Positional Preview 2018- Second Base

Logan Forsythe hits his sixth home run of the season

Back in November the Dodgers exercised Logan Forsythe’s 8.5 million dollar club option. He can become a free agent after the 2018 season, and it is fair to wonder if this is his last in Dodger blue. The club acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays in a deal that sent top pitching prospect Jose De Leon to Tampa in exchange for Forsythe. The 31-year old keystone veteran had a mostly atrocious opening campaign with the bat in 2017, but made up for that with a productive postseason.

The Dodgers are preparing to open the 2018 season with Forsythe as their starting second baseman. Last season Forsythe appeared in 119 games and slashed ./224/.351/.327 in 439 plate appearances. The steady veteran’s batting and power numbers were so low that we often questioned why the Dodgers continued to play him. Of course an early season foot injury seemed to hamper him, and maybe he never recovered. Forsythe hit just 6 home runs and drove in only 36 runs. That gave him one of the lowest isolated power marks (.102) contributing to posting a below average OPS+ of 90.

This made us all raise an eyebrow. If you look deeply you’ll see Forsythe’s pitiful power and batting skills were eerily similar to the numbers he put up in San Diego earlier in his career. Actually if we take a look we notice….

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2011 – .213/.281/.287 –OPS+ 62

2012 – .273/.343/.390 –OPS+ 107

2013 – .214/.281/.332 –OPS+77

2014 – .223/.287/.329 –OPS+77

2017 – .224/.351/.327 –OPS+ 82

While Forsythe regressed with the bat, there was one thing he did well and that was getting on base and seeing a lot of pitches. Forsythe walked 69 times and struck out just 109 times last season. His BB% was 15.7% which was the highest of his career. He also saw the most pitches of any other second baseman in the league.

Reverse Splits

Unfortunately Forsythe had a massive reverse split during the 2017 season. He hit only .190 against right handed pitching but crushed lefties with .290/.418/.452 line in 153 plate appearances. You would think that made him a great platoon candidate, and the Dodgers mostly obliged by playing Chase Utley at second base against right handers in some games down the stretch.

The strange thing about Forsythe’s season was that April was his best month. He batted .295/.407/.341 (13 or 44) in April and then plummeted to .160 in May. He was awful down the stretch as September was one of his worst months. Forsythe batted just .197 (14 for 71) in the final month with a .640 OPS. He hit just .244 with runners in scoring position.

On the defensive side, Forsythe was steady as a rock posting plus metrics at second base and third. He spent most of his time at second base (80 games), but also saw considerable amounts of playing time (42 games) at third. Forsythe posted a +1 runs above average rating at second base while saving 5 runs. He posted a +5 defensive rating at third base while registering 4 defensive runs saved there as well. Forsythe generally makes all the routine plays, committing only 3 errors apiece at second and third. He also notched 3 games in left field, 2 at shortstop, and one at first base.

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Postseason

Forsythe was very productive in the postseason. He stuck to his brand of game. He didn’t hit any home runs, but batted well, got on-base and scored a lot of runs. He saw a lot of pitches and played good defense. His plat discipline was excellent as he slashed .297/.435/.351 with 9 walks and 7 strikeouts in 46 postseason plate appearances. Forsythe batted .444 (4 for 9) with 4 runs scored in the NLDS against Arizona. He then went on to hit .278 (5 for 18) with 3 runs scored, 4 walks, and 3 RBIs in 22 trips to the plate in the World Series.

There aren’t many alternatives at second base for the Dodgers. Enrique Hernandez can spell Forsythe on occasion, Chris Taylor can play there as well, but he should be manning center field on most days. Chase Utley is a free agent and probably not coming back. Maybe Rob Segedin or Austin Barnes can fill some games as well? Otherwise Forsythe is it at second base. That’s not a bad thing either as he does a lot of things well. Excellent plate discipline, a steady glove and good on-base skills are there. The Dodgers are hoping for a return to his Tampa Bay form in which he blasted 17 and 20 home runs respectively. If he can’t then the Dodgers may have to start looking outside the organization for a replacement.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

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

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70 thoughts on “Positional Preview 2018- Second Base

  1. With so many options at second base, I think we are pretty much set a second base. We need Forsythe to spell Turner at third too. So it is basically four guys sharing time at second base and third: Forsythe, Turner, Kike and Barnes. We need to give Barnes as many at bats as possible.

    That said, I have all but given up on the hope of the FBZ moving Grandal at this point. The only way to salvage his value is to play him and hope he goes on a long hot streak in the playoffs. Barnes playing more at second also allows Grandal to retain some value so we can trade him at the deadline (please FBZ just do this).

    I do not think Segedin will do much for us, but you never know. He may show up to spring training on a mission and hit his way onto the roster. If Segedin steps up, he enables us to trade Kike. Depending on who is the starting left fielder, a bench combination of I think Toles/Pederson, Segedin, Barnes and Farmer makes us better than Toles/Pederson, Kike, Barnes and Farmer. Toles/Pederson are better hitters than Kike, and Segedin can back up third, which Kike cannot. I recall Farmer plays first and second, as well as catcher (and he was a shortstop in college).

