Looking At The Dodgers Potential Replacements For Ryu: Wieland, Bolsinger Among Most Intriguing

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The question now is who will the Dodgers turn to in order to replace Ryu and will they hold any potential appeal?  For a team with deep pockets, they appear to be surprisingly thin in pitchers ready to step in, thanks to Erik Bedard recently going down to a back injury.  Appearances can be deceiving, though:

Joe Wieland
He’s the favorite, has had a strong spring and could offer the most upside.  Thus far this spring he’s posted a 1.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 9 K over 9.0 IP, but he’s missed much of the past two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.  Long-term that’s going to call into question the number of innings he can throw, but in the short-term there is definite appeal.

Acquired from the Padres as part of the Matt Kemp trade, the right-handed pitcher owns an impressive minor league career 8.4 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.  Back in 2012 Baseball America gave the following scouting report:

“Wieland sits at 88-92 mph and paints the corners with a fastball more notable for its precise location than life. He operated at 93 mph and touched 95 during the Texas League playoffs while working with extra rest. His secondary pitches are often as effective as his heat. Wieland’s mid-70s curveball features consistent 12-to-6 break, while his 83-84 mph changeup sinks and fades. He occasionally throws a low-80s slider for a different look to his glove side, and sometimes favors it over his curve. He’s so quick to the plate that just 12 baserunners attempted to steal against him in 2011.”

He threw 38.2 innings in the minors last season and posted an 8.4 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9.  Over 11.1 innings in the Majors he averaged 91.8 mph on his fastball, at least showing that the velocity has come back.

Assuming he wins the job, he’ll be worth a streaming option over the first few weeks.  Just don’t plan on counting on him all year long.

 

Zach Lee
Once considered a top prospect, Lee struggled over 150.1 innings in the Pacific Coast League last season to the tune of a 5.39 ERA and 1.54 WHIP.  It was the PCL and there was some poor luck (62.3% strand rate, .323 BABIP), but he also saw a significant drop in strikeouts (5.79 K/9).  It’s clear that he’s not ready and it’s hard to imagine him getting the opportunity.

 

Mike Bolsinger
Bolsinger made his Major League debut for the Diamondbacks last season, posting a 5.50 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 8.25 K/9 and 2.92 BB/9 over 52.1 innings.  There was a bit of poor luck behind the numbers (.355 BABIP despite a 21.4% line drive rate, 64.2% strand rate) and he also showed enough groundballs to be successful (52.4%).

Over his minor league career he owns an 8.3 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 and posted a 50.3% groundball rate since 2011.  In other words, he has the makeup of a pitcher who could excel if given the opportunity.  It appears like he’s behind Wieland, at least right now, but if he gets a start he’ll be worth streaming if the opportunity is right.

 

Carlos Frias
He posted gaudy numbers in 32.1 innings in the Majors last season, but a 52.3% strand rate was the culprit.  He actually showed strikeouts (8.07 K/9), control (1.95 BB/9) and groundballs (52.0%) over his small sample size.

That said he hasn’t shown that type of stuff, including a 6.4 K/9 over 91.2 innings at Triple-A and a 45.7% groundball rate in the minors since ’11.  He’s an easy player to avoid.

 

David Huff
The southpaw owns a career 5.02 ERA and 5.35 K/9 over 382.0 IP.  Does anyone have any faith in his ability to produce?

 

Chad Gaudin
The veteran missed all of 2014 and owns a 4.44 career ERA over 836.1 innings.  Much like Huff, there’s very little upside or reason to consider him.

 

Conclusion
Wieland appears to be the most likely to win the job and also offers the most fantasy potential.  That said, if Bolsinger were to get an opportunity fantasy owners would be wise not to sleep on him.  The underlying metrics are incredibly intriguing and he has the potential to produce some short-term value.

Sources – MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Minor League Central, Baseball America

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