State of the Farm

I am sitting continuing to try to understand how the Board of Trustees and the AD at USC have chosen to retain perhaps the most over his head coach in all of NCAA Football, Clay Helton. Rudy mentioned that both Westwood and South Bend are cheering loudly, but my radar has all of the Pac 12 and South Bend laughing at this. Oh well, enough pity party for me. It’s time for Dodger Baseball.

 

But there is nothing going on. Not even a peep of some possibility. I couldn’t continue to just postulate possible scenarios for incoming and outgoing Dodgers. Therefore, I decided to take a look at how the farm systems look throughout MLB. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise that even with the numerous Dodgers trades of farm hands (Calhoun, Diaz, JDL, Holmes, Cotton, Montas, Peraza, Cruz, Davis, Dixon, Alexy) all top 30 and many top 10, and the graduation of 1 a year from Pederson, to Seager, to Bellinger, to Buehler, the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system is still a consensus top 10 farm system. Seager and Buehler are genuine stars, Bellinger is a defensive weapon with an offense that can and will mature, while Joc is a solid platoon LH bat and better than average defender in LF. Next up should be Alex Verdugo who is the Dodgers #1 minor league prospect, but he needs a place to play every day. Right behind Verdugo should be Gavin Lux, Dustin May, and reliever Marshall Kasowski. This is a critical year for Mitchell White. Does he stay a starter, or is he better suited for relief? It is also a critical year for Yadier Alvarez. Is he going to insist on starting where he cannot stay focused for a full game? Or can he be convinced that his stuff can absolutely dominate as a reliever? I am hopeful for the latter as he has a great arm. All eyes will also be on Jordan Sheffield as his conversion to reliever goes live for the year. He can move fast as a reliever.

 

Below is a chart of where the various teams farm systems line up with FanGraphs, Baseball America, and Bleacher Report as the three sources for this piece. I have also calculated where each team would fall in a consensus of the three publications. They all use different measuring tools. FanGraphs uses their 40-70 grade for the players, determines the number of prospects that reach at least 40 in their system, and then determine a Current WAR Value on these players. The teams are then ranked based on their WAR value, and range from the Padres 50.9 to the Mariners 4.8. The Dodgers rank #10 with 2 players with a grade of 55 (Verdugo, Ruiz), 3 at 50 (May, Lux, Smith), 6 at 45, and 13 at 40 for 24 prospects with a FanGraphs WAR value 23.1.

 

The second methodology was from Baseball America that ranks all of their prospects in order, calculates the number of top 100 prospects, makes an evaluation of the remaining non top 100 prospects, and generates a team ranking. The top team again was the Padres with 9 top 100 players, including the #2, Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS). The bottom team was again the Mariners as 1 of 2 teams without a top 100 prospect. The second team was Boston. Is it any surprise that the GMs that seemingly value prospects the least, Dave Dombrowski and Jerry Dipoto are the bottom two? With Baseball America, the Dodgers rank #9 with 4 top 100 prospects; Verdugo (26), Ruiz (27), Smith (80), and Lux (82). With MLB Pipeline, Dustin May replaces Will Smith in the top 100. Both are undoubtedly in the top 110 of both publications.

 

The third publication, Bleacher Report measures the prospects in tiers.
• Tier 1: Prospects who have an elite skill set and All-Star potential. This is the cream of the prospect crop.
• Tier 2: Prospects who have a good chance of becoming impact contributors at the MLB level. These are the prospects who can be found in the second half of league wide top-100 lists or just on the periphery.
• Tier 3: Prospects who profile as fringe MLB contributors or young players who are still too raw to project any higher. This tier represents the bulk of prospects around baseball, though more than a few are still capable of climbing up to the next tier.

 

Yes, once again the Padres lead all of MLB with two Tier 1, 6 Tier 2, and 4 Tier 3 prospects. And again #30 is the Seattle Mariners with 0 Tier 1 prospects, 2 Tier 2, and 8 Tier 3. The Dodgers remained right at that #10 spot with 3 Tier 1, 3 Tier 2, 4 Tier 3 prospects.

