The Dodgers are currently 12-16 and have a losing record at home and on the road. There record says they are a sub .500 team and their record is accurate. It’s a new month and they better develop a sense of urgency, or the wheels may fall off this thing and they could become sellers at the trade deadline. Personally, I believe that that have too much talent and depth, but there are some very disconcerning things at work:
- Clayton Kershaw – His velocity is down and he looks very mortal with his 2.84 ERA to go with his 9 walks and 5 bombs given up. He’s still a very good pitcher, but not an Ace – He has to get his mojo back or it’s a long season. Is this just a hicup… or a downward trend?
- Kenley Jansen – He gave up 5 HR all of last year in 68 IP and walked but 7. This year he has allowed 3 in 9 IP and walked 4. His 5.59 ERA tells the tale. If he can’t get the magic back, the Dodgers are doomed.
- Pedro Baez – He has no idea where the ball is going. He can’t be trusted. This needs to change, immediately, if not sooner. He needs to be with Alexander working on his control.
- Kenta Maeda – Would you just hurry-up and move him to the pen already? Quit messing around.
- Tony Cingrani – Will the real Tony stand up?
- Alex Wood – Same as Cingrani. Who is he? He needs to be better than he has been.
- Logan Forsythe – He has to return and have a solid year… maybe a career year! He has not been close to that … yet!
- Yasiel Puig – He has to replicate last year… or even be better. He’s still a head case and just needs to hit lower in the order to take off the pressure. Last year he hit .213 at cleanup and .193 at #5. At #6, #7 and #8 he hit .309, .294 and .284 respectively. 20 of his 28 HR came at the #6 – #8 spots. His psyche can’t handle the top of the order.
- Matt Kemp – Needs to go into “Beast Mode.” He’s still capable of carrying the team.
- Chris Taylor – He needs to get it going. He looks undecided as times. Persaonlly, I would like to see Alex Verdugo at leadoff.
- Alex Verdugo – He is capable of being the NL ROY. He needs to just do it! I love him at leadoff.
- Joc Pederson – He has shown flashes that he might be “getting it.” Let’s hope it continues. He can play CF… just not as good as Taylor, but he’s the next best option.
- Andrew Toles – He’s the Wild Card. If one of the oiutfielders faulter, he has to step it up… and he’s capable.
- Austin Barnes – Needs to get his mojo back. PERIOD!
- Justin Turner – He needs to come back and carry this team.
- Cody Bellinger – He has been “OK” but needs to be great. I think Doc is trying to light a fire under him.
- Kike Hernandez – It would be nice if he could realize his great potential.
- Striker Buehler – Just needs to keep on building on what he is doing. I think he will.
If 75% of thise things happen, the Dodgers will be OK, but right about now, they are what their records says they are. It all starts tonight with Clayton Kershaw. This is the most important game of the year and will set the tone. If he faulters, the wheels could fall off this team. No pressure, Clayton!
Dodger Chatter: Loons Relief Corps Rounding into Shape
Thus far the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League have had a less than memorable start. They are currently 7-14 and standing on the bottom rung of the Eastern Division of the league. However, there are signs of life after a wet, cold spring as the Loons have won four of their last six games and finally showing some offense.
The starting pitching is beginning to look like starting pitching and the relief pitching seems to be definitely rounding into shape.
Right-hander Aneurys Zabala is still trying to find the strike zone more consistently and left-hander Leo Crawford has made but two three-inning relief appearances perhaps in preparation for a return to a starting role. Beyond those two roles the relief pitching is starting to resemble the 2016 Loons fire brigade.
How well as the relief corps been performing? In their last 22 appearances over 40.1 innings six relievers have posted a 1.12 ERA along with a 0.82 WHIP and 50 strikeouts while walking 14. They have allowed but 19 hits while giving up only one home run.
Right-hander Zach Pop was picked by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2017 June draft out of the University of Kentucky.
At that time MLB Pipeline described Pop’s pitching arsenal:
“He has one of the most powerful arms in the Southeastern Conference, though his inability to consistently harness it has led the Wildcats to keep him in the bullpen for most of the last three years. In short stints, Pop works in the upper 90s and can reach 99 mph with nice sink on his fastball. The Canadian pitcher routinely reached the upper 90’s with his fastball, which paired with a late-breaking and hard slider made him difficult to hit. He lowered his ERA more than a run and a half from 2016 to 2017 as he was matched up nicely out of the bullpen.”
The 6’4”/220-pound native of Brampton, Ontario in Canada pitched only five innings during his first professional season with the Arizona League Dodgers. He gave up two hits while striking out five and allowing no runs.
With the Great Lakes Loons during the current campaign the 21-year-old Pop has posted a 3.48 ERA over 10.1 innings while striking out 12 and walking three. In his last 7.2 innings he has allowed no runs while striking out 10 and walking the three he has allowed on the season. He has allowed but three hits.
Kasowski is a 6’3”/215-pound hard throwing right-hander who was selected by the Dodgers in the 13th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of West Texas A&M University.
