Lakers get their marquee big man once again

It took longer than usual but with one big swoop the Lakers finally ended up with someone else’s marquee big man once again. The story of the Lakers championships have all had their genesis in trading for coveted “generational” big man from Wilt Chamberlain to Pau Gasol.

Way back in 1968, the Los Angeles Lakers had zero banners because they kept losing to the Celtics and Knicks in the finals. Wilt Chamberlain had one championship on his belt and was by far the best big man if not the best player in the league when he was traded to the Lakers for Jerry Chambers, Archie Clark and Darrall Imhoff.  Elgin Baylor was no longer one of the best players in the league but Jerry West still was. Even so, it still took the Lakers a few years before they won their only Championship with Wilt. The 1972 team is the team that I can still recount from heart. West/Goodrich/Hairston/McMillian/Wilt with huge contributions off the bench from Keith Erickson/Flynn Robinson/Leroy Ellis and of course Pat Riley.

By 1975 both Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain had retired and the team was starting a youth movement behind Elmore Smith and Brian Winters. The best big man in the NBA was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and when he became available the Lakers trashed their youth movement and traded their youth movement for the best player in the league. Players headed to the Bucks were Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters.  Laker fans need to remember that even with Kareem they only won 40 games the first year. It would take time to build a team around him after they gave up their four best players to the Bucks.  It wasn’t until Magic Johnson joined the team in 1979/1980 that the Kareem Lakers would win a championship. Together, Kareem and Magic would win five championships.

The Kareem era ended in 1989 and so did the Lakers Championships. The Lakers would not win another championship until they got their next superstar big man. Once again they went after the best player in basketball and signed Shaq in the summer of 1997. They also traded for a skinny young kid named Kobe that same summer. Shaq was never able to win a championship for the Lakers until Kobe came of age, and “together’ they won three straight championships from 1999/2000 – 2001/2002. By 2004, Shaq was gone and so was any attempts at championships.

To get back to a championship level team, the Lakers needed a big man star to team with Kobe and they find their next big superstar big in Pau Gasol.  On Feb. 1, 2008, the Memphis Grizzlies traded Pau to the Lakers for his younger brother Marc Gasol, Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, Aaron McKie and two first-round picks. Pau was just what the Lakers needed to team up with Kobe and those two won back to back titles in 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.

Now the Lakers have traded for arguably the best big man in the league today in Anthony Davis. They will team him up with Lebron James. A player in his prime with a player starting his decline years. This isn’t Shaq and Kobe in their prime or Kobe/Pau in their prime, or even a prime Kareem with a budding childman in Magic. It is a dynamic duo but unlike Kareem or Shaq, Anthony Davis has zero titles to his name and hasn’t even played in a conference final yet even though his talents are far above most players in the league. On the other side of him will be Lebron James. On the surface this appears a perfect fit, and it probably will be if they can both stay healthy when the toll of the postseason hits. This summer we saw what happens when you start playing the grueling postseason from start to finish. Lebron may get the team to the playoffs but can the oft-injured Anthony Davis and the old Lebron James survive the postseason marathon to bring another title to the storied Laker franchise? The upcoming season is the perfect season for it to happen with the wounded Warriors having little chance to return to the conference finals with two of their big four out for the upcoming season.

I like this trade for both teams, the Lakers needed Anthony Davis and rolling the dice on him will get the Lakers to a championship level at the speed they need with an aging Lebron James on the clock.  The Pelicans might be drafting the best future big man in basketball, and if he is, combining him with the young talent the Lakers are sending their way could make them formidable in very quick order.

Wouldn’t it be great if by 2020/2021 the Western Conference finals was a grudge match between the Pelicans and the Lakers?

Advertisements

Is Madbum really a monster?

Max Muncy hit a home run off of Madison Bumgarner and watched it soar toward the Bay and Madison Bumgarner reacted predictably and started yelling at Max. Max yelled back and we had one of the great retorts in Pitcher / Hitter history.

Shawn Green who was doing the Dodger analyst after the game said the quote was great because most of the time, the player can’t think of a great comeback line while in the moment but Muncy did and most of us at home could only nod as we’ve all been in a situation where we needed a snappy comeback line but could only think of it after the moment had passed.

Anyway, this article isn’t about Max Muncy though it could be because Max has followed up his “fluky” 2018 with a season that might even be better considering his remarkable improvement on the defensive side of the diamond.

