Dodgers News: Trevor Oaks Open To Filling Similar Role As Ross Stripling

One area that the Los Angeles Dodgers front office has put a lot of emphasis on the last few years is having depth at all positions, particularly within their pitching staff. Ten different pitchers started a game for the Dodgers in 2017.

That’s five less than started games in 2016, when the Dodgers set the Major League record for most players put on the disabled list in a single season. Depth figures to once again be a strength for the Dodgers pitching staff this season.

Even with Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir now with the Atlanta Braves, and Yu Darvish potentially being lost in free agency, the Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

The rotation could also see Walker Buehler, Brock Stewart and Julio Urias at some point during the season. Another who may factor into the equation is pitching prospect Trevor Oaks.

Oaks explained he believes it’s plausible he fills a hybrid role similar to what Ross Stripling has done for the Dodgers, via Jim Alexander of the Southern California News Group:

“I’ll do whatever they want me to do,” he said. “They haven’t really told me, ‘Hey, you know, we want you to start working out of the pen.’ But I think it’s always an option for young guys coming up, in whatever spot they need you. You just do it.

“I would need a little bit of adjustment (in his warmup routine). But you saw what Stripling did last year; he was kind of the long relief guy. And I think that’s a realistic role for me … where, you know, maybe it’s not a rotation spot but I could come in and kind of provide that connecting piece between the later inning bullpen guys and the starter.”

The 2014 seventh-round pick dealt with an oblique injury in 2017, so he was limited to 19 games (18 starts). Across three Minor League levels, Oaks pitched to a 3.83 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 91.2 innings with 81 strikeouts to 19 walks.

He will head into the 2018 season healthy and is putting a bigger focus on avoiding injury in hopes that he can contribute at the big league level at some point this year.