It’s no secret that the Dodgers’ bullpen has grossly under-performed this season (so far). Therefore, one might ask the question: Is there any help for the bullpen in the minor leagues THIS Season? Scott Alexander is a possibility IF he can work on his control, which has always been suspect. He’s a ground-ball machine if he can get hitters to swing, but too often he puts the pitch too far out of the strike zone and they don’t bite. There’s a fine line between a pitch in the dirt and a pitch that is just above the dirt. There is a lot of potential there, but he has to deliver… and he hasn’t! Scott will likely be back at some point, but he’s far from a sure thing.
The problem is that the Dodgers are grooming most of their young pitchers as starters, which isn’t a bad thing, except that there are generally only five starters on the big club. Yimi Garcia is finally back with the big club, but it might take a few more games for him to round into form. He can be a solid piece. Brock Stewart has a career ERA of 5.97 as a MLB Starter and 2.39 as a MLB Reliever. Even Ray Charles can see where he should be.
Shea Spitzbarth is a RH Reliever at AA Tulsa, who is one of the TRUE relievers in the system. So far, this season, in 17 IP, he has allowed just 10 Hits and 5 BB with 20 Strikeouts and has a 2.12 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP. His over-the-top four seam fastball hits 95 MPH and he he has a plus, plus curve and has also developed an above-average change-up. While Josh Sborz has been the closer and put up good numbers himself (14 IP/10 H/5 BB/19 K 3.21 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP), Spitzbarth has the makings of a set-up man. He’s 2 and this is his second season in AA, so he will likely mover to AAA soon… He could go up the ladder quicker! There’s a chance he could see LA this year.
NOTE: After I wrote this Spitzbarth gave up 6 ER in .2 innings and raised his ERA to 5.09. so what do I know?
I guess the same could be said of Sborz, but one guy to keep an eye on is Ariel Hernandez, the guy with the 100 MPH heater and big curve ball. Some people think he has no clue where the ball is going, but of late, he is showing signs that he might have half a clue… and if he does that, he can absolutely fill the 8th inning role. After a bad start at Tulsa, he now has struck out 10 batters in 7 innings while only walking 3. His ERA is currently 3.68 and his WHIP is 1.36. This guy is 26 years old, so he could “get it” with a quickness. I am keeping an eye on him, because his stuff is Brandon Morrow Filthy.. if he can control it!
Of course, there are some pitchers at AAA OKC who could help right now, led by the freakshow that is Pat Venditte and his 1.98 ERA. Daniel Hudson is already up, so there is that. Of course, the Dodgers could always switch Dennis Santana and Caleb Ferguson to the pen, but that seems unlikely. My point is: there could be some real help in the minors and the Dodgers will explore that BEFORE making a trade. Of course, there are several others who could step up – one never knows. And then… there is Julio Urias. He’s getting ready to start throwing off the mound soon.
Rants and Raves
- When Puig comes back, he will go back to RF and could be showcased for a trade. I am of the opinion that Alex Verdugo in RF makes the Dodgers better. I would love to see him hit lead-off this year. He can play CF, but he’s not a permanent CF’er, in my opinion.
- Locastro in CF? Maybe – but I am not sure he will hit enough. I hope I am wrong – he has the wheels.
- Taylor, Hernandez, Barnes and Farmer all need to capture some consistency. They have run hot and cold this entire year… mostly cold.
- I will be in LA, May 20-23 and catch the Dodgers-Rockies Series – that seems to be about the time Justin Turner will return.
Now, it’s on to: