It has been a downhill ride since Kenley Jansen gave Dodger fans a heart attack when his heartbeat went on a wild ride but I can’t help but think that over the long run this extended absence will result in someone stepping up and plug the gaping gap that has plagued the Dodgers.
It would be unexpected if that player is Pedro Baez but for one night on Wednesday, he did what no other Dodger had been able to do for five games. Pedro pitched scoreless innings at the back end of a game and gave the Dodger offense the opportunity to break the five game skid.
It won’t be late-season addition John Axford who quickly got hurt and is out for the foreseeable future. Which was too bad because he was one of the few relief pitchers who didn’t implode in Colorado, but he didn’t make it out safely.
It won’t be Tony Cingrani who was a fantastic addition last August but this Cingrani looks to be shelved until September.
It won’t be Josh Fields who might not be back before Kenley Jansen.
It won’t be Tom Koehler who was signed this past winter to help with the loss of Brandon Morrow but never pitched for the Dodgers this year and won’t as he is out for the year.
It seems like the Dodgers lost every game since Friday in the last inning until Wednesday Night but last Friday, they simply gave up the lead in the 7th inning. Zac Rosscup was the culprit last Friday. On Saturday it was Scott Alexander and JT Chargois who combined to blow the 9th inning lead. Sunday it was Dylan Floro who picked a bad time to have his worst outing of 2018. Monday may have been the nadir when Scott Alexander gave up four runs trying to hold a 2 – 1 lead. Pedro Baez got the last out of the 9th inning on Monday. Alex Wood could only go five innings on Tuesday so it was left to the bullpen to save that game. JT Chargois, Dylan Floro, and Caleb Ferguson combined for three shutout innings and turned the game over to Kenta Maeda who had been pulled from the rotation for this occasion. Kenta didn’t have much room for error with the game tied at one and gave up the winning run. Fans were clamoring for Caleb Ferguson to get his chance and he got his chance on Wednesday Night. Caleb entered the game with the Dodgers up by three runs in the eighth inning following a scoreless inning by JT Chargois. Caleb promptly gave up a three-run home run and the score was tied. At that point, most fans were just wondering which Dodger pitcher would give up the winning run, but the worm turned. Erik Goeddel hadn’t pitched since Aug 2nd showed up and gave the Dodgers four big scoreless outs. Erik was followed by Scott Alexander who got three more outs. Dave Roberts held his breath and gave the ball to Pedro Baez who shocked everyone (most everyone) by getting six perfect outs and setting up the Dodgers for the walk off win in the 12th.
So who among those standing can handle the 9th if the Dodgers have the lead? For years Pedro Baez has been the understudy to Kenley Jansen but mixed in with great streaks were some memorable meltdowns and entering Wednesday Night only a few Dodger fans still trusted the ball in his hands. Baez had fallen so far down the pecking order that when he gave up four runs on Aug 9th while recording only one out, it was wildly postulated that Pedro might never pitch for the Dodgers again. Pedro Baez not only pitched for the Dodgers again, he might have saved their season. To bold a statement? Maybe, but he did several things Wednesday Night. He pitched scoreless innings at the end of the game, something no Dodger had done in a week. He gave the team a chance to win. With all the momentum going against him, he gave the Dodgers two perfect innings. Pedro might not pitch again this week but could have earned the Dodger Player of the Week with that effort. One win could be the deciding factor this season.
One huge win.
All of the Dodger pitchers have talent. Chargois, Alexander, Floro, Ferguson, Goeddel, and Kenta could all step up but will any of them do it? Daniel Hudson is on the mend and should join the team this weekend. Julio Urias is not far from joining the bullpen. And Pedro Baez.
I don’t know which one will be the guy who will step up over the next few weeks while the team waits for Kenley Jansen to come back, it might be all of them, it might be none of them, but I’m betting on it being someone because that is Dodger baseball.
Dodgers trade a plethora of prospects for a double play combination that might be the best in LAD history.
If Justin Turner can stay healthy enough to play most of the time for the rest of 2018, Brian Dozier and Manny Machado will be the Dodgers double play combination and for the life of me, I can’t think of a better combination in LAD history. The same could have been said if the combination was Corey Seager and Brian Dozier.
Gilliam / Wills from 60 – 64 was good but better than Dozier / Machado?
Lefebvre / Wills in 65/66 was good but better than Dozier/Machado?
Lopes / Russell from 73 – 81 was good but better than Dozier / Machado?
Kent / Furcal from 2006 – 2008 was good but better than Dozier / Machado?
