The Process Is Working!

Home Field advantage goes to the Dodgers throughout the playoffs!  That is a big deal! The Dodgers have won the NL West every year since Andrew Friedman took control of baseball operations, and they have advanced further every year. Yet, there are “the Unbelievers” – they somehow doubt that his methods work.  Latest case in point:  Bill Shaikin of THE LA TIMES writes that How Dodgers fare in postseason will show whether Andrew Friedman’s process is working.

Actually, I agree with that! FAZ will be judged by whether they win the World Series, but to question the process is just plain moronic!  The process works – even Ray Charles can see that! Whether they win or lose the World Series does not alter the process.  What’s “THE PROCESS?”  To keep winning year after year and have a shot to win every year, not just occasionally.

Shaikin goes on to say:

The Dodgers refuse to trade their elite prospects, and you can see why by watching Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger. But the teams that did trade their elite prospects last year — the Chicago Cubs, to get Aroldis Chapman; and the Cleveland Indians, to get Andrew Miller — were the ones that competed in the World Series.

To compare the Indians and Cubs to the Dodgers is absurd.  Both teams sucked for a time so as to be in the position to have a plethora of prospects from which to deal.  The Dodgers re-built while remaining very competitive.  Not even close to being a worthy comparison.

He goes on to quote Billy Beane about Moneyball who said: “My [crap] doesn’t work in the playoffs.” What Friedman is doing in not moneyball – it is Friedman-esque! There is no comparison.

The playoffs are a crapshoot and there is no doubt in my mind that the Dodgers could have had JD Martinez and Justin Verlander at the expense of Alex Verdugo and Walker Buehler. They would not trade Seager, Urias and Bellinger at the expense of WINNING NOW, nor were they willing to trade Verdugo and Buehler.

Whether that was the right move remains to be seen, but Friedman is trusting THE PROCESS.  The Process has delivered the best record in baseball and the most wins in LA Dodger history, but still The Process is still questioned and even after winning the World Series, it will still be questioned, because Old Timers will say: “That’s not how we used to do it.”  You can’t please all the people all the time, and Andrew Friedman doesn’t even try.

I think the Dodgers are in a better position to win it all that any other team, but random stuff happens in the playoffs – all you can do is hope that it happens for you.

 

 

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 25 Comments

  1. So excited for the post season. As an avid and rabid Dodger fan I “hang on to every pitch” in the playoffs and hope this is the year we run the table. Having home field advantage is huge but having to face the likes of Ray, Grienke, Scherzer, Strasburg is a bit intimidating.

    We will go as far as CT3, JT, Seager and Bellinger can take us. They’ll need to come up big with RISP and I hope all of the four get red hot, but we will need probably at least two of them to carry us to the promise land.

    Hope I’m wrong but I think Doc is gaining some confidence in El Gasolino. Buehler is not ready for the pressure of post season and Stewart and Stripling don’t look quite ready either. Hoping Morrow, Watson, Avilan, Fields, Cingrani et al can hand off a lead to KJ.

  2. Every team thinks its “process” is the right one.

    There are several teams this post-season who are probably as good as the Dodgers are.

    The Dodgers have put their fans on a roller coaster this season – from the highs of May – mid August to the doldrums of the past 7 weeks. It’s hard to “trust the process” (whatever that means) in that light. This year’s iteration of the Dodgers are the 1st team to win 15 of 16 and lose 15 of 16 in the history of baseball.

    Here’s a relevant point made in the article in question:
    “The Dodgers have not done all they can to win in any given year, in the hope of sustaining their best chance to win in every year. If they do not win this year, after five consecutive division championships, would Friedman consider whether the Dodgers’ strategy might not be the most effective after all?

    “This seems like a better question if we don’t win the World Series than it is right now,” he said. “If we don’t — worst-case scenario — I think that’s a fair question.””

    All teams have beefed-up analytics departments now. Most teams avoid trading away their top prospects. The question of whether the Dodgers have done what they need to do to bring home the trophy this year, after setting an LA-era record for most wins is another question. They have gone out and obtain a top-tier player at the deadline (Darvish) for the 1st time in the Friedman era so that’s a good thing.

    I am tired of reading that “the playoffs are a crapshoot” or that it’s all random. If winning and losing was nothing more than random then it wouldn’t matter what players that you have on your team. The more good players that you have, the better your chances of winning. That seems pretty obvious to me.

    It’s not only that though. Baseball history is replete with examples of big time players who came up with great performances on baseball’s biggest stage. The Dodgers have had several of those – Koufax, Hersheiser, Snider, etc. These players weren’t just great for a month in October – they had great careers too.

    Thus far, through the past 4 seasons, have the Dodgers been able to say the same? Not really. This year, do the Dodgers have that guy?

