More Ideas on the Prospective 2020 Bullpen

jansen-kelly

While it was much easier to project a working bullpen for the Dodgers about a month ago, the additions of both Alex Wood and Jimmy Nelson not only affect the landscape of the starting rotation, but will also have an indirect impact on the 2020 relief corps.

If anything, the presence of both Wood and Nelson create more of a competition for spots on the team’s active roster. Both players were signed to big league contracts, and neither have options, meaning that they will both very likely be included on the Opening Day roster, barring any injuries.

That being said, the back-end of the starting rotation might have a different look than what many fans anticipated. Furthermore, whichever pitchers aren’t included in the Opening Day rotation might be relegated to the major league bullpen, excluding a few arms who will be among the Triple-A Oklahoma City rotation.

As far as the bullpen goes, current projections and depth charts have changed since we put together a prediction post a few days after Christmas. In that particular story, I had three players fighting for the final spot in the starting rotation—Ross Stripling, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May. In theory, I suppose the rotation competition will now be among five players—with Wood and Nelson being in the mix—but my gut tells me that the Wood and Nelson duo may now be held in higher regard in the eyes of management, at least to begin the season.

Moreover, in the December post I had the final spot going to Casey Sadler, but we all know that won’t happen since he’s been traded to the Cubs. My reasoning for including Sadler in my projection was the fact he didn’t have any options remaining on his contract, similar to the situation which kept Yimi Garcia on the active roster for the entirety of the 2019 regular season.

Some fans have been discussing that the inclusion of Wood and Nelson may conceivably be blocking big league spots for both May and Gonsolin. This might be true in the early stages of the season, but it will be important to have quality arms that can make productive starts on deck at OKC when injuries arise. Besides, the active roster on Opening Day could be a far cry from how the team lines up in October. If either May and Gonsolin prove that they are among the 13 best arms in the organization by the time the playoffs roll around, management will most likely assure that both are included on the postseason roster, should the Dodgers make it that far.

Regardless, here is the way my current bullpen projections look a month away from the beginning of spring training:

  • Kenley Jansen
  • Pedro Baez
  • Blake Treinen
  • Joe Kelly
  • Adam Kolarek
  • Ross Stripling
  • Scott Alexander
  • Jimmy Nelson

Other contending pitchers who have big league experience include Caleb FergusonDennis Santana and Josh Sborz. Further down the totem pole are relievers like Joe BroussardMarshall KasowskiJordan SheffieldLogan Salow and Shea Spitzbarth, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see either Victor Gonzalez or Mitchell White throw in relief at the big league level since both players have recently been added to the club’s 40-man roster.

It should be interesting to see how the competitions for both starting and relief roles shape up during 2020 Cactus league play. Aside from Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, almost every other spot in the front five could hypothetically be up for grabs, as Wood, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias have all proven in the past that they’re effective at throwing in relief.

 

38 thoughts on “More Ideas on the Prospective 2020 Bullpen

  1. I think Wood was told he would start, as was Urias. That would put May in AAA. Your bullpen puts Gonsolin there as well. I wonder if he starts? There are a number of good arms in the minors that might be relegated to reliever roles, the names that immediately come to mind are White, Santana and Sheffield. Others might step up this year too – Gray, Grove, Uceta – would they be used as relievers later on? Not sure about those in the Top 30 but you just never know. Can’t have too much pitching.

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      1. Yeah, I’m trying to accept that May and Gonsolin at AAA is actually GOOD news. It means we are deep in pitching. They can put it on cruise control in Oklahoma. Nothin to prove there.

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  2. I really wonder how the front office feels about Maeda. It could be that they see how ST plays out and, if Gonsolin and/or May are spectacular that AF considers trading Maeda. I don’t think it would be good to move him to the bullpen because he obviously doesn’t want to be there and he does have trade value.
    I also think that Kolarek’s being on the opening roster is 50-50 at best. He has horrible splits against right handed hitters and I’m just not sure they’ll want to keep him to face a single lefty batter at the end of an inning (new rule says you have to face 3 batters or pitch to the end of the inning, whichever comes first).

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  3. Good analysis Dennis. But I think automatically including Alexander is a little premature. He was out most of the season and did not even have a rehab assignment. Unless he can show in spring that his out pitch, the sinker is really working, I am not sure he is the lefty specialist out of the box. There has been a lot of talk that they are seriously considering turning Santana into a closer. Old friend Dusty Baker being considered for both the Mets and Astros managerial gigs.

