The Biggest Improvements For The Dodgers in 2017

The National League pennant winning Dodgers were a great team in 2017. But they had to improve in several areas from the previous season in order to do that. Two major areas come to mind and it’s important to take a look back and recognize how much that helped the Dodgers advance to the World Series. Those two areas were hitting against southpaws on the offensive side and getting more innings out of the starting rotation.

The bats were much better against left handers in 2017. If you remember it was one of the Dodger’s glaring weaknesses in 2016. The Dodgers were putrid against left handers that season and it was not a secret with opposing clubs. Other teams would end up sending out a parade of lefties in the late innings to stymie the Dodger sticks. It usually worked.

It’s important to point out how much the club worked on this from spring training through the regular season. Early on during exhibition season the club focused on hitting left handers and the strategy worked very well. As a matter of fact it changed the opposition’s approach to the Dodger’s lineup. No longer could they just send out the southpaw brigade to stop the Dodger sluggers.

Embed from Getty Images

Dodgers vs. left handers

2016- .214/.291/.333 .623 OPS 37 HR 148 RBI 159 Runs scored

2017- .253/.342./.447 .789 OPS 65 HR 222 RBI 227 Runs scored

As you can see by the numbers above the difference between 2016 and 2017 is like night and day. The Dodgers were dead last in the majors in 2016 against left handed pitching. Last year they were considerably better. It’s not even close. Just compare their wRC+ from the 2016 season to the 2017 campaign. It’s pretty obvious. You gotta be able to hit left handed pitching if you want to succeed. The Dodgers were finally able to get that problem taken care of.

Dodgers wRC+ vs. lefties

2017 -109

2016 -71

The other major issue was the lack of innings from the starting rotation. I still think this was a problem last season but it was slightly better. More often than not we still saw 4-5 inning outings from the starting rotation but the Dodgers were able to squeeze a few extra innings out of the rotation and it made a big difference.

The Dodger bullpen pitched more innings than any other club in 2016. As a direct result their starting rotation averaged the least amount of innings that season as well. The Dodger starters that year tossed 862.1 innings averaging a little over 5 innings per start, and ranking 29 out of the 30 clubs. The bullpen that season led all of MLB with 590.1 innings pitched. In contrast the rotation logged 885 frames that ranked them 17, middle of the pack. The relievers notched 559.1 innings which ranked the 11 out of the 30 teams.

As I’ve said many times on this blog, the more innings you get out of your rotation, the less strain you put on your bullpen. Otherwise your relievers get tired in September and become unreliable from overuse in October. Those extra innings given by the rotation thanks to Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill ended up playing huge in the postseason.

The Dodger’s focus on these areas was laser sharp in 2017. The improvement in these two categories played a big part in the Dodger’s pennant winning season. Give credit to everyone involved from the management, coaching staff and players. What areas will the Dodgers work on for the 2018 season? I’ll give you a hint; it has to do with limiting home runs.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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140 thoughts on “The Biggest Improvements For The Dodgers in 2017

  1. They’re gonna move the fences back?

    Interesting stats. Without reading what was written my thought on biggest improvement was Alex Wood, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger. Without those guys playing out of their minds we don’t win the West by 11 games. But the stats against lefthanders is interesting. Were we worse against RHP in 2017? I haven’t looked, just wondering.

    “As I’ve said many times on this blog, the more innings you get out of your rotation, the less strain you put on your bullpen. Otherwise your relievers get tired in September and become unreliable from overuse in October.”

    Yeah, I agree with this take but it would appear it’s clearly not the model. I will look back on the years when we had Kershaw and Greinke and didn’t get it done. Now it’s Clayton Kershaw and The Who with the Silver Bullet Band Bullpen. Sounds more headliner than it looks but this who we are.

  2. Innings by starters….who woulda thunk? What in the world have we been yelling about for the last few years? Innings by starters. When Greinke was here it was where is that solid #3 guy. Now it is inning eating starters. It will be more of the same this year. No wonder they carried 13 pitchers most of the year.

  3. Astros just got better. They got Gerritt Cole from the Pirates for 4 players. Cole just signed his contract yesterday.

    1. Not only that, the Astros did not give up a top prospect (they didn’t have many to start with and truth is, they don’t need a lot of prospects). We could have easily beaten the package Astros sent over, with either Alvarez or Verdugo. The Astros are scary good, top to bottom, and their FO is on a roll. This is the equivalent of the Cubs landing Chris Archer or Sonny Gray after their WS.

      1. Everyone I do think we need a top starter, but until Cole starts pitching like a top starter, he isn’t a top starter!

        Look at his numbers last year.

        And I already talked about the HRs he gave up to Michael, and the stadium he is pitching in, is no more a hitter’s Park, then Dodger Stadium.

        I get that he is suppose to have good stuff, but he has had injury issues, in his first few years, so he has not always been reliable.

        1. His last 2 years have definitely been sub par. But he is only 27 years old, coming into his prime. He threw 203 innings last year, so I doubt his injury issues were a problem. Maybe in 2016, but not last year. Blyleven when he pitched gave up more homers every year than most any pitcher in the league, and he was still the ace. Prior to 2016 Cole was ace material. He is a pretty good pitcher and has the stuff to be a lot better. Last year was an anomaly HR wise. And by the way, of the 33 HR’s he gave up, only 10 were at home….23 on the road. So his home park was not the problem. Kershaw pitched less innings and gave up more HR’s 14, at home than Cole did. His first few years MJ? His second year in the majors he was 19-8…….

          1. He projects well – between 175-200 innings and 3.8 fWAR. That would fit nicely between Kershaw and Woodhill.

          2. Michael

            I already said Pittsburgh is not a hitters park, so it makes even more sense, that he gave up those HRs, not at home.

          3. Pittsburgh is the hardest of the parks to hit in according to some sites. So them not hitting a lot off him there makes sense. But what you said is that it is no more a hitters park than Dodger Stadium, implying that he gave up a bunch at home since he gave up 33. But he did not. Dodger Stadium which sits at # 28 out of 30 is where Kershaw gave up 14, and 9 on the road. He pitched 28 less innings than Cole. Of course Kersh is considered an ace. Cole at this point is not. But he is a solid #3 and could be with some improvement a solid #2. And at his age, you expect him to be entering his prime years. Who would you rather have at the front of your rotation……Keuchel, Verlander, Cole, or Kershaw, Hill, Maeda? Sorry, that’s a no brainer for me. Astros rotation right now a lot more deep than the Dodgers with guys like Morton and McCullers Jr and Peacock slotting behind.

