Are the Dodgers Cursed – or Just Mediocre? A New Youtube Video

There’s no game today, so I put together a little video with my thoughts on the state of the club…

Cursed…or Mediocre?  Enjoy!

Oscar Martinez

Oscar Martinez

I was born in the shadow of Dodger Stadium and immediately drenched in Dodger Blue. Chavez Ravine is my baseball cathedral, Vin Scully was the golden voice of summer all my life, and Tommy Lasorda remains the greatest Dodgers manager ever. My favorite things are coffee, beer, and the Dodgers beating the Giants. I also blog about my baseball card hobby at All Trade Bait, All the Time.

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54 thoughts on “Are the Dodgers Cursed – or Just Mediocre? A New Youtube Video

  1. They are a little of both at this point…mediocre and cursed. They also seem like a team totally confused. To the fans they are just plain pitiful.

  2. We’ve lost a lot of starters and many that have played regularly are not playing well. Unlucky and mediocre so far.

    What do these players have in common: Locastro, Taylor, Hernandez, Farmer and Muncy? They are all utility players. Several prospects are of the same mold. Peter, Ahmed, Robinson Drew Jackson, Mora…. there’s a bunch of them. We have no more Seager, Bellinger types left that are ready to step in. There are a few great arms, Santana and White come to mind, maybe Alvarez, that could probable step up and pitch relief better than some we are throwing out there (Hudson). The FAZ love of utility is not a bad strategy, but enough already. We need more one position studs developing in our system.

    This has been a disastrous start, yet we aren’t out of it yet. We get those back that are coming back, use young pitching out of the pen, we could stay close and make a move at the deadline.

    1. Left out Valera. Our depth this year appears to be mostly utility in nature. Verdugo is outside that set. Hope he sticks. He seems better at baseball stuff than Pederson. I wonder if Toles is still in play.

  3. One of the main differences from last year is Taylor. He is off to a rocky start. He is a very good contact hitter. One of the best on the team, I believe. But he has really fallen off in the area of RISP. He is leaving too many runners on base, where last year, he was driving them in consistently. This is a big stat. With the power down, we need the clutch hitting to be higher. Taylor is striking out way too much and his walks are inordinately low. this lowers his OB% a lot. To me, he is in need of Turner Ward help. Because he is a very good contact hitter, he leads off, and moving him lower in the batting order is not going to make a difference as long as he continues the high strikeout rate and low rbi’s. For me, why aren’t the Dodgers paying attention to the players who have been productive but are having a hard time of it lately? Taylor is more than a utility player like Kike, and a better overall player than Joc. He was one of the key figures last season. Put the focus on him, Roberts. He’s a complete player if he does the necessary adjusting through smart coaching. Taylor, Seager, Turner, Bellinger, were the 4 horsemen last season. You throw them at any team when their wheels are lubed and you have a solid club.

    Of course, this doesn’t take care of our pitching woes. I don’t see any help or remedy waiting in the wings in this department. They’ve collapsed.

    1. I like Taylor. But I don’t think he’s quite the hitter you believe he is Jeff. His K% in the Majors is over 25%, suggesting to me he is another all or nothing guy. I think last year’s split .288/.354/.496 was most likely an outlier. Projections have had him at .260 or less since before the year started. He should get better as he’s slashing.238/.289/.429 now, but I just do not see him as a lead off hitter. And by definition Taylor IS a utility guy. His first four years in pro ball he was a second baseman (that’s where I projected him on this club, then they exercised the Forsythe option) SS and 3b. With the Dodgers he’s played LF, CF, and SS. You don’t get much more utilitarian than that. And that’s my point about the FAZ model so far – a roster full of utility guys and high risk high reward pitchers.

      And about that pitching, I agree with your closing statement. Where we gonna find the clean inning guys for our bullpen. I think it may be in young starters (White, Santana, Alvarez) getting their feet wet out of the bullpen. I don’t know that will work, but it can’t be worse than what we’ve seen from guys like Hudson, Font and Cingrani.

      I see the team improving when those starters that are coming back get back. Will it be enough? I don’t know. But I do know other teams in the NL have improved, they can see this a reset year in Los Angeles and they are coming for us.

