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Dodgers on Top 100 Lists

I admit it.  I am more of Fangraphs fan of top prospect evaluations than the others.  It is not that I think the others (BA, BP, MLB, Athletic, and ESPN) are wrong, because I do not.  All publications are ultimately more successful than not in their evaluations. It is just that I think that Fangraphs is more thorough in their evaluation with both current grades and future grades, and dependent as to what position they are expected to play regularly at the MLB level.  They also differentiate between raw power and game power.  Raw power grades how far a player can hit a baseball, while game power translates that raw power into a projection of how many HRs the player may hit in his career.

YES.  Before I get too far into it, prospect rankings are a guess work…up to a point.  They do not always project heart, drive, work ethic, willingness to change/learn (James Outman vs Jeren Kendall), or a cupboard filled with other intangible traits.  Each of the publications has their own methodology in their grading process.  But none of them take into consideration the intangibles.  How do you grade intangibles?  How does a player like Austin Gauthier go from UDFA from Hofstra, to knocking on the door of MLB after only 2.5 professional years.  Or on the other side of the spectrum, Jeren Kendall who had all the baseball skills, but something was sure missing.  Or from a pitching point of view, Yadier Álvarez.

While all publications grade the players’ skills, Fangraphs continues their assessment by appraising where that player will ultimately play at MLB, and whether his requisite skills play at that position.

Primary columnist/evaluator at each of the publications that I chronicle.

  • MLB Pipeline – Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis, and Sam Dykstra
  • BA – JJ Cooper, Carlos Collazo, with Kyle Glaser the primary LAD evaluator
  • Fangraphs – Eric Logenhagen
  • ESPN – Kiley McDaniel
  • Athletic – Keith Law
  • Baseball Prospectus – Ben Zeidman, primary LAD evaluator

There are other publications that I peruse (Bleacher Report, Baseball 2080, Prospects Live, CBS, Medium), but the six above are the best (IMO), and with a proven track record.

Every one of these journalist/evaluators is a quality baseball man, with far more knowledge in grading MiLB talent than me, and dare I say, everyone else reading this post.  That does not mean we cannot differ with them.  I differ with them all the time.  I try to always give a reason.

As a for instance, all publications (and I think everyone here other than me) thinks Maddux Bruns is a backend to mid-rotation (ceiling) starter prospect.  I have never believed he could gain enough control to go more than an inning or two.  His stuff is legit which makes him an absolute threat as a backend high leverage reliever.  He has already had a delivery adjustment.  It may have helped some, but not enough…yet.  For 22 year old prospects, yet is an important qualifier.  His pitches did not suffer at all with the delivery adjustment.  He has gone from over the top pitcher (HS) to more of a ¾ arm delivery.  Lot less herky-jerky.  More consistent delivery.  But not enough…yet.

Last year, Fangraphs graded him as a 45 (#5 Starter), but also included his huge relief risk because of his lack of control.  It will be very interesting to see how he is graded this year and what the scouting report is.  His control was graded at 20.

Before I go any further, here is a cheat sheet as to how the 20-80 FV grades relate to the player’s ultimate value as a player in MLB.

 

Last year the Dodgers had 11 prospects to be included on at least 1 publication’s top 100 prospect list.  There were 4 consensus picks: Diego Cartaya, Bobby Miller, Miguel Vargas, and Gavin Stone.  This year, there is one: Dalton Rushing.

This year many of the publications continued with their lists past 100 including those just about ready to break in, or just fell out and can get back in with a good bounce back season.

The highest ranking of any Dodger Prospect was River Ryan at #19 with Fangraphs. He was also a top 35 with Athletic at #33.  Josue De Paula is the only other LAD prospect to be named in two top 50 lists: Athletic #25 and Baseball Prospectus (#48).  The only other top 50 ranking was Rushing at #36 in Baseball Prospectus.

Nick Frasso made 4 top 100 lists.  Josue De Paula and Thayron Liranzo made 3 lists.  River Ryan, Diego Cartaya, Andy Pages, and Gavin Stone were named on 2 lists.  Kyle Hurt and Joendry Vargas made 1 list.

It should be noted that Ryan actually was included in 5 publications, with 3 being in the just missed category.

Courtesy of Eric Stephen (why reinvent the wheel – Eric has done it), here is a composite list of the LAD prospects named to the premier baseball publications.

