Monday, March 25, 2013

Har-ap-illy Ever After? Dodger Rotation Candidates

I decided to take a look at some of the guys fighting for...what are they fighting for?  I was going to say they were fighting for rotation spots with the Dodgers this season, but they really aren't.  The Dodgers' 1 through 5 will almost certainly be:
Clayton Kershaw
Zack Greinke
Hyun-Jin Ryu
Chad Billingsley
Josh Beckett

That still leaves Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano and Ted Lilly with no real defined roles.

FanGraphs provides multiple projections for most players who have a shot of playing in the majors this year.  I've done a weighted average of those projections for each of the above 3 players

Harang: 151 innings, 6.61 K/9, 3.54 BB/9, 4.31 ERA and 0.9 WAR (1.3 WAR per 180 IP)
Capuano: 168 innings, 7.41 K/9, 2.56 BB/9, 3.83 ERA and 2.2 WAR (2.4 WAR per 180 IP)
Lilly: 120 innings, 6.96 K/9, 2.62 BB/9, 3.87 ERA and 0.7 WAR (1.1 WAR per 180 IP)

Capuano is certainly the best of the bunch.  As such, he's the one you'd most want to keep around.  As such, he's the one with the most trade value.  He's also likely the best option out of the bullpen.  His health maybe of some concern.  He has a sordid injury history.

Harang doesn't look to be anything special.  But he's healthy.  If any of the Dodgers top 5 starters go down with injury (and simple probability tells us that they will.  Not to mention that Billingsley's elbow is hanging by a thread and Beckett's back is constantly balky (plus Kershaw had hip issues at the end of last year and Greinke's having elbow problems this spring)) then having a healthy pitcher to replace them with could be a bonus.

Lilly isn't a bad pitcher when healthy.  But his arm appears to be pretty shredded.  You wouldn't want to have to rely on Lilly after already losing a top starter.  His control/fly ball/crafty-lefty ways probably aren't best suited to the bullpen.

Spring training stats are mostly meaningless, but let's look at them anyway:
Capuano's managed 15 innings with 3 walks and 14 strike outs.  That's not bad.  5 home runs, though, have pushed his spring ERA up to 7.20.

Harang has pitched 13 and a third innings with 5 walks and 8 strike outs.  That's not good.  It's not horrific, though.  He's given up 24 hits - that's close to horrific - and 8.10 ERA.

Lilly's only managed 6 and two thirds innings this spring with 5 walks and 5 strike outs.  That's bad.  The 11 hits, 7 earned runs and 9.45 ERA are bad as well.

I don't pretend to have any idea what LA will decide to do with these guys.  Likely an "injury" to a pitcher or two will appear before the season starts so the Dodgers can put a guy on the DL for a few weeks - buying a bit more time to make a decision.  

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