Dodger’s 5 Biggest Offseason Questions (Part 3 of 5)

Highlights

  • Do The Dodgers Start Extending Their Young Stars?
  • Who’s The Next Prospect(s) Up?
  • Who’s The Closer?
  • Who Do We Resign?
  • Who Do We Buy/Trade For?
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Who Will Close For The 2021 Dodgers?

  • Kenley Jansen

As of the end of the 2020 season, Kenley Jansen is the Dodger’s primary closer. But he is now 3 seasons removed from an ERA below 3. That’s 3 seasons from not giving up a run every 3 innings. Every group of 3 outings

He has gotten just about 42 save opportunities the past 3 full seasons. Hypothetically, if every scenario was just one run, that would be 14+ blown saves.

Obviously it didn’t happen like that, but he is progressively blowing more games. From 2015 to 2017 Jansen only blew 9 saves. In ’18 he blew 4, in ’19 he blew 8, and in ’20 he only blew 2 of 13, but then struggled mightily in the postseason giving up 5 runs in 7 innings with a blown save in 3 opportunities.

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And even though statcast says he should be in the top 10% of relievers, the past 3 seasons have said Jansen just isn’t quite good enough to have the job no questions asked.

  • Brusdar Graterol

Brusdar seems like the obvious choice to take over the Closer role after Jansen with his triple-digit, Bazooka arm, but let’s take a look.

Graterol made 23 appearances last year and gave up runs in 7 of them. (One of them was an unearned run). And that doesn’t include any inherited runners, but that doesn’t matter much when discussing a closer.

Still, 7 of 23 is almost as bad as Jansen, but half of those (and runs) came in his first 7 appearances of the year. And overall he was slightly better with a 3.09 ERA. His WHIP of 0.91 was also much better than Jansen’s 1.15. He was even better in the postseason.

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But he also only struck out 13 batters in 23.1 IP this year. And that didn’t improve in the postseason. Odd for a guy who throws as hard as he does.

Contact rate against him is higher than average. And even though he gets a slightly above average amount of chases, batters still make contact on 73% of them. His whiff rate is almost 10% below average at 15.2% last year.

So either he is a weak contact specialist, or his stats are going to inflate. Statcast seems to think it’s the former. If it is, or if Brusdar can get some swings and misses, he can be a more reliable closer than Jansen at this point. Oh and he’s 22.

If we had a pick for closer, it would be this kid. He has more potential as a late inning reliever than anything else, and has proven success even without swing and miss stuff yet.

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  • Victor Gonzales

We called the Gonzales breakout last spring training comparing him to Josh Hader. And we couldn’t be prouder of Gonzales and everyone that helped him become the stud he is today.

The Next Josh Hader

The Dodgers have a bullpen ace in the making and his name isn’t Graterol.

He went for 20.1 IP in 2020 and went 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA, 23 strikeouts, and a 0.74 WHIP. He gave up 13 hits, 2 going for doubles, and the rest singles. Statcast backed it up having him in the top percentile of pitchers last year. He did slightly worse in the postseason with a 2.70 ERA in almost 7 innings, but he still went 1-0.

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He was the best pitcher on the Dodgers last year besides Adam Kolarek who sailed through with a 0.95 ERA. But all signs say that Gonzales could be an elite closer if given the opportunity.

But Roberts may prefer to use him as a long bridge in close games. Or maybe even as a starter, which was his role in the minors mostly.

  • Free Agent?

There’s a lot of talent in the free agent market, and plenty of arms with closing experience. It’s possible that if the Dodgers make a splash this offseason it will be here. So here’s a list of relievers capable of closing ahead of these pitchers.

  • Liam Hendriks
  • Blake Treinen
  • Ken Giles
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  • Brad Hand
  • Trevor Rosenthal

We’ll be doing a breakdown of Free Agent the Dodgers should sign soon. In the meantime, subscribe to join our list of future dividend users.

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