Dodgers: Which Pitchers End Up Odd Men Out in Bullpen?

The Dodgers’ recent acquisitions of OF David Peralta and RHP Alex Reyes make me think that the roster is pretty much finalized heading into Opening Day. I felt like the team had one major hole left with outfield depth, but with Peralta aboard, I don’t see any real holes the team needs to address.

So, now it’s time to start looking at the roster. For a full breakdown of what the new roster looks like, you can click here. However, if you’re curious about the bullpen specifically, then I got you covered. Just keep reading.

I’m going to break the bullpen into four categories: Locks, Young Guys, Fringe Guys and Injured Guys (who will contribute later in the season). Let’s start with the locks.

The Locks:

  1. Yency Almonte
  2. Caleb Ferguson
  3. Brusdar Graterol
  4. Daniel Hudson
  5. Shelby Miller
  6. Evan Phillips
  7. Alex Vesia

These seven guys are going to make the Opening Day roster (assuming they all remain healthy). The only ‘questionable locks’ are Ferguson and Miller, but I expect both to for sure be on the roster, mainly because there aren’t better options — you’ll see why later in the article. Now onto the next category.

The Young Guys:

Grove and Pepiot have very clear roles next season, that will likely be pretty large. They’re going to fill in when a starting pitcher gets hurt, and considering there are four injury-prone starting pitchers in the Dodgers’ rotation — Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Noah Syndergaard — those guys are going to get a lot of work. As for Jackson, he’ll likely be called up many times throughout the course of the season to provide some length in the bullpen. However, he won’t be there on Opening Day. Let’s go to the injuries.

The Injured Guys:

Reyes is expected to be the first one back of the bunch, as he’ll miss the first few months of the season. He’ll immediately make his way to the big league roster when he returns.

We don’t know exactly when Feyerisen will return and what his role will look like when he does. But he’s definitely an interesting name to watch out for.

As for Buehler, I have him in this article as I don’t think he’ll be able to work himself back up to be a starter by the time he comes back. Expect him to return sometime in September or October, and work in the bullpen during the postseason.

And I didn’t even want to include Treinen on this list, as he’s likely pitched his last game for the Dodgers already. But I threw him on there just to make that point.

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the title of the article, the reason you’re still here reading this…who will be the odd men out in the bullpen?

The Fringe Guys:

  • Phil Bickford
  • Justin Bruihl
  • Victor Gonzalez

There are three clear fringe guys right now, and in a perfect world, none of them spend any time in the big leagues this season (although that won’t happen because the Dodgers don’t have a ton of bullpen depth).

So, all three of these guys (or at least two because who knows what’s happening with Gonzalez) will spend time in the big leagues this season, and there’s even a pretty good chance one of them makes the Opening Day roster.

The six young and fringe guys will be in competition for the final spot (now you see why Ferguson and Miller are locks), and I don’t expect any of the young guys to start in the bullpen in the major leagues when they can be getting valuable starts in Triple-A. So, buckle up Dodger fans, because the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster is likely to feature either Phil Bickford or Justin Bruihl. Maybe the team should make another move in the bullpen after all.

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Noah Camras

Noah is an Editor for Dodgers Nation. He graduated from USC in 2022 with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Sports Media Studies. He's been a Dodger fan his whole life, and his all-time favorite Dodgers are Matt Kemp and Russell Martin.

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