I’m Back… Just For a Day!

My oldest son and I got back from Haiti at Midnight.  It’s heartbreaking to see how the Haitins live, but we are trying to change that.  I’ll do a blog about it someday soon for those of you who are interested.  But, It’s Time For Dodger Baseball!  I recorded the game last night and “speed watched” it. I leave for Denver Tuesday AM and will be back on April Fools Day (so named in my honor).

Random Thoughts Before The Season Starts

  • I think we got a glimpse of how good this Dodger Bullpen can be tonight.  Chargois pitched the 6th, Alexander (great inning) pitched the 7th and Kenley pitched the 8th before Fields came in to close out the game.  I doubt that is the last time you will see that happen!
  • I don’t think many fans understand how good Fields and Baez can be with just a tweak or two.  They both have great stuff (Baez is more of a head case… if he can beat that).
  • Yasmani Grandal has handily won the starting catcher job (hands down) in case any of you are wondering.
  • I think Kike Hernandez can play an EXCELLENT 2B, if you leave him there. In fact, I think Kike can play anywhere and do a good job… even SS.
  • I have two players who could “BREAKOUT” BIG TIME:  Yasiel Puig and Kike Hernandez! Both are capable of 30+ HR.
  • Chase Utley has earned a roster spot. He may be the “Team Dad” but he has earned the spot with his play!
  • Andrew Toles needs to make the team.  Joc Pederson is lost and the rest of the starting OF is right-handed.  Andrew is a valuable piece.  He will likely get at least 1 AB every day and can start 3 or 4 times a week… spelling each outfielder.
  • Let’s get real about Trayce Thompson:  There’s no place for him on this team, and he really has no value because other teams know the Dodgers have no place for him.  I like Trayce.  He’s a good guy and deserves a home in MLB, but he’s RH and all the Dodgers starting outfielders are also RH.  They could use both Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles, but I think it makes more sense to send Joc down to work on his swing again.  Also the Dodgers have Henry Ramos who is a switch hitter and younger than Trayce and I believe he has a HIGH upside.  Look for Trayce to be scooped up by another team for little… most likly nothing. I really like Henry Ramos.
  • I look for Kyle Farmer to make the team as well.
  • Yasiel Puig has earned the right to hit #3 while JT is out.  I see this as the lineup on Thursday:
    1. Taylor  CF  (the Catalyst)
    2. Seager SS (if healthy he may challenge for the batting title)
    3. Puig  RF (Giving him this spot is good for his confidence and he might be headed to a Monster Year?)
    4. Bellinger 1B (pencil in 40 HR)
    5. Kemp  LF  (the story is yet to be written, but it could be a feelgood one)
    6. Grandal  C  (emphatically has taken over the starting C position – might he “breakout”?)
    7. Hernandez/Utley  2B (solid if not spectacular)
    8. Forsythe   3B  (he would hit 6th on lots of teams)
  • Pat Venditte will likely be back in May.  He has made the team, but they want him to get stretched out as a long man.  Makes sense.
  • Julio Urias is making progress and learning how to rehab from Scott Alexander, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
Urias throwing for rehab

 

Urias, the organization’s top pitching prospect a year ago, is recovering from left shoulder capsule release surgery. Alexander, acquired over the winter by the Dodgers from Kansas City, had the same procedure in 2011 and has been living reference material whenever Urias has a question about his recovery.

So far, so good on Urias’ recovery. Urias, who was throwing at a distance of 25 feet when Spring Training opened, is up to 135 feet now. He will remain there until his arm strength is sufficient for the next big hurdle — throwing off a mound — possibly in a month.”I talked to him when I was [throwing] at 120 feet,” said Urias. “I asked how he felt then and he said, ‘Fine, but maybe when you throw off a mound, you feel a little sore. No pain, just a little sore.’ But he said, ‘Don’t worry about it. It’s normal.’ It’s been really motivating hearing what he said and knowing he recovered.”

Pain? “Nothing,” he said. Stiffness? “Nothing. I’m good.”

As teammates pack their gear on Saturday for the trip to Southern California, Urias will be left behind to continue his rehab at the organization’s Camelback Ranch training facility. But instead of leaving Urias wistful about the unexpected detour in his career, he said watching the club head out for Opening Day doubles down his motivation to work for a return.

