As the World Turns…

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!

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don't do game recaps or such things -- lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don't think they are the "end-all-be-all.". This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We'd like to hear your voice.

This article has 41 Comments

  1. Not bad M.T… Not bad… You know me and the TRADE and Grandal with 40 bombs!!! Damn I hope.
    I’m convinced by all of you that Calhoun is a big DH trade pc. in 2018… Work hard young man and light candles…
    I might reverse projection for Buehler and Alvarez…
    ST tix for St. Paddy’s day weekend… Sweet…

  2. Let’s see if I get this rotation right

    1. Alvarez
    2. Buehler
    3. Urias
    4. Abdullah
    5. Stewart
    with an aging Kershaw fighting for a rotation spot (but making $40m/yr with his extension)….

    ….I can live with that!

  3. I agree most with Mark’s assessment of Sierra. I saw him this year and was not impressed at all. I thought he would be an advanced single A player, but he looked overmatched at RC. Verdugo is an interesting story. I can’t see him doing much, but the suits seem to love him. He will get big time PT at Glendale. Maybe they will be right. We have a year to figure out Calhoun. If he lights up AAA and plays decent defense, Forsythe can take a hike in 2018. I can’t tell if Hill likes LA or the $, but he seems like a good guy, so my guess is Mark is right with him. He just has to stay healthy. He has a tragic family history, so I am pulling for him. Plus, I like the curve ball.

  4. I was actually shocked Calhoun didn’t make the top 100 prospects list. He was on there last year, and sure didn’t do anything to warrant his ranking drop off!! Plus he was MVP of that AFL league all star game

    1. Keith Law addressed this:

      Johnny: I assume Calhoun missed because of his defensive (lack of) prowess, but which position would suit him best?
      Klaw: Batters’ box.

      1. And;

        Randy: If Willie Calhoun could play average defense at 2nd would he have made your top 100?
        Klaw: And if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.

        1. A kinder, gentler way is to say “If chickens had lips, they would be people.” But, I’ll allow it! 😉

        2. Bluto

          That is funny that Law said that.

          He had Kyle Schwarber on his list, when he was a prospect.

          And I don’t think many, think he is a decent, defensive player.

          Law thought Schwarber’s bat, would make up for his defense, in leftfield.

          And I believe that Schwarber played four years at an university, before he played at the major league level.

          I looked that up, because I knew most of the writers at ESPN, are not Dodger supporters.

          1. Right, my takeaway from that is that Schwarber has more innate defensive ability than Calhoun.

            Law’s pretty analytical, and definitely is not a Dodger supporter. He’s definitely not a Dodger detractor either.

  5. I just some some video of Abdullah. Not good. Very hittable. Worse is his demeanor: looks a little lazy; easily frustrated. I think it’s posted on Dodgers Digest. I saw a lot of head-hanging as he was getting beat to a pulp. Still, he’s young guy, but looked overmatched in low A.

    1. Bluto

      I don’t know about Law himself, but ESPN has always had a bias, against the Dodgers.

      And Law didn’t say a thing about Schwarber’s innate ability to play left field.

      Before that, Law said that Schwarber would have to stay at catcher.

      And then Law said Schwarber’s bat, would make up, for his defense, in leftfield.

      And that sounds a lot like a scout said, about Calhound.

      Which was, Calhoun’s bat, would play anywhere.

      And the Cubs have been the media darlings, for at least, the last couple of years.

      1. Bluto

        And I would think that Schwarber should be more advanced on defense, then Calhoun.

        Because Schwarber played three or more years, of college baseball, unlike Calhoun, who only played a year, at a JC.