This is about Madison Bumgarner. He infuriates Dodger fans when he gets in the face of the hitters who have big moments off of him. Mad commented on it last night and Jon Weisman tweeted about the comment:

And predictably Dodger fans jumped all over Bumgarner including Jon. But I disagree with most of you for several reasons, but mainly for this one. I just had a hunch based on watching Bumgarner pitch against the Dodgers for almost ten years. What stays with most of us is the Bumgarner who confronted Puig and created the memorable “Don’t look at me” meme.  What I remember however is that Bum never threw at Puig to make a point. He yelled at him, he vented, it was done. I couldn’t remember Bumgarner throwing at a Dodger to “get even” for pimping.  To find out if that was true I went to the trusted Baseball Reference and looked up all the Dodgers that Bumgarner has hit since 2010. It isn’t very many. Bumgarner has hit only eight Dodgers and hasn’t hit any since 2016.  If you take the time to look at this link

Dodgers hitters, hit by Madison Bumgarner since 2010

You will find that only once when he hit Hanley Ramirez in 2014 could it have been on purpose without putting the game in jeopardy since all the other games were within one or two runs. Whatever you think of Madison, I would hope that most of us would agree that he cares too much about winning to put a game in jeopardy to make a point. Mad did hit Puig, but it was back in 2014 and the Giants were down 1 – 0 and the count was 1 -2.

So my point here is simple. I would much rather have a pitcher scream and pout at a hitter and get that out of his system instead of being a silent assassin and waiting for a cheap shot to get back at the hitter. No harm is done by vetting, but real damage is done by the hit by pitch. The Dodgers may have lost a chance for a World Series ring in 2014 when Hanley Ramirez was hit “on purpose” by Joe Kelly.  Some people like to compare Mad to Don Drysdale, but Don Drysdale hit over 150 hitters and did it to make a point. Though I do agree that if anyone had pimped a home run off of Big D there wouldn’t have been any yelling, there would have been a major brouhaha

Does Madison Bumgarner look silly when he confronts the hitter? Sure, is it any more silly than all the various things hitters do now when they are successful? I don’t think so.  His confrontations have added excitement to the game. Where would we be without the “Don’t look at me meme”? Shirtless, and some people would have to find a new twitter name.

I’m sure Madison is a jerk, but does he have the right to yell at players who pimp home runs? In my opinion, he does, just as those players have the right to pimp.

I not so secretly think that Dodger fans like to jump on Madison because he did what Clayton Kershaw could never do. He put his team on his back and carried them to a World Series title even though he was never the pitcher in his prime that Clayton was in his and that was unforgivable.

Corey Seager isn’t the shiny new SS anymore

Hard to believe but Corey Seager is already twenty-five years old and while Dodger fans wait for the 22/23 Seager to show up, the team down south in San Diego has the shiny new shortstop who has already been ordained the best young Shortstop in California.

We won’t get to see Fernando Tatis Jr. this trip against the Padres due to his untimely injury but the 20-year-old has lived up to the hype and is probably the odds on favorite to be the next National League ROY.  Meanwhile, Corey Seager is laboring at SS for the Dodgers. Dave Roberts continues to bat Seager near the top of the lineup, and Corey continues to make critical out after critical out.  All those outs have been masked by the brilliance of Cody Bellinger, but there will come a time when Cody can’t do it all, and it would be a good time for Seager to get it going when that happens.  Until the bat wakes up, Corey is just an afterthought at the Shortstop position with Javier Baez, Paul DeJong, Tatis Jr., Trevor Story, and even Dansby Swanson outperforming the one time Dodger stud.

Player               WAR/pos  PA OPS+ Age Lg   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Javier Baez              2.1 128  155  26 NL .314 .352 .653 1.004
Paul DeJong              2.1 135  159  25 NL .333 .393 .585  .978
Fernando Tatis Jr.       1.6 111  145  20 NL .300 .360 .550  .910
Dansby Swanson           1.4 120  126  25 NL .262 .333 .534  .867
Trevor Story             1.4 141  113  26 NL .272 .348 .520  .868
Nick Ahmed               0.9 125   81  29 NL .261 .304 .400  .704
Jose Iglesias            0.7  91   98  29 NL .302 .341 .419  .759
Corey Seager             0.4 130   81  25 NL .228 .323 .351  .674
Jean Segura              0.3  87  133  29 NL .338 .391 .500  .891
Miguel Rojas             0.3 100   94  30 NL .286 .340 .352  .692
Orlando Arcia            0.2 113   77  24 NL .231 .292 .385  .677
Erik Gonzalez           -0.1  59   62  27 NL .216 .298 .294  .592
Amed Rosario            -0.2 119   95  23 NL .268 .311 .393  .704
Wilmer Difo             -0.6  89   69  27 NL .238 .307 .338  .644

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2019.