      1. Badger

        We know what they see in the utility players, they probably save money, and they look better on the number’s sheet, with the platoon advantages.

        But that is a waste of space on a roster, and it is ridiculous for the Dodgers, to have to worry about money so much, to field a team of utility players.

        Especially after they raised their ticket prices thirty percent this year, and have been raising their ticket prices every year, in the last four years.

      2. If Bellinger plays the OF, does it make him a utility player? If Kemp plays all the OF positions, does it make him a utility player? My definition of a utility player is someone who doesn’t have a designated position but is plugged in to a spot on an ‘as needed basis’. Taylor has been our CFer. He did well and the only real knock on him is his SO rate which is atrocious. Comparing him to Joc, which you did not do, is illogical to me. Joc is not a starter.

        Taylor has been steadily improving in case anyone didn’t notice. Check his hitting stats. He is a hitter and he’s got some power. Leads the team in runs, 2B, 3B, HR’s, Total bases, 2nd to Cody on Hits, and leads in SO’s. Somebody has to help him out with the strike outs. If those are cut down, his RISP and OB% will increase and make the team better right away. Without Taylor, this team is in deep doo doo at this stage. He and Bellinger are carrying them, along with Kemp.

    2. Taylor struck out 146 times last year and is on a pace to totally eclipse that. So he is no contact hitter. Believe it or not, Pederson has only 1 more strikeout than walks. At this point in time he makes contact more often than Taylor does.

      1. Joc actually made better contact last year, his biggest issue was that he didn’t adjust to the defense and what the pitchers were throwing him last year, and his power was down.

        Last year was Taylor’s first year, of being an everyday player, in the majors.

        In Joc’s first year up, playing everyday in the majors, he struck out way more then that, and he didn’t hit much after the first couple months of the season.

        And Joc has had more major league at bats then Taylor.

        Joc has also not had close to the amount of at bats, that Taylor has had this year either, so that is a bad example.

        1. Looking at career comparisons the K rates are very close. 25&26 percent. Pederson walks at twice the rate. When he first came up I thought he was our leadoff hitter. He’s been something of a disappointment to me, but clearly he is finally working on his contact rate.

          I say again, this entire lineup needs to become better two strike hitters. Swinging out of your shoes at anything close, the Dodgers approach of choice, is not mine. You’ve got strike one and strike two to hit one in the parking lot. You miss those, you don’t get strike three to try it again. I’ve seen Pederson and Bellinger attempt to protect the plate a few times. That’s a start. You learn to do that as a team, the team batting average will improve, and with that will come a win or two.

          1. Badger

            Exactly, but Joc didn’t have the very good over all numbers, that Taylor had, in his first year either.

            And Taylor actually hit consistently in his first year, and Joc still hasn’t hit consistently, after three years.

            And when Joc was leading off, he wasn’t walking at such a high rate, after a while.

            And he hasn’t hit much at the top of the order, in the last two years, like Taylor did all last year, and this year.

            And it is harder to pick up walks, at the top of the order.

            But more importantly, you can’t compare what Taylor did all last year, and what he has done this year, to what Joc has done this year, because Joc has not had that many at bats, as compared to Taylor.

          2. What does Badger the great, predict that Kemp and all the squirrels will do to night, against Godley?

  4. MJ
    I do not know what Badger will predict but I know you were right about the more you play Kemp the better he gets. Although we both know he will cool at some point.

    1. Package

      It wasn’t just me, that insisted Kemp should play, in fact, you were stressing Kemp needs to play more, even before me.

      Of course Kemp can’t hit 340 all season, but he is our one bat, that has hit consistently, and because of that, he needs to be in the line up.

  5. Badger the great? Don’t know him. Badger the average says 5-4 Dodgers. Or 5-4 dbacks.

    Taylor’s first two years up were with the Mariners in ‘14 and ‘15. Only about 200 at bats total but he didn’t walk much and did strike out a lot. He’s doing the same thing here, he just more often made more solid contact last year. One of his first hits that I saw was a double down the left field line that had an exit velocity over 100 mph. I was supprised by that. He smoked that ball. Get some lift and that thing is way outta here. And eventually he did get lift. He’s a 20 home run guy if he gets the at bats. But he swings and misses too often and just doesn’t walk much. If he cuts down and his strike outs, and gets better command of the strike zone, maybe he gets on enough to remain a reasonable lead off hitter. He did it last year. So far this year? Nope.

