Dodgers: A Healthy Josh Fields Would Boost the Dodger Bullpen
The Dodgers bolstered their bullpen this off-season by signing Joe Kelly. Another boost could arrive in the form of a healthy Josh Fields.
Andrew Friedman made bolstering the bullpen a priority this off-season as he went out and signed World Series hero Joe Kelly. The move was a bit out of character for Friedman who has managed the Dodgers’ bullpen by subtle upgrades and shrewd reliever trades. One of those under the radar acquisitions he made was for Josh Fields.
As we profiled another underrated arm in Dylan Floro last week, Josh Fields is another bullpen piece who is better than he is given credit for. While the Dodgers’ ended up paying a price in trading away Yordan Alvarez who is a top 100 prospect, the addition of Fields was much needed at a time when the Dodger bullpen was in need of a rebuild. With the Dodgers’ Fields has been very good but he has been limited by injuries and pitched only 41 innings in 2018.
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While many fans will remember Josh Fields for being part of the disastrous game two of the 2017 World Series, he has been a pretty effective reliever during his Dodger tenure. Over the past two seasons these are the stat lines that Josh Fields has put up:
2017 – .194 opponent’s average, 0.96 WHIP, 2.84 ERA
2018 – .196 opponent’s average, 0.95 WHIP, 2.20 ERA
Not only has Fields been effective, but he has also been able to get out hitters in the late innings no matter which side of the plate they hit from. In 2018, lefties hit .179 against Josh while right-handed batters hit .207. In 2017, he virtually eliminated right-handed hitters to the tune of a .169 batting average against.
In addition to being effective against both sides of the plate, Josh Fields has done his best work in the high-pressure late innings of games. From the seventh to ninth inning, Fields has allowed a .222 batting average which is lower than his average allowed for the earlier innings of the game. While he has been bitten by the home run ball, 19 of his 30 career home runs allowed have come in low leverage situations.
The Dodgers will likely use Joe Kelly to close out games when Kenley Jansen is unavailable but if neither is able to pitch they could use Josh Fields to nail down saves. In save situations for his career, Fields has allowed just three hits in 13 2/3 innings while striking out seventeen batters. It’s pretty clear that he is not bothered by pitching in high leverage situations. If Josh Fields is healthy for the 2019 season then the Dodgers should receive another boost to their bullpen.