Dodgers 2019 Player Reviews: Caleb Ferguson

Despite being a starter by trade, the Los Angeles Dodgers primarily deployed Caleb Ferguson as a relief pitcher during his rookie season in 2018. He went into Spring Training this year with a plan to stretch out as a starter but still facing an unsettled role.

By mid-March, the Dodgers committed to Ferguson building up to long three innings and become a candidate to serve as a long reliever during the regular season. When Caleb Ferguson was shut down due to shoulder trouble, it created a window of opportunity for his fellow lefty.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts wound up naming Ferguson as part of the team’s Opening Day bullpen, marking the first time in his young career he was with the team to start a season.

Ferguson’s first seven appearances resulted in 6.1 scoreless innings in relief. He lamented laboring through a spot start in April, which ultimately wound up being the least of his worries. Ferguson wound up being placed on the 10-day injured list with an oblique injury at the end of the month.

He made a relatively speedy recovery but had uneven performances in four games during May. Ferguson was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, which became a theme for the rest of the season.

He dominated whenever pitching in the Minors and despite confidence that the feel and command of the curveball had returned, Ferguson couldn’t find much consistency during stints with the Dodgers.

The 23-year-old went 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA, 5.05 FIP and 1.48 WHIP in a career-high 46 games (two starts) for L.A. He didn’t have a decision in 13 games (one start) with Oklahoma City but sported a 1.76 ERA and had 27 strikeouts across 15.1 innings pitched.

2019 highlight

As previously mentioned, Ferguson began the season with a wave of success. He pitched in various late-inning situations and allowed just five hits while issuing one walk and striking out eight over 6.1 innings in seven consecutive appearances.

2020 outlook

With a bevy of candidates to choose from for their starting rotation, the Dodgers have committed to transitioning Ferguson to a role as a relief pitcher for next season. Though much like with Ross Stripling, he presumably will remain available to plug into the rotation if needed.

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