Of course for this to mean anything, Brian Dozier will need to hit like he did in 2016 and 2017 and not what he’s hitting right now. If he does though, we could be looking at the best double play combination in LAD history and in Dodger history since the heyday of Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese.
The Dodgers accomplished all this without gving up any prospects that dented my heart.
To be fair, when the Dodgers traded Yordan Alvarez for Josh Fields I didn’t really care either because I liked Fields and didn’t know much about Alvarez other than he was another Cuban bonus baby so my expectations were low for him.
A few years later, it is easily the one trade that the Dodgers probably wish they had talked Houston into a different player. Maybe even a different Cuban with the first letter of Y and the last name of Alvarez . Maybe this is normal in Cuba but the Dodgers had Yordan Alvarez and Yadier Alvarez both Cuban bonus babies. They held onto Yadier and traded Yordon.
Anyway, this year the Dodgers traded these guys.
July 4, 2018
July 11, 2018
July 18, 2018
July 31, 2018
Don’t get me wrong, I did like the promise of Diaz, the growth of Rylan Bannon, and enticing future for James Marinan but given the return of Manny Machado, Brian Dozier, and Dylan Floro I didn’t bat an eye on the price.
The Dodgers have also made it easier for me by trading both Dean Kremer and Devin Smeltzer so that I won’t confuse them anymore.
In 2015 the big Dodger deadline deal was Alex Wood to bolster the starting rotation. In 2016 the big Dodger deadline deal was Rich Hill to bolster the starting rotation. In 2017 the big Dodger deadline deal was Yu Darvish to bolster the starting rotation.
None of those transactions helped the Dodgers win a World Series and one could even argue that the Yu Darvish trade hindered their goal since he shit the bed so badly in the World Series. I openly advocated for the Dodgers to trade for Yu last summer which was a win until the World Series but in hindsight, I and the Dodgers should have set their sights on Verlander but he wouldn’t have fit into their future plans to get under the Luxury Tax.
In 2018 with Wood and Hill still a part of the rotation the Dodgers have gone in a totally different direction and added slugging infielders in an attempt to slug their way to their next World Championship.
There was only one pitcher who was thought to be available who might have been a difference maker and was Jacob DeGrom, but the New York Mets were not interested in trading DeGrom so the Dodgers focused on adding offense. Having lost Corey Seager for the year, it seems like the Dodgers made the prudent move in getting Manny Machado. Adding Brian Dozier yesterday was icing on the cake. Much has been made about what a great second half hitter Dozier has been over the last few years, but in the past he has also crushed left-handed pitching. In 2018 however, Dozier only has a .722 OPS against LHP compared to his career .872 OPS against LHP. Keep in mind that when we acquired Logan Forsythe in 2017 it was because he also had a history of crushing LHP but once Logan became a Dodger he couldn’t hit any kind of pitching. I expect Dozier to do what Logan could not do, and hit as a Dodger. Because he’s simply a better hitter and better player overall. I would not be surprised if the Dozier acquisition does not become a huge asset for the Dodgers the rest of this year.
Yazmani Grandal put up a July OPS of 1.215 becoming only one of six Dodgers to ever have a July OPS higher than 1.200 with at least 80 plate appearances. None of them were catchers, no Mike Piazza or Campy Campanella.
Player Split Year PA HR RBI OPS TB Duke Snider July 1955 126 11 30 1.217 75 Jeff Kent July 2007 86 5 20 1.237 56 Frank Howard July 1962 108 12 41 1.282 83 Babe Herman July 1929 134 6 24 1.283 92 Pedro Guerrero July 1985 80 4 13 1.356 50 Pedro Guerrero July 1987 102 6 16 1.203 56 Yasmani Grandal July 2018 82 6 14 1.215 48
July was an interesting month for the Dodgers. We already saw what Grandal did, and the next four highest wRC+ hitters in July were part-time Dodgers in July. Alex Verdugo who was mostly in AAA, Puig who was mostly on the DL, and Manny Machado who was mostly an Oriole, followed by Chase Utley who was mostly on the bench.
Max Muncy ended July with a decent wRC+ but hasn’t hit a lick in two weeks. Same can be said for Matt Kemp. Joc Pederson had a nice July to go with his great June. Chris Taylor had a bizarre July. Chris drove in a team-high 20 runs but struck out 35% of the time, and his walk rate crashed to 5%. Justin Turner was probably the worse three hitter in baseball in July before going back on the DL. Cody Bellinger wasn’t able to build on his June and struggled most of the month of July.
If you felt that Logan Forsythe was striking out half the time he was up, you were almost correct. 38% is close enough to 50% for that line of thinking to be validated. Hopefully, Logan can get squared away with the Twins but has been two years of futility for the one-time stud second baseman for the Rays.
