Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Review: Rotation

Aside from Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' rotation -- despite posting decent numbers -- was generally underwhelming in 2012. September was actually the pitching staff's best month, but even if the Dodgers had made the playoffs, they didn't have the starting pitching to hang with the big boys.

Dodgers' rotation by the numbers
56-56 W-L
3.41 ERA
1.25 WHIP
8.2 H/9
0.8 HR/9
3.0 BB/9
7.5 K/9
2.51 K/BB
2 CG, 2 SHO (both by Kershaw)


Clayton Kershaw
14-9, 2.53 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 6.7 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 2.89 FIP
- Kershaw wasn't as dominant as he was in 2011, but he wasn't as far off those numbers as some would lead you to believe. Kershaw still led the majors in ERA for a second consecutive season and led the majors in hits per nine innings. He also led the National League in WHIP. His slider wasn't nearly as good a pitch as it was in 2011, but his fastball improved and he made his curveball a great weapon again. In fact, his curveball was nearly twice as good as it's ever been. He was the Dodgers' most consistent performer and should take home team MVP honors (for what it's worth).
Grade: A

Chad Billingsley
10-9, 3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 8.9 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 2.7 BB/9, 7.7 K/9, 3.34 FIP
- Billingsley had just hit his stride before injuring his elbow in late August. It was the second time he hurt his elbow. This time, it might mean Tommy John surgery. He emerged as the Dodgers' second-best pitcher and would have been a big help in September. He had a career-low walks per nine rate and a career-best strikeout-to-walk ratio. Let's just hope his elbow recovers well enough for him to pitch in 2013. I'd be surprised if it does, though.
Grade: B

Chris Capuano
12-12, 3.72 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.5 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 7.4 K/9, 3.95 FIP
- Capuano was brought in to help alleviate the loss of Hiroki Kuroda, and he did an admirable job doing so. He scored career-bests in ERA, WHIP and hits per nine innings. He pitched so well that he garnered some All-Star consideration from some. I wasn't appalled by his signing, but I was still wanting Kuroda to return. He was consistent in the first half before seemingly running out of gas in the second half.
Grade: B-

Aaron Harang
10-10, 3.72 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 8.7 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 4.3 BB/9, 6.6 K/9, 4.14 FIP
- Harang, all things being equal, was reasonably adequate for the Dodgers this season. We all remember his Dodger record nine consecutive strikeouts, but that's about all we remember. Harang's walks per nine innings and walk-to-strikeout ratio were not in line with his career numbers, accounting for a high WHIP. He's a prime candidate to be traded or sent to the bullpen come 2013.
Grade: C

Joe Blanton
2-4, 4.99 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 10.3 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 2.5 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 4.26 FIP
- Blanton came over in an August trade that sent Ryan O'Sullivan to the Phillies. I was actually a fan of this deal when it went down (though, I would have rather kept O'Sulivan), but Blanton struggled in his 10 starts as a Dodger. He's a free agent and I'd be surprised if he was re-signed.
Grade: D

Nathan Eovaldi
1-6, 4.15 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 10.1 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 3.2 BB/9, 5.4 K/9, 4.11 FIP
- Eovaldi began the season in Double-A -- just as he did last season -- and was recalled to fill a rotation void. He was decent in his second go-round with the Dodgers before he was traded with Scott McGough for Hanley Ramirez. Eovaldi pitched similarly in Florida, but there's still a lot of promise left in his 22-year-old arm.
Grade: C

Ted Lilly
5-1, 3.14 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 6.7 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 5.7 K/9, 3.92 FIP
- Lilly got off to a fast start before suffering what would end up being a season-ending shoulder injury in May. Before allowing eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in his last start of the season, Lilly owned a 1.79 ERA and had clearly established himself as the Dodgers' third starter. He had shoulder surgery and his status for 2013 is unknown.
Grade: B-

Josh Beckett
2-3, 2.93 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 9.0 H/9, 1.0 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 8.0 K/9, 3.61 FIP
- Beckett came over with something to prove. I'm not sure he did, but he pitched reasonably well in his one-plus month with the Dodgers. Beckett is a wild card for the Dodgers. He could be the Dodgers' No. 3 starter Opening Day.
Grade: B

Stephen Fife
0-2, 2.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 8.4 H/9, 0.7 HR/9, 4.1 BB/9, 6.8 K/9, 4.14 FIP
- Fife, a surprise addition to the 40-man roster prior to the season, actually made some meaningful starts for the Dodgers and didn't get shelled. That qualifies as a successful season for the 25-year-old righty. Fife used a lot of smoke and mirrors to get through his starts as he didn't miss many bats.
Grade: C+

Next up: Outfielders

Photo credits
Kershaw: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue
Eovaldi: EephusBlue, Paint the Corners

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