The now 23-year-old Kasowski led the college nation in strikeouts in 2017 breaking the school and Lone Star Conference record for strikeouts in a season with 165 in 93 innings pitched as the Buffaloes won the Conference Baseball Tournament Championship. His strikeout ratio of 15.91 per nine innings also lead the nation. He walked 50 and gave up 50 hits. Opposing batters hit just .156 against him as he appeared in 17 games with 15 starts, registering two shutouts and one save. He also led the nation in fewest hits allowed per nine innings at just 4.82.
During the 2017 season Kasowski had a 3.18 ERA over 11.1 innings pitched with the AZL Dodgers and the Great Lakes Loons.
During the current season he has recorded a 2.53 ERA and 1.22 WHIP while giving up only two hits in 10.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 21 but also walked 11 with only two of those coming in his last 7.2 innings. He has struck out eight in his last four innings.
The 23-year-old Salow is a native of Ashland Kentucky and graduated from Blazer High School in his hometown. Following graduation he continued his education at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky.
Salow was then selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 6th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft making him the 171st overall pick.
In his first professional season last summer, the left-handed Salow pitched 24.1 innings in 16 games and had a 1.50 ERA. He also struck out 29 batters and walked 15.
Last week he was acquired by the Dodgers in exchange for right-hander Wilmer Font. To that point in the 2018 season he had made four appearances in the Class-A Midwest League with the Beloit Snappers (Cubs). Over 5.2 innings he has allowed one hit, struck out eight and walked two while posting a 1.59 ERA and a 0.53 WHIP.
MLB Pipeline offered the following scouting report.
“One of the top college senior prospects in the 2017 Draft, Salow could go in the top five rounds – and not just because his reduced leverage will mean he comes at a discount,” a MLBPipeline.com writer wrote. “After battling his control and going undrafted in 2016, he emerged as one of the best relievers in the Southeastern Conference this spring. He allowed just one run in his first 29 innings, retiring 24 consecutive batters at one point, before getting hit a bit harder down the stretch.”
Salow made his debut with the Loons on April 29th striking out three in his inning pitched while walking one and allowing one hit.
Hemmerick was picked by the Dodgers in the 26th round of the 2017 Amateur Draft out of Norfolk State University.
The 22-year-old left hander was chosen as a third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball News in 2017. He enjoyed a historic 2017 season by posting a 10-2 record and 1.97 earned-run average. His 118 strikeouts in 105.1 innings were a school record and helped him earn Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year honors. He walked but 16 with a WHIP of 0.86.
His Norfolk head coach described his 6’1”/195-pound pitcher in terms that would any Dodger Fan would appreciate.
“I like to think of Devin as a bulldog,” said Norfolk State head coach Claudell Clark.
The native of Norfolk was naturally pleased with individual awards and achievements but looked beyond those to close out a successful season.
“MEAC Championship,” said Hemmerich. “That’s what we want. All the personal things I get, they’re special, everyone’s happy for me, but there’s one ultimate goal the whole team can share as a brotherhood.”
He did not get a championship at Norfolk but did get one with the Ogden Raptors during the 2017 season. He played an integral part in the championship season posting a 2.61 ERA over 19 appearances with 41 strikeouts and 12 walks over 31 innings pitched.
During the 2018 season he has a 3.00 ERA over 12 innings pitched while striking out eight and walking five. In his last five outings he has allowed two earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched while striking out six and walking three.
Right-hander Dan Jagiello was picked by the Dodgers in the 34th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of Long Island University Post.
He finished the 2017 with the Pioneers with a 1.93 ERA and 12 saves in 23.1 innings pitched. He impressed scouts with his repertoire of pitches. “Dan’s best pitch is his fastball. It was electric,” Pioneers catcher Anthony Vaglica said. “Jagiello also possesses a changeup and a slider which makes him a very effective relief pitcher.”
“I am just so happy for Dan and his family. No one deserves it more than he does,” Head Baseball Coach Mike Gaffney said. “He has been rewarded for putting in a tireless work ethic and overcoming adversity. I think the best has yet to come for him in baseball. He has got what it takes to have a long career in the game.”
The 6’3”/200-pound native of West Islip, NY, signed immediately after being drafted and had a successful first year as a professional going 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. pitched. He has registered three saves in his first four attempts splitting time first with the Arizona League Dodgers and then the Loons.
During the current season Jagiello has posted a 3.18 ERA in 11.1 innings pitches with 12 strikeouts and nine walks. In his last three appearances over 7.1 innings he has given up two earned runs on four hits along with nine strikeouts and three walks.
Right-hander Andre Scrubb was selected by the Dodgers in the eighth round of the 2016 First-Year player draft out of High Point University in North Carolina.
High Point coach Craig Cozart said Scrubb had worked hard to improve during his college career.
“He’s got plenty of fastball, but his breaking ball is absolutely special,” Cozart said. “It’s virtually unhittable and it’s a legit swing-and-miss pitch. So, when you have that and you get into trouble, like he did in the first inning, and you can eliminate scoring situations by missing bats, you have a pretty special guy.”
The 6’4”/265-pound native of Woodridge, Virginia has posted a 1.84 ERA over his first three seasons in 73.1 innings pitched along with 80 strikeouts and 45 walks. He has allowed only 50 hits but his WHIP spikes to 1.30 because of the 45 free passes he has issued. Opponents have hit only .192 against him.
In his last five appearances with the Loons over 8.1 innings the 23-year-old has allowed six hits and no runs while striking out six and walking three.