 

Justin Turner is just about ready

If you have access to Spectrum or are an out of town Dodger fan you have heard Joe Davis say over and over that Justin Turner doesn’t hit in April. The stats don’t lie as Turner has only three home runs in 480 plate appearances in April.  Turner hits more in May but his bat doesn’t historically catch fire until June. I think if Turner can stay healthy this May that he’ll hit more like June this summer and erase the doubts that his bat is slowing down.

If you don’t have Spectrum, you might find the Turner splits interesting.

These are his career splits.

Split           G  PA   H 2B HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  TB
April/March   148 480 124 27  3  43 .289 .353 .378 .730 162
May           166 559 139 31 11  73 .283 .360 .413 .773 203
June          155 576 152 26 25  86 .302 .381 .511 .892 257
July          138 504 130 34 14  56 .291 .363 .461 .824 206
August        177 652 161 40 24  82 .279 .354 .484 .838 279
Sept/Oct      183 635 168 46 17  75 .304 .385 .487 .873 269

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/3/2019.

 

 

Alex Verdugo is the poster child for “Let the kids play”

MLB has created an ad campaign around “Let the kids play” and no one epitomizes that more on the Dodgers than Alex Verdugo.  You might have thought that with Yasiel Puig gone the Dodgers would no longer have a child-man playing in the outfield but the brash massive gold chain wearing center fielder Alex Verdugo is a bundle of emotion that erupts in jubilation whenever he successfully does something significant with the bat.

Many Dodger fans had no idea what they had in Alex Verdugo because the Dodgers had kept him under wraps because of the depth of their outfield and 2019 looked to be more of the same. You can’t fault the Dodgers for signing A.J. Pollock because the deal was so team friendly but when they failed to trade Joc Pederson it put Verdugo squarely on the bench. I even “wrongly” argued that Verdugo would be better off in AAA until the Dodger figured out a way to playing time for him.  Instead, Verdugo took every opportunity to show that he was a major league starter and finished April with one of the best age 23 or younger months in LAD history.

With Pollock once again on the disabled list for a significant amount of time, Alex Verdugo has had one of his roadblocks to playing time removed.  If the Dodgers are lucky they might even have the rare left-handed hitter who can hit left-handed pitchers. Joc Pederson is a platoon player for a very valid reason, he can’t hit left-handed pitching. (career .570 OPS against LHP).  Andre Ethier was basically a platoon player for the same reason given his career .633 OPS against LHP. Alex Verdugo is crushing LHP, but in very limited sample size.

Cody Bellinger put up one the greatest Aprils in Dodger history, but when you look at Aprils for Dodgers, twenty-three or younger, Verdugo is right there with Joc Pederson, Adrian Beltre, Willie and Tommie Davis, and Corey Seager. That is a great leaderboard list to be part of.

Player                 Split Year  PA 2B HR   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Cody Bellinger   April/March 2019 132  6 14 .431 .508 .890 1.397
Joc Pederson     April/March 2015  77  5  4 .298 .461 .596 1.057
Adrian Beltre    April/March 1999  93  8  1 .355 .441 .553  .993
Alex Verdugo     April/March 2019  72  4  4 .333 .361 .623  .984
Willie Davis     April/March 1962  65  1  5 .298 .369 .614  .983
Tommy Davis      April/March 1962  81  7  5 .316 .333 .646  .979
Corey Seager     April/March 2017 107  6  5 .319 .411 .549  .961
Tommy Davis      April/March 1961  75  3  5 .309 .373 .574  .947
Bill Russell     April/March 1969  70  2  1 .304 .443 .464  .907

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2019.

The Rookie of the Year race has been dominated by Pete Alonso on the East Coast and Fernando Tatis on the West Coast, but Alex Verdugo is right there in the discussion.  Will be curious to see if he still in the discussion a month from now.

Name                 Age OPS+  PA Year  Tm Lg 2B 3B HR RBI SO
Pete Alonso           24  175 128 2019 NYM NL  8  1  9  26 36
Alex Verdugo          23  157  76 2019 LAD NL  4  2  4  16  9
Christian Walker      28  150 116 2019 ARI NL 10  0  7  15 34
Fernando Tatis Jr.    20  145 111 2019 SDP NL  5  1  6  13 32

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/3/2019.

