The Los Angeles Dodgers have been one of the powerhouses of the National League over the past five seasons. They made the World Series twice in a row in 2017 and 2018, and were in the NLCS in 2016. Although they won 106 games last year, they were ousted in the NLDS last season by the eventual champion Washington Nationals.
Those 106 wins were a whopping 21 better than the NL West runner-up Arizona Diamondbacks. It is clear they are the powerhouse of their division, even more so after adding Mookie Betts. However, they have lost some pitchers that were crucial to their success in the offseason. Namely Hyun-Jin Ryu and Rich Hill.
Here is a look at what their rotation may be if the 2020 season is not fully canceled due to COVID-19.
1.) Clayton Kershaw
Clearly, Kershaw would the Day 1 starter for the Dodgers. He would likely be the Day 1 starter for most any team in the MLB.
Kershaw is an MVP, a three-time Cy Young winner, an eight-time All star, and the list goes on. His 2019 resulted in a 16-5 record, with a 3.03 ERA in 28 games started. However good these numbers seem, they were actually a step down from some of his previous seasons.
More than most any pitcher in the league, Kershaw is a bona fide top of the rotation player. He has earned his spot up there and, barring injury, will stay at the top of the Dodgers’ depth chart.
2.) Walker Buehler
Buehler had his coming out party in 2019.
The third-year Dodger had the best winning percentage in the MLB (.778), while earning a 14-4 record in 30 starts. He also tied for the league lead in complete games, with two. His ERA of 3.26 in 182.1 innings also earned Buehler his first All-Star selection.
While he was further down in the rotation in 2019, the departures of some veterans would probably earn him a number two spot in 2020. It sounds like a bold prediction considering some of the names on this list, but that is the extent to which Buehler has proven himself.
3.) David Price
The 34-year-old David Price will be celebrating his first year in Los Angeles if the 2020 season takes place. Coming over in the same deal that brought Mookie Betts to L.A., the Dodgers are taking on his big contract.
Price is owed $32,000,000 for the next three years, which makes placing him third in the rotation a hard decision. However, he had a noticeable decline in 2019, which featured the second-highest ERA of his career at 4.28. He also only got 22 starts last season, which is low for a work horse pitcher.
In defense of the placement here, Price is a lefty while Buehler is a righty. This makes the rotation go left-right-left for the first three pitchers. So placing him third is not solely out of fear of decline in production.
4.) Julio Urias
Urias was movied to the bullpen for the 2019 season after some stints in the minors and a surgery following a shoulder tear. In 2020, it was the plan that he would return to the starting rotation permanently for the first time since 2016.
In the bullpen, Urias appeared in 37 games, and only started eight. His ERA sat at 2.79, and he collected four saves. In his eight games started, he went 4-3. Urias should be excited for the 2020 season to start, as he has a chance to solidify his place in the rotation. Especially considering he and the Dodgers avoided arbitration with a new contract in the offseason.
5.) Alex Wood
2020 will be/would have been Alex Wood’s second stint with the Dodgers. After spending roughly 3.5 seasons in Los Angeles, he had a one-year layover in Cincinnati. Now, on a one-year, $4 million deal with his old team, he would round out the rotation.
2017 was Wood’s best year, as he went 16-3 in 25 games started, and led the league with a winning percentage of 84.2. Last year, he started in only seven games, going 1-3 with an ERA of 5.80. Clearly, the Dodgers believe reuniting Wood with his old staff will return him to form. Either way, past successes should place him in the starting rotation.
Featured Image courtesy of Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports
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