  2. I find Forsythe a bottom of our order uninspiring presence. He projects as a plus defender .240-.250 hitter with 97 wRC+, low .700’s OPS, 1.3 WAR and the last pick in your fantasy draft. He will earn his salary, so, that’s a plus I suppose. Can’t have potential All Stars at every position.

    I have no opinion on Toles. The sample is too small, and coming off injury who really knows. I do expect improvement from Joc, but I still offer him up in a Miami deal. Kiké and Segedin? Yeah, sure, why not. Barnes and Farmer? I don’t see room for Farmer as long as there is a Grandal.

    1. The most Joc has hit consistently each season, in the last three years, is about only 100 at bats, so his sample size for hitting consistently, isn’t bigger then Toles sample, and Joc was given many more at bats, to try to get better.

  3. I would very much like a contact bat in the 7th, who can also run, and continue to bat Puig in the 8th, ahead of the pitcher. Forsythe will not be that guy, however. I think we are pretty much set in every position except LF. What’s the lineup people like? I guess it’s going to be lineups, because we will see two, vs RHP and vs LHP.

  4. Personally, I would have let him walk. I would have put Taylor at 2nd base full time. Taylor is a much better fielder in my mind and young enough to man the position for years otherwise we are going to go through this same two step every year. With the number of free agent outfielders out there, and a few are CF’s, I would have gone that route to fill the CF job. If Pederson could not handle the job, trade his butt and give Verdugo a shot in spring. Cain is still out there. Jackson signed today with the Giants for two years. I know Taylor did a good job in CF, BUT he is a natural infielder. The Dodgers are loaded with middle infielders. Forsythe for all the good he did in the post season for the most part stunk. Now in his defense he did miss some time with that broken toe he got in April, but I am not a huge fan of his at all. As far as giving Turner some time off, both Hernandez and Farmer can play 3rd also. Farmer also can spell Bellinger at first. Segedin is not even going to make the roster. Dodger Blue reports that Utley is working out with his team mates at Dodger Stadium and the team still might bring him back. Darvish has a 5 year offer on the table, probably from the Brewers. Farmer is a lot younger than Segedin who will be 30 this year. His time is past…..trade fodder…..Actually we can solve all of this by trading Grandal and Pederson to the Marlins for Yelich.

    1. I have a hard time with all the confidence in Farmer. He will be 28 this year and only had 20 at bats with the Team last year. I saw the opposite field hit just like everyone else, But, I also watched him go 0’fer
      when I was expecting more.
      I think that Forsythe is a pro, maybe a Mark Ellis type with more power and durability.
      I think he will adjust mentally and improve offensively.
      Even If we can get a great deal for Grandal, I think we’ll be weak at catcher. I think the kids are too young and Farmer isn’t equal to Barnes by any stretch. I like him, but.
      I also feel that the wild card is Toles. If he is as good as he looked to me, he will solve a lot of issues

      1. The guy has hit everywhere he played. He is a multipositional player. I do not think Forsythe is all that. Never did and never will. He was pretty bad his first time in the NL West and he did not show all that much last year. I think Taylor is a much better option than Forsythe anyday and he solves the position problem there for years. And if they can send Grandal to Miami and get Realmuto and Yelich I would definitely view that as an upgrade over Grandal and anyone else they put in CF.

  5. I think the only brilliant part of the Forsythe deal was that FAZ gave up only one minor leaguer for him. Hopefully season two will be better.

    1. Hope in one hand, crap in the other and see which one fills up first. I think he will be just as inept as last year. Never should have picked up his option. If he proves me wring great. But I am not holding my breath.

    1. Well Realmuto wants out, so does Yelich. I think the Dodgers could send Joc, Grandal, Kike and Segedin and make it work……Salaries would pretty much offset. And the Dodgers would be set at 2nd and CF for a few years,,,,Taylor, Yelich. Realmuto could be the #1 backstop with Barnes and Farmer in the wings Barnes steps into Kike’s utility role.

  6. Boy do I dislike the inactivity in baseball right now. It is so boring to go on the Dodger site and see the same post on there for a week or so. Come on guys…lets have some action…..hell re-sign Darvish…

    1. Miami can be very selective in trading Realmuto and Yelich. They can get 2+ real prospects for each. They would be interested in Verdugo and White, maybe Joc and Grandal but they might be too expensive for them. I keep saying they could flip them but maybe they are too lazy to go through the work on something like that – which brings in the 3 way. Who knows, maybe FAZ is content with the logjam/competition in left. Trades can come after they decide who they want from the current group. Trading for stars ain’t exactly their métier. (Got that word from thesaurus- pronounced may-t-á, means specialty. Yeah, I coulda just said specialty, but that would have been boring, and it’s been boring enough for quite a while now. I’m rambling now aren’t I.)

