Ten most interesting Dodgers in 2018
9. Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
As awkward springs go, it’ll be tough to top this one. The Dodgers reacquired their former All-Star outfielder (and the two years and $43.5 million remaining on his contract) in a complicated salary swap. They would like to move Kemp, but his salary makes that unlikely. So he’ll play some this spring, and while he could open the season as the starting left fielder, nothing is certain.
The list also included ex-Dodger Dee Gordon who is supposed to be the starting CF for the Mariners in 2018.
My own take on the ten most interesting Dodgers in 2018
- Start at the top with Clayton Kershaw. With two consecutive years of losing time to back injuries can Clayton pitch a full season for the first time since 2015? If so can he continue to be the best pitcher in baseball when he’s on the mound as he pursues his next huge contract?
- Chris Taylor was the surprise of 2017. The infielder not only shocked the baseball world with his new found power but ended up being the Dodgers starting center fielder during their postseason run. What does he have in store for us in 2018? Will he build on his 2017 breakout season and continue to mature into one of the best players in MLB, or will he regress and simply become a good piece, or will he regress back to what he was and have his 2017 season take it’s place among the flukes of the 21st century? BABIP be damned, I’m betting he’s an all-star caliber player and follows the Justin Turner path.
- Cody Bellinger was the greatest Dodger rookie 1st baseman in history. He is already the greatest left-hand hitting power hitting Dodger since Shawn Green. Combining power and speed, Cody will also showcase an unnatural defensive grace at 1st base, something Dodger fans have not seen since Wes Parker. Unlike Parker, Cody also boasts the most power of any homegrown Dodger since HOF Mike Piazza. Entering his age 22 season, don’t be shocked if Cody Bellinger becomes the first LAD Dodger 1st baseman to hit over 40 home runs and be a top-five MVP candidate.
- Austin Barnes went from back up catcher, to platoon catcher, to full-time postseason catcher. He put up Buster Posey offensive numbers. No one thinks he can repeat that success. Don’t think like everyone else.
- Wilmer Font has to make any list I create. He may not even be in the organization by opening day, but he’s going to be my pick for the surprise Dodger of 2018.
- Yasiel Puig has continued his early Roberto Clemente career and as he matures into a man, he’s ready to start becoming one of the best right fielders in baseball.
- Tom Koehler might be the Brandon Morrow of 2018. I’m on that train.
- If Matt Kemp is one of the ten most interesting stories of 2018 in all of MLB he is certainly going to make my list for the Dodgers. The 2018 Olympics have been full of redemption stories, I hope Matt Kemp is the MLB 2018 redemption story.
- Julio Urias is no longer the teen wonder. At this point, we have no idea what to expect from him in 2018. I’m hoping we see what we saw just a year ago and as he gets ready to take the mound again sometime this summer he has to be one of the most interesting stories.
- Kenta Maeda looked like he would be more effective as a multi-inning relief pitcher than as a starter. If the Dodgers acquire another starter or Walker Buehler pushes a rotation piece to the bullpen, wouldn’t it make sense for Kenta to be that piece?