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  4. I knew the Cubs signed Morrow but didn’t realize it’s a minor league deal. Sure wish we had jumped in there and done that. The Cubs have nothing to lose. That could have been us.

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  5. Some of you know that I am a real history buff along with being a Dodger fan. Since my father was at Pearl Harbor on Dec 7th 1941, I have read about it extensively. So when something occurs that is related to that day, like when they found the Japanese mini-sub the Ward sank, I read the story. Today it was a feel good story for me. I have long felt that there were many heroes that day, most just your everyday sailor or soldier doing a remarkable job under the worst of circumstances. Black Americans at the time were rarely in positions of any kind of technical training. Most of the Blacks in the Navy were mess stewards or cooks. On the USS West Virginia that day was a mess steward 2nd class named Doris Miller. Miller also spent some time on my dads ship, the USS Nevada. Anyway on the morning of the attack Miller went to his battle station, and since he was a big guy, 6’2, well over 200 pounds, and officer recruited him to help move the ships mortally wounded Captain, Mervyn Bennion, to a safer location. After doing this he was assigned to a anti aircraft machine gun supposedly as a loader, when the officer turned around, the untrained Miller was firing at the Japanese attackers. After the gun ran out of ammo, they moved the dying skipper to a safer location. It took a year or so before his bravery in the attack was brought to light. He was recommended for the Medal of Honor. Navy Secretary, Frank Knox opposed that award. President Roosevelt awarded Miller the Navy Cross for his actions. At the time, the Navy Cross was the 3rd highest award in the Navy.He received the medal on the USS Enterprise from Admiral Nimitz. After a time aboard the USS Indianapolis, another ship fated for a tragic sinking, he was transferred to the Auxiliary carrier, the USS Lipscome Bay. During the battle of Makin Island in Nov of 1943, the ship was sunk by a Japanese sub, and Miller was among the dead. I said all of that to say this news, the US Navy announced that the next carrier coming off the line will be named the USS Doris Miller. An honor well deserved. One other sports note here. Miller was the fleet heavyweight champion as a boxer.

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      1. Thanks Jefe. I love US history. It was my best subject in high school and I still read as much about it as I can. I had a couple of really good history teachers that nurtured that love. I also had a world history teacher in the 10th grade who was quite the character. But what was cool was when we were studying WWII, he added his personal experiences as a Marine. One was of how during the campaign on Saipan, they were expecting the Japanese to be these small guys. Instead his outfit ran into the Imperial Marines. Most of whom were well over 6 feet tall. Quite the shock for guys expecting something a whole lot smaller.

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      2. Just another instance which teaches one not to generalize about groups of people. I have always found it wiser to judge a person by who he is individually rather than on the group of people he belongs to.
        For example, I would have never thought I could like an old, bearded, guitar-playing guy who lives in Colorado and thinks AF won’t make a big move before ST, but I’ve come to realize you aren’t half bad. 🙂

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      3. Gee. That is huge! That really must have hurt to write. Thank you Jefe. I laud your loyalty to your hero.

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  6. A lot of players starting to chime in on the cheating scandal. Darvish says he now believes he was not tipping his pitches. Most have said MLB should come down hard on those who cheated. Strip was pretty outspoken about it. Belli too feels that something stronger should have happened. Even Gonzo says it is up to the commish to nip this in the bud for good. But we all know Manfred is a woos. So it probably will not happen, and the one who will get the stiffest punishment will probably be Cora.

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  7. Tomorrow the HOF will announce the latest inductees. The only sure thing will probably be Jeter. As of the other day with votes that have been already submitted and known, he had 100% of that vote. Walker had a little over 80 percent of those ballots. Bonds and Clemens both under the 75 % needed for induction. Now, I have made my feelings on this known many times. I do not think any player who used PED’s should be in the Hall. My own personal feeling is that they should not even be eligible. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, McGwire, and even Palmeiro all had the stats prior to using the stuff to be HOFers. So did Manny. But they felt the need to juice up. They made their choice and I do not think any of them deserve to benefit from election to the HOF. To me the hall is tainted because Gil Hodges, the best 1st baseman in his era is not in the hall. As for Rose, I admired him as a player. He was as gritty and hard nosed as they come, but he broke the cardinal rule in baseball by betting on his own team when he was a manager and in a position to affect the outcome of the game. He accepted the punishment and ban laid down by Giamatti. So there should be no argument for him getting in the hall. Another great player who torpedoed his own legacy. I have more sympathy for Joe Jackson who could not read, and was close to being illiterate as one could be. He simply followed his friends lead, and his career was over. I also read a list, and i usually take these things with a grain of salt, but it was a list of the 30 greatest outfielders to even play the game. The only Dodger on the list was Duke Snider. He came in at # 26. Did not have and argument with too many of the choices except two. They had Pete Rose listed as an OF. Rose played 1300 plus games in his career as an OF. He played 2200 in the INF. I never thought of Rose as an OF at any point in his career. The other snub to me was Bonds being rated # 2 and Mays # 3. Sorry. I saw both of them play, and although Bonds ended up being the MLB career HR leader, he could not touch Mays as a fielder. Willie was a more well rounded player than Bonds ever was and did it all without the aid of PED’s. I also was in total agreement with #1 which was the Babe. Ruth for close to 10 years was a two way threat as a pitcher and hitter. I also thought Clemente was too far down on the list. He would have been in my top 5. He was the best RF I ever saw.

