Edwin Rios is just the latest Dodger rookie to shine when given the chance for playing time. None of the five rookies that have gotten playing time have struggled, as all five of them now have an OPS > .800.
Back in the spring of 2018, Edwin Rios was having a fine spring and was in front of Max Muncy and Matt Beaty in the Dodger pecking order. Rios got hurt in April of 2018 so when the Dodgers needed a 1st/3rd they went with Max Muncy. This spring when they needed a 1st/3rd they went with Matt Beaty. Edwin finally got his chance on June 27th and collected his first major league hit two days later on June 29th. His stay with the Dodgers was short but he had a .888 OPS when he was sent back to AAA on July 8th. Rios would hit eleven home runs in just twenty-one games before getting the call back to the Dodgers on Aug 6th. On August 14th, Edwin hit his first major league home run. He then hit his 2nd major league home become one of the few Dodgers to hit their 1st and 2nd home runs in the same game.
None of Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty, or Kyle Garlick are ranked among the Dodgers top ten prospects. The two who were are Alex Verdugo and Will Smith and they have performed like it.
If these guys are doing, can you just imagine what Gavin Lux is going to do?
Rk Player Year Age PA BA OBP SLG OPS 1 Will Smith 2019 24 85 .329 .400 .808 1.208 2 Edwin Rios 2019 25 35 .357 .486 .714 1.200 4 Matt Beaty 2019 26 176 .289 .330 .500 .830 5 Alex Verdugo 2019 23 377 .294 .342 .475 .817 6 Kyle Garlick 2019 27 48 .244 .292 .511 .803
Will Smith hit two more home runs last night giving him nine home runs in his first twenty-three games. To put that into perspective I looked at all the home runs for LAD catchers in their first 25 games:
Mike Piazza hit one
AJ Ellis had zero
David Ross had six
The infamous Jack Fimple had one
Mike Scioscia had zero
Paul Lo Duca had one
Russell Martin had three
Which leads me to this statement. Will Smith with nine home runs in his first 23 games had more home runs than Piazza/Lo Duca/Martin/Scioscia combined (5) in their first 25 games.
With nine home runs already, Will Smith has hit more home runs in a season by a LAD catcher than 20 other seasons.
Rk Player HR From To Age G PA 1 Mike Piazza 177 1992 1998 23-29 726 3017 2 Steve Yeager 100 1972 1985 23-36 1219 3869 3 John Roseboro 90 1958 1967 25-34 1254 4505 4 Yasmani Grandal 89 2015 2018 26-29 510 1883 5 Mike Scioscia 68 1980 1992 21-33 1441 5057 6 Russell Martin 58 2006 2019 23-36 730 2907 7 Paul Lo Duca 57 1998 2004 26-32 588 2361 8 Todd Hundley 50 1999 2003 30-34 225 822 9 A.J. Ellis 36 2008 2016 27-35 544 1922 10 Tom Haller 25 1968 1971 31-34 474 1637 11 Rod Barajas 21 2010 2011 34-35 123 409 12 David Ross 16 2002 2004 25-27 118 343 13 Norm Sherry 16 1959 1962 27-30 131 385 14 Chad Kreuter 14 2000 2002 35-37 194 613 15 Rick Dempsey 13 1988 1990 38-40 218 532 16 Charles Johnson 12 1998 1998 26-26 102 376 17 Joe Pignatano 12 1958 1960 28-30 173 435 18 Doug Camilli 11 1960 1964 23-27 163 424 19 Dioner Navarro 10 2005 2011 21-27 139 487 20 Will Smith 9 2019 2019 24-24 23 80
The whole point of this column was to highlight how bad Cody and Corey have been in August even with the Dodgers winning 80% of their games in August so far.
