Lert me start all this by saying that I was TOTALLY in favor of the Dee Gordon trade. I thought Austin Barnes and Kike Hernandez would be very good players. FAZ parlayed Andrew Heaney into Howie Kendrick who played a nice role for the Dodgers a couple of years ago and even though Chris Hatcher was a bust as a Dodger, I would still do that trade in a New York minute.
Kike Hernandez is two year younger than Austin and (some of you will make fun of me for saying this), but I think Kike will eventually hit 30 HR a season in this league. He has issues against RH pitching, but maybe that can be improved upon as he matures. He has excellent power and is younger than Chris Taylor. I think he will have a breakout year as soon as next year! However, I digress… Who should be the Dodgers Catcher?
Many of you think Austin Barnes should take Yasmani’s place and while we don’t lose a lot when Austin is the Catcher, you need to consider this:
When Barnes catches the Dodgers have a 3.75 ERA.
When Grandal catches the Dodgers have a 3.20. ERA. That’s a half run less a game!
Yasmani has thrown out 32% of baserunners who try and steal, while Austin only gets 20%.
Austin Barnes fielding PCT is .992. Yasmani’s is .995.
Grandal has 6 errors in twice as many innings as Barnes (4).
The only area Barnes is better is Passed Balls. Grandal has 15 while Barnes has only 3 in half as many innings.
However, Grandal is one of the TOP 3 Pitch Framers in the game and the dude does have 22 HR in what I consider a down year for him.
As long a pitch framing is a thing, Yasmani will be the primary catcher… unless his offensive production becomes a liability. The passed balls are the byproduct of moving his glove in framing. It pays off, however!
This year, the Dodgers have Logan Forsythe at 2B, but they could trade him or pay him $1 Million to walk and save $7.5 Million NEXT year. Logan Forsythe is a very good defensive 2B, but has been disappointing against RHP. Next year, I would move Austin Barnes to 2B – he’s a very good 2B as well and his arm would play better at 2B than behind the plate.
I think Austin Barnes is a .300 hitter if he plays every day. He is a very good, but not GREAT catcher. We need to enjoy this run of the 2017 Dodgers, because next year, the team will look very different. There are lots of directions te team could go, but Forsythe, Ethier and Granderson won’t be on the roster. Adrian may well be forced to retire with his back… or maybe the Dodgers could work out a personal services contract with him to be the face of the Dodgers as Tommy fades.
Talent wise, Alex Verdugo is in the same category as Seager and Bellinger (except for power). The mental aspect of his game is what will determine how good he becomes. He could very well be the 2018 Rookie of the Year. Right about now though, the Playoff Roster is Paramount. Look for a surprise… maybe two. Just say “NO” to El Gasolino!
The Dodgers now have 102 wins and are starting to get “White Hot” again. Maybe Doc’s strategy is working and they have flipped the switch. One more win and they set the all-time LA Dodger record for wins. One more win and they clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. After Sunday, all they need are 11 more wins. Man, Rich Hill is pitching like Kershaw and Darvish and Alex Wood is not pleased with the possibility of going to the pen. I would not want him to be, but Just Bloom Where You Are Planted, Alex!
Photo Credit: Dodgers.com and MLB
It’s Go Time!