    The other question is “the process”. Is this Moneyball 4.0? Is it data over people?

    Fasten your seatbelts Dodger fans – the ride is going to be bumpy.

    1. Well, every team does indeed win 1/3 and lose 1/3 games so all teams do get hot and which is the hottest at the time can go to any team. I’d say that resembles a crapshoot to some degree. The best team doesn’t always win. As if I’m saying anything that’s unknown to anybody. Oops! I’ll post it anyways.

  3. By Halloween we’ll know all we want or need to know about the playoffs and 2017 Dodgers. Will it be celebration and I told you so’s or crying and moaning and more I told you so’s. Either way it’s been a interesting and [for the most part] enjoyable season.

  4. I don’t believe that we’ve seen the best of FAZ yet. Once the restrictions of the luxury tax payments caused by the salary cap are vanquished, then we will be able to see all of the possibilities. This will be in place just in time for the 2019 free agent marketplace and all of the trade possibilities that are sure to result as well.

  5. I’m thinking Arizona may be the preferred team to play. Coors Field is ridiculous. Their hitters are deadly. Besides, Arizona has that nice pool for the boys to jump into and celebrate again.

    1. Rudy

      I think you might be right about that!

      Especially with what the attitude does to a pitcher’s good stuff, and with an outfield that never seems to end, I do think it might be easier to play the Dbacks, and that is only because, of the field that Rockies play on.

      And the Rockies pitchers, and players, are better prepared to play on their own field, then other teams, are!

  6. The dodgers have done a tremendous job in winning the last 5 division titles. The farm is in very good shape and as someone mentioned when the dodgers get out from under the luxury tax faz can take us to another level. We are the organization to emulate with apologies to the Yankees who are evolving as well. Whether the dodgers win the World Series or not they have been the best team in baseball during the regular season. It comes down to if the great players like kershaw, Jansen, and very good players like seager, turner, and bellinger will step up and play to their abilities. Plus you need a couple of guys to breakout in the playoffs while getting some breaks. I still think that if Gonzalez were called safe which he was we would have beaten the cubs last year. That was out of the dodgers control. I think game 1 is a must no matter who we play. Win or lose the dodgers will be knocking on the door for the foreseeable future.

  7. To believe that the playoffs are not a crapshoot is being blind to history. Wild card teams have gone on to win the WS, while only a handful of teams with the overall best record have gone on to win. From Bucky Dent in 78 with the HR to put the Yankees in the WS, and then hitting .417 to win WS MVP. Or Graig Nettles making unworldly plays at 3B in the 78 WS. Or the impact of a Reggie Jackson hip. Or Matt Stairs. Or Ozzie Smith’s HITTING in the 85 NLCS, before Niedenfuer wanted to go mano a mano against Jack Clark and lose. Or Matt Stairs. Or Daniel Murphy turning in one of the best playoffs in 2015. Or Matt Stairs. Or rookie Michael Wacha. Or having the best pitcher on the planet lose 3 final games in the last 4 playoffs. What more could you ask for with CK or Zach Greinke on the hill in a must win game and lose all four, because the Dodgers did not have a Matt Stairs moment.
    .
    Would the Dodgers have won 2015 WS if they had Cole Hamels and no Corey Seager? Who knows, because the playoffs are a CRAPSHOOT. But I would bet that there would be a less chance of them getting to the playoffs without Seager in 2016 and 2017. And the Dodgers are a different team with Cody Bellinger than without him.
    .
    Darvish was a big addition, as was Rich Hill last year. The two Tony’s are starting to prove themselves. I wanted Zach Britton, but the O’s were not willing to move him without a ransom in return. The one difference maker this year could have been JD Martinez, but the cost would have been 7+ years of Alex Verdugo. Some of you would have pulled the trigger while others would not have. Martinez is made for the DBack yard, and I would be very surprised if they do not make a big offer to keep him. Would he have done the same for LAD? Who knows? Is Verdugo the next Tony Gwynn as Mark likes to call him, or will be be a head case? If FAZ had made the trade I would have liked the move. The fact they did not, I am okay as well. Andrew Friedman has an uncanny ability to know who is a keeper and who may not be. I would not bet against him.
    .
    The Dodgers have the best record in MLB, and did so without Cole Hamels or JD Martinez. Will that be enough for the playoffs? I hope so. But I would not let JD Martinez beat me. And I hope that none of the DBacks, Rockies, Cubs, or Nats have another Matt Stairs.

  8. Today’s lineup:
    Taylor-CF
    Seager-SS
    Turner-3B
    Belly-1B
    Kike-LF
    Forsythe-2B
    Grandal-C
    Puig-RF
    Stripling-P

    1. Rockies sit a few key guys in LeMahieu, Story and Cargo while Dodgers go with a bullpen game but a better lineup. In a game with no meaning for either team I think the Blue prevails as the Rocks have one game to enjoy before the crucial WC match up on Wed in Az. The Dodgers have a few players trying to get their mojo rolling.