      Nice pic Bear – for what the Dodgers paid for Forsythe, $9 million, I might have also let him walk and gone with Taylor and pick up a decent defensive center fielder. Dyson is my pick. He’s fast, cheaper, and if playing everyday could possibly score a lot of runs on this team. And more importantly, his addition puts Taylor back at second and makes this team stronger up the middle. He projects better than Jackson and I thought for sure SF would nab him. Now I read Baltimore is interested.

      I’ve got a dental appointment this morning. Perfect.

        1. Yeah Scott, we already talked about SF signing Jackson. What I said was I thought SF would grab Dyson because he projects better than Jackson. I agree FAZ probably won’t get a real center fielder. They’ll make their own. Hopefully Taylor repeats what he did last year, though projections say he comes back to earth. Many believe he belongs at second base. Guess we’ll see how it plays out. Maybe in ‘19?

  7. Interesting thoughts. Forsythe seemed to be pulling out of his slump towards the end of the season and into the playoffs. Look what happened to Reddick after he went to Houston. He found his bat again. Strange the way these things happen. Forsythe is not known for being a lousy hitter. Let’s hope it was a fluke that he was as bad as he was. Guy hit 20 HR’s before he came here. No need to move Taylor to 2B or platoon Forsythe. If it ain’t broke, which it isn’t, don’t fix it. Too soon to draw any conclusion on Forsythe.

    Barnes wasn’t all that behind the plate. Decent enough because of his bat, not because of his defense. Dodgers are weak at catcher. They need a platoon with Grandal. Trading for a proven catcher would really cement them. Not much of a good opinion on Farmer, so far.

    Are we looking for Puig to improve on last year, or has he hit his peak? Was Taylor’s year indicative of the kind of production that he could deliver consistently? He played way above his pay grade and caught everyone by surprise. This year will be the decisive one for his Dodger career.

    Turner is still the man, imo, not Seager. I like Seager and he’s young, but he hasn’t shown any major star power and clutchness. Those accolades are going to Bellinger. Seager is steady but we lose him at points during the year. He’s a bit of a slumper, not as bad as Grandal and Joc, who I think could have his best year if he has gotten over the mental problems he has had at the plate. A year like Puig had would be a good start for him, although I had much higher expectations for Puig than he has shown so far. I would have to say I’m disappointed in his performance to date.

    1. Didn’t see this before I posted my response to Scott.

      Solid post Jeff. Taylor projects a substantial falloff from last year – from 4.7 to 2.3. I’m inclined to agree with that, which is part of the reason I would have put him at second, saved the $9 million and put Dyson and his 1.7 dWAR and speed on the base paths in center. He doesn’t hit that well but what he offers for what he would get paid makes him, in my opinion, a better fit in the 7 hole. He will get on base at a similar rate Forsythe will, and his speed is something this team needs, though I know FAZ doesn’t value that asset as highly as I do.

      I think Turner begins his fade. 130 games for an infielder isn’t much. He will hit of course but at 33, with a history of owies, I just have a feeling. And maybe so does FAZ and that’s why Forsythe. This could be a transition year at a few positions in this organization.

      1. I don’t see the Dodgers adding another outfielder, especially Dyson, who is not as good offensive player.

        The Dodgers have to many better options, to play center, that do provide much more offense, then Dyson.

        But I agree with Badger, that the Giants should have signed Dyson over Jackson, because I believe Dyson is younger, and Dyson is a better defensive centerfielder.

        And centerfielders don’t get better on defense as they age, because speed is one of the first things to go, as players age.

        And I do think it is worth it to the Giants, to get the best defensive centerfielder that they can get, with the size of their outfield.

    2. Jeff

      Reddick numbers looked better, because he has been playing in the American League West for quite a while, so he knows the pitchers in that division, very well.

      It is harder for players that are not especially good hitters, to hit when they are moved from the American League to the National League, like both Reddick and Forsythe were, although Forsythe did hit lefties well, last year..

      Forsythe has only had two really good offensive seasons, and that was right before he was traded to the Dodgers.

      He didn’t hit much at all, when he was with the Padres.

      He did hit better in the post season, but his value to this team, is his steady defense at second, and filling in, for Turner at third.

      Because his defensive metrics were good enough, to make up for his offensive short comings last year, according to War.

      I don’t think the sample size in the post season is big enough, to say Forsythe will hit righties better this year, because he didn’t even hit 200 against righties last year, and he provided no real power either.

      And he struck out way to much, as low, as his slugging percentage, was.

      1. MJ making no sense again. In this era of instant access to video of pitchers and pitch data, there’s ZERO chance that “knowing” pitchers is still a variable.

        Perhaps, you could change it to comfort with players or, much more likely, just playing better.

        1. Michael

          I am not impressed with career 235 hitters or below, either.

          I hope the Dodgers do what the Astros did with their line up, and get rid of all of their, all, or nothing hitters.

          These type of hitters, stall a team’s offensive production, and they have trouble making contact, when contact, is important.

