Breakout Candidates

Every year, certain players regress, some stay the same and others breakout.  It’s hard to predict who will do what, but there are a few clues that might be there as to which players may be “Breakout Candidates.” Justin Turner “brokeout” with the Dodgers.  So did Chris Taylor in 2017. JD Martinez brokeout as a Tiger.  Scooter Gennett brokeout as a Red.  Breakout years happen all the time… sometimes when you least expect it. I have picked a few Dodgers that I believe could improve dramatically in 2019 and I will articulate why. I am sure some may disagree…

Chris Taylor

In 2017, CT3 burst onto the Dodger scene.  He “brokeout” and hit .288 with a .354 OB% while OPS’ing .850, but in 2018 regressed to .254 with a .331 oB% and a .775 OPS.  While not as good as 2017, it was not a horrible year – it just wasn’t what we expected.  He struck out 178 times… almost 25% of the time looking.  I think he was conflicted with his hitting approach.  He has worked with Robert Von Scoyoc in the past and I think Turner Ward’s preaching looking at pitches and patience sometimes left CT3 in no-man’s land. It’s good to work the count, but I have seen so many Dodgers the past three years (during Turner Ward’s Tenure) let that “sweet” first pitch “right in their wheelhouse” go.I think he will cut-down on his swing with two strikes, hit the other way, utilize his speed and reduce his strikeouts… pretty dramatically.  He will still hit 15-20 HR, but I can see his BA jumping 40 to 50 points.  He doesn’t need a makeover, just a tweek! A few small changes can turn out to be big for CT3. I look for a bounce-back year for him in 2019… maybe better than 2017. Where he will play is yet to be decided.

Cody Bellinger

Again, Cody did not have a horrible year.  His HR’s dropped from 39 to 25 and his BA and OB% dropped slightly.  He is still very young, very coachable and very adaptable.  He will have years where he will hit 50 HR, but I don’t think it will be this year.  I do think he will improve under RVS and hit 35+ HR again with a slight uptick in batting average. Again, where he plays is still up in the air.  Gold Glove CF or Gold Glove 1B.  Has there ever been that combination before?

Enrique Hernandez

Last year, I said that Kike could breakout and become JD Martinez.  In case you failed to notice, I was wrong… but I have not given up on Kike. Some people complain that he strikes out too much.  No, he doesn’t.  He struck out 16.% of the time in 2018. In 2017, it was 23% and in 2016 it was 26%.  He is making progress and I have a lot of hope that Kike can breakout in 2019.  He was solid last year and in 2019, with RVS as his coach, I could see that breakout I have been predicting become reality.  He is learning to hit RH pitching much better and Chase Utley took him under his wing. Again, where he plays is to be decided, but he could be the starting 2B.  The problem is:  He plays good defense anywhere.

Austin Barnes & Russ Martin

Both players need to comeback, bounceback and breakout.  Russ Martin has never been the player he was early in his Dodger career.  I blame it on wine, women and song…. not that there’s anything wrong with that, but at 65, I barely remember it.  I have been married for 22 years… but I digress.  I have looked at the metrics and analytics and I think RVS will help both catchers.  Yes, I am putting a lot of faith in RVS… I know, but I think both will benefit greatly from a new, focused approach.  Also, why do fans think that at 35 years old Russ Martin can’t have a comeback year and yet 36 year-old Yadier Molina can be an All-Star? Martin could be Comeback Player of the Year.  The Big Dodger in the Sky often smiles when the prodigal Dodger returns.

Scott Alexander

So, I like Scott Alexander a lot… and there’s a lot to like even beyond the stats, which are not eye-popping.  In 2017, his ERA was 2.48 while it ballooned to 3.68 in 2018, but his WHIP actually went down.  He just needs to trust his stuff a little more and not try and be so precise.  Even if that ball is over the plate, hitters are not going to square that sinker up. I’m sure I could roll out other metrics, but I often go by the “eye test” and I think Scott Alexander will be a lockdown reliever in 2019.