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    1. Best hitter I ever saw personally was Mickey Mantle. The ball left his bat differently. The best baseball player I ever saw was Willie Mays, and I hated him for obvious reasons. The most gifted I ever saw was Bo Jackson. Ef Bonds. Clemens was good but I thought Seaver was better. Koufax was the best I ever saw pitch. I never saw Seaver in person but I did see Clemens. Clemens cheated. Scoop don’t abide cheaters.

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      1. I respected Mickey. He was probably the best switch hitter in history. Eddie Murray was good, but Mickey was dangerous. I saw Seaver pitch a couple of times. I just felt when he was out there, the Dodgers were losing the game. Most intimidating was Randy Johnson, with Nolan Ryan right behind. I just always felt the best hitter I ever saw was Rod Carew.

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      2. Murray was good. Mantle was better. If not for injuries, and alcoholism, he might have been the best ever. Even with the injuries he was selected to the All Star team 20 times. 3 x MVP, batting champion, Triple Crown, GoldGlove winner, 7 World Series Championships, He even led the league in triples once. Remarkable player.

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  8. According to this guy we win the West with 2 weeks to spare:

    2020 MLB Win Totals
    Lines via William Hill

    N.Y. Yankees – 101.5
    L.A. Dodgers – 98.5
    Houston – 96.5
    Atlanta – 92
    Minnesota – 90.5
    Tampa Bay – 90
    Washington – 90
    Boston – 89.5
    Oakland – 89.5
    St. Louis – 88
    Chi. Cubs – 86.5
    N.Y. Mets – 86.5
    Philadelphia – 86.5
    Cleveland – 86
    Milwaukee – 85
    L.A. Angels – 84.5
    Chi. White Sox – 84
    San Diego – 84
    Cincinnati – 83
    Arizona – 81
    Texas – 79.5
    Colorado – 75.5
    Toronto – 75.5
    San Francisco – 71.5
    Pittsburgh – 71
    Seattle – 68.5
    Kansas City – 65
    Miami – 64
    Baltimore – 56.5
    Detroit – 54.5

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  9. I’m guessing Cuba Gooding Jr’s role in the “Pearl Harbor” movie was based on Miller, didn’t realize that character was based on a real person. Thanks for the history lesson bear, and congratulations too Doris Miller and his family for an honor apparently long over due.

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    1. His character was Doris Miller. They did not use a fictional name for him. A large portion of the characters were real people. Most of the pilots, save Baldwin as Doolittle were pure fiction. Afleck and Hartnett’s characters were pure fiction. Even the Captain that Dan Akroyd played was a real person. Tora, Tora, Tora was much more accurate. I saw the new Midway movie last month. It wasn’t bad, but it was not really accurate either. The old Midway movie which was loaded with stars, Heston, Mitchum, Glen Ford and many others, including Tom Selleck as an officer on Midway, was also more historically accurate than the new one. I am a stickler for sticking to the facts where history is concerned. Pearl Harbor was one of those that strayed too far from truth. I was dissapointed by the fact that although they went to great lengths to CGI the battleships, since none of that class exist anymore, they decided to use modern destroyers to show the Japanese airplanes attacking them at anchor. CGI would have been able to generate old 4 stackers, which there were quite a few of that day, and some of the newer Farragut class which had just been assigned there. Watching Japanese Zero’s attack Arleigh Burke class modern destroyers, who have weapons systems that would have blasted them out of the sky, well, that was a little too much for me.

