Los Angeles Dodgers: Best Rotation in Baseball?

The Los Angeles Dodgers (besides possibly the Athletics after their blockbuster trade), could possibly have the best starting 5 in baseball. Between their rotation, relievers, a 51-40 record, a high-powered offense, and, according to a study done by Bleacher Report, the 3rd most Pitcher-Friendly Park in the majors (1st in terms of ERA), this is one of the most dangerous teams in the entire league.

Let’s break down the Starting 5 one-by-one and see how truly filthy each pitcher has been.

Let’s start with the most obvious choice, one of the best pitchers in the game for many years to come.

Clayton Kershaw

10-2
87.1 IP
1.85 ERA
0.87 WHIP
115/12 K/BB Ratio
13 Games Started

After just one start on opening day in Australia,  Kershaw missed a little over a month with a back injury to begin the season. He came off the 15-Day DL on May 6th, and besides a few rocky starts, he hasn’t missed a beat. He currently has a scoreless inning streak all the way up to 36, just 23 innings (about 3 starts for Kershaw’s standards) away from tying Orel Hershiser‘s 59 scoreless innings streak in ’88. He’s still easily the most dominant pitcher in the game, and if he did not miss the first month of the season, he’d be right at the top of the Cy Young ballot, and maybe even the MVP one as well.

Zack Greinke

11-4
111.2 IP
2.66 ERA
1.18 WHIP
119/22 K/BB Ratio
18 Games Started

Greinke has been as dominant as any pitcher in the Majors this year. Although he has been giving up the long ball, as he’s given up 12 so far after only giving up 13 all of last year, he still has maintained an ERA under 3. With his FIP at 3.02, and his highest strikeout rate since 2011 (9.6 this year), the 30-year-old Greinke looks ready to pitch against any team that comes his way.

 

Hyun-Jin Ryu

9-4
96.1 IP
3.08 ERA
1.19 WHIP
81/19 K/BB Ratio
16 Games Started

Ryu has been a story of consistency so far in his two years in LA, with an almost identical ERA the past two years, the same exact HR/9, K/9, fewer W/9, and very similar H/9. His FIP and WHIP are also lower this year, over halfway through the 2014 season. He’s on pace to surpass his win total from last year also, finishing 14-8 last year. The 255-Pound Pitcher from South Korea is still just 27 years old, and looks to have a bright future based on his first two seasons.

 

Josh Beckett

6-5
103.2 IP
2.26 ERA
1.03 WHIP
95/32 K/BB Ratio
17 Games Started

After a nightmare 2013 season, including season-ending surgery after being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, Beckett, 34, has looked better than ever so far. Earlier this year, he became the oldest pitcher since Randy Johnson was 40 years old in ’04 to throw a no-hitter (Johnson’s was a perfect game). Beckett did so against the Phillies on May 25th, followed by Kershaw doing the same less than a month later against the Rockies. Beckett has had an up and down career, having 6 seasons with double-digit wins, and also 4 seasons with double-digit losses. It’s nice to see him back on the right track in his 3rd season with the Dodgers.

 

Dan Haren

8-5
108.2 IP
4.06 ERA
1.24 WHIP
77/19 K/BB Ratio
18 Games Started

Although Haren’s numbers don’t exactly pop out at you, the lower-4 ERA and 8 wins at a 4 or 5 spot in your rotation are all you can ask for. The 33-year-old joined the Dodgers this year and he hasn’t disappointed up to this point. Haren doesn’t throw hard, maxing out around the 90 MPH mark, mixed with a cutter and a curve, but he has fantastic control. With a career 3.76 ERA, and 137 wins, Haren looks to make it as a back-end starter for his now 6th team and help them make a playoff run.

There are a few other teams which you could argue that have a better rotation, yes, but I think the way the Dodgers are looking right now, their starting 5 is the most intimidating.

Feel free to comment if you disagree.

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