 

BaseballBleacherCumulative
RankFanGraphsAmericaReportConsensus
1PadresPadresPadresPadres
2BravesRaysBravesBraves
3White SoxBlue JaysBlue JaysRays
4RaysWhite SoxWhite SoxWhite Sox
5Blue JaysBravesRaysBlue Jays
6RedsRedsTwinsReds
7TwinsTwinsAstrosTwins
8TigersAstrosPhilliesAstros
9AstrosDodgersRedsDodgers
10DodgersAnglesDodgersTigers
11PiratesRockiesTigersAngles
12AnglesNationalsA’sPhillies
13PhilliesCardinalsRockiesA’s
14A’sTigersAnglesPirates
15RangersA’sRangersRockies
16IndiansPiratesYankeesNationals
17MetsYankeesPiratesRangers
18NationalsPhilliesOriolesCardinals
19CardinalsMetsDBacksYankees
20MarlinsOriolesNationalsMets
21YankeesRangersMetsIndians
22BrewersBrewersCardinalsOrioles
23RockiesGiantsRoyalsBrewers
24GiantsMarlinsGiantsMarlins
25CubsIndiansIndiansGiants
26DBacksRoyalsBrewersDBacks
27RoyalsDBacksMarlinsRoyals
28OriolesCubsRed SoxCubs
29Red SoxRed SoxCubsRed Sox
30MarinersMarinersMarinersMariners

 

 

The Padres, Braves, Blue Jays, White Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays are each in the three publications top 5 in some fashion, with the Padres the unanimous #1 system. The Mariners are the unanimous #30 organization with the Red Sox #29 in two and #28 in one.

 

The Dodgers are seemingly in good shape with a young nucleus, except pitching, but they have a number of pitchers who are at the ML level or just below that can assume the mantle. Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana, Dustin May, Mitchell White, Tony Gonsolin, and Michael Grove all considered close and in the top 14. The next level also may include some top talent that needs more experience to develop; Edwin Uceta, Braydon Fisher, John Rooney, Gerardo Carrillo, Robinson Ortiz, and Andrew Sopko. This does not include top converted reliever candidates like Yadier Alvarez, Jordan Sheffield, and Josh Sborz, or full-time relievers like Marshall Kasowski. I will include Joe Broussard in that group, because while I am not high on Joe, many fans and bloggers are.

 

While the Dodgers boast a couple of top ten OF other than Alex Verdugo, I am not sold on either DJ Peters or Jeren Kendall. I am hopeful that both will surprise me with a more productive 2019 with DJ probably in OKC and Kendall at Tulsa. They both need to be pushed to see if they can hit better pitching. The only other OF in the Top 30 is Starling Heredia. He seems lost but does still possess good skills. Whether he can take those skills and become a ML OF is a major question.

 

The middle infielders are well represented by one potential elite SS/2B (Gavin Lux), three utility players (Drew Jackson, Errol Robinson, and Omar Estevez), and two up and coming SS (Ronny Brito and Jacob Amaya). Even though Amaya is not in the top 30, he is a favorite of mine, so I am going to include him. Robinson did not have a good AFL season, but he should still garner sufficient interest as a good fielding defensive middle infielder/utility player. Can he ever become a Chris Taylor or Kike’ Hernandez? Doubtful, but he at least deserves a chance with somebody. I also would like to see Drew Jackson get a chance. It is possible that he will get drafted in the Rule 5 draft next month.

 

Other than catchers, the remaining top 30 consist of good stick questionable defensive position players. Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty, Cristian Santana, and Connor Joe. Again, Joe is not a Top 30 prospect, but I am including him anyway. He is another potential Rule 5 draft loss next month.  The Dodgers will give Rios and Beaty every opportunity to showcase their talents in ST next year.  I hope both of them work extra hard on defense in the winter to be able to someday make the 25 man.

 

Finally, the Dodgers are absolutely loaded with catcher prospects. When FAZ came to LA there was absolutely no catching at the ML level or minor leagues (okay they had AJ Ellis). They now boast far and away the best group of catchers in MLB. They have two top 10 MLB prospect catchers in Keibert Ruiz (#3), and Will Smith (#8), both MLB top 100 prospects. Behind these two is soon to be top 100 catcher prospect Diego Cartaya (Dodgers #11), and top LAD prospect Connor Wong (Dodgers #16). They also have multiple potential ML backup catcher prospects, including one of my favorites, 2018 draftee Hunter Feduccia. DC and I have chronicled multiple catching prospects that will continue to provide the Dodgers with solid catching for many years.