When I checked the August splits I was aghast that Cody had an OPS of .863. That isn’t bad, that is good and I’d need another angle, but before I could blink into that angle I also noticed that Corey and Cody are sharing the same OBP of .263 for August. And that is bad. Now I know that we are dealing with a very small sample size but that isn’t the point of this. The point of this little column is that even with Cody/Corey only getting on base about one-quarter of the times they come up, their inability to get on base has done little to stop the Dodger locomotion as the Dodgers chug their way to a plus 100 win season. The Dodgers are 8 – 2 in August in spite of Cody/Corey. That is amazing, how are the Dodgers doing that?
Starting pitching and the revived bats of Pollock, Martin, and Joc.
Most of the damage in August has come from AJ Pollock, Russell Martin, Will Smith, Justin Turner, and Joc Pederson. Each of those listed above has an OPS greater than .900 so far in August. Pollock is doing all his damage against LHP, and of course, Joc is doing all his damage against RHP.
You know who isn’t hitting in August besides Seager? Kristopher Negron and Tyler White. Negron made a big splash in late July but has only seven singles in August even while starting ten of the last twelve games. Tyler White has been unable to get it going and has only one hit which came in his 2nd at-bat. Neither is cause for concern because both were just placeholders while the Dodgers wait for Kiké, Taylor, Freese, and recently acquired Jeff Gyorko to come off the injured list.
The rotation so far in August had two rookies making the season debuts at Dodger Stadium and was still incredible. The Dodgers have made ten starts and only two have been bad. One of those bad starts was by Dustin May in his debut but……..
Player Split Year W L ERA GS IP H SO/W sOPS+ Hyun-Jin Ryu August 2019 1 0 0.00 1 7.0 5 4.00 28 Tony Gonsolin August 2019 1 0 0.00 1 6.0 2 7.00 -23 Walker Buehler August 2019 1 0 0.60 2 15.0 9 7.67 20 Clayton Kershaw August 2019 2 0 2.08 2 13.0 10 2.33 70 Dustin May August 2019 0 1 3.18 2 11.1 14 10.00 94 Kenta Maeda August 2019 1 0 4.66 2 9.2 8 10.00 48
Included in the August starts were :
- The seventh-best game score (77) by Kenta Maeda in his career
- The debut start of Tony Gonsolin who threw six dominant shutout innings
- The debut start at Dodger for Dustin May, who faltered in the 6th in his first start but bounced back for a terrific second start
- The return of Ryu from the injured list who threw just about a perfect seven innings as he continues to make his case for the 2019 CYA
- Walker Buehler putting up a game score of 88 with 15 K’s and zero walks, one of the most dominant games of 2019.
And it is just August 12th
With 120 games played and 42 left the Dodgers only have to win half their games the rest of the year to reach 100 wins for the season. On the season the Dodgers are 48 – 16 at home which equates to a robust .750 winning percentage or in real layman terms, the Dodgers are winning three out of every four games they play at home. With only seventeen home games still remaining out of the 42 games left Dodger fans won’t get to see the team very much but when they are home they will be playing the New York Yankees, BlueJays, Rockies, Giants, Tampa, and the Rockies. On the road, they get games against some of the worst teams in baseball such as Miami and Baltimore.
I’d bet on 106 wins right now.
DodgerYard tweeted out the question:
A former Dodger who still plays today that you wish still played for us?
— Dodger Yard (@DodgerYard) August 10, 2019
It is an interesting question with many varied answers. Some answered the question with their heart, some with practicality, and some with humor.
I took the question to mean only players who actually played for the Major League team so folks like Yordan Alvarez would have been ineligible.
My answer without doing any type of research was Zack Greinke. It seemed like an easy answer for me, as he is certainly someone you’d like in your postseason rotation, but was it the right answer? Is there a right answer?
Charlie Culberson – got a few votes. Not sure what he offers that Negron doesn’t but everyone loved Charlie when he was a Dodger.
Jerry Sands – can always count on the humor from Marty
Howie Kendrick – just one vote, and I’d guess he’d take the spot of Tyler White, but once Gyroko is back, not sure Howie is a better choice than Gyorko. Howie was having a great year but has an OPS+ of only .643 in the second half.
