Additional Thoughts on the Prospective 2020 Starting Rotation

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No matter how you stack up all the pitchers involved in the landscape of the Dodgers‘ 2020 starting rotation, the fact remains that aside from two or three key pieces, almost anything is possible in the days leading up to Opening Day on March 26.

According to the depth chart models on several outlets, the front four of the Los Angeles rotation right now might consist of Walker BuehlerClayton KershawKenta MaedaJulio Urias and one of either Alex WoodJimmy Nelson, Dustin MayTony Gonsolin or Ross Stripling as the fifth starter. With that grouping, it gives the team nine legitimate arms from which to build a front five, plus who knows how many reputable arms joining the crew before the summer trade deadline at the end of July.

Indeed, there are plenty of fans who have expressed their disappointment over the prospect of a substandard rotation, specifically since the team was unable to sign any of the superstars at the forefront of the early free agent market. Nevertheless, based on overall rankings in previous seasons, the Dodgers’ starting crews seem to finish in the Top 5 staffs across the league perennially, thanks in part to its solid corps of young arms.

Admittedly, based on the inexperience of Buehler and Urias, the amount of wear and tear on Kersh’s arm, the lack of late-season endurance by Maeda, and the injury histories of Wood and Nelson, there’s certainly the possibility for disappointment. At the same time, considering the amount of potential and pure ability in the aforementioned list, there definitely lies the chance the Dodgers once again flaunt one of the best staffs in the National League.

One thing that stands out to me is the fact that both Nelson and Wood have no options remaining on their respective contracts, potentially setting up situations where either May or Gonsolin—or somebody else—are blocked from the big league roster.

I’ve always been in support of having the five best arms in the organization making up the big league starting rotation, but along those same lines, I’m even in more support of having those five arms being at the peak of their games by the time the playoffs roll around in autumn. If that means that one or two of the big guns begin the season in the minors, then so be it. The only problem with that theory is that MLB experience is extremely valuable for the development of the youngsters, specifically when considering the career paths of Urias, May and Gonsolin.

Front-office boss Andrew Friedman will certainly be masterful in utilizing the injury list to keeps his starting arms fresh and distributing starts to mostly everyone, despite of all the new rules which have been introduced. Moreover, several of the arms mentioned above will begin the season in the big league bullpen. Still, the fact that May, who conceivably might have one of the highest ceilings in the organization, could start the year in the minors regardless of how he pitches during 2020 Cactus League play, could be a bit disconcerting.

Either way, it should be very interesting to see the front five starting pitchers that emerge once the smoke clears on spring training.

Stay tuned.



31 thoughts on “Additional Thoughts on the Prospective 2020 Starting Rotation

  1. I am beginning to think that maybe they might accede to the wishes of Maeda and trade him sometime this year. Especially if he does no show a little more aggressiveness as a starter. He is the one piece of the puzzle that has expressed disappointment with the FO. Also when Wood is added, someone has to go.

  2. Here’s a novel idea. – 6 man rotation. In effect we do it every year. 27 starts for everybody. Or 26 with a few Openers.

    1. ‘ll let you be the one to tell Kershaw he’s now part of a 6-man rotation. What if they try a tandem grouping: Wood starts, goes 3-4 innings, followed by Nelson who goes 3-4 innings, and then the back end relief guys. It would be planned that way before the game even starts.

      1. That’s what is meant by Opener Jefe.

        I’ll tell Kershaw. He gets nearly the same number of starts he usually gets AND the same number of innings. He hasn’t had 30 starts for the last 4 years. It’s for his own good and the good of the team.

  3. According to reports Cora’s leaving was a mutual decision. But he will not avoid what ever MLB has in store for him.

      1. He will spend some time at an island resort and be back to work this time next year. Maybe sooner.

      2. I’ll be surprised if he isn’t suspended for more than a year and I also think that these guys are going to be tainted. I’m not so sure people will be rushing to hire them in the future. There are lots of others who would happily take those jobs. Cora is going to be seen as the prime wrong doer here so it might be hands off on him. I would expect Hinch to manage again but it might take a few years. Luhnow will not work in MLB again..

