Dodgers Promote Josh Sborz to Majors

(Mandatory Credit: Rich Crimi/Tulsa Drillers)

The Dodgers on Sunday morning recalled right-handed pitcher Josh Sborz from Triple-A Oklahoma City after optioning righty swing man Dennis Santana back to OKC.

For those unfamiliar with Sborz, in 2015, he was named MVP of the College World Series for the University of Virginia after tallying three victories and one save in the championship affair. Frequently shifted between both a starter and a reliever during his collegiate career, he threw mainly out of the bullpen for the Cavaliers during his freshman and junior seasons.

Sborz was later drafted by the Dodgers in the second round of the 2015 draft, and following a brief stint in rookie ball with the Raptors, was successful in Single-A Rancho’s relief corps that same year, recording a 1.48 ERA with 12 strikeouts in an even 12 innings pitched.

The scouting directors on the farm liked Sborz’s potential so much that they decided to develop him as a starter in 2016. In 20 games—19 of which were starts—for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, he went 8-4, registering a 2.66 ERA with 108 strikeouts over 108-1/3 innings of work, eventually earning him a promotion to Double-A Tulsa for the stretch run of the regular season and ultimately being named the 2016 California League Pitcher of the Year.

His 2017 season started off in the right direction with a non-roster invite to big league spring training; however, the remainder of his season was mediocre at best, as he fought off a few injuries and tallied an 8-8 record with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP over 116-2/3 innings in 24 games—all of which were starts.

Sborz was passed over as an NRI to 2018 spring camp, but the Dodgers had new plans for the Washington, DC native. He would once again begin the year at Tulsa, but this time, he would work out of the bullpen. He started the season as the Drillers’ primary closer, and he compiled a 3-1 record with a 2.76 ERA with seven saves over 13 appearances. During that span, he amassed an impressive 24 punchouts over 16-1/3 innings of work which led him to a promotion to Oklahoma City on May 10. He made his Triple-A debut that same day, throwing two strong innings of shutout ball against Memphis.

For the entirety of 2018, he finished 4-2 over 52 appearances with a 3.88 ERA with six saves. He punched out a whopping 71 batters over 53-1/3 inningis of work.

Typical of a reliever, the 25-year-old Sborz features two offerings that hover in the plus territory—a fastball which he can easily crank up to 95 MPH and a very tight slider with an incredible amount of break. To top things off, his heater has a ton of natural movement. In addition, throwing from the three-quarters slot, he hides the ball nicely in the delivery of all his pitches, creating an element of deception to opposing batters. He can also throw a curve and a change.

Santana, 23, is in his sixth season with the Dodgers’ organization and finished his second career stint at the big league level. In three games with the Dodgers this season, he went 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA (4 ER/ 5.0 IP) with six strikeouts and four walks.

With the return of ace Clayton Kershaw on Monday and the imminent returns of both Rich Hill and Hyun-Jin Ryu, look for the Los Angeles 25-man roster continue to revolve.


19 thoughts on “Dodgers Promote Josh Sborz to Majors

  1. I’m all in favor of the Sborz for Santana substitution. Leave Santana alone at OKC and let him work on his command. His stuff is great but if he can’t learn to control it, he’ll never be a good MLB asset. If Sborz has only two plus pitches, he should be a reliever and has a chance to be a good one. Don’t screw around with him and make him into a starter again. He’s a reliever – let that decision stand. The only downside on the Santana decision is that we lose his bat. He seems to be one of our better hitters. Oh well.


  2. It’s about time for Sborz to be given a chance even though it won’t be for long. He’s here strictly in case Stripling has a short outing in which they will tell Sborz to go as many innings as he can and then send him back down after.


  3. There’s a great piece on Puig in the LA Times today y’all should check out. Seager, Turner and Kershaw really hated that guy!


    1. I read the article Alex. Without a doubt it is by far the best article I’ve ever seen on Puig. I didn’t get the same feeling you did about Turner and Kershaw though. I think they were very frustrated with him at times (maybe most of the time) but I wouldn’t exactly call their emotion hatred. All I know is that once again AF shows that he knows what he’s doing. Kemp and Puig are both hitting below .140, Wood is injured and Downs and Gray are getting really good reviews. Whatever the Dodger players exact feelings about Puig, I get the idea that most of them feel the clubhouse/team is better without him. On the other hand, we’d better be ready for Puig and Kemp to have a really good series against us starting Monday.


  4. Hate is a strong word but let’s just say there was a STRONG dislike between not only those three but others in that clubhouse with Puig and the Times article gives us some insight into why. No matter what Puig does in Cincy this year it was definitely addition by subtraction with him this year. And careful Jeff complimenting AF or receiving the wrath of bear! You might get a “bucco” rebuke from him!


    1. I’m not afraid of Bear (although I admit, I’m typing this under my desk), and he only reserves the “Bucco” comment for Pirates fans. 🙂


  5. Sborz is probably here for today only unless they decide to send Schultz back instead. Someone will have to go when they activate CK tomorrow. Yimi bought himself a little more time yesterday. Floro and Alexander (who both have options remaining) have pitched better than most so aren’t going anywhere. Pedro will be here forever. With CK coming back, however, there is always a possibility that Urias finds he has an innings-restricting “injury” that lays him up for a little while or that Kelly could come up with an “injury” which would explain his horrific start and give him some time to “rehab” while not taking up roster space.


  6. Finally! Stripling deserves to,stay in rotation after that performance. Big break for our bullpen.If it wasn’t for his contract Maeda would be more helpful in bullpen. Schultz seems to have some hops on his fastball. Could he be the next Morrow? Will someone please teach Ferguson a slider! He has to develop a third pitch and I think he could be lights out. Verdugo seems more and more like the real deal. It was such a good day even Taylor had a couple of hits! Can’t wait for Kersh’s debut!


  7. Stripling came up big when they needed a long outing. Wether it’s starting or in relief he’s invaluable to this club. Alex Verdugo is quickly forcing Roberts hand. He has shown that he needs to be in the lineup everyday somehow. I think they can do that as long Muncy can handle 3B or 2B more often so Bellinger can play 1B.


    1. Definitely agree about Verdugo. As good as Stripling is at times, he can be equally ugly, especially when he throws that 90-mph 4-seam consistently dead-center. Some days he hasit, others he doesn’t. Still, he’s definitely valuable. I’d like to see him throw to his potential for a full season just to see how his numbers translate.


      1. Stripling lives and dies on his breaking ball and it’s a damn good one. The problem is like you said his fastball is average at best when he’s throwing 92-93 like last year but it’s below average right now when he can only get it to 90. He needs to throw his breaking ball almost 50% of the time to be good but that in turn takes a toll on his arm which is why we have seen him run out of gas late in the year. I know he wants to be full time in the rotation but I really believe he’s found his niche as our 6th starting pitcher. He’s great for about 20 starts a year.


  8. I’m surprised Strip hasn’t experimented with a sinker or cutter. I think an 88-89 sinker with his sharp breaking ball would work much better for him than that straight as an arrow 90mph 4-seamer. He’s a pitch to contact guy not a strikeout pitcher.


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