Conclusion

Those are the players I think can “breakout” or at least improve greatly.  Can Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts plan on all of that?  I will tell you a resounding “NO.” But, some of them will step up… maybe even all of them.  I am of the opinion that if a player can hit a certain threshold one season, he can do it again.  Will he?  That’s the question… but those are my nominations.

The “Unofficial” Bill Haselman Story

I see a lot of morons on other boards slamming the Dodgers for not making Bill Haselman a coach and some have even said that he left his job as Manager of OKC becasue of it.  They all start with the pemise that Friedman is horrible and work backward.  They also never let facts stand in the way of their moronic beliefs! DISCLAIMER:This is not directed to anyone on this blog!  Actually, the Dodgers may have put him on the MLB staff, but instead, he is still in the organization as a roving minor league instructor.  The Dodger like Bill Haselman a lot and he will be a great manager… like in 2020 when he becomes the Giants manager.  I think Farhan Zaidi wants Haselman to manage the Giants when Bochy’s deal runs out after 2019.The Dodgers love Haselman, but know this is great opportunity for him, so they re-assigned him for one year until he is named the Giants Manager.  I don’t think Farhan wants Haselman breathing down Bochy’s neck, so the Dodgers are keeping Haselman in the organization, hoping not to burn any bridges with him.  He’s a great manager in waiting and hopefully he will help the Dodgers this year.  He is a high-characer person, so there is that. Haselman was born in New Jersey but went to high school in Saratoga, California, which is near the Bay Area. All of this is conjecture on my part, but watch and see what happens. If true, this also tells you a lot about Andrew Friedman’s Dodgers.

22 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers Report

You are going to see some movement this week… I promise… I hope… I wish!  Who knows?

Puig or Grandal?

MLB.com recently named Yasiel Puig the 8th best RF in baseball.  This was evidently after several drinks… and many Dodger fans are aghast that he was traded, but they also don’t want Yasmani Grandal back whom MLB.com rated the 3rd best catcher in baseball.  I don’t want either of them back… but I just wanted to point that out.  Everything is so subjective.

This article has 67 Comments

  1. Great read!! I feel there will be a break out player for the dodgers again, it has been for the last 4 years. And I know with the help of our new hitting coach there may well be another! We still have more work to do but will see, the cards are still there!!!

    1. Agreed, he definitely has the potential to do so this year! The dodgers seem to have that kind of luck on there side with break out players, and he’s a good fit

    1. I think Urias will be in the rotation at some point during the season and on the playoff rotation. If he pitches 120 innings for the Dodgers I would consider that to be a breakout year.

    1. Let me give you some food for thought about Kike. He was swinging for the fences the first half of 2018 and had 16 HR at the Break. However, he was hitting .230 with a .313 OB%. He was striking out 23% of the time and walking 12% of the time.

      After the All-Star Break, he quit swinging for the fences as much. His strikeout percentage dropped to 13% and his walk rate stayed the same. After the All-Star break, he hit .294 with a .371 OB%. If he can do that, he can leadoff because in 2018, he hit RHP and LHP equally well.

      So, this is just not wishful thinking. Kike is getting better, step-by-step and if there ever was a player whose metrics say he’s ready to breakout, it’s Kike. I think the Dodgers new approach will help him immensely.

  2. Does keeping Bill Haselman in the minor league system as a roving instructor enhance the franchise long term or are we simply paying him to spend a year assessing all the the players in our system and other systems so he can take all of this knowledge to the evil kingdom called the Giants? I ask this as a fan because I don’t quite understand how all of this works unless it means that a working relationship will be enhanced which would be beneficial to the Dodgers.

    1. He already knows the system and so does Zaidi. You never know when he may came back. That said, I don’t know any of that for sure.

