3 Players Who Could Boost Dodgers’ Playoff Chances in 2022

When fans get a look at the second-half Dodgers in the series opener against the Giants on Thursday, they’ll see Mitch White taking the bump in the bottom of the first inning.

No question that White has been serviceable, but over the next several weeks there may be some pitchers returning who can elevate the team to another level, even though the Dodgers are currently one of the top performers in the majors.

As far as the offense goes, what you see is what you’re pretty much going to get in the second half, unless Andrew Friedman and his crew make a huge splash and upgrade the team with another decent bat, as unlikely as it is.

However, besides the club being likely to deal for a pitcher or two at the upcoming deadline, there are three current pitchers who might be able to impact the team significantly, in addition to Brusdar Graterol and Andrew Heaney, who may be back shortly.

Dustin May

Dustin May threw two scoreless innings in the Arizona Complex League over the weekend, suggesting that his return isn’t too far away. Although the popular belief is that the young righty will join the team as a reliever, there are a few pundits who feel the club could gradually stretch-out the youngster, potentially having him available as a playoff starter should the need be there.

The 24-year-old hasn’t thrown in the majors since April of last year after having undergone UCL surgery. In 2020, he made 12 appearances — 10 starts — registering a 3-1 record with a 2.57 ERA and 44 punchouts over 56 innings of work. He has a vast repertoire for a youngster, and his fastball hit triple-digits pre-surgery.

Blake Treinen

From what we can tell, Blake Treinen should be available to rejoin the team sometime in August. Having been shut down since mid-April, Treinen has been throwing off a mound since early July and may be ready for a rehab assignment soon.

Last year, the righty veteran was one of the most valuable pieces to the Los Angeles bullpen, leading the team with 72 appearances. Depending on whether Treinen fully recovers and if the Dodgers land a trustworthy reliever at the trade deadline, Treinen could also be an option to fill in at the closer role, if needed.

Walker Buehler

Walker Buehler has been out for more than a month and is currently on the 60-day injured list, recovering from a pair of injuries in his right forearm and elbow.

There have not been too many updates on when Buehler could return, and these types of injuries can be tricky to figure out in terms of how long it will keep a player out of action. The original expectation was for Buehler to potentially be out 10-12 weeks, so Dodgers fans should be happy if they can get him back on the mound in September.

If Buehler comes back at 100% and the rest of the staff stays healthy, the team could feature one of the best playoff rotations in the majors, especially if Tony Gonsolin continues his new-founded success.

If Buehler is unable to recover in time, the team should still have several formidable options, including Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias and Tyler Anderson.

Coincidentally, Buehler started the Dodgers’ playoff opener last season in the NLDS against the Giants on the road.

8 thoughts on “3 Players Who Could Boost Dodgers’ Playoff Chances in 2022

  1. I think people are fooling themselves if they think May is just going to go back into the rotation before next season. I also think trying to stretch him out is a mistake. His stuff will play well coming out of the pen. That is where he will be needed. I do not expect Moronta or Bickford to be on any playoff roster. As for Muncy, he looks totally lost. He is chasing pitches he used to just not chase. He has regressed instead of progressing.

    1. I agree Bear. A few innings at a time and a few days rest between those innings. I am not counting on him, Buehler or Heaney. If they can help, great, but to count on them is, in my opinion, short sided. I still believe they should get more pitching.

  2. I agree with Bear. Muncy looks lost at the plate. If he is hurt put him on the IL surely another player can hit better than .156 and more importantly field better as Muncy is below average defensively at 2nd base. They can carry Bellinger for his defense.
    I do not understand why they would use May as a starter. I would think they would use May as they did Urias when he was coming back, pitching an inning or two every few days. May if he has recovered has devastating shutdown talent which the Dodgers will probably need as Kimbrel does not inspire confidence.
    Thompson was a difference maker last night against a tough pitcher lets hope he can continue. Plus Thompson is a good defensive outfielder which the team needs.

  3. My memory might be faulty here, but I seem to remember that May has been quite effective in relief while Buehler has not been all that great out of the pen.

    That’s unfortunate since May is going to be back and be stretched out long before Buehler is.

    Those two would make a good tandem combo with Buehler starting and May following. I wonder if any thought has been given to that in Dodgerland.

  4. With these pitchers possibly giving the Dodgers a boost down the stretch, I wonder how serious the Dodgers will be with going after Castillo, or another pitcher. What do you think Jeff, you’ve been a Castillo guy in the past?

    1. I’m really torn, Keith. Yes, I’m a big Castillo guy, but there comes a limit as to what I’d give up for him and some of those guys would also be in a Soto package (something else I’m not sure I’d want to do).

      Or maybe we save our prospects and use our $ for Ohtani and/or Soto when they become free agents or to bring Trea back.

      I think I’m just going to let Andrew play this one and then I’ll be right here to complain about what he did.

  5. Castillo is having a good year so far, but he has been outstanding sometimes, and pretty bad for stretches at others. I’m actually a little Leary of him, but then I think with our coaching, and statistics department, he might be able to pitch better here in LA. If May, and Heany make it back I wonder if we really need another pitcher.

    I think I’d rather see them invest prospects into the Soto trade, but if Bellinger and Muncy were performing like they should be, I don’t think we would even need to be talking about Soto.

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