      2. Cole would have automatically made the Dodger rotation better, and he is only making 7 million. Who would you rather have, Cole, who at 27 is coming into his prime, or Ryu, who is still battling back from his injury’s. I take Cole any day.

          1. Buehler is not a proven major league pitcher. And I am not knocking Ryu, I am just saying he was very erratic last year. Sometimes good sometimes horrible, and at this point in his career, Cole is a much better option than Buehler. And in no way would Buehler be blocked. Cole is on a one year contract right now. Hill has one year after next left. Ryu is in the last year of his contract and for all we know Kershaw is opting out after the year. Buehler is not going to be a starter this year. He will most likely spend the year at AAA. You are banking on a kid with no MLB track record. Sorry, I want the guy who is under 30 and has a manageable contract. In this respect FAZ is very short sighted. Cole fit the bill of the kind of starter they need perfectly. Cheaper than Cobb, could have been had for fringe prospects, and can step into the rotation IMMEDIATELY. You are very short sighted. Buehler will be little if any help this year. Bank on it…If he does anything spectacular, I will be totally surprised. I will be less surprised if his arm does not flare up again ala Urias. And he is going to be on a pitch count and innings limit. No such animal for Cole.

        1. Michael

          The last time we talked about this, I look the stadiums up, and Pittsburgh was harder to hit in, then Dodger Stadium.

          1. I said that if you read an earlier post. Dodger Stadium is like 3rd on the list. So Cole only giving up 10 there is peanuts. Kershaw giving up 14 in LA when he usually does not give up that many in a year is an anomaly also. But Cole would be pretty effective at Dodger Stadium.


    Some interesting names on the bottom of that list. Also we appear to be closer to $197mm than I thought.

    Yeah, the Champions got better. I wonder what that does to the odds.

    The number of 200 innings guys are now rare. Only 15 of them last year. Only one, Verlander, pitched in the World Series. It’s a different game. Remember the 300 inning guys? If you do, you’re old. It’s been 37 years.

    1. In moderation again. Gee, what a surprise.

      Oh, and good luck in NY Adrian. I hope you earn the $4.5mm the Dodgers are still paying you.

        1. We can’t block our young pitchers!

          I hope Agone is healthy enough to prove, he can produce, because his problem is his health, and nothing else.

          1. By the way, they are already blocked by Hill, Maeda and Ryu. Getting rid of McBrittle and Kazmir helped some. But they are still blocked. Blame that on FAZMIRE

          2. MJ…I am glad that Agon’s smiling face is in the Met’s clubhouse and not in the Dodger dugout and nothing else.

    1. Michael

      Every pitcher has to start somewhere, and you saw Buehler, in relief.

      He is a college pitcher, just like Cole.

      It doesn’t take college pitchers as long, to mature usually, but they have to give him a chance, to prove himself.

      1. Package

        I am just happy, that makes you happy!

        I just hope all of our young players, learned how to hit in tough runs, from Agone too.

      2. He will get it in time. We will always disagree on this as I personally think they rushed Urias. Buehler is coming off a major surgery. If he gets any time at all it will be out of the pen. Expecting him to step in as a starter is just not feasible.

  5. I think it’s possible Buehler and Urias can combine to make one FAZ starting pitcher – that is 25 starts and 125 innings. It is quite possible Buehler is our second best starter right now. What’s the plan for him? I haven’t heard, but I think we are going to need him to step up and make some starts. He’s 24 in June. His TJ was in the first week of August of ‘15. Roberts said last month he would be a starter in ‘18. Steamer has him 5-3 with 76 innings. Put him out there.

    1. Badger

      I agree with you about that!

      I want him to pitch in the majors as soon, as he, is ready.

      And I do think the starters need to pitch more innings, to keep our bullpen fresh, for the post season.

      I think our starters are getting plenty of rest, even from the beginning of the season.

      And I don’t think starters or anyone, needs rest at the beginning of the season, unless there is injury issues.

    2. Sorry, I see the kid as the ace at AAA. Urias is not going to even be a factor til July at least. And then he will be a BP guy. If he proves me wrong fine. But I doubt it…I give a crap less for pre season projections. Especially with unproven players.

  6. I think you guys are rating Cole too low. He is a number 2 starter.

    Happy for AGon – he will get more playing time at the Mets. The Mets are good but a lot has to go right for them to get past the wildcard. But you never know and that’s why you play the game.

  7. Urias July? Great. Fits right into my plan. They split 20-25 starts, kind of as a 6th starter. They start some, they relieve some, maybe pitch some stress free innings along the way. Pitching all the way to November is going to take a village. These guys have two of the livest arms in our organization. Well, theoretically they both do. Urias we can’t be sure of. I hope to see them both quite a bit this year.

    Gerrit Cole started 33 games last year. Led the league. He pitched 203 innings. Yeah, he’s a #2. For quite a few teams he could be a #1. He’s a #3 on Houston.

    1. And the Astros gave up next to nothing to land this guy. The top prospect the Astros gave up is a poor fielding third baseman that hit less than our FARMER in AAA!! If nothing else we could have bested the Astros offer and then trade Cole or Maeda or Hill, or (gasp!) Kershaw before his walk year. The FBZ better hope Buehler and Urias surprise in 2018. We are in a down offseason (meaning players are being undervalued). I’m beyond exasperated at how these players are being moved for lesser parts and our so called bargain hunters are staying pat.

      1. FAZ is not the kind to trade even low level prospects. Cole could have been had for a lesser package than it took to land Darvish, who was a total flameout in the Series. But I am not even sure FAZ is really trying to win, because if he was, he would upgrade the starting staff and he has no intention of doing so. Just look at the pitchers he has acquired. Not one, even Darvish can be considered an ace. Darvish should have been the Dodger number two, but he was pitching in the 3 hole.

  8. Just read an article on Dodgersway on how the FBZ is “acing” this off-season. I used to wonder whether bloggers ever read up on what other teams are doing. Now I wonder whether the “savvy” front offices pay bloggers to write obsequious articles on the same day that the competition significantly improves. Pay me $1000 and I can use misleading SABR stats to prove why the FBZ should run the entire country. (Or maybe just the Marines to piss off Badger ….)

