Here’s The Biggest Question Yet…

It’s not “Does Chris Taylor deserve to start over Chase Utley?”  That’s not even a question.  The real question is “Does Logan Forsythe have a starting job when he comes back?”  Chris Taylor is an animal. I have always said that FAZ likes to trade for guys before they become THOSE GUYS!  They might have done just that with both Toles and Taylor!  I really, really liked last night’s lineup, but Chris Freaking Taylor is starting to look like a guy who is to be reckoned with!  It looks like he can hit righties, so Utley really has been Chased!

Yeah, it’s a small sampling, but Chris Taylor’s bat speed and stance suggests a 20 HR hitter.  He’s solid with the glove, although he could use more work at 2B.  I have little doubt, that with time, he can be a plus defender.  If he keeps this up, maybe Logan Forsythe goes back to a utility role.  Note:  Still no Jose De Leon sightings.  In case you are wondering, he is on the DL . Here’s the full report from Althea Pashman of Fansided:

The news broke just as the Tampa Bay Rays announced their minor league rosters was not what anyone wanted to hear which was their highly touted pitching prospect Jose De Leon would open the season on the minor league disabled list due to discomfort in the flexor mass muscle.

According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, De Leon had experienced forearm discomfort last week, which was resolved with rest. While that is all good news, it is still of concern as last season he spent time on the DL with Triple-A Oklahoma City due to soreness in his arm.

For those wondering what the flexor mass muscle is, well it is in your forearm by the elbow. They are the tendons that connect arm muscles to finger bones that stretch from the elbow to the fingers, which allow a pitcher to grip and throw a ball. Pitchers Andrew Miller, Stephen Strasburg, former Rays Wade Davis has sustained such an injury where they’ve miss a month or so. However, flexor mass problems can be a precursor to Tommy John surgery.

Dodger Notes

  • It goes without saying that Alex Wood and Joc Pederson were also impressive but hey, it’s only the Indianapolis Indians, ‘er I mean, the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Andrew Toles continues to look like a regular to me.
  • 17 K’s!  Koufaxian!!
  • If Joc can get it going, he’s a nice #5 hitter – if he can get it going… like last night!
  • Kike Hernandez has a .238 BA but he is OPS’ing .806.  He has gotten some key hits and his versatility makes him a roster lock.
  • The boat anchor in the lineup is currently Yasmani Grannydal.  Last season, he hit .295 in April, but with no power.  In May he hit .115, followed by .169 in June. Then he went off in July, hitting .324 with 8 HR.  He is a streaky hitter and I thought he would have more consistency this year.  It’s still early, but so far, he has disappointed with his hitting. Maybe, he started to awaken last night….  MAYBE!
  • Revisiting the Rich Hill/Josh Reddick trade:  I am somewhat surprised Frankie Montas is struggling (6.48 ERA).  Cotton is struggling with control.  Grant Holmes is at AA with a 5.16 ERA as he continues his downward spiral. Meanwhile Hill is on the DL and Josh Reddick is hitting .280 for Houston.
  • Trevor Oaks went 5.2 and gave up 7 hits and 5 ER in his worst outing this year.  It happens…
  • Willie Calhoun led off and went 2-5 as the DH.
  • Trayce Thompson is breaking out of his slump – 2-5 last night and played CF.
  • Edwin Rios continues to rake at AA – .361/1.008 OPS 6 HR/27 RBI.  I think he will like move to OKC soon.
  • How long will McCarthy be out?  It doesn’t matter… too many other pieces.  At least it is his Left shoulder.

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 63 Comments

  1. Imagine is Chris Taylor, Toles and Bellinger all started for the rest of the year? You could have three possible ROY candidates. Taylor and Toles were unheralded moves by FAZ. “Oh, more reclamation projects. More churn.”

    Sometimes those reclamation projects bear fruit. Brandon Beachy didn’t, but who cares? There’s not much lost except a million or two and a roster spot in AAA. Equity investors love to find those hidden gems, those companies with potential that break out and become ten baggers, to use investor parlance. Friedman is a Wall Street analyst by trade. It’s what he’s good at.

    Don’t look now, but the Dodgers are first in the MLB in pitching and fourth in runs scored, and have won 8 out of their last ten.