 

Three catchers, three RHP, 2 OF, and 1 SS.  One of the catcher’s, one of the OF, and the SS are several years away from being able to contribute at the MLB level for the Dodgers.

2 – LAD Drafted – Dalton Rushing and Gavin Stone

3 – Trade – River Ryan, Nick Frasso, and Kyle Hurt

5 – IFA – Josue De Paula, Thayron Liranzo, Diego Cartaya, Andy Pages, and Joendry Vargas

Some observations:

  • River Ryan has exploded onto the publication prospect lists. Ryan is the one to watch for the future SP in the LAD rotation.  He has four potential plus pitches (60 or more).  He still needs to establish and maintain good control and command, but with how far he has come in such a short amount of time, I am not betting against him.

 

  • Two who are looking for big time bounce back years – Diego Cartaya and Gavin Stone. I am not about to give up on Cartaya who turned 22 in September.  It takes most catchers longer than pitchers and other position players to become MLB ready.  While Cartaya’s offense took a hit last year at AA (as a 21 year old), he greatly improved in game day strategy, leading the pitcher/catcher pre game discussions.  He is becoming a leader, which a catcher needs to master.  I have no idea if Cartaya goes back to Tulsa, but I am guessing he does with Feduccia and Okey at OKC.

 

  • Gavin Stone also needs a bounce back season. He had a fantastic buildup in his three level move in 2022, from Great Lakes to Tulsa to OKC, and he performed brilliantly at all three rocketing to the top of the LAD prospect list including a consensus top 100 pick before 2023.  Unfortunately his MLB season did not translate well from his 2022 season, and he has tumbled in the prospect listings.  This year, Stone will either be the #5 starter (beating out Emmit Sheehan and Ryan Yarbrough) or he will be back in OKC working his way back.  I have not made it a secret that I prefer Emmet Sheehan to Gavin Stone, but that should not be construed as I do not like Stone. Quite the contrary.  I just think he is too far down a very deeeeep LAD rotation.

 

  • After his injury plagued season, Andy Pages went from 4 Top 100 lists down to 2. What is interesting is that the two he is named this year (BA and ESPN) were not lists he was projected as a top 100 prospect in 2023.  Go Figure.

 

  • Dalton Rushing went from 3 top 100 lists to the only consensus LAD top 100 prospect. He needs to improve his game calling/receiving and blocking skills, but has a tremendous arm to hold back the run game.  Defensively, Baseball Prospectus favorable compares him to Will Smith at comparable stages.

 

  • Thayron Liranzo – And yet another catcher in the cadre of top LAD prospects. Another bat first catcher who also exploded to the top in 2023.  Liranzo is another big arm catcher that needs a lot of improvement in receiving and framing.  I am not nearly as concerned with framing.  Receiving is far more important.

 

  • Josue De Paula is all over the map in the evaluators eyes. From #25 (Athletic) to off the list for Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline.  I understand Fangraphs for the reasons stated above.  MLB Pipeline is also reticent to hyping a teenage hit first player.  They were also slow on acknowledging Miguel Vargas.

 

  • Joendry Vargas and Kyle Hurt made their first top 100 appearances, and not surprisingly, both from Fangraphs. It should be the first of many for Vargas.

 

  • Unfortunately this will be a lost year for Nick Frasso. This was supposed to be the year that he showed LAD that he could go deeper in games.  Lengthen his outings as a starter.  Shoulder injuries are not easy to come back from, but many pitchers do so successfully.  The issue facing Frasso is that he will be trying to comeback as a SP at 26 in 2025.  There was a lot of reliever risk before for Nick.  This only expands on the “fear”.

Kiley McDaniel is one of many Fangraphs graduates, and is now the ESPN Baseball Analyst (and a very good one – IMO).  I continue to promote his book, Future Value, co-authored with Fangraphs Eric Logenhagen.  If you want to learn how prospect lists are put together and what scouts look for, this is your book.  I cannot recommend it enough.

