A Birthday and Belated Father’s Day

Yesterday was my youngest son’s 19th birthday, so we had plans to take him out to dinner last night.  He’s now past the age now where he wants a party like when he turned 18.  Like his 18th year of life, his 19th birthday was very eventful. This is the kid who was All-City, All-Conference and All-State in football and was team MVP on a team that won the State Championship… who then elected to spurn offers to play in college and instead went to Indiana University’s Kelly School School of Business.  So, he is not a conventional thinker and those were his decisions solely.  At age 18, he carried 19 hours in college, worked 32 hours a week  at US Water Systems, bought a motorcycle and a monster truck, and in April, he bought his own house (without help from his parents, save a $5,000 graduation gift for his down payment).

The kid is a hard worker who goes the extra mile with regularity and as you can tell, I am very proud of him.  Back to his birthday:  I woke up to a cold shower and discovered our water heater had failed.  So, I had my son pick one up at the plumbing supply house and we planned to install it after his birthday dinner.  Typically unconventional, he pickedThe Rathskellerfor his dinner spot with their German food. You may not know, but I used to be a licensed plumber (40 years-ago), so I was using the water heater installation as a teaching moment for him.  We started at 9:30 PM and should have been done by 10:30, but Murphy was an optimist! If it can go wrong, it will, but people are smarter than pipes – at least that’s my theory – I wasn’t so sure for a while… but we finally took a hot shower at 3 AM!  It was a long day and I’m happy the  Cubs – Dodgers game was postponed!

It was a great birthday for a great kid – I guess he’s no longer a kid, but I remember when he was small beside me.  Now I feel small beside him.  There is no better legacy than your children and grandchildren. Love them every minute! He was named after my father, Stephen, who is still the best man I have ever known.  I had a dream on Father’s Day in which my oldest son (who is 31), my youngest son and I, and my father were at a baseball game in Cincinnati which was where my father always took me.  A grandfather with his two grandsons and me… it was a so vivid and such a great time.  The mind can certainly play tricks because my youngest son never met his grandfather – he died two years before my son was born, and other than being a Cincinnati Reds fan, he was the greatest father in history. Miss ya’ Pops! That’s what my boys call me now… with my daughter, it’s just “dad.”

Dodger News:

  • Flash:  Kershaw could be back this weekend.
  • Ryu taking it slow… probably after the All-Star Break
  • As bad as Cody Bellinger has been, he is 5th in the NL for WAR among 1B.
  • If you think WAR is valuable, then you have to believe that Yasiel Puig could be in danger of being benched.  I wonder if they would trade him?  This year, he has a negative defensive WAR.  Toles or Verdugo could do better….
  • Verdugo has matched his HR total from last year in less than half a season.  He is red-hot right about now.
  • Dodger WAR (Fangraphs):
    • Kemp 1.9
    • Muncy  1.8
    • Bellinger 1.4
    • Taylor 1.4
    • Pederson 1.3
    • Grandal  1.3
    • Kike 0.9
    • Puig 0.8
    • Seager 0.5
    • Barnes 0.4
  • Corey Seager, who has missed most of the season has almost the same WAR as PUIG!  Even Kike, who many fans malign, is better than Puig.  It’s time for Yasiel to put up or go!
  • If you look at WAR, you should realize that JT is at 0.1 and the Dodgers are still in the hunt.  You can choosed to see what “IS” or you can see what CAN BE! Some of these guys are going to get hot.
  • I would like to see Toles or Verdugo in RF.

This article has 64 Comments

  1. Mark, there is absolutely nothing more important than family. You have every reason to be proud.
    As far as Puig, I was a proponent of trading him last year, but was talked down because of the year he was having. I was fine with eating crow when a player turns it around. Puig may have a ton of talent, but it does not appear that he will deliver for LA. I was for trading him last year, and I am for trading him this year as well. But the trade has to make sense. Maybe Puig can be packaged with prospects for a rental, but a top 20 prospect would do just fine. Would Cincinnati want him with a lottery ticket or two (i.e. Jordan Sheffield) for Scooter Gennett? He can be replaced by Verdugo and/or Toles. But if the decision is for Verdugo, then he has to play everyday…good and bad, as long as he does not showcase a ME FIRST attitude. That is my sole concern with Verdugo. I do not have that concern with Toles, but it is clear (at least to me) that Verdugo has a higher ceiling.
    One other point to my Lux argument yesterday. I am not opposed to moving to Lux, but not for a rental. The Dodgers do not have any potential starting middle infielder in their organization above Lux. Not Errol Robinson, not Drew Jackson, not Tim Locastro, not Breyvic Valera, not Donovan Solano. Rob Segedin played SS for OKC last weekend. The only potential(s) below Lux would be Ronny Brito who is in DSL and Jacob Amaya who is in AZL. None of the three 2018 middle infielder draftees; Devin Mann, Luke Heyer, and Deacon Liput seem to have the pedigree to become a regular starting middle infielder at the ML level. All could be very good utility players, but none scream out I am going to be a starting SS or 2B for the Dodgers. I guess I am more inclined to believe that the major difference makers come up through the organization, and not through trades. Would I include Lux if I truly believed that Machado would take the Dodgers over the top to a WS championship, I would do so in a heartbeat. Would I include Lux for 2+ years of Jacob deGrom…absolutely. But with the health of the Dodger pitchers in question, and the unlikelihood of Machado re-signing with LAD, including Lux with 3 or 4 other top 15 prospects for a 2 month rental is just too much.
    Now let’s see if Maeda and Hill can get the Dodgers a DH win today.