  9. The last time a rookie pitcher helped, and I mean really contributed to a world championship was 1981 and the pitcher was Fernando. Urias will probably be back by July, but you are dreaming if you think they are just going to put him in the rotation. He is going to be a bullpen guy and I do not expect Buehler to join the team until even later than that unless there is an injury. Why? Because he is behind Stewart on the depth chart and even Stripling, who would both be given starts before Buehler. Why>? MLB experience is why. They are not going to throw that untested kid into the rotation because it makes no sense to do that or rush the kid. He will get his shot in 2019.

    1. I generally agree with you, Michael, but Francisco Rodriquez helped the Angels to their WS championship too. I think you meant rookie starters.

      1. Rookie starters

        Roberts says Buehler will be one. The kid is throwing 96-98 and tossed 90 innings last year. He’s ready for 115 innings this year.

        From fangraphs:

        “He’s not yet a finished product after coming back from Tommy John surgery. (In ‘15) Even if he does improve his command and slider, he only threw 90 innings last season so it may be a while he builds back up his strength. Maybe the Dodgers will give him 10 to 15 starts with trips back to the minors for rest or to skip starts. He is about one year away from being in top-40 discussions.”

        15 starts. This guy is much better than Stripling or Stewart. He’s ready for 100+ innings. Urias? I may be overestimating his chances in ‘18. Six weeks after the June 27th surgery he said he felt “really good”. He will pitch by August. Will he pitch for the Dodgers? He’s getting his “work in” now.

      2. I was talking about the Dodgers. No rookie pitcher has had a major impact on a Dodger championship since then, and despite all the hype about Buehler, sorry , I am not buying in. He looked over matched and out of his league in September. And I give a rats ass what Roberts says in January. End of March is when it will mean something. 115 innings Badger? Please. Bit frippen whoopee. I want 200 out of all my starters, then my bull pen will not have its arms dragging by July. I know that is not going to happen with this FO, but like I said last year when everyone was counting on Urias to be a stud in the rotation, I am not putting that kind of burden on a rookie with no track record at the MLB level.

        1. It’s possible that a starting pitcher can pitch 115 innings and get over 3 WAR. Rich Hill did exactly that in ‘16 (3.8 fWAR in 110 innings) and THAT is what FAZ is hunting. If Buehler can pitch 115 innings and get positive win numbers for his salary Roberts is going to use him. This is how staying under the cap and competing will be accomplished.

          Yeah, you want 200 inning horses. So do I. Not gonna happen amigo. We are going to again have a DL swinging gate and only 1 pitcher even approach 200 innings. It’s a contract year so I fully expect Kershaw to go Greinke on the league. Those other guys? Nope. Maybe 150 out of one, Wood as he’s young enough to do it again, but the rest of those guys are already making their August DL reservations.

  10. Sorry, I just do not believe in this FO to build a CHAMPIONSHIP team. They were second best this time and the best improved. They are rated #2 and expected to make it back to the big dance, but I am not so sure. Not the same cast as last year and some of the important pieces are gone. You need the same or better production out of Turner, Seager, Bellinger, Taylor and Puig. Forsythe needs to step up his game, Barnes needs to justify Roberts faith in making him the starting catcher. They need to decide on an every day left fielder, bench players and who precedes Jansen out of the pen. If the season opened today, Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Maeda and Ryu would be your starting 5. You actually trust that bunch to make it through a season uninjured? The next two in line are Stewart and Stripling barring some miracle trade or spring revelation. Buehler? Untested and judging from what I saw in September, definitely not ready for prime time. Urias? Coming off of almost 2/3 of a season on the DL, so definitely unreliable considering he has not thrown a pitch in a game situation in quite a while and it will be over a year since that happened by the time he is ready. Font, Baker? Probably not…..Owens? Another lefty? Doubtful. None has ever shown much at the major league level and they have shown no inclination to sign any of the free agents, and there are still some good ones out there. If they wanted to win, and were dead serious, they would sign somebody, if their names were not Zaidi and Freidman. Just not their MO gang. I for one am tired of this team getting close and not closing the deal, and from what I see they are not even as close as they were last year. If they prove me wrong, fine, but I do not see that happening.

    1. You sound like I did last year and the year before. I’m mostly nodding my head here.

      If they did nothing more we would be favored to win the West and probably be favorites to win the NL pennant. We have the best starter, the best finisher and potential All Stars at 3 or 4 positions. Every one of those guys was here when FAZ arrived. I was telling a friend the other day why it is I’m not all in on the Friedman era and I told her because of their early signings (McCrystal) the gag on the first trade deadline and a quarter billion dollars worth of Cubans that haven’t done jack yet.

      We are still pretty good. But getting below the tax cap and improving a pennant winner at the same time is a genius test I don’t expect FAZ to pass. There are better teams out there. There are some exciting moves being made by many organizations. Those NL teams chasing us, the Nats and Cubs, are still below us in the WS odds. At this point, FAZ could do more to ef it up, McCarthy/Latos/Olivera, so quiet may be a good thing.

      YF, I was a ground Marine. We were using rifles rejected by the Army and eating C-rations left over from WWII. The Marines were being run like a Tampa outfit back then. We were successful because whenever the impossible needed to be done we did it. It sure as hell wasn’t because we high tech’d the sh*t out of the NVA.

      It could be argued that the country IS being run like a FBZ corporation. I won’t be the one to make that argument because it would piss off a regular and invite some unseemly posters back in here.

      1. I agree with it all. On paper, they look pretty strong. But one injury to a major player and the whole thing goes south. And they really have no backup plan. Say CK has back issues again. Who becomes the ace then? Hill? Sorry, I do not even think Hill is a good #4 let alone the guy behind Kershaw. The best numbers last year came from Wood. Can he do it again? Who knows. I do not trust this FO to get it done. They are trying to stay under the Tax cap, and I get that. But they are not going to win with the brittle bunch.

        1. Michael

          No one here, said Buehler was going to lead the Dodgers to the world championship.

          Kershaw hasn’t been able to do that yet, even with all of his superlatives.

          That is ridiculous!

