Dodgers 25-Man Roster: The Current State of the Starting Rotation

(Mandatory Credit: David Goldman/AP)

When considering all the injuries the original starting rotation of the Dodgers has suffered so far this season, somebody unfamiliar with the team would probably think the club is doomed to defeat, not having a chance to hang around in its respective division race. However, in reality, the complete opposite may be true. In fact, with all the arms that are present in the current rotation mix, Los Angeles may have a better chance of success right now than they’ve had all year.

Depending on how staff ace Clayton Kershaw emerges on his return to the bump Thursday afternoon, the Dodgers could find themselves walking away with a series win over a tough Philadelphia club. The Los Angeles players should be confident with Kersh back on the hill as the offense hopes to maintain its momentum from its eight-run burst on Wednesday. Regardless of the bats, though, Kersh’s performance could very well be a bit of a precursor in determining the future landscape of the starting pitching crew.

Righty Ross Stripling has been lights-out since shifting into the rotation at the end of April. Undeniably, he’s been throwing better than any of the Dodgers’ starters, as he has put together an outstanding 1.68 ERA and 2.16 FIP on the season. Strip pitched so well on Wednesday evening that he even garnered a few gracious words from Philadelphia skipper Gabe Kapler.

“Sometimes you have to tip your cap to the opposition,” Kapler said after Wednesday’s game. “Striping was tremendous. He kept us off-balance all night. He mixed his pitches well. The cutter-slider thing was working really effectively. He mixed it with the curveball. He was good. He was on his game. We had trouble making the adjustment.”

And not to be overlooked is young right-hander Walker Buehler. If it wasn’t for Stripling’s recent string of success, the 23-year-old Buehler would probably be the talk of the town. Having now made seven starts on the year, the Kentucky native is sporting a 3-1 record with a 2.20 ERA and an even more impressive 2.14 FIP over 50-1/3 innings of work with 60 punchouts. There are rumblings of scaling back Buehler’s innings at some point during the year, but the way he’s throwing currently, it’s probably unwise to schedule any type of hiatus in the near future.

What’s even more exciting is the arrival of 22-year-old flamethrower Dennis Santana. Initially believed to be brought up for duties out of the bullpen, it’s becoming more likely that Santana could slot into the starting rotation sometime this weekend at Colorado. While a big league debut at Coors Field may seem a bit ominous to some, many believe that Santana gives the club a much better chance of winning over righty swing man Brock Stewart,

Furthermore, Alex Wood has shown  several flashes of his 2017 self this season, and if he’s able to put together any type of consistency during the coming months, could conceivably elevate the Dodgers’ rotation into the top handful in baseball. That’s quite the feat considering that three-fifths of the Opening Day rotation is now on the shelf with injuries.

Even if Kenta Maeda‘s hip keeps him out of action for a longer period than expected, a starting five of Kersh, Wood, Buehler, Santana and Stripling does not sound shabby in the least. With the summer months and the trade deadlines quickly approaching, the Dodgers undoubtedly are in a position to put together a productive stretch and take control of the division, especially if the bullpen continues to make strides.


14 thoughts on “Dodgers 25-Man Roster: The Current State of the Starting Rotation

  1. Was worried they were gonna start Santana, but not because of where he was making his official big-league debut. They’ve already pulled him out of his normal routine much like they did Stewart prior so I’m holding my breath and praying that it doesn’t affect his outing this upcoming weekend. Speaking of Stewart, I don’t want to see him back up again until the training staff gets a REALLY good look at him physically. His stuff should be near-frontline level, but for some reason it’s backed up so much to the point where it’s no better than your generic 6th starter/long man. Now I’m truly wondering if he’s been pitching with an undisclosed arm injury all this time still…


  2. Dodgers announce that Kershaw will have an MRI on his back. That would explain the reduced velo tonight. At this rate, we’ll probably see Santana, Banuelos and Ferguson in our rotation shortly. Suddenly CK is getting less likely to opt out which would save Friedman the quandary as to whether to pay up on re-signing him. In other interesting news, Edwin Jackson just opted out of his minor league deal with the Nats. We can bring him back along with Hanley. Old timers day every day!


  3. Been on vacation for a week, man things can sure change around here in a hurry. Who the hell is valera, and where did he come from?


    1. You have to pay closer attention Keith. 🙂 He’s a guy who has hit well in the minors and can play a number of positions but hasn’t had much exposure in the majors. For whatever reason the Cards dfa’d him at the beginning of this season and we traded a good field-no hit low minors guy for him (Mieses). And now you know.