  6. Let me chime in with my 2 cents worth:

    Cody Bellinger – I agree, I think (hope) that he’s going to be really good;
    Yadier Alvarez – Ramon Martinez – newer version, though not as good as Pedro;
    Alex Verdugo – disagree, I think he is Andre Eithier caliber, with better defense;
    Willie Calhoun – You ‘re probably right, but I want this kid to succeed, he has such a tremendous attitude, you just can’t help to root for him;
    Walker Buehler – he will be good, this year will tell us if he’s going to be a Sherzer or a McCarthy;
    Will Smith – Austin Barnes part two;
    Brock Stewart – agree;
    Imani Abdullah – like Buehler, he will be good, but can he avoid the injury bug; and
    Yasiel Sierra – agree

    A few prospects I like are:

    DJ Peters – he looks like he can mash
    Kyle Garlick – probably no more than a fourth outfielder, but a compelling story and he can hit
    Trevor Oaks – I think he will be an inning eater with 10-12 wins a year type success (I’m totally rooting for him because he’s from my neck of the woods and he’s got tremendous character)
    Chase DeJong – if your marrying Bernhard Langer’s daughter, you’re bound for success;
    Jacob Rhame – he will help out in the bullpen at some point this year;

    And finally, I think Alex Wood is going to be in the rotation this year and do a good job (or actually, he might get traded for a reliever).

  7. Can’t pile on Mark. Can’t argue but might differ a little here and there.
    .
    I have been a Joc supporter from day one but that was because I liked him and for what he might bring to the Dodgers. I haven’t projected stats for Joc, just said keep him and see if he can shine. I hope he gets 600 PAs for the next 10 years with the Dodgers.
    .
    Where I differ with you on Grandal is that I don’t think he will stay healthy enough to get the PAs to hit 40 home runs. I think we will know more this year as he finally had an off season where he could workout instead of rehab. I would think that he would have less slumps and be stronger late in the season if he were to share more of the innings with Barnes through out the season.
    .
    I supported Stewart all last year and agree with you that wherever he fits into the rotation he will deliver 200+ innings with a sub 4.0 ERA.
    .
    I have said a few times before that Urias / Alvarez will be the next Koufax / Drysdale combination.
    .
    I don’t have a gut feel for Buehler so I have no comment there. I hope he is a stud.
    .
    I would still hope to trade Agon for San Diego’s Myers and let Myers play first for the Dodgers until Bellinger is ready and then move Myers to LF unless Thompson owns that position by then. Add Verdugo, $$, and De Jong to that deal and hope it can be made.
    .
    I agree about Wil Smith. Good speed and good defense. A team can win with great defense up the middle and that starts with the catcher. I would not let Grandal block him.
    .
    The Dodgers still needs a young second baseman to take the job in 2018 or 2019. Too early to say Lux could be that guy. I would love to get Gleyber Torres from the Yankees. If the Yankees have a good chance to get into the playoffs they will want and need pitching. McCarthy, Kazmir, Calhoun, Imani Abdullah, Oaks in exchange for Torres might get the Yankees to answer the phone.

  8. I haven’t seen any of the Dodgers’ prospects so don’t have opinions based on personal observation. I would only observe the 20% success rate of top prospects making an impact in the bigs, generally, so doubt that all of the guys that you have mentioned will be successful.

    I live in Northern California. In 2000, the A’s AAA affiliate moved to Sacramento. They had 2 can’t miss prospects. One was Barry Zito and I had a chance to see him – he was as good as advertised and was promoted to Oakland later that season. The other was a 3B named Adam Piatt. He had hit 39 HR (!) the previous season in AA and when I saw him, he crushed everything. He developed viral meningitis later in the season and it ruined his career – he was never the same afterward.

    Based on what I have read, I might pick Verdugo as the most overrated player in the Dodgers’ system. His conditioning is allegedly not good and he isn’t considered a CF prospect now and he has lost speed already. He isn’t a power hitter. He might be Andre Ethier, but probably not. Calhoun – as good a hitter as he’s supposed to be, he hit in the .260’s last year in AA. And we know he can’t field.

    Bellinger has given up average for power – check out his stats from a couple of years ago and he hit .300 with 1 HR. Can he hit for average and power? He hasn’t yet. Alvarez doesn’t have good secondary pitches or good control yet. Will he be good?

    As to Ryu, Kazmir and McCarthy, I think Ryu is done. Kazmir can still pitched effectively – his injury wasn’t major. I don’t know if he will ever do it in LA though. McCarthy has good stuff but can’t stay healthy. He might have a better chance at staying healthy as a short reliever pitching 1 inning every other day. Wood – I wouldn’t put him in the rotation. He might be better out of the pen too.

