The Dodgers Bullpen: Who Can Be Trusted?

The Los Angeles Dodgers currently have the #2 overall pitching staff (behind the Cleveland Indians), and #1 in the MLB against National League batting orders. It definitely doesn’t seem that way due to the current losing streak, but that’s the way things are in regards to pitching statistics.

One major concern as of late has been the Dodgers bullpen and who can be trusted in the high-leverage moments of October. The entire season seems like it has been an audition with no clear winners, other than Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow.

In case you’re not familiar, here are the definitions for WHIP and FIP, compliments of Fangraphs.com:

  • Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched (WHIP) is essentially a measurement of how many base runners a pitcher allows per inning.
  • Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures what a player’s ERA would look like over a given period of time if the pitcher were to have experienced league average results on balls in play and league average timing.

Below you’ll find the stats for relievers who are looking to secure a role out of the bullpen in the postseason. Since Kenley Jansen is considered one of the best relievers in the game, we will use him as the standard.

 K. Jansen 61.1  1.32  98  7  0.72 1.24
 B. Morrow 37.1  2.41  42  8  0.91 1.62
 J. Fields 52.0  3.02  54  15  0.98 4.50
 R. Stripling 67.2  3.06  71  16  1.12 3.11
 P. Baez 58.0  2.64  56  25  1.29


 T. Cingrani 15.0  3.60  22  3  1.07 1.68
 T. Watson 15.0  3.60  15  5  1.00 4.28

 L. Avilan

43.2  2.89  48  19  1.40 2.92

K. Maeda

5.0 1.80 7 0 0.60 2.95
H. Ryu 4.0 0.00 2 1 0.75 2.90

Pedro Baez has been taking a lot of heat recently, and usually ERA is used to defend his season. However, if we look at his WHIP (just .06 points under the league average of 1.35) and FIP, it is clear that his effectiveness has been lacking this year. He got a chance to show off against the Giants’ bottom of the order Monday night and gave up a run and three hits.

Though Josh Fields’ FIP is extremely high, but his WHIP shows promise in his ability to keep runners off the bases when he pitches. Ross Stripling, Tony Cingrani, and Tony Watson also share this narrative, though the Tonys suffer from a small sample size with the Dodgers. If we look at their complete 2017 seasons, Cingrani has a slightly higher WHIP of 1.23 and Watson has a much higher WHIP of 1.40. Cingrani also has a strikeout rate of almost 40%, which is very impressive.

Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu’s 2017 stats as relievers are also there, but that sample size is too small to gain any insight. They will likely not make the roster as starting pitchers, so snagging a bullpen role is their best bet.

An honorable mention can be given to Walker Buehler as well. As a reliever with the OKC Dodgers, Buehler had 1.35 WHIP, 19 strikeouts, and 5 walks in 13.1 innings pitched. In his 2.1 innings in the majors, Buehler has a WHIP of 2.14 and has given up 4 earned runs, all coming from a grand slam given up in his last outing. His current majors stats should be taken with a grain of salt until an ample sample size is acquired.

With the playoffs right around the corner, there are a lot of bullpen decisions that need to be made. Other than Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow, there is no clear answer as to who takes the ball after the starting pitcher is done, which is why September will be crucial. So far it’s looking like Josh Fields and the Tony Cingrani are in the lead, but that can all change.

If you were Dave Roberts or Rick Honeycutt, what would you do? Who do you trust the most? Which players will get the call in a series? Let us know in the comment section below!

Dodgers Make Los Angeles History And Dave Roberts Comments On Pitching

Alex Perez

Whittier College Alumnus. Editor In Chief of Dodgers Nation. Lifelong Dodgers fan.


  1. Forget the fips and wips stats. All you have to do is look at Home Runs and strikeouts per 9. If a reliever is giving up Home runs he is likely to blow the game. If he is not striking out 11 per 9 he’s probably easy to figure out. Baez is ridiculous and seems done just like last year, late when he faded. Right now it’s Strip long, Morrow next then fields if Morrow is not rested then Jansen. No question here. Once in awhile a lefty vs weaker left handed average opponents other than that it’s an easy lock and lets players know where they stand. Buehler needs a better look even though his last outing was bad. Throwing 100 mph is really something that could be a serious stopper as noone has seen him much.

  2. Morrow for sure should be the 8th inning guy. He could close in case Kenley were unavailable for any reason.

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