Of Course It’s Miguel Rojas

Clayton Kershaw

The Dodger’s early season suckfest forges on with seemingly no end in sight. So far the Dodgers have been mired in April mediocrity and none of us know when or if they will pull themselves out of it. It’s safe to say that the Dodgers have sucked at many different facets of the game on both sides of the ball. The bats have been pathetic, the pitching mediocre and the defense shoddy. The base running is mostly non-existent and third base has been an abyss since Justin Turner went down with the fractured wrist in spring training.

Simply put things aren’t going well for the Dodgers who are 11-12 after their first 23 games of the 2018 season. We figured there would be some regression after the Dodgers won 104 games last year, but I don’t think anybody including yours truly could have predicted that they would be this bad. Please note that the club started off slowly last year too and still finished with 104 wins. But when you can’t hit Miami Marlins pitching, than you know that you’re pretty abysmal.

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What’s even more annoying has been the slow start from Clayton Kershaw. The Dodger’s ace has had a bit of a rough start to the year. The Dodgers don’t score any runs for him and his velocity has dipped. Some people believe that at age 30 he’s starting his decline. I’m not sure, but Kershaw came into Wednesday’s start against the Fish with 35 strikeouts and just 3 walks in 33 innings. During his five starts before Wednesday’s 8-6 loss he had allowed five home runs. Kershaw tied his career high with six walks against the Fish on Wednesday. However the Dodgers have scored just four runs in his six starts. No wonder he’s lost four out of five decisions.

Do you remember Miguel Rojas? He was the all glove no bat infielder that saved Kershaw’s no-hitter in 2014 against Colorado. Rojas was playing third base that night and made a great backhanded stop on a sharp ground ball down the line. His long throw across the diamond was just in time to record the out. Kershaw ended up earning the no-hitter, his first and only of his illustrious career.

It’s important to note that Rojas is a horrible hitter. He batted .181 in 2014 with the Dodgers and has posted OPS+ marks of 94 in 2015, 69 in 2016, and 101 in 2017. He’s a career .254 hitter with a .643 OPS and six career major league home runs in 935 plate appearances. Yet despite his career futility with the bat, he was still able to knock this three-run home run against Kershaw in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s series finale loss to the fish.

Rojas goes from saving Kershaw, to sinking him deeper into losing. Things have certainly changed haven’t they? The Dodgers continue to flounder and Clayton Kershaw is serving up home runs to Miguel Rojas. Welcome to the 2018 season, the year of suck.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

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

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48 thoughts on “Of Course It’s Miguel Rojas

  1. Not a thing in there that I do not agree with. The inconsistency of this team is maddening. I do feel they will get much better when Justin returns, but even he is not going to help this mediocre pitching staff.

  2. A couple of tidbits. McCrappie’s son trying to partner with the MTA and build an aerial tram from Union Station to Dodger Stadium……hmm, make money for McCourt? I don’t think so……Remember this name. Rylan Bannon……kid has 6 homers is 18 games for the Quakes…….Down on the farm….OKC hitting leaders…..Toles, .462, still on DL, Brockmeyer, .412, Valera, .395, Solano, .368, Locastro, .345, Ramos, .323 with 3 HR’s and 18 ribbies. Verdugo, .294 with 4 HR’s and 15 ribbies. Banuelos the only starter with more than 1 win and a ERA below 2. Raley is the top hitter at AA although Diaz is hitting over .400 in limited action. Garlick leads the team in HR’s with 5. None of the starting pitchers have more than a win. Two relievers have 2 wins. And finally at Rancho, Connor Wong and Christian Santana lead the hit parade with averages of .357 and .320. Wong leads the team in HR’s with 8 and has 17 ribbies. Santana and Bannon tied for 2nd with 16 apiece. Starting pitching there not impressive at all. They are a combined 1-9.

  3. Well Matt Kemp does not have enough PAs to qualify for a place on the sortable stats of MLB players. That is a real slap in the face of Kemp by Roberts. He deserved to have more abs than he has and he cannot even be tracked by a fan such as myself. You can go to Dodger stats and get it but not MLB.

    1. Package

      I looked at the PA between Kemp and Joc, and Kemp only has 16 more PA then Joc, and as we know, Kemp is hitting 300 plus, and is tied for the lead in HRs on this team.

      And Roberts is saying, he wants to give Joc even more at bats, and starts.

      1. And Package, anytime Roberts is talking about giving Joc more starts and at bats, it is usually at the expense of Kemp.

        This is ridiculous to cater to this guy, that can’t bother to work on his hitting, in the off season.

        It is hurting the team!

