Next up in our roundtable series is another fan submitted question about what we think the rotation will be like by the end of the regular season.
In no particular order- Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Hector Santiago
The first three are pretty obvious. Kershaw and Maeda have been stellar, and Kazmir will probably (hopefully) turn it around, or at worst be a fifth starter. McCarthy should return around the all-star break and if he pitches the way he did in New York, he should be a huge boost. I was working to find a trade for a pitcher, but the three starters I would actually covet are on teams that could remain in the hunt (Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, Sonny Gray). Looking at teams that probably won’t be in contention, the Angels probably fit that mold, especially with Garrett Richards hitting the DL. Santiago isn’t the ace that everyone wants the Dodgers to bring in, but he’ll be a free agent in 2018 and the Angels need to make some sort of splash to have any semblence of a future. ESPN’s Keith Law reportedly called the Angel farm system the worst he’s ever seen. They really only have one major league piece that can bring back a heavy prospect package, and I don’t think they’re trying to trade Mike Trout. Santiago could net them one or two B pitching prospects, who would instantly become valuable for them. Some package centered around Zach Lee or Chris Anderson could do the trick.
Kershaw/Maeda/Stripling/Kazmir/ Ryu. (In no particular order)
Well obviously Kershaw and Maeda at this point. Both have been amazing this season so far and Maeda has lived up to all expectations. I also think Scott Kazmir will make it in the rotation as the regular season comes to an end, but maybe in the fifth spot if he cannot make some adjustments. personally, I am a Ross Stripling fan and think he has done great with the Dodgers so far. I could see Stripling in the fourth or fifth rotation spot as the season winds down. I am excited to hear that Ryu is throwing bullpen sessions and seems to be getting healthy. I think he has a spot in the rotation if he can bounce back. The hard part is I have no idea what Ryu after injury is going to look like. If he can be the pitcher he was before, then the Dodgers are in good shape rotation wise, but there is also a chance that Ryu won’t be able to even pitch again at the major league level. This question is the toughest one, because you just never know how a pitcher will be following a major injury.
I think the only thing you can be certain of here is that it will be quite different to the one currently being employed. I think we can all agree that Kershaw’s job is safe and Kenta Maeda has been fantastic so far. Past that I think there is much still to be determined.Ross Stripling appears to be the first one to exit upon the return of Brandon McCarthy and/or Hyun Jin Ryu, Alex Wood has largely disappointed after a promising off-season and Scott Kazmir seems like he’s finally gaining some traction after a rough start to his Dodgers tenure. Having said that I think the rotation at seasons end will look something like that.
Kershaw/Maeda/Ryu/ Anderson/ Urias or De Leon
Assuming the rotation situation stays about the same as it is now, I think Alex Wood and Ross Stripling are the ones that get dropped from the rotation when Hyun Jin Ryu and Brett Anderson come back from injury. If the Scott Kazmir experiment continues to crash and burn, Brandon McCarthy will probably get a shot. How he pitches after Tommy John surgery is anyone’s guess, but my gut tells me it won’t be what the Dodgers hope for. With the Dodgers’ options to choose from this really is a shot in the dark, but my guess is that from 1 to 5 the rotation goes: Kershaw, Maeda, Ryu, Anderson, and either Julio Urias or Jose de Leon.
Kershaw/ Maeda/Ryu/Stripling/Kazmir or McCarthy
I think that with Ryu potentially returning soon, he should take Alex Wood’s spot in the rotation and allow Wood to sharpen up his delivery in the minors. Stripling looks like the real deal in a small sample size and I would expect him to continue to be solid. That would leave Kazmir and McCarthy to battle it out for the final spot, with whichever one missing out being a potential trade candidate.
This is probably the most difficult question to answer, because we don’t know what’s going to happen with Urias or De Leon. Although he is close to an arrival, De Leon hasn’t made an appearance yet in AAA. Urias is off to a great start, but he is still only 19 years old. In September I expect a rotation of Kershaw-Kazmir-Maeda-Wood-McCarthy. I expect to see Brandon McCarthy healthy & ready to go around the all-star break to take Stripling’s spot.
Ryu – threw a bullpen recently and is projected to return sometime in June. Ryu’s prior success warrants a rotation spot without a doubt.
McCarthy – also threw a bullpen recently and is expected to return in July.
Anderson – believe it or not, Anderson could be back in August, just in time for a playoff push. I think Anderson is underrated and having him in the rotation at the end of the season would be a huge lift for the Dodgers.
Kershaw/ Maeda/McCarthy/Kazmir/ De Leon
Sadly, I don’t think Ryu or Anderson will make it back from their injuries this season (Ryu might even be done). Stripling will last until around August when his innings max will be met (due to his TJ surgery), and De Leon will get the call-up (I think Bolsinger’s usefulness will be used up by then). Wood or Kazmir will hit the bullpen around this time (honestly, neither of them look like they will last). Urias will probably come up in September, but they are going to continue to baby him and he won’t make the playoff roster. I don’t foresee Freidman trading any prospects for a high-end starter. What we have is what we will get.