“It’s understandable,” he said when asked if he feels forgotten. “I want to get back to where I was and what I could do before. I’m still optimistic, of course, 100 percent.”

The club remains just as optimistic that Urias will be back midway through 2018, roughly 12 months out from the surgery.

Urias said Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed the repair work, told him that the damage was minimal. He said he’s confident he will be at least as good as before the surgery, when he was ranked by MLB Pipelineas the No. 4 prospect in MLB coming into the season.

Let’s not forget how good this kid was and can be.

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 47 Comments

  1. Glad you made it back safe. I too hope that Thompson isn’t on the 25 man roster as both Toles and Farmer have earned the spots. Not sure what the hell Joc is doing, Doc has certainly given him enough rope to hang himself.

  2. I think Barnes will get most of the at bats against lefties.
    .
    Grandal will get most of the innings pre-All Star game and then gradually lose innings thereafter. Grandal has yet to stay strong for a whole season.
    .
    When Turner returns, Kike’ will take Kemp’s innings in LF and Kemp could be released/traded.
    .
    Farmer will stay on the team when Turner returns.
    .
    Most of the commenters here are to Toles as I am to Pederson. Equally pathetic.

    1. Here is a subplot: While Turner is out, Kike’ and Forsythe are competing for the starting second base job that will be awarded when Turner returns.

        1. Orel was making me sick last night, because he was making excuses on why Joc deserved, to be on this team.

    2. Bum,
      I would hazard to guess it’s because:
      1. Toles is better than Joc.
      2. Has outplayed Joc in ST
      3. Deserves to be on the team more than Joc (but probably won’t be, for the time being).

  3. Bum, I 100% agree with “While Turner is out, Kike’ and Forsythe are competing for the starting second base job that will be awarded when Turner returns.” I’ve been thinking that myself the last few days as well; you beat me to get it in writing!!

    Bum, I 100% laugh at “most of the commenters here are to Toles as I am to Pederson. Equally pathetic.”

    1. Bum

      This is not a feeling about Toles, like you have forJoc!

      It is obvious which of these two players deserve to be, on this team!

      Joc has done nothing in spring training, to earn his way on this team.

      And this is even after Toles was handicapped, and not started, in 7 of the last 8 games.

      Joc was given most of those starts, and Joc still hasn’t done a thing.

      Joc should have had his swing down, and been ready to hit in spring training, especially after he was sent down to AAA last year, because he stopped hitting again.

      And Toles was playing very well last year, before he got hurt.

      The truth is Joc played himself off this team last year.

      And after Joc, is even given an advantage, of getting more consistent starts, and getting more consistent at bats then Toles, Joc still hasn’t done a thing.

      And finally after Toles gets a start, he hits a hard line drive hit, against a leftie.

      And Toles hasn’t seen live pitching, for quite a while, unlike Joc.

      1. In some cases not only are some to Toles what I am to Pederson, they are to Pederson what most are to Bumgarner.
        .
        Its a long season. Everything will play out.

        1. All I am sayin, if this was a competition, Joc is not even in the conversation.

          Because he played himself off this team last year, so I believe he had to come to spring training, and dominate, to even get another chance.

          But you must know more then anyone, how frustrating it is, to see Joc come to spring training like this, year after year.

  4. Grandal handily/emphatically regains starting C… Hell we knew that!!!
    Let us not forget that probably the SP’s emphatically charged into Robert’s office and implored him that Grandal be their designated C, becuz last year, well they forgot!!!
    I can hear the MVP chants echoing in the Ravine!!
    Damn good to have you back M.T.
    A.C. thanks for the AAA/AA stuff… AAA pitching is stellar… Cant wait for my local A team analysis…

    1. Bum

      Ok!

      You can blame Orel for me, being so wound up, today.

      I’m sorry, but I felt he was making to many excuses, for Joc.

      Instead of just saying what the situation, really was.

      I don’t think this was a fair process, and that is why I was so upset.

      I think they should have just been up front with the players, instead of telling them, this was a competition.

  5. Mark,

    Glad you and your family members made it back to Indianapolis. City always bettered by your presence. Hope you are successful in Denver and hope to speak to you when you return and would appreciate a call.