    In other news, Cole Hamels is injured and old. Texas is in last place. The Giants might have to unload Cueto to rebuild a depleted farm system. Samardzija continues to pitch the way he has his entire career, which is South of mediocre. Greinke’s pitching better this year…pretty well actually, but he’s 33 and the small market Dbacks only have to pay 172 more million of his contract, unless they can find a suitor to take him off their hands.

  2. Don’t look now but the Dodgers have the fourth best record in the NL. The cream is starting to rise to the top. I want more of a sample size before crowning Taylor the starting 2nd baseman however he is currently in beast mode. It’s sad but Chase needs to find another team to ride off into the sunset with as there’s no room for him here. Chase’s time has come to hang up the cleats. As I said last week, just let Joc play and he is going to pull his own weight. He is the only true Center Fielder on the current team. Yes Kike is good but he’s not Joc. Let’s keep this thing rolling. Go Blue……………………………………….

    1. Bill

      I know you said give Joc a chance, but you don’t think Joc has been given a chance, this is his third year.

      He was allowed to start, and play, in almost every game in his first year, even though he didn’t hit above 200, after the first month of the season.

      How many young players get the chance that Joc has been given, on a team like the Dodgers?

      The only other player on this team, that has been given more chances then Joc, is Puig.

      But Puig had a couple really good years, and that is why he has been given those chances.

      Look at Chris Taylor, he is taking the small chance he has been given, and he is running with it.

      All of the starts Taylor has gotten, was because he earned them.

      1. I agree he has been given plenty of time MJ, but what is the better option right now? His swing has been looking better as of late so just a little more time is what I’m saying.

      2. MJ, are you just going to ignore Joc’s accomplishments because you like contact hitters better? Joc was in the top two in HR, RBI, and BB per PA. He was at the top three in OPS last year whether you like that stat or not. He had a clutch HR against the Cubs in the playoffs last year.

        1. Bum

          The subject I was talking about with Joc, is that he has been given more chances, then most young players get, on a team like the Dodgers.

          Grandal has close to those same stats, that you talk about, Joc having.

          I have no problem with Joc, if he is going to make that change, and shorten his swing at times, when he should.

          The is my main issue with Joc, because I believe it is a choice with Joc, because I think Joc is very capable, of doing this.

          And the way Bellinger has made these adjustments, is why most people expect more from Joc, right now.

          I am not going to believe Joc has made this change, until I see it happen more often, then not.

          I have always supported him, when he has made this effort.

          And you are right, I don’t think OPS is the true gauge, of a player’s, offensive production.

          And I believe Joc’s OPS last year was higher, then Turner’s OPS.

          And I don’t believe for a minute, that Joc provided more offensive production for this team, then Turner did, last year.

          This just points out some of the problems, with OPS.

          And that is because strike outs, and walks, are not measured, in the proper way.

          And both Joc and Grandal, benefit from these problems.

          1. MJ, when you say Joc has been given the time it sounds like he has blown the opportunity he has been given and that is what I am disagreeing with. The Dodgers are good against righties and Joc is one of the main reasons for that. You could say the Dodgers are not good against lefties and that Joc is one of the reasons for that as well. Fairs fair. But, I think Joc can and will hold his own against lefties this year.
            .
            Joc and Duke are the only two Dodgers to hit 25 HR twice by age 25 and if Joc hits 25 HR this year, he will be the only Dodger ever to hit 25 three times by age 26. He can be better and is getting better but to hint that he hasn’t taken advantage of his playing time is fake news.

  3. In Spring Training, Chris Taylor’s swing looked better and of course he had a great Spring, but when he went back down, his swing evolved even more, Some guys just suddenly “get it” and it is very early, but to be it looks like this is for real. Time will tell, but he he plays this way, there is no need for Ryan Braun.

      1. Bum

        Turner and Corey, and even Agone, were the main reason, we were so good against righties, last year.

        I see Joc as only a role player, on this team.

        And if Joc continues to shorten his swing, when he should, like he did last night, no one will have a problem, with him.

        People just think Joc should have already made this adjustment, a lot sooner.

        And that, along with the fact he strikes out so much, is why people get frustrated with him.

        Bum you are a very patient guy, you must have been great father for your kids, with the patience, you have.

        I hope Joc keeps it up for you, and for the whole, team.

        Because it is fun watching these young guys, play.

