We’re already almost a quarter way through the season and chances are, you’re as angry as the rest of us. The Dodgers offense has been bad, and the bullpen has been even worse. With so many other right-handed relievers struggling, it’s time to give Brock Stewart a real chance.
Up and down, back and forth. That’s pretty much been the story on Brock Stewart the last couple of years. Thus far, Stewart has scattered 65 innings across 3 big league seasons. His first was a struggle over 5 starts and change, his second, he was actually quite solid out of the bullpen, and his third has been spent almost exclusively in a moving vehicle. He’s hasn’t even managed three innings this year and was recently already recalled for the third time.
Stewart has been regarded as one of the Dodger’s better right-handed pitching prospects over the last few years, regularly earning a spot in various top 10 Dodger prospect lists. The twenty-six-year-old is armed with a mid 90’s fastball with solid sink and a slider with good bite. At this point in his career, Stewart has little more to prove in the minor leagues. Dodger prospect guru David Hood gave his take on Stewart noting:
"Stewart is a well proportioned and sturdily built. He shows a consistent and clean delivery, employing a longer looking arm action but one that employs the en-vogue elbow spiral. While I don’t want to suggest that such arm action helps generate spin, Stewart nonetheless is one of the better spin rate guys on the roster."
He had often found himself buried behind the Dodger’s enormous pitching depth in years passed. That no longer seems to be the case. Certainly not with the likes of the recently departed Wilmer Font and now newcomer Daniel Hudson regularly stinking up the place. And let’s not forget about the continuously reanimated corpse of Pedro Baez, who has etched a firm spot into the Dodger Fan’s Hall of Hatred. He’ll slide in comfortably between Todd Hollandsworth and Andruw Jones. (Delino Deshields has his own section)
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Starters Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Clayton Kershaw have already spent time on the D.L. and probably will continue to in the future. Kenta Maeda seems destined to be headed to the bullpen and Alex Wood isn’t exactly known as an innings eater. Walker Buehler has been very impressive thus far, but can’t really be counted on for more than five or six innings.
There appears to be plenty of opportunities for Brock Stewart to finally throw significant innings this year. The real question is, why hasn’t he? If he struggles as a starter, he has a brief, but recent history of relative success throwing out of the bullpen. He appears far more qualified to pitch in relief than any of the other journeyman reclamation projects LA invests so much focus on.
He needs to pitch in LA to show his true value. Not for a few days or a week, but months. If there is no opportunity for him to pitch regularly here either in the rotation or bullpen, then he needs to be traded for another area of need. And boy, there are currently a bunch of those. At this point, he’s too good and getting too old to be kept in the minors or trapped in transportation purgatory. Give Brock Stewart the chance he deserves. The Dodgers seem to need him and he’s clearly earned it.