Dodger prospect updates from BA, Fangraphs, and John Sickels

Baseball America just came out with their Dodger top ten prospect list.

Dodgers Top 10 Prospects per Baseball America

This comes on the heels of John Sickels last week, and Fangraphs earlier in September. 

The consensus is starting to build about the top ten.

Walker Buehler is clearly the top prospect in the system and some consider him the top pitching prospect in the game.

Alex Verdugo continues to hold off Keibert Ruiz for the top positional prospect though I believe that is more about Verdugo knocking on the major league door than it is about who will have the more productive major league career.

Yadier Alvarez and Mitchell White will battle for the next best pitching prospect. This is a testament to how pedestrian a season that Alvarez had after being the top pitching prospect headed into 2016 and how much of a jump White made in 2017.

Dennis Santana is now on everyone’s radar and appears to be a consensus top ten prospect who will probably battle Dustin May for the next pitching prospect after Buehler/Alvarez/White.  The Dodgers have five legit starting pitchers with four of them having pitched in at least AA. Some still consider Santana a future bullpen piece and if the rotation gets too crowded it is easy to see that scenario unfold. Especially when considering that Urias is not even being mentioned.

Dodgers have a nice group of outfielders but Sickels is on the outside looking in regarding DJ Peters, as Baseball America has him ranked 8th, just behind Diaz and Kendall.  John and I disagree on DJ Peters but we agree on Starling Heredia who we both expect to eventually be better than all of them.  Baseball America did not put Starling into their top ten.

Dodgers have two catchers in the top ten with Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith but Ruiz is just 19 while Smith is 22 so expect to see Smith long before we see Keibert.

The Dodgers have no infielders in the top ten unless you consider catchers, infielders. This is clearly their weakest spot but it is possible that Lux and Erroll Robinson will be making a move up. Robinson is the under the radar prospect while Lux might be ready to show why he was the 2016 number one pick.  Tim Locastro tore up AAA so I’m curious what he does in 2018.  Edwin Rios was unable to crack the BA top ten, Sickels also showed him little respect. The best Dodger minor league hitter for two years in a row is just not getting much respect, the scouts may know something.

The Baseball America starting lineup for the future in 2021 is always a silly exercise. I’m not sure how Joc Pederson can be listed as the projected starting center fielder in 2021 when he most likely won’t even be the starting center fielder in 2018.

Things of note among the skills:

Locastro is listed as the fastest player in the Dodger system. I saw this guy play in the 2016 AFL, I would have lost a lot of money if someone had told me that he would be the fastest Dodgers in the organization a year later.  Especially when they added Jeren Kendall.

Errol Robinson is listed as the best defensive infielder even though Drew Jackson has the best arm.

As expected Alex Verdugo is listed with the best outfield arm but number one pick Jeren Kendall is listed as the best defensive outfielder.

 

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John Sickels is bearish on Dodger number one pick

John Sickels reviewed the Dodgers minor league system and presented his rankings and grades.  John ranked 2017 number one pick Jeren Kendall at eight behind Diaz and Heredia. That doesn’t seem very bearish but he was the number one pick in 2017 and in the comment section he said he agreed with a very bearish comment about Kendall.

I think it is too soon to be discounting his considerable baseball skills based on a few hundred at-bats in the tough MidWestLeague.  He came right from college into pro ball, and it is doubtful any Dodger tinkering has had an effect yet. They may be right that his contact skills are going to be his downfall but I kind of see his floor as Drew Stubbs and if he can manage to get his contact skills under control, I’m not sure what his ceiling is.  He also needs to work on his baserunning skills because for someone with his speed, those caught stealing numbers are abysmal.  As Marc Hulet from Fangraphs noted, let’s give the excellent Dodger development team a chance with him.

 I’m really interested to see what the Dodgers’ player development staff can do with him. He has a chance to be an all-star even if he hits .250.

I also completely disagree with his evaluation of DJ Peters and I expect time to show that he whiffed on his future production.  DJ is going to be a playa

As expected most everyone is jumping on the Keibert Ruiz bandwagon. I said back in June that he was the Dodgers best positional prospect when he wasn’t even in the conversation and now he’s right behind Mr. Verdugo.  By the time the spring rankings come out I still expect that everyone will have jumped completely on his bandwagon and the rankings will show this.