    I doubt Kemp hits .300 this year. He will cool off.

    1. Badger

      But you know when a player is called up, and sent down, those 200 at bats, are not consistent at bats.

      I agree with you, that Taylor shouldn’t lead off.

      I just didn’t think that was a fair comparison.

      Taylor isn’t patient enough, and he strikes out to much, to lead off.

      Because a lead off hitter needs to do anything to try to get on base, a la Chase.

      Taylor has the speed you want a lead off hitter to have, but that is about it.

      I don’t think Toles is a good lead off hitter, either.

      Because he will swing early, if a pitcher throws him a good pitch, early in the count.

      I don’t think it is beneficial for most hitters, to get in deep in counts, because they will find themselves down with two strikes, more often, then not.

      And not to many hitters, hit well, after they are down with two strikes.

      And I don’t think anyone is saying Kemp will hit 300 for the year

      But he should be in the line up, while he is hitting, because this team needs all the offense, they can get.

      And Kemp adjusts his swing, when runners are on base, and this team is not good, when runners are in scoring position.

      1. Difference is that when Joc came up he was a 22 year old kid with a lot of power who stole bases. He had very little minor league seasoning. Taylor in his first full year was a banjo hitting SS who changed his entire approach to hitting. They are totally different animals and anything Joc did prior to this year is in the past. He has matured and is adjusting instead of swinging from the heels all the time. Watch Taylor, he lets loose on almost every pitch he swings at. And for the most part he is missing those pitches and missing badly. He does not change his tactics with 2 strikes, neither does Grandal or lately Cody Bellinger. That is just part of the Dodgers offensive woes. No one is giving Joc much credit for his new approach, and yet they should. He has cut hit strikeouts way down and his walk rate is good. No power as of yet, but that should come. And I don’t want to hear that crap about well, Taylor has more at bats. Taylor is considered a regular and Joc is not, but he is making the most of his opportunities.

        1. Michael

          They let Joc play everyday for three years, so Joc had three seasons, and three off seasons, to change his approach, and make adjustments.

          But he didn’t make those adjustments, in those three years.

          And once again, he showed up to spring training this year, not being able to hit, because he didn’t put any real work in, in the off season.

          They have went out of the way for Joc this year, because they gave him that 2.6 million dollar contract.

          And that is probably the same reason Roberts went out of his way, to put Joc in the line up.

          You may not want to hear how many major league at bats, Joc has had.

          But people expect more from a player that is in their fourth major league season, then other players, with less experience.

          Especially if a player, is coming off a good year, like Taylor is.

          And you are the only one here, that is comparing Taylor to Joc.

          And you can’t compare what Taylor did all last year, and this year, to what Joc has done this year, in very few at bats.

          Joc has only been doing this somewhat successfully, for two weeks.

          And that doesn’t mean to much for a player in their fourth year, to most.

          And remember Roberts went out of his way to cater to Joc, at the expense of Kemp.

          1. Were you there? You have no clue what Joc was doing. You are assuming that he did not do any work. I care less about your opinion of Joc because you are assuming once again that Roberts was doing this. You are not a part of the organization and you have zero inside information to be making those statements. I can compare them because Joc is just now reaching Taylors age of last year. He is one of those players who has seemed to mature late. All ballplayers are different. Some like Seager, get it right away, others do not. Sure Joc has more MLB time than Taylor does. His level of talent was deemed higher and he got the chances. But baseball is a game of adjustments and sometimes players, like Puig and Joc resist that because of the level of success that they once had. But unless you were there do not assume you know anything about any players off season regimen because you have no clue what they do nor do you have inside information on why Roberts or any other manager plays the player he does.

