No Harper, Kluber, Realmuto, Grandal, Wood, Puig, or Kemp
Which means that right now, Alex Verdugo is your starting right fielder, and Austin Barnes is your starting catcher. I don’t think Dodger fans were expecting that when news broke that the Dodgers had traded solid rotation piece Alex Wood, fan favorite Yasiel Puig and prodigal son Matt Kemp for prospects and flexibility but a month later time is running out for deals and this is the Dodger positional roster.
|Against RHP||POS||Against LHP||POS|
|Joc Pederson||Left Field||Chris Taylor||Left Field|
|Alex Verdugo||Right Field||Corey Seager||SS|
|Justin Turner||3rd Base||Justin Turner||3rd Base|
|Corey Seager||Shortstop||David Freeze||1st Base|
|Cody Bellinger||Center Field||Kiké Hernandez||2nd Base|
|Max Muncy||!st Base||Cody Bellinger||Center Field|
|Kike Hernandez||2nd Base||Alex Verdugo||Right Field|
|Austin Barnes||Catcher||Austin Barnes||Catcher|
|Walker Buehler||Pitcher||Walker Buehler||Pitcher|
|Andrew Toles||Joc Pederson|
|Chris Taylor||Andrew Toles|
|David Freeze||Backup Catcher|
|Backup Catcher||Max Muncy|
At first blush, for a team who has represented the NL in the last two World Series, this iteration as it stands has so many question marks in a much-improved NL that it is hard for me to imagine this team going to the 2019 World Series. Alex Verdugo would have to win the 2019 ROY award to match what Puig has done in RF. The only player without any questions would seem to be Justin Turner.
Can Joc sustain the skill gains of 2018 or will 2017 rear its ugly head again?
Can Bellinger bounce back and crush (or even hit ) hit left-handers once again?
Muncy was one of a kind in 2018, now he has to prove that everything before 2018 was just getting him ready for 2018 and that he’s the real deal.
Will surgery rob Corey Seager of his MVP skills? Without Corey Seager putting up a top ten MVP season, this team just doesn’t seem right. So much of the Dodger success hinges on a player who only played twenty-six crappy games in 2018.
Hernandez was just starting to look like a productive everyday player when Oct came by and crapped all over his season. Can his glove work make up for his offensive deficiencies when facing RHP, or should Chris Taylor be the everyday 2nd baseman?
Austin Barnes starting catcher. That scares most Dodger fans. It doesn’t scare me, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have lots of his own questions. Can he hit like 2017? Can he even physically handle catching 100 plus games?
Does David Freeze have at least one year left of smacking around left-hand pitchers?
Every team has questions but this just seems like a lot of uncertainty for a team in the Dodgers position. A year from now Alex Verdugo could be considered one of the best RF in the game, and Gavin Lux along with Keibert Ruiz might the starting 2nd baseman and catcher but until they are ready, Dodgers look to be leaning heavily on players who have failed more often than they have succeeded in Hernandez and Barnes.
On the plus side, the rotation still looks loaded, and Kenley was given some help with Joe Kelly.
I did have confidence in the front office but they have had an immense brain drain in the past two years so the new group centered around President Andrew Friedman will have to prove they can build another World Series capable team. Trading Puig one year early to open a spot for Verdugo was a bold move but that doesn’t mean it was the right move. Puig is young enough and skilled enough that he might have a top ten MVP season in his Adonis body. If he puts it together while Verdugo struggles, that won’t look good to a fan base that has really taken to Puig. Signing Harper would have quieted the skeptics but who wants to give anyone a ten-year deal? Not the Dodger front office. If you aren’t going to give Harper or Machado a ten-year deal, the odds are high you will never give anyone a ten-year deal. The asking price for the best catcher in the NL was evidently too high for the Dodgers to match. They are in a tough spot with the best catching prospect in baseball just a year away. Maybe they don’t think Keibert is really that far away? Maybe just maybe they expect Keibert to be ready by August of 2019. There had to be a reason they were so aggressive in their promotions of the kid who only turned 20 this past summer. More on that next.
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