  3. Of course there will be a Dodger or two or even three that will have a plus year with the bat in 2019. There will also be a Dodger or two or three that will regress. It is the nature of the game. You may be right, but I cannot see Russell Martin having a breakout year. And please, there is no comparison between HOF Yadi Molina and Russell Martin.
    .
    I hope you and others are right, but you are putting a lot of faith in a personal hitting instructor trying to be a MLB team hitting coach for the first time, even one with a unique approach. The same guy who as a senior in high school went 1-12 (14 PA) for a .083/.214/.083/.297 slash line. But you may very well be right and he may very well succeed, and I hope he does. But hope is all we have because there is nothing in his resume that indicates that he can be a successful ML hitting coach. While I am holding off on any judgement on RVS’ success or non-success, I do find it hard to fathom that the team may be placing all of their eggs in the RVS basket. So, I am still expecting (hoping) for another bat to join the team.
    .
    Question – With potentially having a successful influence on CT3, Cody, Kike’, Barnes & Martin, why couldn’t RVS also have a positive influence on Puig and Kemp? Just asking.
    .
    While I have a very positive outlook on Bill Haselman, I often defer to my son to see how he feels about former Red Sox or Phillies (some Blue Jays) players. Haselman was not only a fellow catcher teammate, but was his away game roomie while with Pawtucket. For what it is worth, my son is a huge Bill Haselman advocate.

  4. This just help to remind me that baseball is a business, as well as a sport. Does anyone know whether management level professionals and technical specialists in areas such as fiscal management, player assessment and sabermetric systems design and implementation are required to sign non-disclosure agreements. The world of business often requires such agreements to protect proprietary information and I wonder how common this practice is or if it would keep young talented individuals from join an organization.

    1. I know under the old McCourt regime every Dodger employee (up and down the food chain) had to sign non-disparagement agreements.

      I am not sure how NDA’s work with regard to scouting information, as you can’t be asked to forget what you have learned.

  5. I will guess Kemp couldn’t keep his weight down as the season progressed. I also suspect that Kemp couldn’t bring a consistent attitude to the clubhouse. I don’t think the improvements they wanted from Kemp and Puig were tied to the responsibilities of the hitting instructor.

  6. FWIW – It is reported by Michael Duarte that the Dodgers are in “active” (whatever that means) discussions with the Pirates about CF Starling Marte (RH bat).

  7. It seems to me that people are taking the stance that RVS will be a bust. That he has never been a hitting coach therefore, he will have a hard time getting through to the players. But, RVS is only 1/3 of the hitting environment that the Dodgers are seeking to use to coach hitters. It seems the team has put a three-headed monster together. Each coach will have an equal voice in the matter and be able to focus on different aspects of hitting. One coach on say, pitch recognition, another on keeping the bat level through the strike zone, and one on adjusting to the count, (when to be defensive, or to look for their pitch). I will admit, there are times when a single voice is better than multiple talking heads. But, what if the three voices are focused only on their own areas of expertise? Maybe then, the players can go to the coach who will best help in the area they need help in.

