Why the Dodgers Should Use a Six Man Rotation

The Dodgers continue to boast one of the deepest rotations in all of Major League Baseball. Even though it is as deep as it is, it is no secret that nearly every member of the rotation has durability or injury concerns.

This is why a six-man rotation would be an ideal implement for the 2019 club’s current construct.

First, let’s take a look at the Dodgers’ current rotation options:

Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw has started the year on the Injured List and quite possibly will not return until the end of April. He has dealt with back injuries in the past, started off this year’s spring with some poor showings, and has seen drastic decreases in velocity and swinging strike rate. To preserve Kershaw’s arm and body, the six-man rotation would keep him healthier and quite possibly more effective heading into a potential playoff run.

Walker Buehler

Buehler saw an enormous innings increase from 2017 to 2018 and his 2019 workload could be tempered because of it. In 2017, he threw 98 professional innings and in 2018, he threw 153. That is a pretty large jump. An extreme innings limit is not even close to being necessary, but with the use of a six-man rotation, Buehler’s workload would downsize closer to 160 innings rather than 200. This would, of course, keep him healthy for that stretch run.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

In the past couple years this is what Ryu’s innings totals have looked like:

2015: 0

2016: 32 1/3

2017: 126 2/3

2018: 91 1/3

That is pretty disappointing, but could be countered by giving him extra rest. Ryu has been effective his entire career but has been sidelined more often than not. If Ryu could toss a fully healthy 130 innings, I am sure the Dodgers organization would be more than pleased.

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Rich Hill

He has a lengthy injury history, no question about it. In his past two seasons in LA, he has averaged just over 130 innings. Extra rest has typically benefited Hill as on normal rest he posted a 4.35 ERA opposed to a 3.45 ERA with an extra day. Something to keep in mind.

Kenta Maeda/Ross Stripling

Although he could inevitably find his way to the bullpen, Maeda is capable of giving innings. He has no injury concerns, but he could simply be a casualty of too many other options. The same goes for Ross Stripling, even though he is more likely to find himself in the bullpen and sooner, too.

Julio Urias

There is already a plan in place to limit Urias’s innings as there should be. He is coming off a major shoulder surgery and should be capped around 100-120 innings. The six-man rotation would only help that run smoothly and would limit his usage as a bullpen piece.

Dennis Santana/Dustin May/Tony Gonsolin

All three of these young arms could fill in at any time for the big club. May and Gonsolin looked fantastic this spring, in particular. Should anyone fall to injury, any of these three could present viable replacements.


The Dodgers have already proven that they are fine with carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position players, which is somewhat unorthodox for a National League club. However, this would only enable the six-man rotation idea to work effectively.

We have arguably the deepest rotation as an asset, why not unleash its full potential?

What do you think? Should the Dodgers deploy a six-man rotation? Let us know!

Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.


  1. The 6 man rotation would give Doc a lot of options along the long 162 game road. We have the depth. Let’s use it.

  2. No! The Dodgers should go to a 4 man rotation. It seems to me that pitchers get injured more now then they did when four man rotations were used. Maybe pitching more often will build up there endurance. The starter can pitch 6 innings and the 2 pitchers who don’t start be used for 3 innings. Now 5 relief pitchers should be available to be situational pitchers.

  3. In this day and age, durability and conditioning shouldn’t be an issue. Koufax, Drysdale and other starters completed 60+% of their starts. I think the advent of Club sports at an early age is the cause of physical breakdowns today. The demand on youngsters to concentrate year round on just one sport is both physically damaging as well as robbing these kids of the fun that should be childhood and growing up.

  4. Every athlete in the world is bigger, stronger and better trained and more durable. EXCEPT BASEBALL PITCHERS!!!! There is something wrong with this picture. Bt325 is right. Teach them to pitch and get them in conditioned to pitch. If you told drysdale or koufax they would get an extra day of rest and only pitch 6 innings they probably would have had ERA of somewhere between 0 and .75 it always amazes me that people try to compare Kersh and Koufax.

  5. The game has changed and you deal with what you have. I agree with the writer here in that we have a lot of very talented pitchers with histories of injury.

    As they want to limit Urias and should probably limit Kershaw, Hill and Buehler I would definitely put them on a 6 man rotation and save them for the postseason. Maeda and Ryu both have a history of pitching better with an extra days rest.

    A rotation of Kershaw, Ryu, Buehler, Maeda, Hill and Urais still gives us Stripling and Ferguson able to pitch long innings and as mentioned the Dodgers have Gonsolin, May and Santana to name a few that are fighting to get to the Majors.

    Great idea hope they do it…

  6. Yes and each starter to pitch 6 innings per start no more and one inning of relief in between starts instead of a wasted bullpen session. Thus the six starting pitchers cover 7 innings of most games.

  7. Starting pitcher doing well and is removed. Bullpen blows lead. Taylor strikes out, Dodgers lose. Who brought in the 2018 low light reel?

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