    First of all, regarding the fourth outfielder for the Dodgers, I really think that sending Toles to AAA and having Joc remain in Arizona would benefit the Dodgers because Toles needs to play everyday to get his game back fully after last years limited playing time and Joc needs some serious time dedicated to learning how to be a hitter and not just a free swinger. I see some improvement with Joc but it needs to be engrained by a relationship with a hitting coach like Puig has developed.

    I also think that Thompson could be tradable only if he has a chance to show success for at least half a season and sending him to AAA would provide him with a echance to shape his own future in OKC. If he fails to produce or doesn’t show real effort, then release him and if he does then he knows the Dodgers will trade him to a team that wants him enough to offer fair compensation in return. Segedin could play left field, 3B, and 1B and help balance the lefty/righty hitter situation.

    Finally, I would promote Verdugo to LA. He is the best lefty hitting OF the Dodgers currently have and he doesn’t seem to have anything to gain by returning to AAA. As he can play all three OF spots and has hit for average and is showing more power possibilities, I say give him the chance to succeed while Toles and Joc each do what they need to maximize their potential.

  6. I enjoyed watching the bullpen last night. Am I the only guy who noticed and is worried about Kenley’s velocity? Mostly high 80’s hit 92 only once! Egad

      1. the best thing I read in that Jon’ take was CT3 having way more walks than K so far this spring. That’s a great sign!

      2. Actually I think it was a very level headed take aside from Kike’s taking over JT’s spot after his return. Kike will shine all over the place in any case though.

  7. Orel was talking about the process last night with Joc which is very similar to what we heard about Puig last season. Only the Dodgers coaching staff knows if Joc is sticking to the process. What they see on the backfields and cages is often more important than what we see during exhibition games when it comes to making the team. Last season you could see Puig working and hitting a lot of hard groundballs to 3rd which were outs. It took a while for the process to turn into results. Joc is in the same boat if he is truly sticking to a plan. Now I can say that I haven’t watched a lot of exhibition games this year. Quite a few of the games that I’ve watched like last night, Joc hit hard balls that were outs. From what I’ve read on here, it sounds like that hasn’t been the norm. It does look to me like he’s in better shape and running better. At some point, the process has to turn into results. Some on here were out for Puig’s head last season when he was hitting .240 while Vegas and I could see a difference. I can’t say that I’ve watched enough of Joc this year to make that call.
    ~
    I will say Kemp rolling a weak ball to short on a 3-0 count with bases loaded irritated me last night until I reminded myself that it was spring training and everyone was swinging 3-0 last night. However, it was a ball that should be hit to RF or RCF. That is what we will have to watch with Kemp. First, is he chasing? I was glad to see him take a walk later in the game. Second, is he too pull happy and rolling weak DP’s to short like he did a lot of last season when he wasn’t on the DL? I haven’t watched enough of him on defense to make a call. There was definitely a ball a week or two ago that I felt every other outfielder on the team catches or at worst gets on a short hop. He let it bounce and bobbled it into a double. I hope Bum is wrong because he if gets released during the season,, he is either failing or becoming a problem.
    `
    I agree with Mark on Puig and Kike. I was ready to hand over 2nd to Kike after his first year with the Dodgers. However, he became so pull happy that he got exposed by righties that season. If he can not pull off of pitches against RH pitching, he could hit 30 bombs, but that’s a big IF.
    ~
    Sorry about Duke Mark. Actually, not really because I had a prop bet. I had every team in the field not from NC. So, I made $100 on Duke losing. I do appreciate you getting in our pool though.

    1. Hawkeye

      Puig is a much more talented player, then Joc, so I don’t see the comparison.

      Puig wasn’t sent down to AAA, because he stopped hitting, like Joc did, so there really is no comparison here.

      There has never been a question about Puig’s talent.

      I think everyone was more concerned that Puig wouldn’t stick, with the team process.

      And I think people were not sure how Puig would hit for the entire season, because he hadn’t played everyday, for a full season, in some time, before last year.

      And when Puig did get sent down to AAA, Puig ranked and showed he belonged, unlike Joc, who did nothing at AAA, after he was sent down.

      And last year, wasn’t the first year that Joc stopped hitting, he has done this, two out of the last three years..

      Joc shows up to spring training every year, with no real swing, and not ready to hit, and that is exactly what he has done again, this year.

      And Joc hasn’t hit a lot of balls hard, even though he has been given most of the starts, and at bats, in the last eight games.

