Dodgers Starting Rotation Should Be One of The Best

Clayton Kershaw

With spring training camps opening this week, pitchers and catchers are reporting as the start of the 2019 season gets underway. For the Dodgers we’re getting our first glimpse of the 2019 roster. Now that the winter of our discontent has come to an end we can focus on piecing the club together.

It’s a fair question to ask what the strength of the 2019 Dodgers will be? I can honestly yell you that in my opinion the strength of the Dodgers will undoubtedly be their starting rotation. The pitching staff in general and specifically the rotation should become a position of depth and flexibility for the Dodgers.
Looking at the rotation from last year we see that it was one of the best on the bigs. Surely there was injuries along the way. We all remember that at one point the entire rotation and even almost the entire pitching staff was on the disabled list. The Dodgers operated for several weeks without any pitching of any kind. Despite that the Dodgers rotation was still one of the most productive staffs in baseball.

I expect for this to be the norm again in 2019. Generational left Clayton Kershaw is going to be looking to regain some of his post velocity using biometrics. Walker Buehler will be looking to avoid the sophomore jinx. Curveball Jedi Rich Hill will be one of the best spin rate guys in the game providing veteran leadership. Rounding out the rotation will be Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ross Stripling and left handers Julio Urias should provide depth.

There are some injury question Mark’s but if all of these hurlers stay relatively healthy then the Dodgers should receive great production. There’s star power, spin rate, experience and tons of talent in this Dodgers rotation. I expect for it to carry the club to another division championship and maybe another pennant in 2019.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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17 thoughts on “Dodgers Starting Rotation Should Be One of The Best

  1. … Just pray they all come to Camelback Ranch ready? They started last year with 7-8 potential starters and one of the deepest rotations in the league, ended up “zelch”. Lots of question marks.

    Will Kershaw be 100%? Will Old man Hill still have gas in his tank, or retreads on his blisters? Will Ryu be effective or will he re-injure himself?

    Maeda and Buehler, I think, will be OK.

    What are your views on possibilities of “openers”, so Kershaw, Hill, Ryu, Maeda, and Buehler can get to 7th-8th inning?

    Can Kelley be the setup man they have been looking for?

    Will Jansen be 100%?

    Maybe I should start going to church again.

  2. The way I see it is this. Kershaw, if he stays healthy, which he has not done in a few years, will not be the same dominating pitcher he was a few years ago. But, he is by far the most intense competitive pitcher on the planet. He will be out there doing his best each and every game. You can say what you want about his post season meltdowns, but during the season he has been about as reliable as any starter ever. I still think he is good for at least 15 wins if healthy. Buehler is on the verge of becoming one of the best in the league. The experience he gained last year is going to help him immensely this season. He has really nasty stuff and is working with one of the best pitching coaches in the league. Ryu was healthy last year. He has seemingly overcome his injury issues. He won 9 last year. And he looked really good in most of his starts and really did not have a bad outing until the playoffs. Maeda if nothing else is pretty much the same guy every year. They are going to get some very good starts out of him, and a clunker now and then. Like all the pitchers on this team, he needs to cut down on the amount of HR’s he gives up. Buehler is the only one who really did not suffer from the HR bug. Hill is at this point a medical marvel. He continues to go out there every 5th day and most of the time give you a very decent outing. And other than the combined no-hitter last year that Buehler and the bull pen threw, come closer to a no hitter than any other pitcher on the staff. Now as for Urias, he is going to be a victim of numbers. There are those who feel he should stay in the majors and pitch out of the pen until he is ready to take on a starting role. I am of the mind that with 3 possible lefty’s in the pen, Cingrani, Alexander, and Ferguson, Urias is better served starting at AAA until he is either needed to replace an injured starter, or lefty reliever. It is much easier to control his innings in the minors than at the big league level. Stripling will no doubt be the long man and spot starter. Ferguson can also fill that job. That is a pretty deep pool. Not as deep as last year because they had some former MLB level starters at AAA. This year, that is not so much the case. Stewart, who would most likely be at AAA and could be called up in case they needed him. Well ole Stew is out of options. So, either he makes the team, unlikely, or he is released or traded, most likely. Also at that point in his Dodger life is Yimi Garcia. He also is out of options, and will have the same fate as Stewart unless he makes the bullpen. Judging from what I see right now, Yimi is not making the cut and neither is Stewart. Jansen, Kelly, Cingrani, Alexander, Stripling, and Baez are locks. The 5 starters mentioned are also locks. That’s 12 pitchers. They will either break camp with 12 or 13 pitchers. They do not really need 5 starters the first month of the season. But you can almost count on them carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position guys. Now, best case scenario is for all these guys to be healthy all year long. There is very little wiggle room. But you can also bet, that if by the deadline something has not gone according to plan they will re-visit trading for a starter, most likely Kluber if he is available. But you can bet also that he is going to be a pretty pricey pick up.

  3. Spring training for pitchers and catchers basically starts on Thursday. They report tomorrow. Full squad reports next week. First game is like the 23rd of February against the Chi-Sox.

    1. Bluto
      If Dummy 2 ever made a move to get a Bryce Harper, it would be a 1st so I do not think it will happen. The team that is there now will remain in my opinion.

      1. Quit blaming it all on Friedman. It is not his decision. He cannot sign anyone without the ownership signing off on it. He makes some head scratching moves to be sure, but when it comes to dolling out the cash, it is not all on Friedman.

    2. he can’t pitch…and he is not coming to LA unless he gets that long term deal he wants. He said that today he is not signing a short term deal, and no way the Dodger ownership goes that route.

