Two Week Takeaways

I said “Two Week” not “Too Weak” Takeaways!

  • Yes, I know we lost yesterday… Yawn! I have a hunch we will lose again this year.
  • Yasiel Puig is starting to make me believe he is getting serious about this game.  He is more focused than I have ever seen.  It would have been nice to see him homer in the 9th, but this is reality.  I’ll take .326/ 4 HR/11 RBI, but most importantly he has 7 strikeouts and 9 walks in 43 AB’s.  He has certainly changed his approach.
  • A lefty/righty duo out of the pen who can pitch 1, 2 or 3 innings, have big curveball and throw 95 MPH?  That sounds like a dream.  It’s not, it’s Stripling and Wood! Sounds like a law firm.
  • Rich Hill is going to be on the DL for at least a month… maybe more.  Then he will have to go on a minor league rehabilitation trip. It’s going to take a while.  They better figure out some miracle cure…  I will say this: the FAZ Bashers will be having a blast with this, but let’s see how it plays out.  At this point, I would say that all he can do is rest the finger and let it heal.  Maybe there is some way to speed up healing… some treatment.  I am sure they are looking.  All he needs to do is be healthy by season’s end.
  • The Dodgers are first in the NL in team ERA (2.77).  The Cubs are second at 3.14. The Dodgers are also first in WHIP at 1.04.
  • We saw Kike Hernandez’ versatility Saturday – his OB% is up to .333. He is not a “fluid” player which makes some think he is not good defensively.  He is better than you may think. I look for big things from him again this year.
  • Check out these OB%:
    • Turner – .449
    • Puig – .426
    • Forsythe – .408
    • Grandal – .375
    • Seager – .375
    • Gonzalez – .347
  • There there are these:
    • Toles – .278
    • SVS – .278
    • Utley – .095
  • They are 10th in BA, but 4th in runs scored.  They are 4 runs from being on the top!  Not bad for a team that can’t hit lefties.
  • I was listening to MLB Radio Sunday Morning and they were making a case for the Dodgers trading for Ryan Braun.  Here are the arguments high points:
  1. The Dodgers partially addressed their inability to hit lefties by acquiring Forsythe and Gutierrez but could TOTALLY finish solving it by trading for Braun.

  2. Adrian Gonzalez has been declining as a middle-of-the-order hitter and is best at number 5 or number 6.  Getting Braun who would hit #3 or #4 would do just that.

  3. The Dodgers have the depth to trade, but they aren’t interested in trading Bellinger or GET THIS:  PUIG!  They suggested a package of Toles, Verdugo, Stripling (I would do Stewart) and Calhoun.

  4. The Brewers are asking a lot more than that but they did not see them getting it.

  5. The Brewers would have to eat some salary.

I have thought about this for a while and I believe that for the next two years with Ryan Braun in LF, the Dodgers would be in prime position to win it all.  If they got Milwaukee to pay him THIS year (no increase in Payroll), then it would be easier to pay him the next three after Ethier and Crawfish are off the books.  A lineup like this would be formidable:

  1. Forsythe  2B  (R)
  2. Braun  LF  (R)
  3. Seager SS (L)
  4. Turner  3B (R)
  5. Puig  RF  (R)
  6. Gonzo  1B (L)
  7. Grandal  C  (L/R)
  8. Pederson  CF  (L

Rants and Raves

  • There has been a Yadier Alvarez sighting – he arrived at RC on Sunday. Picture above right.
  • There is little doubt in my mind that Cody Bellinger can play in the majors right now.

Minor League Report

  • OKC BOX – Won 3-2  Bellinger was 2-3 with his 3rd HR.  Oaks wemt 5 with 2 hits and 2 ER, 0 BB and 6 K’s.  Younginer pitched 2 with 5 K’s and Rhame got the save with 2 scoreless innings.
  • TULSA – DNP
  • RC – DNP
  • GL – DNP

UPDATE

Lineup:

  1. Forsythe 2B
  2. Seager SS
  3. Turner 3B
  4. Puig  RF
  5. Grandal  C
  6. Hernandez  CF
  7. Segedin 1B
  8. SVS  LF
  9. McCarthy  P

Today’s 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 56 Comments

  1. Braun would be a big help the next two years. Toles, Verdugo, Stripling (I would do Stewart) and Calhoun, or however you slice it, is a big price to pay!! Add in $76M remaining salary through year 2020, I don’t like it!! Alternatively, How about someone (I am ready to be flamed) like switch-hitting Melky Cabrera? Cabrera is under contract through 2017 for $15M. Following is 2016 stats against lefties:
    .
    Braun: 122 AB, .344 BA, .411 OBP, 1.010 OPS
    .
    Cabrera: 121 AB, .322 BA, .352 OBP, .847 OPS
    .
    Here’s a link to an article on the Melk Man: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/ct-melky-cabrera-funny-leader-haugh-spt-0227-20170226-story.html

    1. He is lower against lefties than Righties for his career, but in 2015 he was .240 against LH pitchers.

      I would certainly take the 2016 version of him, but which one would we get? That’s always been the question with him – up and down.