      And actually it looks to me, that Joc is looking for a walk, almost every time, he goes up to the plate.

      Puig could hit 250 with his eyes closed, and that is still something Joc has not done, after three years.

      1. We will agree that Puig is way more talented than Joc. What we truly don’t know is the last part of your statement. I don’t believe that he showed up with no real swing and not ready to hit or let’s say not ready to work. If he and Turner Ward are working on something during the workouts, the question is whether or not he is sticking with it as soon as something goes bad or does Joc abandon ship and tinker. The correlation to Puig is accepting coaching, conditioning and sticking with a process through thick and thin not overall talent. I don’t have a problem at all if the coaching staff sends him to AAA to start the year if they think that is what’s best. If he makes the team, I’m fine with it too. The Dodgers can’t afford to have two players in the lineup right now who have a tendency to disappear for a month or two at a time. Joc and Grandal have both done that at times. With JT out they can’t afford it. We both prefer Toles, but we both thought at the beginning of ST that Toles was going to basically get screwed over.

        1. Hawkeye

          With the way Monday was talking, it didn’t seem like Joc was doing that, and Monday saw most of the games.

  8. So the top MLB.tv package costs you $115. The MiLB package costs about $50. However, if you sign up for both at once, you get the MiLB package for half the price. Basically, $140 for mlb and the ability to watch Great Lakes, Tulsa, and OKC this season.

    I always get the mlb package (and use Mark’s un-block.us VPN blocker) but now I’ll add the $25 and get access to some minor league games as well (for when I’m doing nothing but having wine at home and looking for baseball to watch)

      1. Unless Charter has an app for the AppleTV, no. You’d have to play the games on the ipad/laptop, and the mirror it to the tv, if it allows you to

          1. I have Apple TV and can get MLB on it. I happen to like Amazon Fire TV better so I usually use that. If you don’t have Fire TV, you are missing a lot. I run NetFlix, Sling and Hulu through it. Plus as an Amazon Prime Member I get all kinds of movies and shows.

  9. Good article by Pedro Moura in The Athletic about Verdugo and his new attitude.
    `
    Sentiment (and this is inferred) is that the club loves Verdugo, but needs to clean out a spot for him.

        1. Two paragraphs from that article:

          “You can tell there’s talent there,” one rival talent evaluator said after observing him in the Cactus League. “I don’t know if the want and hunger is enough to sustain a big-league career. He seems to have some peaks and valleys emotionally. He’s likely not a center fielder, and that puts some added pressure on the bat.”

          “His work ethic was great throughout spring training,” Hill said. “That’s, obviously, great to see. Watching his ability out on the field, I don’t think anyone will ever question that.”


          Long ago, I told you all that Verdugo, while not a bad guy, had character issues. He did and he has recognized the need to change. This is the first step.

          OH, the Athletic has a 7 day free trial right now.

          There was an article about Kike a couple of days ago, that leads me to believe Kike might shed the “Utilityman” moniker. I used Kike and JD in the same sentence a few months ago and I still believe Kike can breakout BIG TIME!

          1. Like Bum said above, I think Kike will take over 2b fulltime from Forsythe. And if both Kike and Turner are fully healthy by July, Forsythe gets sent to some team that needs a vet 2b for the stretch run.

  10. Love the optimistic report on Urias. Hate to see such a promising prospect shot down due to a shoulder injury. As for Kemp, if he shows he can just play the outfield then I’ll be happy. Pretty sure he’ll do some good hitting.

  11. Trayce designated for assigment to clear a roster spot from some reliever from the Cubs. That reliever was sent to the minors.

    Good luck to Trayce. I would loved him as our 5th outfielder, but Matt Kemp took his job

    1. Looking at his past stats, he could be a real stretch to straighten out even for Honey and Co.

    2. I think most suspected a DFA was coming. With a list of players like Verdugo, Toles, Diaz, and Peters in AA or above, the Dodgers could risk trying to pass him through waivers if they can’t find a trade partner. Kemp making the team sealed his fate. It definitely increases Farmer’s odds of making the team.

        1. Maybe Toles dinger last night put some doubt in the Dodgers minds about sending him down, but it doesn’t appear so though. I’m rooting for Dizzy, but with Kemp, Toles, and Verdugo they won’t feel the need to add a Curtis Granderson again if Joc fails.

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