Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Of the 39 players who pitched in a game for the Los Angeles Dodgers this past season, Justin Bruihl arguably had the most unique journey.
The left-hander was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017, and prior to this year, had never pitched above High-A. He began the 2021 season at Double-A Tulsa and earned a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City in June, going a combined 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA and 50 strikeouts over 26 games.
Bruihl made his MLB debut against the L.A. Angels on Aug. 8 and tossed 1.2 scoreless innings. He was the 32nd pitcher used by the Dodgers, which set a new franchise record.
From that point on Bruihl emerged as a key reliever for the team. In 21 regular season games, he went 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA, 3.97 FIP and 1.07 WHIP in 18.2 innings of work. The 24-year-old also tossed two scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves in the National League Championship Series.
Bruihl reflected on a solid first year in the big leagues and shared some of his personal favorite moments on Instagram.
While it isn’t common for a player to begin a season at Double-A and finish in the Majors, Bruihl felt he was prepared for the possibility. “It definitely was a little bit shocking,” he said in August.
“I wouldn’t say I didn’t expect it, because this was my goal to start the year,” Bruihl said. “I wanted to make it to the big leagues this year. A little bit surprising, but at the same time I felt like I was ready for it.”
Bruihl among Dodgers using blank photo for MLB lockout
As a result of the lockout that went into effect in December, MLB is not permitted to use any player’s name, image or likeness in any capacity. That led to the league removing all images of active players from their official website and replacing them with blank silhouettes.
Dozens of players around baseball, including Bruihl, responded by changing their social media profile photos to the same image that can be seen on teams’ roster pages.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!