      1. Yeah, but did you read this in the article?
        .
        “Over the last three seasons, Cabrera has collected as many hits as Angels star Mike Trout (518) — with 10 more doubles. Only two MLB outfielders have more hits over that three-year span.”

    2. Boxout

      I agree with almost everything you have said, and that is scary.

      Because almost everything you have said, makes a lot, of sense.

      I am not so sure about Carbera, because he has not been very, consistent.

      And I wonder if his defense, would take away, any offense, he might provide.

      But I agree with everything else, you said.

      If I were the Brewers, I would take that deal of Stripling, Toles, and Verdugo, in a hot second.

      I think all of those players, have a good chance, to be viable major league players, long after Braun is gone.

      Because you are right, that is way to much to give up, for a older player, that is still owed a bunch of money, and has a lot of baggage.

      And both Stripling and Toles, are already contributing to, the major league team, right now.

      And that is probably the same reason Mark wouldn’t trade those players, too.

      1. I wonder if too much friction is created on Hill’s finger to get that extra spin that he needs to have to be successful.

  2. With Thompson back in OK where he should have stayed through April and Forsythe perhaps resting his leg injury I am hoping Kike’ plays second, SVS plays LF, and Joc stays in CF tonight against a lefty.
    .
    When Gutierez returns I would rather see him used only as a pinch hitter and if Toles is going to be platooned with a righty hitter, I would prefer that player be Hernandez.

  3. Kike, Thompson, Hatcher, & Stewart for Braun. Would open up three 40-man roster positions for Bellinger, Urias, & Verdugo.

    1. This seems more like it to me! Maybe even, Taylor or Culberson instead of Kiki. I know Braun would help lots, but Dodgers really are in the drivers seat here, or at least I think so, 10/5 no trade coming up and not many teams are willing to take on $72M for 33 year old outfielders.
      .
      In hindsight, I wonder if Puig was ever REALLY on the table for Braun. If I was the Brewers, I would have jumped at that. Deals for high priced/ageing stars come along every so often, where it just makes SO much sense for teams to trade them, remember Hanley/Manny, the price just HAS to be right. Dodgers got the money and prospects, the road goes through LA if Brewers are going to deal.

  4. “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”” (Mark Twain, from his autobiography.)

    So the Dodgers are 4th in runs and 10th in BA so all is well? If they are 1st in team ERA and 4th in runs why are they only 1 game above .500?

    They are hitting .225/.362/.402/.763 with RISP.

    Late and close they are hitting .170/.270/.222/.492.

    In wins they are hitting .303/.406/.542/.948.
    In losses they are hitting .184/.260/.243/.503.

    In one run games they are 0-2; in blowouts 3-0. In game decided by 2 runs or less they are 2-4.

    In the early going, they win the blowouts and lose the close ones. This seems to be due in part to poor clutch hitting – the same old RISP problem.

    I won’t go through the stats against lefties again – they speak for themselves.

    1. Dodgerrick, as someone who reviews statistics and uses them as appropriate measurements against performance, I cannot disagree with what you have described. I may come to different conclusions, but you are not wrong. I also believe there is credence in your assessment that if nothing is changed from prior year, why would you expect it to change this year? Again, I might argue that there has been change. Probably not enough change in your way of looking at the roster, but there has been change. I am not trying to be argumentative, because I truly want to understand how you would change the team. I know you do not like throwing out trade scenarios, but how would you address the problems in their lineup? Or who are the problems? What changes in player/managerial/coaching/FO would you like to see occur?

      1. AC, I was only trying to point out that the context of the Dodgers’ “statistical excellence” needed to be examined. If the team is 1st in team ERA and 4th in runs then you would expect better than 7 -6. By Pythagoras, they should be 9 -4. (Yeah, I know it’s early.) The Dodgers have done poorly thus far in close games and have won several blowouts. Some of this should even out through the season, but the RISP numbers don’t lie. They have finished in the lower half of baseball every season since 2011 (except 2014) and finished 23rd last year. (They are 18th now.) They are 27th with the game late and close.