    1. I think more of us are taking a wait and see approach with RVS. He has a unique approach that may or may not work.
      .
      But with all due respect, there is not going to be a 3 headed hitting coach for LAD. Pitch recognition does not come from a coach. Either a player can or he cannot recognize the spin and location of a pitch. Some get better with experience. Some sit in film rooms and study pitchers to see if they can get an advantage. But the hitter has milliseconds to recognize and swing to where they think the ball is going. If they have to think…The same is true with keeping the bat level through the zone. Many successful hitters do, and many many others do not. Not every swing is the same, and it is the successful coach that can recognize and work with those differences.
      .
      There is one hitting coach. and he will espouse the team line on hitting strategy. He will determine the best way to attack a certain pitcher. Many were down on Turner Ward because of a “work the count” theory. But what isn’t being discussed as much is that this was the Dodgers strategy and was disclosed as such even during the 2017 playoffs. Turner may or may not be an advocate of working the count. I have not asked him. Maybe somebody can point to an interview where he has stated that this was his approach and the Dodgers adapted to it rather than Ward adapting to Dodger team strategy (ML and MiLB).
      .
      I am not sure how many have experience with how a hitting coach in the ML or MiLB work. They do not change the swing of any player unless that player wants them to. Every ML and MiLB player has a hitting coach they work with in the off season that will tear down and rebuild their swing if need be. That may in fact be why Cody went to Dodger Stadium during the winter to work with RVS. We will have to wait and see if RVS had a positive influence, but Cody was willing to change. Cody is a student of the game, and seems to be more willing to change than do others. But that change is not done during the season which was why Joc came under such scrutiny for the many times he was changing his swing. Something changed for him, because he had a much more consistent approach last year, and he did not worry about the success or failure of every outcome…only his consistent approach. Every hitter has an approach they are comfortable with and they are not going to change because the team hitting coach wants them to hit a different way. One of the biggest tasks the hitter wants from his hitting coach is to watch film to see where his swing has changed from when he was dialed in, and then work on the “fix” in the cage, until that positive muscle memory has returned. Sometimes the “fix” is obvious and sometimes it isn’t. A good coach will listen to the hitter, make subtle suggestions, but ultimately it is the hitter who has the final say.
      .
      Right or wrong, one other issue is that many players both ML and MiLB will not be quick to take instruction from someone who has not been a successful hitter above LL/Pony League baseball. Some absolutely will, but many more will not. It will be up to RVS to gain the respect and trust of the players, not the other way around. It is obvious that he has at least convinced management that he can do just that. The player needs to feel comfortable going to RVS before they will be willing to change their approach. But we do not know how his coaching method will translate to the players, because he has never done it at the team level before. That is why many of us are hoping for the change in attitude and approach, but need to wait and see. We are not down on him or think he is going to be a bust. None of us were in the interviews. We just do not know.

  8. I think Taylor should improve, expect Barnes to improve as well, Cody has great tools like speed,power with an all or nothing swing. He seems the most in need of a change in approach and if he does he should improve and have a higher batting average. Kike well I am with you. Alexander needs a mental makeover. Martin has to be better but he is not any good anyway. He will probably be on the dl most of the year. I think it is very risky to go into the year thinking seager will be everyday on opening day. Taylor will play a lot of ss with kike and muncy sharing second base. The Dodgers need to add a player to improve their depth. They probably will somebody like Harrison, markakis, or some other cheap, average player that will have you shaking your head. If Friedman can’t get a fit that he is comfortable with without an overpay he will add the best bluelight special available. I agree no overpay but if not the next opportunity might be the trade deadline.

  9. Based on his numbers, Marte is a nice player, but nothing special. And he’s also a FA after 2019. What would he cost? Lots of names now being associated with Dodgers. Good chance more names might be added to the list. AF very likely to do what’s least expected. I will continue in the same place, namely “wait and see”.

    1. Marte has 2 option years. 2020 – $11.5MM, and 2021 – $12.5MM with $2MM buyouts each year. He could be a FA or whoever he is playing for can exercise his option. I am not advocating for or against Marte.

    1. Where there is smoke there is fire but in the article about Marte, it was Verdugo that was mentioned to get him. Marte and Verdugo could be similar players with Marte the better center fielder. Belli could then move to RF where he made a great play in the WS and is the typical bat found in RF whereas Marte is the more typical bat found in CF.
      .
      Trading for Marte would seem to be more of an attempt to improve the defense and add a lead off hitter than to provide a big righty bat. He is cheaper than Pollock as well but sends a signal to Pollock that if he wants to be a Dodger, the clock is ticking.

  10. damn – MT do love his catchers… Martin and Molina in the same sentence or paragraph… Who knew…
    I’m thinking, like someone already mentioned, Barnes starts the season as our #1…
    I’m looking for the hitting instructor trio to be a good scapegoat mid season if were not hitting…
    Staring at my ST tix and can’t wait …

  11. Pass on Marte. He was suspended for PED use for 80 games in 2017. Also his career BA is higher vs same side pitchers. While it’s nice to have a hitter steal 33 bases he also ld the league in CS with 14. That’s about 70% which I believe is below the standard for that category. JMO

  12. If Gray to Cinci doesn’t work out, there are a number of other teams who could be a fallback for teh NYY. Dodgers aren’t mentioned, and I find that interesting. Obviously the Dodgers don’t need Gray, but he’s being shopped pretty hard and there may be some value there.
    `
    Rosenthal on Pollock and the Dodgers can’t be posted because it’s a $ site. But he notes that Pollock hits LHP better than Puig and is a better fielder than Kemp. It’s a pretty depressing series of notes, because it revolves around the premise that the Dodgers aren’t making big moves because they are the best team in the West.
    `
    Bleh.