Trevor Oaks barely pitched this year but he was listed above 2016 number one pick Gavin Lux. Not that he’s bullish on Oaks, he has him listed as 13th and Lux 15th. Not exactly where you want your 2016 number one pick to be at.  At noted here before Lux had a very strong finish to what had been a very disappointing season. If he can carry that forward he might be able to take a huge step forward. That Drew Jackson is even within shouting distance of Lux on the shortstop depth chart doesn’t make sense to me. Drew had his supporters in the comment section but I really don’t get it. The ISO popped in the Cal League but once he was promoted to AA it went right back to the horrible .90 level.  He is 23 years old and has played most of his considerable minor league career in A ball without much offensive success.  I would certainly rather have Errol Robinson over Drew Jackson, but I hope that Lux can put to rest who is the best Dodger shortstop prospect by kicking some ass in 2019.

I’d say he’s bullish on these players not so much on how he ranked them but based on how I expect others to rank them.

Estevez, Oaks,  Beatty, and Drew Jackson.

Bearish on:

Jeren Kendall, Gavin Lux, Edwin Rios, DJ Peters

In the comments, Matt Beatty is getting more love than Edwin Rios which seems improper but they might be right. Beatty had a surprisingly great year and if the left handed hitting corner infielder can play a passable third, he might carve out a major league career, something no one was saying one year ago.

 

Verdugo is the only major league ready outfielder in the system with Diaz/Peters probably not ready until at least 2019. Depending on how the Dodgers do free agency and settle the Adrian Gonzalez situation they may have an opening in left field. A battle for left field between Verdugo and Toles would make for an interesting spring.

I have to admit I’m not as high on Verdugo as the prospect folk. Marc Hulet loves him but I’m not sure I can trust a Marc with a C instead of a K. 

 Verdugo has an advanced approach at the plate and really understands what he’s doing — but he sacrifices pop to hit for average and make consistent contact. He’ll probably make an excellent No. 2 hitter who will score a ton of runs and perhaps flirt with a batting title or two if he keeps the current approach

I’m not sure what Vedugo gives you that Andrew Toles does not but evidently, I’m on the wrong page. Toles is older but just as toolsy. Verdugo has the better arm, but Toles kills him in speed. Both have average pop with excellent plate discipline.

I understand Verdugo being the number one positional prospect because he had a solid year at AAA at a very young age. But he wasn’t playing in the California League and tearing it up at 18/19 as a catcher now was he?

Tim Locastro wants to know what is up? Timmy blew up AAA, blew the minds of many when he was added to the Dodger roster and was being considered for the postseason.  I never thought of Locastro as a burner but there he was being considered for the spot of speed merchant.

Kyle Farmer has a very very small window to impress. If the Dodgers keep both Barnes and Grandal this winter, Farmer is headed back to AAA. Will Smith looks to have better baseball tools across the board than Farmer and will be playing in AA and possibly AAA in 2018. Behind both of them is Keibert Ruiz who was playing high A ball at the age of 18 and should be two years away but who knows.  Connor Wong seems to be in the exact same mold as Barnes/Farmer/Smith, an athletic infielder who was turned into a catcher.  It will be interesting to see if the classic catcher Keibert will be better than the transitional catchers.  I’m betting on Ruiz.

Largest and smallest take MVP honors

Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge are about as opposite as you can get on a baseball field but they both had MVP type seasons and that might be why baseball is the greatest game of all. No matter how big or how small, desire and athletic skill can get you on the big stage.  Jose Altuve won the AL MVP as he continues to morph into this generations Joe Morgan complete with World Series ring.

The giant Giancarlo Stanton had to fight off Votto and Goldschmidt to win his NL MVP.

Dodgers got little love in MVP voting for a team that won a franchise-tying record of 104 wins. Which of course made me wonder, how did other teams that have won 102 or more games do in MVP voting.

Let us find out.

2016 – Cubs won 103 games, Kris Bryant won the MVP

2011 – Phillies won 102 games but the highest ranked was the recently deceased Doc Halladay who placed 9th. They had five players receive an MVP vote including ex-Dodgers Carlos Ruiz, Shane Victorino. That seems to be the best comp for the Dodgers in that numerous players received an MVP vote but no one was considered one of the top five players in the league. A team effort indeed.