      2. The goal is to get ahead in the count. This makes strikes more likely. That is why pitchers will tell you the most important pitch in any at bat is strike one. Most great hitters straighten out fastballs. If strike one is a fastball you just have to be ready to hammer it. If you don’t, you are now behind in the count and the pitches you see next will be spinners flirting with the outer markers of the strike zone, where batting averages hover around the Mendoza line. That’s why I find myself cursing my device so often with this group. How can you NOT be ready for fastballs down the middle? Guessing curve is a fools errand as far as I’m concerned. Look fastball, adjust to curve. Many at bats I’ve seen this year look to me like hitters have no clue. They look at strike one, or miss it completely, then swing at something out of the strike zone. Wasted at bats. Never give an at bat away. NEVER.

        1. You hit the nail on the head amigo. That’s one reason I was so frustrated with Austin Barnes last AB on Sunday. He got 3 pitches right down frippen Broadway and did not swing at any of them. Nor did he even attempt to protect the plate with 2 strikes. I cannot tell you how many times that has happened with these guys this year, but it is happening way too often. One reason their RISP is so pathetic. Another point about Taylor. He debuted with the Dodgers as a 25 year old with little success, last year at 26 he found some. Maturity in a player should never be assumed. Some take a lot longer than others. Most forget that Maury Wills was almost 29 before he made it to the majors.

        2. Exactly Badger!

          Sometimes the first two pitches a hitter will get, will be the two best pitches, a hitter may get.

        3. Micheal

          Joc talked about it in the LA Times, that hr thought he was already good enough, so he didn’t have to put the work in.

          And it was very apparent at spring training!

          1. That should say, he thought he was already good enough, so he didn’t have to put the work in.

            Joc has not ever had close to the success, that Puig has had!

        4. Michael

          You can’t compare Tayor’s 147 at bats this year, and all of his at bats last year, to what Joc has done in 70 at bats this year, and that is exactly what you did!

          1. So What? You do the same thing all the damn time. Taylor is striking out at a higher rate than Pederson, and you were not there….So Joc said something in the times, you believe everything you read. The kid has matured a lot. Right now the whole team sucks, and your opinion is yours and I care less what you think or say because you are about as wishy washy as anyone I have ever seen…

          2. Actually MJ in some ways you can…..Taylor has 13 RBI’s in those at bats. Joc has 13 RBI’s in just 72 at bats, more walks and the same amount of stolen bases and he is hitting 40 points higher than Taylor who for the entire month of April was lousy.

  6. The stupidest thing I think that comes out of the saber geeks mouths is that pitchers are not a way of judging pitchers. To me that is asinine. They still count wins, so if pitchers wins mean nothing why count wins at all? If the pitcher keeps the opposition to less runs are you going to change that to a hold??? Moronic. Changing the way a pitcher is judged just because a bunch of geeks think they know best is just plain stupid.

    1. Of course most here believe that Michael. But there are some things about pitchers wins that do need to change. A starter has to go 5 to get a W but a reliever can get one with one pitch. That’s ridiculous. Blown saves are as bad as losses. Are they measured that way?

      It’s odd that metrics uses wins in valuing everything about a player while at the same time telling us actual wins by a pitcher don’t mean that much. Minimizing wins feels antithetical.

      This system, and all its peripherals, will change everything about baseball stats. We may not see 3,000 hits again, though Cabrera has an 80% shot at it, we won’t see 300 wins again, getting close to .400 just won’t happen, nor will we see 300 strike outs or 100 steals.

      1. Badger, I know the game and how it is evaluated and judged has changed a lot. But it does not mean it is better. The players are more athletic, they measure success as a hitter with exit velocity and launch angle. Strikeouts are tolerated. From what I have seen and watched they do not protect the plate with 2 strikes. Pitchers are considered by some to be good if they give you 6 good innings and turn it over to the bullpens. ERA is not supposed to be a good judge of relief pitchers. To me it is all BS gobbledygook. I am and always will be old school. I also know we won’t see very many complete games by pitchers unless they go all the way with a no hitter or perfect game. But trust me, I would rather watch Babe Ruth strike out than Grandal. Babe was spectacular when he missed and he did it a bunch, but he was also a .340 lifetime hitter. I miss guys like Musial and Mays. Rod Carew, guys who knew how to hit. Check the batting champions the last 10 years. 5 Rockies have won. None of them what you would consider great power hitters. Sprinkle in JD Lamahieu, Dee Gordon, Michael Cuddyer, Buster Posey and Jose Reyes. Miguel Cabrera and Jose Altuve have won the last 7 AL titles between them. Before that Mauer won twice and Josh Hamilton, remember him? The other and he is a natural power hitter. It is a different game, there are different ways of evaluating players. And I for one am not down with the program. No one will ever chase .400 again, no 300 win pitchers and certainly no one with 100 bags. I thought Hamilton might approach that, but he can’t hit well enough.