          I have been saying he needs to have a chance.

          He is probably not going to start at the major league level, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be helping the team, in the second half of the season.

          He did get his feet wet last year, so I don’t see that as a big prediction.

          1. I never said he was. But expecting him to contribute a lot to this team is ludicrous. Your take and mine will always differ. I was not being ridiculous, I was telling it the way I see it. I was not comparing him to Fernando, I was using Fernando as a reference. Fernando got his feet wet in the playoffs in 80 against the Astros. And one player alone is not going to win a championship even if his name is Kershaw. Koufax had a lot of help. Kershaw alone is not good enough to win. Even when they had Greinke they were not good enough. We all kept saying they need one more big gun and they did not go get it. This team falls way short in my mind because they do not even have 2 great pitchers. They have one, who has had injury issues two years in a row, and no rookie with less than a months experience in the major leagues is going to turn that around. Sure he needs a chance and they will see what he has in spring. But spring means nothing. I have seen lots of spring phenoms melt in the heat of a pennant race. I just think you are counting way too much on him making a major contribution. I have less faith that he will be a contributor than you do. Keep on dreaming though, because this year that is all you will have. The competition has gotten better with more moves to make. No one is sitting on their laurels, they are all reloading with GOOD players. Not some fringe pitcher who has never done squat. I have little faith that Urias will be worth spit when he comes back. You can believe in those FO guys if you want, quote WAR and FIP and all that other saber geek bull shit, but from what I see with my own eyes, this team, as good as it might look on paper has some serious holes, and everyone is counting on the main guys to do it again, which does not happen every year. 2018…new year, different results……I am like Gibbs on NCIS. I trust my gut, and my gut tells me that DC, the Cubs, the Astros and the Yankees all got a lot better. And the Dodgers stood still……good luck….they are going to need a lot of it.

  11. Michael

    You did say a world championship, and don’t tell me a good starter, can’t lead a team to a World Series championship, we have seen thay happen quite a bit, in the last five years.

    And that happened last year too, with Verlander.

    And if we did have Verlander last year, like YF said, and wanted to happen, before the fact, we would have easily won that series.

    And don’t even mention Koufax and Kershaw, in the post season, in the same breath.

    Koufax dominated almost any time he pitched, in the post season.

    And Fernando and Orel both pitched, and dominated when it was needed, in the post season too.

    Pitching is almost 80 percent of the game, and in the post season, pitching is even more, dominate.

    Because seven games is all that is played.

    We probably agree more then you think, but maybe I am a little more hopeful, then you are, at times.

    1. How many games did Verlander win in the World Series MJ? The answer is none. He helped them get there but did not have a hand in any of their victories. Koufax lost 3 World series games out of 7. So he did not dominate all the time. But he had Drysdale and Osteen to back him up. He won all of his games in 2 World Series. 63 and 65. He beat the Yankees twice and the Twins twice. He had Podres behind him along with Big D in 63. What I am saying and what I will repeat is that ONE ACE cannot do it by himself. Hershiser won 2 games in 88, but who won the others? Do you even remember? Pena won game 1 in relief. Belcher won game 4. In the 68 Series that Detroit won over the Cardinals, Mickey Lolich won 3 games, Denny McLain the Tigers ace was an afterthought. McCullers and Morton were the only Astros starters to win a game. So your analysis does not hold water. All the Dodgers needed to do to win the series was beat the Astros pen, and they failed. Starters get you into the game, but they are not always involved at the end. MLB is reporting the trade…no names except Cutch at this time. I mis spoke about the 65 series….Koufax lost a game and so did Drysdale……Osteen won game 3. Then Big D won game 4, Koufax games 5 and 7.

      1. You been reading history. You know what they say about history, if you read it you’re doomed to reread it. Or something like that.

        Verlander has a ring in his desk. Darvish left a ring in our tub. Astros win that one.

        It appears we didn’t want Cutch either. We have Kemp and Toles.

        You’re right Bluto. Hard to go back to back.

        1. Badger

          Clutch should help the Giants hit, but if he is playing in center, his defensive metrics were not that good last year.

          I don’t always believe the

          defensive metrics, but Clutch is going to have a lot of ground to defend, if he is playing center, in SF.

      2. Michael

        First you don’t value pitchers, with wins!

        And you just said a pitcher can not win a game, without help, and that just shows you that pitcher’s wins, don’t mean much!

        Everyone watched this last post season, will tell you Verlander was the bigger reason the Astros won it all.

        Post Koufax’s era in the post season, and Orel’sand Fernando’s, and then post Kershaw’s era in the post season!

        1. What I said , and quit trying to twist my words is that no starting pitcher can do it on his own. Verlander had not one thing to do with the Astros series wins. I value wins, that’s why I think Kershaw should have won the Cy Young. I value the fact that Wood won 16 games. Wins mean that the starter went deep enough in the game to win the game. I personally think that it should be 6 not 5 innings to get the win. But that’s me. The rules are what they are. For years pitchers have been evaluated on the amount of games they win in their season or their careers. 300 was the standard for the Hall for years. Only recently have pitchers with less than that been seriously considered. Koufax finished with 165. But he was the most dominant pitcher for 6 of the 12 seasons he pitched. 4 no hitters and 3 Cy Young’s and a MVP award helped. We look at the game a lot differently you and I. What you deem to be important, I do not. Your way is not better than mine, and mine is not better than yours. It is simply what we look for. You do not value pitchers and wins, I do. That is the kind of baseball I was raised on and it was a much better game back then. At least I think so. Yeah Badger, I quote history because that is what baseball bases it’s whole life on. The history of the game. It is filled with mediocre teams rising to the occasion, and borderline players doing something not usually done by them that helps their team win. You guys can sit here and tell me that Buehler is going to be a vital piece of the Dodgers season, and I am not buying it. Not from what I saw in September. Now maybe he steps up, and maybe he does not. But in my eyes, you are looking for a miraculous performance out of an untested rookie. I do not believe they will get it done until they actually do something on the field. Hell Font even looked great for one inning. You believe what you want. I will believe what I want, so arguing about what I am saying is a moot point because I do not look at the game the same way you do.

          1. Michael

            I am not debating anymore about the post season.

            Because the numbers are not debatable.

            Michael you are the only one putting all of that on Buehler, and no one else.