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      1. I like historical accuracy. I know about the Burke class because I read a lot, and one was featured on a TV series, “The Last Ship ” and they were also in the movie Battleship. The Burke class is a DDG, a guided missile destroyer. They are one of two destroyer class’s in the US Navy at this time. When the last Spruance class destroyer was decommissioned in 1995, the Burke’s took over all their missions. The new stealth Zumwalt class destroyers joined them in 2016. They are very heavily armed. Arleigh Burke was a destroyer commander in WWII and eventually was promoted to Admiral and became chief of naval operations. My dad, after Pearl Harbor was assigned to the USS Dewey, A Farragut class destroyer launched in 1934 and named after Admiral Dewey. She was an escort for the USS Lexington at the battle of the Coral Sea. Was a screen ship for the USS Saratoga through the Guadalcanal invasion and the invasion of the Eastern Solomons.

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      2. Fascinating. I know a strong military is important, but we’ve been at this war sh*t for a lot of decades. I’d sure like to give peace a chance. I know there’s not a lot of money in it, but I think kids have a better chance of getting good jobs later if we don’t kill them now. Just a thought.

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      3. I totally get it Scoop. But we just have too many enemy’s for whom peace is not an option. I would love nothing better than to see peace in my lifetime, but I am not diluting myself into believing it will happen. Whether religious or political, there are some real nut jobs on this planet. And a lot of them hate us.

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      4. “But we just have too many enemy’s for whom peace is not an option.”

        You know Bear, we said the same thing when we got involved in Vietnam.

        I wonder what would happen if we just decided to leave the Middle East for them to figure out on their own?

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      5. Middle east is the center right now, that is for sure, and our troops are pulling out of Iraq completely, or at least they are supposed to. But North Korea is a real problem. IL Jung is a total nut job. But until we get out of Afghanistan, we will be involved over there. Right now I am more worried about that idiot governor in Virginia.

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      6. Virginia? A pediatric neurologist an idiot? A Major in the Army Medical Corps ? I’m sure he’s a problem for some but there are many real idiots above his pay grade that I’m more concerned about. I feel like I’m in the Truman Show. How will it end?

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      7. Smart people can lack common sense too. Trust me, I have seen enough so called intelligent people who lacked a lot of people skills and plain old common sense.

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      8. Are you talking in general or are you still talking about Northram? You called him an idiot and said you were worried. I don’t follow your logic.

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      9. I am worried because he is ramming through anti gun laws that obviously have the states legal gun owners up in arms, and in some cases calling for a civil uprising. My worry is that this will escalate into something much bigger. Our new governor has done the same thing with the Red Flag law. The law, which most of the different law enforcement agency’s have said they will not enforce allows someone like a neighbor to go to the police and say you are a threat and they can confiscate your weapon without due process. Enacting laws that help the entire populace is one thing. Doing that out of some sort of misguided idea that it is going to reduce gun violence is not very smart. He is an idiot because he does not know how his own states populace feels about their second amendment rights. Gun sales soared because of this misguided attempt by the government to disarm it’s citizens.

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  10. I respect you for your principles my friend. I understand your feelings. I have never used any of my weapons in anger, and would only do so if my life, or my family’s were under immediate threat. I know how long it takes the police to respond to an emergency. In that time period, waiting for them, I could end up dead. Especially now that I am older, and the old reflexes are not what they used to be. But instead of waiting the 8 or so minutes for the police to respond to an intruder, I can respond in the time it takes me to cycle my 9 mm. Much better chance of survival. I have not had to do that, and I hope I never do. But I would rather have it and not need it, than the other way around.

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    1. After Vietnam I never picked up another firearm. That was over 50 years ago. I’ve never needed one. I think our gun laws are insane. I’ll leave it at that.

      I’ve read some on the Red Flag initiatives. I’m in favor of the principle. The one problem I might have with it is the fact cops are involved.

      I don’t know Northam but I have no reason to suspect he’s an idiot.

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      1. Totally understand and respect that. The plan I read included using the National Guard. That’s more insane.

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      2. Where did you read that? I just searched for it and could not find it. What I did read was that one of his subordinates was quoted saying the governor has the right to call the guard if he deems necessary, which is true, and after what happened in Charlottesville he would be amiss not to have some back up plan ready for another right supremacist rally. Fortunately it wasn’t needed.

        I think maybe it would be good advice to watch what they DO, not respond to what they SAY. Most of our leaders, on both sides, are f.o.s.. I don’t trust any of them anymore. But I refuse to knee jerk to words. It used to be that words matter. In that arena it’s just not true.

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