This is going to shock you, but the Los Angeles Dodgers have a starting rotation that’s buoyed by the best pitcher in baseball, and that fact alone makes them a top ten rotation.
That is, at least, according to the USA Today. They released their starting rotation rankings for all 30 teams yesterday, and the Dodgers were in the upper-third of the league thanks mainly to the dazzling display of left-handed dominance from Clayton Kershaw.
From Ted Berg at USA Today:
Speaking of top heavy: Clayton Kershaw is the difference between the Dodgers and a second-division starting rotation, but Kershaw’s so good that the Dodgers land squarely within the Top 10 here. The lefty should open the year as the obvious favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award even after finishing third in 2015 because no pitcher in baseball can match Kershaw’s recent track record. Behind him, the Dodgers will hope for good health from Scott Kazmir, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brett Anderson. They’re all good pitchers when healthy, but all have struggled at times to stay healthy.
The Dodgers came in ranked at #7, and it means they were the highest-ranked NL West team on the list. The San Francisco Giants (#9) and Arizona Diamondbacks (#10) were right behind them, but the good guys held them off mainly due to Kershaw and the depth.
In terms of where they rank in the National League as a whole, the Chicago Cubs (#1), New York Mets (#2), Washington Nationals (#3), and St. Louis Cardinals (#5) were the teams listed ahead of the Dodgers.
Berg isn’t wrong, though, about his analysis. The trio of Kazmir-Ryu-Anderson has injury issues, but they’ve all been good when healthy. The issue is just the health overall. If they’re able to remain remotely healthy, and are able to throw a substantial amount of innings, then the rotation could be even better.
It should be mentioned that free agent acquisition Kenta Maeda was not mentioned in the article, but he, obviously, is going to factor into the rotation in a big way in 2016, and in the future.