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Who Will be Odd Man Out in Dodgers Rotation?

Hyun-Jin Ryu:

It’s been a long road back for Hyun-Jin Ryu. He missed the entire 2015 season, and multiple setbacks caused his return to be delayed this year. He got knocked around a bit in his debut, giving up 6 ER in 4 2/3, but given that he went about a year and a half between major league starts, expectations should be somewhat tempered.

In his first two years with the Dodgers, Ryu has been a solid #3 guy (maybe #2 on most teams who don’t have Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.) But his track record may not be enough to keep him in the rotation at this point. Ryu will need to show that he’s fully recovered from his injury, and the Dodgers may not be willing to take the patient approach as Ryu works out any kinks to get back into form. If he struggles in a few more starts, they may feel inclined to move Ryu to the bullpen, and let him continue to build up his arm strength.

[graphiq id=”7GbwcwybwZn” title=”Hyun-Jin Ryu Career ERA, WHIP and K/BB” width=”600″ height=”515″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/7GbwcwybwZn” link=”http://baseball-players.pointafter.com/l/14312/Hyun-Jin-Ryu” link_text=”Hyun-Jin Ryu Career ERA, WHIP and K/BB | PointAfter” ]

The 2013-2014 version of Ryu would undoubtedly be staying in the rotation. However, we’re not sure just yet that’s the same Ryu that the Dodgers have right now. He could be on a short leach to produce some solid outings.

Chances of staying in rotation: 45%

***Updated Info***

As of yesterday, Ryu is heading back to the DL, and that obviously changes things. One has to wonder if he’ll ever return to 100% this season. With this recent injury now, I have my doubts. Chances of staying in rotation: 15%

Bud Norris:

Acquired immediately after Kershaw went on the DL, Norris was great in his first start, throwing 6 innings of shutout ball while only giving up 2 hits, and striking out 8. His last two starts have been far less spectacular though, as he’s lasted just 5 innings in each, giving up 3 & 4 ER in each.

Norris has been around the league for a while, with a lifetime 4.42 ERA. He’s had some good stretches throughout his career, and some rough ones. He came over from the Atlanta Braves this year, where he pitched both in the starting rotation and out of the bullpen.

[graphiq id=”hgH8pVdBSiF” title=”Bud Norris Career ERA, WHIP and K/BB” width=”600″ height=”523″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/hgH8pVdBSiF” link_text=”Bud Norris Career ERA, WHIP and K/BB | PointAfter” link=”http://baseball-players.pointafter.com/l/12041/Bud-Norris”]

I think Norris’s first start with the Dodgers may have got some people excited. But it was just one start. At the end of the day, I believe he may be the most logical choice to get bumped from the rotation for a couple of reasons. One, in my opinion, he’s simply the 5th best pitcher out of everyone we’ve talked about above. He has games where he’s on, but consistently, I think the other options are all better (when healthy.)

The other thing is that Norris has more experience coming out of the bullpen then the others. He did it several times this year with Atlanta, and made 27 relief appearances between Baltimore & San Diego last season. Being accustomed to that role would only make it that much easier for the Dodgers to move him back to it.

Chances of staying in rotation: 30%

Six-Man Rotation:

This may be a long shot, but there were plenty of examples of teams doing this last season, even if it was for a limited time period. The idea of a six-man rotation is to give your starters extra rest between starts, and ultimately leaving them fresher for the end of the year push.

The downside to something like this is the fact that it creates an extra game between starts for someone like Clayton Kershaw. Call me crazy, but as soon as Kershaw is done pitching a game, I’m ready to see him back out there as soon as possible.

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I think it’s more likely the Dodgers keep a traditional 5-man rotation and maybe use whoever is dropped from the group, for an occasional spot start if extra rest is needed.

Chances of a six-man rotation: 10%

Finally having almost everyone healthy and ready to contribute, gives the Dodgers options. Guys like Alex Wood and Brett Anderson may also return in the near future, which would bolster the starting rotation further. Young arms like Jose DeLeon and Frankie Montas could contribute down the road as well. And of course, trades are always a possibility.

Regardless of whom the Dodgers end up going with in their rotation, the positive news is that this is a good problem to have.

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Written by Brian Robitaille

Originally from Southern California, and currently stationed in Northern Virginia, Brian is a devoted Dodgers fan, and has been since he was a kid. He's an Active Duty member of the U.S Air Force, and has been serving for the last 16 years. While he loves all things sports related, and supports all his teams (Lakers, Steelers, L.A Kings, & USC) his true passion is the Dodgers, and loves writing about the boys in blue.

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