      3. Probably the case, but now what Cora was quoted as saying. He is just waiting for Manfred to drop the hammer on him sometime in the very near future.

    1. To put one of the ring leaders in charge of a team is absolutely ludicrous. Hinch tried (a little) to voice his displeasure and gets suspended and fired. Beltran is one of the main perpetrators. He gets a total pass and is hired to be a manager.

      1. This is why I think Manfred is devoid of cojones. If he had any at all, Beltran, even though he co-operated with MLB during the investigation should have received some sort of punishment, but he plea bargained himself into receiving none.

  4. Let’s hold out hope that the Mets will show some integrity, eat Beltrans contract, and fire his butt.
    We will see what kind of organization they are by their actions, or inaction.

  5. Like I said yesterday, the bosox are two time offenders, they got a slap on the wrist over the Apple Watch thing, we know Cora, and Dombrowski are going to get suspended, I hope the team gets a harsher penalty than the Astros did

    1. I doubt they will. Cora is the one who will most likely pay the stiffest price. A lot of people are calling for a lifetime ban.

  6. I really think Kersh is at the point in his career where winning the ring is more important than personal stats. In this day and age he has been the most dominant pitcher in the league. He is no longer that guy, but he still is very good, and probably better than at least 60 percent of the starters out there. All he really needs to do is solve the long ball problem. He gave up a ton, and a lot of them put the team in an early hole. That back foot slider of his is devastating, and he needs to rely on his curve more than he has lately. His fastball is just not getting it done.

    1. Steamer has him projected at 14-9 with 200 innings and a 3.5 ERA. That’s not bad for a guy with as much wear on his body as he has.

      I could be wrong but I still think everyone involved will serve their time and be back. Even Nixon Ulysses S Grant and King Edward the IV made comebacks. If those guys can do it so can these guys.

      1. I hear they’re considering Edward as Luhnow’s replacement. Just not sure if he’s into analytics enough.

    2. When I spoke to CK recently, he told me he would be working on using more curve balls this year and making sure there were fewer trash cans throughout MLB.

      1. Let me give you the political spin, Kershaw is anti-environment because he wants less trash cans throughout the MLB, lol.

        It is a total shame that Manfred allows the titles to stand, so typical of MLB. Cheaters never have their titles or records strickened, but the fans hearts are sickened. It really Just Doesn’t Matter!

      2. Baseball history is fraught with cheaters, liars and scoundrels. Who that has played the game has not attempted to steal signs? I know I did. Scuffed balls, pine tar, spitballs, corked bats, drug use, alcoholics, wife beaters, wife swappers. For the most part people just accept it because that’s the way it is. We accept A LOT of miscreant behaviors don’t we? We are a forgiving lot of suckers.

        Kershaw will spin it better this year. He’s smart, he’s determined and he’s a hard worker. I think he will remain our #1. Sure wish he had a Strasburg like change up.

        I see good things out of our staff this year. Kershaw, Buehler, Maeda will be solid 1-3. May and Urias both with 20+ starts. Stripling will contribute 110 innings of 3.65. Gonsolin may end up starting several games. I think Ferguson could start. He could certainly open. Nelson is listed on the depth chart as a starter. Why not? 75 innings of 4.0. I say we lead the league in pitching – again.

  7. Hey Badger, you left out your prediction for Wood, He definitely will be in the starting 5, or is that starting 6, or starting 7?

      1. 6 guys with 130 is the same as 5 with 156. Frankly if it’s at all possible I would prefer limiting Kershaw somewhat. The 200 innings projected makes me nervous about his ability to finish with a 7th game complete game shutout in November. Like I projected for him in the past, he can pitch 150 innings and put up 5 WAR. He’s done it before. We have enough offense to allow a few near 4 ERA guys to make several starts. Let’s not burn out our postseason starters by September. We’ve got starting depth, let’s use it.

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