        Some of this has to do with personnel and some with coaching, or more precisely with coaching philosophy.
        The Joc Pedersons of the world are going to swing for the fences and are probably not going to be good situational hitters. I am more concerned with philosophy.

        Moneyball teams who emphasize OBP and underplay batting average and ability to make contact tend to play for the 3 R HR when there are times that just a single hit is needed to stretch out an inning or a grounder will knock in a run. I’m not suggesting that plate discipline in unimportant but I am saying that there are times when you have to manufacture a run and the Dodgers aren’t very good at that, at least so far this season.

        If it were just this season then maybe you look for things to change but last year the Dodgers were 30th out of 30 teams in hitting in late and close situations (.209).

        What would I do differently? Again, I suspect we are really talking about coaching philosophy here. You have to teach to orient hitters to take a different approach with 2 strikes, or down or up a run in the 8th, or with RISP. The Dodgers are a Moneyball team who tend to play for the longball or take a walk rather than make contact and move the inning along.

        All Dodger fans of a certain age remember the ’65 or ’66 Dodgers’ rally: Will walked, stole 2nd, went to 3rd on a grounder and scored on a sac fly. In Koufax’ famous perfect game in ’65, the Dodgers’ sole hit wasn’t involved in the only run that they scored. Sometimes you have to be able to manufacture a run and I don’t believe that the Dodgers’ Braintrust values this.

        1. Dodgerrick, thanks for the response. I too get frustrated with the offensive philosophy, and I agree that it is a philosophy. I often think back to Koufax’s 1965 perfect game. The Cubs’ Bob Hendley was also pitching a no-hitter when Sweet Lou Johnson was walked in the 5th inning. Ron Fairly sacrificed Johnson to 2nd. Johnson then proceeded to steal third and come home on the overthrow error by the catcher. The Dodgers scored without an official AB or RBI. The Dodgers won the game 1-0. As a side note, Bob Hendley pitched a complete game one-hitter; a 7th inning bloop double by Sweet Lou.
          .
          While I am a strong FAZ supporter, I do not drink the Kool-Aid. The changes they have made in improving the 40 man roster and farm system, with financial constraints, and not many tradeable ML ready prospects to package for that elite player, still continue to win and get into the playoffs, and be in a position to contend for many years, is outstanding. That is also a philosophy that I can get behind. But I do not believe they favor a running game, and I would like to see the Dodgers take more chances on the base paths. I agree with your philosophy assessment, because I would think that Dave Roberts would be a believer in a more aggressive base running approach. There is also not a lot of base stealing down in the minors.
          .
          Turner Ward has made some good changes to Puig’s approach and thus far the results have been positive. I also believe that Ward is trying to get Joc to go with the pitch more, especially with 2 strikes. I think Joc is making progress. But he is not going to have him choke up and change his swing, because the HR is still more favored than the sac fly. There is also the philosophy that if you do not swing hard, the ball is not going to go very far. That works for Ichiro, or Brett Butler, or Tony Gwynn, but not for Joc. I know that giving up an out is not favorably thought of, so maybe I will test that theory and go back and take a look at the number of sac hits (bunts and flies) last year by the Dodgers. It might also be a good study when compared to the other playoff teams.

          1. AC

            On I believe MLB Now today, this saber metric guy and a former GM, were talking about players not putting the ball in play.

            I guess the Yankees had a few innings, when not one player, was able to put the ball in play.

            There was about six Strike outs, and five walks.

            And they were talking like these three out come players, might start being players, that are not valued anymore, in baseball.

            And that baseball is probably going to be changing in the next few years.

  5. I’ve been thinking about a potential trade for Braun, and it would certainly fill two areas of need, left field & RH bat that hits LH pitching.
    It’s a difficult one though, as Milwaukee are gonna play hard ball for sure, but obviously they are interested in moving him on as last years near trade suggests.
    For me, Braun could be the game changer, a quality hitter who could be the missing link for us, and so I would deal for him.
    It’s what we would have to give up. I would have said Puig but I’m happy to be proved wrong with him & im really impressed with his change in attitude.
    I’m sure they would want top prospects, and we have a number of course, but I get the feeling that if we can hang onto this crop, Belinger, Urias, Bueller, White, etc we may have a number of successful years ahead of us.
    What to do? Don’t think the Brewers would want our cast offs – Toles, SVS, Thompson etc, so we would have to give up a lot,
    Who is the question? What would it take realistically?

    1. Watford

      I am not so sure Toles is a cast off, and that is probably why Mark didn’t include him, in his trade.