            I have only said, he needs his chance.

          2. Mr. Norris
            Nothing I have seen so far from Buehler would make me think that he will be some kind of valuable part of the 2018 Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course it is always possible but not probable. I don’t think anyone predicted Cody would do as well as he did last year but he did and it does not happen very often. Some consider Post Season stats as the only way to judge a player even when they post Hall of Fame numbers. Very Sad. All I can say is they will miss Kershaw when he is gone.

          3. MJ what I am saying is that I think you all are expecting too much from Buehler. Period. I myself saw nothing that made me change my mind. Typical rookie first month. The ERA and WHIP I talked about for Kersh and Sandy had nothing to do with the post season. It is a career thing. Yeah, he will get a chance and I do not think he is going to be that impressive. He has skills no doubt. But skills do not a major league pitcher make.

    1. That’s it. Thanks YF.

      I wonder what Kershaw’s WHIP and ERA would be if he was asked to complete 27 games a year?

      The giants actually look pretty not too bad. Their 4th and 5th starters are both first round picks. If they’re any good I can see the gints improving on 64 wins. I can see maybe…… 80 wins.

      1. Badger
        Kershaw’s numbers would probably be pretty close to what his career numbers are. Why would the not be. Injuries? That would be subjective. Career numbers are real.

          1. How would I know? But by the 9th inning, after throwing 125 pitches, for the 15th time before the All Star break, he’d be throwing batting practice.

            What Koufax did his last 4 years, nearly 1200 innings, over 36 WAR, obviously will never be seen again. I know it’s fun to compare the two, the awards are similar, but the numbers, when examined, are not even close.

  12. Badger
    Sandy Koufax is my all time baseball hero. I agree there will never be another Sandy. However, this is a different era. Sandy was left in the game until it was over or he was hurting so bad he had to leave or he really had lost his stuff. Kershaw stays as long as Roberts will let him stay. He could have logged many more innings but was forced to leave early with FAZ and Roberts thinking it was helping him. I disagree, I think it hurt him but I am not paid for my opinion. You and some others do not have a very high opinion of Kersh and cannot see what you are seeing is a once in a generation pitcher. In 2 years if he does not get hurt and Roberts and friends will leave him alone he will pass many of Koufax’s records some of which he has already passed. Both will have pitched in 12 seasons. Yes, they are two different pitchers but both are fabulous. Sandy’s last 4 years were awesome but Clayton will have put together really great numbers. Try using numbers that are not all sabermetrics too. WAR is not the end all of stats. You only use 4 years for your opinion but Sandy had bad years too and he wasn’t good every time out but he was my hero early in my life and Clayton is my hero towards the end of my life. I hope he remains a Dodger for his career.

    1. Package, I am with you there. I still hope, as I have in my review of Kershaw’s 2017 season, that Kershaw can learn to pitch without using so much effort all the time. Part of that is letting him pitch tired which will force him and the catcher to be less predictable. Stop trying to throw that perfect fastball or perfect slider with maximum effort. Letting him pace himself to go deeper into games will help. I think Kershaw does not give up that homer in Houston if he learns to pitch with less stuff and less effort.

      1. YF
        I hear you on your thinking but I think he does more of making a perfect pitch when he has just allowed a HR or has runners on base or is behind in the score. Sometimes though he grooves it in when the team is way ahead. I am not sure what happens to him. How does he pitch with less effort?? I do think the catcher has something to do with it. I wish AJ was still here. I think AJ gave him confidence. When you have that dopehead catching I think that does not bode well for him. The jury is still out on Barnes but he does not pitch as well to them as AJ.

    2. I think you misinterpret my meaning. I know who and what Kershaw is. By today’s standards he’s been one of the game’s greats. By yesterday’s standard, where starting pitchers started 41 games and finished half of them, todays starters just don’t match up. My opinion. If Koufax was on today’s starter schedule, 30 starts 6 IP per start, he could pitch until he was 50.

  13. Kershaw pitched 200 innings as a 22 year old. Why can’t Buehler pitch 135 as a 24 year old? His surgery was 2 1/2 years ago. The healing time for that surgery is half that. Strap ‘em up Walker, you’re in the game.

    1. Badger

      That is why I want Buehler up in the majors as soon as he can.

      Because he had that TJ surgery, so I don’t want him to waste to many innings on his arm, in AAA.

      And every young pitcher has to learn at the major league level.

      The umpires are much different to young pitchers at this level, like Urias realized.

      And Buehler is older and pitched at the college level, so he is not like Urias.

  14. Koufax could barely lift his arm when he left the game. The arthritis that was forming there made it impossible for him to straighten his arm. The doctors told him if he kept pitching he would in all probability lose the use of that arm eventually. So Sandy retired, and pissed the Dodgers off when he did because Bavasi wanted time to trade for another pitcher, but Sandy would not wait to make the announcement. Even with todays regimen’s and nutrition, I doubt todays pitchers could carry the same load Koufax did. They are just not trained or built that way, and they make a lot more money and have more invested in them than in the old days. Kershaw by todays standards is one of the best, but Badger is right, he would be worn out by July if they tried to let him do what Big D and Sandy did. Drysdale ended up retiring with w torn rotator cuff, which in those days, they could not repair surgically.

  15. According to Dodger Blue, Dodgers have had meetings with Darvish over the last week. Something afoot? Probably not, just due diligence. Granderson signs with the Jays. And here is my final word on Buehler. I am not buying the hype. Pure and simple. I am not from Missouri, but I am a show me person. Prove you can do the job and then I will believe it. His less than stellar performance in September tells me, he is not ready for prime time. Am I impressed that he blew away a couple of hitters… Does he have some nasty stuff……yes, but so do a lot of pitchers who never harness it.

    1. To supplement Michael’s point. Nosler on Dodgers Digest just posted his Dodgers prospects nos. 76-100. Johan Mieses ranks in the bottom, a mere single year after he was no. 16(!). Prospects are prospects and to be fair Logan White’s scouting approach, though not SABRtastic by any means, has had a far larger impact than the genius of the FBZ.

  16. I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I saw the “quality” of the “prospects” the Giants FO “gave up” for McCutchen. We are seriously in a down year and there is are fire sale signs aplenty. Will the “bargain hunters” go shopping this year or overpay later?

