Dodgers Position by Position Breakdown: The Bullpen

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Kenley Jansen
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Kenley Jansen /
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CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 18: Josh Fields
CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 18: Josh Fields /

Who’s on the fence:

My prediction for the season is the team will carry eight bullpen pitchers. With five locks, these are the people I believe the team will choose from.

Josh Fields

Josh Fields was one of Dave Roberts’ most effective pieces last season. He pitched in 57 games and totaled exactly 57 innings. Over that stretch, Fields had an ERA of 2.84 a WHIP of .965 and an ERA+ of 148. At this point, you are probably wondering why is Fields a maybe. Well, I’ll tell you. Josh Fields, especially towards the end of the season, showed his susceptibility to the home run. Giving up 10 total long balls, Fields, who is fastball dominant, got hit hard. Also concerning is the discrepancy between his ERA and FIP. Fields’ FIP on the season was 4.18 a number well higher than his ERA. With that all being said I would pencil Josh Fields into the rotation but would not call him a lock. A strong spring will bolt down the spot he already has.

Yimi Garcia

Coming off both Tommy John Surgery and some serious shoulder issues, it has been a while since Dodger fans have heard the name, Yimi Garcia. Yimi last pitched in 2016 where he threw just 8.1 innings. Garcia was a key bullpen piece in the two years prior but he still has a lot to prove after being out of the game for so long. The Dodgers have made it clear that Yimi will factor into the team’s plans this year it just remains to be seen how early in the season he will make that impact.

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Adam Liberatore

Adam Liberatore was quietly one of the Dodgers best relievers in 2016. But, like Yimi Garcia, Adam Liberatore had an injury-plagued 2017 where he threw just 17 innings between the major and minor leagues. If Liberator can prove himself in spring, there is no reason to think he cannot land a spot in the bullpen but he too will have a lot to prove.

Ross Stripling*

Ross Stripling is in an interesting position on my list and I will explain why. Last year, Stripling served as the team’s long reliever and was effective in that role. He threw the most innings among all Dodger relievers and also made a couple spot starts in which he was spotless. But, Dave Roberts made it clear at FanFest that Stripling would work out like a starting pitcher in spring training as the team would use him in the event of an injury. This leads me to believe that if everyone stays healthy, Stripling would resume his role in long relief. The only reason I have Ross on the maybe list is because I just do not know what role he will fill to start the season. Lock Stripling in for a major league spot just waiting to see exactly what he will be doing.

Next: Part-time beast mode in 2018?

As it stands right now, the Dodgers have an endless amount of options to fill the bullpen. I will continue to keep this article updated as spring training progresses. But, as of now, this is where I believe the bullpen stands.