Dodgers News: Jharel Cotton Confident He Can Adjust To Bullpen Role
Rich Crimi-Tulsa Drillers

While the likes of Cody Bellinger, Jose De Leon and Julio Urias are the headline-grabbing prospects participating in big league camp with the Los Angeles Dodgers this spring, the group of Minor Leaguers includes other intriguing names as well.

It’s certainly not by accident that the Dodgers were named as having the No. 1 farm system by Baseball America. The front office’s dedication to retaining and developing prospects has been noteworthy, and the Dodgers on are the verge of receiving contributions from an influx of young talent.

Although not at the forefront of the aforementioned group, Jharel Cotton is looking to ride some of the momentum he generated last season.

The right-handed pitcher spent time with five different affiliates in the Dodgers’ organization in 2015, ultimately ending the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City.

At the time of joining the OKC Dodgers, it was with the possibility Cotton would be promoted to the Majors at some point in September — however as a relief pitcher. That never came to fruition, and transitioning to a reliever is something Cotton is willing to do, according to Cary Osborne of Dodger Insider:

“I came through the system as a starter, and of course I’ve had a couple relief appearances,” he said. “But growing up through high school, college, I was always a starter. But whatever the Dodgers see fits well is what I’ll be.”

Cotton prefers the nuances that come with being a starting pitcher, but believes he can adjust to a new role given time:

“I think it’s easier to start because I like my five-day routine,” he said. “I like to know what I’m doing each day. The adjustment made at Triple-A was knowing I’d probably pitch every single day. That was kind of hard to adjust to, but with time and practice I think I can adjust to it pretty easily.”

Last season Cotton was split just about evenly, making 11 starts and 10 relief appearances. He finished the season 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Cotton had a 2.20 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings as a starter.

Those numbers were 2.88, 1.08 and 11.0, respectively, over his relief appearances. Cotton is part of a several pitchers in the Dodgers organization who are capable of being developed in either direction.

Recent acquisitions Frankie Montas and Yaisel Sierra are both expected to be developed as starting pitchers, but have experience working as relief pitchers. Pablo Fernandez, who signed with the Dodgers last season, was immediately stretched out as a starter after spending his career in Cuba as a relief pitcher.