3 potential secret weapons Dodgers can’t afford to leave off playoff roster

The Dodgers need as much high-upside pitching as they can get.

San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages
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Emmet Sheehan, RHP

In the battle of top prospect innings-eaters, it should be "Michael Grove: OUT, Emmet Sheehan: IN" for the Dodgers in October 2023.

Sheehan's surface numbers remain middling because of his early scuffles and his Sept. 8 implosion against the Washington Nationals (5.13 ERA in 12 outings/10 starts, 54 Ks in 54.1 innings pitched), but he's done his best work in recent days. Sept. 21 against the San Francisco Giants represented the peak of Sheehan's stuff; he struck out a career-high nine men across just 18 batters faced, recording 16 swings and misses (as well as two foul tips), equating to an impressive 18 "whiffs" in the record books.

The Dodgers have plenty of innings-eating options this fall, from the Ryans (Yarbrough and Pepiot) to Lance Lynn, a "fixed" trade deadline acquisition turned high-strikeout enigma once again. To ignore Sheehan's recent trends in a search for stability would be shortsighted, though. Lynn has relief experience, sure, but much of it has been quite poor, and he failed after being asked to play fireman in the 2018 postseason for the Yankees. His third of an inning with three earned runs allowed helped sink those Bombers in a 16-1 Game 3 defeat to their arch rival Boston Red Sox.

This is not to say that one inning five years ago should scare the Dodgers off from relying on Lynn. It's just to say nothing is assured, the arrow is trending upwards on Sheehan, and Lynn is a known (average) quantity whose profile becomes more muddled when he isn't a starter.