Have We Learned Anything Yet?

The short answer for some is a resounding NO!  Thankfully, they are in the minority!

One of you, sent me a comment from another site the other day.  When I read it I immediately knew who wrote it.  Of course, he is a FAZ-basher and he ended with “How long has it been since the Dodgers were in the World Series? You do know that every other team in the NL WEST has been in the World Series since the Dodgers last got there.”  Stuff like that immediately brands you as a (word that starts with M… and rhymes with ron) because Andrew Friedman has only been in charge for 2+ of those 29 years… and while he was at it he has built one of the best and deepest farm systems in baseball while winning back-to-back NL West titles and getting to the NLDS his first year and the NLCS his second year.  Also, the Dodgers are frontrunners to make it to the Fall Classic this year as the team is stacked with depth unheard of in modern day baseball.  I guess I do not tolerate fools very well.

Yes, it has been 29 long years and FAZ has been in control all of those years, right?  Misplaced aggression – see a shrink, dude!  Now back to our regularly schedule programming.  These are not your father’s Dodgers and some of you don’t like them very much because… well, they are different. You don’t like change. You want a leadoff guy who steals 104 bases like Maury Wills (“I want Dee Gordon back”).  You want starters who pitch 15 or 20 complete games a year and throw 25o plus innings.  You want Matt Kemp, not Yasmani Grandal. You want real men, not the sissies that play the game today.  BTW, any team can have Matt Kemp – just pay his contract!

While we are at it, I would like to post something that Rowan Kavner posted at Dodger Insider about Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes:

A notable week for Dodger catchers continued Wednesday night, when Yasmani Grandal reached base safely in all four plate appearances.

Grandal went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI, recording his second straight three-hit game and his sixth game in his last seven with at least one hit. The performance came one night after Austin Barnes capped off an extra-innings victory with the first walk-off hit of his career.

As solidly as the Dodger catchers have hit the last few days, it can be easy to overlook their contributions defensively this year, particularly those of Grandal, who leads the National League in caught stealing percentage (55.6)and leads all MLB players who’ve caught at least 10 games in the category.

Grandal, who’s never posted a caught stealing percentage greater than 30 in any full season, has made a massive jump this year, catching 10 of the 18 base-runners trying to snag a base on him in 28 games behind the plate this season.

Dodger catchers as a group lead the Majors in caught stealing percentage (50) and wins above average (0.9), according to Baseball Reference. No other NL team has a caught stealing percentage greater than 32 percent.

They’re also first in WAR (1.6), according to FanGraphs. Grandal, individually, leads all MLB catchers in defensive WAR (0.7).

FanGraphs also measures total defensive runs saved (DRS), indicating how many runs a player saved or hurt his team compared to the average player at his position, and Grandal also leads all MLB catchers in that category, as well as defensive runs above average among qualified catchers.

As much as Grandal (.268/.345/.454) and Barnes (.265/.359/.529) have done with their bats, their contributions defensively shouldn’t be ignored.

Yasmani and Austin make up the best catching tandem the Dodgers have had is a long, long time!  Hate on ’em all you want, but they are really damn good!  I just get tired of people who always like to criticize everything FAZ does so that they can somehow feel a little bit superior in their miserable lives.  Baseball is supposed to be fun and when your team is winning why continue to be miserable?  I just don’t get it!

When I was at another site, I read criticism of the Dodgers acquiring Alex Wood, Andrew Toles, Grant Dayton, Chris Taylor, Brett Eibner, Chase Utley, Franklin Gutierrez, Austin Barnes, Kike Hernandez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson, Howie Kendrick, Rich Hill and many others, but they continues to defend to the death that THE TRADE was a good thing. They hate FAZ and criticise everything that they can.  It’s like criticizing a hitter every time he makes an out.  Even if he is a great hitter, you are going to criticize him 70% of the time.  How stupid is that?  FAZ is not perfect, but they are doing a fantastic job.

Also, I wrote this on February 13th:

I have been telling you a few things over the Winter:

  1. Julio Urias is going to have a breakout year;
  2. Yasmani Grandal will come close to 40 HR;
  3. Willie Calhoun won’t play 2B due to horrible defense and lock of foot speed;
  4. Among Ryu, McCarthy and Kazmir, at least two will be contributors; and
  5. Cody Bellinger is ready.

    I still stand by that!

