LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers are in need of starting pitching, both generally this season and also very specifically on Friday night. The latest to get the call is right-hander Emmet Sheehan, who will be promoted for his major league debut against the Giants, per Juan Toribio of MLB.com.
Sheehan was dominating with Double-A Tulsa, with a 1.86 ERA and 41.7-percent strikeout rate in 53⅓ innings with the Drillers, throwing in the upper 90s and triple digits. The right-hander, drafted in 2021 by the Dodgers in the sixth round out of Boston College, was named Texas League pitcher of the month for May after giving up only one run all month. Sheehan’s 88 strikeouts are the third-most in all of the minors this season.
It's Emmet Sheehan's world and we're just living in it.— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) May 18, 2023
5.0+ IP | 2 H | 0 R | 0 ER | 0 BB | 10 K pic.twitter.com/sk9B6bTkkg
He was doing so well that Sheehan along with Landon Knack were reportedly promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City this week, as reported by Josh Thomas at Dodgers Digest last weekend, though those moves haven’t yet been officially announced.
The Dodgers have a more pressing need at the major league level, giving Sheehan the two-level bump for his debut.
With only four starting pitchers on the active roster, manager Dave Roberts said the Dodgers were considering a bullpen game for Friday against the Giants. But Thursday’s game against the White Sox made that all but impossible. Starter Michael Grove, who last season was the first Dodger of the Andrew Friedman era to get promoted directly from Double-A to the majors, pitched five innings against the White Sox, followed by four relievers who covered six scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ 11-inning win.
Evan Phillips and Shelby Miller each pitched two innings. Yency Almonte has pitched the last two nights.
After the game, Roberts confirmed a pitcher would be called up for Friday’s game, but declined to offer specifics.
“We’re trying to figure this whole pen out. A lot of guys are going to be down, so it’s certainly not ideal for a bullpen game,” Roberts said. “We should have someone en route ... it’s going to be a collective effort tomorrow.”
Sheehan last pitched one week ago Friday, allowing two runs in four innings for Tulsa, with five strikeouts and four walks. The right-hander has not allowed more than two runs in any of his 12 appearances this season.
Sheehan was part of a famed Double-A Tulsa rotation that included six pitchers and as a group have the highest average fastball velocity of any rotation in the minors or majors, as Kyle Glaser noted this week in a profile at Baseball America.
“We’re pretty decently well into the season at this point in time and still almost every night in my head I’m like, ‘Jeez, dude what’s going on?’ ” Nick Frasso, one of those Tulsa’s starters, told Glaser. “Sheehan’s throwing 100 or River [Ryan]’s throwing 100 or [Landon; Knack just struck out 10. Like, it’s just absurd.”
The Dodgers have searched for consistent quality innings all season, especially so in the last month-plus. Six of the top seven Dodgers pitchers on the starting depth chart to open the season have spent time on the injured list.
Sheehan will be the sixth Dodger to make his major league debut this season, joining Michael Busch (April 25), Gavin Stone (May 3), Bobby Miller (May 23), Jonny DeLuca (June 7), and Nick Robertson (June 7).
The Dodgers have an open spot on the 40-man roster for Sheehan after reliever Adam Kolarek was designated for assignment on Wednesday.