  4. I like Puig’s contact rate. He has never had a swing that gets lift on the ball. He has always hit a lot of ground balls. What I worry the most about is his reverse split.
    .
    Here is a good analysis of Puig’s swing. http://dodgersdigest.com/2017/05/08/yasiel-puig-is-hitting-into-a-lot-of-double-plays/
    .
    The Dodgers have two righty bats in Turner and Puig that need to pound lefties and they unfortunately do better against righties. If Puig continues to not pound lefties and if Thompson starts to do so, I can see where Thompson will find a spot in the Dodger outfield.
    .
    Toles can play RF now and eventually Verdugo will be ready to play RF. I think Thompson’s best position is LF. Peters will be pushing for a spot in a couple of years as well.
    .
    Is Puig the most likely regular to be traded?
    .
    I stuck this in the last thread just before it closed.
    .
    I know that AC is most happy with the ROI on Zack Lee. When your team trades a favorite player, it is always nice to get a young player back that beats expectations. Taylor certainly has done that. Right now it looks like the Dodgers will reduce payroll next year by not having to use their option on Forsythe.
    .
    Sometimes a young can’t miss stud doesn’t make it and sometimes a non-heralded player does. FAZ did well with Toles, Wood, and Taylor. The Dodgers were loaded with outfielders and light on infielders. They needed a prospect that looked to be a long-term solution for second and what seems like out of no where, Taylor steps in. Love it.

    1. Bums, absolutely correct. Taylor became a favorite as soon as that trade went down. I still pull for Zach, but I know it is futile.
      .
      I started to think about that trade, and realized that the Dodgers and M’s have had three trades involving SP going to Seattle, and SS coming to the Dodgers:
      Joe Wieland to Seattle for Erick Mejia (currently at RC)
      Zach Lee to Seattle for Chris Taylor
      Chase De Jong to Seattle for Drew Jackson (currently at RC)

    2. I would still pick up Forsythe’s option. It’s cheap and he’s a known commodity around the league. Even if the Dodgers decided to annoint Taylor the second baseman, Forsythe like Taylor can play multiple positions and would be in demand by other clubs.

      It’s obvious that Taylor has re-vamped his swing and is bringing more to the batter’s box, but let’s not jump the gun in assuming the league won’t adjust to him. The real story is how the clock is ticking on Utley.

        1. Hopefully he is feeling this:

          DAMN, I’VE GOT A REALLY GOOD SHOT AT GETTING A RING!”

          1. Agreed. Hopefully relieved that they have a good back up and confident in his abilities to return to second base.

        2. Agree.

          The more multi-position players the better, especially with the team’s proclivity to have 13 man pitching staffs.

  5. Joc had a really good night, so I give credit, when credit is due!

    And I have seen Joc do this before, and that is why I expect more from him.

    My problem with Joc is that he doesn’t stick with what has made him be a better over all hitter, in the past.

    Hopefully Joc enjoyed his success last night, and he will continue to shorten his swing, when runners are in scoring position, especially if he has two strikes.

    The other thing I noticed last night, is that the Pirates are not the team they use to be.

    I have been wanting the Dodgers to take a series against the Pirates for a while, but they looked more like a minor league team last night.

  6. Agreed Hawkeye, Forsythe can be like Zobrist, he can play every position but catcher and pitcher. His option has to be picked up. if only because JDL was traded for him. Taylor is on fire, can play all of the IF spots and is making Utley look like a luxury security blanket, although I think he has something left. Decisions are looming, meanwhile Gutierrez can’t stay on the field-he can still hit but his body can’t take playing the field. First time he was hurt it was running the bases on a steal. Guys are getting a chance to play and then making the most of the opportunity.

    The rotation is another question mark, but perhaps the intent is to keep all of the innings down by using the 10 day DL as a periodic freshening for anyone with a minor tweak. I wanted Wood to stay in another inning but with a 10-0 lead why not save the bullets for another day? Urias is someone who can benefit from this approach and Maeda can use an extra day off like in Japan, hell even Kershaw would be fresher in the post season. Probably increases the chances that all stay healthy throughout the season.

    The Grant Dayton deal for Chris Reed (who recently retired) was a great pickup; Josh Fields was acquired for Yordan Alvaraz; Even Chase De Jong was picked up for international draft slots before being traded for Jackson and a young hard throwing pitcher.

  7. The worst record IN BASEBALL: the giants. The Bay Area is focusing on the Warriors now. Nothing but bitching about the orange and black. The Warriors are the new darlings in town. Our schedule has been light so far; the next 60 days don’t show much relief, and will be a test of how good the team can be. I expect Taylor to continue to be good, and I expect Bellinger will slide a bit, as the word gets around. We have some solid teams coming up to play. Will be interesting, and a test of the staff.

