Dodgers @ Pirates June 6, 2018: Caleb Ferguson’s debut

(Via)

Today marks the second Dodger pitching debut in less than a week. Southpaw Caleb Ferguson will be making his major league debut this afternoon against the Pirates. Ferguson was selected in the 38th round of the 2014 draft, the 1149th pick overall. He surprised the Dodgers by signing, having recently recovered from Tommy John surgery. Almost precisely four years later, still one month away from his 22nd birthday, Ferguson will make his first start in he majors. It is kind of fun that Ferguson’s debut falls on the day of the deep rounds of the draft, which I’m sure Dustin will cover in the coming days.

Dodgers
Pirates
4:05 p.m.
Pittsburgh
SS
Taylor
2B
Harrison
1B
Muncy
RF
Meadows
3B
Turner
CF
Marte
LF
Kemp
C
Cervelli
CF
Bellinger
LF
Dickerson
RF
Puig
1B
Freese
2B
Forsythe 3B Moran
C
Barnes
SS
Rodriguez
P
Ferguson (L)
P
Williams (R)

Dustin named Ferguson his #15 prospect before this season, giving the following report on his stuff:

He works with a true sinker that has gained velocity since turning pro. It’s a low-90s offering and has even gotten as high as 95 MPH. It features hard, downward action that produces a fair number of grounders. It also produces swinging strikes. His best offspeed pitch is a mid-to-high-70s curveball. It’s a 12-6 offering and, like his sinker, gets grounders and swinging strikes. His changeup, however, isn’t anywhere near his other two pitches.

Melissa Lockard of The Athletic also noted that Ferguson has a very long stride that could help his stuff play up relative to his velocity, which already seems pretty good for a left-handed starting pitcher.

Ferguson will be facing Trevor Williams, who is having a nice, if uninteresting season so far for the Pirates. The big right-hander has struck out just 47 batters in his 68 innings so far, but because he generates weak contact his ERA is right around league-average. Like many Pirates, Williams has struggled lately, allowing 13 runs across 15 innings in his last three starts.

Justin Turner is back in tonight’s lineup after a night off due to a sore wrist. Cody Bellinger has been moved back up to the fifth spot after hitting a long home run last night. Yasmani Grandal has the night off preceding tomorrow’s impending day game, with Austin Barnes getting the start in his place.

In order to make room for Ferguson, Pedro Baez has finally been optioned to AAA Oklahoma City. Baez was not the worst reliever on this squad and was working on a nice run of a few scoreless outings, but the Dodgers were carrying 10 relievers and somebody had to go. The only other obvious candidate for demotion right now is Daniel Hudson, but Baez has options and using the option has always been the preference of this front office. He’ll be back at some point, I’m sure.

About Daniel Brim

Daniel Brim
Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.