Looking at the numbers, Kiké was bad in July. No other way to spin it unless you look at his BABIP which was a team low of .129. That has to correct itself.
The Dodgers will head into August with a brand new double-play combination in Brian Dozier and Manny Machado once Justin Turner comes off the DL. Where that leaves Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Chris Taylor for two spots is anyone’s guess.
July is in the books and a familiar face led the Dodgers staff in fWAR for the first time this year. In a normal Dodger year, Clayton Kershaw would lead the Dodgers in fWAR about five out of six months but it took until July for Clayton to take his accustomed spot at the top of the Dodger monthly fWAR leaderboard.
Only six pitchers made starts in July as everyone returned to health and all of them were a plus which is a good reason why the Dodgers did not bother to acquire another starter at the deadline.
The bullpen was lead by Scott Alexander but everyone except Daniel Hudson pitched well. Caleb Ferguson and J.T. Chargois were both exceptional. Chargois returned from AAA on fire and did not walk a batter in nine appearances covering twenty-three outs.
With Ferguson and Alexander the two lone lefties the Dodgers can count on right now, adding a pitcher like John Axford who has held lefties to a .555 OPS. It will be interesting to see if Dave Roberts uses him as the splits suggest he should.
20-year old infielder Omar Estevez is playing his second season for Rancho in Class A+ ball after having an underwhelming season in 2017. Given his age, I was surprised that he dropped so far in the prospect ranking this spring as he was much younger than the age group for his level. He’s still young for the league as shown by the Baseball Reference chart below.
Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev PA 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB 2014-15 16 -10.7 Matanzas CNS Fgn 90 2 0 2 6 14 .213 .264 .313 .577 25 2016 18 -3.6 GreatLakes MIDW A 508 32 2 9 26 121 .255 .298 .389 .687 183 2017 19 -3.7 RanchoCucamonga CALL A+ 501 24 3 4 33 97 .256 .309 .348 .657 159 2018 20 -2.3 RanchoCucamonga CALL A+ 426 29 2 10 29 111 .262 .314 .427 .740 163 Mino Mino Mino Mino Minors 1435 85 7 23 88 329 .257 .307 .385 .692 505 All All All All 1525 87 7 25 94 343 .255 .304 .381 .686 530
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
The reason for the comment is that in July, Omar has posted his best offensive month in two years, putting up a .822 OPS. Most of the improvement is coming from the slugging side as he has nine doubles and five home runs for the month. Overall, he already has 29 doubles but only ten home runs so 1/2 his home runs have come in July. Many gave up on the Cuban bonus baby, but I didn’t and it is nice to see him starting to have some success.
His keystone partner at Rancho is Gavin Lux who didn’t get a hit or walk on July 28th. It was the first game since June 26th that Lux did not get a hit or walk. As of right now Lux is clearly the top infield prospect in the Dodger system and might be working his way toward being one of the top ten middle infield prospects in all of baseball. I’m not sure what to make of his errors as minor league infield errors could be for a variety of reasons.
Staying with shortstops, Ronny Brito playing for Odgen in the Pioneer League drove in eight runs on Sunday and did it with only one extra-base hit, a three-run home run. Sacrifice Fly, Bases Loaded Walk, Three Run Home Run, Two run single, and One run single. His team won 20 – 19.
Jacob Scavuzzo hit a rough patch this past week after slugging nine home runs in eighty at-bats in July. He’s still having a tremendous July but can’t be promoted to AAA because Oklahoma has Toles/Verdugo still there.
You have to like the innings that young Dustin May it putting up for Rancho. In five of his last seven starts, May has gotten at least twenty-one outs per start. In his last ten starts, he has hurled 64 innings, given up only 47 hits, walked just eleven, while striking out 61.
Tony Gonsolin was promoted from Rancho to Tulsa and was replaced by Leo Crawford. Both have done well for their new teams. Leo Crawford has made five starts for Rancho and has won four of them with a 2.38 ERA. Leo has 30 strikeouts, nine walks in 34 innings. Hitters are batting .268 against him. Gonsolin has made three starts for Tulsa with a 2.84 ERA. Tony has pitched 19 innings, with 26 strikeouts, just three walks, and hitters are only batting against him.
The Dodgers have a somewhat older AAA rotation right now so you would expect them to have some success and Drew Hutchinson, Manny Banuelos, and Brock Stewart are doing just that.
Three of my favorite players were enshrined yesterday into Baseball’s HOF and I couldn’t have been happier.