 

For the 2019 Amateur draft, the Dodgers will continue to look at pitching, but I am hopeful that they will give strong consideration to good bat to ball skill OFers. They will continue to look at players who can play multiple positions and provide that depth they covet, and they will draft pitchers with an eye of turning some of them into quality relievers at some point. Where they draft, it is hard to project elite pitchers.  Sometimes they drop (like Buehler), but generally the best we can hope is that a Dustin May type comes through and surprises.  Then there is Caleb Ferguson.  Who knew?  Maybe Logan White. Caleb will go down as his last draft pick (2014 – #38) that signed as a Dodger while Logan was the Director of Player Personnel with LAD.  I am sure that after the 1st of the year, both DC and I will begin to look at the possible selections. But for now, LAD has a solid foundation with a solid nucleus of potential elite performers. While I love prospects, I would like to see some of them packaged for perhaps a lower level but higher ceiling prospect with solid bat to ball skills. They will not look at anyone in the Rule 5 draft, as nobody that is exposed is better than what they already have.

 

Below is link to all three publications and their ranking of the minor league systems.

 

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2794480-re-ranking-all-30-mlb-farm-systems-at-the-end-of-2018-milb-season

https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/post-2018-farm-system-rankings/

https://www.baseballamerica.com/rankings/2018-mlb-organizational-talent-rankings/

 

 

This article has 74 Comments

  1. The only player I worry about losing in Rule 5 is Cristian Santana. Some rebuilding team could take a chance and stash him…

  2. Very nice minor league survey of top 30 prospects AC.
    .
    The Dodgers still are are not strong on 3B position players but are capturing the market with catchers. Will be interesting to see how 19-year-old Miguel Vargas adapts to A-ball for a full season.
    .
    It is also interesting that Starling Heredia has keep his top 30 standing. However, he is still only 19 and missed about five weeks with injury during the 2018 season.

    1. Vargas will be extremely interesting to watch. He could rise fast like Yusniel Diaz. He is certainly not in the Juan Soto or Vlad Jr. group, but he has the opportunity to move quickly.
      .
      I am with you on Heredia. I know that he had that eye injury last year, but he still has not produced at Great Lakes, and he will get another shot as a 20 year old next year. He has big power, but his other skills are average at best. I do not see how Heredia is still in Top 30 and Vargas, Amaya, and Deacon Liput are not.

  3. The Dodger rotation for 2019 is probably Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Hill, and Maeda. Two of them won’t return in 2020 (Hill and Ryu), and one (Maeda) could get traded this off-season. Wood would be first up in 2019 if one of the starters were to go down but Wood is a likely trade candidate this off-season as well.
    .
    There is therefore a lot of opportunity for Ross Stripling, Julio Urias, Caleb Ferguson, Dennis Santana, Dustin May, Mitchell White, Tony Gonsolin, and Michael Grove to get into the Dodgers 2020 rotation.
    .
    If the Dodgers go with Taylor and Hernandez at second base to start the 2019 season then Lux has a great opportunity to move into the 2019 lineup by mid-season, especially if Muncy is traded. Also, if one or two outfielders are traded it would create space at second base by moving Bellinger or Taylor to CF. There is a good chance that we will see a lot of Lux by mid-season 2019.
    .
    If the Dodgers do not trade for a catcher and instead go with Barnes and Farmer then there is a good chance we will see Smith with the Dodgers by mid-season.
    .
    It could be a good time to be a top 30 Dodger prospect.

      1. Bums, Stewart is out of options. He either makes the 25 man roster or he is DFA. He could definitely land on some team’s roster, but I see no place for him as a Dodger on the 25 man. Zaidi waited way too long to move him, and now he has negligible trade value.

        1. So, strong spring training or bust for Stewart. Sounds like his only chance is to hang on as a reliever.

          1. I tend towards not thinking players “deserve” anything, but it would be nice to see him get a shot somewhere else (Seattle?). It seems clear he has no real path forward with us.

    1. Why do people think Muncy will be traded, or play second base for that matter. He doesn’t pass the eye test at second and his lowest monthly OPS last year was 870. The David Freese signing screams Muncy will be our first baseman with Freese giving JT his normal off days and filling in for Muncy against tough left handers. I’m about 100% sure he will be our starting first baseman next year.

