That’s a wrap
The most successful regular season based on wins has finally concluded with the Dodgers topping out at 104 wins. Even with the Dodgers winning more games in their history it was still a season with a crazy high and a just as crazy low.
It was like the Dodgers had two directors this year, with Alfonso Cuarón manning the helm from April – Aug 15th, and Renny Harlin being asked to take over for a month, while Cuarón spent a month on siesta before coming back and salvaging the disaster that Harlin was turning the season into.
I’ve never quite seen a season like this. For a team that was supposed to win the NL West it ended getting so much help from so many unlikely sources.
Five players that on Feb 1st, were expected to have little to zero impact on the 2017 season but instead turned in an ROY season, a comeback player of the year season (Morrow or Ryu), a game-changing catcher, and a slugging leadoff hitter.
It all started with Cody Bellinger. Back in February Jim Bowden made a bold prediction that Cody Bellinger would be the Dodgers starting left fielder. He was ridiculed on Twitter but I thought he was onto something.
Just how silly was that prediction? If the Dodgers wanted to field the best team from the get go, maybe he should be? He won’t be but by the end of spring training, it might be clear that the best left fielder in the Dodger system goes by the name of Cody Bellinger.
When the season started Cody Bellinger was playing 1st base in AAA, by the end of April he was setting major league rookie records and would continue to do so for the rest of the season. He ended up playing 1st, LF, and even Center Field. You could have won a lot of money betting that Cody Bellinger would play over 100 games in 2017 just because he didn’t seem to have a spot.
Not to be outdone Chris Taylor was also in AAA in April, but by July he was the best leadoff hitter in the National League. Another player with no position he forced his way onto the major league roster and they turned the utility infielder into the starting left fielder. He would eventually become the starting center fielder.
Austin Barnes was fighting for the job of backup catcher and was expected to catch once a week. By the end of the year, you could make the argument that Barnes was not only the Dodgers starting catcher but possibly the best catcher in the National League.
Brandon Morrow also started the year in AAA and it took until May 29th before the Dodgers brought him up. He’s now the best setup man the Dodgers have had entering the postseason since the days of Kuo.
Ryu was given little chance of being a productive part of the Dodger rotation but ended up making twenty-four starts and is currently in the discussion for a postseason rotation spot.
Pos Name Age PA HR OBP SLG OPS OPS+ 1B Cody Bellinger* 21 543 39 .350 .581 .931 141 LF Chris Taylor 26 565 21 .354 .497 .851 123 C Austin Barnes 27 260 8 .404 .484 .888 135
Name Age ERA G GS IP ERA+ WHIP H9 BB9 SO9 Hyun-Jin Ryu* 30 3.77 25 24 126.2 111 1.366 9.1 3.2 8.2 Brandon Morrow 32 2.06 45 0 43.2 204 0.916 6.4 1.9 10.3
That is how you win 104 games. You add three dynamite offensive players to a group that already included Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Yazmani Grandal, and twenty-six-year-old Puig.
You find a setup jewel to complement the best relief pitcher in baseball.
To be honest, Ryu had a great season only based on what was expected. His overall work wasn’t that special, and if he had not made twenty-four starts I don’t think the win record of 104 would have noticed. He was brilliant on Sunday Night baseball, and if any games are scheduled for Sunday Night, I’m giving Ryu the ball.
Yeah, I really would.