With the injury to Brett Anderson the Dodgers are turning their attention to finding his replacement in the starting rotation. The club announced that rookie Zach Lee will start on Sunday against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium.
It’s an interesting choice as Lee is considered to be extremely low on the current depth chart. However it is his scheduled day to pitch anyways. The Dodgers have quite a few candidates that will be competing for the fifth starter spot. Right now Brandon Beachy and Mike Bolsinger are the leading candidates with Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Ross Stripling, and Chase Anderson also in the mix.
Urias is battling a sore groin, but was able to throw a bullpen session without issues on Friday. The Dodgers are obviously being very careful with him. De Leon is also batteling an injury as well. He has a sore ankle and skipped fielding drills. Brandon Beachy pitched a bullpen session and Bolsinger threw two scoreless innings with two whiffs and one hit allowed on Friday afternoon in the Dodger’s 3-3 tie against the Rangers.
The competition for the vacant rotation spot is now a pretty hot topic across the Dodger blogosphere. The kids (Urias, De Leon, Stripling) would be a good choice, but we know the Dodgers don’t want to rush them. That’s understandable, although I’ve said before that if it were up to me I would probably just choose one of those three to make some starts in the early part of the season. Urias and De Leon are nursing minor injuries though and the Dodgers should absolutely be cautious.
Anderson could be an intriguing option if the Dodgers want to go that route. However Anderson has struggled in the minors since advancing to the double-A and triple-A levels. Stripling is coming off of Tommy John surgery. As for Beachy, I doubt he’s a reliable option. Nay, I don’t doubt, I know it. He’s just another reclamation project the Dodgers scrounged off the trash heap.
I’ve said it before, but the sensible option here is probably Mike Bolsinger. I will be campaigning heavily for him to get the spot. (A vote for Bolsinger is a vote for logic!) Everyone should get a look in spring, but Bolsinger should be the top choice if they are not going to pitch one of the prospects. You know how much I like sensible options. Bolsinger is healthy, and gives you a solid chance to win the game. He’s just not flashy.
Lee on the other hand has really fallen down on the depth chart in recent years. The Dodgers drafted Lee in the first round of the 2010 draft when he was just eighteen years old. He’s spent virtually his entire career in the minors save for one brief spot start for the big club in 2015.
Lee recently had a bounce back season after having a poor 2014 and some previous mediocre seasons. Lee posted an 11-6 record with a 2.70 ERA in 19 starts for Oklahoma City last season. He walked just 19 and struck out 81 in 113.1 innings pitched. That helped him earn minor league pitcher of the year honors for the second time in his career. He’s posted a 3.87 ERA in 646.1 minor league innings with a 7.1 K/9 rate. Lee has a 45-41 record and has allowed a 9.1 H/9 innings pitched rate.
It’s sure to be quite a competition this spring. Who’s your favorite for the number five spot?