The Los Angeles Dodgers were one of the most active teams in all of baseball over the offseason, though it took them until the end, when they most notably acquired Mookie Betts and David Price in a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox.
Prior to that deal coming to fruition, the club’s focus was on improving a bullpen unit that underwhelmed at times last season. A handful of pitchers were brought in, including former Oakland Athletics closer Blake Treinen, Jimmy Nelson and Brusdar Graterol.
While the hope was that each of the pitchers would make positive contributions this season, L.A. also faced the prospect of needing some of their in-house options to bounce back for the group to make a complete turnaround.
Particularly Kenley Jansen, who was coming off the worst statistical season of his big league career. Jansen nonetheless voiced optimism of the Dodgers’ relief corps having the potential to be a strength this season, via SportsNet LA:
“I think the ‘pen is going to be great. To have Blake (Treinen), Joe Kelly is going to be back to his awesome 2018 he had at the end, having Petey Baez. It’s going to be a really, really good bullpen. I’m excited. I’m hoping we all can do good. If we can be a lockdown ‘pen it’s going to be so much easier.
“I know for a fact in 2017 when we had that really good bullpen, you can see the confidence it brings to the whole team. Knowing that even if we’re behind, they know we’ll hold the game there for them and win some ballgames. I think having a solid bullpen is going to bring a lot of confidence to the team.”
Joe Kelly and Pedro Baez have proven in the past they can rise to the occasion, while Treinen represents somewhat of a wild card as he attempts to recapture his previous dominant form. Baez and Treinen have pitched well, but to this point Kelly’s highlight is his wildness that led to a suspension because of a belief he threw at the Houston Astros.
As for the Jansen himself, he has shown the benefits of working with Driveline Baseball during the winter. That perhaps was all the more valuable with Jansen working to recover after contracting COVID-19.
Dodgers bullpen passing tests
Even with allowing runs to the San Diego Padres in Monday’s loss, the Dodgers bullpen has a 1.29 ERA that is good for second-best in the Majors. Their 0.99 WHIP is third in the National League and fifth overall.
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