Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Another Relief Corps (Brandon League) Situation

Today is an important day. There’s Dodger baseball, There’s Dodger baseball versus the hated Giants, and finally there’s Dodger baseball versus the hated Giants with the Giants former closer set to make his bearded entrance into the rivalry once again. Great stuff. Brian Wilson is set to come off the DL today, and will probably be activated before tonight’s game.

So with every reliever situation the Dodgers face these days there’s a conundrum that accompanies it. Do the Dodgers follow the (semi) rational AND economic argument by simply cutting Brandon League? Not only is he a below replacement relief pitcher these days (-1.0 fWAR last season and well on his way to a similarly miserable season), but he’s also blocking off a spot for someone much more talented and younger. You know that one word you learned in your high school economics class? Opportunity cost? Yeah, actual real life application! Not to mention, the replacement pitcher is likely to fare significantly better in his breathing style on the mound.

I’m not wild about League as a reliever at all, and I’m prejudiced against mouth-breathers.

Fair Assessment.

I’ll just go ahead and call myself out on it. I wrote this piece on Brandon League hoping for a comeback. I am also dumb, if I go into fortunetelling, never, ever, ever come see me as I can not tell the future.

So they could do all that, or what’s more likely to happen, they’ll remain prideful in this signing and hope that even for a stretch he replicates his unsustainably unsustainable small sample size goodness we saw in the Summer of 2012? Remember those 27.1 innings where he was the closer, that shiny 2.30 ERA? Remember when he wasn’t getting hit so hard that every other ball was a home run?

Remember when THIS:

Didn’t exist?

*Just as a side note, Brandon League, clearly isn’t good, but the saddest thing about this season thus far is he’s getting ground balls (66.7%) AND still has an ERA of 5.79. His walk rate mirrors that at a miserable 5.79 BB/9, and he hasn’t even given up a home run yet. Yeah, he’s given up an exceptional amount of Dingers in his career (13.3 HR/FB%), and that ERA has a chance to skyrocket. You could scream SMALL SAMPLE SIZE but you know deep down, he’s just bad.*

If you look at any situation the past couple of years, the front office’s M.O. is pretty clear, depth over upside. So yes, Brandon League is going to be staying on the 25 man roster. There’s even a distinct possibility that he remains on the 25 man roster through the end of this season. And maybe, just maybe, if he isn’t one of the worst relievers in baseball (that, or something near that is the likely benchmark he’ll have to meet), he’ll remain on the 25 man roster through May of next year (at least).

It’s just what has been happening recently. Why did it take 2.666677777 years to finally blast Matt Guerrier into the sun? Why did the Dodgers sign Jamey Wright? Why did the Dodgers sign Chris Perez (looking decent right now but I’m not too optimistic)? Why are the Dodgers carrying the 3rd worst hitter of all time on their team? Why did the Dodgers trade some useful left handed pitching prospect for the 3rd worst hitter of all time? Chone Figgins!!! Why did the Dodgers sign Paul Maholm?


It sucks to be a young player in this organization right now. And hopefully in a couple of seasons that changes, because instead of going out and signing veteran, boring depth, the Dodgers will have young and EXCITING depth right there on the farm system. But for right now, it seems we’re going to have to live with Chris Withrow, he of the 0.00 ERA, 0.56 FIP, and incredible .3 WAR in 7 IP not on the team, and Brandon League, he of the not so good ERA or peripherals, or anything, really, on the team.

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Tags: Brandon League Los Angeles Dodgers

  • dusto

    I think you are ragging on this team (a first place team) a little too much. League has been horribly unlucky especially considering his BABIP is 50 points higher than his career norms. He still isn’t the pitcher we need from him, but I expect his numbers to improve as his confidence rises. The Dodgers have played 13 games, so I didn’t think I would have to remind anyone about small sample sizes. But here we are.

    • Adrian Garcia

      ragging? I wouldn’t say that, I wrote something before the Giants series of how great the start of the season, they’re on a roll

      Horribly unlucky? He hasn’t given up many line drives, granted, but you know that 0.0% HR/FB percentage isn’t sustainable, things balance out, just as soon as his ground balls find gloves, he’ll be serving up home runs closer to his career norms. And besides, he hasn’t posted a BABIP below .300 since 2011,. He has mediocre control, those strikeout numbers he’s showing this season feel fluky, I am just not optimistic about someone who has shown no ability to get left handers out with any regularity (.282/.347/435 career).

      So he’s a ROOGY who doesn’t strike out people with mediocre command and serves up a lot of home runs, subjecting him to bad bouts of BABIP luck.
      Not a reliever I want on my team

    • LasordasLair

      League is atrocious in every way. and No amount of BABIP magic can get him off the hook. The Dodgers need to outright release him as soon as possible, and eat the rest of his contract. Batters are not biting on his splitter, and all he has left is his flat fastball that has no movement. The reason he falls behind every hitter is because he throws that awful splitter early in counts, and guys arent swinging at it. You can’t save every player, sometimes you have to put the needs of the club ahead of the needs of one bum reliever.