Dodgers relievers that could break out in 2023

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Which pitchers could take a step forward this season?

As they do every offseason, the Dodgers signed many pitchers to cheaper deals to increase the depth of the organization. Each one is a gamble, and some have turned out very well in the past, such as Yency Almonte last year. These are some relievers that could make serious contributions in 2023.

Major league contracts

1. RHP Shelby Miller, 32

A journeyman who is looking to settle into a home, the Dodgers are Miller’s 10th organization as a pro. Although he only threw 19 2/3 major league innings over the past two years, Miller got a major league deal due to the stuff he flashed last season. He posted 121 stuff+ in 2022, and added a 1.90 xERA in his short time in the majors with the Giants. A ton of break and extension on the mound are big factors to Miller getting a major league deal. He has a great fastball and sweeping slider combo that the Dodgers will look to capitalize on.

2. RHP Alex Reyes, 28

Reyes was the top prospect in the Cardinals system for four consecutive years. His stuff is overpowering, and it finally showed through at the beginning of 2021 when Reyes made the All-Star team as the Cardinals’ closer. However, after the All-Star break, Reyes completely lost his dominance and posted a 5.52 ERA while walking more than 14% of batters he faced. Then, after a shoulder injury held him out for all of 2022, the Cardinals non-tendered him. The Dodgers signed Reyes for $1.1 million, and although he will not be back until midseason according to his interview with Dodgers Nation’s Doug McKain, Reyes’ explosive strikeout stuff could be rebuilt in LA.

3. RHP Jimmy Nelson, 33

Although Nelson has been signed to the Dodgers organization for the past three seasons, he has been on the field for only 28 total games. However, before his 2021 season ended with Tommy John surgery, Nelson posted a 1.86 ERA and .143 batting average against, both stellar numbers. After being a sinker ball starter with the Brewers, Nelson switched to a high spin four-seam fastball to pair with his great curveball and slider upon arriving in LA. Nelson features a good pitch arsenal and will provide bullpen innings this season as long as he can stay healthy.

Pitchers without major league time

1. LHP Bryan Hudson, 25

After the Cubs took him in the third round of the 2015 draft, Hudson has spent the last seven years in the Chicago system. He was a highly regarded prospect coming out of high school and didn’t transition to the bullpen until 2021. Hudson has posted a 4.21 ERA across 117 2/3 bullpen innings, taking a leap in 2022 to strike out 11.59 batters per nine. He’s a 6-foot-8 southpaw with a high velocity fastball and plus curveball that generates plenty of ground balls. With the Dodgers’ ability to develop pitching, Hudson’s tools stand out as a player who could end up helping in the majors.

2. RHP Nick Robertson, 24

Another lengthy arm, the 6-foot-6 Robertson was speculated to be taken in the Rule 5 draft this winter, showing that he is essentially major league ready. He made it through and remains in the Dodgers organization, providing good depth from Triple-A. His fastball is his best pitch, riding it in the mid-to-high 90s, and he has a slider and changeup that are both useful as well. Robertson struck out 11.69 batters per nine last season and could contribute in LA if injuries arise.

Veterans on minor league deals

1. RHP Matt Andriese, 33

Last season broke a seven year streak of significant major league time for Andriese. He spent the year pitching in Japan after a 5.21 ERA in 2021 left his career in limbo. However, in his 15 games overseas in 2022, he posted a 2.86 ERA and 4.0 K/BB, which was enough to get back into the states with a minor league deal for the Dodgers. Mostly relying on his 4-seam fastball and changeup over his most recent MLB years, Andriese will look to find major league innings again in LA.

2. RHP Jordan Yamamoto, 26

Yamamoto has struggled to find success since his rookie year in Miami. He posted a 13.00 ERA in only 18 innings between 2020 and 2021 and then didn’t pitch in the majors last season, pitching to a 6.00 ERA between three levels of the Mets system. Yamamoto still has potential, mostly stemming from his fastball. Although it is not thrown hard, it features a well above-average spin rate that the Dodgers will look to capitalize on.

3. RHP Wander Suero, 31

After three around-average seasons in the Nationals bullpen, Suero’s career took a turn in 2021 when he struggled so bad that he was non-tendered after the season. He was signed by the Angels before last year, but only made it to July with their Triple-A team before being released. Suero relies heavily on his low 90s cutter, throwing it around 75% of the time. His K/BB ratio of 3.06 from 2018-20 returning to near that level will be key in Suero’s pursuit to rediscover past success.

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