      1. I would not bet against you 59 but if other teams buy into your Muncyness, wouldn’t he be better used to land a player that would better help the Dodgers such as a top reliever, another top starter, a catcher, a righty bat, or a second baseman?

      2. I think he could be traded to get a RH power bat. Puig is really a LH too so the Dodgers need more RH balance.

        I think he can play 2B IF he can have all Spring to do get ready. He looked bad at 1B early in the season, but got better as the season wore on. I saw him make some bad plays at 2B, but I also saw potential. I think he can play 2B if you let him play. He won’t be a Gold Glover, but if he plays 2B and Cody plays 1B, the Dodgers would have 3 potential Gold Glovers in their infield.

        If Bellinger is a better CF than Hernandez and Taylor, it’s not by much. I would prefer having three Gold Gloves in the infield and I also think it might help Cody offensively if he just played 1B.

  4. Great read. Do you have Kasowski listed where he is for proximity to joining the club or potential impact? Not used to seeing him so highly regarded. And why do you resign Estevez to the “utility” category? Love the Monday prospect talk.

    1. I believe that Marshall Kasowski has a chance to make the roster at some point this season. If not 2019, he should be there in 2020. He has been very successful if not dominant at times in 2018, moving through three levels from low A (Great Lakes) to high A (RC), to AA (Tulsa). His curve is still developing, but if he can command that pitch he could be outstanding, I do not see Andrew & Co. signing any “name” reliever this off-season, instead signing his usual throwbacks early and waiting to see if Therrien, Sborz, Broussard, Kasowski, Spitzbarth or even Sheffield can establish themselves as a ML reliever. Maybe even Yadier Alvarez. Relievers do have an ability to move quickly through the system.
      .
      Omar Estevez is one of my absolute favorite prospects. I do not think he is overly special, but I did not like the disrespect (my interpretation) he received after having a quality season as a 19 year old in the California League, and being dropped from many Top 30 (if not all) Dodger prospect lists. He is back on the MLB Pipeline Top 30, but as #30. Even though he is listed as a SS, he is not really considered a solid defensive SS. His arm is better suited for 2B, so maybe I should consider him a 2B more than a utility player. In all honesty, he is not fast enough to be a CF, and his bat does not project as a corner OF, and his arm is not good enough for RF. I was trying to give him more depth than he probably has, and he is still adapting to learning 2B. He is a very hard worker, and hopefully will get the starting 2B job at Tulsa next year. Next year will determine if he is a potential ML 2B or organizational depth.

      1. Marshall is one of my many favorites. I expect all it takes is consistent control and command. His control was exceptional in 2018 after his college years. His delivery is unusual with the ball looking like it comes out of his ear. ETA -if not this year, certainly in 2020. I don’t think he will be a trade candidate.
        .

  5. MBTR says Dino Ebel will be the Dodgers 3B coach. He was formerly on Mike Scioscias’s staff with the Angels and was a minor league coach for the Dodgers spending 6 years with the organization. Didn’t expect that hire, but it seems rather solid. Nice job Andrew!

    1. Looks like a good choice although I was hoping for the longest of long shots for AJ Ellis to become a Dodger coach.

  6. Back to Brock Stewart. If they start him in the pen and don’t stretch him out, I think his velocity will return to 97+. He has a good slider and a 4-seam fastball may produce better results than his 2-seamer. He sucks as a starter but could be a nice piece in the pen.

    1. I assume then that you see Stewart going to camp as a potential on the 25 man? Per Eric Stephen’s Payroll Worksheet at TBLA, Stewart has used all three of his options (2016-18), and has zero remaining. If he does not make the roster out of ST, then he has to be DFA or outright released. I do not see who he beats out. He has never accepted that he is a reliever. I think he believes his best opportunity is to get released so he can latch on to a team looking for a #5 starting pitcher.

      1. In any case, reliever or starter in Spring Training, he needs to impress. His heart might be as a starter but his paycheck for now is as a reliever.

  7. In the past, he pitched well out of the pen… until last year. I would not give him a choice “You are pitching out of the pen. PERIOD!”