  4. Hopefully as the weather warms up so will the bats. Puig and Taylor are really struggling, with Seager just ahead of them. With those three and Turner out, that is four huge weapons missing. No wonder we are still floating around 500.

  5. I am carrying this forward from the other thread.

    I do not think it is early to say this group are not championship contenders. They are not, and they need more than Turner. That was my point from weeks ago and I think it’s been proven since that we have way more problems than one (big) hole in the lineup and we are dropping very winnable games due to errors and poor decisions on and off the field, especially when the pressure is on. These are signs of a poor team, not a team that is waiting to “flip the switch”.

    Ok so it is April heading into May. Instead of waiting to flip the switch, which I maintain is a mistake with this team this year, I would start treating this team like what it is, a mediocre wannabe. There needs to be improvement on and off the field.

    Both Alexander and Baez should be sent down or used very judiciously. Hudson the new guy looks so so and iffy – why not Venditte?

    The sensible thing to do in April/May is to send Joc and Alexander down so they can play more consistently and get into a real rhythm. Call up Locastro and Venditte now and triage the back up CF position with Bellinger and Kiké, and shuttle Locastro and Jake Peter from time to time until Toles is rehabbed, then go with Toles.

    1. Peter is not doing all that well down there. The other 3 infielders I mentioned are though, Valera, Solano and Locastro. Peter is hitting only .250 down there. Valera hit his first homer tonight.

  6. What to do about Puig? Since his rookie explosion, he has never been the same player at the plate. He nose dived for the next few years and finally was sent down to the minors. What exactly transpired there is a mystery to me. When they did get him back, I guess it was last season, my memory fails me, it looked like he had turned a corner and began hitting more consistently and crediting Turner Ward with his turnaround. It looked like he was seeing the ball better, being patient, and getting good contact. His HR’s also increased. The guy has power but you can’t call him a power hitter. So, why has he regressed? Turner Ward is still standing right next to him. He has been green lighted to play almost every game and he has turned up AWOL once again. His fielding has not suffered through any of this and his base running has mildly improved from his previous poor judgement calls. What do you all think his problem is? Is he just overrated? Psychologically damaged by Fidel? Doesn’t care? I can’t figure him out. Any insights here?

    1. I think part of his rookie explosion was pitchers testing him, showing him their average stuff first. That’s why his #s were a little inflated. I thought last year was his best overall year and frankly he was the best RF in the NL, for whatever that is worth.

      I do think it’s just a lethargic start. And eventually Puig along with Seager and Taylor will begin to hit and win games in bunches.

    2. That’s an excellent question Jeff. I’ll offer my opinion but it’s only an opinion.

      Puig is 27 in his 6th year. This is the middle of his prime and he projects to be a better than average ML player – perhaps as high as 2.5 WAR, more likely 2.0 WAR. His defense is good. He has all 5 tools, though he doesn’t appear to use them all on the same day that often. His LD% of 16.6 could be higher and his O-swing % of 31.7 could be lower. Much lower. His K rate isn’t as high as the other squirrels in the nest but if this guy is to ever reach his potential he just has to be show better plate discipline.

      I have a suggestion Jeff. Go to Fangraphs and check his stats under the “Advanced” section. There is a ton of information there that could keep you reading all day. Some are kinda weighty and I have my favorites, like plate discipline, pitch info plate discipline, batted ball info (soft, medium, hard %’s) etc. You read that page for about 20 minutes and you will see what pitches he punishes and what pitches get him out.

      It’s my opinion that Puig still swings at pitches out of the strike zone WAY too often (this year 29.3%) and makes contact with those pitches way too often (60.7% this year). It’s a proven fact that when you make contact with a ball outside the strike you will be damn lucky to hit .200. Ted Williams book speaks to this.

      Puig’s problem, in my opinion, begins and ends with discipline. And that is in every phase of his game. He’s painfully immature. He has shown signs of snapping out of it. Last year he was vastly improved. He still has a a way to go.

      You may not agree but I think he has a similar tool set to Mike Trout. The big difference between the two is one of self control. Mike Trout plays all out but under full control. Mike Trout punishes strikes. Puig punishes his batting average by swinging at balls. The day Puig starts showing the plate discipline needed to hit his potential, you just might see some Trout like at bats. Until then? Go fish.

      1. I also feel that Puig lacks discipline. When you are a young player and have talent but no discipline, then given huge amounts of money to play in the big leagues, don’t you think that this lessens the chance to develop that discipline? Where is the hunger? They gave him his cake already. I’m not sure there is any real motivation for him to develop that discipline at this point.