  2. Dansby Swanson on Jeren Kendell (from The Athletic):
    “I know I can play this game,” Swanson said he thought in the fall of 2015. “But this kid, his physical tools are way better than mine. Athletically, the things that he can do are on another level. The way he runs, the power that he’s got, the arm, he’s definitely got a lot of tools, and he does it effortlessly.”

    1. Keep Kendell’s strikeouts below 30% and get 25+ home runs from him and he probably holds down center field for along time.

    2. If Jeren Kendall learns how to consistently put bat to ball, he will be an All Star CF. He might be able to defend with Kiermaier and Hamilton right now. But he has to make consistent contact and use his speed to be an effective ML CF. I have been able to see him on MiLB a few times, and he is definitely fun to watch.

  3. Good happy feel good Fathers Day post Mark.
    I am guessing US Water Systems pays your son more than minimum wage.
    AC–I also got some feedback from others here that doubted my ability to stay in reality when I suggested Puig be traded this year. More than anything else I dislike his apparent boredom when he can’t be involved in a difficult play and his greed to catch anything he can get to even if it is an easier play for someone else. He is dangerous in that way.
    I like Wood and believe when he is right he pitches like an Ace. The first half of last year supports that statement. But, he is hot and cold. I would include Wood in a trade for deGrom. I would also include Puig.
    Here is an article about a deGrom trade.http://www.dodgersnation.com/degrom-sweepstakes-should-the-dodgers-pursue-jacob-degrom/2018/06/19/This is in that article: “Mets currently have aging Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Bautista, and Jay Bruce sharing left and right field duties. Doesn’t a young, brimming with potential Yasiel Puig sound more appealing to a ballclub that is about to empty house and rebuild with young talent?”
    If the Mets would take Hill and Puig for Bruce and deGrom, that would be even better. FAZ can add players/prospects as they need to to make this trade. I’ve done the heavy lifting 😉

    1. Bum

      I have been very happy for you, because it hasn’t been an easy road for you, but you have to remember the season is still quite young, and things can quickly change in just a week, although the baseball season is still quite long.

    2. Bums,

      We pay people what they are worth. Our best salesman is a 19 year-old HS drop-out whom I hired out of a meth rehab facility, He makes $50K plus at 19 and has been clean for 22 months. Quite a success story. My son is our second best salesman. he makes about $42 K.

      BTW, you are on meth, if you think the Mets would do that trade!

  4. My last night went with me locking my keys in my Apt……again! But there was a lining, sorta. That being I had left my phone in my car earlier, but after breaking into my car and making a need to be rescued call my phone went dead and all this happened while I was halfway through doing laundry which I was also locked out of because the key that opens my Apt. also opens the laundry room. Ugh! But really ended all well after having a great time with the friends I intruded upon till 9:00 this morning. Sure I feel silly, but feeling welcome sure over rides the shame. CHEERS ALL!

    1. Hawkeye

      I agree with you about batting Grandal fourth, but that umpire sure didn’t help him out.

      And because the umpire called a pitch like he did to Grandal, that didn’t help the other hitters after Grandal.

        1. Hawkeye

          I totally agree with that, and I often wonder why more hitters, don’t try to spoil good pitcher’s, pitches.

          Because you see so many good hitters, do that.

          I didn’t know you were Irish, I have a Scottish or Irish last name, too.

          1. I tried to research whether it was Scottish or Irish. I came to the conclusion that there were probably many spellings and a mix of both. My wife has some Scottish in her so we wore kilts at the wedding and had the bagpiper play one Scottish song and one Irish song.