2009 – NYY won 103 games but they went a different route than the Phillies. They also had five players get MVP votes but two of them Teixeira and Jeter finished 2nd and 3rd in the voting.

2004 – Cardinals won 105 games and were 3/4/5 in the voting with Pujols / Rolen / Edmunds.  That was kind of how I thought it was going for the Dodgers in July with Bellinger/Turner/Seager.

2002 – the NYY and A’s both won 103 games. Miguel Tejeda of the A’s won the MVP. Zito and Chavez were 13th and 14th, with Billy Koch plugging in at 18. The NYY placed 3rd, 5th, and 10th, with Soriano, Giambi, and Bernie Williams.

2001 – the historical 116 win season by the Mariners. Remember when the Dodgers were on track to better that as last as July 31st?  Ichiro won the MVP vote and steroid poster child Brett Boone was 3rd.

Okay, that is it for the 21st century which is where I’ll stop.

 

 

 

Neuromancer strikes my fancy

A few weeks ago Keith Law tweeted this lifehacker list of seminal Science Fiction books. From the age of 10 – 30 the only books I read were nature/baseball/science fiction/westerns so I thought I’d take a look at the list and see how many of them I read.

Turns out I had read most of them (13 of the 17) but it was strange to see that most of the books were written a long long time ago.  Several of them were my own personal favorites. Foundation and Stranger in a Strange Land.

The one book I thought I hadn’t read was Neuromancer which was called Cyberpunk Science Fiction and written in 1984.  It piqued my interest so I kindled it and set to reading this past week.

This happens to me now and again, reading a book I thought I’d never read but as you get deeper into the story you realize you had read the book but still have no idea what happens.  The characters are all vaguely familiar and as they get fleshed out, you start remembering them.  While I didn’t know where the plot was headed I could remember enough that I knew who would live and die.  I’m a bit strange that way, as I get involved in characters,  I want to know if the author is going to let them live or die. I’ve checked many a back page of a book to see if someone I was getting involved with had survived the author’s story.

This happened recently to me when Jim Hitchcock over TBLA suggested Swan’s Song to me after I mentioned a book I had just finished. I kindled it, and sure enough, as I got into it,  I realized I had read the book before.

If Neuromancer had been written in 1995 or 2000 or 2005 or 2015 or even 2017 it still would have had some punch, but for it to be written in 1984 before anything he was writing about even existed, was blowing my mind as I was reading it.  Was the Matrix based on this book? Looks like it.

When I finished the book I was annoyed with one thing. When did I read it? Was it back in 1984 when it came out? This did not seem like a book I would seek out, but many times as a member of the Science Fiction Book Club I would take chances.  I stopped being a member back in 1986 or when my divorce was just about wrapped up.

This was a great book, and deserves all the accolades it got.

What I don’t understand is why I couldn’t remember reading this book.  It was unlike anything I’d ever read before so it should have stood out in my memory much as Foundation does or Roger Zelazny Amber series.

This list that Keith Law tweeted were Science Fiction books that were supposed to have greatly influenced the genre.  That is a big task, but here are a few of my favorites that captivated my imagination.

A. Merritt – The Ship of Isthar – No one knows this book. It was written almost 100 years ago but I think it is simply brilliant. I also love this book because of how I found it. I was hitting the Glendale Libary when I was about 13 – 14.  They had a small Science Fiction section and I’d probably already read most of what they had, but I found this book and the idea intrigued me.  The story is captivating but what was amazing to me was that it was written in 1924.  Based on my own reading history I kind of feel this was one of the first novels of it’s kind and it seems to be under-appreciated. This guy however gets it.

The novel is not only a rousing fantasy adventure story, but a philosophical exploration of the relationship between material reality and the abstract concepts through which humans struggle to understand it.

I always thought our buddy Hollywood Joe would love this book based on his recommendations to me about books he likes. This isn’t really Science Fiction, kind of crazy historical fantasy fiction.

