When the Dodgers are faced with the task of replacing lefty pitcher Julio Urias on the 40-man roster sometime in the very near future, the club will have many worthy candidates from which to select, but considering the big league squad’s immediate needs and the players who appear to be most ready, reliever Joe Broussard could be the obvious choice.
Beginning his 2017 campaign at Double-A Tulsa, the 6-foot-1, 220 lb. righty made four appearances, throwing 5-1/3 frames of absolutely perfect baseball. After earning a well-deserved promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City in mid-April, Broussard has tossed 29-1/3 innings over 21 appearances, posting a 1.53 ERA with 34 strikeouts against only eight walks.
Yet while it’s likely the native of New Orleans could certainly benefit from a few more months of pitching in the mostly hitter-friendly confines of the Pacific Coast League, a spot on the 40-man roster would allow Broussard to be recalled when rosters expand in early September, and if the audition goes well enough, perhaps be utilized on the postseason roster if the Dodgers do indeed achieve their quest of earning a spot in the playoffs.
Broussard attended college at LSU, and was instrumental as the team’s captain in 2014, leading the school to its 11th SEC Championship. In the process, he appeared in 32 games as the Tigers’ closer, registering a 3-2 record and a 1.05 ERA in 34-1/3 innings with 17 walks and 37 strikeouts.
Selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 2014 draft, he suffered a UCL tear in his pitching elbow in the summer of 2012 while playing in the Cape Cod League, and he received a medical redshirt for the 2013 season as he rehabilitated after Tommy John surgery. The ligament tear would have no ill effects on his effectiveness to date.
We’ve been mentioning Broussard very frequently lately, and began discussing his MLB readiness when he took the spotlight in the Arizona Fall League last autumn, where he posted a 1.59 ERA in 11-1/3 relief innings, including nine punch outs, no walks and five saves. Across three levels of the farm last season, the 26-year-old went 4-2 with nine saves, tallying a 1.80 ERA and 81 strikeouts over an even 70 innings of work. For his efforts, he was named as a 2016 Organizational All-Star.
Broussard’s bread and butter is certainly his heater, which normally sits in the low-to-mid 90s, but features a ton of nasty movement. Coupled with his very deceptive, over-the-top delivery, he sometimes appears borderline untouchable when his mechanics are all in tune.
Broussard last pitched at home on Sunday against Nashville, when he threw 1-1/3 scoreless innings of relief in Oklahoma City’s 3-1 victory.
Urías is scheduled to undergo surgery on the torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder on Tuesday. He’s expected to be moved to the 60-day disabled list soon, thus creating an opening on the team’s 40-man roster.
In addition to Broussard, there is an entire plethora of notable candidates who may be considered for the vacated 40-man roster spot. A few of the more popular names include starting pitcher Trevor Oaks, outfielder/first baseman O’Koyea Dickson, outfielder Alex Verdugo, infielder Willie Calhoun and relief pitcher Madison Younginer.
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