Dodgers’ Rotation Beginning to Take Form

The #3/#4 spots in the rotation figure to be occupied by the new additions of Kazmir and Maeda.

An 11-year veteran, Kazmir pitched well last year before fading off a little in the 2nd half. He finished the year at 7-11, with a 3.10 ERA, 1.208 WHIP, and 183 innings between the A’s and the Astros. He does have some injury history, but Kazmir has proven that he can be an effective starter when healthy. Over the last three seasons he has been — posting a 3.54 ERA. By comparison, Jeff Samardzija has a 4.09 ERA over that same timeframe.

An all-star in Japan, Maeda comes over and will be the only right-handed option in the rotation for the Dodgers. He went 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA, and 175 K’s last season with the Hiroshima Carp. Maeda doesn’t come in with the projected upside of someone like Yu Darvish or Masahiro Tanaka, and he won’t overpower many hitters with his 154lbs frame. Considering the Dodgers only need him to be a mid-rotation type guy, it seems like he could easily fill that role while possibly surprising some and exceeding expectations.

ICYMI: Dodgers, Scott Kazmir Make Sense for Each Other

Unless the Dodgers decide to go with a six man rotation (which a few teams actually began to employ last season), that leaves two starters, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood, for one spot in the rotation.

Anderson was signed last year to be the #5 starter and ended up being the 3rd most consistent pitcher behind Kershaw and Greinke. If he can pitch like that again, and stay injury-free, it seems like he would make an above-average 5th starter. Certainly comparable — if not preferable — to guys like Jake Peavey and Ruby De La Rosa.

Although Alex Wood struggled to find consistency last season, he’s still only 24 years old. The Dodgers are hoping he can regain his 2014 form, where he showed some signs of brilliance, finishing with a 2.78 ERA, 10th best in the NL. If so, he could definitely be a plus at the end of the rotation.

Brandon McCarthy is also projected to return around the All-Star break. Adding even more depth are guys like Bolsinger, Frias, and other minor league arms like Zach Lee.

Rich Crimi-Tulsa Drillers
Rich Crimi-Tulsa Drillers

Top prospects like Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, and Frankie Montas appear to be better bets for 2017 at this point, but Farhan Zaidi hasn’t completely ruled them out.

The Kansas City Royals won the World Series last year with Edinson Volquez and Chris Young as their #2/#3 starting pitchers. Granted, they had many other strengths (starting with that insane bullpen), but looking strictly at their starters, they help show that you can be successful without a rotation full of aces.

Assuming no additional moves are made before the start of next year (which is assuming a lot with this front office) the Dodgers starting rotation looks pretty good as is.  It may not be as flashy at the top as years past, but the added depth could prove to be a bigger benefit as the depth allows to allocate resources elsewhere on a more balanced roster.

NEXT: Geren Has High Praise for Roberts

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Brian Robitaille

Originally from Southern California, and currently stationed in Northern Virginia, Brian is a devoted Dodgers fan, and has been since he was a kid. He's an Active Duty member of the U.S Air Force, and has been serving for the last 16 years. While he loves all things sports related, and supports all his teams (Lakers, Steelers, L.A Kings, & USC) his true passion is the Dodgers, and loves writing about the boys in blue.


  1. Good points, and it is taking shape…I still think having 4 lefty’s in the rotation is not a great idea, but that is me. We will see how it all works out…..does make for interesting conversation though

  2. It was years back when every pitcher was’nt expected to  throw 94 mile an hour fastballs. I think if Ryu is heathy and Kazmir continue to get rightis out, our starters could surprise baseball. We all have seen pitchers with good off speed pitches make that 89 to 93 mile fastball look faster. I prefer pitchers not hard throwers. Look, Jamie Moyer couldn’t  break glass with his fastball, but pitched into his forties. Use our young fire ballers in short relief  first.

  3. Robert Hamilton None of these guys look like Jamie Moyer to me, but that being said, we need to see who is healthy and who is not…..Bolsinger did not and does not impress me one bit…didn’t when he was with Az either….

  4. Michael Norris Robert Hamilton my point was if a pitcher is crafty and effective , it doesn’t  matter if they are rightis or leties.I would love  to have four Kershaws.

  5. Robert Hamilton Robert I agree. That is why I like Montas as a BP guy. I am more concerned as we have all said with the starting line-up. The offense or lack there of than the pitching at this point. I think they picked up enough in the rotation to have enough to get them to 2017-2018 and that was their goal.
    I read that the surgery on Ryu was not related to the rotator cuff so the odds of a full and quick recovery are very high. The BP has some great young arms with Liberatore, Hatcher, Garcia, Baez Frias and others all fighting for a spot.
    But the offense is just down right scary. Who knows how Turner’s knee will recover? Grandal’s shoulder is a real concern. Which of the many Puig’s do we get? Can Etheir hit as well a year older? If they keep Crawford how much can they get out of him? He is incredibly injury prone. SVS will he hopefully improve to the guy we saw in 2014? The other huge question mark is Pederson will he adapt or be the same pig headed batter we saw in the second half flailing at unhittable outside pitches? And striking out far too many times and killing rallies. Where does Thompson fit in and is there room for him on the roster?
    Now that the market for 2nd basemen has dropped I would sign Kendrick. We can very much use his bat and 280-290 Avg. and he is a dependable defensive player. Also he is a solid clubhouse guy from all reports. I do not like Kike full time as I think we need him to sub for Turner and others.

  6. Tmaxster Robert Hamilton good point.  I don’t trust  the offense  at all. Seems the only positive  is we’re finish  with Rollins, and Seger takes over. And, oh yeah mattigly is gone. As bad as Rollins was hitting he refuse to play seager.

  7. Robert Hamilton  Tmaxster Yes the big gain is Seager over Rollins. But taking Kendrick out of the line up leaves a hole and I am curious who they will use to protect Gonzo. Turner had micro-surgery on knee so not confident in his immediate recovery.

  8. As usual nice report Brian. As the surgeons and therapists have said Ryu did not have surgery to the Rotator Cuff he should regain full potential in the Spring. The fact he was pitching with a bad shoulder and put up the numbers he did is encouraging for the long term. He is,when healthy a legit #2 look at his numbers. With a bad shoulder.! And he has done well in critical games and the playoffs. I think he matches up well with the other #2 starters out there. I agree with you in that there aren’t any Kerhsaw & Greinke type duos in the NL that I see.  There are some good ones but Kershaw, Ryu, Kasmir, Maeda and Anderson or Wood make a nice rotation. I believe Meada may surprose some people. 
    You do not have to throw the ball through a brick wall. It is all about deception, changing speed, location and ball height. Keeping the hitter out of rhythm. Greinke is a master of it. So was Maddux and he was did not have a plus 92 fastball. I like the numbers of Maeda. The incentive laden contract worked well with Anderson lets see how it does with Maeda and Kazmir is pitching for an opt out so huge incentive for him and Anderson… Looking for FA in 2017…
    It is all about the offense though

  9. Tmaxster I agree with you. I thought the same thing of Ryu. When I heard that there was no rotator  problem I was over joyed. When I speak of crafty pitchers Ryu is one. As you said a pitcher doesn’t  have to trow the ball through a wall to be effective. Today everyone wants 96 or 7 mile an our fastballs. But as you said, Maddux, Glavin, and my favorite  Catfish Hunter made a living getting people  out by what is called pitching, not trowing. And now we can see if our young arms can help the BP, and think of scoring  some runs.

  10. thanks Tmaxster. agree, some questions about the offence, particularly at 2nd base. Puig and Joc really need to step up next year. I think Seager will be a huge upgrade at SS though, and could have a big year.

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