David Brin – the Uplift Series – Love the hell out of this series, and his stand-alone novel Earth

Roger Zelazny – Amber Series  – This would have been way cooler than Game of Thrones

Robert Heinlein – I enjoyed just about everything Heinlein wrote from his young adult stuff to his seminal Stranger in a Strange Land, to his bizarre forays after that but he had one stand-alone novel that was basically a Wild West Alien book called Glory Road.

Isacc Asimov – Foundation was great but I enjoyed his Robot series even more.

Douglas Adams – Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – I find myself reading this series every fve years or so. Still puts a smile on my face.

Arthur C Clarke – I had a strange introduction to Arthur C Clarke. As a yute I was going to be a Marine Biologist and dreamed of scuba diving. Arthur C Clarke wrote The Reefs of Taprobane about diving in the South Pacific and that was how I knew him as an author long before I found out he was a brilliant Science Fiction Writer.  Later I gobbled up just about everything he wrote. I cannot name a favorite.

A. E. van Vogt – Slan  wrote many short stories and novels but Slan was probably my favorite.

Anne McCaffrey – Dragonriders of Penn What I enjoyed about this series was that the battle was against nature and only through the symbiotic relationship between humans and dragons could they defeat the Thread.  Growing up I have always hoped to hit it big financially, and one of the things I would have done with the money was to purchase the rights to this series to make it into a big ass movie franchise. It had everything the kids would have eaten up, Dragons and love, and nobody had to kill anyone, they just had to work together.

Anyway, those are just a few of my favorites. The list is old, other than the Uplift Series I read all these books before 1985.

Three Dodgers get Cy Young votes

but they will have to settle for a 2nd place, a fifth place, and a tenth place.

CYA2017

Have to imagine the last time the Diamondbacks had two pitchers place in the top ten was way back with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

Nationals matched the Dodgers with three pitchers finishing in the top ten. I expected Strasburg to get more support for 1st and 2nd.

Tomorrow I’ll look at last years votes and see which pitchers made both lists.

Has to be a first for Jimmy Nelson, Alex Wood, Robbie Ray, and Gio to be in the top ten.

Cody Bellinger is more than just another LAD ROY

As expected Cody Bellinger unanimously won the National League Rookie of the Year award for 2017.  Like Corey Seager he is more than that, he should be a top ten MVP candidate going forward.

Given their ages, it can be expected that improvement will follow and that by the time they have played five seasons for the Dodgers they will already be considered among the best Los Angeles Dodgers to ever play the game.

In only two years I think you could easily argue that Corey Seager is the greatest LAD shortstop of all time. And that includes a MVP shortstop in Maury Wills.

I expect the same from Cody Bellinger.  I think he’s better than Corey Seager in that he can impact the game in more ways.  He’s also started his major league career one year earlier.  Who cares who is better? The important thing is that they are both Dodger infielders with years of cheap team control. The stuff general managers and baseball fans dream of for their respective teams.

Below are the bWAR totals for Los Angeles Dodgers by the age of 21. Adrian Beltre is headed for the HOF but his age 22/23 won’t be as kind for him.

Player           WAR/pos From   To   Age   PA   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos
Adrian Beltre        7.4 1998 2000 19-21 1403 .272 .344 .438 .782    *5/H6
Cody Bellinger       4.2 2017 2017 21-21  548 .267 .352 .581 .933 /*379H8D
Bill Russell         3.7 1969 1970 20-21  542 .245 .302 .355 .657  *9/8H76
Willie Davis         3.4 1960 1961 20-21  474 .267 .322 .457 .779     *8/H
Tommy Davis          2.2 1959 1960 20-21  375 .275 .301 .425 .726  /*8H795

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

I expected Corey Seager to be the NL Rookie of the Year in 2016. I never expected that from Cody Bellinger.  I felt he was the best option for left field back in March when fans laughed at Jim Bowen for suggesting such a thing, but I was a believer. What I didn’t believe is that he’d break the all-time NL home run record for a rookie.  I expected struggles, was hoping for something along .240 / .320 / .480 and someday morph into Anthony Rizzo. What we got was prime time Anthony Rizzo from the get go.

One of the things lost in my tracking Cody’s race to break the NL home run record for a rookie was the fact he was doing this at age 21.  So without further ado, here is the list of every major league player to hit at least 30 home runs at the baseball age of 21.