Zack Greinke – the only starter mentioned, and my pick. I’d rather have him pitching for us in the World Series than against us. Zack got quite a few votes, maybe the most.
Dee Gordon – one vote for Dee, and clearly it was someone who liked Dee when he was a Dodger and hasn’t paid much attention to his career since he left Florida.
Yasiel Puig – alot of votes for Puig and who wouldn’t want Puig back? The problem is that RF really isn’t an issue with the Dodgers. Would the Dodgers be better with Puig/Bellinger/Joc-Verdugo-Taylor instead of Bellinger / Pollock / Joc-Verdugo-Taylor or move Bellinger full-time to 1st base and have Puig/Pollock/Joc-Verdugo-Taylor? Maybe, but the outfield is not really a problem for the Dodgers.
Tony Watson – this one made sense, grabbing the ex-Dodger to help the bullpen. I could see a case for Tony, doubt that Kolarek is the answer.
Manny Machado – Manny didn’t impress many Dodger fans last year with his lack of hustle, but Seager isn’t exactly impressing with his inability to stay healthy or hit like he did back when he was considered a top ten MVP candidate. Manny is crushing left hand pitching with a 1.193 OPS but has been less than ideal against RHP with an .729 OPS. I can see the pick, though Chris Taylor outhit both Seager and Machado when he was playing SS for the Dodgers with an .840 OPS .
Matt Kemp – heartfelt pick, sadly Matt Kemp is getting paid $20,000,000 to not play major league baseball.
Brandon Morrow – I didn’t get this one at all. Yes, the Dodgers need bullpen help but Brandon Morrow hasn’t pitched all year and probably won’t. The person who picked him couldn’t understand why the Dodgers didn’t re-sign him. Really?
Adrian Gonzalez – Whatever
Nathan Eovaldi – Nathan just came back from missing most of the year on July 22nd. He’s made eight appearances in relief and has given up eight runs. If Kenley Jansen had that kind of run imagine the uproar.
Ex-Dodgers not mentioned:
Travis d’Arnaud – I guess because of Will Smith no one brought him up, but after his cup of tea with the Dodgers, he exploded to be one of the best hitting catchers in baseball this year.
Brian Dozier – no one seems to miss him
Tim Locastro – he has his uses but hard to see how he’s any better than a Negron unless you need someone to get hit by a pitch
Alex Wood – no one misses Alex
Robbie Ray started pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015 and since he joined them he has the best game score for a lefty visitor at Dodger Stadium.
Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H ER BB SO Pit GSc Robbie Ray 2017-09-04 ARI LAD W 13-0 7.2 3 0 0 14 107 87 Matt Moore 2016-08-25 SFG LAD W 4-0 8.2 1 0 3 7 133 86 Madison Bumgarner 2016-09-19 SFG LAD L 1-2 7.0 1 0 0 10 97 85 Tyler Anderson 2018-06-29 COL LAD W 3-1 8.0 4 0 1 8 96 81 Drew Pomeranz 2016-07-07 SDP LAD W 6-0 7.0 2 0 2 6 105 77 Jorge De La Rosa 2015-05-16 COL LAD W 7-1 7.1 2 0 0 3 95 77 Wade Miley 2018-07-31 MIL LAD W 1-0 7.0 2 0 2 5 101 76 Madison Bumgarner 2015-04-28 SFG LAD W 2-1 8.0 5 1 1 9 110 76 Patrick Corbin 2019-05-09 WSN LAD W 6-0 7.0 3 0 4 8 107 75 Clayton Richard 2017-04-04 SDP LAD W 4-0 8.0 5 0 2 5 99 75
Ray also has four of the top five strikeout games for a lefty visitor at Dodger Stadium.
Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H ER BB SO Robbie Ray 2017-09-04 ARI LAD W 13-0 7.2 3 0 0 14 Robbie Ray 2017-07-06 ARI LAD L 4-5 6.0 5 1 4 13 Robbie Ray 2016-09-07 ARI LAD L 1-3 6.0 2 3 4 12 Madison Bumgarner 2016-09-19 SFG LAD L 1-2 7.0 1 0 0 10 Robbie Ray 2017-04-17 ARI LAD W 4-2 6.0 3 1 4 10
Claude Osteen will turn 80 today, and hopefully is living comfortably in Tennessee. The lefty with the nickname of “Gomer” was a mainstay in the Dodger rotation from 1965 until 1973 but for anyone who lived through his era, he will always be remembered as the guy who pitched a brilliant game three in the 1965 World Series after the Twins had defeated Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
If any game had ever been a must-win that wasn’t a game seven it was game three in 1965 and Claude Osteen came through with a shutout over the vaunted Twin offense, an offense so powerful it had sliced through Don Drysdale’s repertoire to the tune of seven runs in game one.
“Osteen saved us in the 1965 Series,” said former Dodger first baseman Wes Parker. “I think the Twins had a better team than the 1966 Orioles team that swept us in the World Series the following year. It wasn’t a good sign when Versalles hit the leadoff double. But sometimes if you can get out of a certain inning, it can change everything.”
Claude Osteen had been acquired in one of the biggest trades in Dodger history not just because the behemoth Frank Howard was involved but because seven players were traded. Frank Howard was the young power hitter but with Willie Davis, Tommie Davis, Ron Fairly, and West Parker the Dodgers had their outfield and 1st base set with young hitters. With Johnny Podres hitting the end of his career the Dodgers needed to replace him and they decided on the young lefty from the Washington Senators. Claude Osteen did not come cheap, the Dodgers traded not only Frank Howard, but Ken McMullen, Pete Reichart, Phil Ortega, Dick Nen, and $100,000 which was a lot of dough back in 1964. Per Dollartimes that would be about $800,000 today. Other than Dick Nen these were some of the best young prospects in the Dodger organization and they would all carve out long major league careers.
Later, as many others have already done, I’ll take a look at that trade in detail but today is about Claude Osteen. Osteen came at the right and wrong time as he was able to win a World Championship in his debut season with the Dodgers, and go back to the World Series in 1966, but after that, it was tough sledding for the Dodgers. After two back to back trips to the World Series the 1967 and 1968 Dodgers were two of the worst teams ever associated with the Los Angeles Dodger franchise. The Dodger started being competitive again by 1970 but it was not until 1973 that you could really see the team of the future taking shape. Unfortunately for Osteen, he would not be part of the future Dodger juggernaut as he was traded in the winter of 1973 for Jimmy Wynn who have an MVP type season for the Dodgers in 1974, helping lead them to the 1974 World Series.
Osteen was important enough in Dodger history that Jon Weisman gave him his own chapter in “Brother in Arms” which you had to earn because he didn’t just give a chapter to any Sandy, Don, and Clayton.
Using Baseball Reference Play Index you can see that Osteen and Sutton dominated the Dodger rotation between 1965 – 1973.
Player WAR GS From To Age CG SHO W L IP ERA FIP ERA+ Don Sutton 27.5 278 1966 1973 21-28 89 31 120 104 2014.0 3.02 2.72 110 Claude Osteen 26.2 335 1965 1973 25-33 100 34 147 126 2397.0 3.09 3.15 106 Sandy Koufax 18.3 82 1965 1966 29-30 54 13 53 17 658.2 1.89 2.00 174 Don Drysdale 14.8 163 1965 1969 28-32 53 22 68 60 1165.2 2.88 2.95 108 Bill Singer 12.6 177 1965 1972 21-28 52 18 69 75 1260.1 3.03 2.70 106 Al Downing 6.8 94 1971 1973 30-32 24 11 38 27 658.0 2.95 3.32 113 Tommy John 4.2 60 1972 1973 29-30 8 3 27 12 404.2 3.00 3.02 114 Alan Foster 0.1 53 1967 1970 20-23 9 3 14 24 333.2 4.07 3.99 88
A few weeks ago someone on Twitter mentioned that we should keep an eye on Victor Gonzalez as a fast-moving left-hand relief pitcher. I don’t know who to attribute that tweet too, and it made me glance at his stats but nothing jumped out at me.
