Why Are Scott Baker and Carlos Frias Starting This Weekend?


Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

No really.

Can you imagine being, like, the Twins, and having to deal with this kind of stuff? Except like EVERY DAY!?!?!? Anyways, you love narratives, so do I, and there is something seriously funny about a 270 million dollar team starting both Scott Baker and Carlos Frias a month into the season. This dude. And this dude. At the moment, the Dodgers rotation reads:

Clayton Kershaw (obviously)

Zack Greinke (duh)

Brett Anderson (okay!)

Scott Baker (that’s #4 starter, Scott Baker)

Carlos Frias (¯_(ツ)_/¯)

This would ordinarily be a problem if the Dodgers weren’t scoring at the most prolific rate in baseball, but the Dodgers have unquestionable depth at the starting pitcher position, it’s questionable to wonder why aren’t they using it their best options? Going through the guys that aren’t Carlos Frias and/or Scott Baker:

Mike Bolsinger: He of the career 3.86 FIP in 58 big league innings, to go along with strong minor league numbers. Even if he’s a 2 pitch pitcher, his performance at AAA this season (14 IP, 1 ER) probably means he should get a chance to start on the big league team for more than a spot start in SF.

Joe Wieland: The dude who absolutely loathes walks? The dude who is K-BB’ing 17-2 in AAA right now? The dude who has walked 88 guys total in the minor leagues in his ~500 innings pitched? The dude who was a former top prospect in the Padres organization? The dude who was in the Matt Kemp trade? I mean the Dodgers should look to squeeze value out of him, and now’s a good a time as ever.

Zach Lee: The guy EVERYBODY is wondering why he isn’t in the rotation. He was paid lots of dollars coming out of high school to pitch for the Dodgers. He has reportedly got his stuff back:

"His fastball has touched 94 MPH on multiple occasions in his three starts this season, and he works in the 88-92 MPH range. If he’s locating, that will play in the majors. He also gets some movement on his 2-seamer that helps him get ground balls. There is also now separation between his curveball and slider (which has more cutter-like action these days). Because of that, his curveball takes a step forward and the cutter is something he can use against either-handed hitter. He also has an underrated changeup."

He’s sporting a 8.6 K/9 and a 1.8 BB/9 thus far, has all the ingredients of health, top prospect status, and results that none of the aforementioned options have, and he still hasn’t been given a shot. Stacie here is a huge proponent of the former 1st round pick, and good lord people, he doesn’t turn 24 until September.

I was always under the impression that depth is important. Depth is something that exists to replace the best options who go down with the next best option. When Brandon McCarthy went down, any one of the 3 aforementioned players would have sufficed because Bolsinger, Wieland, and Lee all have varying levels of success in the minor leagues/youth that could inspire confidence in a rotation that is barren at the back end right now. Not to mention that Lee clearly has the upside to be a rotation mainstay long term.

It might be a bit frustrating having to watch the long term solution be future reliever who throws hard but only really throws one pitch. And the guy who was released by the Yankees this past offseason. Is depth really depth if you’re throwing out the worst options first? I’m inclined to say no.