          And I don’t think it is to much to ask, for a player, to be able to put the ball in play, when it is needed.

          The Dodgers ranked 21 in batting average, and I think our players can do better.

          We have been pretty good, at getting on base for some time, but those runners are not getting home, like they should.

          Because we have had trouble getting hits in the clutch, to get those runs in.

          And a combination of being more productive on offense, and hitting for a better average, will help more of those runners on base, get home.

          I think our guys are very capable of improving on this, in 2018.

        2. Bluto

          I know they have videos of these pitchers, but that is not the same, as standing in the batters box, and watching pitches come in, year after year, from the same pitchers.

          And we see average hitters that come from the American League, to the National League, all the time.

          And these players often have trouble, with the transition from one league to another league, especially when it comes to hitting, just like Reddick and Forsythe.

          And you don’t see that happen with good hitters, like JD Martinez, who hit like a fiend for the Dbacks, last year.

          You are very aware that even the third time a hitter sees a pitcher, they usually do better.

          Why is it such a stretch for you to see, that this same type familiarity with pitchers, makes it easier for a hitter, to be more successful.

          Especially if a hitter, is seeing the same pitchers pitch, year after year.

          And it is a known fact in Baseball, that a pitcher has the advantage on a hitter, if the hitter, has never seen the pitcher before.

          1. Bluto

            The Astros hit for the top average, in all of baseball.

            They hit the most HRs in baseball, and they had the less strike outs, in baseball, too.

            That is because the Astros emphasized, that they didn’t want their hitters, to swing at balls, out of the strike zone.

            Because they know strikes outs, are not productive, for an offense.

            And even sabers would value a hitters OBP more, if a hitter’s OBP, was based more on hits, then walks.

            But I also bet the Astros were better then us, when it came to getting hits, when runners were in scoring position, too.

            I know teams value OPS, and in general, it can be a good measure, for offensive production.

            But even though numbers are pretty predictable, some of these equations sabers use, are not always a good measure, by itself.

        3. Bluto, Turner Ward made the same point about Forsythe, about switching leagues.

          My simple answer is that both Reddick and Forsythe have poor bat speed and are just streaky.

    3. Pretty spot on Jeff, but I think you are under estimating Puig. He had a lot of growing up to do and he did that some last year. He has bonded with Turner Ward and it has been very good for him. I see continued improvement this year and he has become a workout demon. Also there is not a better defensive RF in the game. He also has the best arm of any Dodger outfielder.

      1. Bluto

        I looked up how many years Reddick has been in that same division, and he has been playing in the West, for six years.

        And in his first couple years, in the West, he wasn’t hitting much more then 200.

        I know you don’t think much about a batting average, but really good hitters, do hit for a good batting average, along with the other stuff you value more.

      2. Norris, I’ve always supported Puig so I hope what you say comes true. His defense is stellar. Speed in the outfield is an important element. I’ll always remember Willie and that breadbasket catch, but watching him get after those blasts that most outfielders had no chance getting, was so exciting and satisfying. Willie Mays was probably the best outfielder I’ve ever seen. Puig reminds me of him on occasion.

    4. Jeff

      Corey hurt his elbow in August, so his numbers went down from August on, but before August, Corey was the steadiest hitter on the Dodgers, take a look at Corey’s splits, before August.

      I do agree with you, about Turner, being our best bat, in the clutch.

      But Corey has been the steadiest bat, in our line up, in the last couple years.

      He hit a little over 300 in 2016, and he was on his way to another 300 season, before he got hurt.

      And Puig has not hit close to 300, since his second season, and Cody, has not hit close to 300 yet, at the majors.

  8. Another year of that slug Grandal behind the plate? Please. Barnes is not as bad a defensive catcher as some might think. Considering how few games he did catch, he still threw out 25 percent of the attempted steals. He did not come close to having as many passed balls as Grandal who has mastered the art of the missed pitch. Personally I think he and Farmer could more than adequately handle the job. Realmuto would be nice, but Ruiz is maybe 1 1/2 years away, and Smith is right there with him. Joc’s fate will most likely be sealed by what he does in spring…again. He has a great spring and he will be a starter, at least until he shows he cannot handle the job. He, Toles, Thompson and Verdugo are going to be slugging it out for playing time and I would not be surprised to see some combination of the 4 manning the outfield in spring training games. DJ Peters, he who hit 2 dingers off Bumgarner in a game, will be at AA this year. I find little use for career .235 hitters no matter where they play, but FAZ has different idea’s. But I do not think Segedin will make the 25 man roster, and most likely, barring a spring miracle, will Thompson. I think he would be better served being traded elsewhere. I did not like the trade when they got Forsythe. He is nothing more than a stop gap option until someone comes along who can play there every day. They have also signed a handful of infielders to minor league deals. Including Solano, who has MLB experience. He is a exe Yankee…

    1. Is throwing out 25% of base stealers considered good? I wouldn’t think so. Either the arm is not strong enough or his timing needs work. Grandal improved on this last year and was a much better defensive presence behind the plate. We all know about the batting, though. The slumper would not be missed if traded.