Yesterday, Jim Bowden of The Athletic ran a story about players on the farm who might make an impact and two Dodgers popped up on his list. One, of course, was Gavin Lux the hottest hitter in professional baseball right now.
1. Gavin Lux, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers did the right thing by refusing to include Lux in any deadline deal, just as they did previously with Cody Bellinger, Walker Buehler and Corey Seager. It’s a decision that Dodgers fans will be happy about in the long run. However, Lux also might factor in the Dodgers’ pennant race anyway, all by himself.
The other name, however, took me and maybe Dodger Twitter by surprise.
4. Victor Gonzalez, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Pay attention to what Gonzalez is doing for the Dodgers in the minor leagues. He’s throwing 94-96 mph from the left side and has given up just one hit to a left-handed hitter since they moved him to the bullpen. He could end up being a legitimate lefty specialist for L.A.
Which prompted Jon Weisman to produce a Twitter Poll about Victor Gonzalez
POLL for #Dodgers fans: Victor Gonzalez?
— Jon Weisman (@jonweisman) August 7, 2019
All this led me to look at him again, and given that the Dodger left-hand options right now are Julio Urias / Caleb Ferguson / Adam Kolarek you could see why the Dodger just might take a look at Victor Gonzalez. Adam Kolarek had some nice stats from Tampa but the sidewinding lefty has now made three appearances with the Dodgers and only gotten one out while giving up two hits and a walk and doesn’t look particularly impressive either. Caleb Ferguson was great last year but hasn’t had the command this year that he had last year. Just looking at July he has four walks in only three innings.
Victor Gonzalez meanwhile has only made six appearances in AAA but he has struck out eight of the thirteen outs he’s recorded, with zero runs allowed. Victor was being used as a starting pitcher but that changed on July 17th where he has now made nine straight relief appearances and has given up zero runs in the last eight. Over his last eight relief appearances, 25 outs, 2 hits, zero earned runs, 2 walks, ten strikeouts.
Who knows, maybe Jim Bowden is right this time just like he was right about Cody Bellinger in the spring of 2017.
The improbable Max Muncy was the latest Dodger walk-off hero yesterday, blasting a two-run run double to plate Seager with the running run against one of the best closers in baseball. For Dodger fans, it never gets old even if they have already done it nine times this year.
If you love baseball you had to love the Max Muncy at-bat against Kirby Yates, and the incredible insight that Orel Hershiser was delivering with each pitch. Made me feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t have access to the Dodger games.
Blake Harris has captured all NINE walk-off victories with this comprehensive compilation tweet that should be in every Dodger fans library.
The Dodgers have NINE walk-off victories in 2019.
It’s only August 4th. pic.twitter.com/nV2kxdAnVd
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) August 5, 2019
These walk-offs don’t even include games they have come from behind while on the road like the recent Will Smith blasts in Washington and Colorado. Speaking of Will Smith, he has an OPS+ of 199 with 86 plate appearances.
Still waiting for Seager to get hot again, think it is coming, maybe even this series against the Cardinals which will feature both rookies Gonsolin and May getting starts Should be fun, and maybe by the end of the three-game series, the Dodgers will have ten walk-off wins in 2019.
Walker Buehler put up a game score of 88 on August 3rd, giving him three games scores > 80 in 2019. This would make him the third right-handed Dodger in the 21st century to have three-game scores > 80 in the same season.
