It’s not very often you hear about a youngster in the Dodgers system who straightaway has the talent to succeed in the back-end of a minor league bullpen. More times than not, the Los Angeles management crew breeds most of its young arms as starters, then eventually converts them to relievers when a suitable door opens. However, there is one certain prospect in the organization, righty reliever Zach Pop, who may have the natural talent to climb the organizational ladder through the relief corps.
While there are plenty of question marks surrounding the impending relief crew for the Dodgers heading into 2018, there are many options for the club to consider for the bullpen as the season approaches. A handful of arms who can contribute as either a starter or a reliever could play into the team’s roster plans, and Brock Stewart is certainly right at the top of that list.
While the Dodgers left the 2017 Winter Meetings with only a consolation prize of a mid-level infield prospect, many fans have taken to social media to express their respective concerns heading into 2018, especially in the area of the bullpen. It took several years for the team to finally find a competent setup man in Brandon Morrow, yet the veteran righty was able to walk away from Los Angeles and land a lucrative deal with the Cubs for the next several seasons. Andrew Friedman and his troops seem fairly confident in the internal relief options heading into 2018 spring training, but questions loom as to whether the impending bullpen will be talented enough to help guide the squad into next season’s playoff picture.
Now that the winter hot stove is finally beginning to heat up, many followers of the Dodgers are wondering if the Los Angeles management crew will make any significant moves to bolster the club’s roster before pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch in just a few short months.
I, like many of you, miss baseball a lot right now. It’s been two weeks since Game 7, and I finally feel ready to move forward, but spring training doesn’t start for three months. Until February, we have the holidays, we have the joy of winter, and we have offseason trades and free agent signings. Though the offseason is not nearly as riveting as Game 7, it’s still something, and it’s worth getting excited about. In the past, my predictions as to who the Dodgers would sign have been, for the most part, incorrect and conventional.
Needless to say, the journey through the 2017 season for righty reliever Pedro Baez was a rocky one. Near the halfway point of the campaign, his ERA was almost microscopic, yet when the Dodgers‘ roster was selected for the NLCS against the Cubs, his name was omitted. In early September, he was frequently booed by fans at Dodger Stadium, as skipper Dave Roberts took to the press a number of times to defend him.
While it hasn’t yet been a week since the conclusion of Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, there’s already been a ton of speculation stirring on how the Dodgers will fill in the blanks for the prospective 2018 player roster.
Sooner or later, when you exclusively depend on the success rate of mathematical probability as your primary influence of decision making, things are going to backfire. Ultimately, predictability is not how things will go, but how they can go. And things didn’t go quite the way Dodgers‘ skipper Dave Roberts had hoped in Game 2 of the World Series in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening.
Heading into the deciding Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS on Saturday evening, the most popular talk among fans of the Dodgers seems to be revolving around which American League club provides the more favorable matchup for Los Angeles. Plenty of different criteria is being thrown around and about—regular season stats, managerial success rates in the postseason, who plays better in certain weather—just to name a few. But at the end of the day, playoff baseball is such a completely different animal, as it’s almost impossible to predict the mindset of the team which will take the field in the opener.
Prior to the 2017 campaign, 29-year-old pitcher Kenta Maeda had never made a relief appearance outside of a single game for the Hiroshima Carp during his 2008 rookie season in the Japan Central League. But the manner which he handled himself in the bullpen during the NLDS sweep over the Diamondbacks may have persuaded the management crew of the Dodgers to use the right-hander in similar higher-leverage relief spots moving forward into the playoffs.