Don’t look now, but the Dodgers are now 5th in team batting average, 3rd in runs scored and 18th in HR.  They have been running aggressively.  The HR will come – remember Yasmani is going to have over 30.  So will Cody!  We could approach that four with thirty arena. I find it interesting that the Dodgers are #1 in baseball in doubles.  Of course, the Dodgers are still #1 in pitching:

  • Team ERA – 3.14 which is #1 by a considerable margin.
  • Team WHIP – #2 – .01 behind Houston
  • Second fewest HR allowed.
  • Third fewest bases on balls.
  • Fewest Runs allowed and fewest earned runs.

Has anyone learned anything?  The Dodgers don’t have the pitching?  Reality is calling – you should really give it a listen… to be complaining about the Dodgers pitching marks you are borderline delusional… and it’s probably going to get even better.

RANTS & RAVES

  • Yasiel Puig is a loveable scoundrel.  He doesn’t run when he should and runs when he shouldn’t.  He is a talented knucklehead who will always tantalize us and then disappoint us.  We could do worse in RF… but we could also do better.
  • Brett Eibner has some power! Light Tower Power!
  • Cody Bellinger is OK… huh?  He may be the best defensive 1B I have ever seen. Really!
  • Pedro Baez has sure picked up his pitching pace and coincidently, he is pitching better than ever.  He is force!
  • The Dodgers are a half game behind the Rockies who are off to the best start in the organization’s history (before they fade to oblivion). Let’s hope Julio can figure out how to pitch in Coors. Let’s take first place!

Minor League Notes

  • OKC lost 6-4 – Dickson and Davis hit HR and the rest of the team had 2 hits.  Jurrjens gave up 8 hits in 4.2 as he got the loss, but he gave up no big flies.
  • Tulsa won 9-4 – Farmer remained hot going 3-4 (.323) as Scott Barlow wen 6, striking out 8 with 3 hits ands 2 runs.  His ERA is 2.86.
  • RC won 2-1 – Peters went 2-3 with  a walk ands is hitting .300.  He will move up after the All-Star break.
  • GL l,ost 7-4 – Nothing to see – move along.

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 36 Comments

  1. Yes the dodgers are playing really well and their pitching is really good. I think we have a tremendous catching tandem as Barnes has finally started showing what he is capable of. I was hoping grandad would start mashing lefties but that is being picky as he will need days off anyway and I think Barnes has a lot of upside. Our starters are really making it tough on Roberts and I would like to see kazmir healthy he could bring an experienced quality starter to the playoffs. It is a long shot but he is capable. I’m hoping Gonzalez can be healthy and productive we need his bat. Braun to injury prone with his contract. We are definitely moving in the right direction. First place today, well it will be tough but the way we are playing it is a matter of time. Always thanks for info on Imani.

  2. 1 Comment and 1 Question:
    Comment: The Dodgers defeated a LHP last night and did so in workman-like fashion.
    Question: Are Rockies fans worried about not hitting left handed pitchers? They lit up Ryu, but got shut down by Kershaw, and then Wood. If Urias pitches well, do their fans start worrying about hitting left handers?

  3. Excellent article, Mark. I am in the ‘we could use one more solid pitcher’ camp but I have less concern about our offense. There is no reason why we shouldn’t win the division by double digits.

    1. Johan Mieses is a 21 year old OF from Santa Domingo Este, DR. He is one of the younger players in AA, at 3.3 years younger than the average AA player. He is generally regarded as having the best raw power bat in the organization. As a 20 year old he won the HR crown in the California League with 28. While he usually plays CF, he is projected as more of a RF with his plus arm. He had 14 assists last year.
      .
      He is a pull/lift hitter which seems to be a tendency for many of the projected power bats. The Nats Ryan Zimmerman has made a career changing adjustment this year with a pull and lift approach. Like most power bats, he has a long swing and is very susceptible to off speed pitches. He has a high ceiling, but a very low floor. He is rated as the #26 Dodger prospect per MLB Pipeline, but higher on some other lists. He is raw and truly an unknown. The Dodgers will need to make a decision next year to put him on the 40 man as he will become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft.
      .
      Johan got off to a horrendous start to his AA season, but has seemingly come alive the last three games. In those three games he is 5 for 13, with 4 HR and 8 RBI. He also had 1 BB and 5K. This is emblematic of who Mieses is. He will go on long droughts where he cannot hit anything, but will then heat up and go on a power spree. Last year as a 20 year old at RC, he had 28 HR and 31 doubles for a slash line of .247/.314/.510/.824. You can get encouraged because of his power at a young age in higher leagues than he should be. But his floor is very low.