      Darvish seems to have the physicality to be a great pitcher, but his mental makeup is not on the same level as his body. Something is not in synch with him. I would watch him very closely last year and see how he would cave in with no apparent difference in his mechanics. It was all in his head. His eyes show it. He loses focus. No, I would not gamble on him. Let the Cubs have him. I’ll take Arietta any time. He’s a tough pitcher.

        1. I’d take either one. Both will throw more innings than anyone we have (after Kershaw). Both will also get us dangerously close to to $197mm and then $206mm, which is why I have my doubts. I do expect them to find another high spin rate 30+ 3 year $14mm McKaz somewhere on the periphery. It is their model.

  9. Turner wants the Dodgers to re-sign Darvish..it would be protection if Kersh leaves, but doubt it will happen. Darvish in serious negotiations with the Cubs. Question, Cubs get Darvish, are they automatically the favorite in the NL?

    1. Michael

      I think it is a long shot, but I do believe the Dodgers are still in on Darvish, like we read, unlike other stuff, we read.

      That is because Darvish loved pitching for the Dodgers, and he is not a guy that would necessarily take more money, over happiness.

      And there won’t be many good starting pitchers being available, in the next three years.

      That would not only help if Kershaw goes, it would also give us a pitcher to lean on, until one of our young starting pitchers are mature and ready, to pitch at a top level, in the majors.

      But Darvish has not really pitched a lot of innings in the last few years, so you never know, and Kershaw hasn’t either, because of his back.

  10. There is no way they sign Darvish. The FBZ just won huge brownie points with the Guggenheim ownership by getting under the cap. They are going to ride it and save their dry powder for the trade deadline.

    The FBZ missed their chance on Cole.

    1. YF

      I still wish we got Ohtani, but he probably made the right choice, with the Angels.

      I was thinking the other day, if we would have got JD Martinez, we may have won that series, much like if we got Verlander.

      And everyone said the Dbacks got a really good deal, on JD.

      But I can’t blame that on the front office, because Joc was still hitting ,at the trade deadline.

      But having JD Martinez in our line up, against the Astros, would have helped quite a bit, especially with his familiarity with the American League, and with the Astros.

      They have a good article in Dodger Insider, with Turner Ward, talking about what he thought about certain hitters, and what he expects from them, in the coming year.

  11. Here are my exit reviews on some of our utility players: Logan Forsythe, Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez. Again I am aware of a lot SABR stats on these guys, but I don’t want to dwell on them since a majority of blogs out there already put out a lot of SABR stats. I am just stating my own observations and recollections of these players over the course of the year, with more focus on their performance during the playoffs (where applicable), and lastly how they could help the team in 2018.

    Logan Forsythe. As I have commented on earlier here, I agree with Michael that his option should not have been picked up. I think his bat is too slow and it may be getting even slower. A slower bat means that you have to anticipate very well what kind of pitch is coming, and that could be difficult when facing very good pitchers and unfamiliar pitchers. To my eyes, this was clearly the case because he was taking so many pitches and studying pitchers earlier in the season. Turner Ward seems to think Forsythe will improve and be more aggressive. I have my doubts – Forsythe is not young anymore and his bat will continue to slow down. And even if he gets more aggressive, I don’t think his power numbers will improve – he is at best a 8-11 HR guy in the NL I think. On defense, I guess he is somewhat needed to stabilize the third base, and this is where I think he provides his value (to keep Turner fresh). I think there is a substantial risk, however, that both Turner and Forsythe slump in 2018, and we will need to spell both of them.

    Chris Taylor. I may be in the minority in thinking that Chris’s production is mostly sustainable (at least in 2018). I have a great deal of faith in this guy – maybe it is misplaced. During 2017 he went through several mini-slumps, but in each case he managed to adjust. I just think he really owns his swing and he can continue to make adjustments based on his mental approach and better pitch recognition. Kind of similar to Justin Turner – when he revamped his swing 3 years ago, everyone thought his hitting would come back to earth, but it never did (except for stretches where Turner was not healthy). Granted it is never easy to hit consistently and to keep making adjustments, but I think it is easier for guys who have a great swing that has good coverage. While I don’t think Chris Taylor will put up another 4.7WAR, I do think he will easily put up 3WAR. With Kike and Toles able to cover both LF and CF, and me being down on Forsythe, I am hoping Taylor spends some time at second, where I expect his defense to shine. One weakness I do see with Chris Taylor is his strikeout rate – but if he manages to lower his SOs significantly this year, look out – we will have an all-star on our hands.

    Kike Hernandez. I think it will be more of the same with Kike. His .300 batting average in 2015 is now a distant memory, and he is what he is. A serviceable IN-OF utility and platoon player with some streaky power (and MadBum ownage) is a very good bench piece as well as a trade piece. I hope he learns to be more patient at the plate and see more pitches, but that is probably asking too much. On defense, he will look a bit awkward at times at every position, but he’s a good enough natural athlete and his flexible, easy going approach tends to win out most of the time.

