Facing a plethora of injuries in the starting rotation, the Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Caleb Ferguson from Triple-A Oklahoma City at the start of June. He made his Major League debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, allowing four runs on seven hits in only 1.2 innings of work.
Despite the Dodgers’ need for starting pitching, Ferguson’s stay in the rotation was short-lived. He made two more starts before permanently shifting to the bullpen for the remainder of the season.
Ferguson immediately thrived in a relief role and recorded his first career save with the Dodgers on his birthday on July 2. He yielded just two runs during the entire month, posting a 1.20 ERA in seven appearances.
By August, Ferguson was implemented as one of the Dodgers’ go-to late-inning relievers. Of his nine appearances that month, eight came in the seventh inning or later. Ferguson ultimately accumulated a 3.48 ERA in 10.1 innings pitched, notching three holds and two wins.
Ferguson’s success carried over into September and the postseason. He was featured on the Dodgers’ National League Division and Championship Series rosters, where he did not allow a run over three innings pitched.
Ferguson’s rookie campaign concluded when the Dodgers advanced to their second consecutive World Series, as he was surprisingly replaced on the roster by fellow southpaw Scott Alexander.
Between the regular season and postseason, Ferguson pitched to an excellent 3.29 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 52 innings pitched. As a reliever, he sported an even better 2.18 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 41.1 innings.
Digging deeper into Ferguson’s impressive month of July, he tallied season-lows in WHIP (0.66) and hits (nine) on top of his dominant 1.20 ERA. More impressively, the 22-year-old struck out 18 batters while issuing only walk in 15 innings pitched.
Ferguson remains under team control through the 2024 season and figures to play a pivotal role in the Dodgers bullpen going forward — whether it be in the form of logging multiple innings or recording key outs in high-leverage situations.
Long-term the organization still views him as a starter but given their current rotation depth, he is unlikely to earn a spot at the big league level in that role in 2019.