clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2021 Dodgers in review: Phil Bickford

New, 47 comments

The Dodgers struck gold with a reliever who was designated for assignment

Division Series - San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

In April of 2021, Phil Bickford was designated for assignment by the Brewers. He was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers a week later and the rest is history.

Bickford was drafted by the Giants with the 18th overall pick in the 2015 draft. In August of 2016 he was traded to the Brewers. He just didn’t quite live up to his expectations in Milwaukee, as he was released. Luckily for the Dodgers, they found a gem.

Bickford proved to be one of the best relievers for the Dodgers in 2021. Not only was he one of the best relievers, he was also one of the more used arms out of the pen. Although he wasn’t called up by LA until May 23, Bickford appeared in the third most games among relievers with 56.

Once he was called up to the big-leagues, Bickford spent the rest of the season with LA. He thrived, as he posted a 2.50 ERA and 164 ERA+.

For a pitcher that was claimed off waivers, you couldn’t have asked for a better season from Bickford. In addition to his great numbers, he was pretty durable. The term “rubber arm” was thrown out there and for good reason. It seemed as if Bickford was out there on the mound essentially every night.

“When it comes to the days, we’re just being responsible about it,” Bickford said when asked about his usage. “We’re all communicating and being honest. We all have trust. Whatever it takes to help the team win each day.”

Well, he nearly was. He appeared in 48.7 percent of games he was with LA. Bickford took the mound essentially once every two games. I’m not sure how to look up numbers like that, but I’m not sure when the last time was that the Dodgers had a reliever appear in nearly 50 percent of their games.

It gets even cooler for Bickford, as he grew up in the LA area. He was born in Ventura and attended Oaks Christian High School in Westlake. Being a local kid, he grew up watching the Dodgers and attending games at Dodger Stadium.

A closer look at Bickford’s 2021 campaign, per Baseball Savant.

Baseball Savant

After a successful rookie season, Bickford was a no-doubter for a spot in the bullpen in October. Just like the regular season, the Dodgers turned to Bickford pretty frequently. In their 12 games, Bickford appeared in six games.

He was great, as he tossed six scoreless innings and allowed only four hits. The righty had four strikeouts and zero walks.

2021 particulars

Age: 26

Stats (w/LA): 4-2, 2.50 ERA, 50.1 IP, 59 K, 18 BB, 164 ERA+, 3.57 FIP, 1.03 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR, 0.4 fWAR

Salary: $575,000

Game of the year

Bickford was called upon in Game 1 of the NLCS. He recorded four outs, with three of them coming via the strikeout.

Roster status

Bickford won’t be eligible for arbitration until the 2024 season.