I have been telling you a few things over the Winter:
Julio Urias is going to have a breakout year;
Yasmani Grandal will come close to 40 HR;
Willie Calhoun won’t play 2B due to horrible defense and lock of foot speed;
Among Ryu, McCarthy and Kazmir, at least two will be contributors; and
Cody Bellinger is ready.
Former GM, Jim Bowden also has some bold predictions going into Spring Training in today’s ESPN INSIDER. He says that Jason Heyward will start in center field for the Cubs on Opening Day among other things, but here is what captured my attention:
Cody Bellinger starts in left field for Dodgers
The Dodgers’ initial long-term plan for Bellinger looked solid: He would spend the next two years in the minor leagues and be ready to take over first base full-time at the end of the 2018 season, when Adrian Gonzalez becomes a free agent.
However, that was before Bellinger upset those plans with his rapid progress at the plate. Bellinger, 21, has quickly developed into the best first-base prospect in the game with the potential to provide a .350 OBP, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs while being a Gold Glove-quality defender as well.
Here is where it gets tricky. To be conservative, the right move would be for Bellinger to start the year in Triple-A and be ready in case Gonzalez gets hurt in the middle of the season or once rosters expand in September. However, Bellinger’s bat is ready now — he’s arguably the Dodgers’ best hitter after Corey Seager.
That’s where my bold prediction comes in. I think the Dodgers will play him in left field some during spring training and quickly realize that he is more than adequate out there. He will show them that he’s a far more advanced run producer than any of their current candidates in left, such as Andrew Toles, Andre Ethier and Scott Van Slyke.
As talented an offensive player as Bellinger is and as open-minded as the Dodgers’ front office can be, I can see Bellinger becoming their surprise starter in left field on opening day.
I agree with Bowden: Bellinger’s bat is ready now — he’s arguably the Dodgers’ best hitter after Corey Seager.
If Cody is truly the Dodger’s best hitter after Corey, then he will have to play. I knew Corey was ready when he was called up. Cody is ready too. How do I know? I just do. I was wring about Joc – I predicted he’d be a 4th or 5th outfielder, so there’s that too! I am not infallible! I just give you my best opinion and that’s all I can do.
It looks like the gang is all here:
Rants & Raves
- With every passing day, it becomes more likely that Joe Blanton re-sign with the Dodgers. Here’s the deal: they don’t NEED him, but they can USE him. Joe made $4 million last season and it has been rumored that he wants a 2 year/12 million deal to sign now, but the line to sign him is short. He might be forced to take a $4 million/1 year deal. That’s a deal the Dodgers should make… if Joey will sign the contract.
- The last I checked, all teams get to have 25 men on the opening day roster, so why not have as many players as possible?
- I suspect that Chase Utley might be a very valuable tool with 200 AB’s for $2 million a year.
- I suspect that Franklin Gutierrez will get 250 AB’s and mash LH like you won’t believe.
- Wednesday is reporting day. Thursday is the first team workout!
Baseball America has a very interesting podcast about the Strength of the Dodgers and how they were built.
If you think FAZ has done a poor job because of some misses, once you listen to this you might understand. If you don’t… well, I can’t help you. They pick the Dodgers to dominate “the rest of the decade.”
They talk about Bellinger, Alvarez, Verdugo and Willie Calhoun. They think he has a chance to be “one of the better hitters in the game.”
They said “Austin Barnes will be one of the best backup catchers in the league.“