    2. Michael

      Taylor has been hitting in the lead off position, not a place in the line up, that gets many rbi chances.

      And walks are not easy to get at the lead off position, like walks are, farther back in the line up.

      And Taylor has hit five HRs!

      Joc has had half the at bats, then
      Taylor has had, and what would Joc be hitting with double the amount of at bats, and hitting everyday at the top of the line up?

      Those walks sure wouldn’t come that easy.

      And Kemp and Verdugo are Joc ‘s competition, not Taylor.

      1. whoopdeefrippen doo…you always make excuses for someone. I care less where he is hitting in the lineup he totally sucks and if Seager was still playing he would be the everyday CF. So what if he has 5 homers. Most of them are solo shots and he is striking out at a torrid pace….

  7. Think I would like to see Utley a little higher in the lineup and Kemp at #3. Also, Verdugo is way to high.
    Taylor SS
    Verdugo LF
    Grandal C
    Bellinger 1B
    Kemp RF
    Pederson CF
    Muncey 3B
    Utley 2B
    Hill P

    1. RH starter. Kemp in the 5 hole is the right move.

      Utley last 14 days – .192/.286/.355. Bat that dead last with Grandal, 167/.279/.333, 0 for his last 14, after him.

      Verdugo gets on at least twice tonight.

  8. I see the numbers 2, 4 and 5 associated with Matt Kemp tonight.

    I also see the numbers 7 and 8. Not for Kemp. Random.

  9. Stewart optioned, Hill activated…missed that one by a mile……sorry Baez haters he is still here….

  10. Mets trade Harvey to the Reds for catcher Devin Mesoraco and cash. Frazier to DL to make room. And guess who he is joining just in time to face the Dodgers…….

  11. One of my all time favorite moments was when Charlie Steiner was calling a game and Chung Lin Hu walked and was on first and Charlie said, I have been waiting 45 years to say this……Hu is on first…….

  12. Just so you know….Bryce Harper has 12 Homers, but he is only hitting .237…you sure you want to spend 400 million plus on that guy? Oh and the Yankees HR leader? Not Judge, Sanchez or Stanton……Didi Gregorius with 10.

  13. How can a guy with zero errors who is perfect 33 for 33 in total chances and put outs have a negative dWar? Worthless stats in my book…..

    1. He runs like he is stuck in the mud and has a noodle arm.

      Harvey is going to want to look good right away. You know, he might could make a good closer. He needs to get back to 97 or develop something that spins off of 93. Like a cutter. I know he wants to remain a starter, but, new opportunity. Out of New York. Try something else. He sure isn’t paid much, free agent next year.

      1. Actually Kemp has increased his speed from last year more than any other player in the majors…..and his arm has looked pretty damn good even in RF.

  14. Well Kemp is 2-2 so far this evening and up to a .357 avg. Pretty good for someone the Dodger brass hates. I was never a Kemp fan the first time he was here but he has really tried to be a team guy and has risen to the occasion so far. Good for him. Maybe some of the deadheads will get it going soon?

    1. MJ
      How about Matty? A double this time. He is hitting well and I hope he keeps it up but he can’t do it by himself. He could have used a bit of help from Joc but I am used to him doing nothing.

      1. He has as many ribbies as Taylor in less at bats and is hitting close to 40 points higher….everyone has a bad game now and then. It is not all on Joc. He crushed a ball to right that was caught. And he has at least made contact all night…not so Taylor who has struck out 2 more times giving him 40 for the year.

  15. Hey Bluto, You still love watching Rich, ding dong that ones gone Hill pitch? What a total waste of money that guy is.

  16. 10 more strikeouts tonight and MJ’s hero goes 0-4 with a walk and a run striking out 2 more times and now he has 40. Verdugo 1-6 Top of the order once again not doing it’s job.

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