Last year, the Dodgers started the season with the best rotation in the NL West, if not in all of baseball. This year, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, and Clayton Kershaw headline the rotation with Tony Gonsolin serving as a legitimate number four starter. One through four, LA has a talented group without a doubt.
However, there’s major questions about whether or not newcomer Andrew Heaney can solidify the rotation and if not, how effective a combination of Heaney, Tyler Anderson, and possibly David Price can be in the long run.
Last season, Heaney had the sixth-worst ERA (5.48) and the sixth-worst HR/9 (1.88) among starters that pitched a minimum of 120 innings. In 112 career starts, Heaney owns a 4.67 ERA. Now, it’s wholly possible the Dodgers signed him to a one-year deal knowing that they might be paying $8M for half a season of starts if things go south (again) for the southpaw.
The question marks the Dodgers have in the fifth rotation spot is why they might not have the best starting staff in the division at the moment.
San Diego Padres
San Diego recently acquired Sean Manaea from the Athletics. He joins Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell in a rotation that, like the Dodgers, is potent one through four, but lacks a bonafide fifth starter due to Mike Clevinger’s injury status. The Padres rotation shouldn’t be taken lightly, but LA still has a slight edge.
San Francisco Giants
Look, it’s not any Dodgers writer’s dream to compliment the Giants, but they have the most complete rotation which is why it’s also the best in the division (at the moment). Logan Webb emerged as an ace last October. Carlos Rodón posted a 2.37 ERA in 24 starts last year and Anthony DeSclafani also has sub-3.00 ERA potential. A pair of Alexs, Cobb and Wood, both round out the rotation well. They have five, not four, reliable guys who can go six innings.
To be clear, the Dodgers have the best starter in the division if not in the majors in Walker Buehler. Julio Urías could and should be back in the NL Cy Young race this season. Kershaw still has some innings left in his golden left arm and Gonsolin has a ton of upside.
Now, the Trevor Bauer variable would completely change the equation for the Dodgers rotation. If he does pitch for LA, the club would be back to the top of the pile as far as starting staffs go. Without question,
That being said, we must judge on certainties and right now, the Dodgers have the most talented staff, but not the best collection of starters in the NL West.
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