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2013 Dodgers player profile: Shawn Tolleson, fighting for a spot

The Dodgers tried to option Shawn Tolleson three separate times in 2012, but each time he ended up remaining with the team. Will he remain with the big club on the opening day roster in 2013?

Rob Tringali

Shawn Tolleson completed his rapid rise through the Dodgers system and earned a trip to the big leagues in 2012. Now he hopes to stay there, one of many in a stiff competition for one, maybe two open spots in the bullpen.

Tolleson struck out over a batter an inning in his initial run in Dodger blue, and was kept over Javy Guerra in late August, when Guerra was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Guerra is one of three pitchers on the 40-man roster competing with Tolleson for a roster spot, along with Paco Rodriguez and Josh Wall.

Non-roster invitees Kevin Gregg, Peter Moylan, and Mark Lowe are all in play as well for a spot in the bullpen, which may or may not contain a surplus starter. But if the Dodgers do send Tolleson down they might have to deal with the Curse of Shawn Tolleson.

You see, last year the Dodgers optioned Tolleson three different times, but each time he was back within two days because of an injury to somebody else. Tolleson ended up technically staying on the roster since his callup, and didn't use an option all season. Those three times he was optioned were:

  • Jul. 2: Dodgers optioned Tolleson, then the next day Todd Coffey was played on the disabled list with a torn UCL in his elbow.
  • Jul. 25: Dodgers optioned Tolleson, then the next day Adam Kennedy was placed on the DL with a right groin strain.
  • Aug. 27: Dodgers optioned Tolleson, then two days later Scott Elbert went on the DL with left elbow inflammation.

Then again, it was probably just a coincidence. Probably.


Tolleson was named the Branch Rickey Pitcher of the Year in the Dodgers organization in 2011, when he put up 25 saves and a 1.17 ERA in 55 games across three levels, with 105 strikeouts against just 18 walks in 69 innings.

Contract Status

Tolleson has 122 days of major league service time, and three option years remaining.


Year Age IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP
2011 (Double-A)
23 44⅓ 2.23 11.17 1.62 2.18
2012 (AA / AAA)
24 22⅓ 2.01 13.70 2.82 2.57
2012 24 37⅔ 4.78 9.32 4.30 4.08
2013 Projections - Age 25 Season
Source IP BB/9 K/9 ERA FIP
Bill James 52 3.46 10.73 2.94 3.11
ZiPS 63 3.57 10.00 3.57 3.59
Pecota 26⅔ 3.38 9.45 3.49 ----

2013 Outlook

I'm not sure Tolleson makes the opening day roster, but he will almost certainly pitch for the Dodgers at some point this season. I'll guess a 3.51 ERA in 41 innings, with 43 strikeouts.

Be sure to guess how you think Tolleson will perform for the Dodgers in 2013. Include ERA, and whatever else you wish to guess.