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The 2011 Dodgers Starting Rotation

The 2011 Dodgers Starting Rotation

The Dodgers Big Five

I feel more confidence in the Dodgers 2011 starting rotation than any other Dodger starting rotation in the past several years.  Barring injury or alien possession, the Starting Five should be very good.  While not the best in all of baseball (at least not now, not on paper), this group has to be in the discussion as to the TOP 5 Rotations in baseball.  I did not say that they were TOP 5, I said that they had to be in that discussion… and they very well could be top 5.  Period!  Some people seem to discount Ted Lilly, but listen to what Roger Schlueter of MLB.com has to say about Ted Lilly:

It will be interesting to see what Lilly can do in a full season with Dodger Stadium as his home ballpark (he’s 4-3 with a 3.90 ERA and WHIP below one in 10 career appearances there). Since coming to the NL in 2007, Lilly has been one of the more valuable pitchers in the NL. By WAR, he is ninth in the NL since ’07. WAR is an acronym for Wins Above Replacement, or the number of wins the player added to the team above what a replacement player would add.

Giants righty Tim Lincecum heads that list with an 18.7 WAR; he’s followed by Roy Oswalt (17.5 WAR), Matt Cain (16.9), Adam Wainwright (16.9) and Ubaldo Jimenez (15.5).

That’s an interesting stat.  Especially interesting since the Dodgers are counting on him to just be a number 4 starter.  That stat suggests that he is capable of pitching like a number 2.  But he’s the Dodger’s #4 (maybe #3 – depends upon how they are slotted).

The Dodgers starters will probably rank like this:

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Chad Billingsley
  3. Hiroki Kuroda
  4. Ted Lilly
  5. Jon Garland

Jon Garland was the opening day starter for the Padres last year and the Dodgers will have their 2010 Opening Day starter (Vicente Padilla) in the pen.  That’s a formidable Five (Six), especially if the 1, 2 Starters continue their maturation.   This is a team that should have a better bullpen, if for no reason other than less use.  It would not be unexpected to me if Kershaw and Billingsley both had “breakout” years.  Lilly, Kuroda and Garland are all solid pitchers capable of 200 innings and double figures+ in wins.  This should be a fun rotation to watch.  We’ll discuss the bullpen later.

Dodger Notes:

  • Non-Roster Invitees to Spring Training include Pitchers Rubby De La Rosa, Dana Eveland,  Wilkin De La Rosa, Jon Huber, Oscar Villareal, Tim Redding and Roman Colon, Infielders Dee Gordon, Juan Castro, Justin Sellers, and Eugenio Velez, Outfielders Trent Oeltjen and Jerry Sands and Catchers JD Closser and Damaso Espino.  I can’t imagine any of them making the team (except maybe DeLaRosa with a super spring), but you never know.  They are mostly “organizational Depth” except for Gordon, Sands and DeLaRosa.
  • Ramona Shelburne of ESPN/Losangeles has an excellent piece on Trayvon Robinson.  T-Rob has the makings of a solid CF.
  • Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com reports that the Dodgers are close to signing Marcus “Iron Glove/Slow Foot”  Thames and that they have interest in Eric Chavez (we already know he’s supposed to try out on Jan 20th) and Gabe “A RH Kirk Gibson Minus the Bat” Kapler.  This should be interesting…  I’ll comment if/when it actually happens.

UPDATE: I guess the Thames deal HAS happened. Tony Jackson says that it is a done deal, pending a physical and that a Gabe Kapler signing is close.  Thames and Gibbons in LF could be the worst-fielding duo in baseball, but have 40 HR potential (or 4 HR potential, who the heck knows?).    Kapler would be a great clubhouse presence, but is a real long-shot to make the team if he is signed.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

5 Responses to “The 2011 Dodgers Starting Rotation”

  1. Ty says:

    More like 25 hr potential. Thames might get some ab’s at first as well. Not bad power from gibbons and Thames but neither will post a good obp and both are atrocious with the glove.

  2. Gonzo says:

    I like our rotation better than our line up.
    It just sucks that colleti takes a year to address our needs properly.

  3. Idaho al says:

    I agree with you Mark. Our starting five could be one of the best in baseball. I especially like Padilla in the bullpen. I think he will throw in the high 90′s. Also, I think Billingsley could have a very good year. I think he finally figured out how to pitch. I like the coaching staff except for Honeycutt. I still am not a Honeycutt fan. I think Broxton has talent, but was just left to fail last year. I think we could have a very good starting five and an excellent bullpen. I cannot wait until spring training starts.

  4. GoNzO says:

    Who’s this other Gonzo? Can you put a #2 after your name?

  5. Bobby says:

    i really liked ramona shelborne’s article on t-rob.

    that’s one guy i’d LOVE to see win a job in spring training

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