Why Andre Jackson Needs To Be On The Dodgers Opening Day Roster

Upon looking at the potential opening day bullpen for the Dodgers, I became a bit worried. The Dodgers have five solid locks — Evan Phillips, Yency Almonte, Brusdar Graterol, Alex Vesia and Caleb Ferguson — but then it gets a little worrisome.

With Daniel Hudson confirmed to miss the start the season, and Alex Reyes likely not back until June or July, the Dodgers will be relying on some less-than-ideal options.

There’s Shelby Miller, who’s likely to open the season with the big league roster because, if not, the options are either cut him or put him on the injured list. However, he’s struggled mightily this spring, allowing five runs and 10 hits in 4.2 innings for an ERA of 9.64.

After him, there’s Phil Bickford, Justin Bruihl, Victor Gonzalez and Jimmy Nelson. Bickford and Bruihl aren’t exactly the most assuring options (and haven’t exactly impressed in spring), and Gonzalez and Nelson have been unable to figure things out this spring as they work their way back from serious injuries.

So, that’s where Andre Jackson comes into play.

At this point in spring, Jackson is one of manager Dave Roberts’ three options to replace Tony Gonsolin in the starting rotation. However, between Jackson, Michael Grove and Ryan Pepiot, I think Jackson has the smallest chance to fill that role. Why, you may ask? Well, Jackson has started zero games at the big league level in his career, and has made zero starts this spring.

While I expect Pepiot to ultimately be named the No. 5 starter for the Dodgers, I don’t think that means Jackson should open the year in Triple-A.

Thus far in spring, Jackson has been flat-out dominant. In 7.2 innings of relief, he’s allowed just one run, seven hits, one walk and has 10 strikeouts. His ERA is just 1.17, and his K/9 is an impressive 11.7.

Jackson has proven that he can come on in relief, and pitch multiple innings if need be. Early in the season, when the Dodgers are likely to slowly ramp their pitchers’ workloads up, they could use someone who could eat up multiple innings at a time — Jackson is the guy to do that.

In his career at the big league level, Jackson has made seven appearances out of the pen. He’s pitched 21.1 innings, and has an impressive ERA of 2.11. Last season, in 9.2 innings, he had an even better ERA of 1.86 — and he made appearances of 0.2 innings, 2.0 innings, 3.0 innings and 4.0 innings.

Jackson is continuing to improve each year, and has been as dominant as ever this spring. The Dodgers have to give him an opportunity to start the season on the big league roster, if for no other reason than they don’t have any better options. But I think he’ll very quickly become of the team’s best weapons out of the bullpen, especially in multiple-inning appearances early in the season.

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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.

One Comment

  1. I’ve been admiring Andre’s work for several years; he always gets the job done and he now has enough experience to make the jump to MLB. He’s not flashy, not a top prospect or a favorite son of the front office; also not a veteran who hasn’t worked out elsewhere. It would be nice to see him get a shot.

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