Dodgers: 2 players who’ve justified team’s faith and 1 who hasn’t
By Adam Weinrib
Dodgers Win: Phil Bickford
Sure, it’s been mostly lower-leverage innings, but seriously, what has gotten into Phil Bickford?
Once a top prospect in San Francisco with the Giants, Bickford was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2016 in exchange for Will Smith, at which point he encountered … trouble.
Selected in the first round twice by both Toronto and San Francisco, Bickford lost much of his pedigree when he was suspended for a drug of abuse in 2017, an offense compounded by a broken hand. He finally made it to the majors at the tail end of 2020, only to allow four earned runs in his only inning of work.
At a time when the Dodgers were at their most desperate for pitching depth, watching Mitch White and Alex Vesia enter in the late innings, the team made a move for Bickford, selecting him from the waiver wire after Milwaukee had finally chosen to DFA him. Whether it was dumb luck or ingenuity (always bet on the latter), the righty has shined.
Still just 25 years old, the man who had to overcome countless 2017 speed bumps that threatened to derail a once-promising career is showing off exactly who he was always supposed to be in LA’s heavily-damaged bullpen.
And, for what it’s worth, Bickford might just … be extremely valuable. In his most recent full season, he posted 32.2 dominant innings with 53 strikeouts and a 2.48 ERA at High-A in 2019. Without a 2020 to speak of, perhaps we’d all just written him off a bit too soon.
The Dodgers didn’t, and they might’ve gotten a good one.