Friday, March 17, 2017

Los Angeles Dodgers 2017 season preview

With a record of 91-71, the Los Angeles Dodgers finished 1st in the NL West, 4 games ahead of the second place San Francisco Giants. They beat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS, but lost to the WS winning Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. They also received an amazing rookie season from SS Corey Seager, 22, who hit 26 HRs and 72 RBIs in 627 ABs (he hit .308) in 2016. They had some big free agents in Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill, and managed to re-sign all for them. GM Farhan Zaidi and President of Baseball Operations Andrew Freidman did some other things in the offseason. Let's look at what they did.

         Key additions: 2B Logan Forsythe, RP Sergio Romo, OFs Franklin Gutierrez, Brett Eibner, 1B Ike Davis, SP Brandon Morrow.
         Key subtractions: OF Josh Reddick, 2B Howie Kendrick, SPs Jose De Leon, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, RPs Jesse Chavez, J.P. Howell, Louis Coleman, Casey Fien.

         Biggest move: The Dodgers made a big trade, acquiring a solid 2B in Logan Forsythe from the Tampa Bay Rays for a big pitching prospect in Jose De Leon. Forsythe set a career high in HRs (20) last season. He's hit .281 as a career high, and 68 RBIs as another one. He's a good, not great hitter, but a good fielder as well.
          X-factor: After re-signing to a 3 year, $48 million deal, SP Rich Hill is looking to prove he's worth that money. He might be 37, but he's rejuvenated his career. He had an ERA of 2.12 in 110.1 IP between 2 teams in 2016. He's a key part of that rotation, especially if a starter goes down.
          Biggest bounce back: after signing a 3 year, $48 million deal (same as Hill) last offseason, SP Scott Kazmir was a little disappointing in 2016. He had an ERA of 4.56 in 136.1 IP, after having an ERA of 3.10 in 183 innings with two teams the year before. Expect Kazmir to bounce back in 2017.
          Biggest breakout: Now 20 years old, SP Julio Urias had an ERA of 3.39 in 77 IP in 2016, his first taste of the MLB. He should play the entire year in a rotation spot in 2017. Expect him to really breakout.
           Guaranteed star: He's the best pitcher in baseball. He had an ERA of 1.69 in 149 IP. In 1760 career IP, he has an ERA of 2.37, and 1918 Ks. He had 301 Ks in 2015. Yep, you guessed it. I'm talking about 3 time Cy Young winner, 1 time MVP winner and 6 time all-star Clayton Kershaw.
            The Dodgers lineup should look like this.

1. LF: Andrew Toles
2. 2B: Logan Forsythe
3. SS: Corey Seager
4. 1B: Adrian Gonzalez
5. 3B: Justin Turner
6. RF: Yasiel Puig
7. C: Yasmani Grandal
8. CF: Joc Peterson
9. Pitcher
              Their rotation will probably be this.

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Kenta Maeda
3. Rich Hill
4. Scott Kazmir
5. Julio Urias

               OFs Franklin Gutierrez and Andre Either, 2B Chase Utley and C Austin Barnes will be on the bench.
               Kenley Jansen will be their closer, with Sergio Romo and Chris Hatcher setting him up.

               Finally, for my prediction, I think the Dodgers will once again win the NL West, and be in contention with the Cubs again for the NL Pennant.

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