The Los Angeles Dodgers were MLB’s best team in the regular season, and that didn’t happen by accident. The Dodgers ran out an impressive collection of pitchers last season, but Los Angeles’ rotation will look different in 2023 thanks to a number of notable departures over the offseason. Here’s a breakdown of how the Dodgers rotation could shake out in 2023.
A Look at the Dodgers Rotation Options
- LHP Julio Urías (17-7, 2.16 ERA, 8.5 K/9 in 2022)
- RHP Tony Gonsolin (16-1, 2.14 ERA, 8.2 K/9)
- LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-3, 2.28 ERA, 9.8 K/9)
- RHP Dustin May (2-3, 4.00 ERA, 8.7 K/9)
- RHP Noah Syndergaard (10-10, 3.94 ERA, 6.3 K/9)
Despite being without Walker Buehler for all of 2023 and losing Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney this past winter, the Dodgers are set to bring back a formidable rotation for 2023. Out of 99 pitchers in baseball last season that threw at least 125 IP, the Dodgers had three — Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, and Clayton Kershaw — that ranked in the top seven in ERA. And, all will be in Chavez Ravine for this upcoming season.
Leading the charge is LHP and the probable ace for Team Mexico in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, Julio Urías. Urías led Los Angeles last season in wins (17), and limited run-scoring chances thanks to a fantastic arsenal that includes a very impressive curveball and a changeup that can trip up hitters.
Urías stayed healthy for the duration of 2022, but the same can’t be said for RHP Tony Gonsolin and LHP Clayton Kershaw. Let’s start off with Gonsolin, who turned into an elite starter thanks to improved control and command, and strong usage of three reliable pitchers: a mid-90s heater, a slider, and an impressive split-change. The St. Mary’s product dominated hitters in the first half of the 2022 campaign, but went down with a forearm strain down the stretch in the regular season for the Dodgers.
Then, there’s Clayton Kershaw. The future Hall of Famer diced up hitters with his signature slider once again in 2022, a season that saw the lefty break the all-time franchise record for total strikeouts and finish in the top 20 in K/9 (9.8). However, injuries did prove to be a thorn in the lefty’s side — or back, to be more specific — yet again. The left-hander spent time on the IL in May and August of last season due to back problems. Not counting 2020, Kershaw has yet to throw more than 126.1 innings in a season since 2019, something that the Dodgers hope the 34-year-old can do in 2023.
RHP Dustin May is not without his injury issues, as the righty missed most of 2022 recovering from UCL reconstruction surgery. May came back for six starts late last season, before back tightness knocked him out in late September for the remainder of the regular season. May’s velocity was just fine in his return, a good sign for the 2023 season.
While May’s velocity was fine in 2022, the same can’t be said for Noah Syndergaard. When Syndergaard signed with the Dodgers in December, we took a deep dive into the righty’s numbers from last season. While “Thor” was, for the most part, effective in his first full season since 2019, Syndergaard’s velocity is farm from what it was in the mid-2010s with the Mets. He’s not the All-Star from 2016, but Syndergaard should still be able to get grounders and fool hitters, provided he stays healthy.
Given the injury history of the pitchers in the Dodgers rotation, depth will be pivotal for this upcoming season. Luckily for Los Angeles, the Dodgers do have options should any of the above names go down. Michael Grove and Ryan Pepiot both saw time in LA last season, and don’t sleep on RHP Gavin Stone. One of our fantasy rookies to watch in 2023, Stone dominated across three Minor League levels last season.