Cody Bellinger Dodger home run king at age 23

Cody Bellinger passed Adrian Beltre last night to be the first Dodger aged 23 or younger to hit at least 77 home runs. It must be noted that Beltre hit his 76 home runs in roughly twice as many plate appearances as Cody.  At age 23, Beltre had been an inconsistent performer for the Dodgers but in two years at the age of 25, Beltre would break out with an MVP type season that included  48 home runs.

Bellinger would need to hit seventy home runs between now and the end of the 2021 season to beat out Beltre who ended his Dodger career with 147 home runs. Given he has 5/6 of 2019 to go, all of 2019, and all of 2020, I’d bet heavily that Bellinger does end his age 25 seasons with at least 147 home runs.  He might have a shot at between 180 and 200 career home runs by age 25.  And unlike Beltre, he won’t be a free agent after his age 25 season.

Player           HR From   To   Age   PA
Cody Bellinger   77 2017 2019 21-23 1296
Adrian Beltre    76 1998 2002 19-23 2553
Duke Snider      59 1947 1950 20-23 1560
Tommy Davis      53 1959 1962 20-23 1594
Corey Seager     52 2015 2017 21-23 1413

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/27/2019.

 

Bellinger crushes Total Base record for April

With four days still left in April Cody Bellinger now owns the historical total base record for the month of April.

Player                  Split Year HR  PA 2B 3B TB
Cody Bellinger    April/March 2019 13 116  6  1 89
Chase Utley       April/March 2008 11 128 10  1 85
Jermaine Dye      April/March 2000 11 111 12  0 83
Alex Rodriguez    April/March 2007 14 106  7  0 82
Larry Walker      April/March 1997 11 106  6  1 82
Ken Griffey Jr.   April/March 1997 13 119  5  1 81
Alfonso Soriano   April/March 2003  9 138  6  1 81

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/27/2019.

Some leaderboard records are filled with some flukes but the seven players who had at least 80 total bases in March/April were all bonafide stars at the time.

Maybe even more important. The year that Chase Utley had 85 total bases in 2008, the Phillies won the World Series.

We will hold off until the end of April before we show every leaderboard he showed up on with this monumental April but it will be a few. One home run away from the tying Pujols and Arod for most home runs in March/April. Three RBI from most RBI in March/April.

Cody has already crushed all of the Dodger leaderboards for March/April but might as well create the full month leaderboards when the month is complete.

Suffice to say this hitting month by Cody Bellinger is reminiscent of the 1981 Fernando run to start the season.  We are watching things no one has ever seen before, no matter how old you are.

 

Barnes is crashing, Martin is badly needed

Austin Barnes barreled out of the gates this year and after the first seven games seemed to affirm the faith the Dodgers had in letting him be the everyday catcher.  Barnes had an OPS of 1.328 on April 7th. The Dodgers left the sweet confines of Coors and it appears that Barnes left his bat behind. Since leaving Coors, Barnes is 3 for 33 with zero extra base hits, four walks, and has an OPS of .512.

Overall his numbers look very much like they did in 2018 which is not a good thing. Russell Martin got hurt and Barnes is playing way more than he should be and you can hope that is why he is struggling. We will find out, as Martin is due back this week, and Rocky Gale can go back to the depth cage of AAA.

I’m not sure we can count on much offense from either Barnes or Martin, but the Dodger offense in April has shown they can carry a weak bat at catcher. It is doubtful that Cody Bellinger and Joc Pederson will be hitting over twenty home runs per month but as they cool down, Justin Turner, Cory Seager, Max Muncy, and AJ Pollock will step it up.

Looking at the last seven days, I was surprised to see how bad Muncy/Verdugo/Hernandez have been. I knew Turner/Taylor/Barnes were all struggling but hadn’t quite noticed that so many Dodgers were struggling to hit. It really has been just the Cody and Joc show with Pollock and Seager quietly producing.

