Los Angeles Dodgers Own Baseball’s Best Rotation

Dodgers Kershaw , no-hitterThe Los Angeles Dodgers overhauled their front office this offseason, adding Andrew Friedman from the Tampa Bay Rays and Farhan Zaidi from the Oakland Athletics. From there they proceeded to make several trades which reshaped their roster. Los Angeles goes into the 2015 season as the presumptive favorites in the National League West.

The Dodgers pitching staff is the best in baseball. Clayton Kershaw, the reigning NL MVP, frontlines the rotation. Kershaw is still just 26 years old, though he’s been the best hurler in baseball for several years now. Despite missing six starts with a back injury, he still hurled 198.1 innings with a remarkable 1.77 ERA. He posted career-best strikeout and walk rates of 31.9 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.

In his second campaign with the Dodgers, Zack Greinke was once again excellent. In 2014 he pitched to a 2.71 ERA and enjoyed a 25.2 percent strikeout rate, his top mark since 2011. He also walked just 5.2 percent of hitters, his lowest rate since his debut season of 2004. His swinging strike rate of 11.6 percent was a career-high. Greinke would be an ace on most teams, but on the Dodgers he’s overshadowed by Kershaw.

With a career ERA of 3.17, Hyun-Jin Ryu would profile as a No. 2. However, he’s the Dodgers third-best arm. After a solid debut season in 2013, the 27 year-old left-hander authored strikeout and walk rates of 22.0 percent and 4.6 percent last season. Ryu dealt with arm injuries which limited him to 152 innings, but when he’s healthy he’s a formidable opponent.

Brandon McCarthy, who the Dodgers signed to a four year deal this offseason, got roughed around with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He enjoyed a lot more success after being traded to the New York Yankees, and posted an xFIP of 2.87 which was one of the best in the major leagues. McCarthy boosted his average fastball velocity up to 93 miles per hour, an increase of two miles per hour from previous seasons. That helped him to produce career-best strikeout and groundball rates, and his walk rate was a minuscule 4.0 percent. Spacious Dodger Stadium should help with the home run problem he suffered in 2014. He projects as a solid rotation option, but if his fastball velocity sticks, he could be one of the better pitchers in baseball.

If the Dodgers have a weakness in their rotation, it’s depth. Josh Beckett retired after the season, and Dan Haren was traded away to the Miami Marlins. They signed Brett Anderson to a one-year deal, but the 26 year-old left-hander has struggled mightily with injuries over the last few seasons. He hasn’t made more than eight starts since 2011, and has made more than 19 starts just once in his career. Anderson is intriguing, but hardly an option to be relied on. The Dodgers option beyond Anderson are limited, and consist of journeyman Juan Nicasio, and minor league options such as Joe Wieland, Carlos Frias and Zach Lee.

The Dodgers are one of the best teams in baseball, and they have the sport’s premier rotation. Clayton Kershaw headlines the group, but there are plenty of strong arms behind him.

 


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4 Responses

  1. Michael N. Norris says:

    We will see…..I do not trust that Anderson will be able to do anything

  2. Smithfriend says:

    I’m having trouble understanding this article. The author makes two statements that seem to contradict each other. On the one hand, he says that “If the Dodgers have a weakness in their rotation, it’s depth”, yet on the other hand says that there are “plenty of strong arms” behind Clayton Kershaw. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs here, but which is it? Do they lack depth, or do they have plenty of strong arms?

    • Chris Moran says:

      plenty of strong arms means that they have three very good pitchers. Lack of depth means they don’t have many average options behind those guys that could fill in if needed.

  3. craigbhill says:

    I disagree regarding the depth of the rotation. AS a Dodger fan, i don’t think much of McCarthy. I like Anderson more, but he has to prove he can remain healthy before time is not wasted on debating his iffy potential.

    And rather than debate the relative merits of the players they added, i think questioning the abilities of the new front office to improve the team is more called for. Fom my pov, this team is nowhere near as strong as last year’s. I find it hard to see where the scoring will come from, 3rd in the NL in ’14. WHO is going to protect Adrian Gonzalez in the line-up this year?? i don’t see it. I think they may lose anywhere from 50 to 100 runs this year, unless they do something with the offense they haven’t so far. I can see A LOT of 1-0 and 2-1 losses ahead, which last year they would have won 4-2. I don’t expect 90 wins from this team in ’15, unless they fire the manager and replace him with someone who can make up for those deficiencies with better stratigizing from his seat on the bench.

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