Dodgers: Pre-Spring Training 25-man Roster Predictions

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MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 20: The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Seven to win the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 20: The Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Seven to win the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 25: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up before playing the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on August 25, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. All players across MLB will wear nicknames on their backs as well as colorful, non-traditional uniforms featuring alternate designs inspired by youth-league uniforms during Players Weekend. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

The Dodger bullpen is a storied group of peaks and troughs. The Dodgers have worked to build what they think is the perfect group of men to close the bridge to Kenley Jansen and I think, as the roster stands, they have that group.

The big question every year is how many people are in the pen. For me, it is eight and that eight-man group starts with Kenley Jansen.

Jansen had a surprisingly unimpressive season last year by his normal standards. The 6’5 superstar posted an ERA over 3.00 for the first time in his career and owned and ERA+ below 130 for the first time as well. Struggling or not, Jansen is the closer in Los Angeles and that has not changed. The bridge to Jansen, however, has switched up a bit.

The first man in the bullpen is new addition, Joe Kelly. Kelly signed a three-year deal with the Dodgers over the offseason and his 100 mile per hour fastball should be used as the eighth inning man and as the backup closer. There is not much debate for this.

Joining Kelly and Jansen will be Pedro Baez and Scott Alexander, two staples in last year’s relief corps. Baez had a nice year in 2018, posting a 2.88 ERA and an ERA+ of 135, the second highest total in his career. Alexander, like Jansen, had a down year in 2018 and it was not even all that bad. He throws from the left side and gets outs. He’s in the pen.

That leaves us with four more spots and taking up one of them will be Ross Stripling. Stripling was an All-Star in 2018 and that was done in large part from the rotation. Stripling has quietly been one of the most important players on the Dodgers for the last three years and this season should be no different. He and Kenta Maeda are interchangeable from the pen to the rotation but, out of the gate, I have Ross in relief.

This is where things get really fun.

Tony Cingrani and Yimi Garcia are all out of minor league options. That means they must either make the Opening Day roster or be DFA’d. Of those players, Cingrani, is on my roster and Garcia will be the victim of numbers. Josh Fields is also out of options.

Cingrani and Fields getting onto the roster forces Julio Urias and Caleb Ferguson to the minor leagues and it leaves us with one spot left in the pen. For me, it goes to a pitcher who was quietly one of the best in baseball last year, Dylan Floro. You can read about his successes in 2018 here.

My bullpen is as follows:

Bullpen: Jansen, Kelly, Baez, Alexander, Stripling, Cingrani, Fields, Floro

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