The Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts have been pretty open with the fact that the club wants Julio Urias in the starting rotation this season. After spending much of the 2019 season as a reliever, the 23-year-old set out this past offseason on a mission to get ready for a starter’s workload.
But does Julio as a starter give the club its best opportunity to win ballgames?
If there’s one obvious need the club has seen so far this spring, its the need for left-handed relief. As it stands, Scott Alexander appears to be healthy and is producing in Cactus League play (1 earned run in 3 innings pitched). Adam Kolarek has an ERA over 14 (!) in 5 games and appears to be headed to Triple-A to start the season. Moreover, he appears to be a guy that will suffer greatly from the new MLB 3-batter minimum rule starting this season.
Caleb Ferguson is working on becoming a starter again and is likely headed to Triple-A to start the season as well.
If there's one weakness on this Dodgers team it's left handed relief. Alexander and likely Ferguson gonna be the big arms.
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) March 8, 2020
However, over in the starting rotation, there are currently 4 left-handed pitchers slated to take the ball every fifth day. One of those lefties is Julio Urias.
Roberts seems to have already set most of the opening day bullpen in his mind, and in that bullpen is 2018 All-Star starter — and RHP — Ross Stripling. But the balance of arms could be better if those roles were reversed.
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In 2019, Julio Urias dominated left-handed batters, allowing only a .198 average against. He can also dominate right-handed batters (.203 in 2019), which better suits the new 3-batter rule.
For Stripling, his career ERA is better in relief (3.12) over starting (3.71), but he has shown the ability to be dominant as a starter when given an extended opportunity. While the role reversal may not give the rotation its best starting 5, it may be the best balance for the pitching staff.
Let me know your thoughts? Should LA just let Julio finally start? Maybe Alex Wood would consider the bullpen (he won’t)?