When the Dodgers began their regular season campaign last year, starting pitching was at such a premium that the best five pitchers on the club weren’t even in the Opening Day rotation. Lefty phenom Julio Urias began the year in extended spring training in an effort to conserve innings, while southpaw Alex Wood was forced to start his year in the big league bullpen. There was also a ton of marginal depth with arms like Brock Stewart and Trevor Oaks on the fringe, and experienced guys like Justin Masterson, Wilmer Font, Fabio Castillo and Jair Jurrjens providing depth at Triple-A Oklahoma City. There was even hope for Scott Kazmir to join the major league rotation at some point, once his ailing hip healed and he sharpened his throwing mechanics.
As most Triple-A rosters normally don’t start taking shape until later in the spring when the big league squads become firm, it’s probably a bit too early to take a stab at guessing Oklahoma City‘s 2018 Opening Day starting pitching rotation. However, with the departure of veterans Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir last weekend, the major league rotation is developing earlier than usual, giving us at least some kind of idea as to how most of the system’s starting pitchers fit onto the organizational ladder.
While the Dodgers left the 2017 Winter Meetings with only a consolation prize of a mid-level infield prospect, many fans have taken to social media to express their respective concerns heading into 2018, especially in the area of the bullpen. It took several years for the team to finally find a competent setup man in Brandon Morrow, yet the veteran righty was able to walk away from Los Angeles and land a lucrative deal with the Cubs for the next several seasons. Andrew Friedman and his troops seem fairly confident in the internal relief options heading into 2018 spring training, but questions loom as to whether the impending bullpen will be talented enough to help guide the squad into next season’s playoff picture.
Very rarely is an entire Double-A starting pitching rotation filled with players who have the potential of landing in the big leagues. Yet, the 2017 Tulsa Drillers had that type of talent and much, much more. After the promotion of several key members to Triple-A Oklahoma City, the organization brought in another handful of starters from High-A Rancho Cucamonga—a group who unbelievably may have had more talent than the original starting crew.
With the hot stove season and baseball’s winter meetings inching ever so closer, there has been a huge amount of chatter and speculation among followers of the Dodgers surrounding potential trades or the addition of a few free agents. But while the squad will indeed have a slightly different look come spring, there’s a pretty good chance that management builds the 25-man roster from the existing framework within the organization. Last week, general manager Farhan Zaidi addressed the media, stating that he thinks the roster won’t need much work.
All week long, most of the discussions around the Dodgers blogosphere have been surrounding the impending 25-man roster for the upcoming NLDS. While the majority of the key decisions certainly have already been made, there are a few spots which have come down to the final series of the regular season, with a few of them involving the prospective starting rotation and bullpen. Unfortunately for the pitchers doing the auditioning, Coors Field isn’t exactly the ideal spot to plead a case.
Buehler will wear uniform No. 64.
September looks different for these Dodgers, very different. Within the first week of the month, the Boys in Blue have not looked like their normal selves, as the pitching and offense have not been at their usual championship-worthy levels. Don’t get used to it, though, because before you know it, the Dodgers will hit their stride again and we’ll go back to being amazed with their caliber of play.
It’s that time of the year again — the point when all of those who follow the Dodgers farm system can sit back and watch the best prospects in the organization deservedly reel in the many end-of-season awards from their respective leagues across the minors.
The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon named right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year and catcher Keibert Ruiz as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.