  13. Shredder has Harper at #5 best RFer.
    1. Aaron Judge
    2. Mookie Betts
    3. Christian Yelich
    4. Mitch Haniger
    5. Bryce Harper
    6. Brandon Nimmo
    7. Yasiel Puig
    8. Andrew McCutchen
    9. Nicholas Castellanos
    10. Stephen Piscotty

      1. A computer would probably say some multiple of WAR. Oh, that would mean I think like a computer. Maybe an OLIVETTI A5.

    1. I don’t know how Betts is not at the top of this list.

      He is the best defensive right fielder in baseball by quite a bit.

      And he is the reigning American League MVP.

      He has that rare speed and power combination.

      Betts hit 30 HRs.

  14. I’m another one who wouldn’t be thrilled with a Marte acquisition and I certainly wouldn’t include Verdugo in a trade for him. On the other hand, he sounds like just the kind of guy Cleveland might like. Maybe AF can work a three team trade where we get Kluber and the Indians get Marte. Pirates know they aren’t going to make the playoffs this year so they might be willing to take good prospects who aren’t quite MLB ready. Smith, May, Rios, Maeda/Stripling with the Pirates including a prospect or two. Shuffle the deck, we get Kluber, Indians get Marte, Maeda and a prospect, Pirates get prospects.

  15. I am really glad this hitting coach is changing the hitter’s approach at the plate.

    Because when you have a base runner in scoring position, you need to swing at the first pitch you can handle, not wait for a perfect pitch, because that perfect pitch may never come.

    Because not every hitter is equipped as well as Turner is, with two strikes.

    And if you watch Turner he does swing at the first pitch if it is good anyways, as well as most good hitters.

    In that article about Joc, it said the Dodgers have made it clear that they want more balance in their line up this year, so that is a plus.

  16. I’m still hoping Jake Peter has a breakout year. Last year he looked better than Muncy during spring training. He flamed out some at OKC, however, I partially attribute that to him possibly being disappointed in having been sent down to the minors yet again. Pursuing the dream vs living with reality can be difficult for these young men.
    .
    Nice post AC. Another reminder of why this is the best Dodger blog to visit on a daily basis.

  17. Our host thinks that all Dodgers who didn’t do too well last year are breakout candidates this year.

    The Dodgers’ new hitting coach will solve all problems.

    Wow.

    Martin is 36, hasn’t been good in 3 or 4 years, and had his worst season ever last year. Not a candidate to “breakout”.

    Barnes has had one good season. He didn’t do well with a few AB in 2015 or 2016. There is no way to know if the 2017 version is the real one or the 2018 version is.

    Taylor – has a “grooved swing”, swings too hard too often, apparently doesn’t have good strike zone recognition/control given the number of pitches down the middle he took and the number out of the zone he swung at.

    Kike, like Grandal, is going to break out every season according to our host.

    I am hopeful that Bellinger will improve. He has to stop swinging at the low inside breaking pitch and the high outside fastball. Will his pitch recognition improve?

    Like Lake Wobegon, all Dodgers’ hitting coaches are handsome and all Dodger hitter are above average – I mean breakout candidates.

    1. I agree with you. Just because a player has a bad year, doesn’t mean they have a “breakout” or “bounce back” year the next year. Let’s face the facts the Dodgers are weaker this year.
      Catcher: Barnes and Martin are both weaker than Grandal. Martin is yet another Old Man management brings on.
      Kiki had his best year to date, but he in no way is a Great Player.
      Puig was traded away. Unless they sign Harper, replacing him with Pollock or Castellanos is a downgrade or even at best. How is that bettering the team. Harper improves the team otherwise, letting Puig go was useless.
      Taylor had 1 good year just as thousands of players have. Lets see if he has the ability to have another.
      Otherwise, this team is in serious need of a Top Notch Player.