        Another question is can a player who is as undisciplined as Puig develop the discipline to see the pitches? Are there any examples of undisciplined players who have turned their game around as extensively as Puig needs to turn his game around?

        1. I think you are asking the right questions Jeff.

          Puig has been instructed properly on what it is he needs to do to realize his potential. He isn’t new to the process, he’s had 6 years and over 2400 PAs to learn and understand the process. Now he needs to trust that process. Workthe count whenever possible. Recognize the pitch, swing properly and it hard wherever it’s pitched. Most importantly – don’t swing at balls out of the strike zone. He was better last year, but part of maturity is learning how to deal with failure. Everyone has slumps, and character is revealed when those slumps happen. It feels like we are less concerned about Seager and Bellinger hitting .200 than we are about Puig doing so. What’s the reason for that? I think it’s because of our lack of confidence in Puig’s maturity.

          All that said, I still think he will hit .275, OPS .800 and put up 2 WAR. He may never reach his full potential, or, sadly, he may already have.

  7. The difference with Puig right now, is that he is not sitting down next to Turner Ward during games, because Joc is sitting next to Ward.

    And I think Puig needs Turner more, right now.

    I would have Puig do that, and hit eighth, so he will have to wait for his pitch, or take the walk, like he did very well last year.

    1. Toles took Batting practice yesterday, and he is feeling fine, but they are keeping him out for another ten days, because the team wants to be cautious, with Toles.

    2. And because of Puig’s lack of maturity, he needs to be sitting next to Turner Ward right now, so he can guide him and calm him down, when he gets frustrated.

      1. You may be right MJ.

        But one might ask, why does a man of 27, with 6 years in the big leagues, need a baby sitter?

        1. Badger

          You have been saying to get Puig a mentor from the very beginning.

          And it is only a plus, that Puig’s mentor, is also, our hitting coach.

          And shouldn’t Puig do what helped him hit last year, with the way, he has been struggling, up at the plate lately?

          Michael has said he has saw Puig sitting next to Turner Ward, but every time I see Turner Ward on TV, it is Joc sitting next to him, not Puig.

  8. I do not know what channel you guys are watching, but I see Puig over there talking to Ward a lot. Especially after bad at bats. As far as being over there all the time, the coach has to talk to other players too so catering just to Puig is not going to happen. He has hit the ball hard at times, then sometimes slips back to bad habits. His lack of power so far is puzzling. His balls seem to be dying at the warning track, and he did have one taken away by Thompson. Ward has a lot of work to do with guys like Taylor and Joc also. And Muncy could use some tutoring. Today, Friday, on yardbarker.com there is an article about why Dave Roberts thinks Joc is vital to this offense. Now if you can figure out his reasoning, please explain it to me.

    1. Michael

      Puig is not sitting next to Turner Ward, throughout the game, like he did last year.

      And Puig is much more important to this team, then Joc.

      There was also an article about Joc in the LA Times yesterday, talking about how Joc was thinking he was already good enough, so he wasn’t putting the work in, to get better..

      And there was also a good article in the LA Times today, by Houston Mitchell, talking about the problems with the team.

      1. First off, I do not read the LA Times. I do not get it here. Second, Puig talks to Ward all the time, he has no need to sit with him the entire game. As far as Joc’s work ethic, that’s the hitting coaches and the managers problem. We all know what the teams problem is. We see it almost every game. The core players have been very inconsistent, Roberts juggling the lineup all the time, and a bullpen that has not really been all that great. And MJ, quit talking to me like I have no clue what is going on. I watch every damn game in real time and I can go back and watch certain plays again and again because I have MLB.com TV. I see Yasiel over there talking to Ward almost every game he is in the lineup. When he is not, he is usually sitting next to his buddy, Ryu. I have also seen him talking to veterans like Turner and Kemp and even Utley. So he has probably gotten a lot of information from those guys. As you are so fond of pointing out, he is a 6 year veteran himself. So he really does not need a baby sitter….he just needs reinforcement and encouragement, and then he needs to apply those principals in games.

        1. Michael

          You are the one, that tried tell me, that Puig was sitting next to Turner Ward, not me!

          Everyone has seen Puig talking to Ward, but you said he was still sitting next to Ward, and that is just not true.

          I don’t get the LA Times either, and that was not directed to just you, that was for everyone, just like your other suggestion was!

          1. Not all the time, but he has sat next to him during games, I know I saw him. I care less what you say or think……..I watch the games every day. By the way, learn to spell, your bad grammar and double spacing is getting old.