  4. Most of those Dodgers left standing are behind their projections and with the starting staff appearing so fragile one has to wonder what Plan’s B and C look like. 538 currently projects us 3rd in the NL to win the WS, behind the Nats and Cubs, but behind the Nats, Cubs, Cards, Brewers, dbacks, Phillies and Braves in wins (84). We are not projected to win our Division – that is the dbacks, 36% to 33%. Weird. It’s like the numbers don’t know what to do with us.

    Personally I wonder at what odds do we become sellers in July. If we remain behind those 7 teams in wins, are still behind them in odds to make the playoffs, what does FAZ do?

    It’s going to be a wild ride from here to July 31st.


    1. I would be totally shocked to see FAZ sell in July but let’s assume it happens. Who would you try to move other than Grandal and Forsythe? Puig, Joc, Kemp? It certainly makes for interesting discussion.


    2. Personally speaking, Kershaw’s back injury is pretty much the final nail in the coffin for the Dodgers contending this season and it was three years in the making to be honest. Sooner he gets the surgery over and done with, the better his chances of continuing to pitch for a big-league ballclub whether it’s still with the Dodgers or not. I’d be very disappointed if the front office geeks squad doesn’t start cutting bait with many of their expiring contracts leading up to the deadline for more farm depth. They’re still on schedule to make a deep postseason run in 2019 but they need to start preparing for the reality that it’s just not going to happen for them this year.

      As of now, Grandal remains their best trade chip. Dangle him in front of the Twins’ faces and see what they’re willing to give up from their farm to boost their starting C spot. Then see about dropping Puig, Ryu, Baez, Forsythe, and even Hill’s names out there just for the hell of it. Much as I like how Kemp’s been performing this season, I wouldn’t hesitate to ship him out if he’s willing to play for a legit contender this year and I KNOW there’s quit a few AL clubs out there that could certainly use his services right now…


  5. CK – You’re assuming this is something serious, where it might just be something that happened because he hadn’t thrown that much in awhile and he might be back next week. If, however, you’re right and it is serious, the Dodgers have actually had a better winning percentage for the last 3 years with Kershaw on the DL than they have with him on the active roster. Saw that stat somewhere yesterday and was amazed.
    Selling – With the exception of Grandal and possibly Kemp, they really don’t have much to sell. Ryu won’t be back before the trade deadline. Hill is constantly injured and has a big contract remaining. Considering how much we all love Baez, what kind of prospect would you give up for him? Not much. Forsythe hasn’t hit since he got here. He won’t bring back anything. Joc and Puig have lots of unfulfilled potential but I don’t think anyone is going to give up much to get them because……………………….they have lots of unfulfilled potential which may never be realized. I really hope Bellinger finds whatever he’s lost between last year and this but we don’t know that will happen. CT3 may prove to be an asset but may never be as good as last year. We need to go out and find a proven major league bat to put in the middle of our lineup, whether that be in July or during the winter, or we may not go anywhere next year either. Machado and Harper will be available. Assuming that we’d offer them as much as anyone else, would they want to play here? Time will tell.


    1. You still don’t get it, do you? It’s not necessarily about what this current Dodger team has to offer other clubs for top value in return. It’s about stockpiling DEPTH, period. That’s the one thing I will humbly admit this current front office does better than anyone else out there. You’re thinking like the Dodgers are still in contention this year for some reason (lol). I already brought this up before on here, this is actually the perfect year for the Dodgers to shed salary and pump up the farm in the process in preparation for next year’s eventual postseason run. If I were them, I wouldn’t wait until July to start doing it either. No time like the present to get done what you don’t have to put off for the tomorrow that may never come for that matter.

      And yeah, Kershaw should be fortunate that he’s not as important to the team’s chances of winning than he might have thought all those years he’s been with them. Still praying he opts out at season’s end and not just so the front office can use that money to lure one of those two coveted free agents that will be available this upcoming winter. Even when he’s 100%, this team just doesn’t back him up offensively on a consistent basis. You can bet he’s gonna factor that into his decision if he hasn’t by now…


  6. Thanks for the update Jeff, I remember Mieses’ name but completely missed us bringing Valera in. Manuel, you may be right, but nobody is running away with division yet, so I think it’s a little early to put the “ for sale” sign up. Plus I don’t think this front office will throw in the towel, they will try to tinker with the roster until they find something that works. Jeff I agree about bringing in a proven bat, I think it would take the pressure off of some off these guys, some of them seem to be trying to do to much.


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