One of the interesting points in this year’s ESPN top prospect list is the inclusion of a list of all FV 40 prospects in a section he labels “Quality Depth”.  I have often written that the Dodgers farm system is often graded very high, not because of the elite prospects, but because of their depth.  Many of their prospects actually make a MLB roster.  This year the Dodgers are ranked #1 in Quality of Depth because they have more players with a 40 FV than any other team (40).  Kiley ranks every player with a 45+ FV and the Dodgers have 10 of those.  That is another way of saying that the Dodgers have 10 of the top 179.  8 of the top 115 and 9 of top 141.  The closest team is Minnesota with 37 40 FV or better and Boston with 34.  The Cubs are the closest team in the NL with 33.

He has six with a 45 grade who are just beginning their climb, and could very well crack his top 100 mid-year or before 2025: Thayron Liranzo – C, Emil Morales – SS (top LAD  IFA pick in 2024), Trey Sweeney – SS, Kendall George – CF, Payton Martin – RHP, and Jackson Ferris – LHP.

 

 

 

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Singing the Blue

We’ve become known for trading for our major stars so it’s very interesting to me that 2 of the 6 names you mention in your last paragraph (young prospects) got here via trades also.

Glad to see AF adding prospects via trades.

Dionysus

Landon Knack comes to mind.

Duke Not Snider

But have the Dodgers traded for their major stars?
Besides Mookie and now Glasnow, who else?
Freddie, Shohei, Yamamoto, Teoscar and Heyward all arrived via free agency. (Bauer too, but…)
The draft brought in Kershaw, Buhler, Smith, Lux, Outman, Miller, Sheehan, Stone. International free agency brought some young talent, but I can’t think of any signed by the Dodgers who are on the 26-man roster.
My favorite part of the Dodgers’ DNA is the ability to find unpolished gems and turn them into all-stars–like Max, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner. Heyward was something of a rehab project, too. And there have been several pitchers who have been rejuvnated by the Dodgers, most recently Phillips and Brasier.

Eric

I’m high on Sheehan, although he’s not a prospect anymore.

I’m with you on Bruns.

I wait for prospects to get to AA and see what they do before I have my eye on them, unless it’s a catcher with eye popping stats at a lower level and that is Rushing’s stats at A ball. Or a pitcher with eye popping stats and that is Kopp as a reliever at both A ball and A+ ball. But has he been converted to a starter? Ferris and Martin too with eye popping stats at A ball.

Then there’s the guys that are at AA and AAA that I like and they are Frasso, Stone, Hurt (as a reliever), and I think Gauthier will be an outstanding utility infielder.

I took a lot of blowback on Mark’s website for saying I think Cartaya is overrated and this was when he was at A ball the early part of the 2022 season when he was rated #1 on MLB prospect list and each level since then at A+ and AA his stats have fallen. I don’t know how far he’s fallen on these prospect lists though.

I don’t dislike other names that have been mentioned here, but I just don’t see what others see. That’s not a bad thing though, just a difference.

Last edited 5 months ago by Eric
Eric

Oops I forgot. Thayron Liranzo is interesting.

RC Dodger

Good summary Jeff!
Prospect rankings are difficult, but it is helpful to compare across the different ranking publications. The Fangraphs rankings produced in January 2023 provide some insight into how difficult it is to project players. Overall, Fangraphs did a good job last year with their top 5 ranked Dodger prospects as Cartaya, Miller, Busch, Vargas, and Pages. Miller lived up to his ranking while the others struggled at some point during 2023 but are still good prospects. The most surprising Fangraphs ranking from last year was Outman ranked as only the 26th best Dodgers prospect in January 2023. He was given a 40 grade or a future bench player per Jeff’s chart above. In April of 2023, Outman was the starting CF for the Dodgers and named NL Rookie of the month in April. Fangraphs was so far off in their assessment of Outman in only 3 months time. Other players ranked ahead of Outman included Jorbit Vivas, Jacob Amaya, and Jonny DeLuca. Even the best talent evaluators make big mistakes in this process.

Duke Not Snider

I suspect that even the best talent evaluators look at other people’s lists, talk to the same sources and say “me too.” Shouldn’t there have been at least be( one outlier that saw Outman’s ability?

