Did Dodgers make a mistake not elevating Bobby Miller before September?

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 5; Bobby Miller #92 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the preseason game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on April 5, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 5; Bobby Miller #92 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the preseason game against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on April 5, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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In order for players to be eligible for a team’s postseason roster, they had to have been active on Aug. 31 or prior. Anybody who joined the active roster on Sept. 1 or later (for the first time) cannot play October baseball (outside of the remainder of the regular season). In the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers, that might be a bit of an issue.

Looking at the starting rotation, Walker Buehler is out for the year, Andrew Heaney is quickly regressing back to his Yankees days, Tony Gonsolin is on the injured list with a forearm strain, Clayton Kershaw’s longevity is in question after he suffered multiple injuries this year, and Dustin May is getting back up to speed in his return from Tommy John surgery.

That leaves LA with, right now, Julio Urías and Tyler Anderson as the only guaranteed, steadfast options to pitch in a postseason rotation … and Anderson’s only pitched a total of seven playoff innings.

Inexperience is one thing, but unreliability and unpredictability are even more problematic, and that’s what the Dodgers rotation is currently grappling with despite owning the best record in the league as they make these problems look as minuscule as possible. Let’s not forget about the myriad of playoff issues the modern Dodgers have dealt with, though.

That’s why some fans can’t help but wonder if not promoting top pitching prospect Bobby Miller before Sept. 1 was a mistake. He got the bump to Triple-A in August, but it’s clear his stuff plays at the next level.

Why didn’t the Dodgers promote Bobby Miller before September?

Miller pitched in the Freeway Series exhibition prior to the start of the 2022 season and dazzled against the LA Angels. He even struck out Shohei Ohtani with his triple-digit fastball.

Has he been the most impressive in the minor leagues this season? Not really. He’s got a 4.27 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 23 games (22 starts), totaling 109.2 innings across 20 Double-A appearances and three Triple-A showings. But that doesn’t always matter.

Not every prospect’s development is linear. A guy like Miller, who already possesses ace-like offerings, might be just fine if plopped into an MLB rotation right now. He’s got a few things to work on, but already has the ability to overwhelm big league hitters and could’ve been an asset for the Dodgers as they deal with never-ending pitching problems.

The kid wouldn’t have been a Game 1, 2, or 3 starter … but could’ve maybe been a spot starter for a Game 4 or 5? He could’ve piggybacked a struggling arm in one of those later games for multiple innings if needed. What about as a reliever? He has powerful stuff and could’ve been used to fill the other vacant gaps in that unit. That would’ve helped the Dodgers manage his innings better, too, since he’s already at a career-high (by 30) at this point.

And it could’ve very well been electrifying seeing the 23-year-old get his first bit of MLB action down the stretch and into the postseason. The Dodgers obviously have their reasons, but Miller helping assist during a potential World Series run really wouldn’t have been as risky an idea as it may have previously seemed.

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