Of course Eddie Mathews is on the top. Eddie Mathews was one of the greatest young players to ever play the game.  This is a crazy list of absolutely some of the greatest players to ever play the game.   Cody Bellinger is 2nd on this list.

Player              OPS+ HR Year Age  Tm  PA  AB
Eddie Mathews        171 47 1953  21 MLN 681 579
Cody Bellinger       142 39 2017  21 LAD 548 480
Albert Pujols        157 37 2001  21 STL 676 590
Hal Trosky           150 35 1934  21 CLE 685 625
Giancarlo Stanton    141 34 2011  21 FLA 601 516
Jimmie Foxx          173 33 1929  21 PHA 638 517
Bob Horner           135 33 1979  21 ATL 515 487
Miguel Cabrera       130 33 2004  21 FLA 685 603
Jose Canseco         116 33 1986  21 OAK 682 600
Andruw Jones         116 31 1998  21 ATL 631 582
Ruben Sierra         101 30 1987  21 TEX 696 643

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

Bellinger, basically blew our minds from day one, and continued to blow our minds all the way into November.  He was batting cleanup in game seven of the World Series and even though at times had been over-matched in the postseason, I fully expected him to lead the team to the World Championship.  With each at-bat I felt he would light the candle at the Ravine.

It didn’t happen

It may have been the only time in a full season of baseball that Cody Bellinger didn’t deliver. He delivered so often that the expectation I put him was not unreasonable.

Think how ridiculous that is. I had expectations that a 21-year-old rookie would prove to be the difference in a game seven championship game, and it was not unreasonable.

Cody Bellinger is going to become the greatest Dodger to ever play 1st base. I feel very comfortable in saying that.

Which means going forward the Dodgers will have two of the greatest players of their franchise in their infield.

And they are only going to be 22 and 24.

Player            WAR/pos From   To   Age   PA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos
Willie Davis         20.2 1960 1964 20-24 2347 .314 .421 .735     *8/H
Adrian Beltre        13.8 1998 2003 19-24 3161 .320 .428 .748    *5/H6
Corey Seager         13.5 2015 2017 21-23 1413 .374 .502 .876   *6/H5D
Tommy Davis          12.9 1959 1963 20-24 2191 .346 .467 .813  *758/9H
Yasiel Puig          11.3 2013 2015 22-24 1383 .371 .487 .858  *9/8H7D
Matt Kemp            10.2 2006 2009 21-24 1801 .346 .480 .826   *89/H7
Jim Lefebvre          9.8 1965 1966 23-24 1241 .335 .415 .749    *4/5H
Bill Russell          9.0 1969 1973 20-24 1908 .303 .348 .651 *69/H847
Russell Martin        7.6 2006 2007 23-24 1088 .366 .454 .821    *2/HD
Mike Piazza           7.1 1992 1993 23-24  676 .361 .534 .895    *2/H3
Willie Crawford       7.1 1964 1971 17-24 1401 .326 .401 .727    7H9/8

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

Hot damn.

Just for fun here are all the major league players since 1958 to have at least 30 home runs by the age of 21. I’ll look at this in more detail later on and add the all important home run per plate appearance which is where Mr. Bellinger really shines.