Player                    Split Year   OPS PA HR RBI   BA  OBP  SLG TB
Cody Bellinger      Last 7 days 2019 1.177 22  2   5 .389 .455 .722 13
Joc Pederson        Last 7 days 2019 1.109 19  2   2 .313 .421 .688 11
A.J. Pollock        Last 7 days 2019  .990 16  1   3 .231 .375 .615  8
Corey Seager        Last 7 days 2019  .826 18  0   1 .313 .389 .438  7
Max Muncy           Last 7 days 2019  .597 18  1   2 .125 .222 .375  6
Enrique Hernandez   Last 7 days 2019  .548 14  1   3 .083 .214 .333  4
Alex Verdugo        Last 7 days 2019  .523 12  0   1 .182 .250 .273  3
Justin Turner       Last 7 days 2019  .387 19  0   0 .071 .316 .071  1
Austin Barnes       Last 7 days 2019  .277 15  0   0 .077 .200 .077  1
Chris Taylor        Last 7 days 2019  .222  9  0   0 .111 .111 .111  1
David Freese        Last 7 days 2019  .167  6  0   0 .000 .167 .000  0
Rocky Gale          Last 7 days 2019  .000  2  0   0 .000 .000 .000  0

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/23/2019.

Rarely does a Clipper loss look so bright

The Clippers lost on Sunday to the best team in the NBA, but they didn’t go easily and even in the loss, the Clippers could take solace in the play of their rookies. The team is in the playoffs because of Lou Williams/Montrezl Harrell/Danilo Gallinari but they all failed to play at the level Clipper fans were used to seeing from them. Yet, at one time the Clippers led the game 87 – 82 and it was because of three rookies. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Landrey Shamit, and even Jerome Robinson.

Shai-Gilgeous Alexander had fourteen points in the first quarter and would go on to have the greatest playoff game of any Clipper rookie in history. Big deal, how many Clippers rookies have even played in a playoff game? That is a good point so I went to basketball reference to see just how great a game this rookie had.  SGA had a game score of 17.9 so I looked up all the rookie game scores in the postseason of at least 15. There were a ton. So I continued to cherry pick and looked for all of the game scores of at least 15 in the postseason for a player age 20 or younger.

It is no surprise that Magic Johnson sits on top of this list because his game six in the 1980 postseason was the greatest game I’ve ever seen as a fan. But he is also number one and two. Both games came in the NBA finals. There is a reason that Magic Johnson is one of the top ten possibly top five and even to some the greatest player to ever play the game.

You can see the Jayson Tatum run from last year as he had seven games make the list.

You will also see Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander on this list. Not that far down. Sandwiched between Jayson Tatum and Carmelo Anthony.

So to be clear. The list below is every NBA player with a game score of at least 15 in the postseason who was 20 years or younger.