  18. The Dodgers definitely need to improve against lefties but with 70% of pitches being thrown from righties caution should be used before trading away power lefty bats. Yes, I say that partially because I want to keep Joc but mostly because it is true.
    .
    Verdugo is not going to help against lefties. The Dodgers need a power righty bat in RF. Left field is not a weakness with Joc, Taylor, Kike’ already on board. Kike’ could be a power bat in RF and a good defensive RFer. That would put Taylor at second base though.
    .
    After the last WS loss it seemed like Friedman was saying he wanted less platooning and more BARISP. That would support the rumors that Joc is being shopped. But, as much as I like Pollock, he would hurt the Dodgers if he misses lots of games and if Joc were traded, there would be a hole in LF.
    .
    I would sacrifice some of the future and include both Ruiz and Verdugo for a strong righty bat, be it Realmuto or Hanigar. I am now open to Stanton as well with hopes that he would be available should the Yanks sign Haprer. It would be nice if Hill’s contract could be used to offset some of Stanton’s AAV but if not, just eat his total salary and give up less for him. However, I would save our top prospects for an Ace or Realmuto if Stanton were obtained.

  19. I hope and anticipate that Taylor and Barnes will return to a hitting style driven by better pitch selection with a focus on laying off the high strike unless in the middle zone, reducing the swing angle a few degrees in order to hit more line drives and fewer fly ball outs, and bunting for hits against shifts to take advantage of their speed, and flicking off tough strikes with two outs to increase pitch counts and increase walk percentage. I expect Hernandez and Petersen will work similarly against same side pitchers but be given more latitude versus opposite side pitchers due to their power and OBP potential. I think that all of the hitters will show better plate discipline unless they wish to assume a greater role as a bench player.
    I think Marte would be a solid addition as a defender, a very talented lead-off hitter and a cost controllable contract for the next three years. The Pirates have shown a real affinity for working with young relievers so I would offer Alverez, Toles, Peters and our third or fourth best minor league starting pitching prospect. Toles could play CF, Peters SS/2B and the two pitchers could both be major league possibilities for 2020 and beyond and all are on extremely cost controllable contracts.

  20. Up above, Bluto had an observation about Sonny Gray. He is not needed, but there is a very good reason why he might be wanted. Sonny Gray does not fit the “new” NYY dynamic of moving away from fastballs. Sonny Gray is a 4-seamer and 2-seamer fastball pitcher who has been told to pitch more cutters and curveballs by NYY. Gray has not adapted to this philosophy very well which is why he is being discussed as a trade potential. It has been mentioned that Gray does not pitch well in a big city environment, when it may just be that he does not pitch well in the NYY philosophy.
    .
    Here is a story from FanGraphs on Sonny Gray. I saw this last season and thought that maybe Gray could be a good trade deadline candidate last year.
    .
    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-yankees-no-fastball-approach-might-be-breaking-sonny-gray/
    .
    This is why it is often better to let a player hit/pitch to their strengths and not dictate how that hitter/pitcher must adapt. Again, just an observation.

    1. That may certainly be part of Gray’s problem.

      However, he is awful in Yankee Stadium. In 2018, he had a 6.98 ERA at Yankee Stadium (1.904 WHIP) and a 3.17 ERA on the road with a 1.155 WHIP.

      WOW!

      1. There is no question he does not pitch well in Yankee Stadium. Maybe he is fighting NYY management to try and prove he should be allowed to pitch his way. But he has pitched well in the past and is still just 29. I am not necessarily an advocate, but if you could get Gray for Shed Long and international money, might he be worth a shot that would then make someone like Kenta Maeda available in a package? I would not be an advocate to extend him, but he is one year from FA, and if he does falter, Stripling and Urias are there to pick up (Ferguson and Santana?).

