Kenley Jansen has to be the proudest reclamation project for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Los Angeles signed the 30-year-old right-hander way back in 2004 as a 17-year-old undrafted catcher. Now, nearly 13 years after being initially signed, Jansen is the best closer in the MLB.
Jansen’s transition to catcher did not happen immediately, either. It took five seasons until the 2009 season in which the organization urged the poor-hitting Jansen to switch to the pitching rubber. Now, the once starting catcher for the Netherlands World Baseball Classic team made the last three outs for the Dodgers to win the 2017 NL pennant.
Brandon Morrow burst onto the scene for the Dodgers in 32017 and was the second-best bullpen arm for the Dodgers behind Jansen. Interestingly enough, Morrow was selected fifth overall in the 2006 MLB Draft, two selections higher than Clayton Kershaw.
After bouncing around several teams, the Dodgers signed Morrow to a minor league contract before the 2017 season. Morrow made his Dodger debut in May and has pitched to the tune of a 2.06 ERA since.
Normally a starter, Kenta Maeda made the short-term transition to the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen for the 2017 Postseason. Maeda has thrived in a reduced role and may be better suited eating fewer innings after coming over from Japan. Los Angeles signed Maeda to an eight-year, $25 million contracts with plenty of incentives before the 2016 season.
Tony Watson was once a great closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. After falling off a bit, the Dodgers decided to take a risk on Watson and it once again paid off. Los Angeles acquired Watson at the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline in a deal sending the Pirates Angel German and Oniel Cruz.
While Josh Fields did not see much time on the pitching rubber in the NLCS, he is still a key component to the Dodgers’ bullpen. The Dodgers traded for Fields in August 2016 for Yordan Alvarez. Field began the season in AAA, but has a solid 2.84 ERA with the Dodgers after his call-up in April.
Cingrani was another acquisition by the Dodgers at the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline. This trade was not a big deal at the time, but since becoming a Dodger, Cingrani boasts a 2.79 ERA. Another great bounce back arm for the Dodgers that only cost Scott Van Slyke and Hendrik Clementina.
Ross Stripling was rushed to the big leagues straight from AA after the Dodgers were bogged down with injuries to start the 2016 season. In his MLB debut, Stripling nearly no-hit the San Francisco Giants. Since then, the curveball specialist has found a home in the bullpen. Los Angeles drafted Stripling in the fifth round of the 2012 MLB Draft.