The Dodgers have a great problem – too many starting pitchers on their major league roster. Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Trevor Bauer cement the top of the rotation. Julio Urias figures to get the fourth spot. The fifth starter is when things get interesting.
ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney discussed the Dodgers final rotation spot on Monday’s Baseball Tonight podcast. The long-time baseball analyst Kurkjian believes that all three options provide another premium arm for the deepest rotation in the MLB.
“No team is even close to having eight — or at least seven or eight — major league starting pitchers like the Dodgers do. Their fifth starter is going to be better than the third starter, even the second starter, on some teams. That’s how deep the Dodgers are…”
Safe to say Kurkjian has a different opinion than FanGraphs in regards to where the Dodgers rotation ranks.
Veteran and 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price is an option. Fireballer Dustin May showed an incredible amount of promise last year (2.57 ERA in 10 starts). And Tony Gonsolin has pitched specularly this spring (12K,0BB, 10.1 IP).
Considering how the Dodgers have handled their rotation in the past, the fifth spot might not be set in stone. Price or Gonsolin might be in the bullpen Opening Day. May could be in the minors. Regardless, it would be a surprise if all three didn’t see starts this season.
Kurkjian didn’t stop with just the rotation. Olney asked Kurkjian if he agreed with Olney that the Dodgers could threaten the 116 regular season win mark.
“They are so loaded … I’m not going to 110 with the Dodgers, but I’m getting darn close to that because there’s no weakness on this team. Their pitching from one to thirteen is ridiculous. Their defense is good and they hit the ball out of the ballpark better than any other team in the National League. That’s how you win.”
The Dodgers aren’t as concerned with their regular season win total as much as playoff wins.
If the Dodgers go the distance once again, their stalwart stable of starters will be a big reason why.