Dodgers: Brandon McCarthy’s 2017 Season Grade

MIAMI, FL - JULY 14: Brandon McCarthy
MIAMI, FL - JULY 14: Brandon McCarthy /

The Dodgers received a wide range of contributions from their starting pitchers.  While they ran through over ten starting pitchers this season, not many of them were better than Brandon McCarthy was in the first half.

Coming into the 2017 season, the Dodgers had a lot of hope that Brandon McCarthy would provide a significant boost to their starting rotation.  McCarthy went down during the 2015 season with Tommy John surgery.  He returned midway through the 2016 season but ended up being lost for the season with a case of the YIPS.  Given that this year was more than a year since McCarthy had Tommy John surgery the Dodgers expected him to be back at full strength.

McCarthy’s season was a tale of two halves. In the first half, McCarthy was one of the better starting pitchers that the Dodgers had.  Before the all-star break, McCarthy went 6-3 with a 3.12 ERA.  McCarthy would also go six innings in at least half of his first-half starts which is something the Dodgers rotation lacked.  The Dodgers did not have many starting pitchers besides Clayton Kershaw who would go six-plus innings each time out.

In the second half of the season, Brandon McCarthy would succumb to various injuries such as a shoulder injury, knee injury, and a second round of the YIPS.  The month that scarred McCarthy’s season was July as he posted a 6.75 ERA and allowed eleven runs in just over 14 innings.  Outside of July, McCarthy was a top 3 pitcher in the Dodger rotation.  Ultimately he would finish the regular season with a 6-4 record and a 3.98 ERA.  Given that McCarthy is supposed to be a back-end starter he was very solid for what he was.

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The post-season was very brief for McCarthy, and it was certainly an outing he would like to forget.  McCarthy appeared in the infamous game two of the World Series, in which the Dodgers and Astros traded home runs leading into extra innings.  In McCarthy’s lone appearance he pitched one inning and allowed two runs on a home run in extra innings of game two.  That would be the lone appearance that McCarthy would make for the entire post-season run by the Dodgers.

My favorite moment for Brandon McCarthy’s season was when he rattled off four solid outings to begin his 2017 season.  McCarthy is one of those pitchers that has trouble staying healthy, but when he is fully healthy, he is a fine addition to the Dodger rotation.  If Brandon can replicate his April of this season over the course of next season, then he will be an intricate part of the Dodger rotation and also be a bargain considering where pitcher contracts are headed.

Looking ahead to the 2018 season, Brandon McCarthy will once again compete for a rotation spot in the 2018 starting rotation.  The first thing that needs to happen is that McCarthy will need to be healthy and able to make all his scheduled start.  If he is healthy, then he should be able to nail down the fourth or fifth spot in the Dodger rotation.  Kershaw, Wood, and Hill are the only locks for the 2018 rotation.  Outside of them the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation will come down to McCarthy, Ryu, Stewart, Stripling, Maeda, or another free agent acquisition this winter.

Next: The FanSided Mock Winter Meetings announcement

Overall, Brandon McCarthy gets a C grade for 2017.  When he was healthy, he was a big asset to the Dodger rotation, but once again he had his season shortened by injuries and a case of the YIPS.  McCarthy’s second half of the season also left a lot to be desired as he came back and wasn’t the pitcher he was in the first half.  If McCarthy comes into the 2018 season strong and healthy, then the Dodgers will once again have a rotation without any holes in it.