Kershaw, Puig And Urias Highlight Dodgers’ 2015 ZiPS Projections

Clayton Kershaw

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Along with a more well-rounded offensive unit, the Dodgers should continue to produce dominant pitching performances on a regular basis. It starts off with reigning Cy Young and MVP winner Clayton Kershaw, who earned himself a Sandy Koufax comparison. Kershaw’s ERA projects to skyrocket all the way up to 2.17, so something’s may be wrong with the system.

Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu should continue to provide two more good arms at the top of the rotation, with each projected to produce a strong ERA with plenty of strikeouts and few walks. The rest of the rotation is somewhat up in the air.

Brandon McCarthy, signed to a four-year deal last month, is projected to post a 3.83 ERA in 166.2 innings in 2015.

That may not look great on its face, but he should continue striking batters out at his 2014 rate while issuing minimal walks. McCarthy’s biggest obstacle is keeping the ball inside the yard. Fifth starter Brett Anderson only got 55.1 innings out of ZiPS, mainly due to the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 45 innings since 2011. When healthy, though, he figures to be a very good No. 5 man.

The most surprising name to pop up near the top of the list was Julio Urias. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here — Urias likely will not pitch in the Majors in 2015. However, the fact that the system liked him so much to rank him sixth on the Dodgers’ staff as an 18-year-old just goes to show how special he could be. And his top comparison is early Randy Johnson. So, no pressure, kid.

Kenley Jansen heads the improved bullpen, as he figures to have another dominating season. The second reliever on the list is a surprise — Yimi Garcia. Another September callup, Garcia was hot and cold in his debut, showing a pair of Major-League quality pitches but also surrendering a pair of homers in 10 innings.

The 24-year-old is a longshot to make the bullpen out of Spring Training, but should be first in line to replace an injured reliever. Another recent acquisition, Chris Hatcher, figures to be one of the Dodgers’ better bullpen options.

Another converted catcher, Hatcher had a good year in 2014, striking out 9.64/9 with a 3.38 ERA and 2.56 FIP. He throws plenty hard and could find his way into a setup role sometime in the not-too-distant future.

The overall impression is that this is a very deep club with very few holes. Health will be key in 2015, but there are plenty of capable backups in case injuries hit. Dodgers fans should be in for another competitive season.

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