I’m not sure why I was a Tiger fan in 1984, but I suspect it had to do with Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammel, and Sweet Lou Whitaker. I watched Alan Trammel and Sweet Lou combine for the best keystone duo of their era and possibly in the history of baseball. Alan Trammel should have been in the HOF long ago, so it was great to see a wrong righted. Sweet Lou did the video for Alan during his introduction and it gave me great satisfaction in knowing that the two players who came up the same day and played together every day of their careers, were still close. I did not know or I had forgotten that Alan and Lou were brought up on the same day, that they both got their first hit against the same pitcher on the same day, and that they both got the last hit of their career against the same pitcher. That is what Alan said during his speech. Knowing that players don’t always recall their history correctly I checked Baseball Reference and sure enough on Sept 9th, 1977, they played in their first game and got their first hits off of Reggie Cleveland. On Sept 13th, 1985 Sweet Lou Whitaker got his last hit against Mike Fetters. One year later on Sept 29th, Alan Trammel go his last hit against Mike Fetters. You can’t make this stuff up. I really hope the veterans committee takes a long look at Sweet Lou and gives him the same honor they gave Alan Trammel.
Vlady Guerrero was my favorite hitter from the moment I first saw him hit bad pitches hard. I had heard that Roberto Clemente had this skill but I had never seen it in action until I got to watch Vlady. Something about watching Vlady play baseball made me smile, and watching him smile again yesterday during the ceremonies put another smile on my face. As Dodger fans, we almost got Vlady in 2004, but instead, he went to the Angels and put on an MVP show for the Angels in 2004. Vlady’s last season for the Angels was 2009, Mike Trout showed up in 2011. How cool would it have been if they could have intersected?
My Tiger fandom of the 1980s’ moved across the Great Lakes to Cleveland during the 1990’s. Jim Thome was a big reason for it. Thome hit home runs during an era where everyone hit home runs, but the stigma of PED never touched the big man and his home runs were of the prodigious variety. I was crushed when the Indians were beaten by Chipper’s Braves in 1995 and then disappointed that the group of Murray, Lofton, Alomar, Baerga, Thome, Manny, Alomar, Vizquel, Pena, and Albert Belle were never able to win a Championship.
Chipper Jones was always a joy to watch but he also played for a team that I never really liked even though I appreciated the skill set of those teams. Chipper gave a nice speech and while Dodger fans don’t remember Andruw Jones with any fondness, I sure do and it was nice for Chipper to acknowledge the greatness of Andruw Jones during the time they tore up NL pitching. A Jones really was the best CF I ever saw play the game.
Jack Morris got a lot of flack from the sabermetric crowd for getting into the HOF but I don’t care. For me, he was a big game pitcher and as they talked of him telling his manager that “I’m not coming out” and proceeding to match his braggadocio with a historic World Series performance I can’t help but remember how much I loved that part of baseball when the starting pitcher shook the catchers hands.
My old man thought on this is that you had to actually watch these starters navigate through nine innings to really appreciate what was going down. The current group of relief options that take over games in the 6th inning is what baseball is now about, but in this instance, give me a nine-inning pitcher any day when it comes to the aesthetics of watching a baseball game.
And yes, given the context the 1991 game seven was one of the best games I’ve ever seen pitched and if that is what got Jack Morris over the bump and into the HOF, so be it.
The Dodgers posted four players in the revised MLB Pipeline top 100 that came out this week. Alex Verdugo was 29, Keibert Ruiz was 38, Will Smith was 74, and Dustin May clocked in at 83.
The Dodgers lost Walker Buehler who no longer qualifies as a prospect and no one else graduated into the top ten so the best showing they have right now is Alex Verdugo.
Of the four on the list, I could easily see Dustin May making the biggest run and becoming a top 20 prospect by the end of 2019.
The Dodgers have traded three players who make the top 100 list. Yordan Alvarez who was traded for Josh Fields in 2016. Willie Calhoun who was the centerpiece of the Yu Darvish trade is at 49. Yusniel Diaz who was just traded for Manny Machado is at 57.
It is a bit of a surprise that Willie Calhoun is still a prospect eligible but he has spent most of the summer in AAA. Texas just brought him up earlier this month so this should be the last time he is seen on this list.
In the chat, they did mention that Gavin Lux was very close to breaking into the top 100 and since he is ranked behind Dennis Santana you would expect that Santana was also very close to the top 100.
The Dodgers also traded O’Neil Cruz who his crashing up the Pirate prospect chart is now ranked 5th in their system. At just 19, Cruz is crushing in the Sally League and is only playing shortstop for the Pirates after playing a lot of 3rd base last year for both the Dodger and Pirate organizations.
