One of the most scrutinized areas surrounding the Los Angeles Dodgers heading into the regular season was the bullpen and whether there was enough talent among the group of relievers on the roster.
After backing out of a trade for All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman, the Dodgers’ front office added lesser names on short-term contracts that have proven to be effective thus far.
The club’s relief corps currently ranks first in ERA and opponents’ batting average, second in FIP, and third in WAR, behind the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
Without further ado, let’s look back at the relievers who found success and those who scuffled during the first half of 2016.
Luis Avilan: The left-handed specialist has spent most of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City and struggled in limited time in the Majors.
Appearing in six games, Avilan totaled only three innings pitched while posting a 9.00 ERA, 3.51 FIP and 2.00 WHIP.
Chris Hatcher: Looking to replicate his success from the second half of 2015, Hatcher has yet to find his groove this season.
In 37.2 innings, he has pitched to a rough 5.02 ERA and 5.35 FIP while allowing nearly two home runs and walking over four batters per nine innings.
Chin-hui Tsao: In just two appearances this season, Tsao is sporting an uneasy 5.40 ERA and even worse 8.54 FIP in just 1.2 innings pitched. He has since been placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Pedro Baez: Recovering from a disastrous month of May (5.91 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched), Baez has put together an excellent campaign so far, striking out 10.6 batters per nine and allowing less than one baserunner per inning (0.90 WHIP).
Joe Blanton: In the midst of his second stint with the club, Blanton has arguably been one of the best free agent signings from the winter.
In 47.1 innings, he pitched to a terrific 2.09 ERA and 0.74 WHIP with 48 strikeouts to 13 walks.
Louis Coleman: The former Kansas City Royals reliever has posted a mediocre 4.01 ERA in 33.1 innings to this point but his 3.65 FIP indicates Coleman has been better than his numbers suggest.
Casey Fien: Since being claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, Fien has turned his season around in Los Angeles, posting a 2.84 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 21.2 innings pitched.
His unsustainably high 2.1 home runs per nine innings has ballooned his FIP to 4.84, but that should regress over time.
Carlos Frias: Though he’s appeared in just one game with the Dodgers this season, Frias tossed four scoreless innings while allowing a mere three baserunners. His appearance came at a time when the bullpen desperately needed a night off.
Yimi Garcia: Logging just 8.1 innings during the first half due to injury, Garcia allowed just three earned runs (3.24 ERA) while posting a 2.94 FIP.
J.P. Howell: After a laborious April, Howell progressively improved, lowering his ERA from 9.00 to 3.81 in the span of roughly two and a half months.
Adam Liberatore: Despite beginning the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, Liberatore has emerged as one of the better left-handed relievers in the Majors.
Accumulating 29.1 innings, he has pitched to an absurdly low 0.61 ERA and 0.85 WHIP while boasting a solid 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Liberatore set a Dodgers franchise record with 24 consecutive scoreless appearances.
Kenley Jansen: One of the most underrated closers in baseball is finally getting national recognition, with a much-deserved and overdue selection to the National League All-Star team behind a strong first half.
In 38.2 innings pitched, Jansen posted a minuscule 1.16 ERA, 1.34 FIP and 0.65 WHIP with 27 saves — good for second-most in the Majors. Jansen last month became the Dodgers’ all-time saves leader, surpassing Eric Gagne’s mark.