      He isn’t obviously a lead off hitter yet, he is just learning how to hit major league pitching, so he doesn’t have the experience, that the other players have.

      I wouldn’t bat him first, because of that, but he has better offensive numbers, then some of the other players on the team, that have more experience, look at his OPS as compared to the other players, in the line up, I believe he ranks fifth, in OPS.

      I would just move him down in the order, and remember, he started at A ball last year.

      Hitting at the top of the order, is much harder, then hitting down in the order, and that is why Roberts put Puig in the eighth position at the begining of the season, to take the pressure of of Puig, to see what he could do.

      And Puig and Joc have much more experience then Toles, and Toles has been hitting, at the top of the order unlike both Joc and Puig.

      And yesterday was the first time in a very long time, that Puig was able to hit at the top of the order successfully.

      And he has only done that, in one game, this year.

      And I know Puig hit fourth, but I consider the top four places in the order, as hitting at the top of the order.

    1. Sorry Rudy – I didn’t word that very well.
      What I mean is, neither Toles or Thompson (and SVS) are even every day players at the moment.
      I’m sure the Brewers would be looking for a better potential haul.

  6. I hope those aren’t Hill’s fingers. If they are, he should retire NOW. Roberts made a point yesterday that the uncertainty of Hill’s performances is stressing the the pitching staff. Just the UNCERTAINTY. Forget Hill. Give the ball to Wood/Stripling and let’s go from there. Stripling wasn’t at his best yesterday, but still did a good job. Lots of pitches for the innings he worked. Right now the D’backs and Rockies are good teams. How long will it last? Maybe until October. They are both good measures for where our team is right now. I can’t say we are any better than they are. Including starting pitching after Kershaw. Both teams hit better, up and down the lineup. The giants are still in last place. The Bay Area is all over them. I love it.

  7. Looking at the box score of OKC, I’m impressed with the old/young aspect of it. Particularly with the old guys buying into the Dodger system and playing at AAA instead of leaving and trying to catch on with someone else. That says a lot to me; the system is a good one, and I think it starts with Roberts. And maybe ends with him too. The only credit I give to the front office is that are willing to pay top $ for these guys, and that is maybe most important to the older guys who are staring at the end of their careers.

    1. I think a lot more credit than that is in order. They have taken a franchise with about $65 million in bad contracts and have won the division every year and gotten better every year by advancing further. The farms system is one of the best in baseball now – it was 17th when they inherited it, and over 80% of their Top 30 Prospects were acquired by FAZ. No one that I know of in the modern era has done that without blowing up the team! Actually, that is damn amazing! Sure, they have made mistakes, but the mistakes that kill you are signing $207 million/6 year deals to guys like Greinke. $48 million each to McCarthy, Kazmir and Hill is still a lot less than would have been tied up in one player. The organization is trending in the right direction. There are only a couple of others that are doing that as well – the Yankees and the Cubs.

  8. Why isn’t Hill urinating on his hands like Moises Alou?

    Pass on Eva Braun. I think FAZ is kicking the tires and driving up the price for the Midgets.

    Tax day is over and ISIS got bombed. Life is good.

  9. Per True Blue LA, “In 2016, the Dodgers’ non-Kershaw starters averaged 5.06 innings per start. So far in 2017 — all of 10 starts — the average is 4.70.”

  10. Any thoughts/opinions on Starling Marte instead of Braun? Not off to a good start vs. lefties this year but has hit them well in the past. Good glove, good speed, decent contract next few seasons, still young, career .289 BA.

  11. I posted this on that “other” board in response to a post by Bluto. What do you guys think?

    Bluto: “Gloomy side: it’s obviously biased based on the Hill blister, but let’s look at the front office’s endevour to use the Dodgers money to buy risk:

    Anderson, Hill, McCarthy, Kazmir, Maeda

    Not the best ROI.”

    But CERTAINLY not the worst either Bluto!!

    Salary paid through 2016, Anderson, $26M, Hill, Minimal, McCarthy, $24M, Kazmir, $16M, Maeda, $10M, TOTAL $76M.

    Remaining salary obligation, Anderson $0, Hill, $48M, McCarthy, $24M, Kazmir, $32M, Maeda, $21M, TOTAL $125M.

    Major Performance Received to date; Anderson, 2015, 180 IP, 3.69 ERA; Kazmir, 2016, 136 IP, 4.56 ERA; Maeda, 2016, 176 IP, 3.48 ERA.

