Dodgers News: Early Prediction of LA’s Bullpen in 2021



Everyone has been giving too much attention to the recent moves the San Diego Padres have been making. Yes, they have gotten better with the upgrades to their rotation, yet they’re still not on the same level as the Dodgers. Speaking of Los Angeles, they have quietly stockpiled some quality arms to their bullpen this offseason. 

So far, the Dodgers have done a lot more adding than subtracting with all of these arms. Friedman is a big believer in the notion that once could never have too much pitching. With all of the moves so far, it raises the question of who will be a part of the pen when the team breaks camp this year. Assuming the Dodgers continue to carry 13 pitchers, that leaves 8 spots for the pen. 

Locks:

  • Kenley Jansen
  • Blake Treinen
  • Brusdar Graterol
  • Joe Kelly

While many fans are ready to move on from Kenley Jansen, he’s likely to start, keyword start, out his final season with LA at the closer role. After becoming a fan favorite and being equipped with a bazooka for an arm, Graterol is here to stay. Treinen’s re-signing almost guarantees himself a spot barring any injury. Although his trolling of the Astros won’t play a part in the decision, Kelly’s talent is too valuable to leave off.

Lefty Battle:

  • Victor Gonzalez
  • Scott Alexander
  • Adam Kolarek 

https://twitter.com/MLBONFOX/status/1315848491118268417?s=20

It’s no secret that Dave Roberts loves his matchups. That means the Dodgers will likely carry two lefties in the pen. Victor Gonzalez emerged as a reliable weapon for Roberts out of the pen which could see him earn a spot this upcoming season. Kolarek who was essentially a lefty specialist was supposed to be negatively affected by the three batter minimum. While he still allowed a .286 batting average to righties, he posted a 0.95 ERA over 20 games. Alexander started off the year by not allowing a run in his first 6 appearances and had a solid year overall, yet his sudden demotion to the team’s alternative site late in the season raises questions about his role in 2021. 

Related: Dodgers Acquire Left-Handed Pitcher in Three-Team Trade

Right-Handers:

https://twitter.com/MLBPipeline/status/1307789177379979264?s=20

After a mediocre 2019, Floro bounced back in 2020 to be one of the most used relievers in the pen. Meanwhile, both Knebel and Morrow are coming off of injury-riddled seasons. However, when healthy they both have been two of the league’s most dominant relievers. With the absence of Ross Stripling from the roster, the Dodgers will need another swingman. Tony Gonsolin can crack the roster to fill that spot as well as Mitch White, though that’s likely a long shot from happening. 

Depth: Dennis Santana, Garrett Cleavinger, Jimmy Nelson, Brock Stewart, Josh Sborz 

Related: Dodgers Sign Reliever Tommy Kahnle to a Two-Year Deal

Final Thoughts 

2021 Bullpen:

  • Kenley Jansen
  • Blake Treinen
  • Brusdar Graterol
  • Joe Kelly
  • Adam Kolarek 
  • Victor Gonzalez
  • Brandon Morrow 
  • Tony Gonsolin

As mentioned earlier, the first four guys are most likely to be locks for the bullpen for the upcoming season. Kolarek’s ability to overcome the challenge of facing right-handed batters better than Alexander earns him the spot. Meanwhile, Gonzalez has the potential to break out next season after pitching in some big moments throughout the World Series. If healthy, and that’s a big if, Morrow could receive the nod. Knebel is a tempting arm to include, but Morrow’s track record with the Dodgers is too hard to pass over and it helps that Floro still has an option remaining. Finally, Tony Gonsolin should fill the swingman role and could step in to make spot starts when needed. 

There’s no way to tell if this will ultimately be what the Dodgers go with as the competition in spring training as well as possible injuries could shake this list up before the start of the season. However, every pitcher here should see some time with Los Angeles at some point this year. 

Do you agree with the list or have other ideas? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Dodgers Re-Sign Blake Treinen to a Two-Year Deal

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