With the Amateur Baseball Draft coming up in the next couple of weeks, it’s generally assumed that not many other moves will be made by teams as their focus is on that draft… and that is generally true, but one never knows! There are many things to think about as a Dodger fan, however, including the Draft. I see all kinds of predictions as to who the Dodgers might take, but it’s hard to predict who will go where ahead of the 30th pick. I do know that FAZ was ridiculed for taking a pitcher named Buehler a few years ago because he needed TJ surgery at the time of the draft. I think that one worked out pretty good.
The Dodgers currently have a TOP 5-10 farm system with some prospects knocking on the Big Club’s Door and others striving for promotion to a category ahead of where they are: AAA – Toles (not a prospect anymore), Farmer, LoCastro, Verdugo, Garlick (11 HR), Beaty, Santana and Ferguson. AA – Joe, Peters, Diaz, Raley,Smith, Ruiz, Sborz, (Mitch White and Yadier Alvarez are currently struggling). A -Lux, Wong, Reks, Bannon, Kendall (after a slow start is picking it up) and others.
The team also has players like Ariel Hernandez, JT Chargois, Yimi Garcia, CC Lee and Manny Banuelos, while not really “prospects” in the full sense of the word, could become valuable pieces in the right situation IF they can continue to improve. Here are a few other things to look for:
- The Return of Clayton Kershaw – We will find out this week if Clayton is healthy. Was his decrease in velocity caused by his bicep tendinitis or is he in decline? It may take a few starts to clear that up. At any rate, he should be a big boost to a rotation that has done just fine without him.
- The Rise of Striker Buehler – It’s pretty clear to me that he is evolving into that #2 Starter the Dodgers lacked. That’s a lot to put on a rookie, but he’s shown incredible poise and is a Striker… not a Walker. I think the Dodgers will try and get him a little rest along the way, but he will be 24 this season, so he more mature physically and mentally than most Rookies. I would not be surprised if he pitched 180+ innings. Doc says Striker reminds him of Tim Lincecum. I think that’s an appropriate comparison. He’s an Ace in waiting!
- The Return of Julio Urias – Now that he is throwing off the mound, the Dodgers will let him advance a little quicker. I think we will see him in long relief in 5 or 6 weeks. That’s just a hunch. This is another pitcher would could be an Ace… next year.
- The Rise of Chris Taylor – It turns out he has been working on his swing and approach at the plate and the results are starting to show. His batting average and OB% are climbing each week. A hot Chris Taylor creates opportunities throughout the lineup.
- The Rise of the Dodgers Pitching Staff – Actually, it could as easily be called “The fall of the ERA of the Dodgers staff.” They have climbed up to #9 in all of MLB and will climb up even further. I look for them to be TOP THREE by July 1. The Dodger starters are #4 in MLB and the Relievers just moved up to 18th. Ross Stripling continues to look like a solid #3 and then there is Maeda, and all Rich Hill needs is to get over that blister.
- The Return of Cody Bellinger’s Home Run Trot – The Dodgers need his big bat and Cody will adjust and the Home Runs will start flying again. Bet on it! Send him down to AAA? Are you crazy?
- The Search for Another Bat – I expect Forsythe, Hernandez and Puig to improve, but with the loss of Corey Seager, the Dodgers need another bat very badly. I doubt that it is Machado, unless the O’s would bundle Britton and Brach in the deal. I guarantee FAZ is working all the angles and they have the prospects to trade.
- The Taking of First Place by June 15th – Just an arbitrary date that I have set. Here we go…
- Here’s a GOOD READ
- For the Record – I hope Brock Stewart makes me eat crow, because I do not think he is a good starter.