The Dodgers continue to boast one of the deepest rotations in all of Major League Baseball. Even though it is as deep as it is, it is no secret that nearly every member of the rotation has durability or injury concerns.
This is why a six-man rotation would be an ideal implement for the 2019 club’s current construct.
First, let’s take a look at the Dodgers’ current rotation options:
Kershaw has started the year on the Injured List and quite possibly will not return until the end of April. He has dealt with back injuries in the past, started off this year’s spring with some poor showings, and has seen drastic decreases in velocity and swinging strike rate. To preserve Kershaw’s arm and body, the six-man rotation would keep him healthier and quite possibly more effective heading into a potential playoff run.
Buehler saw an enormous innings increase from 2017 to 2018 and his 2019 workload could be tempered because of it. In 2017, he threw 98 professional innings and in 2018, he threw 153. That is a pretty large jump. An extreme innings limit is not even close to being necessary, but with the use of a six-man rotation, Buehler’s workload would downsize closer to 160 innings rather than 200. This would, of course, keep him healthy for that stretch run.
In the past couple years this is what Ryu’s innings totals have looked like:
2016: 32 1/3
2017: 126 2/3
2018: 91 1/3
That is pretty disappointing, but could be countered by giving him extra rest. Ryu has been effective his entire career but has been sidelined more often than not. If Ryu could toss a fully healthy 130 innings, I am sure the Dodgers organization would be more than pleased.
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He has a lengthy injury history, no question about it. In his past two seasons in LA, he has averaged just over 130 innings. Extra rest has typically benefited Hill as on normal rest he posted a 4.35 ERA opposed to a 3.45 ERA with an extra day. Something to keep in mind.
Kenta Maeda/Ross Stripling
Although he could inevitably find his way to the bullpen, Maeda is capable of giving innings. He has no injury concerns, but he could simply be a casualty of too many other options. The same goes for Ross Stripling, even though he is more likely to find himself in the bullpen and sooner, too.
There is already a plan in place to limit Urias’s innings as there should be. He is coming off a major shoulder surgery and should be capped around 100-120 innings. The six-man rotation would only help that run smoothly and would limit his usage as a bullpen piece.
Dennis Santana/Dustin May/Tony Gonsolin
All three of these young arms could fill in at any time for the big club. May and Gonsolin looked fantastic this spring, in particular. Should anyone fall to injury, any of these three could present viable replacements.
The Dodgers have already proven that they are fine with carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position players, which is somewhat unorthodox for a National League club. However, this would only enable the six-man rotation idea to work effectively.
We have arguably the deepest rotation as an asset, why not unleash its full potential?
What do you think? Should the Dodgers deploy a six-man rotation? Let us know!