  12. I see both Puig and Taylor as 3 WAR players this year and if I had to pick one to be better I would choose Puig. Left field production is hard to predict since we don’t know who the left fielder will be.

    Forsythe might hit .250 but I doubt it. Turner will be good, but for how many games? 130. We hope Seager can play injury free and we hope there will be no sophomore slump for Bellinger. Grandal? Who knows but fangraphs doesn’t think much of him. Feels like we are holding that spot available for ‘19, so just trade the guy already.

    Pitching? Kershaw and Ambiguans. I see nobody in that group pitching more than 145 so the bullpen will again be busy. I do still believe Buehler will step up. He has #2 stuff and when Kershaw leaves he will be our ace. You will see that character revealed this year.

    Petriello over/under is 94. As the team is constructed, considering other teams in the league have taken steps to get better, and we haven’t, right now I think 94 is accurate.

    1. YF

      Good review of our players at second!

      I agree with you about Forsythe.

      And if he is going to work the count again this year, and get behind with two strikes so often, I don’t see him improving, because it is hard for very good hitters, to hit when they are down with two strikes, that often.

      I hope Buehler can step up this year, but I know they will or probably keep him at AAA at first.

      I hope he is not at AAA to long, because those innings on his arm are the same at AAA, and he has to learn what a strike is at the bigs, and pay for the pitches he misses at the bigs, to learn how to pitch in the bigs.

      Some said his fastball looked to straight in the majors last year, but I guess his fastball isn’t like that in AAA, so he may have been over throwing, when he was in the majors last year.

      Which is understandable, for a young pitcher, that was getting his first taste of the bigs.

    2. Badger,

      Quite an optimistic take on Buehler! Wish I felt the same way. I wasn’t too impressed with what I saw last season from him. Maybe I’m jumping the gun and need to see him out there with regularity. Blazing speed is definitely a plus. But, Kershaw is a special guy. No reason to believe he will not pitch well again this season and I’m looking for a repeat performance from Wood. I’ve always supported Wood and felt he was a much better pitcher than anyone thought. Then last year, voila. If he comes anywhere near this mark, the Dodgers will be well on their way to a repeat of last year. I’m hopeful.

      1. Hopeful is a good thing Jeff. Obviously I am hopeful too. But I see drop offs for Wood and Taylor. Wood might reach 150 innings, and that would be great. He will be a 2 WAR pitcher, but I see him as a valuable back of rotation pitcher. In my estimation everyone we have after Kershaw is a back of rotation pitcher. I am looking for that Greinke-like #2. Big ask, I know, but other teams have that. Heck, the Astros have 3!

  13. This year the Dodgers are celebrating 60 years in LA. Here is the opening day lineup….not in order but these guys started the game. 1B, Hodges 2B, Neal, 3B Dick Gray SS Reese, LF Gilliam, CF Snider, RF Cimoli, C Roseboro, P Erskine. It should be noted that no player had more starts at any position than Charlie Neal who started 132 games at 2nd. Zimmer started the bulk of the games at SS since 1958 was Pee Wee’s last season. Roseboro started the bulk of the games at C backed up by Walker first and then Joe Pignatano. Some names who passed through LA were guys like Jim Gentile, later traded to the Orioles, Steve Bilko, Don Demeter, Elmer Valo. Gilliam was the regular LF and Cimoli kind of rotated around the outfield. Furillo got the most starts in RF. This was a veteran team with most of the Brooklyn stars on the down side of their careers. Snider had injured his elbow trying to throw a ball out of the coliseum and his string of 5 straight seasons with 40 or more homers was broken. By the way, no Dodger hitter before or since has matched that. Top salary on the team was the Duke, who was making 44,000 a year. He was the only player making more than 40,000 dollars. Koufax was getting 10,000 and Drysdale 17,500. Frank Howard, Ron Fairly, Norm Larker, Don Demeter, Larry Sherry, Ed Roebuck, Roger Craig, all would have a cup of coffee with the big team….all of them except Howard would contribute the next season to the Championship run. Newcombe was traded to the Reds, Erskine would retire, Reese retired, Hodges stayed with the team until the expansion draft and he went to the Mets, Snider was traded after the 1962 season, also to the Mets. Furillo was released after the 1959 season, sued the team and never played another game of baseball. They went with 4 starters and 5 pitchers in the pen to open the season. Koufax, Podres, Drysdale, and Williams were the starters with Erskine, Kipp, Klippstein, Roebuck and Labine in the pen.

    1. I met Geno Cimoli in S.F. in 1976, IIRC. He was driving a delivery truck for UPS. I was the manager of a pizzeria at that time and somehow, I recognized him. Fortune is a fleeting friend.

      Sold Lopes some clothes when I managed a boutique in S.F. in 78 or 79.

