Dodgers 2018 spring training primer: Starting rotation
As the Dodgers head toward the first workout of spring training on Feb. 14, we are providing breakdowns of how they stand with their roster by position groups. This week, the starting rotation:
For the second season in a row, the Dodgers lost their ace, Clayton Kershaw, to a back injury that sidelined him for weeks. And, for the second season in a row, it didn’t really matter. Buoyed by the midseason addition of Yu Darvish, the Dodgers’ uncommon depth allowed them to absorb the loss of top prospect Julio Urias to shoulder surgery as well and still finish with the lowest rotation ERA (3.39) in the majors.
HOW IT LOOKS RIGHT NOW
Though he remains unsigned, Darvish won’t be back – he is too expensive for the Dodgers’ prime directive (get the payroll under the luxury tax threshold). But the rotation remains fully stocked with Kershaw, Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda and Hyun-Jin Ryu all back. Young arms Walker Buehler, Brock Stewart and Dennis Santana represent the depth with Tom Koehler and Ross Stripling (ticketed for the bullpen now) as starting options if the Dodgers get needy.
THE NEXT LAYER
For the second year in a row, the Dodgers anticipate integrating one of the top pitching prospects in baseball into their rotation. It didn’t go very well last year – Urias struggled until undergoing shoulder surgery which will sideline him until (optimistically) the second half of the 2018 season. This year’s model is Buehler. The 23-year-old right-hander got a taste of the big leagues as a September cal-lup, making eight appearances out of the bullpen. He figures to be in the Dodgers’ rotation at some point in 2018, but the Dodgers will handle him with care – he had Tommy John surgery shortly after being taken in the first round of the […]