Mostly Raves… Except Ravin

Just so everyone is clear, I am a Willie Calhoun fan – I would love to see him overcome the odds of being a slow runner and a bad fielder and become the opposite.  I do not denigrate him because of his stature – that is irrelevant!  It’s his fielding and running, and when I say he has “tree-trunk legs,” it means that they are huge and stay in one place too long. He’s built kind of funny, but then again, so is Cody Bellinger.  If Cody’s lower body were in proportion to his upper body, he would be seven feet tall.  He has a long upper body.

By the way, Willie Calhoun played yesterday and made the routine play on a ground ball hit to him.  It was robot-like and not smooth.. but he made it. That’s all that counts.  He also had a nice hit to drive in a run.  The dude can hit – make no mistake about that.

Other Raves

  • Josh Sborz has looked very good.
  • SVS looks like he really wants to make the team – he looks determined and healthy!
  • Josh Ravin needs more work in the minors.
  • I would not be afraid to start the season with Cody Bellinger at 1B.
  • Mike Ahmed might be in the mix as a utilityman in 2018.
  • Andrew Istler is a guy to watch.  He’s 24 and looks like he has a good idea how to pitch. He can progress rapidly!
  • Yasiel Puig’s bat flip is in mid-season form.  I like it! I also like the way he hit that ball with purpose.
  • A-Gon is scheduled to return today.
  • Ryu allegedly is progressing and is supposed to see game action this week.  No report on his velocity.
  • It’s looking more and more like Baez will start the season on the DL as he has been shut down again with that bad finger.
  • No matter what Gutierrez does, he has made the team.  It’s what he does after the bell rings that counts.
  • Kike Hernandez is likely to win that bench spot.  He is heating up and is more versatile than Culberson or Taylor.
  • I think Toles needs most of the year at AAA to become a better fielder.  He has the tools – he just needs to work on his routes.
  • On Chase Utley, MLB Trade Rumors wrote this:

“Everyone was lobbying each other” to re-sign Chase Utley, Friedman joked, as “even the groundskeeper was lobbying us to bring Chase back.”  Utley’s addition during the 2015 season was a major reason why the Dodgers developed such a good winning attitude last year, Friedman feels, as “I’ve never been around a guy who is more focused on winning.”  Utley re-signed with the Dodgers on a one-year, $2MM deal this offseason and will get only limited at-bats since Los Angeles is set around the infield, though clearly Friedman feels Utley’s influence to the Dodgers’ success extends well beyond the field.

In my mind, the roster is starting to take shape.  I do not see any way to limit Julio Urias innings except by starting him later.  So, he stays in AZ for extended spring training.  I would just shut down his throwing for about a month.  Right now, this is the 25 I see:

Rotation (5)

  1. Kershaw
  2. Hill
  3. Maeda
  4. Kazmir
  5. McCarthy

Ryu starts on the DL in Minor League Assignment.  Stewart and Stripling go to AAA.  Urias is in AZ.  This is not the staff they end the season with.

Bullpen (7)

  1. Wood
  2. Liberatore
  3. Avilan
  4. Dayton
  5. Fields
  6. Romo
  7. Jansen

Baez starts on the DL.  Hatcher is either on the DL or DFA’ed. Avilan is out of options.  Ravin needs work. Alex Wood is the long man/ swing man.

Starting Lineup (8)

  1. Forsythe  2B
  2. Seager  SS
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Grandal  C
  5. Gonzalez  1B
  6. Puig  RF
  7. Ethier LF
  8. Pederson  CF

Bench (5)

  1. Barnes
  2. Gutierrez
  3. Utley
  4. Van Slyke
  5. Hernandez

Hernandez can play anywhere and his bat is waking up so he gets the call over Taylor or Culberson.  Toles has work to do on his routes at AAA and Thompson needs to play everyday.

That’s my lineup for now.  It will change, I am sure!

Todays Music

Posted by Mark Timmons

I started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. I took a year off in 2016 and now I am back. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. I don't do game recaps or in-depth sabermetric analysis. I value sabermetrics, but leave that to people smarter than me... which is only 98% of the population. This is where you start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome!

This article has 21 Comments

  1. Your opening day 25 is the 25 that I see as well, with a couple of possible caveats:
    1 – I wonder whether the Dodgers have given up on Hatcher? If not, the ‘pen is lefty-heavy (4 vs. 3 RH), and Liberatore has options.
    2 – In the past, the Braintrust has DFA’d high-priced guys who couldn’t contribute (Wilson, Crawford). What little I saw of McCarthy didn’t look good the other day – if Urias is so obviously superior, would they DFA MCarthy and keep the kid?

    1. I don’t think so.

      The kid has an innings cap and those innings have to go somewhere.

      Why not McCarthy?

