Think about that for a minute. There’s a lot we don’t know and some of it is stuff that we know we don’t know. We know the Cubs are struggling and need a couple of starting pitchers and maybe a veteran catcher, They have some pieces to trade, but they are also sitting on a really bad contract belonging to Jason Heyward. We know they have some good young prospects but how many are they really willing to trade? Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman are both trying to build juggernauts who are sustainable, year-by-year, so prospects are paramount.
There are several teams like the Cubs – they could be in the hunt with the right deal but who are they willing to trade? That’s what we don’t know and we know we don’t know it. I think the trade deadline will go right down to the wire this year. You could see a plethora of deadline deals. I think every team has a WAR ROOM or a place where they have all of the players posted on the wall whom they are willing to trade. Who is on that list is what we do not know.
If we were to make a list, I think these players would be on it. I’ll call it The Trade List. It doesn’t mean that any or all will be traded – it’s just that they Dodgers may be willing to trade them under the right circumstances;
Dodgers Trade List:
- Willie Calhoun
- Hyun-Jin Ryu
- Kenta Maeda
- Scott Kazmir
- Scott Farmer
- Scott Van Slyke
- Ross Stripling
- Yadier Alvarez (only under the right conditions)
We have no idea if that is correct because we don’t know what we don’t know. Will any get traded? Maybe… maybe not – we don’t know what we don’t know. What we do know that we know is that the Dodgers really don’t need to do anything. It’s still going to prove to be very interesting…
Kenley Jansen was spot on in his criticism of Dodger fans failure to vote in any Dodger starters to the All-Star Game. Of course, he was correct – don’t pretend that this fan base is something it’s not. Cubs fans are rabid. Dodger fans are not rabid but they do love to bitch (like I am doing right about now). Oh well, it is what it is and it is not going to change.
DODGERS ANNOUNCE SIGNINGS OF INTERNATIONAL PROSPECTS
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signings of 26 international prospects during the international signing period.
The Dodgers signed 19 players out of the Dominican Republic, while three were signed out of Venezuela and one player each from Cuba, Curacao, Aruba and Nicaragua. The Dodgers signed 15 position players (seven infielders, seven outfielders and one catcher) and 11 pitchers (nine right-handers and two left-hander).
Below is the full list of the signed players and a photo from the signing that took place at Campos Las Palmas – the Dodgers’ player development facility in the Dominican Republic – yesterday.
Minor League Report
I was watching the Nashville Sounds and the OKC Dodgers play since there is no MLB game last night. Kyle Farmer was at 2B and Alex Verdugo was in CF with Willie Calhoun being the DH. I’m sorry, but I still say that Willie has tree-trunk legs. If he were a boxer you could never knock him down. Farmer is smooth at 2B – I did not see him play SS, but I expect he was fine. He can probably play all the infield positions and maybe the outfield.
OKC – The Dodgers won 6-5 as Joe Broussard pitched 2 hittless and scoreless innings as OKC came back to win in the 9th inning. Broussard is now 3-0 with a 1.36 ERA at AA and AAA this year! Alex Verdugo continued his quest for a callup by going 3-5 last night. He is at .349 right now with a .416 OB%. He doubled in the two runs in the 9th to win the game. I for one, want to see him leading off for the Dodgers.
TULSA – The Drillers won 3-0, behind two hits by Errol Robinson and Edwin Rios, but the real story is Tim Shibuya. The 27 year-old pitched a 9 inning complete game one-hitter. In fact, he had a no-hitter which was broken up with a single with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. He now has a 1.51 ERA. Old friend, Grant Holmes went 7 for Midland in the loss as he allowed 1 ER in his best outing of the season.
RC – Rancho lost 11-8, but DJ Peters is smoking hot as he went 3-5 and is begging for a promotion to Tulsa. Raley and Will Smith also homered. Yadier Alvarez went 3.2 allowed 4 hits and 4 runs. His stock is slipping…
GL – They won 4-1 as Gavix Lux tried to jump out of a boat but failed to hit water. 19 year-old AJ Alexy pitched 5 innings of 2 hit, no run ball for the win.
I’ll leave the rookie league to AC….
Finally, this is for DodgerRick:
Bill Plunkett of The Daily News wrote this:
Starting pitching sure ain’t what it used to be.
Once dinosaurs such as Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan roamed the earth, snarling at anyone who dared to approach the pitcher’s mound before the ninth inning. “Five and fly” was an insult, dripping with disdain, aimed at starting pitchers who weren’t stout-hearted enough to do a man’s job and finish what he started.
Now – “Five and fly” might as well be the job description.
