3. Alex Wood
Alex Wood was the ultimate surprise of 2017. Acquired in a rather small trade with the Atlanta Braves in 2015, Wood was always viewed as a talented southpaw with upside. He was never viewed as the guy that could step up behind Clayton Kershaw and outpitch him for the majority of the season.
Yet, in classic Andrew Friedman style, the Dodgers found a diamond in the rough that was a key proponent in the team’s immensely hot summer. Although Wood was set for a breakout season in 2017, a breakout season of this caliber was not expected by any.
As great as Wood was throughout the year, it was apparent that the quirky southpaw was getting tired by the end of the season. After a 1.67 first half ERA Wood’s ERA ballooned to 3.89 in the second half. Even worse, Wood had a 4.03 ERA in his last 29 innings pitched in 2017.
While that is not bad by any stretch of the imagination, the fatigue was obviously setting in and the arm issues were piling up. However, a strong performance in the World Series reignited Wood’s value and he presents the perfect third option for the rotation. Serving as a bridge, the Dodgers should have a lot of confidence with Kershaw, Darvish and Wood as a top three.