After four years and 65 starts four Double-A Chattanooga, Chris Withrow needed a change. Just 23, the 2007 first-round pick was languishing as a prospect and his big league hopes as a starting pitcher were fading. But a switch to a relief role in midseason just may be the move to rejuvenate Withrow's career.
"Early on I was unsure about the move," Withrow said. "But as I got going back into the swing of things and back into the season everything went smoothly."
Withrow made the switch to the bullpen in June 2012 after had a 5.71 ERA in eight starts, with 45 strikeouts and 26 walks in 41 innings. In 14 relief appearances, Withrow's ERA dipped to 2.37 though his 19 strikeouts and 12 walks in 19 innings were similar to his peripherals as a starter.
"I don't think it changed my style, I just got more aggressive to hitters," Withrow said. "I don't have to pace myself against hitters early on in the game. So I just go at them with my best stuff right away."
A back injury early in camp has limited Withrow's mound time, though he has been throwing bullpen sessions of late and could begin pitching in games soon. Whether that is on the major league side or minor league side of camp remains to be seen.
Withrow won the Dodger Pride award, given monthly to a hitter and pitcher at each level, in June 2010 and June 2011.
Previous player profiles
2012: Looking to break through
|2013 Projections - Age 24 Season|
Withrow isn't going to make the team in spring training, and though he is on the 40-man roster there are several relievers ahead of him on the depth chart. My guess is he doesn't see time in the majors this season.
Be sure to guess how you think Withrow will perform for the Dodgers in 2013. Include ERA, and whatever else you wish to guess.