    1. Rick,

      It may be 20% of most teams prospects who make the show, but that means that some teams are lower% and some are higher%. In 2016, here were the TOP 10 Dodger Prospects:

      1. Seager
      2. Urias
      3. De Leon
      4. Peraza
      5. Bellinger
      6. Holmes
      7. Verdugo
      8. Barnes
      9. Cotton
      10. Alvarez

      The Dodgers had 60% of their Top 10 Prospects play in the majors in 2016. We are “above-average.”

      1. I didn’t suggest that 20% make the show, but that 20% make an impact in the bigs. And that isn’t in a given year, but in the career of the prospects. We don’t yet know that Alvarez, Cotton, Verdugo et al will actually do.

        But using your analysis, the top 2 (Seager and Urias) made an impact last year – 3 if you include Peraza.

        The Dodgers history over the past several years is that they have not done well in moving players from prospect to big leaguers who make an impact. Will that change? Maybe.

  9. Mark, I agree with most everything you said. That’s why I would have added Calhoun for dozier. Verdugo not impressed with. Like bellinger, Alvarez, bueller, not so much on Imani. Keep waiting for Imani to take off and I think this year will tell what we may have. Sierra meh. I like grandal but don’t think 40 is in the cards but maybe 30-35 if he reaches 550 at bats. My sleeper to move quickly is Mitchell white. I think he is an exciting prospect who could show up on everybody’s radar sooner than later.

  10. When the baby-faced Joc Pederson first showed up in the bigs he swung at strikes only. He was still dancing with what brung him and it took just as long for pitchers to find a hole as it took for him to work his way out of it. I’m gonna bet the kid will shine bright and pump a lot of fear into pitchers with the more he’s able to put in his bank of adjustments. Don’t sell him short! He has gifts he’s not yet totally familiar with.

    I can almost only go by my eyes but off field and what the player shows to make me just like him plays a part too. Somewhere down the line stats fit in. I don’t have the viewing data about most of this current topic so I’ll probably be mostly just a reader till ST. Oh, I don’t think I score so bad with my method of judging players.

  11. For some reason the front office kept holding Deleon back from the majors. The last guy they did that with was zach lee and we all know how that turned out. He is far better than lee but it seemed they held the reins awfully tight. I also felt that way on cotton and then he got off to a great start in Oakland so we will see how that plays out. Montas was in line to be our setup man but I think they gave up on him. Maybe not but maybe they were just that high on hill. Reddick was horrible so it had to be hill. montas would have seemed someone the brass liked always hurt but lots of potential lol!

    1. Montas is and was fat. He will always be fat. A big fat tub of lard that can throw a hundred miles an hour.
      Somehow I can’t envision that lasting very long.
      Maybe hard work pays off. I have read all the print on Hill and maybe we did catch lightning in a bottle.
      Time will tell with him and JDL, who I was hoping they would keep. I did watch JDL closely and thought
      his high fastballs better be good or they are going out. Now I’m hoping they go out.

        1. I really don’t, actually a fan. Just hoping we don’t end
          up with egg on our faces. It sure seems like we haven’t really traded to our advantage in decades. The only good ones that come to mind are
          Green for Mondesi, Ethier for Bradley and probably Belcher for Honeycutt
          A lot of bad ones however, Davis, DeShields, Piazza etc. Not sure what to make of the Big Trade. Lots of money

      1. RC:
        Montas is listed as 6’2″ and 255 lbs. He may be big and fat and a tub of lard as you say but I can think of another pitcher who is listed at 5’10” and 285 lbs. He’s been around quite awhile and last year was: 15-8 3.43 ERA. He’s also 43 YO. Not too shabby.

  12. Hey Mark, your thoughts on Trayce Thompson. Will they give him a shot to start this year? Also, I really think they should give Toles a shot. Its real nice to have some speed on the basepaths, plus you gotta love the dudes hustle. Those two guys and Joc would be a pretty decent outfield.