      1. Who cares? He has litle value. If he doesn’t do it he will just get cut… The Dodgers have nothing to lose.

        1. A sensitivity class should be first and foremost on your to-do list., as well as a New Year’s resolution to cut down on all the childish exclamations marks. ;0)

  8. Enjoyable post AC! I love following our prospects and appreciate the in depth insight you and DC provide us.
    .
    I’m excited to see how some of the 2018 draft picks perform next year. Deacon Liput, Drew Avens, Luke Heyer, Devan Mann. James Outman ( despite the horrible baseball name, a particular favorite of mine), Dillon Paulson (I always root for USC guys), Josh McClain, Hunter Feduccia and Meaux Landry (he has to make it on the name alone) all have the opportunity to rise up the prospect rankings next year. There are several pitchers as well, Drudy, Kolek, Fisher, Rooney, Warsek and Grove come to mind.
    .
    AC perhaps you know, but is Morgan Cooper still with the organization. If he is, do you have any information where or if he might pitch next year?

    1. To the best of my knowledge, Morgan Cooper is still with the Dodgers. I have not seen any transaction indicating that he has been released. He is currently assigned to AZL Dodgers. We will see what happens next Spring.

    2. He did not pitch in 17 and 18 and is expected to resume throwing in February.

      “Shoulder tendenitis” is the story.

      I think there is more to this story…

  9. There are rumors we are talking with Lemaheiu’s representatives. I wonder if he will sign before I learn to spell his name.
    *
    As much as I would support either Taylor or Keekay playing 2b “everyday,” I can see the logic in upgrading the position. There really aren’t that many places we could play an everyday player. (Muncy at 2b is the F.O.’s call but I’m sensing they don’t like it.)
    *
    Catcher is obviously one place, but expecting offense out of the position might be a luxury for us, especially with Smith/Ruiz on the horizon. The outfield is crowded, especially assuming Bellinger will be in CF to make room for Muncy’s bat at 1B. In fact, even if we do nothing, we still have an extra starting outfielder in Verdugo to find room for.
    *
    That leaves 2B as the main place we can add a bat. Go defensive/short-term at C, use what we have in the OF, expect better seasons from some of the regulars, and save Taylor/Keekay for what they do best.
    *
    I’ve been resisting this kind of rosterbation because I know once we settle on the best course of action a trade will come from nowhere [like the Kemp one] and make us all look foolish for pretending to know what the F.O. might be thinking.
    *
    Long story short: I’d be fully in favor of adding DJLM.

    1. If we didn’t participate in the “rosterbation” as you refer to it, then what fun would the Hot Stove League rumors be? By the way, DJLM would do just fine.

  10. Perhaps a DJLM signing would lead to a trade of Keekay, Taylor or Muncy or 2 of the 3. There are too many redundant players on the team maybe package them for a bat or an arm.

    1. Out of those three, I think Taylor is the most likely to be traded, but I like good players so I’d rather keep all three. I don’t see Taylor and Keekay as necessarily redundant as we could use one of them as a straight insurance policy on a starter getting injured. With Seager coming back from a major surgery, we can pretty bank on this being a high priority.
      *
      I do think an OF has to go, as I’m having trouble fitting Joc, Kemp, Bellinger, & Puig on the roster along with Muncy, Freese, Turner, & Seager. Those eight plus the two utilitymen in paragraph 1 brings us to 10 players plus 2 catchers so we’re now at 12, with possibly one more spot but likely 13 pitchers so that’s that.
      *
      There’s about 1% chance those are our offensive players, but it does show how limited the space is for a player like Verdugo or even Toles (who be nice to have as a 5th OF for his speed alone).

  11. All things considered, do we want Kemp on the roster next year? I’m torn, as I like him for his “veteran presence” and RH power bat; in some ways, he fits the weak side of a platoon quite well and is a ready-made DH for the handful of such games per year. On the other hand, he’s a bit one dimensional on a team that values versatility; in some ways, Freese has taken some of his usefulness away. I like Kemp but I have to think we’d be open to moving him, even for payroll relief.

