A little over two years ago, I held these opinions:
- Julio Urias would someday be the Dodgers Ace or Co-Ace with Clayton Kershaw;
- Jose De Leon would be a close #2;
- Corey Seager would be an impact MVP-Type Shortstop;
- Joc Pederson would be a 4th or 5th outfielder (at best);
- Yasiel Puig had immense talent but we should trade him immediately; and
- THE TRADE (Crawfish and A-Gon) really hamstrings the Dodgers.
Looking back in the rear-view mirror, like most people, I was right on some stuff and wrong on other stuff. I still have the same opinion of Julio Urias, Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig and THE TRADE is still costing the Dodgers $43 million a year for about 2 WAR.
I was wrong about Jose De Leon and probably Joc Pederson. I certainly did not expect his power numbers to be where they are, and I am hopeful that he can continue to improve. I am glad I was wrong about Joc. I still believe that Jose De Leon will have a nice MLB career, but I see him more as a bullpen-type of guy… setup mostly. If they keep him as a starter, he will be a #4, at best. Now, I do realize that things change – maybe he is on a plateau and will advance more in the future. That is a possibility and I wish him success at TB.
I now hold a few other opinions, in no particular order:
- Cody Bellinger will be a Gold Glove first basemen who will just keep getting better offensively every year. 30-40 HR and a batting average higher than you think;
- Yadier Alvarez has a chance to be the best pitcher in baseball. How he fares this year at AA will give us a glimpse;
- Alex Verdugo is overrated and somewhat of a knucklehead. I worry about his conditioning and body-type;
- Willie Calhoun is a stone-cold hitter, Personally I don’t think he can play 2B and may not have enough speed to play LF. The fact that he is a LH hitter, like Verdugo and Bellinger makes him a trade candidate for me. I know he will hit, but where will he play?
- Walker Buehler will be a #2 if he stays healthy. That’s all I can say about him;
- Will Smith will be a stud behind the plate, but will he hit?
- Brock Stewart should be a #4 or #5 workhorse guy who give you 200 innings with a sub 4,00 ERA. Those guys are important;
- Imani Abdullah has a shot at being an exceptionally good middle-of-the-rotation guy; and
- Yasiel Sierra is a bust.
And there is one final prediction: If healthy, Yasmani Grandal will hit 40 Bombs!
On Ryu, McCarthy and Kazmir – I have no predictions, EXCEPT I believe at least one will be healthy. Labrum surgery is not a good thing for a pitcher, but let’s not forget that Rich Hill also had it. By the way, I love the fact that Rich Hill is a Dodger… and wants to be here even though he is from the East Coast! I believe his friendship with Clayton Kershaw will motivate him to be even better in his conditioning.
OK – feel free to pile on! I can take it!