    1. Trayce and Andrew Toles will both have the opportunity to start. Competition in the outfield in for two spots: Left Field and Right Field. Here are the candidates: Thompson, Toles, Ethier Van Slyke and Puig! There could be some trades…

      1. You know i cant help wondering if we shouldnt have played Van Slyke more over the last few years, though he was hurt for a while. When the guy plays regularly he can rake, plus, that damn arm! I know some people think we should trade him, but I have a bad feeling that someone like the Giants would pick him up and he would be a late bloomer and be the second coming of Jason Werth. Just dont want him to come back and haunt us. I would trade Ethier before him.

        1. Totally agree Roger about SVS. I always thought if he played full time he would hit .260-.270 with 25-30 HR.

  13. Van slyke is not going to be a starter. He will be lucky if he doesn’t ge designated. If healthy he can hit lefties and play reserve outfield and first. He could platoon with ethier in left. Ethier is not an everyday player. With his salary they will probably use him in left and right against right handlers. I believe the front office wants Puig in right but he has to perform. Thompson can spot Peterson in center and possibly platoon in left or right. I believe toles will be the odd man out and start the year in the minors. If puig pans out it will be Peterson in center, puig in right. With Thompson platooning with ethier in left. If toles can force his way into the starting lineup then Thompson will probably go on the disabled list or van slyke or be traded.

    1. There are going to be some very good players participating in extended spring training.
      .
      The Dodgers are going to make a big trade before July.
      .
      The Sun rises in the East.

  14. Watched the Dodger FanFest on TV last night and came away with a few observations:

    1. I’m glad we acquired Forsythe – he has the gamer appearance;
    2. I think Alex Wood is going to have a good year
    3. I felt sorry for Kike, the “interviewers” spent the majority of time talking about nonsense. While he readily owned up to the difficulties he had last year, and the work he was doing to correct some of those issues, they never bothered to ask him what he was doing, nor did they ask him how his Dad was, even though he alluded to off field issues a couple of times. Just based on that interview alone, I hope we see the 2015 Kike this coming year. But then again if we do, where is he going to play?
    4. While Puig may have all the talent in the world, and he is incredibly popular with the fans, it may be time to move on from him. He did say that he was getting a lot of help from JT and AGon on how to be a better teammate, etc and that he was working hard on his diet, but despite all that he comes across as a narcissistic knucklehead.
    5. I’m encouraged by the health prognosis of Liberatore, Hatcher and Van Slyke. Yet it remains a mystery to me as to why athletes are so insecure in their jobs that they play through ongoing injuries, and only confess to doing that after they’ve been put on the shelf.
    6. Ross Stripling is the type of person you want to marry your daughter. He has a great outlook on who he is and what he needs to do to contribute more.
    7. Same is true for Corey Seager. He’s truly something special!
    8. I like Young Joc and hope he continues to get better and better as a player, but man he needs to work on his interviewing skills, particularly his facial expressions. Pretend like you care.
    9. We’re going to miss Vinny, big time!
    10. For Kenley, it was all about the money. For JT, not as much (though he’s paid handsomely).
    11. Alana Rizzo is the best of the Dodger media crew at conducting interviews and she is very, very pleasant on the eyes.
    12. AGon is going to get injured this year and Ike Davis and Darren Ruf will platoon and lead us to the World Series! (Now that actually may have been a dream or indigestion and not something I got from watching FanFest).

    1. Richie F., If this was the first time you posted, I had to approve it. Except for MJ – the spam gets her every time. I have no clue why.

      1. Mark:
        Thanks for letting me join in here. I enjoyed your last site from a few years back until I crossed the line. You may or may not remember me(Gilly#14).

  15. I don’t remember and don’t care. Here we are and that’s all there is to it. Must not have been a big deal – I remember the Big Deals.

  16. Fat pitchers are not necessarily a big deal. Going back to the really old days there was…Fat Freddie Fitzsimmons. Recently, there have been Rick Reuschel, Luis Tiant, David Wells, Livan Hernandez, CC Sabathia, and lots more. Besides, Montas didn’t look THAT fat.

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