3 bold roster moves the Dodgers need to make before NLDS
By Jason Reed
1. Don’t let Andrew Heaney start a playoff game
Andrew Heaney has value to the pitching staff in the postseason, it just shouldn’t come as a starter. There is legitimate potential for Heaney to be a 2022 version of 2020 Julio Urias, though the left-hander would have to comply.
Rotations traditionally shrink to four pitchers with the extra rest days in the postseason. As of right now, the Dodgers are looking at a starting rotation of Julio Urías, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson and Tony Gonsolin.
Dave Roberts said that Dustin May is looking good and it appears that he might come out of the bullpen and be a 2-3 inning option, which would be outstanding. Gonsolin and May could be quite the 1-2 punch in a game in which they are stacked on top of each other. The Dodgers could theoretically get 7-8 really good innings out of that pairing.
And then the rotation should reset, leaving Heaney without a starting spot. Of course, things change depending how the series goes and how guys are feeling, but as it stands right now, Heaney should be that wipeout lefty that comes in for 1-2 innings in key spots to get outs.
Heaney is such a peculiar pitcher this season. He has been the definition of boom or bust. He ranks in the 96th percentile in chase rate and whiff rate and the 97th percentile in strikeout rate. However, he also ranks in the third percentile in average exit velocity and the second percentile in hard-hit rate.
The southpaw has an absurdly high 13.5 K/9 while also owning a 1.7 HR/9 mark. Heaney is only the second starting pitcher this century to post a K/9 of 13 or higher with a HR/9 of 1.7 or higher (with at least 50 innings pitched). The other was Tyler Glasnow in 2020.
It’s truly a unique situation, and the home run issues could be scary, but the power isn’t as big of a problem against lefties, who have hit just one home run against Heaney this year and are slugging .321 compared to .449 for righties.
Plus, Heaney’s numbers the first time facing someone in a game are promising — opponents are slashing .175/.246/.325 vs the lefty the first time through versus .250/.316/.548 the second time. That’s a massive difference.