Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Shawn Tolleson has a lot of pressure trying to make the overcrowded pitching staff. With so many quality pitchers on staff, Tolleson could have found himself as the odd-man-out in the bullpen, but spring really can make a difference.
The question is: can his good spring translate enough to keep him with the Dodgers?
With eight Dodgers starting pitchers and a jam-packed bullpen filled with plenty of right-hand pitching, the Dodgers must have a strong reason to keep him in the majors. So far this spring, he has pitched well. Tolleson’s spring starts have consisted of 6.2 innings, 1.35 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, with six strikeouts and two walks in seven Cactus League appearances. But is his spring good enough?
The real problem is the Dodgers have talented set-up men in Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra, and Brandon League is the closer. Tolleson was a closer all through his minor league days.
Where does this leave Tolleson — a middle-reliever? If that’s the case, then he is competing against more seasoned veterans in Matt Guerrier, and Ronald Belisario.
Tolleson is only 25-years old. Sending him down for more starts makes the most sense. The extra experience will do him the most good. Without a better track record, there aren’t enough reasons to keep him up in the majors. There is always the possibility of a trade or someone in front of him struggling or even being injured.
Add to all of this, Aaron Harang may move into the bullpen with lefties Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly, which would move Tolleson further down the depth chart. No one wants to be sent down, but the reality of an over-crowded pitching staff brings me to believe it is eventually in Tolleson’s best interest.