    1. I was wondering something very similar YF. A few of these guys would fit very nicely here. And, they play positions of need. Are we really that attached to our mid level prospects? Is FAZ really that confident in the current ML group? I think they believe, along with everyone else, that they can win the West again and if anything is needed later in the year they have the resources to get it done.

      Michael, the Dodgers currently list a 6 man rotation on their depth chart, with of course Buehler being #6. You know what I think about that. If you look at projections for all those after Kershaw you will see none that project over 140 innings. That is why I project Buehler to make up the slack. Roberts has already made a proclamation to that effect. As for Urias, there is a remote possibility he will never be the same. But I am holding out hope that they got to the problem early enough and it will be resolved.

      Both our top pitching prospects, both untouchable in trade talks, have needed reconstructive surgery before they’ve made it to the rotation. That is so….. FAZ.

  17. Can somebody just shoot me. The Giantd got $2.5 million in the McCutchen trade which allowed them to stay under the luxury tax threshold. We really need to do some shopping – the prices are so depressed this year.

    Giants are now projected by Steamer to take the wildcard – that will be an amazing turnaround and get their FO some award.

    1. Yeah, I’m not surprised. Like I said yesterday, the giants look pretty good. Not sure how it plays out beyond this year, but we know how dangerous they can be in the playoffs.

      The West looks like it will be more competitive. I don’t see us winning by 11 again. But, I do see us winning. Even though we don’t have thoroughbreds in the rotation, managed properly, we have winners there. Yeah, I would love to see an inning eating right hander, you know, a guy like Cole, but apparently FAZ doesn’t agree with me. I think the pen will again be very good, with Maeda going there in the playoffs. This is a 94 win West Division winner without doing anything else. A championship team? Not in my estimation. It looks to me like there are better teams in the AL. Will the Cubs and Nats catch us? In the playoffs anything can happen. Will all the players who had great years be able to do it again? Well, management is counting on it.

      1. Badger

        I rather have had Acher, but he is going to cost more.

        But I rather see Buehler learn how to pitch at the major league level, then another pitcher like McCarthy or Kazmir, thank goodness, they are history.

        Best news, only a month to go!

        1. Who knows what Archer would cost. Longoria didn’t cost that much, Cole didn’t cost that much, McCutchen didn’t cost that much. I just have a feeling FAZ intends to go with the 6 listed on the depth chart, with Stewart and Stripling stepping up when whoever of those 6 go on the DL, which I expect all of them will do eventually. I believe we had 10 different starters last year. How many this year? Well, I see 8. We will need replacements for MCarthy and Darvish – 25 starts – will 8 do that? I really doubt it. There will be some roster churning throughout the year.

          1. Badger

            I am not sure that Stewart and Stripling are higher on the depth chart as a starter, then Buehler, in the front office’s eyes.

            But I think Stewart will have a better year this year, because he had soreness in his arm, so he wasn’t even throwing in spring training last year.

            But the truth is no one knows anything for sure.

  18. I am going out on a limb this year. I know all of you have expressed opinions of the Dodgers 2018 season and no one has said that they will lose the West. I do. I think they will win between 85-90 wins but will be beat by any one of Arizona, Colorado and SF. Why? They have not improved anywhere and I do not think they will repeat the performances of several players. I.E. Bellinger, Taylor, Wood, Hill or Kershaw. I predict injury will have an impact but nothing earth shattering. That does not mean they will not lose a player or two for the season or a long time. FAZ cannot continue winning with this type of team building in my opinion and I don’t think they will continue to win what I call lucky wins. I hope I am completely missguided, wrong, crazy or whatever but that is my opinion. I see no teambuilding this year at all so far and if something materializes I reserve the right to change my opinion. Not likely.

    1. Well, I don’t find you crazy or misguided. You have opinions and you articulate them in a respectful manner. As for being wrong, everybody involved in this discussion, on both boards now, have been wrong about something.

      What you said here could indeed happen. I just expressed to MJ privately that I don’t know that the Bellinger that shows up next year is the guy who struck out fortyleven times or the guy who, as someone said, hits 50 home runs, and is Taylor really a 5 WAR player? or can Seager play a 175 game season? is Turner going to slow down, Toles? Kemp? the rotation? Right now to be honest I see at least two teams I think are better. The Yankees and the Astros. The analysts still love us. I still believe we are the best in the West, but I would not be surprised if the sweater unravels.

      You may be right, or you may be crazy. What has gone on the last four years, for me personally, for the team, the insanity that happened here (lawsuits and death threats?) has tempered my enthusiasm for all of it. I’m too old for this sh*t. If and when they finally win it, I’ll be there. In the mean time, looks like same stuff different year to me.

        1. Yup, we agree on that.

          But it was meant as a reply to Package, with whom I agree.

          Next to the insufferable moderation and the lack of voices, the reply structure of this blog is god-awful.

    2. Package

      We are not yes men or yes women, here.

      Most of us here, are healthy skeptics.

      And I think most Dodger fans are that same way, anyways.

      I never try to assume, we are going to make the post season, because I think that is tempting fate.

  19. Stuff from around:

    1. Old friend Willie Calhoun is now the TOP PROSPECT in the Ranger system. Let’s hope he does great.

    2. Interesting column in today’s NYPost about Adrian Gonzalez and how he’s not necessarily well-loved in the baseball dugout.

    3. predicts the Astros and Dodgers as the best teams for the coming season.

    4. Sickels’ blog takes a look at Dodgers sleeper prospect, Caleb Ferguson.

    5. Bryce Harper is 5 months younger than Aaron Judge.

  20. Stuff from around:

    1. Old friend Willie Calhoun is now the TOP PROSPECT in the Ranger system. Let’s hope he does great.

    2. Interesting column in today’s NYPost about Adrian Gonzalez and how he’s not necessarily well-loved in the baseball dugout.

    3. predicts the Astros and Dodgers as the best teams for the coming season.