A bullpen ebbs and flows all season, one moment a Daniel Hudson is handling the class five rapids with aplomb, the next moment he can’t even navigate a simple class one. When one stumbles another takes his place so it is rare that a bullpen has everyone firing on all cylinders and the Dodgers are no exception. The key to bullpen success is having multiple cylinders firing in the right sequence even if one or two are messing with the timing. Right now the Dodger bullpen is getting great work from Alexander, Ferguson, Chargois, and Floro.
It was no surprise to me that Scott Alexander was the man to take the rudder when Hudson started to stumble but it has been a pleasant surprise to see Caleb Ferguson become the multi-inning ace of the bullpen.
Over the last 30 days this is what the Dodger bullpen has done:
Over the last 30 days, Caleb Ferguson has pitched the most innings, has the best ERA/FIP/xFIP and BB/9 in a bullpen that has Kenley Jansen.
The Dodgers are looking to upgrade that bullpen and you can understand why. It would not be prudent to count on Ferguson, Chargois, and Flora to continue to produce at the levels they have pitched like for the past thirty days.
The Dodgers just got Pedro Baez back. Josh Fields and Tony Cingrani are still on the disabled list with no clear timetable for their return. Tom Koehler is now out for the season.
I still think when Ryu is ready in a few weeks, that the Dodgers will have three options by late August for the bullpen, that being Stripling, Buehler, and Urias. A fourth option may even be Dennis Santana who started throwing again and might be able to contribute sometime in Sept.
In my mind, Kershaw, Hill, Kenta, and Wood are the rotation i. I expect Ryu to enter that rotation when he is ready if he finishes his rehab healthy and able to pitch as well as he was doing before he hit the disabled list. I keep hearing that Ross Stripling is not headed for the bullpen but Ross Stripling is eventually headed for the bullpen unless the five starters I just talked about suffer more injuries.
I may go get another relief option but I wouldn’t be trading a Yordan Alvarez for it.
The mid-season MLB Pipeline top 30 prospect list came out today and as was expected, several notable prospects were on the move up, while others were on the move down.
Many prospects from the Pipeline Pre-2018 are gone from the list for various reasons. Some graduated like Walker Buehler, some were traded like Yusniel Diaz, others simply dropped off, and one even did a surprise retirement Imani Abdullah.
The top two are no surprise with Verdugo and Ruiz.
Will Smith, however, is now number three moving up from the nine spot.
As we were speculating before, Dustin May is now the top pitching prospect and holds the 4th spot, making his first move into the top ten.
Dennis Santana is right behind Dustin May at 5.
2016 Number one pick Gavin Lux had made a great showing this summer and has become the top-ranked infielder at 6.
Mitch White still has some believers and has only dropped to 7. Yadier Alvarez and Jeren Kendall are 9 and 10 but why I have no idea. Kendall is simply here because he was the number one pick in 2017 and not because of anything he has done with the bat. The man is 22 in the offensive Cal League and still can’t make contact. Yadier Alvarez has been moved to the bullpen after a series of poor starts and maybe that is where he can find his game.
After what Caleb Ferguson did this year in the minors and his best Andrew Miller imitation in the majors I don’t get how he’s ranked 11th behind Kendall and Alvarez who will have to make huge strides to ever see a major league game.
Quite a few 2018 signees show up. Diego Cartaya leads the pack at 12. He was the top international signing by the Dodgers and was born in…………….2001. In fact, this list now has three players born in the year 2000 or later. We really are in the 21st century now.
Michael Grove was the 2nd round pick of 2018 and he pops in at 13 but before you get excited about that just remember that the 2017 second round pick was Morgan Cooper and he was ranked 21st last year and is no longer ranked as he has yet to throw a professional pitch for the Dodgers.
Tony Gonsolin with a big move up from 24 to 15. Edwin Uceta went from unranked to 16.
On the flip side, Cristian Santana(26), Starling Heredia(27), and Jordan Sheffield(28) are barely hanging onto the top 30 after being ranked 14, 17, and 18 in the preseason. Starling Heredia has been my biggest disappointment this summer but he’s still just 19.
I was happy to see Marshall Kasowski make the list at 25. One of the great comeback stories given the injuries he had received in a vicious head-on car accident.
Shortstops are all over the place. Lux is number 6, Drew Jackson at 21, Errol Robinson at 22, and Ronny Brito at 24.
|ProspecName||BirthDate||AGE||Pipeline Mid-Season||Pipeline Pre-2018||POS|
|Walker Buehler||7/28/1994||23||Not Eligible||1||SP|
|Kyle Farmer||8/17/1990||27||Not Eligible||25||C|