2. Phil Bickford
Sorry, but what on earth has gotten into former San Francisco Giants first-round pick Phil Bickford this year?!
Yes, we know he was a Brewers farmhand for far longer than he was a Giants prospect. We’re rubbing it in.
Bickford became an option for a beleaguered Dodgers bullpen when he was claimed from Milwaukee on May 4, then promoted to LA’s roster on May 23 in Jimmy Nelson’s place. As a Brewer, Bickford was highly underwhelming; in one outing, he allowed two earned runs in an inning, whiffed no one, and left town with a well-cooked brat and an 18.00 ERA.
As a Dodger? Bickford has largely been excellent, finally filling that meaty middle of the ‘pen after the team watched so many fail before him. In eight innings (10 games) of work thus far, Bickford’s worked around his own traffic (1.375 WHIP) and posted a 3.38 ERA with 12 strikeouts. Always touted as a prep player with exceptional stuff — hence his first-round pedigree in San Francisco! — he was forced to navigate plenty of trouble and bouts of wildness at the minor-league level.
As long as he can keep clearing up his own messes by inducing swings-and-misses, Bickford will be a much-needed boost to the Dodgers’ stretch run. Who saw that coming? Answer: No one. Wasn’t even on the roster. Don’t try us.