    4. Sickels’ blog takes a look at Dodgers sleeper prospect, Caleb Ferguson.

    5. Bryce Harper is 5 months younger than Aaron Judge.

  21. All of the teams in the west have improved, save San Diego. The Dodgers have not really improved. They more or less moved some dead wood and got fringe pieces. Their best free agent is still a free agent ( Darvish) and it in all reality does not look like they are going to bring him back. Take away his World Series melt down, and he did a decent job, nothing spectacular, but decent. He did pitch well in the playoffs. So I agree with Package that the west is no slam dunk. I think 90 wins are possible, but they need everyone to have as good of seasons as they had last year to do that. And someone has to step into Morrows spot and make sure they do not miss his arm out of the pen. I think the rotation is shaky and the pen a huge question mark up to Kenley. I think 7 of the positions are pretty much set with the only real question being LF. Forsythe’s option being picked up makes him the regular 2nd baseman. They are not paying him all that money to be a utility guy.

    1. Let’s hope it’s the over when it comes to 90 wins.

      But nobody is downplaying how hard it is to repeat in division, much less for the entire NL.

      Then again, it is a really good team.

      1. We are assuming the guys who had outstanding years will do it again. It’s a logical assumption as they are all outstanding ballplayers. Everything kinda went our way last year, including the first two playoff series’. We got to a Game 7 even with Jansen AND Kershaw coughing up hairballs. Should we really expect improvement on a season like that?

        Should? Fact is, we do.

        I don’t believe Taylor is a 5 WAR player. I don’t believe Wood is an All Star pitcher. I don’t believe Bellinger is as good as he started or as bad as he finished. I believe Kershaw will be outstanding, probably go 200 innings and ride it into an extension. I don’t believe FAZ will offer it. They can buy 3 Hill’s with one Kershaw and I believe that is what they will do. Puig is a generational talent with the mind of a 12 year old. Turner is solid – for 125 games. Can Seager stay healthy? Can the Squirrel develope any footwork, not backhand balls in the dirt and NOT lead the league in passed balls? I got a lot of questions but I still see close to 94 wins and a West title. This is a very good team.

  22. Interesting observation from Ken Rosenthal on some of the Diamondback’s recent moves, their short/medium future and on their pursuit of Machado:

    But even if they could put together a group that includes Machado and moving Marte to 2B, it would not be assured of staying together long-term. Machado is eligible for free agency after this season, as are Pollock and D-Backs left-hander Patrick Corbin. Goldschmidt is eligible after 2019, Lamb after ‘20. And a different kind of clock is ticking for right-hander Zack Greinke, who is signed through ‘21 but at 34 is at the outer edge of his prime.

    But the state of the D-Backs’ biggest rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, is another incentive for Arizona to think big. The Dodgers, in trying to stay under the $197 million tax threshold, might field their weakest club this season of the next several years. Weak is a relative term for a team that won 104 games last season—11 more than the D-Backs—and advanced to Game 7 of the World Series. But if the Dodgers get under the threshold, they will re-set their luxury-tax penalty to the minimum rate, enabling them to spend more freely next off-season on the great free-agent class of 2018-19.

    1. Our latest weakest club was 2016. How soon people forget. We had no real rotation and brought back a bullpen that ranked toward the bottom of the league. We were more than 8 games out, then Kershaw went down with back problems, before the Giants collapsed after the all star break and handed us the division.

      People here, especially MJ, were not happy that Roberts was given a worse team in his rookie year than Mattingly’s entire tenure.

      Speaking of that collapse, another way of looking at it is that the Giants owned the best record in baseball as of the 2016 ASB. Now they’re coming back 18 months later with essentially the same team, plus Longoria and McCutchen.

    2. Yeah, it is interesting. I know from living here the dbacks want to go after the Dodgers. They aren’t over the pee in the pool party. I still don’t think they are good enough to beat us, but they do.

  23. Biggest news out there today is that the Giants plan to play Cutch in RF and Pence in LF. Still do not know who is playing CF for them. They are said to be looking for a solid defensive CF. Jay, and Dyson have been mentioned. They will be a little deeper than last year, but their entire success will rest on the pitching staff and hoping that the Mad Bum bounces back.

    1. Dyson is a fit for them. Centerfield is huge in SF and that guy can run down everything. He’s not the long term answer but a two year deal makes sense.

      1. I also heard Austin Jackson. Or rather their fans feel he is a good fit. Is SF better? They definitely are not younger.

        1. No, but they shored up their defense in LF and helped their lineup. CF is really their only position that needs to be addressed. They do not have the BP the Dodgers have, but I expect Melancon to bounce back and their starting rotation is pretty good.

        2. I think both Bumgarner and Cueto will be vastly improved, Fangraphs agrees, and Longoria + Cutch has to make them better. As a team they aren’t old yet, but you’re right Artie, they aren’t younger.

  24. Steve Carlton was the last NL pitcher to throw 300 innings with 304 in 1980. Jim Palmer was the last AL pitcher to do it and that was 1977. The last Dodger to do it was Andy Messersmith.

  25. WSU QB Tyler Hilinski found dead in his apartment Tuesday of a self inflicted gunshot. Suicide among our young people is really becoming a terrible problem. Returning Vets have some of the highest suicide rates in the nation. Teen suicide has also seen an increase. We need to fix this. They are the future, and we are the past. Hilinski was 21 years old.

    1. Sad news.

      There are many things that need fixing. This is just one. Suicide rates in returning combat rates have been high for a very long time. A stat I learned in PTSD therapy – 10 times the number of Vietnam veterans were lost to suicide than were killed in the war. It’s still happening. Yeah, we need to get them help – and what do we do instead? Shall we go into it here?

      1. Not really the forum for that, but I thought it was appropriate to post about the young mans death. He was after all a college athlete in a school that plays in the same league as the college team I support plays in. But it is very sad that these young people have to feel that ending their lives is the only solution. Myself, I have never felt that far down. I have battled depression a few times, but always managed to keep myself on a more or less even keel. It is a nationwide problem that needs to be addressed vigorously. What the solution may be or how we attack this problem, I really have no clue. I think counseling might help some, but for others, it probably feels like a lost cause. Very sad.

  26. I believe you meant to say what HAD WE DONE INSTEAD. Let’s not mistake the present for the past, oh 28 years.

    As long as the previous 28 years of Bush/Clinton/Obama is given the correct amount of ‘credit’ for evidently NOT DOING ANYTHING about any of it. One year of Trump has had NOTHING to do with ‘Suicide rates in returning combat rates have been high for a very long time.’ The VA hospitals have been in shambles for a very long time and just recently has serious changes been seen. Maybe if we weren’t giving all of our money to foreign countries, (i.e. the Paris Accord (joke), the United (Do Nothing) Nations and us financing 95%+ of the NATO (yeah they’re all in with us) Alliance then maybe we could take care of our own. And those examples are just a drop in the bucket of wasted money by our federal government over the past, oh 28 years.