  4. Outstanding post today Mark! You took a day off and doubled back down! I enjoy when Always Compete posts also, a slightly different perspective. I can’t add much on a day when the team is poised to take over 1st place on the road but this post from late yesterday by Roger Askew sums it all up for me:

    First of all , Woods is just a frigging beast right now. And Turner is totally under appreciated defensively , the guy can flat out pick it! All you need to know about how the Rockshow is feeling this weekend in a nutshell is to watch Nolan Arenado’s reaction to Turner’s stab to rob him of a sure hit and RBI. The Rockies know the approaching Death Star of Dodger Blue is coming, and they can’t do a damn thing about it. Our depth on both the position players, the starters, and the bullpen is going to grind these guys into dust. You can already see it, and all of us know that we are far from full strength right now. I think one of the keys over the last 3 or 4 games is the Team Dad, that’s right , Utley getting hot. It kind of solidified everybody else and got the hitting parade started. The pitching right now outside of Ryu, who I think will be much better next time around, is off the hook. Split or no split, we are right where we want to be right now, with a butt load of back up in Triple A. Starting to think this is the year. All the FAZ haters might need some ketchup to eat a big time amount of crow.

    All 7’s Roger! Maybe some can find fault with a 4-0 shutout, after all Wood only went 6 with 10 K’s and was pulled after 88 pitches. But the bullpen locked down and Fields and Baez are becoming the preferred setup to Jansen who closed out a second straight game in a non save situation. That’s by design: starters do their job and hand the ball to the bullpen who does their job. Most teams would love to have the Dodgers problems so let’s cut them some slack. It’s been a long time since 1988 but the drought will not last much longer.

  5. That was the best game I have ever seen pitched at Colorado, and that is not only because what the elevation does to the ball, it is also because the Rockies have a very good offensive, team.

    I think Wood may have finally knocked that door down, and he will now be taken more seriously, about being a permanent part, of the rotation.

    Wood pitched well in his three previous games, but the Giants and the Padres don’t have the offense that the Rockies have, so this was difinitly a step up, for Wood.

    The Dodgers played some really good defense yesterday, and that was high lighted by Turner, who saved at least two doubles, down the line.

    I loved the early small ball, that the team played too.

    Barnes made that happen, when he stoled third base, and Wood made a very good bunt, to get Barnes in, to help his own cause.

    And I do get frustrated when people think the Dodgers won’t play small ball, because Friedman uses, saber metrics.

    Because the truth is that Joe Maddon does use the bunt, and he used the bunt, when he was a manager, under Friedman.

    Friedman only uses saber metrics as a tool, not as an all encompassing way, to play the game.

    Mark is right, our two catchers have really played well lately, too.

    Grandal has hit so well in the last couple weeks, that he was able to raise his average to 276, from the low 200s.

    And actually Grandal has been hitting rightie pitchers, pretty well all year, but he isn’t hitting lefties, so Barnes should make most of the starts, against lefties.

    And that works out well, because Grandal does need regular rest, to stay fresh, throughout the year.

    And Barnes needs to get more consistent at bats, to continue to make an offensive, difference.

    I agree with Mark’s analysis about Puig, too.

    And I think it was good that Roberts sit Puig against the leftie pitcher, and in this game, and against, the Rockies.

    Because Puig hasn’t hit lefties well all year, and he is only hitting 176 against lefties, at this point in the season.

    And Puig’s current stats do mean more, because he has had more at bats against lefties, then any other player, in baseball this year.

    Because he had started and played in all but one game before yesterday’s game, and the Dodgers have faced more lefties, then any other team, in all of baseball, this year.

    And Puig only had three hits in 29 at bats, against the Rockies, this year, so I do think Roberts made the right decision by sitting Puig.

    I hope Urias throws a good game today, and keeps his pitch count down, early in this game.

      1. Rudy and Bobby,

        I didn’t see that game!

        I didn’t follow sports, for a time, in my life.

  6. One of the best things about Woods last night was the strike/ball ratio. Over-the-top efficient. It’s fortunate that the weather in Denver has been LAish. I expected snow. Hope it lasts one more day. giants have won 2 in a row; I still fear those guys. Next week is an important series. We haven’t been that good against them, even this year, when that have been bad. Snuff them out early and often. Go Reds. Big day in NY: retiring Jeters’ jersey. Good guy and great player. One of the best of that era. Cooperstown in 4 years will be rocking.

    1. Bobbie17

      I do agree this seems like a good time, to go into SF,and stomp on the Giant’s throats, and show them, this is not the same team, that they recently, faced.

      But first, we need to win this game today!