  21. The best candidate for a breakout player this year is Verdugo hands down. He is being handed a huge opportunity and is eligible for ROY consideration. #2 on my list is Urias, who would not have to leap over much to get into the rotation. Bounce back candidate is Cingrani from an injury plagued season. I don’t see anyone on the roster bubble being ready to take a big step forward this season at least at the outset. Guys like Stewart and Garcia with no options remaining may make the team out of ST but are just as likely to be DFA’d, traded or go on the DL. I like Fields, Floro and Shaggy better but they still have options. Other off season adds with no options are Orlando, Peterson and Quackenbush who could stay or go with little consequence after being DFA’d. Beaty and Rios have 3 options remaining each. I think Caleb opens the season in AAA as a starter and possibly Urias. Alexander needs only to fine tune his control as his sinker is almost unhittable. I’m not sure the bullpen needs 3 LHP, at least not early in the season.

  22. The one breakout candidate listed that I am skeptical about is Austin Barnes. It was 12 months ago that he injured his arm. Claimed he was overthrowing while doing off-season training. He never came back, got that late start in Spring training and was never the 2017 Barnes that we saw.

    Is it possible that he has some permanent elbow damage? His throwing arm was awful and BoSox scouts let their guys know, as he was exposed defensively in the World Series. As far as his bat, it was real bad. No threat at all for months. RVS has that history of resurrecting careers. He really has his hands full with Barnes. I hope I’m very wrong on this because I like the guy. His work ethic and attitude are second to none.

  23. Good post Mark, reeled in lots of good takes.
    .
    Rams might have got a lucky non-call yesterday but playing on the road in that house more than evened things out. The reason that game was played in NO was because their regular season game was played in NO.
    .
    That non-call reminded me of the non-call against Reggie Jackson’s butt interference.

  24. Sonny Gray is now a member of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation. Along with LHP Reiver Sanmartin (23 in April), Gray was traded to Cincinnati for 2B prospect Shed Long and a Competitive Balance Round A draft pick. NYY then traded Shed Long to Seattle for 22 year old OF prospect Josh Stowers (2nd round draft pick last year). Gray has also agreed to sign a three year $30.5MM extension. Cincinnati has really helped themselves this winter with Tanner Roark, Alex Wood, and Sonny Gray in the rotation, Puig in the OF, and Kemp and Farmer for the bench. Doubt that it is enough to push them past Chicago, St. Louis or Milwaukee, but they are much more competitive. I think Cincinnati is certainly relevant this year.

    1. I grew up in Ohio, near Cincinatti and my father was a Big Reds Fan , so the Reds are like my 2nd favorite team. I’m sure I will watch them more than usual this year.

  25. Verdugo has a chance to prove his is worth the wait. HOWEVER COMMA
    Why do Dodger fans always accept less from these teams GM’s???? HARPER to replace PUIG. That is why we all thought they trade Puig. Accept no alternatives.

    1. tic toc another day closer to ST with still not much happening by way of getting this team better. Kelly was nice signing but beyond that not so much. We wait, patiently………well not patiently but we still wait.

  26. So let me get this straight;

    Kiki is going to morph into one of the best hitters in the game, similar to Martinez.

    CT just needs a “tweak” to increase his BA by 50 points, and reduce his starry-eyed strikeouts which led the NL.

    RVS, the guy who has never coached will transform the Dodgers into a hitting machine. By the way, he also will change the same glaring weakness the Dodgers have had for 3+ years.

    Russel Martin is going to be the comeback player of the year at what 39? He probably won’t even start a majority of games, that will be Austin Barnes who just had a horrible year, and even if he comes back to his mean on hitting, runners will be off and racing because his percentage of throwing out runners is very poor. Maybe his arm will suddenly improve.

    Cody Bellinger is easily the best bet on a big improvement. The only problem is the Dodgers are conflicted on his real position. He will never be GREAT at either CF or 1B if he splits his time between them.

    Scott Alexander a lockdown reliever – would that be a first?

    All sounds pretty Rosie eyed. Past player performance tells me otherwise.

    1. Well, Bruce you have mis-stated, mis-interpreted or mis-understood just about everything I said. I suggest you go back and re-read what I wrote… maybe you were waitng for the movie?

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