Andy Ashby did it once in 2002
Brad Penny did it once in 2005
Chad Billingsley did it once in 2012, twice in 2011, and once in 2008
Chan Ho Park did it once in 2001, Chan Ho did it four times, but in the 20th century (2000)
Derek Lowe did it once in 2008, and three times in 2005
Greg Maddux did it once in 2006
Hiroki Kuroda did it once in 2010 and twice in 2008
Jeff Weaver did it twice in 2005
Jose Lima (rest his soul) did it once in 2004
Josh Beckett did it once in 2014
Kenta Maeda did it once in 2018 and once in 2016
Kevin Brown did it twice in 2001, and three times in 2000 (the 20th century)
Mike Bolsinger did it once in 2015
Ricky Nolasco did it twice in 2013
Vicente Padilla did it twice in 2010
Zack Greinke did it three times in 2015 and once in 2013
Dustin May put up the worst debut game score (40) at Dodger Stadium by a LAD in history last night but it was hard to fault him for it. The Dodgers didn’t exactly back him with their A lineup with Negron playing his first game in CF at Dodger Stadium and Tyler White getting the nod at 1st base. DJ Peters and Edwin Rios both in AAA could have given him better defense that what he got last night from those two.
May didn’t cruise through five innings, but he hadn’t given up any earned runs through those five innings and was leading 2 – 1. Two singles later it was surprising that he was still pitching. Another single later I don’t think anyone at Dodger stadium expected him to face the left hand hitting Naylor with two on and two in the 6th after having thrown 90 pitches except Rich Honeycut and Dave Roberts. The Dodgers only had a right-hander warming up when clearly the lineup card showed a left-handed hitter in a dangerous spot. May had already thrown over 90 pitches in his debut and taking him out with Naylor up would have made the most sense but for whatever reason Dave Roberts decided to let the kid try to get out of his jam. I guess with a 16 game lead you can try things you normally wouldn’t.
It didn’t work, as Naylor hit a rocket that Negron tried to run down but as he slammed into the fence, Negron was unable to make the circus catch. Negron who is normally an infielder was pressed into CF because “surprise” AJ Pollock was hurting. I doubt Pollock even comes to close to making that catch unless he was playing Naylor in a completely different way than Negron did. The hit was the ballgame, as the Dodger offense took the night off other than a booming two-run home run by Cody Bellinger.
In the end, Dustin May has the worst game score for a LAD debut but for five innings he gave up zero runs, and at times showed why he is the Dodgers top pitching prospect. With Ryu and Stripling down, for the time being, Dodger fans will get to see Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May a few more times.
Player Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H ER BB SO GSc Dustin May 2019-08-02 LAD SDP L 2-5 5.2 9 3 0 3 40 Terry Wells 1990-07-03 LAD CHC W 7-6 6.0 8 4 1 6 41 Hyun-Jin Ryu 2013-04-02 LAD SFG L 0-3 6.1 10 1 0 5 50 Sandy Vance 1970-04-26 LAD NYM L 1-3 6.0 4 3 1 0 51 Dennys Reyes 1997-07-13 LAD SFG W 9-3 6.0 4 3 4 6 54 Jim Neidlinger 1990-08-01 LAD SFG L 1-2 6.0 7 1 1 3 56 Jose De Leon 2016-09-04 LAD SDP W 7-4 6.0 5 3 0 9 57 Stephen Fife 2012-07-17 LAD PHI L 2-3 6.0 4 1 3 1 58 Don Sutton 1966-04-14 LAD HOU L 2-4 7.0 7 2 1 7 59 Clayton Kershaw 2008-05-25 LAD STL W 4-3 6.0 5 2 1 7 60 Doyle Alexander 1971-06-26(2) LAD SDP W 4-3 8.0 7 2 0 3 63 Matt Magill 2013-04-27 LAD MIL L 4-6 6.2 4 2 2 7 63 Rick Sutcliffe 1976-09-29 LAD HOU W 1-0 5.0 2 0 1 3 65 Shawn Hillegas 1987-08-09 LAD ATL W 5-2 8.2 7 2 3 6 65 Ramon Martinez 1988-08-13 LAD SFG W 2-1 7.2 4 1 4 5 68 Kazuhisa Ishii 2002-04-06 LAD COL W 9-2 5.2 2 0 3 10 72 Nick Willhite 1963-06-16(2) LAD CHC W 2-0 9.0 5 0 1 6 82 Pedro Astacio 1992-07-03(2) LAD PHI W 2-0 9.0 3 0 4 10 87