  4. First day is in the books. Kershaw saying he is working on getting back some things he has lost. Velocity is among those. That being said, some nut bag said that Kershaw did not show improvement in his velocity in his first work out. Hey moron, no pitcher is going to come out on the first day firing bullets. Lets see what he looks like on opening day, and they make some sort of judgement on how the spring looked. Jansen is noticeably thinner. They handed out the numbers and some of the non roster guys got low numbers. The new Peterson on the block got Matt Kemp’s 27 Orlando got # 16. Means they must like him some, infielder Daniel Castro got Grandal’s # 9. None of the guys who have been there changed their numbers. Toles is still #60 and Verdugo 61. Von Scoyoc got # 6 and Dino Ebel got # 12. Geren got # 8. That McCreery guy they got from the Braves, I saw a picture of him next to one of the other bullpen guys. He towered over that guy. He is 6′ 10″.

  5. I like our pitchers and middle relief. We finally have what I’ve wanted for years – 3 pitchers that can go 2+ innings every third day (Stripling, Ferguson and Urias). We have 3 starters who will not average 6 innings this year.

    I don’t think Cingrani is a lock and Ryu may take a step back. But I think Stripling and Ferguson will surprise. But let’s see how they do in spring training. There are always one or two injuries to pitchers in spring training that leaves the door open for the next man up.

    1. How about Urias, Stripling, Ferguson on a Sunday before an off day Monday. Everybody else gets 2 days off. With this depth and the manipulation of the IL, the Dodgers can do some creative pitching platooning to see to it the true strength of this club is well rested come October.

      As you know, I’ve been a proponent of best bullpen pitchers matched up against lineup strength for years. If the closer is needed in the 7th or 8th, then that’s when he is used. It’s my opinion that often a Hold is as important a stat as a Save. Designated starters, something Verlander hates, can be a useful strategy over 162 games.

      Apparently all the new health science that creates power through launch angles and 100 mph fastballs has not created position players who can play every day and starting pitchers who can be counted on for 32 starts and 220 innings. The frailty of today’s thouroughbreds is troubling to me but a fact that must be dealt with. The Dodgers approach has been a reluctance of adding big name stars and an abundance of role players. Ok, I get it. Not what I wanted but it’s working. As long as this the approach, why not get inventive with these guys?

  6. Although I do not like the suggestion of using a “Opener” in MLB to get the “Aces” to the third inning, with Ferguson, Stripling, and Urias, they would make great “Openers”, so Ryu, Kershaw, Hill, and Maeda can go strongly to the seventh inning and pass the baton to Kelley and Jansen. this will also keep the innings count down on Fergusen, Strips, and Urias. Also will keep these “Openers” sharp, ahould Ryu, Kershaw, Maeda, and Hill falter. Buehler, I think will be the new Top Dawg in the rotation, and will not need an “Opener”, but using one will keep his innings count down, as well.

    With as deep a pitching staff the Dodgers have, the use of an “Opener” may be their best bet to a successful run to the WS pennant.

    But, I think the starting pitchers have too much ego, to accept this change. IMO, the use of an “Opener”, like the “Shift” is not “Real” baseball, as it is intended to be played.

  7. State of the game:

    One quirky result slash anecdote from a recent Jayson Stark survey:

    One red flag that arose in the voting: The Reds’ end of the Puig/Kemp/Wood deal got just two votes in the Best Trade balloting. But the Dodgers’ end – which was mostly an addition-by-subtraction-of-Puig/Kemp – also got two votes.

  8. I stated that bullpen point for years here True. Well, maybe that was back when Timmons ran the place. Many games are lost in the 7th and 8th. That’s been true for some time.

    The inent of playing a baseball game is to win it Blue. Finding new ways to win is what analytics is about. The shift is an example of that, the emphasis on launch angle is another…. there are other examples. Openers could be a way to stretch a staff. Or not. At this point should we be surprised by anything? Baseball is moving on.

  9. I have always thought a lot of winnable games are lost in the 6th -7th innings. Your starter gets creamed and then the manager kind of just bides his time until the 8th. And what will happen is that in you catch up a little in the 5th inning or the 6th (because your hitters are now starting to see the opposing starter for the third time), then you start burning too many pitchers from 5th -7th, especially a LOOGY/ROOGY or a power strikeout guy who comes in and walks the first batter he faces and gets replaced, and now not only have you screwed up this game, you’ve pretty much screwed up the next game too. Happens a lot.

    But if a manager had 3 guys that he could pitch 2+ innings that he can rotate every day, he can pull a starter and then resist the impulse to burn pitchers when the team is starting to catch up. You don’t need guys with 1-2 pitches and overpowering stuff. You need guys who knows how to keep walks down and has enough of a pitch mix to get through the lineup once.

    I don’t know if anyone sees this. I haven’t seen anyone with any statistical analysis on these types of trends. Just based on my observations.

  10. Unfortunately, starters have huge egos, and would not buy into a middle relief, which will prevent them from earning a win for not going 5 innings. With the onset of pitchcounts, matchups and specialists, starting pitchers now days are not conditioned to go a complete game or a strong 6-7 innings. Middle relievers are slim to none, also victim of matchups. Most relievers just come in to pitch to one or two batters, sometimes only throwing one or two pitches. Even the thought of using “Openers” (i.e., using Urias and Stripling to “Open” the games, and let the Ace come in in the third) would not be favored by the Ace rotation pitchers even though they would still be able to earn a win. Face it….Today, there are very few starting pitchers who can pitch over 100 pitches, let alone pitch a complete game.

    “ANAL”-ytics, and Money also have definitly destroyed the game of baseball. Numbers have now outweighed common sense. Pitching staffs take the most abuse in this “new” brand of baseball. Heck, Dodgers alone used about 30 pitchers last year? That is rediculous.

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