    1. You had me until Paris, which was a a silly thing to include IMO. But one cannot downplay the awfulness and ineptitude of the bureaucracy and waste at the VA and with our homeless.

      A massive problem, seemingly insolvable.

  27. Please state everything Obama, Clinton and if you wish, Bush(s) did to help FIX all of the problems you implied exist in the world today. After all, they have been the ones leading this country for 28 of the past 29 years.

    1. I might suggest you google it Chili. The most recent legislation I believe was Obama signing the Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill in ‘15. I have no idea if it was funded properly but my guess would be – probably not. Hillary had a plan on the table, but obviously that didn’t work out. Don’t know what Bill did. All Bush did was create chaos around the subject. ALL of them are in bed with war profiteering.

      1. And I don’t think Trumps comments about Africa, is helping our guys that are serving in Africa right now, so I don’t want to hear any excuses about him either.

        We just had four soldiers have their lives taken in Africa recently.

        1. And we lost zero military personnel while Obama was President from 2008 through 2016, correct?

          Oh, wait a minute, ISIS grew and expanded into Africa during Obama’s leadership and now our next President (Trump) has to deal with it.

          Talking with you is like debating with a 7 year old that only knows what his/her parents tell them. In this case the liberal media. Go and watch more TV and see what is being ‘reported’ today. Would caution you that it is all slanted but a person will believe what they want to believe.

      2. MJ-

        I don’t care what you think. I will believe and trust who I want to believe and trust. Not who you or the media thinks I should. I’ve been in this world long enough to see what has been happening. The last 28 years has been a disaster. It’s about time we let someone try to fix it. I have noticed that not one of the ‘mouths’ has not left the country yet that said they were going to. I believe you were convinced that Trump was going to be impeached by now…..what’s your next prediction?

        The only hypocrites reside in Hollywood. Where do you live again?

          1. Obviously he will be wrong. Spring ends June 20th. Would love to make a wager with that gentleman. Unfortunately when it came time to put up or shut up he would shut up. That’s the way of a lib. They run their mouths as long as there are no ‘real’ consequences.

        1. Chili

          Why would I think Trump would be impeached by now, when the republicans hold all the power right now.

          And they care more about that party, then the country, because they are not doing a thing, to protect us from the Russians, making there mark on our election, again.

          And for some reason, Trump can’t hear a word about the Russians, but that is no surprise to anyone who really follows the truth.

          I am patiently waiting for November, and I have trust in a real patriot, Mr Mueller.

          And are you kidding me about Hollywood, what the heck do you think Trump is, just another celebrity, that played the part of a good businessman, on TV!

        2. The last 28 years have been a disaster?

          In terms of health? Technology? science? life-expectancy? equality?

          Which ways have the last three decades been a disaster?

          I can name a few (maybe not to the disaster level), but I think in general we live in the greatest country at the greatest time.

          1. We do live in the greatest country. But how many ‘great’ countries are there? Not trying to be pessimistic as there are some good countries but many of them rely on our military might. Would that qualify them as being great? I don’t think so.

            So with that out of the way my point is that the most recent generations are not exceeding their parents in wealth accumulation and/or prosperity. This is happening for the first time in America’s history. Many of the Millennial have not been able to find adequate work in their fields and some are not able to find work at all. Our percent of people on poverty has risen. Our percent of homelessness has risen. As some have touched upon already, suicide rate is up. Crime overall is way up (since 28 years ago.) Inflation adjusted wage growth is down. And these are just a few examples.

          2. I would agree (obviously) with everything you cite.

            Although, I think military might is becoming more and more irrelevant these days.

            There are definite issues with the digital revolution, especially the ability to massively increase productivity while decreasing the need for human employees.

            That said, markets always recover. It just will take time for the culture/civilization to re-orient.

      3. The difference between you and I is that I have morality and conviction. You on the other hand fit the true liberal mode and willing to throw most anyone over board if it benefits ‘them’.
        For example, within a day of the other site being up and operating you were on there chatting and communicating with the host and supporting that site. That host is the same person who served 9+ years in prison for child molestation charges and was often belligerent and incited his followers to partake in name calling when the other side simply disagreed with their views.
        Many a times those statements were aimed directly at Badger. A friend of yours. So what do they do. Take their ball and go play elsewhere. Who follows them?

        That is the difference between you and I.

        1. i love Chili claiming to be the only one driven by morality, and the self-proclaimed discerner of where hypocrites reside.

          I’d say to you Chili, that you come across as self-important and blow-hardy when you move away from discussing sports.

          1. Only one? Don’t recall making that comment. But nice try taking my words out of context. Do you have a guilty conscious?

            Am tired of her jumping in and twisting things and saying things that had nothing to do with the original statements made. If you don’t like it, tough. The cordial conversation between Badger and I had ended….and then she had to pipe in.

          2. Oh. I agree that some people here can definitely throw ill-informed, hard to understand, out-of-context arguments into civil conversations, but few of them claim the moral highground in doing so.

            No guilty conscience here, but keep fishing…..

  28. ‘Suicide rates in returning combat rates have been high for a very long time. A stat I learned in PTSD therapy – 10 times the number of Vietnam veterans were lost to suicide than were killed in the war. It’s still happening. Yeah, we need to get them help –’ Badger 1/17/18

    Yet Obama signed the Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill in 2015. Humm. Did that not accomplish what it was suppose to?

    ‘The Senate voted 99-0 to pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act on Feb. 3, while the House voted 403-0 in favor of it last month. Obama signed the bill on Thursday. ‘

    Appears to me it was supported fully. Should not have had any issues with the VA and/or suicide amongst our Veterans since then.

    So who to blame it on now or was it just lip service by our federal bureaucracy ?

    1. I don’t have an answer Chili. What I know is our wars continue, men and women are sent into theaters for multiple deployments, bills are signed, and the problem escalates. I think a good start wood be “we stop sending our young people into those Muslim countries until we find out what the hell is going on!”

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