The Dodger rotation is the strength of the team and unlike many years it comes into spring with everyone healthy. Not only are the top five rotation options healthy but everyone except Julio Urias is also healthy.
Which is a good thing because the team doesn’t go as deep this year as they have in the past. No longer on the depth chart are Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Trevor Oaks. The depth this year belongs almost solely to young pitchers instead of recycling major league retreads.
If any of the top five go down, the options are all wild cards. Stripling, Stewart, Font all could be credible back end rotation starters but none are someone you want to replace Kershaw if he needs to miss another two months this summer.
Also, four of the five top options have all had numerous health issues over the past several seasons so you have to expect some or all of them to miss some time this summer.
As you know I like Wilmer Font but I like him as someone who can take his starter skills and pitch well out of the bullpen. I’m not nearly as confident he can succeed as a major league starter but with the starters only expected to go through a lineup twice a game, maybe he can.
I also like Brock Stewart as someone who can fill out a rotation.
Ross Stripling should be able to do the same.
Not long ago Henry Owens pitched for the Red Sox and was considered a prize prospect. Now he’s just a wild ass lefty who has to learn something from the Dodger coaches and turn that into something before his career careens over the cliff. So far this spring he has not had success but hopefully he can still get something going. I’m holding out hope that he will piss of Red Sox fans at some point this summer.
Walker Buehler is expected to help in the rotation this summer. Dave Roberts said they would hope to get 140-150 innings from him so how they manage those innings will determine how he fits into the rotation. I could easily see him getting some starts with the Dodgers this summer and converting back into relief in Sept as they get ready for October.
I don’t expect to see Dennis Santana get any starts with the Dodgers this year until Sept unless things really go off the rails. He is also someone who could transition into a relief role if they need him to this summer.
Mitch White and Yadier Alvarez probably have to wait their turns but this being baseball you never know.
You also have Julio Urias hoping to get back on the mound by late summer. I hope he shows something before the season is over so we can get more of an idea of what to expect next year.
Am I okay with this rotation and the depth? Yes, but they could easily upgrade and if I was the Dodgers I would certainly be making a play for Chris Archer. It would not surprise me at all if the Dodger front office pulled off a deal for a frontline starter before the start of the season. Wouldn’t Kenta Maeda make financial sense for a team like Tampa Bay? Great contract, under team control for years. Throw in the right prospects and make it happen. Or don’t. As I said I’m okay with the rotation as it is but by August 1st they probably need an upgrade to fill the Yu Darvish role of 2017 without the World Series missteps.
Next year at this time, you could envision a healthy competition between Urias, Buehler, Santana, White, and Alvarez for one or two spots in the Dodger rotation. The arms are coming.
|MLB Options in Bullpen|
|Best Options in AAA|
|Other Options in AAA|
|Henry Owens||Still a WAL|
|M Banuelos||Still a WAL|
|D Baker||Making sure he’s on radar|
|Prospects Who Might Help|
|W Buehler||Struck out side in 1st inning of work this spring today|
|D Santana||Pitched one inning, think he’s impressing|
|M White||Minor League Camp|
|Y Alvarez||Minor League Camp|
|Julio Urias||Just started throwing|