Who will the Dodgers get this winter to bolster their starting rotation? Will they get anyone at all? We will all have to wait to find out. However, we do know who the Dodgers will hold interest in — and who they should — with the names Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Wheeler in the mix.
According to a recent piece in The Athletic by former general manager Jim Bowden, the case is not an entirely clear one like you might think.
Ryu or Wheeler? Ozuna or Castellanos? Hamels or Keuchel? tough free agent choices…how would you rank them?https://t.co/7hvrySdMTL
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) November 22, 2019
Zack Wheeler might be the most underrated starting pitcher in all of baseball. He has ace upside and his profile is not all that dissimilar from Gerrit Cole in the year before Cole made the jump to superstardom. At age 29, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA, but a much better looking 3.43 FIP, per Baseball Prospectus.
To see the ace upside, all you have to do is see the excellent velocity on his fastball and his statistics from the second half of 2018. With a staff as analytically inclined as that of the Dodgers, Wheeler could reach new heights. The New York Mets do not exactly have the greatest track record with developing and maintaining starting pitchers.
Hyun-Jin Ryu is literally the opposite of Zack Wheeler. One relies on finesse and command, the other leans on power and deception. Both pitchers are excellent in their own right. While Ryu had the better 2019 season, undoubtedly, will that hold going forward? Ryu is now 32 and considering his poor track record in terms of health, how much can he be relied on? At a similar price point to Wheeler, is Ryu the better option? Bowden argues no.
While it might be awesome from a fan perspective to have Ryu back in Dodger blue, Zack Wheeler might be the better option for the team going forward. If the Dodgers do not pursue Gerrit Cole in free agency, Wheeler is the next best thing that is actually attainable.