      Met Hodges when I was a kid, maybe 7 or 8 years old at a batting range in Brooklyn. Talked to him and got a signed ball.

      Things have really changed.

  14. Good review Bear. Brought back some memories. I was a pitcher/catcher in Little League, ‘58-‘60, so my favorite player early was Roseboro. For a while I also really liked Doug Camilli. The reason for that was I was at a game at the Coliseum and saw him hit a ball at his shoe tops and drive it over the screen halfway up into the seats in left field. It was a rocket. The left fielder just barely had time to turn and look. My favorite Dodger changed a few times from ‘59 to ‘66.

    A “straight” fastball is an easy fix. Just change the grip and throw it exactly the same. 97 and a straight is actually a great pitch if it’s placed properly. You never want to tube one to a Major League hitter. The way Morrow used it, up, is a good example of what I mean. I was taught high and tight low and away. Buehler has two other plus pitches to go with the heater. Even if he doesn’t change the grip, (2 seamer) he can stay out of trouble by commanding the 4 seamer. I think he knows that. I don’t believe he spends much time in the minors.

    1. Snider was my favorite until they traded him. Then it was Sandy until he retired. Same with Big D until he retired with a bad rotator cuff. I have been lucky enough to meet a few of those guys. I lived a couple of houses from Larry and Norm Sherry in the early 60’s. We kids would shag balls for them when they would work out at Arroyo Seco Park. Met Duke at a baseball card show, and Tommy Davis came to the home for kids I was living at. I saw Norm Sherry while I was in the Army at Ft. Bliss. He was the manager of the El Paso Diablos, an Angel farm team. I loved that 59 team, what a bunch of scrappers. Mix of the old and the new. Snider and Hodges hit over 20 homers, but mid season addition SS Maury Wills was the catalyst. Craig came up and won 7 games down the stretch, and Larry Sherry became the closer, replacing Labine. They had gotten Wally Moon over the winter for Gino Cimoli and he started hitting his Moon shots over the LF screen. They picked up Chuck Essegian and he became the primary PH. He hit two PH homers in the Series. Zimmer was traded, Furillo got the game winning hit in the deciding playoff game against the Braves and Hodges scored the winning run. White Sox crushed them in game 1 11-0. But they came back and won it in 6. Koufax lost his only start 1-0. And in their second year in LA the Dodgers matched their entire total of series wins in their entire history in Brooklyn…….what a feeling that was.

      1. Mr. Norris
        What I most remember about those Dodgers was that no matter where you went the ballgame was on someones transistor radio. I remember the crowd chanting GO GO GO every time Maury got on base. What a great time to live in Southern California. I think Duke lived over in Whittier and owned a bowling alley?

        1. Yes he did, and later after he retired he bought a avocado farm in Fallbrook and lived there with his wife. Vin’s voice was everywhere, even in the ballpark. That started mainly because it was so hard to watch a game at the coliseum if you were in the CF bleachers or high up in the stadium….They needed Vin to let them know what was going on. I always disliked listening to the 3rd and 7th innings because Jerry Doggett would take over for Scully. Jerry was an ok announcer, but he made a lot of mistakes. Vin was smooth as glass.

        2. Duke bought an avacado ranch in Fallbrook and also owned a restaurant/bar there. I lived in Fallbrook for a few months and ran into him a lot. Nice enough guy. Tommy Davis gave a couple hitting clinics I attended. It was from him I learned the technique of rolling the top hand to create top spin on your line drive. Back then the goal was to hit line drives. Not anymore obviously. Of course, players are a lot bigger now. It’s pretty easy for those guys to hit the ball 400’. Living in Canoga Park then Los Alamitos growing up we never saw any Dodgers out on the town.

          1. If Davis had not broken his ankle in 65, I think he would have been one of the best hitters to ever wear a Dodger uni. Last Dodger to win a batting title, 62&63. Lou Johnson saved their bacon in 65. He came up and was a breath of fresh air, and did a decent job with the bat and the glove. Was probably one of the most bubbly players I have ever seen. If memory serves he hit the game winning 2 run homer in the 4th inning. Koufax shut the Twins out for the 2nd time in the series and LA was a World Champion.

  15. Ken Rosenthal on the lack of action regarding Yelich:

    Here’s the problem with making Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna, Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or any other top prospect the centerpiece of a Yelich trade: While a team would be acquiring certainty over uncertainty, the depressed state of the free agent market enables clubs to sign players at below-market rates and still keep their best youngsters.

      1. I find the first sentence of Rosenthal’s premise misleading. “Here’s the reason……”.

        I think the reason few teams trade Top 10 prospects (in the two he references, Top 5 prospects) for a guy like Yelich is he is not Manny Machado. It’s the same reason the Dodgers didn’t trade Seager for Hamels. And as for “most teams” I think most teams know they aren’t championship caliber so remaining as competitive as possible is their goal. They also aren’t wealthy enough to risk, possibly fail, then reload 5 minutes later. If they have a Top 10 talent, they are keeping them.

