Had planned to suspend this feature until after the winter meetings ended, but with the dearth of news out of Florida …
CHRIS WITHROW, 24, reliever
Final 2013 stats: 3-0, 2.60 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .165 opponents batting average, 43 strikeouts in 34 2/3 innings.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: Maybe he wasn’t exactly a sensation, but he was in the neighborhood. He wasn’t called up from triple-A Albuquerque until June 11. Started to really make his mark when he was called up a second time June 30 and the Dodgers designated Matt Guerrier.
In his first six years in the minors, the former 2007 first-round pick had a 4.87 ERA. But converted to the bullpen, he found himself at Albuquerque (4-0, 1.71 ERA) and continued to roll once called up.
In his last 21 appearances, he fashioned a 1.88 ERA, striking out 35 in 28 2/3 innings, and his confidence only swelled. He throws hard but showed good command. Batters hit just .167 with runners in scoring position.
The bad: Understandably struggled some in his first five appearances (6.00 ERA, .292 opponents batting average) before settling down. Somewhat oddly, was more effective on the road (1.50 ERA) than at pitching-friendly Dodger Stadium (5.06).
What’s next: Figures to be a bullpen fixture.
The take: Withrow was a pleasant 2013 surprise. He’s still young, so the future remains bright.
He still has to prove himself over the course of an entire season. Hitters basically never saw him twice in the same game, so there are still things to observe as they begin to make adjustments in 2014.
Still, there was little not to like about his rookie season. He gave the Dodgers a much-needed power arm out of the bullpen after trying to make do with Guerrier. He (and briefly Jose Dominguez) suddenly gave Manager Don Mattingly some needed relief weapons.
He seemed comfortable in his first major-league clubhouse. That’s good, because he figures to be around one awhile.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times