  12. Donaldson at 33 signs for 1 year at $23M. With McCann at $2MM, that is $25 MM in FA signings for the Braves, and it appears that they may be out of the Harper/Machado auction. Scott Boras and Dan Lozano are going to be on the phone with Philly admonishing them that they cannot let Atlanta get away with that, and that Philly needs to sign one of their guys (or both if they are spending crazy). Boras is going to go directly to Ted Lerner now and advise him that the Nats must sign Harper if they have any shot at getting back to the playoffs. The Braves just opened up the Harper/Machado bidding in the NL East.
    .
    I still think that Atlanta will be in on Brantley. If they get that RF replacement for Markakis, they are going to be very tough next year. They could dangle Swanson and some pitching to get that RF, or use Camargo out in LF and Acuna moving to RF. 3B Austin Riley will be ready 2020. CF Cristian Pache 2021 at the latest. With their pitching surplus, they can find a pretty good RF bat out there even if it is a slight overpay, and create a super utility player out of Camargo. I like what the Braves are doing.
    .
    It also looks like with the addition of McCann, that the combo of Flowers and McCann may rule out Realmuto for the Braves may. I still think that Atlanta is a logical landing spot with their pitching surplus, and they can always trade Flowers. But there is no longer any reason for them to pay an inter-division surcharge.

    1. Yeah, it’s like the offseason began in earnest today. Lots of ramifications as you outlined. Boras can always save face with multiple player opt-outs for Harper. He’s pretty much guaranteed to set the AAV record (in my opinion).

  13. Fangraphs with a good piece on DJLM. They provide a range of potential contracts from 2y/$18m to 2y/$22m to 3y/$36m.
    *
    I have to admit I really like him at those numbers and am starting to think–failing a larger move–that this is smart move that could come together fairly quickly. He doesn’t have a Q.O. attached to him either.
    *
    If we have to move Alex Wood to free up some money, so be it. Thinking this could be a good step forward in our low-key refiguring of the roster.

    1. I think Wood has to be moved. He’s going to be very unhappy in the bullpen going into his final contract year and it would seem as though Maeda, Urias and Stripling are quite possibly all ahead of him for the 5th spot in the rotation.

  14. Mark, if you add DJ lemay then the Dodgers would have 3 gold glovers in Bellinger, DJ, Seager, and would have 4 in Turner if not for Arenado. Having said that I wouldn’t be too quick to sign him. He would need to fall into our lap. If they do sign him somebody would probably have to go.

      1. I know this stuff doesn’t really matter but what are we thinking here: 6th or 7th place hitter in the lineup?

        Joc/Verdugo
        Seager
        Turner
        Muncy
        Puig
        Bellinger
        LeMay
        Random Catcher

  15. Man, former Dodger prospect Oneil Cruz is now listed as 6’7″ and primarily a CF. I have to admit I’m curious to see this guy make the majors just so I can watch the show.

  16. I keep hearing that Arizona is aggressively shopping Goldschmidt. I’m having trouble thinking of a match for him. He’s a strange entity in that he’s a completely elite hitter who is due to test free agency after the season so you have to assume you are getting him for one year only. Teams that match up [as opposed to who would want him because who wouldn’t?] have to be: close to serious contention, fairly loaded with prospects, have an opening at 1b, willing to go all-in.

    1. Goldy is a natural for Houston. He went to HS about 30 minutes from Minute Maid. I do not know what they would trade knowing that they could wait one year and sign him as a FA. Do they want Realmuto or Syndergaard this year and Goldy next? Realmuto and Syndergaard will cost prospects, and Goldy will be cash. Home town discount?

    2. On the MLB Network and MLB radio the opinion is St. Louis will be the landing spot for Goldy with the strong possibility of an extension after the season. The Cards have a history of trading for a big name then extending them.

      There was a rumored trade with Philly but Philly insisted on Santana going back to AZ and the talks fell apart

        1. I don’t think so MJ.

          I think other teams are trying to get Arizona to add Grienke, so the other team wouldn’t have to surrender as many prospects.

          At least that’s what I read @TheAthletic

  17. Just got message from Bleacher Report that Kenley Jansen is out of surgery, and in the video they included of Jansen, it appears that he came out OK.

