Dodgers: Projecting who Makes the Opening Day Bullpen

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 16: Yimi Garcia
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 16: Yimi Garcia /

The Dodgers are quickly approaching the end of spring training as we are now less than two weeks away from the opening game.  Dave Roberts will need to start trimming down the fat on his roster soon.

The Dodgers spring training has gotten to the point where it’s time for the front office to start making cuts and trimming the spring training roster down to those players who are going to be on the opening day roster.  One of the areas where the spring roster is still filled with players is the bullpen.

The Dodgers bullpen figures to once again be one of the best bullpens in baseball.  While the club lost Brandon Morrow, they brought in Tom Koehler and Scott Alexander.  Koehler is going to miss the first few months of the season, but the Dodgers have a ton of depth when it comes to their bullpen.

The Triple-A Oklahoma City bullpen is going to be a very talented bullpen due to some of the guys that will not make the Dodgers opening day roster.  Of course, it’s important to remember that the Dodgers opening day roster is just that, the opening day roster.  There will be plenty of relievers coming up and down from the minor leagues as the Dodgers juggle their rotation and bullpen throughout the season.

Here are the relievers that should make the opening day roster:

Kenley Jansen – I don’t think this one needs any explaining.  The Dodgers are fortunate to have one of the best closers in baseball under contract once again.  The only question I have with Jansen is if he can one day break Gagne’s consecutive saves streak.

Scott Alexander – Even though Alexander has a spring ERA of 7.71, I wouldn’t worry about that too much as he has been a very good reliever the past couple of seasons.  Alexander will be used as one of Dave Robert’s lefties out of the pen, but he can also get right-handed hitters out.  He could end up being the go-to guy in the eighth inning.

Tony Cingrani – The Dodgers took a flier on Cingrani’s live arm at the trade deadline last season, and it paid off as he became an integral part of their bullpen during last season’s World Series run.  Tony should serve as the Dodgers main LOOGY out of the pen this year.

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Josh Fields – The Dodgers took things slow with Josh Fields this spring just as they are with Kenley Jansen.  Although Fields was battered around in the World Series, he will serve as one of the Dodgers main right-handed specialists this season.  Quietly, Fields has put together some solid work since becoming a Dodger.

JT Chargois: Just like Cingrani last season, this year the Dodgers took a flier on the very talented but often injured JT Chargois.  Chargois is a former second round pick of the Minnesota Twins and has held hitters to a .125 average this spring.  Chargois is another flamethrower in the Dodger bullpen.

Pat Venditte – Although this appeared to be a gimmick at first, Venditte has done everything possible to show he earned a spot on the Dodgers opening day roster. This spring he has an ERA of 0.96 and is stifling hitters from either side of the mound.  Venditte gives the Dodgers two weapons in one.

Ross Stripling – The Dodgers took full advantage of Stripling’s versatility last season.  Not only is Stripling good for covering short starts from the rotation, but he was also thrown into tight extra game situations.  Stripling is a lock for the bullpen.

Yimi Garcia – Like Scott Alexander, Yimi Garcia has been touched up a bit this spring but he has shown good life on his fastball.  After missing the past couple of seasons, it is great to see Yimi back on the mound.  He gives the Dodgers another power arm.

Some guys that just missed the cut, in my opinion, are Adam Liberatore, Pedro Baez, and Brock Stewart.  I would prefer to see Brock make the bullpen over Yimi Garcia but it appears the Dodgers want to start Stewart in their Triple-A rotation.  Liberatore and Baez should be back up with the Dodgers at some point this season.

Next: Should the Dodgers carry three catchers on their active roster?

Pedro Baez will hopefully regain his confidence in Triple-A because when he is good he is very good.  He seems to have lost his confidence since last September but I expect him to be up by June to reinforce the Dodgers bullpen.  It will be interesting to see who the front office actually picks to make their bullpen.  I think we all fully expect them to go with an eight-man bullpen.