The best part of a 162 game season is that it will shake out the pretenders and allow the cream to rise to the top. When the season started it would have been hard not to see the cream of the 2017 Dodgers. They were kind of loaded from old veterans like Adrian Gonzalez to a superstar MVP candidates like Cory Seager. When you made out the lineup the team didn’t have a hole no matter how Dave Roberts decided to make out the lineup.
Sure the offense would slump, individuals would slump, but over 162 games those slumps would normalize and an above average offense should emerge.
The real cream, however, was the rotation. When you start with the best pitcher in baseball, add in the best young pitcher in baseball, you only need to find three other arms to hand the ball too. Roberts was free to pick and choose between Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Ryu, McCarthy, and Alex Wood. The odds were good that at any time three of those six would be able to carry the workload and do a good job with it. That is exactly what is happening, so while Scott Kazmir and Brock Stewart are doing rehab to possibly help the team later, the Dodgers still have six options for three spots and the competition for those three spots seems to be working. I have no idea how Roberts will manage this rotation, but as they say, it is a nice problem to have.
What I didn’t count on were the globules of Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor who have made the cream rise faster than you’d have expected after a 9 – 11 start. Cody Bellinger showing up before the end of April and simply dominating the game to the point where he will be the Dodgers cleanup hitter from this point going forward against right and left-hand pitching. Chris Taylor playing better than the player he replaced in Logan Forsythe. I did count on Austin Barnes being the best backup catcher the Dodgers have had in a long while and I’m thrilled he’s coming through for them.
This is a good team easily capable of between 90 and 100 wins even if injuries step in. Not using the DL as the injury standard that Dodgers have had to weather losing their 2nd baseman for a month. Their starting 1st baseman was below replacement level due to injuries before finally succumbing to the DL for the first time in his storied career. The young Joc in CF even took a hit.
Wait, that seems like a new column called Fortuitous injuries doesn’t it? Damn, I’ve lost my train of thought, onto the new column.