        I don’t blame the Braves or Jays if they decide not to trade either of those guys. Neither of those teams are that close to a World Series and those two are considered can’t miss prospects. The teams that need an everyday left fielder to close the gap on the team keeping them from the playoffs are the teams to analyze here. For our team, what is Yelich worth to the Dodgers? Well, who does Miami want. And if the conversation starts and stops with a Top 10 talent, then their phone is probably going to stop ringing. Yelich and Realmuto both want out. Get a handful of A or B+ prospects for them and let everyone move on.

        Machado is probably leaving Baltimore. Will the Orioles hang on to him, make the QO or move him for multiple prospects? There is a player who would warrant a Top 10 pick. The Yankees have one. Machado would look good in pin stripes.

        1. We also had a top prospect in our “untouchable” Yadier Alvarez, who’s since gone from untouchable to falling out of the Baseball America top 100 in less than 1 year. Now Alvarez and Urias are going to be viewed as risky projects. The reporters sure aren’t reporting on these non-moves, are they?

          1. Dodgers top 10 prospects as of today…..Buehler, Verdugo, Alvarez, Kendall, Diaz, Ruiz, White, Smith, Lux, Sheffield. That is the list according to the Dodger web site.

        2. Rosenthal goes on a bit, but it’s a pay article and I don’t think it’s right to repost it in its entirety.

          In my opinion, signing up for the Athletic has proven to be an OK value.

    1. Package, they don’t hate FAs. They just have a different agenda than the rest of us, no matter what they say about winning, etc. Here is how their meetings go:

      Young exec: Hey, the market has just about bottomed. I think we can sign any of the remaining FAs to a 30% discount. Maybe 32% even. To a shorter contract – at least 1 year shorter in most cases.
      FBZ: No thanks.
      YE: Why not? Based on projections and how much cap space teams are going to have 12 months from now, we are going get these guys a lot cheaper now.
      FBZ: We have already improved our team. Mission accomplished.
      YE: Say what?
      FBZ: The projections say several of our younger players will play better next year. And we have unloaded some of the guys who would have weighed us down like A-Gon.
      YE: But we lost guys like Morrow.
      FBZ: Dont’ worry about that. We have more cap space and owners love us. No need to sign anyone.
      YE: Ok. Here are a couple of trades where we don’t take on more money but it will make us better, and make the team cheaper going forward.
      FBZ: No need. The projections say we are favorites for the division.
      YE: But other teams have improved. We had a big lead in projections to make it into the WS again but now we are in a dead heat.
      FBZ: It’s all a crap shoot after winning the division. Leave winning the WS to the other teams.
      YE: (shock) I don’t get it. I’ve already done the work. Actually this is a crazy year with so many young players in their prime and available via “firesales”. Other teams are really picking up these players for cheap.
      FBZ: Ownership loves us. No need to rock the boat.
      YE: The Yankees and Astros FOs are loved just as much as we are. They are still making moves. And Epstein is probably loved as much by the Cubs as the Red Sox fans.
      FBZ: Just trust me on this. It’s a lot of work. That is why we only do trades with Tampa and A’s with players we already know. No need to do the extra work. In our office, there is no “if not now, when?”. All we have to do is to keep repeating the mantra “everything is a crapshoot after you get in the postseason”.
      YE: Don’t we want to win? Even in football, the Patriots have gone year after year to the superbowl. No one who follows any other professional sport believes postseason is just a crapshoot. And baseball has the softest cap/luxury tax there is.
      FBZ: No. Just repeat after me. “Everything is a crapshoot after you get in the postseason.” It’s taken awhile but we have gotten all of the reporters and writers to believe this.
      YE: Why is that?
      FBZ: By and large, baseball fans and writers don’t follow other sports. It’s amazing. There’s nothing like it. Even most hockey fans follow another sport. Just repeat the mantra. It’s the best thing to happen to baseball executives ever and we are going to milk it for all its worth. We inherited a division winning team and it’s too much work to build a WS team. Just repeat the mantra.
      YE: I don’t think I am on board with all this.
      FBZ: (raises eyebrow) Just repeat the mantra. And remember that when you were hired, your contract forbids to disclose what we just talked about, including the mantra, to any blog or sports writer. And do not encourage them to follow any other sport either. That is in your contract too.

      1. Thanks! I actually wanted to add a couple more lines (but this was probably too over the top):

        Young Exec: (not buying the schtick) Sir, why did you hire me then? I’ve put in weekends and holidays on this work. I have all the mantras I need from my yoga class.
        FBZ: I dunno. You came down from Guggenheim. Something about a $13 million mansion needing a new tenant. Lordly I wish I could be Walter for a day!

  16. MLB.com saying that Darvish will likely be signed by the weekend. No word on who. Chipper, Thome, Vlad and surprise Trevor Hoffman make the hall…..called that one….Bonds and Clemens still down around 50 percent of the vote. Andruw Jones got enough votes to stay on the ballot and so did Manny.

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