - link on my Twitter (@EEulau).

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  1. This year the Dodgers have had a great Bullpen. I am not convinced the idiotic Manager will understand how to implement it. Especially in the playoffs.
    Jansen, Kelly, Floro, Ferguson, Graterol, & McGee have all been outstanding. Treinen appears, as you state, struggle occasionally with his control. If he is on he is almost UN-hittable.
    Graterol has been unbelievable as his ceiling is a dominant closer for years to come.
    Ferguson has been very good this year.
    I would bring Santana back to the Alternate site and perhaps use Gonzalez or White as a long man.
    There is no hurry the Dodgers must get their best players ready for the 3 game playoff series. They have time to figure out who those top 3-4 bullpen guys are. My fear is that Roberts will not make the Manager type decision as he wants to be the players friend rather than their leader and make unpopular decisions.
    I believe the Dodgers will not win a WS with Roberts as the manager.

  2. Pen coughed it up last night, but overall they have been excellent which is something we haven’t been able to say about Dodger relievers in many years. The last “hole” seems to have been plugged. Kolarek has been the real surprise because everyone thought he was toast this year with the three batter rule, but he has stepped up.

  3. What I want to know is where was Graterol last night. He seemed tailor made for the 11th. I thought I read he was used Monday at the alternate site. What’s with that? I get planning for the future, I get there’s no real benefit to top seed this year and all but I hate when Dodger management starts getting cute when they’re ahead in the division. Just win every game you can. It’s pretty simple.

    • Hopefully Kershaw can go deep tonight to give the bullpen a break. Let Gatorade close this one. Just hand him the ball and tell him to blow them away. If he does, build on it as the postseason approaches.

  4. Jansen can barely hit 90 mph with his cutter or four seam fastball. He should not be the closer. Gatorade is the closer of the future. Right now it should closer by committee. In the postseason it should be whatever guy is most dominant at that time.

    • Dodger106W I agree they should be going with a closer by committee. Jansen is getting good late movement and control but still has had a significant velocity drop.
      Kelly, Floro, Graterol, Kolarek and McGee should all be in the mix. Treinen if he can continue to improve his command when he is on he is unhittable.

  5. As for now, forget about it. No games tonight because of protests. Wow! I’m sorry but what’s next? Really, I understand but don’t make things worse. Let justice take its course. Protest the right way, when you destroy & loot and hurt other people even blacks you’re not making things better. Martin Luther King knew how to protest, people of today don’t. I don’t believe the black people of today have an idea what Mr king would want to be done and how to do it. The black leaders are not coming out to quiet things down, the big stars of the black people aren’t saying anything to make things better. What up wit dat?

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