The long shots: Brock Stewart, Ross Stripling.
Talk about organizational depth. Both Stewart and Stripling would be back-end starters for multiple teams.
In 14 starts last season (fifth on the team), Stripling was excellent, posting a 3.96 ERA. And Stripling nearly threw a no-hitter in his MLB debut. Perhaps what was most impressive, was the right-hander finished the season in long relief.
In his last five appearances, Stripling pitched 17.2 innings and showed no signs of wearing down — yielding a 3.06 ERA with 17 strikeouts. The truth is, that might be his long-term future with the Dodgers — as a bullpen arm that can provide spot starts and multiple innings when needed.
The final name on this list is Stewart, the 25-year-old who also made his Major League debut last season. In total, Stewart made seven appearances (five starts) with the Dodgers and sported a 5.79 ERA.
In watching Stewart’s first two appearances, the feeling was the results were a product of bad luck more than anything — weakly hit bloopers, seeing-eye-singles, etc.
That said, Stewart’s first two starts were rough: nine innings pitched, 14 earned runs allowed, 18 hits. His final three starts? 15 innings, three runs, 12 hits, 15 strikeouts. That line includes five scoreless innings with a career-high eight strikeouts against the Chicago Cubs.
So yes, the talent is there.
All in all, there are worse problems to have than too many starting pitchers. You don’t want it to ruin the clubhouse, but in December, it’s a good spot to be in.
As usual, if this group can stay healthy, they’ll be among the best in baseball. Then again, haven’t we heard that before?
The first installment in the State of the Dodgers was an overview of the 40-man roster, which can be read here.