Dodgers 2019 First Half Review: Pedro Baez A Bright Spot In Struggling Bullpen
Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Pedro Baez in a game against the San Diego Padres
Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

While the Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to a Major League-best 60-32 record during the first half of regular season, they were occasionally plagued by an inconsistent bullpen that many consider to be their lone glaring weakness.

The unit currently ranks in the middle of the pack among numerous statistical categories, including FIP (4.24, T-12th), xFIP (4.34, 12th), FanGraphs’ WAR (1.5; 14th) and strikeouts per nine innings (9.2; 16th).

What’s more, exactly half of the Dodgers’ 32 losses this season have been charged to a relief pitcher. To no surprise, the club is expected to be aggressive when pursuing upgrades ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.

Let’s look back and evaluate how key members of the Dodgers bullpen fared over the first three-plus months of play during the 2019 season.

Kenley Jansen: It was an up-and-down first half for Jansen, but he still managed to put up quality numbers. In 36 appearances, he pitched to a 3.19 ERA, 3.45 FIP and 0.93 WHIP with 23 saves over 36.2 innings.

Jansen continues striking out batters at an elite rate (11.8 per nine) but has particularly struggled with the home run ball, already yielding six on the season.

Pedro Baez: Finding his groove during the closing months of last season, Baez has picked up where he left off with a strong start to the 2019 campaign.

In 41 appearances during the first half, the right-hander posted a solid 2.70 ERA, 3.33 FIP and 0.86 WHIP with 33 strikeouts against 12 walks across 40 innings of work.

Baez recently credited the confidence in his changeup for helping rejuvenate his career.

Dylan Floro: He was nearly untouchable over the first full month of the regular season, logging 13.1 scoreless innings in parts of March and April.

Floro has cooled down some since then, particularly with rough showings in May and June. In 34 overall appearances this season, Floro owns a 4.18 ERA, 3.57 FIP and 1.18 WHIP over 32.1 innings pitched.

Joe Kelly: Months after dominating the Dodgers in the 2018 World Series, Kelly joined his childhood team via free agency last December, receiving the largest contract ever doled out to a relief pitcher by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

Kelly struggled mightily over the first two months of the regular season, posting respective 8.31 and 8.44 ERAs in April and May. Kelly has since turned a corner, yielding only one run across nine innings in June.

The 31-year-old entered the All-Star break with a 3.1 scoreless inning streak in the month of July, where he has struck out five batters against issuing only one walk over three appearances.

Yimi Garcia: A rough start has inflated Garcia’s overall numbers this season (4.11 ERA and 5.66 FIP), but he has pitched better as of late and currently leads his Dodgers counterparts with a minuscule 0.77 WHIP in 34 appearances.

Scott Alexander: It was a relatively disappointing first half for Alexander, who is currently sidelined with respective forearm and thumb injuries. He posted a 3.63 ERA, 5.05 FIP and 1.39 WHIP in just 17.1 innings (28 appearances).

While Alexander is typically tough on the same split, opposing left-handed batters are batting .364/.400/.576 against him in 35 opportunities. On the flip side, is holding right-handed hitters to a much better .143/.268/.257 slash line.

Caleb Ferguson: Having thrived during his rookie season, Ferguson has not been able to emulate that same success in 2019.

In 22 appearances during the first half, he posted a 5.48 ERA, 6.38 FIP and 1.74 WHIP with 28 strikeouts compared to 13 walks over 23 innings pitched. Ferguson was recently optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, where he is attempting to work out his kinks.

Julio Urias: Though he logged five starts, the bulk of Urias’ opportunities have come out of the bullpen. In 15 games as a reliever, he pitched to an excellent 1.88 ERA and 0.94 WHIP across 28.2 innings of work.

Ross Stripling: Like Urias, Stripling received opportunities as both a starter and reliever during the first half. When pitching out of the bullpen, he notched a 4.02 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 16 strikeouts in 15.2 innings.

J.T. Chargois: Despite beginning the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, Chargois recently earned a promotion to Los Angeles and has taken advantage of his opportunities.

In eight games, he owns a 3.12 ERA, 2.05 FIP and 0.92 WHIP with 16 strikeouts against a mere three walks over 8.2 innings of work.

Zac Rosscup: Recently re-joining the organization after a rocky stint with the Toronto Blue Jays, Rosscup appeared in five games with the Dodgers during the first half, pitching to a 9.00 ERA, 7.20 FIP and 3.00 WHIP over two innings pitched.

The southpaw struck out four batters against one walk, but uncharacteristically struggled when facing the same split, yielding a .375/.444/.750 slash line to opposing left-handed batters.