Player                       Age Pos       Date  Tm FT FTA TRB AST STL BLK TOV PTS GmSc
Magic Johnson             20-276 G-F 1980-05-16 LAL 14  14  15   7   3   1   5  42 39.6
Magic Johnson             20-271 G-F 1980-05-11 LAL  8  10   9   9   3   1   3  28 31.1
Derrick Rose              20-196   G 2009-04-18 CHI 12  12   4  11   1   0   5  36 30.4
Jayson Tatum              20-081   F 2018-05-23 BOS  7   8   7   4   4   2   2  24 23.0
Stephon Marbury           20-063   G 1997-04-24 MIN  4   6   4   4   1   0   0  28 22.1
Magic Johnson             20-264 G-F 1980-05-04 LAL  0   0   9  10   3   0   2  16 21.9
Brandon Jennings          20-206   G 2010-04-17 MIL  2   4   3   3   1   0   3  34 21.5
Harrison Barnes           20-328   F 2013-04-23 GSW  4   4   6   2   1   0   0  24 21.2
Brandon Jennings          20-215   G 2010-04-26 MIL  5   5   4   6   1   0   1  23 20.0
Tony Parker               19-345   G 2002-04-27 SAS  2   4   5   4   1   0   1  23 19.6
James Harden              20-239   G 2010-04-22 OKC  7   8   5   3   2   0   0  18 19.1
Harrison Barnes           20-335   F 2013-04-30 GSW  4   4   9   1   2   1   1  23 19.0
Jayson Tatum              20-067   F 2018-05-09 BOS  9  11   3   4   1   0   2  25 18.4
Jayson Tatum              20-058   F 2018-04-30 BOS 11  12   3   2   0   1   4  28 18.2
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander   20-283   G 2019-04-21 LAC  4   4   2   2   1   0   2  25 17.9
Carmelo Anthony           19-331   F 2004-04-24 DEN  4   4  10   4   1   0   3  24 17.8
Amare Stoudemire          20-154 F-C 2003-04-19 PHO  5   6   9   0   0   2   4  24 17.8
Tony Parker               19-338   G 2002-04-20 SAS  0   0   1   3   1   0   1  21 17.8
Amare Stoudemire          20-166 F-C 2003-05-01 PHO  2   3  10   3   3   1   2  18 17.8
Harrison Barnes           20-349   F 2013-05-14 GSW  3   4   7   1   0   1   1  25 17.3
Tony Parker               19-358   G 2002-05-10 SAS  5   6   1   5   1   0   2  24 17.3
Kawhi Leonard             20-335   F 2012-05-29 SAS  1   1  10   0   1   2   1  18 17.2
Kawhi Leonard             20-321   F 2012-05-15 SAS  3   4   6   1   3   1   2  16 17.0
Derrick Rose              20-208   G 2009-04-30 CHI  4   6   8   7   0   1   5  28 16.7
Brandon Jennings          20-217   G 2010-04-28 MIL  7   8   4   3   1   1   2  25 16.4
Derrick Rose              20-204   G 2009-04-26 CHI  3   4  11   9   0   0   7  23 16.1
Larry Hughes              20-112   G 1999-05-15 PHI  6   6   7   3   1   2   1  14 16.1
Myles Turner              20-028 C-F 2016-04-21 IND  3   4   8   1   0   3   1  17 16.0
Kawhi Leonard             20-308   F 2012-05-02 SAS  2   2   3   1   2   0   1  17 15.9
Kawhi Leonard             20-339   F 2012-06-02 SAS  0   0   9   0   1   0   2  17 15.9
Jayson Tatum              20-063   F 2018-05-05 BOS  1   4   5   4   1   0   4  24 15.8
Kawhi Leonard             20-325   F 2012-05-19 SAS  1   1   9   1   2   1   1  14 15.8
Jayson Tatum              20-056   F 2018-04-28 BOS  5   5   6   5   0   1   1  20 15.5
Tyrus Thomas              20-263   F 2007-05-07 CHI  8  11   4   1   3   1   1  18 15.5
Thaddeus Young            19-311   F 2008-04-27 PHI  4   4   9   3   0   0   0  15 15.5
Jayson Tatum              20-050   F 2018-04-22 BOS  5   6   3   3   2   0   1  21 15.4
James Harden              20-241   G 2010-04-24 OKC  7   8   5   4   2   1   1  15 15.2
Jayson Tatum              20-054   F 2018-04-26 BOS  8   9   3   3   2   0   3  22 15.0

Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/23/2019.

Jovan Buha, the Clipper beat writer for The Athletic wrote this about the game.

Game 4 was the actualization of all of Gilgeous-Alexander’s scoring gifts and instincts in one package. It was everything that makes him such a tantalizing long-term prospect — and potentially an All-Star down the line. The size, the pace, the touch, the confidence.

The Clippers have big plans for the summer of 2019 centered around Kawi Leonard and Anthony Davis but if none of them work out and the kids are all still here, I look forward to watching Landry Shamet and SGA grow up together in the backcourt.   Are championships in their future? Probably not, Portland has gotten to watch Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum grow into a devasting backcourt but they don’t have any championships in their past or future. They also didn’t have Kawi who I really hope is a Clipper in a few months. 

Anyone curious how Bellingers first 100 Plate Appearances of 2019 compare to Puig’s in 2013?

Cody Bellinger has now accumulated 100 plate appearances and it is probably the greatest stretch of 100 plate appearances we will ever see from a Dodger.  I thought it would be fun to compare this stretch to the first 100 PA of Puig when Puig first showed up, because they are both age 23, they are both playing right field, and those first 100 plate appearances by Puig was probably the greatest stretch of offense and defense I’ve seen from any Dodger in my lifetime.

Now I had to stop at 98 for Puig because that is where the Baseball Ref Game log took me. That stretch is from game one on June one on June 3rd, to game 24 on June 28th.

It is cool to see that they both have the exact same batting average (.424), but Bellinger blows Puig away in OBP and Slug. During that Puig stretch, we have to remember the throws he made that put his arm on the map, but Bellinger has made a few of his own defensive highlight reels, taking a home run away from Yelich the other day.

Year                Age PA  R  H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS 
Bellinger - 2019    23 100 26 36  4  1 11  28 13 12 .424 .500 .882 1.382
Puig      - 2019    23 98  16 39  4  0 7   16 4  19 .424 .459 .696 1.155

Thanks to Baseball Reference for this information.