It’s Actually Not Hard To Piece Together 162 Starts From This Rotation

Ideally, when you look at a rotation, you have five starters who are successful and healthy and last you all season, making their 32.4 starts. It doesn’t happen often — just three times this century has a team had five pitchers with at least 31 starts — but it’s not impossible. It’s the ideal. It’s the dream.

It’s sure as hell not going to happen for the 2016 Dodgers.

We should qualify that and say that it’s not going to happen for just about any other team, too, but it’s especially not going to happen for the 2016 Dodgers, partially by design and partially by circumstance. Wednesday’s unexpected return of Brandon Beachy gives the Dodgers 12 pitchers who have made a start in the last two years (not counting Yimi Garcia and his bullpen game) plus Kenta Maeda plus at least two prospects who could be ready in 2016.

So while you can absolutely quibble about whether the high-end talent is there without Zack Greinke, you absolutely cannot argue with the depth of this group, and that’s sort of the answer to “good lord, why is every pitcher they’re bringing in someone with a questionable medical history?” Last year, the Dodgers had starts from Scott Baker, David Huff, and Mat Latos. (I could have sworn Eric Surkamp did too, but he was just the long man in the bullpen game.) The year before, Roberto Hernandez, Red Patterson, Paul Maholm, and Kevin Correia. You can go on like that.

The hope, for 2016, is that you have enough depth to not have to resort to such things, because while you may not want all of these names out there for 30 starts, most of them are good enough that if you can patch together 8 good starts here and 12 starts there, suddenly you’ve got yourselves 162 games.

Let’s spitball this together:

33 – Clayton Kershaw
26 – Scott Kazmir
25 – Kenta Maeda
22 – Brett Anderson
18 – Alex Wood
10 – Hyun-jin Ryu
7 – Mike Bolsinger
7 – Brandon McCarthy
4 – Jose DeLeon
3 – Brandon Beachy
2 – Zach Lee
2 – Julio Urias
2 – Carlos Frias
1 – Ross Stripling

Now obviously, it’s not going to happen like that. Someone will get hurt, or maybe Ryu or McCarthy never make it back, or a million other things could happen, easily including in-season trades. No one goes into a season wanting 14 different guys to start. But you can kind of see it working. Kershaw’s obviously the horse at the top, and you get most of a 2/3/4 after, and while you’re getting a fifth starter out of duct tape and chewing gum, there’s obvious appeal to “a few starts from lots of guys with talent” rather than “lots of starts from a durable guy who isn’t very good.”

It’s not how you’d envision it, because little about this winter has been. Probably most importantly, this illustrates the different between six months of day in, day out regular season baseball (which this group is set up very well for) and short playoff series (which they could use help on). There’s a way this could work, though. Just keep throwing pitchers at the wall and see who sticks, I suppose.

About Mike Petriello

Mike Petriello
Mike writes about lots of baseball in lots of places, and right now that place is MLB.com.