  8. Dave Cameron on Alex Wood’s return to quality:
    ~
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/welcome-back-again-alex-wood/
    ~
    The money, overly rosy, paragraph:
    Wood has struck out 30 of the 84 batters since rejoining the rotation, including 11 strikeouts in his start against Pittsburgh last night. He’s walked just one batter in each of those four starts (one of them intentionally), so his 30/4 K/BB ratio shows how well he’s owned the strike zone. But his dominance goes beyond even that level, as 32 of the 50 batters to put the ball in play against him during that span have hit the ball on the ground. You almost never see a pitcher combine a better than 30% strikeout rate with a 60% ground ball rate, but during these last four starts, Wood’s at a 36% strikeout rate and a 64% groundball rate.
    ~
    That is Dallas Keuchel‘s groundball ways combined with Chris Sale‘s control of the strike zone. Those are good things to have, and insanely good things to have simultaneously.

    1. This is the Alex Wood that I thought the Dodgers were getting from Atlanta. I know there are still skeptics, but he really had only one bad stretch and that was when he first came to the Dodgers. And really only two of the regular season games were bad bad. However, everybody remembers the disastrous Game 3 in the NLDS against the Mets, and that is how he is most judged. Fans were still bitter that FAZ did not trade for Hamels.
      .
      I am still surprised that the Dodgers were able to get him from the Braves. They had a very good young team that just did not mesh well in 2015. The Braves had Freddie Freeman (24), Justin Upton (26), Jason Heyward (24), Andrelton Simmons (24), Alex Wood (23), Julio Teheran (23), and Craig Kimbrel (26). That is a good nucleus to build around. Moving Alex Wood for what they received made absolutely no sense.
      .
      As much as I like Alex, I think it is a little unfair to even include him in discussions with Dallas Kuechel and Chris Sale. What he needs most is their consistency.

      1. People like to focus on the failure of Latos and Johnson and they were colossal failures, but Wood and Avilan have made that deal a success in my opinion as long as they stay healthy. I think people tend to not notice how good Avilan has been since his recall last year.

        1. The people who are illogically and irrationally predisposed and self-programmed to be FAZ haters will never admit it. Their logic is so flawed that they think if you can train a dog to fetch a stick, you can train a potato to dance. I had to get away from their circular thinking “I’m correct because I’m smarter than you. And I must be smarter than you because I’m correct.” They are the kind of clowns who call the post office when their house is on fire and tell them to hold the mail… then they call the Fire Department!

      2. “This is the Alex Wood that I thought the Dodgers were getting from Atlanta”….wow, that’s amazing. I would have had no idea he was that pitcher who pitched last night. I don’t think he is “that good” but would be happy if you are right.

  9. I think Joc has changed his swing. He looked good last night. I agree with MJ. Joc has 3 years to figure this out. He will not bunt against the shifts. Do not tell me a major league batter cannot bunt. Joc needs to take what the other team is giving him. He is stubborn or a slow learner. I like Joc in the line up, but he has to get better.

    1. I have never been very high on Joc, certainly not Bumsrap Euphoric. However, he seems to be a good teammate, good centerfielder and while his BA has been pretty low he does have some other nice stats. Some guys take longer and until we have someone that absolutely forces Joc to be on the bench I’m happy to support Bums position on Joc.

    1. Point taken Dodgerrick but if Taylor keeps raking I hope he becomes a regular and we can find some other useful stuff for Forsythe to do as he seems like a great teammate and good gritty ballplayer.

  10. By the way, I was unable to respond to yesterday’s post. Some of my all-time favs are:
    Maury Wills
    Koufax (of course)
    Bill Singer
    Jim Lefebvre
    Lou Johnson
    Jim Brewer
    Steve Garvey
    Joe Ferguson
    Manny Mota
    Bob Welch
    Orel
    Raul Mondesi
    Chan Ho Park
    Russell Martin
    Olmedo Saenz
    Giovanni Carrera
    Kershaw

