Dodgers’ Bullpen Shaping up Nicely For the 2019 Season
The Dodgers’ bullpen helped guide them to another World Series appearance but in the bullpen it all unraveled. After adding Joe Kelly, the Dodger pen is shaping up nicely for the 2019 season.
The Dodgers rode their bullpen to help guide them to a second straight World Series appearance last season. In the NLDS against the Braves, the Dodger pen was lights out and posted a 0.84 ERA and held the Braves to a .179 average. In the NLCS, LA’s pen was dominate again as they pitched to a 1.45 ERA and held the Brewers to a .180 average. Although the Brewers were supposed to be the dominant bullpen, the Dodgers proved otherwise en route to their second straight World Series appearance.
The World Series was a different story however as the bullpen’s ERA ballooned to 5.48 and they allowed fourteen runs and five home runs. Two big causes for the sudden demise were Alex Wood pitching out of the bullpen and Kenley Jansen once again proving to be human when he’s asked to pitch two innings in the World Series. It was a repeat of the 2017 fall classic when Marwin Gonzalez and George Sprinter changed the series in game two against Jansen.
The good news is that Wood was traded to the Reds so he won’t be pitching out of the bullpen next October, and the Dodgers signed Joe Kelly to a three year deal. While Kelly still has to prove he can repeat his 2018 October performance, he should help the Dodgers limit Kenley Jansen to a maximum of four outs in the 2019 postseason. Kelly is a former starter so he can pitch multiple innings if needed.
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Looking at the guys that figure to make up the 2019 bullpen, the bullpen is looking pretty good:
Jansen: 201 AVG allowed 10.3 K/9
Kelly: 234 AVG allowed 9.3 K/9
Floro: 237 AVG allowed 8.16 K/9
Baez: 220 AVG allowed 9.9 K/9
Fields: 196 AVG allowed 7.2 K/9
Ferguson: 230 AVG allowed 10.8 K/9
Cingrani: 221 AVG allowed 14.2 K/9
Alexander: 239 AVG allowed 7.6 K/9
The highest average allowed last season of the projected 2019 bullpen is by Scott Alexander and even then he only allowed a 239 batting average. His ability to induce ground balls makes him more likely to give up contact but he can induce double plays. Josh Fields had the lowest opponent’s average allowed in 2018 and will be looking to stay healthy in 2019. The same goes for Tony Cingrani who had a ridiculous 14.2 strikeouts per nine innings last season.
The Dodgers may look to add another reliever through free agency but they would be better off using that money to fill other needs like catcher and another right-handed bat. The current lineup of relievers looks pretty effective and that’s not including Ross Stripling, Kenta Maeda, or any other pitchers that find themselves working in relief for the 2019 season. LA’s bullpen should be a strength next season.