    Results, 492 innings of (weighted average) 3.85 ERA MLB starting pitching! Dividing that 492 innings by 180 innings equals 2.73 years of 3.85 ERA MLB pitching at 180 innings per year. Divide that $76M salary paid by 2.73 years equals $27.8M per year of 180 IP of 3.85 ERA MLB pitching.

    So even after factoring in two lost years from a TJ surgery and one lost year from a bad back. Getting 180 IP of 3.85 ERA MLB starting pitching for $28M/year could have been a lot worse.

    1. I think Bluto gets it. It’s not the best return on ROI but all combined, it’s not a s bad as 6 years at $206 million for Greinke…

      I hear some say “Well, the Dodgers tried to sign Greinke.”

      Did they? You were there?

  12. Good debate above about hitting philosophy and RISP. My pet peeve is hitters taking all the way on a first pitch fastball down the middle then swinging at a low and away slider. Is working the pitch count up on the starting pitcher that important? With all of the HR hitters we have they should be sitting dead red and make them pay if it’s the pitch they want. That first pitch is often the best pitch they see that at bat. I would green light the same guys on 3 and 0 pitches too, almost always a fastball down the middle and trust them to only swing if it’s the pitch they want to drive. Good hitters for years have choked up a bit with 2 strikes to make contact and put the ball in play. Kids in Little League are taught to protect with 2 strikes and not take borderline pitches and get rung up.

  13. Rich Hill to the bullpen is interesting after he comes back from blisteritis. Urias will be up withing 2 weeks. Stewart should be ready in mid to late May and then you have Oaks, Jurrjens and Masterson.

    Actually, Maeda is the one I am most worried about. If he has a couple of good outings, I would try and trade him.

    Starter Options:
    1. Kershaw
    2. Urias
    3. McCarthy
    4. Ryu
    5. Wood
    6. Stripling
    7. Stewart
    8. Oaks
    9. Masterson
    10. Jurrjens
    11. Hill
    12. Maeda
    13. Kazmir???

    With Buehler, White, Alvarez on the horizon.

    1. I really like Maeda, Mark, but he kind of give me the heebie geebies about holding up over the season, plus he doesn’t have a dominant enough arsenal of pitches to really over power guys. They seem to figure him out real quick if he isn’t on that night, and bat him around like a pinata. Never thought about trading him, but with the list you just put out of our other guys, why the hell not? We do have the depth to pull something off, maybe package him to fill another need. He has not shown a whole lot this season, that’s for sure.

  14. I think it is by design that the starters are not pitching deeper in games. I think they deliberately did not stretch them out so that they can be fresher at the end of the season. I think their innings will go up as the season progresses.

    1. Mark

      Which players are really providing the offense against lefties, lately?

      Corey, Turner, Puig, Agone, and Logan have been playing against lefties lately, but who is providing the offense?

      I think the offense has been from these regular players, so why play these part time players, over the other players, that play, when the team faces righties?

      1. I would say it is pretty early to make a determination, but here are the facts:

        A-Gon: .176 against Lefties (.280 against RH)
        Grandal : .154 against LH Pitching
        Toles only has one AB against LH
        Kike is .167
        Gutierrez was .250
        SVS is .154
        Seager is .250
        Turner is .381
        Forsythe is .450
        Puig is .118
        Pederson is hitting .429 against LH pitching but it’s only 7 AB’s

        It’s too early to tell, but it’s all over the place.

        The Dodgers need one more RH Hitter.

        Verdugo, Calhoun, Bellinger, Lux and Rios are all LH to go with Pederson, Gonzo, Toles and Seager. They need a RH bat and may have to trade some LH bats to get one.

        1. Mark

          Thanks!

          But it does seem that way, except for Grandal and Agone.

          And I know Joc has only had seven at bats, against a lefties, that were hand picked by Roberts, to face.

          And his stats against righties are not good at all.

          And I know Puig has even splits, in a bigger sample, size.

          Anyways Grandal had some really good throws, to night!

  15. Yadier Alveraz makes his California League debut tonight for the Quakes against the Lancaster JetHawks in Lancaster.

  16. Alvarez got beat like a rented fat mule tonight with RC.

    2.1 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0 K’s – 27.00 ERA.

    Another Knucklehead!

  17. So far Kike goes yard, Segeden gets a hit and a run, SVS with a BB and Forsythe a SF, all the RH hitters doing the damage against Ray, a LHP.

  18. too many short outings by starting pitchers overtaxes the pen – thus, 3 innings from Hatcher (and probably the ballgame)

  19. And of course another stellar performance against a southpaw
    =
    and more of them the next 2 games

Comments are closed.