    1. Fernando
      Jerry Reuss (dressing up like a groundskeeper and sweeping the infield or messing with Stu Nahan’s hair during an interview make him a personal favorite)
      Scioscia (plate blocking, that home run in the NLCS against the Mets)
      Dave Anderson (filled in like a hero in 88…saw a video of him getting a direct hit on the head with an orange in Candlestick)
      Pedro Guerrero (I used to copy that batting stance as a kid where he cocked his bat over his back)
      Jay Johnstone – because he was Reuss’s partner in crime. Wrote a book about life with Lasorda
      Greg Brock (Had such high hopes for him as a highly touted rookie)
      Mike Marshall
      Steve Sax (such a high energy hitter. The routine fielding plays such a source of entertainment)
      Burt Hooten ( used to talk to himself while pitching)
      Orel
      Gibson
      Hatcher
      Dempsey
      Ramon Martinez (he was better than his brother for a while…18 strikeouts in a game once)

  11. I agree with you Rick. That is what Roberts said. Forsythe will start and so will Agon. Utley wiil be on the team unless he takes himself out. That will leave you with Barnes, Utley, Taylor, Bellinger, Kike and Gutierrez. Two will have to go down.

  12. I was riding in the car for a while today listening to MLB.com and a Yankee fan called in talking about the Yankees prospects, but then he said he has been a fan since 46 and he has “never seen a team like the Dodgers who have two teams.” He went on to say they are the deepest team that he has ever seen.

    What do you think Alex Wood’s trade value is right about now?

    1. We don’t even know whether Wood will be a starter or a reliever for the Dodgers although Wood is telling them the obvious answer. If FAZ isn’t worried about future health issues, then I don’t think he will be traded.

    2. McCullough has a piece on Wood today, he mentions there are people in the Dodgers organization who think he could make a stellar relief arm.
      ~
      Perhaps like Andrew Miller?!??!?!?!?

  13. I will try to join the party late too, but inevitably I will forget someone:

    Willie Davis and Crawford
    Reggie Smith
    Pedro Guerrero
    Ramon Martinez
    Hong Chi-Kuo
    Fernando
    Orel
    Derrel Thomas
    Piazza (until the trade)
    Eddie Murray
    Steve Garvey
    Dusty Baker-the player

    When I was very little I had two wooden Willie Davis model bats, but my memory of really starting to watch games with my Dad was the 1974 team so I could list about everyone and make the list too long from 1974-1981.

    1. Love the list, Hawkeye. Every one of those players brought back great memories… even Hong Chi Kuo. Remember his bat flip after hitting a dinger? I think he had the yips one time and hit some batters in AZ. They started chirping. Then Kersh got into it, defending his teammate. Got a warning, then got thrown out for throwing inside to Gerardo Parra the next day.

      1. I was a fan of his stuff and perseverance. Plus he could flat out hit if he become a starter.

    2. Thank you for mentioning Willie Crawford. I loved to watch him play. He came up as a 17 year old, and played 12 years with LAD. He could play all three OF positions. Was a good although not a spectacular player, but he was an outstanding DODGER. To me he was Andre Ethier before Andre Ethier.

    1. This is probably a Zaidi sign. He was drafted and signed by Oakland in 2009, and later re-acquired by Oakland in 2014. Tampa did not sign him until January 2016.
      .
      Sure this is organizational depth, but I am not sure why unless there are other moves in the pipeline. OKC has Broussard, Somsen, Schuster, Geltz, Rhame, Morrow, Younginer, Ravin, and Bleich already on the roster as relievers; although Ravin is technically on rehab assignment. The Dodgers also just signed a 28 year old left hander, Logan Darnell from an Independent League. Darnell was most recently with the Twins in 2016. He is already on the OKC roster.

      1. Don’t forget Sierra. It appears he may have figured things out with a two-seamer.

  14. Another “Wild Horse” has joined the Blue. Justin Marks LHP was signed today after TB DFA’d him 3 days ago.
    Marks has pitched 12.1 Innings in the majors. Hits-13; BB-13; K’s-9; ERA 3.65. He will be assigned to OKC. Also AE has been put on the 60 day DL.

  15. The hated ones are losing 5-1 bottom of the 7th. LET’S GO METS!!!!!! Also Mark Melacon went to the DL. Couldn’t happen to a nicer team. Buster Posey seems to be the only hitter they have and I feel a bit sorry for him, not them, him.

    1. Blaming Romo is a little weak. He made a good pitch and should have been out of the inning. Hernandez lost the ball in the lights. If he catches it, it’s still 2-0.

  16. Frustrating to see Puig still chasing balls way off the plate, down and away in high leverage situations.

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