Player              HR From   To   Age   PA  OBP  SLG   OPS      Pos
Tony Conigliaro     84 1964 1966 19-21 1657 .339 .508  .847   *9/78H
Alex Rodriguez      64 1994 1997 18-21 1523 .366 .534  .900    *6/HD
Mike Trout          62 2011 2013 19-21 1490 .404 .544  .948  *87/9DH
Ken Griffey         60 1989 1991 19-21 1805 .367 .479  .847    *8/HD
Giancarlo Stanton   56 2010 2011 20-21  997 .344 .525  .869   *9/H8D
Bob Horner          56 1978 1979 20-21  874 .332 .547  .879    *5/3H
Bryce Harper        55 2012 2014 19-21 1489 .351 .465  .816   *78/9H
Andruw Jones        54 1996 1998 19-21 1211 .319 .472  .791   *89/H7
Orlando Cepeda      52 1958 1959 20-21 1291 .349 .517  .866   *3/75H
Ruben Sierra        46 1986 1987 20-21 1107 .302 .472  .774  *9/78HD
Miguel Cabrera      45 2003 2004 20-21 1031 .352 .497  .850   79/5HD
Justin Upton        43 2007 2009 19-21 1157 .350 .485  .836    *9/HD
Carlos Correa       42 2015 2016 20-21 1092 .354 .475  .829     *6/H
Adrian Beltre       42 1998 2000 19-21 1403 .344 .438  .782    *5/H6
Johnny Bench        42 1967 1969 19-21 1292 .323 .444  .767     *2/H
Vada Pinson         41 1958 1960 19-21 1523 .355 .483  .837   *8/97H
Boog Powell         40 1961 1963 19-21 1002 .317 .433  .750   *7/3H9
Cody Bellinger      39 2017 2017 21-21  548 .352 .581  .933 /*379H8D
Cesar Cedeno        39 1970 1972 19-21 1651 .338 .461  .799  *8/97H3
Jose Canseco        38 1985 1986 20-21  782 .320 .461  .781  *7/9H8D
Ed Kranepool        38 1962 1966 17-21 1848 .301 .371  .671  *3/9H78
Albert Pujols       37 2001 2001 21-21  676 .403 .610 1.013  /5379HD
Manny Machado       33 2012 2014 19-21 1266 .313 .434  .747       *5
Jason Heyward       32 2010 2011 20-21 1079 .362 .427  .789     *9/H
Juan Gonzalez       32 1989 1991 19-21  758 .312 .465  .777  *8/7D9H
Ron Santo           32 1960 1961 20-21 1037 .343 .453  .796     *5/H

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

LAD Rookies of the Year

Should be adding a new player to the LAD Rookies of the Year later today, but this is how it looks right now.

Position Players:

Player ROY OPS+ PA Year Age HR OPS Pos
Corey Seager 1st 137 687 2016 22 26 0.877 *6/H
Todd Hollandsworth 1st 113 526 1996 23 12 0.785 *78H/9
Raul Mondesi 1st 123 454 1994 23 16 0.849 *98
Mike Piazza 1st 153 602 1993 24 35 0.932 *2/H3
Eric Karros 1st 106 589 1992 24 20 0.73 *3/H
Steve Sax 1st 97 699 1982 22 4 0.694 *4/H
Ted Sizemore 1st 94 650 1969 24 4 0.67 *46/7
Jim Lefebvre 1st 106 631 1965 23 12 0.706 *4/H
Frank Howard 1st 107 487 1960 23 23 0.784 *97/3H

Pitchers:

Name ROY ERA+ OPS+ IP Year Age K% BB%
Hideo Nomo 1st 149 56 191 1995 26 30.30% 10.00%
Fernando Valenzuela 1st 135 62 192 1981 20 23.80% 8.10%
Steve Howe 1st 134 71 84.2 1980 22 10.90% 6.10%
Rick Sutcliffe 1st 105 83 242 1979 23 11.50% 9.60%

Dodger administration exodus continues

It is not surprising that a team that won 104 games is being raided as other teams try to emulate what the Dodgers have created. Now if they had 250M to spend on payroll and blow the doors off of foreign and infrastructure investment they might be able to actually catch them.

The latest casualty was Alex Anthopolous who will be the new general manager for the Braves.  Alex Anthopolous had the working title of Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers for the last two years after being the GM for the Blue Jays for six years. This gig was always considered just a temporary stay for Alex, and he played his cards perfectly nabbing what has to be the most coveted General Manager job available right now. The Braves have a brand new stadium, a bonafide super star in Freeman, and a blow you away farm system.  Alex won’t have to work any miracles to get the Braves ultra competitive in a short period of time. I have no idea what handprint Alex Anthopolous had on the Dodgers over the past two years so I can’t give any clue as to how much the organization will miss him.

Other Dodger administration personnel who have left since the World Series include:

Gabe Kapler – Director of Player Dvlp – left to become the Phillies manager. I always thought Gabe was on the fast path to be an assistant GM and eventually a GM so I was surprised when Kapler had put his hat in for the Dodger managing gig. When he didn’t get that, it seemed just a matter of time before he became a manager somewhere.  I’m not sure that is where his best talent lies but I’d like to see him have success with the Phillies.