  18. Hey Mark, when you get chance, check out an article by Travis Sawchik who writes for FiveThirtyEight. Great piece on all the “dope fiend” contracts you have been talking about for years, and there it is, bigger than crap, the D-Bags trying to dump Grienke as he is taking up 34.5 million of their 77.5 mill committed payroll this year. And to think only 3 years ago alot of people were ready to tar and feather FAZ for not going the extra year and millions more to keep Greinke. Some of the best moves are the ones you don’t make. Damn, some of the contracts in this article are nuts. Who in the hell green lighted those?

  19. With the reported hiring of Robert Von Scoyoc as the new hitting coach, I’m speculating that CT# may not be a trade candidate this off-season.
    .
    While I have no objection to either Dino Ebel or Von Scoyoc, like AC I was hoping that Haselman or Hennessey might be given a shot at a major league role. They may have and turned the opportunity down for all I know, I am a sucker for promoting from within the ranks.

  20. It’s being reported by Pedro Moura of The Athletic that the Dodgers will hire Robert Van Scoyoc to be the new hitting coach. He is currently the Dbacks hitting strategist but before that he was an hitting consultant for the Dodgers. He is the one who worked with Chris Taylor on revamping his swing when he first came to the Dodger organization. He also has worked with JD Martinez and several other players.

    Sounds like the Dodgers are officially going all in on the launch angle. I personally wish they would focus more on bat to ball approach. I guess AF really digs the long ball.

    1. Everyone is all in on launch angle and have been for some time now. It’s not the problem. Daniel Murphy was one of the first in this era to preach that ground balls are out so you much get it in the air. The true problem is that you still need to be able to make contact and you must have a two strike approach. JT is a good example. He revamped his swing after listening to Murphy and Marlon Byrd. Computers tell these guys what the best attack angle and launch angle is for them to have good exit velocity and get the ball in the air.

      1. I agree that launch angle isn’t the problem. You nailed it with “the true problem is that you still need to be able to make contact and you must have a two strike approach”. That’s what I what I would like to see more of next year with the Dodger hitters.

      2. More teams are going to this hitting strategist route. Van Scoyoc has never played past JC (Cuesta College), no further than my 2nd son. Except my 2nd son hit .400 with an OBP of .435 at Pierce College. My oldest son told me that the ChiSox hired a hitting strategist that has never played. But he is smart with computer analytics. This is where hitting is going. It no longer matters if the coach has never had to step to the plate and face a pitcher throwing 98-102 with movement. “Let’s look at the swing from a computer standpoint”. The best hitting coaches could watch film and pick up a tiny adjustment, and make the change. Hitting is muscle memory, so when you get out of whack, it is hard to get back in until you can see what needs to be changed.
        .
        My son could never hit with a JDM, but he could help ML hitters and has. He also faced a KRod when he was at his best. He got his 1st ML hit off Eddie Guardado, so he knows what it is like to climb in against the best. How does Van Scoyoc know? I know the minor leaguers that were coming up with my son would not have taken coaching/instruction too well from someone who had not actually played professionally at some level.
        .
        I will reserve judgement, but I agree that CT3 is not going to change. He does not have the bat to ball skills that either Daniel Murphy or JT have. CT3 has one plane and does seem to adjust to the situation. The DBacks offense did worse than LAD, so whatever he was teaching it was not registering with the hitters. As I have consistently said, if there are no consequences to striking out with RISP, then there is no reason to change.
        .
        We should just go ahead and complete the circle. Bring in computers to call balls and strikes and we can all become video game launch angle hitting gurus.

        1. Really interesting AC, thanks for that.
          `
          Not having any of that anecdotal info, I thought strategists were in vogue because most hitters have their own swing coaches. So, it would more be about the mindset and strategy than about the fundamentals and mechanics.

          1. When Hawkeye brought up Turner and Murphy, I am with AC, because both Murphy and Turner are very talented hitters.

            And there are not many hitters like Turner and Murphy, who can combine both of those skills that well.

        1. I’m all in for giving Dozier another shot in 2019 if healthy. Perhaps he would agree to a one year deal in order to prove himself before becoming a FA at the end of the year.

      1. Dionysis

        Not another average hitter from the American League.

        It seems like only the really good hitters, make that transition well, like JD.

  21. Check out Muncy’s defensive metrics at second.

    Muncy had better defensive metrics at second then Taylor this year, but with twice the innings at second.

    Like Mark has said for sometime, Taylor is better at shortstop, then at second.

    I also think Cody will hit better if he is playing first.

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