  5. Bunch of things:
    As per the never reliable Bob Nightengale.
    The Angels and Dodgers each were in serious talks with the Royals for Kelvin Herrera before being traded to the Nats. Meanwhile, Shohei Ohtani likely to return this season-at least as a DH-amid Mike Trout’s greatest season.
    MOre minor league data:
    The Arizona League began play on Monday, and I drove to Camelback Ranch for the Dodgers opener to see rehabbing righty Yadier Alvarez. His stuff was otherworldy at times last night, as it always seems to be when I see Alvarez, sitting 94-97 and touching 98 while flashing two separate, plus breaking balls.
    Alvarez’s blood runs cold when he’s on the mound. He doesn’t emote, save for a few McNabbish smiles when he’s getting squeezed or facing some other adverse randomness, nor does he work with any pace or urgency. His delivery is graceful and fluid, without much violence for this kind of velocity, and yet he has never improved his scattershot fastball command (though it was fine last night and he worked up more often than he typically does). His continued troubles with strike-throwing, plus the emergence of a groin issue, caused him to tumble down our overall prospects list, but the siren call of Alvarez’s stuff continues to grip me, and I think he’ll at least turn into something similar to what Neftali Feliz became, at peak.
    Dodgers 18-year-old righty Melvin Jimenez reached full-season ball in July of last year, before he turned 18, and struck out more than a batter per inning there while sitting in the mid- to upper 90s with his fastball. Jimenez began 2018 back in the Midwest League but wasn’t missing as many bats and wasn’t pitching consistently. Last night he was 91-92.
    But another young Dodger has emerged as this year’s relief prospect du l’an, 19-year-old Mexican righty Gerardo Carillo. He was 93-97 last night with a fringe breaking ball and came right at hitters with his heater.

    1. Alvarez is not going to have any problems with high schoolers and DSL kids in AZL It’s translating the positives to his approach at AA and hopefully AAA. He also has not had too many issues going 3 innings. Nobody questions Alvarez’s arm or his delivery. It is ability to retain focus and confidence that he is lacking, and has for the last two years. I would be disappointed if his career equaled Neftali Perez. Yadier has so much more potential.
      I do not know what has happened to Melvin Jimenez this year. After his poor start in GL this year, I thought he would end up back in AZL to get more attention and gain more confidence. He is still just 18 and too gifted to not continue to have faith in. He will be back at GL before the year is out.
      Gerardo Carrillo was someone who stuck out last year in the DSL as an 18 year old. He is very slight, so he will undoubtedly continue to relieve. He needs consistency with his breaking balls to become a top flight high leverage reliever candidate. He does not have the overall ability of Jimenez, so I would not expect Carrillo to move quickly this year. He needs to make sure he gets fully acclimated to life in the USA.

  6. Chatwood has just about the worst control in the NL. The Dodgers have had him on the ropes but haven’t been able to get to him. Very disturbing.

    1. He has no control but the ump had given him a half dozen calls out of the zone. Maeda has no control but can’t get a call.

    2. Rick

      As you know, sometimes a pitcher that is not around the plate a lot like Chatwood, is harder to hit, because he is being effectively wild.

  7. As usual the Dodgers let one of the worst starters in the league off the hook. Maeda couldn’t beat a grade school team when he is off. You never know what you will get from him but his last two starts have been pathetic. Gonna be a long day.

  8. I’m not watching the game, but I would guess that if the Dodgers are not taking advantage of Chatwood’s lack of control, it’s related to their all or nothing approach. If they’re not hitting HRs, then they’re probably also not hitting with RISP.

    But since I’m not watching the game, maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  9. I’ll take that outcome all day long! Now hopefully Hill has his breaking ball dancing in the nightcap. I can’t count how many runners were left on base by the two teams. The home plate umpire was pretty brutal. Taylor gets hit in the back of the head and no retaliation, why because Chatwood is so wild?

  10. I was getting ready to write a disparaging post about our pathetic efforts WRISP, and up comes Kyle Farmer.
    That changes things to a very pleasing win as opposed to a deflating defeat.

    Home plate Umpire had a night to forget.

    Let’s hope Rich can get the curve going in the wind.

  11. Nothing like a few ejections to rally the troops!

    I am anxious to see what player is added to the team for the nitecap!

  12. Maybe I shouldn’t watch any games. Was busy all day and just occasionally checked the progress of the game on my At Bat app. And then up pops a message that Kyle Farmer doubled home two runs, followed by another one that the Dodgers won. The Dodgers are great, they did it without me.

    And I too earlier noted the Dodgers difficulty hitting WRISP. Given that I was expecting the worse today, that was a nice win. You never know, which is why you never give up.

  13. Sources: The DBacks and Orioles have been in contact about a possible Manny Machado trade this season. Dialogue remains open between the clubs. This is viewed as due diligence on Arizona’s part as the team’s needs become clear.

  14. Mark, sounds like you had a great Father’s Day. I did as well. My son played four games in 95+ degree heat, but the boys were troopers. The highlight for me was game 1. Deuce had a walk-off double with two outs to end the game. We scored 3 in the bottom of the last inning to win. He was on deck and told me he wanted the walk off. As a coach, I didn’t want to see it because it meant the hitter before him wouldn’t get it done, but I was proud that he wasn’t afraid of the big moment.

