The Los Angeles Dodgers have been great at finding quality relievers in unexpected places over the last decade. One recent example of a hidden gem uncovered by Andrew Friedman's front office is Alex Vesia, who became a marquee member of the bullpen as a left-handed pitcher.
Vesia posted a 2.19 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and struck out 133 batters in 94.1 combined innings in the 2021 and 2022 seasons while being great in the postseason as well. That success has not yet translated to the 2023 season, where Vesia has a 12.60 ERA.
The southpaw has allowed a run in four of his seven appearances and is solely responsible for two of the team's losses. It's clear that Vesia might need some time down in AAA to figure it out and the team has options to replace him for the time being.
3 pitchers that can instantly fix the Dodgers' Alex Vesia problem
3. Justin Bruihl
Justin Bruihl is already on the big-league club as he was promoted ahead of Monday's game against the New York Mets. That game, in which Bruihl spun a scoreless frame and Vesia allowed three earned runs, might serve as a turning point for the team to rely on Bruihl in Vesia's typical spots.
Bruihl's one inning of work did produced a hard-hit double for Brandon Nimmo, but the southpaw was able to work around that without much else hard contact. With his strong start of the season in AAA also factored in, it's clear that Bruihl is pitching better right now than Vesia.
Bruihl's overall career numbers are not as impressive as Vesia's (3.32 ERA in 43.1 innings pitched) but one of the keys in bullpen management is riding the hot hand. Right now, Bruihl is probably more of a "hot hand" than Vesia.