Jeremy Zoll – Assistant Director of Player Dvlp – left to become the Twins Director of Minor League Operations.  At only 27 years old that seems like a hell of a gig.

Matt Herges – Minor League pitching coach – left to become the Giants bullpen coach. I’m not sure that was an actual promotion.

It had been rumored that long time pitching coach Rich Honeycut may not come back but last week it was announced that he would return as the Dodgers pitching coach.

It will be curious how the Dodgers fill these positions.  With four white males leaving, will diversity be part of the hire or simply the best person for the job,  or can it be both?

Dodgers and Puig catch Wilson defensive team of year

It may not be a gold glove but Puig and the Dodgers where honored with the Wilson defensive awards today. The Dodgers won as the best overall defensive team while Puig was honored as the top right fielder.

Winners, both individual positions and for the team award, are determined using a formula that combines traditional defensive stats with advanced metrics, as well as the data logged by the baseball experts working for the scouting service Inside Edge

2017 Transactional review part one

The 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers had their most successful regular season since 1974, and their most successful postseason since 1988. They came within one game of achieving the goal of every major league franchise, the World Series Championship.

Slowly I’m going to review all the moves that got them there, with columns for the big moves. Today we will look at the free agents they let walk one year ago.

On November 3rd, 2016

Brett Anderson  was allowed to leave as a free agent. Brett had followed up his successful 2015 season with an injury filled 2016 season. The winter of 2015 the Dodgers had made the ill advised tender and Brett either having a smart agent or being smart himself accepted and it only cost the Dodgers 15.8M to realize they had made a huge mistake. Not only in money but with opportunity cost. With Brett Anderson in their pocket for 2016 they didn’t pursue another starting pitcher. They did not make the same mistake last November and Brett Anderson was free to ply his trade with other teams. Brett signed with the 2016 World Champion Cubs to be their fifth starter. That didn’t work out and he ended the season with Toronto. He only pitched 55 innings in 2017 after throwing only 11 in 2016. None of the innings were good.

Joe Blanton was allowed to leave as a free agent. Joe Blanton wasn’t quite Brandon Morrow in 2016 but he was close.  The Dodgers had signed him to a one year deal for 4M and he earned it. They did not re-sign Blanton for 2017 and it was a great move. Whatever Blanton had discovered in 2015/2016 was nowhere to be found in 2017. He was so bad the Nationals had to make quite a few upgrades to their bullpen and Joe never pitched an inning in the postseason for them.

Jesse Chavez was allowed to leave as a free agent. Chavez was acquired on Aug 1st, 2016 to bolster the bullpen but didn’t leave a positive impression and did not pitch in the postseason.  He was signed by the Angels to a one year deal for 2017 at 5.75M. He made 21 starts for the Angels and was ineffective.  The price for Chavez was only Mike Bolsinger so other than the fact they could have targeted a better relief pitcher in 2016 by giving up more, no harm done.  Good choice to let him walk.

Rich Hill  – will get his own column

J.P. Howell  the long time Dodger was allowed to leave as a free agent. JP had been a Dodger since 2013 so he had been on all four National League Western Division winners. At times he was brilliant, other times, not so much. By 2016 he was 33 and was an ineffective left handed specialist. He did not pitch in the 2016 postseason and it was a no brainer that he wasn’t coming back for 2017. He signed with the Blue Jays and was horrible. His career might be over.

Kenley Jansen will get his own column.

Josh Reddick was allowed to leave as a free agent. Reddick had been acquired in the Rich Hill trade in the summer of 2016 to be the Dodgers starting right fielder. He had replaced Yasiel Puig who had been sent to AAA.  He had a horrible August, a pedestrian Sept, and a unproductive postseason. The Dodgers let him walk, and he was signed by the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros where he proceeded to have a career season.  I will admit to scratching my head when Houston gave him a 4/42M deal but it sure paid off in the first year.   I still think the Dodgers made the right move in letting him walk given the contract he received but of all the free agents who have left the Dodgers, Josh Reddick had an excellent first season.

Justin Turner will get his own column

Chase Utley will get his own column.