In 2018, young left-handed pitcher Caleb Ferguson surprisingly emerged as one of the best relievers in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen during the second half of the season.
Ferguson wasn’t even expected to make his MLB debut last season, but when the starting rotation was derailed by injuries, he was called up to make a few spot starts.
He did not fare well in those outings, but when the injured starters returned, the Dodgers decided to try him out in the bullpen and he wound up never being sent back down to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Ferguson went into Spring Training this year hoping to earn a spot on the Major League roster despite not knowing if the organization planned to build him up as a starter or keep him as a reliever.
With a little more than two weeks until Opening Day, that plan is becoming a bit more clear. According to Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA, Ferguson is being built up to throw three innings, with the possibility of being a long reliever:
Caleb Ferguson, seen by the organization ultimately as a starter, will be stretched out to three innings. A role in the pen to begin season is still in play. #DodgersST.
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) March 11, 2019
Considering Ferguson is still just 22 years of age, it makes sense that the organization does not want to box him in as a reliever long-term, even if that’s what his role will be in 2019.
Ferguson has struggled a bit so far this spring. In 4.2 innings across three games, he has allowed 10 hits and seven runs (five earned) which amounts to a 9.64 ERA. He has struck out seven without allowing a walk.
Spring Training stats are not all that important, although for a guy who is on the bubble of making the Opening Day roster or beginning the year with OKC, that could be the determining factor.