Dodgers 2020 spring training primer: Starting rotation

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Starting pitcher Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers in the first inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Starting pitcher Walker Buehler #21 of the Los Angeles Dodgers delivers in the first inning of game five of the National League Division Series against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium on October 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 25: Ross Stripling #68 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park September 25, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /

Top competitors for the final three rotation spots

The primary competition for the three rotation spots after Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw figures to be Ross Stripling, Jimmy Nelson, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin.  All four of these starters are going to head into spring training trying to pry a rotation spot away from one of Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, and Julio Urias.  Each has interesting circumstances surrounding them.

For Ross Stripling, he was an All-Star in 2018 for his strong first half as a starting pitcher.  Since then he has shuffled back and forth between the bullpen and the starting rotation.  In 2019, Chicken Strip made 15 starts for the Dodgers and pitched to an ERA of 3.60.  The Dodgers know what they have in Stripling, but he seems unlikely to take a rotation spot heading out of spring training.  That is if everyone is healthy.

Jimmy Nelson is looking to rebound from a freak labrum injury suffered at the end of the 2017 season.  Nelson tore his labrum diving back to first base and missed the entire 2018 season.  He returned in 2019 making ten appearances and three starts but struggled to the tune of a 6.95 ERA.  Jimmy will look to bounce back in 2020 and re-emerge as the quality starter he was becoming in 2017.  That leads to the two wildcards of the rotation mix.

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