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Dodgers: The Unsung Heroes of the Bullpen Early in 2020

These three guys in particular are putting up unexpected performances.



Finding guys for the bullpen that can dominate for a low cost is Andrew Friedman’s specialty. Since his arrival to the Dodgers, the President of Baseball Operations has continued to find these guys to put together quality bullpens. He does it much like he did in Tampa Bay.

The Joe Kelly contract was a little bit out of the ordinary for Friedman. He hasn’t been one to give out large contracts to relievers in the past, so Kelly must have seemed worth it. But it’s those guys that he takes a flier on that are of real interest to Dodgers fans.

A few of those guys have shown up in a big way in 2020. Two of them were claimed off of waivers or signed after being cut by other teams. One was landed in a three-team trade involving the Dodgers.

Jake McGee

Dodgers fans were a little bit annoyed when the Dodgers signed Mcgee to a one-year deal in July. The bullpen had their left-handed relievers, and talking up roster spots seemed uneccesary. But Jake McGee has come out of nowhere to dominate hitters in a limited sample size.

He’s also doing it without a real pitch mix, throwing his fastball close to 95 percent of the time. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working in a big way. McGee has a ridiculous 0.29 FIP and an xFIP of 1.29.

Dylan Floro

The thing that stands out most about Dylan Floro is that he has yet to allow a hit to a left-handed batter. Most of that can be attributed to his sinker and his changeup, throwing the two pitches a combined 60 percent of the time. With the new three-batter rule, Floro has stepped it up for the Dodgers.

He has also yet to be charged with a run in his 6. 2 innings of work and has held opposing hitters to a .136 batting average.

Scott Alexander

Scott Alexander is one of those guys that Dodgers fans have been waiting for a big season out of. When they made the trade for him in 2018, Alexander was supposed to be a ground ball lefty who could get batters out on both sides of the plate. What they got was a guy struggled to keep the ball out of the air against righties.

This season has been much different in the early days of the season. Alexander is inducing groundballs, but he’s also striking out guys at a ridiculous rate. He is averaging 10 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, the best of his career. Keep in mind, it’s still a very small sample size. Nevertheless, it has been encouraging to see Alexander grow and thrive in big spots.

Dodgers Keep it Simple

Simplicity seems to be the name of the game for these Dodgers’ success. Alexander is throwing his sinker 80 percent of the time, while McGee and Floro are also sticking with mostly one pitch.

Dodgers: Players Struggle to Get Motivated Without Crowds

 

Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. McGee has been a surprise. I watch the games on the internet as I live in AZ. The batters are not seeing his fastball. He obviously has late movement and must hide the ball well. The big surprise is Alexander. He is living up to his potential and could be a game changer in the playoffs. He has some nasty pitches that are inducing strikeouts and ground balls.
    Floro showed flashes last year and is on it this year.
    Ferguson, Baez, Kelly have all looked good also. Jansen is showing better movement and much improved control which for him is key. Last year Jansen was not close to the catcher’s target on several pitches.

  2. Kolarek still has an ERA of zero, and is holding right handed batters to a 250 average. Looks like more than a lefty specialist to me.

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