After a full weekend of bullpen games, the top of the Dodgers bullpen chart is quickly coming into focus. The group, which now includes Justin Turner, has carried a heavy workload in the second half. However, through Saturday, Dodgers relievers still ranked third in bullpen ERA (2.87) post All-Star Break.
There’s been a slew of names contributing, but here are the five best Dodgers relievers according to this writer.
1. Blake Treinen
Treinen has been the go-to guy all season for the Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts. Treinen allowed just two earned runs in August while stranding 92.1% of baserunners. With his infamous bowling-ball-sinker and devastating slider, Treinen can still get outs even if he doesn’t have his best stuff. He’s the club leader in relief appearances because time after time, he’s delivered.
2. Phil Bickford
Perhaps this is recency bias, but Bickford has come out of nowhere as an invaluable reliever for the Dodgers. The Milwaukee Brewer’s cast off has allowed just six hits in 13 innings in August. He has a 0.77 WHIP for the month and continues to improve. For the season, Bickford holds an impressive 2.59 ERA. Finds like Bickford can make a bullpen.
3. Alex Vesia
Speaking of young relievers making an impact, Vesia is now the Dodgers best high-leverage lefty reliever (sorry Victor Gonzalez). Vesia has the best K/9 on the team in August (14.34). His newfound energy and emotion were on full display in back-to-back holds against the Mets. Vesia has done a great job of filling a much needed role.
4. Kenley Jansen
Would any Dodgers bullpen article be complete without Kenley Jansen? It’s not always pretty, but Jansen now owns a 2.65 ERA for the year. For relievers with at least 50 innings pitched his season, Jansen ranks 18th in K/9 (10.97).
In August, Jansen has both his highest strikeout rate (34%) and lowest walk-rate (8%) for any month in 2021. He shouldn’t be thrown into each and every high-pressure situation come October, but the Dodgers will still need him to contribute.
5. Corey Knebel
Another former Brewer, Knebel should be a factor during the stretch run. He did give up a game-tying two-run homer to Tatis Jr. n extras this past Wednesday but is still a veteran the Dodgers should lean on. In nine career playoff appearances, Knebel has a 0.90 ERA. He has the ability to pitch in high-leverage situations despite a rough August so far.
What About Brusdar Graterol?
Let the record show, Graterol has limitless potential as a reliever and isn’t being written off. That being said, he isn’t missing bats like he needs to in order to be trusted. Amongst qualified Dodgers relievers in August, Graterol has the second-lowest strikeout rate (21.6%) and the highest hard-hit percentage (38.7%). Even so, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in the coming weeks.
Who do you think are the five best Dodgers relievers right now?