  9. Kudos to Sam Darnold on being selected 3rd in the NFL draft…..can’t say Sam will make the Jets better……but he can’t make them any worse. Was slightly amused at the reaction of Rosen the UCLA QB who was selected 10th by the Cardinals and was pissed…….I do not see why, he is going to a better team than Darnold or Mayfield who went 1st to the woeful Browns. Rams had no 1st round pick, they traded that to the Patriots. Prayers for a speedy recovery to Danny Farquhar who suffered an aneurism in the dugout the other day and is in ICU in the hospital.

    1. Michael

      I don’t care what you think.

      And I don’t have bad grammar.

      I don’t have to pretend that I am perfect like you do, to try to gain power, because I am not desperate for power, like you seem to be.

      Everyone on here, makes mistakes, including you, and because of that, you should keep your criticism to yourself.

  10. One last comment on Yasiel. According to more than one source. Puig is out early almost every day during the home stand’s working with Ward. It has also been mentioned quite a few times by Joe, Orel, and Nomar. The guy knows he is not doing as well as he would like and is trying to fix what is wrong. The tools are there. It will come. If it does not, he will most likely be somewhere else next year

    1. I’ve seen him hit several balls hard. But honestly not enough of them. Visit the stat site and look for yourself. 29% of batted balls hard, 44.6% medium. LD% is 20. O-swing% (pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone) is 28.8. Those numbers all need to improve. It begins with plate discipline. He knows this.

      1. He was doing better at that at the beginning of the year and seems to have regressed a bit since then. But I really believe he will eventually hit. Joc, not so much.

        1. I feel for Puig, because I know he has been working hard, even before the season started, last year.

          Badger is right about Puig’s plate discipline.

          I think his at bats started to get bad, only because, he is so frustrated.

        2. Michael – Puig has a thousand more plate appearances than Joc. Puig is a .278 career hitter, Joc .221 with a lower OPS. If one has to go it’s obvious to me who that one is.

          That said, for the right return I’d trade either one, or both of them

          1. I know that, but Puig is in the last year of his contract. Joc is not close to that. So if they decide to not resign Puig, which is possible, Who knows who will be in RF next year.

          2. I do.

            Verdugo.

            Kemp and Toles share at bats in left. Don’t want to say platoon. Sharing sounds more reverential.

    1. Badger

      And as you know, Verdugo is hitting with more power this year.

      Verdugo has already almost hit as many HRs this year, that he hit all last year, for the entire season.

      And he has the right arm, to play right field.

      I think Verdugo has the best bat to ball skills, of any of our prospects.

  11. After reading Roberts comments in the article on Dodger Blue, it took me back to my post 3 weeks ago…….

    Chili
    April 9, 2018 at 9:59 am

    ‘Forsythe has had 2 ‘so-so’ years in his career. 2 out of seven…soon to be 2 out of 8. The FAZomaniacs overlook reality. I had predicted nothing from him last year and expect more the same this year.

    Why is Joc still on the team and getting opportunity after opportunity? He partakes in the fantasy football league with the bosses.

    Didn’t I mention a conflict of interest? No ‘professional’ GM and/or President would be in a FFL with their players. That is so wrong in so many ways.

    Kemp is ONLY here because it was the ONLY way FAZ was going to get under the salary cap this year. It killed them to have to bring him back but their bad signings of Kazmir and McCarthy forced their hand.

    I’m not sure they want Kemp to be productive…..(don’t tell me about the lip service from mgmt)…because that would show their original decision to trade him to be another bad move. They would prefer that he under performs or gets injured. What better way to control his performance than to play him sparingly.’

    So what has happened since 4/9/17……They use Kemp as sparingly as possible. Rather than compare his 4 HR’s to Joc’s 1…..how about thinking that if Kemp had 3/4 of Joc’s AB’s that he would probably have 7 or 8 homers and 20 Ribbies by now.

    1. Yep.

      We KNOW Joc is in the FFL so there is no denying that. And it is very possible that Kiki is as well.
      And I’ll bet you ‘your car’ that Kemp is not.
      Since you seem to be close with the FO maybe you could ask them if they need another player in their FFL then report back who is in the league.

  12. The Dodgers taking Kemp out in the 4th inning sounds like a bunch of Hooey. This is just the way they operate. They tried to say Bellinger was hurt last year when he wasn’t and now they will have a way to play Joc every night with Kemp out having quad tightness. He will probably be on the DL soon. You know, it is hard to continue to listen to all the lies and excuses management makes. Joc should not even be on the team. This is really discouraging.

    1. Joc has actually looked a lot better recently. He seems to be seeing the ball better and is able to get on base through walks, too. Tonight’s game vs Giants is another example. I don’t think he is a base stealer. Very stupid play, IMO.

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