Many baseball minds think there is no such thing as too much starting pitching. The Dodgers are pushing these boundaries, but it’s another move with very little risk attached.
The 33-year old righty has pitched poorly this season. With the Twins, Correia was 5-13. I tend to ignore pitcher records because it’s really a meaningless stat, but his other stats are still bad. Correia has a 4.94 ERA and a 1.461 WHIP, neither of which will leave opposing batters shaking in their cleats.
In searching for positive stats about Kevin Correia, I found two. He gives up less than one home run per nine innings, which should play well at the spacious Dodger Stadium. Correia also only walks 2.2 batters per nine innings, which is a nice stat, but also leaves you wondering how his WHIP is still so high.
The Roberto Hernandez acquisition scared me, and he went out and pitched extremely well against the Milwaukee Brewers last Friday. Hernandez struggled in the first, but ended up going six solid innings and left in line for the win, before Don Mattingly mismanaged the bullpen and gave the Brewers a 9-3 victory.
Correia will get a chance to match Hernandez tonight, as he makes his Dodgers debut in game one at Atlanta. My hopes aren’t high, but they weren’t for Hernandez either, so what do I know.
The more concerning aspect of this acquisition is what this means for some Dodger’s pitching prospects. If the Dodgers are going after every back-end starter that’s clearing waivers, what does that say about Zach Lee?
Lee was a highly touted draft prospect in 2010, but fell to the Dodgers late in the first round because many teams believed he would honor his commitment to play quarterback at LSU. The Dodgers gave Lee a record setting signing bonus and Lee has been a top prospect since then.
However, Lee has struggled mightily in the minors. In the very hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, Lee has a 6-10 record and a 5.26 ERA in 22 starts. When they drafted him, the Dodgers thought they were getting a solid number two behind Clayton Kershaw that had the chance to be an ace on teams that didn’t employ the best pitcher in the world, but now Lee projects as a solid back end of the rotation guy. Lee started the season as the Dodgers number four overall prospect according to MLB.com and their number two pitching prospect, but those rankings have also slipped. He is now their sixth best prospect and fourth best pitching prospect, falling behind 2014 first round pick Grant Holmes and 2013 first round pick Chris Anderson.
If Lee was living up to his expectations, there’s no doubt that he would have been the call when Josh Beckett was placed on the DL. The Dodgers clearly don’t think he is ready yet, so they’re being patient and want to let Lee continue to work in AAA. He’s only 22, so there is still a ton of upside. However, the Dodgers clearly believe that Kevin Correia is a better option right now.
Adding Correia and Hernandez gives the rotation some depth and can provide some extra days of rest for Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. It also gives the Dodgers options when Dan Haren comes closer to his 180 IP vesting option, so it’s hard to dislike this move. The Dodgers still have other areas they need to upgrade (bullpen, bullpen and bullpen) and hopefully will do that sooner rather than later.