      1. I like our lineup against lefties especially since Puig has been showing improvement against them the last month or so.

      2. I found it interesting and unfortunate that Bud Black could not find a place to have Cargo come up to hit in what could be his final home game with the Rockies. I was listening to the game, so I do not know if the television crew had said something about Cargo not being available, but Steiner and Monday were positive that Cargo was going to get an AB today. This has been his 9th year with the Rockies and he has been a very good player for them. I am not a Rockies fan, but I am a baseball fan and I love players who have longevity with one club. Cargo deserved to get an ovation from the home crowd.

  9. Did anyone notice Ethier going off in the back of the Dugout when he lined out?
    Bit of helmet & bat throwing.
    I was pleased to see it – means he cares.

  10. Considering both teams have emptied their benches the Blue have played pretty well today. Joc is making a push to be on the PS roster. He has 2 hits and RBI’s today and is a true CF and would be a PH that could force a team to use their loogie. With Avilan out both Tony’s are in. Baez is making a push too, it would not be surprise. Ethier always was a hothead, it does not seem to affect his play.

  11. Don’t think one good game will make the difference, but I wonder if Joc getting a couple of hits (both hit hard) toady might make him an option to make the postseason roster.

    1. Depends on how many pitchers they carry but he has power and defense on his side. I think it’s safe to say the McCarthy question has been answered. I am not in favor of Locastro, not as just a PR and does nothing for the clubhouse and all the guys who have been here all year. I make an exception for Ethier because of his previous time as a Dodger.

    2. With Gonzalez and Avilan down there may be a chance for Joc. I’m kind of glad to see MCCarthy have his problems today. Better now than post-season but I never truly thought he was making it. I feel certain about 23 guys (12 position/11 pitchers) with Joc, Farmer, Locastro, Baez, Buehler on the bubble. I’m leaning toward no with Buehler. As much as I would love to see it, right now he has stuff but lacks command.

      1. You know they will put Baez on but hopefully won’t need him. McCarthy no, could use wood in the bullpen in game 1 and still start him later. I haven’t broken it down but I don’t think bueller makes it for the same reason you said.

  12. I looked at Baez numbers last year , in the post season.

    He pitched 7 innings, he gave up 6 hits, he walked 4 batters, and he hit one batter, and gave up a HR.

    And he was only charged for two runs, but he gave up 6 runs.

    I don’t think he earned the right to be on the post season, and I just don’t think he has enough confidence, to pitch in high leverage situations, and the post season, is the highest leverage situation, in baseball!

    And I don’t think pitching well, in a game, that we were far behind in, is any evidence, that he will be fine.

    And his post season history, is not good at all.

    1. Just saying Baez is back in the conversation, and would not surprise me. Who would you take instead, Stripling? Stewart? Buehler? Another hitter?

    2. MJ, I am not a big fan of Pedro Baez. He is probably the one player that I have had the least confidence in and have said the least positive comments about that I can remember. With Jansen, Morrow, Fields, Watson, Cingrani, and Maeda as virtual bullpen locks, that leaves Ryu, McCarthy, Stripling, Stewart, Buehler, and Baez as the #7. If they go 12 pitchers then 2 of those. Ryu’s shoulder will not let him be a multi game reliever, and they already have Maeda as a long reliever in a short series. McCarthy is not healthy enough or at least not ready. Buehler has a grand total of 93.2 professional innings pitched. He has a great arm with 3 plus pitches but not nearly the command he needs at the playoff level. He needs to learn how to pitch at the ML level, and that should not come in the playoffs. I like Brock Stewart, and I believe he will be a very good reliever…in 2018. He has zero playoff experience. That leaves Stripling and Baez. Most on this site put Stripling in the Baez category of no way no how for the last month. But last year in the playoffs he pitched 5 games. In 4 of those games, he pitched 4 shutout innings with 2 hits, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. But that 5th game, he pitched .1 inning allowing 5 runs (4 earned) 4 hits and 1 walk. And yet it is that one game that most fans remember. So to me it comes down to Stripling or Baez for the 7th reliever. I am partial to Stripling, but I know that Doc and Honey are huge supporters of Baez. I think Baez will get the 7th bullpen spot, but only be allowed to come in non high leverage situations. Both Stripling and Buehler (and probably Ryu as well) should end up in Arizona just in case. One or both could get a call for the NLCS.

  13. Haven’t seen much of Bobbie17 lately. Maybe he’s busy up there in Giants nation loudly gloating Giants being 40 games behind Dodgers at season’s close. I know I would be if I lived up there.

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