“That’s old school,” said Bud Black, a starting pitcher in the 1980s and early ’90s, a pitching coach (for the Angels) in the early 2000s and now the manager of the Colorado Rockies. “‘Five and fly’ was not a good term. Six was borderline. When a guy got taken out after six, that was borderline. I mean, 120 pitches was the norm. And that could have been six innings.
“It has changed.”
Indeed it has. Relievers pitched a record number of innings last season (1,070) and are on pace to challenge that this season. As recently as the 2014 season, the average start in the National League was six innings. This season, it is a hair less than 5 2/3 (5.59 through Sunday) – the lowest in history.
“If you get a guy who can give you six innings on a regular basis – he’s not a fifth starter. He’s a No. 2 or 3,” said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose team has struggled to fill out its rotation this year.
With the lowest starters’ ERA in the majors (3.42), the Dodgers would seem to be above this. Instead, they are at the forefront of the trend toward shorter starts.
A year ago, the Dodgers’ starting rotation unraveled due to injuries from the top (Clayton Kershaw) on down. As a result, 39 times they had a starting pitcher go five innings or fewer. Dodgers relievers pitched a major-league high 590 2/3 innings and Dave Roberts made a major-league record 606 pitching changes.
This year, the Dodgers have had the depth to fill out a six-man rotation (seven when Julio Urias was healthy) and use the DL as a waiting room. And yet, they have already had 37 games in which the starting pitcher went five innings or less.
An ace of the old-school variety, Kershaw is responsible for just one of those. In the 67 games started by anyone else, Dodgers starters have averaged fewer than 5 1/3 innings (5.29). Even Kershaw (in the wake of last season’s back injury) is being handled a little differently. He has pitched into the eighth inning just three times in his first 17 starts and is averaging less than seven innings per start for the first time since 2012.
“What I knew before, what I thought was – you get starting pitchers to go six, seven innings and then you run a ’pen for seven, eight and nine,” Roberts said of his expectations coming into his first managerial job. “Then you start looking at the numbers that Andrew (Friedman) and the front office introduced me to – about third time through (the batting order) and things like that.”
Ah, there it is. Of the multiple forces driving down the length of the average start – injury prevention and pitch limits on developing pitchers among them – analytics lead the way. It’s hard to deny the evidence. Almost universally, starting pitchers fare worse the more times they face a hitter in a game. It is much easier to find a pitcher who can throw one inning at a time than one who can go through a lineup repeatedly.
“Yes. No doubt,” Black agreed. “One thing I have noticed just in filling out a lineup card every day – the number of teams using eight relievers as opposed to seven, now that’s almost the norm. And that happened almost overnight.”
An eight-man bullpen – and a fleet of planes shuttling them in from Oklahoma City to hit refresh – allows the Dodgers to spread the load and (hopefully) avoid bullpen burnout.
“When you’re looking at our personnel and what they’ve done over the last year or two and their workload, if I’m trying to keep these guys (the starters) strong through October and I’m pushing them an extra inning each start that accumulation is going to take a toll,” Roberts said. “So if we have an eight-man ’pen and guys are rested, to have a guy go five innings it could potentially save bullets for the back end.”
For the Dodgers, the big picture has to include the additional stress of high-pressure starts in October. But the requirements of starting pitchers in the postseason have changed as well.
Last year, the Cleveland Indians reached the World Series by pitching their relievers (64 2/3) nearly as many innings as their starters (69-1/3) in the postseason – and more (32 1/3 innings to 30 1/3) in the World Series. The Cubs and Indians starting pitchers averaged fewer than five innings per start in the World Series and none went beyond the sixth inning.
The 2015 postseason started the trend with the Kansas City Royals winning a championship with a group of starters that averaged less than 5 1/3 innings per start in the postseason. The 2014 World Series is remembered for Madison Bumgarner’s heroics. He pitched 16 innings in his two starts. But the rest of the Giants starters managed 16 1/3 in the other five games.
“I just don’t think it’s really possible to paint the topic of World Series champions with a broad stroke brush,” Friedman said. “It’s so specific to each team. They do it in different ways. I think elite teams are really good at preventing runs. But there are more ways to do that than just to have elite starting pitching. But from a quality-of-life standpoint, having elite starting pitching is still far and away the easiest way to accomplish that.”
DODGERS STARTING PITCHING
Dodgers (NL rank) NL Avg
ERA 3.42 (1st) 4.48
IP 470-2/3 (6th) 459
K 479 (3rd) 402
BA vs .231 (1st) .259
OBP vs .295 (1st) .327
Slug vs. .376 (1st) .440
HRs 55 (14th) 67
WHIP 1.16 (1st) 1.35
Ks per 9 IP 9.16 (3d) 7.85
Ks-to-BBs 3.37 (1st) 2.52