  7. From another site: why didn’t the team wear the pink hats last night? All the others teams did. Any insight?

    1. Bobbie 17

      I don’t know if this is true, but I read something to do with auctioning, this stuff off.

      Maybe they didn’t wear the hats, and kept them clean, because they were going to be auctioning them, off.

      1. You can only push this pink thing so far. There has to be some Dodger Blue! 😉

        1. Mark

          I heard that you were going to donate to the cause, and buy one of those nice pink Dodger hats, and take one, for the team. ☺️

    1. Bobbie17

      I just saw a picture of what Turner is suppose to wear today, and the picture had a pink hat in it, so maybe today, they will be wearing their pink hats.

  8. Spitzbarth pitched the 6th inning for RC. 14 pitches. 10 strikes. 3 K. He must have some serious, late movement.

    1. Spitzbarth should be on the fast track. I do not understand why he is not in Tulsa yet.

  9. Agree with your article Mark. The Dodgers are playing good baseball right now. Turner is a stud both offensively and defensively. I was worried about that line up last night. Everybody seems to be contributing. Wood took care of business.
    Overall I have always felt FAZ is doing a good job. I bitch sometimes because I am old and would like to see baseball played the old fashion way. I will get used to the new ways sometime.
    We have some players in minor slumps right now. However, Utley, Grandal and Pederson have picked it up. Everybody is doing their part.

  10. Best signing of the year by far is the Dodgers bringing Turner back. This guy is so underrated defensively it’s ridiculous. Everytime I watch a game he makes at least 2 to 3 highlight plays and just makes them look routine. Plus the guy is flat out raking right now, forget about the homers, they will come later on. Just flat out robbed Arenado last night with runners on base, and Nolan was pissed!! Great late bloomer, I hope he gets picked for the All Star game this year, he deserves it so far.

    1. Roger

      I hope Turner makes the Allstar team this year too!

      I think that would mean a lot, to Turner too!

  11. Young Julio will have to learn that he can’t use his curveball as he usually does.

    1. Not a good day for Julio but hey we’re not out of this game by any means. Just the other day we were down 10-0 and scored 7 unanswered runs. We DON’T GIVE UP.
      To quote Tug McGraw “You gotta believe”. and Casey Stengel ” It ain’t over till it’s over”. Three hits today for Granny. Hope he hits the .300 mark and stays there but I doubt it. I’d take .270 for the season in a NY minute. I’m VERY impressed with his CS%

  12. I have officially lost confidence in Romo, and he continues to pour gasoline on fires in high leverage situations. He has no velocity to offset his slider and is not fooling many. Grandal is up to .295 with his 3rd 3 hit game in a week. They stayed with Julio too long today when he was struggling throughout. It is not fun to play at Coors Field! Getting a split up there is fine, now at least 2 of 3 from the Giants, but prefer more brooms!

  13. Welcome to the Thunder Dome that is called Coors Field… Just change to your civies, jump on the bus to the airport and ask someone later how you did… I guarantee that CO will not a participant in the playoffs…
    Cody, Cody, Cody… You’re in 18 games at the MLB level and you’re at or leading in most of the important team stats…The Kid, the Myth, the Legend!!! (I know it’s early, but I’ve been dying to chime in with that!!!
    Soon Roberts will have a talk with Urias like Tommy did with Orel and tell to stop thinking too much and be a bulldog out on the rubber!!! The thrower, a damn good one at that, becomes a pitcher…

  14. Most of us have talked about the two problems we have in the bull pen. Both of them hurt us today.

    1. I never liked the Romo signing to begin with and Hatcher can’t be trusted in games where we have to chance to win.

  15. I wonder why we didn’t go after Holland over the winter, unless he wanted to close games. Anyone know??

  16. So true Idahoal! If Romo and Hatcher can’t be trusted in high leverage situations they are taking a spot from someone who can be. Coors wears out your bullpen anyway so they got exposed today.

    Peter J I totally agree about Cody B, he just has that special sauce and will only get better with more experience. He is that rare player that does everything well and it seems to come natural for him, maybe because his dad played at the ML level as well. I hope they keep this group of kids together a good long while.

    1. And Hatcher has been takening up space, far to long!

      He will never pitch well in high leverage situations, and especially, for a big market team, like the Dodgers.

      He isn’t a pitcher, he is a mere thrower, who was good for a fleeting moment, for a couple of weeks, at the end of the season, in the first year, he was with the team.

      I have a question do pitchers sliders break normally, in Colorado?

      And if they don’t, why is Romo pitching in Colorado, when that is the only pitch he throws?

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