  2. Like Dodgerrick, I cannot dispute much on the suggested 25 man. With Kike’ warming up, he is beginning to solidify his utility role, but I am not convinced that Franklin Gutierrez is going to stick. I think a lot is going to depend on Trayce Thompson and how he plays beginning this week. Because of the contract, I agree that Gutierrez gets to start the year on the 25, but as the year progresses, if he doesn’t start to hit, and TT his hitting at AAA, FAZ will have no problem walking away from FG’s contract and bringing up TT. TT is a better choice for platooning with Ethier, and spelling Joc (rather than Kike’). I do not think that TT will be anything more than a #4 OF with LAD, and every team needs one, so I would be satisfied with Thompson on the 25 at some point during the year. He would be a fine addition.
    .
    I think McCarthy’s 2 inning debut was inconclusive at best. He gave up a 2 Run HR to Paul Goldschmidt, but that is not unusual for Dodger pitchers. Goldy seems to play well against the Dodgers…okay very well. But McCarthy retired the next 5 batters. His complaint was that he could not control the movement of his pitches. He absolutely needs to control his movement to be effective, but to judge him on his first spring outing is not fair. And I would say the same thing if he struck out all 6 batters he faced. It is one 2 inning outing, nothing more. He needs to be consistent to be effective, so it will be his next 4-5 appearances that will determine if he belongs on the 25 man or not.
    .
    I agree with Dodgerrick that the bullpen as suggested is too LH. It appears that 3 of the 5 SP will be LF, so to have 4 of the 7 relievers also LH seems too unbalanced. Avilan has to make the 25 because he is out of options. Wood is the long man/spot starter. And Dayton belongs. I like Liberatore a lot, and he has a great future as a middle reliever. But he has options, and I am still holding out hope for Brandon Morrow. When Baez comes back, I think he replaces Fields who also has options. I was hoping against hope, but I do think that Hatcher needs a new home. Neither Ravin or Rhame are candidates this year. It’s possible that Joe Broussard, Madison Younginer, and Ralston Cash will pass both Ravin and Rhame in 2017 as late inning chocies.

    1. I think Guetierrez is the best righty pinch hitter on the team but Thomnpson is the better platoon player in LF.
      .
      I think the utility player contest is between Taylor and Hernandez with Hernandez maybe having the advantage due to his time on the Dodgers, all things being equal. I don’t care about his power as I prefer Taylor’s speed.
      .
      The Dodger depth will help them rotate in healthy players more than it will help them trade quantity for quality or veterans for great players in low minors. Therefore trades this year may be more about moving veterans that are blocking better younger players or reducing payroll more than obtaining diamonds in the rough. That’s as negative as I want to get.

  3. Here’s one thing to think about:

    Wood, Avalin, Liberatore and Dayton, while all being LH do not have more than .20 points difference on their splits. They are pretty equally effective again LH and RH hitters.

  4. I thought Calhoun’s hit was of the cheap variety. Seattle couldn’t catch ground balls. Bellinger did a nice job of staying back on an off speed pitch and hitting it up the middle. I think SVS still has a chance of being pretty good. For someone. He is Jason Werth, Lite. I think the time is running out for Kike. The banana is down to the peel. Class clown can only take you so far. He’s not on my 25.

    1. Bobbie 17

      I don’t agree.

      The sound off Calhoun’s bat, was different, like most good hitters.

      And actually, that suprised me.

  5. I do not disagree that all four all fairly effective against both RH and LH hitters. When all is said and done, it should be the 7 best relievers that should come to LA, and if that is 4 LHRP and 3 RFRP so be it. I am holding out hope for Brandon Morrow. I cannot offer any rational explanation other than I like the guy and am pulling for him. We all have our favorites which is why I would never make a good GM.

  6. Let’s stow the Calhoun talk, OK?

    He’s at the very least a year from possibly being barely viable at 2B. He’s here to try to make progress towards being passable at that position.

    In case you missed it today:
    1. Kazmir left with an injury
    2. Cash gave up a HR.

    Don’t hide your surprise.

    1. Wow – I guess I am surprised. I expected that Kazmir was going to be not only healthy but had the chance to be more effective this year. (He had a good 3 year run before the Dodgers signed him, unlike McCarthy, Anderson or Hill).

  7. If anybody doubts the importance of pitching and relief pitching particularly, what has happened in 3 of the last 4 games is an eye opener. Hatcher is running out of time.

    1. Bum

      Has Kike been having good at bats?

      I haven’t seen much from him, but I could be wrong.

      I did see him hit a ball hard to left, but that has been it.

      And I know he has made, at least three errors.

      1. I have never liked his feet but others have said they like what he is doing. He is supposed to be working on his swing and he said he, like everybody, is having trouble duplicating what he does in the cage in a game. It takes time and that’s why it is so hard to make big corrections during the season.

        1. Bum

          That sounds funny, because he just played, in the winter league.

          Wouldn’t you think he would come to spring training, with a swing, that he likes?

          1. Yes.
            “I’m working hard to get my swing back to where it was two years ago. I’m working with the hitting coaches on fixing my swing path and correcting my posture. The hardest thing is taking something new into the game. Sometimes it’s hard because you want to see results right away. So far, I feel good doing what I’m doing. Hopefully it keeps working.”
            http://dodgerblue.com/dodgers-news-kike-hernandez-roster-competition-focused-improving-swing-spring-training/2017/03/05/

  8. So – not just Kazmir but Ethier too? Interesting article about all of the aches and pains – I guess it’s typical of this stage of Spring Training. My concern is that apparently Kazmir’s hip was bad last year too. He went to a bunch of “alternative care providers” (ie. non-physicians) and got accupuncture and chiropractic and an exercise program and all of this was supposed to solve everything. He isn’t fixed. And he was 10 MPH short on his pitch velocity.

    I was expecting that Kaz would be back this year and pitching reasonably effectively as he did the 3 seasons before he darkened the Dodgers’ door. Now – ???

  9. In the Article Bum posted, it says that Calhoun was 5’8″ /205. Those weren’t tree trunks, they were sequoias!

    But he’s working hard and eating right. This Gabe Kapler thing is rubbing off on the entire team.

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