    1. That sounds awesome. Neither of my boys like baseball. My oldest, who is athletically gifted, really does not like sports at all. My youngest loves football and basketball, and like to go to baseball games with me, but generally does not enjoy baseball. I coached him in T-Ball but that was it. This is his path… Part of me is jealous!

  15. 20 lob after 4 innings. Taylor and Barnes must have bet on the cubs. Our catching situation on defense is really good but right at this moment they are really bad on the offensive side. Barnes has been very disappointing on the offensive side and it looks like Grandal is in another one of his terrible slumps. On the flip side Forsythe is having some good at bats.

  16. Barnes back on dodgers team! Maybe that will get him started because has hit well throughout his career.

  17. The Dodgers need to change their approach to hitting. I’m afraid they miss Hyers more than they thought they would.

    1. Grandal is the last guy in the team that I would hit in that situation. Let Barnes swing away or bunt there. That’s the manager and bench coach’s error. Grandal is generally going to K or fly out not advance a runner. He’s a .240 low contact hitter. Terrible move.

  18. Yeah, the Dodgers can’t hit with RISP, so….how in the hell are they 3rd in the NL in Runs?

    The answer is YOUR selective memory.

    Move on…

    1. Maybe you are the one with a selective memory?
      With RISP:
      Kemp – .426 BA/.456 OBP/.745 SLG/1.210 OPS
      Muncy – .303/.455/.606/1.061
      Pederson – .324/.372/.514/.886
      Grandal – .288/.361/.519/.880
      Turner – .313/.429/.438/.866
      On the other hand:
      Hernandez – .243/.348/.351/.670
      Taylor – .196/.319/.304/.622
      Bellinger – .190/.303/.317/.620
      Puig – .205/.294/.273/.567
      Forsythe – .172/.265/.241/.506
      Barnes – .080/.378/.120/.498

      Definitely a mixed bag

    2. The reason they are third in runs in the NL is because the NL generally sucks this years.

  19. I like Brock Stewart… as a reliever, but tonight when he took the mound, he looked like a “deer in the headlights” and “glazed ham.”

  20. Do you dispute his poor pitching performance? I agree the offense was terrible but his 6.11 ERA and 6th (?) call up from OKC clearly shows he’s not so good. Ray Charles could see the Cubs walk off once Doc had to go with Stewart. He just doesn’t have a big league out pitch and is a AAA pitcher. He’ll be sent out tomorrow.

    Moving on………………

  21. I think Stewart has stuff for the pen. The problem, I believe is that FAZ has him on a starters program. Prior to this year, he had a 5.50 ERA as a starter and a 2.60 ERA as a reliever. Unlike Ross Stripling, Brock does not have enough of a pitching repertoire to start. He needs to go back to OKC and work on pitching 1 inning and while they are at it, do the same to Alvarez and Hernandez: ONE INNING!

    1. Finally we agree on Stewart (I’m letting go with Stewart as a starter). What you said or make some trades with those pitchers.

    2. Stewart and Hernandez…yes ONE INNING. I am not yet ready to give up on Alvarez. An arm and delivery like his just do not happen all that often. Keep pushing him as a starter and see if the concentration and confidence happens. He can always go to relief. Maybe he can develop the competitiveness of his fellow Cuban starters…Luis Tiant, Jose Fernandez, and Livan Hernandez, or become the closer like his fellow Cubans Aroldis Chapman and Raisel Iglesias. I would prefer the former, but would gladly settle on the latter.

  22. I am having a hard time liking Verdugo but I now prefer Verdugo in RF over Puig. Verdugo will probably hit lefties much better than Puig. Trade Puig.

  23. Unfortunately there was a certain predictably about the outcome in the 10th when Grandal came up, followed by Stewart in Relief.

    The positive is that Hill pitched really well.

    Get Verdugo up now.

  24. Other than health or the ability to stay healthy, I like the Dodger rotation of Kershaw, Stripling, Hill, Buehler, and Wood. If one falters or can’t stay of the DL, the Dodgers have Ryu and Urias in the second half and Fergusson I will venture to say will have a better outing each time he takes the mound.
    Before the Dodgers make a trade for bullpen help, they should move Maeda to the bullpen and as the rotation is free of the DL, move Wood to the bullpen as well.
    I do not expect Taylor or Bellinger to repeat last year’s performance. Belli should bounce back next year but for this year he is not going to be clutch WRISP. Turner should get back to clutch WRISP soon though. Belli should hit 7th or 8th until he looks more his last year self.
    Kemp is slowing down. He might need more rest than he has been getting. Next year the outfield might be:
    LF Toles/Kemp
    CF Pederson/Taylor
    RF Verdugo

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