I keep hoping that Rushing gets some experience at 3B, which could be up for grabs in ’26. (Cartaya is considered the better defensive catcher, so Rushing might be better off moving–especially if AF does the right thing and signs Smith to an extension.)
Max is under contract for ’24 and ’25. If he plays well, he’s probably safe. But would the Dodgers give Max, who is now 33, an extension at age 35? Max might be better off in free agency, signing with a team that could put him at 1B or DH.
So let’s look ahead to ’26….
Mookie 2B
Freddie 1B (aging like fine wine; AF will extend him)
Shohei DH/SP
Will Smith (signed to extension)
Outman (makes progress!)
Pages RF
Rushing 3B
Miguelito LF
Lux SS

Just extraordinary that the Dodgers will have future HOFers Mookie, Freddie and Shohei together for several years. I do hope Smith gets locked in too.

Eric

“The most surprising Fangraphs ranking from last year was Outman ranked as only the 26th best Dodgers prospect in January 2023. He was given a 40 grade or a future bench player per Jeff’s chart above. In April of 2023, Outman was the starting CF for the Dodgers and named NL Rookie of the month in April. Fangraphs was so far off in their assessment of Outman in only 3 months time. Other players ranked ahead of Outman included Jorbit Vivas, Jacob Amaya, and Jonny DeLuca. Even the best talent evaluators make big mistakes in this process.”

A big amen to that  👍  👍  👍  👍  👍  5 thumbs up to you, not just 1.

Last edited 5 months ago by Eric
Duke Not Snider

The prospect lists are a lot of fun, but the rankers obviously whiff on a lot of picks.
For years, it seems, the Dodgers top prospects, as position players, were some order of Cartaya, Busch and Miguel Vargas–and all three have lost some of their luster and need to get polished all over again.
Meanwhile, Outman cracked the top 100 of only one list. Now we hope Vargas might be as good as Outman.
Instead of one list, I like the idea of collecting them all. But are we getting the “wisdom of the crowd” or just groupthink?
I suspect it’s more of the latter, since I can concoct a list of my own.
I went to one Quakes game last season, so I got to see Liranzo and De Paula and (I think) Geloff up close, but I’m no scout. I am wowed by the Rushing videos, and impressed by videos of others.
I get my Top Ten mostly be reading the other lists–plus the occasional gut judgment. (Outman passed the eye test when I first saw him on TV in spring training. And it was just nutty to me that Busch and Vargas were rated so highly even though neither had a clear position.)
Editorial note: There’s a big difference between “giving up” on a player and using him in strategic trade.
If the Dodgers packaged former top prospect Cartaya for two years of Devin Williams, I’d be OK with that.
One reason is that Rushing and Liranzo may be better than Cartaya. Another is that perhaps we should just consider Cartaya a decent ML prospect, and not a future all-star. (A third is that AF should just sign Will Smith to an extension, dammit!)
Imagine that the Brewers and Dodgers are closing in on a 3-for-1 deal for arguably the best closer in the game…
Perhaps a SP (Knack? Grove? Wrobleski? ) plus a reliever (Varland?) plus, from Column C, a bat.
Question for Mark: Would you rather offer Cartaya or Miguel Vargas?

Mark Timmons

I would not offer Cartaya or Vargas in a deal for Williams for two reasons:

I don’t see the need for him and Relievers do not always continue their winning ways year-over-year; andThe Dodgers need RH hitters and both Vargas and Cartaya are that.You would be selling low if you moved Cartaya now. If he was traded when he was at Great Lakes, he would have brought a Pirates Booty, but they was before Rushing and Liranzo. Hindsight is 20/20. 2024 is a very important year for Vargas and Cartaya. It will likely make or break them.

One year does not make a career. “Super” Joe Charboneau was ROY is 1980 for the Indians. He hit .289 with 23 HR and a .846 OPS. He was on his way to being a star. He ended up playing parts of two more years and was out of baseball as the pitchers found his Kryptonite. Now, admittedly, a lot of his undoing was by his own hands.

His off-the-field antics are legendary to this day. Reportedly, he opened beer bottles with his eye socket, drank beers with a straw through his nose, ate cigarettes, fixed a broken nose with pliers, and stitched up his own cut with fishing line.

In 1980 on the baseball field, he was larger than life and played like it. For a baseball fan base starving for anything positive after decades of mediocre to bad baseball, Charboneau was like a meteor from outer space crash-landing into old Cleveland Municipal Stadium.

Early in 1980, Charboneau — who hit .350 or better with 39 homers in the minors in 1978 and 1979 — stepped in for an injured Andre Thornton. On opening day in California against the Angles, he hit a home run. In the home opener, he was 3 for 3 with another homer. Later that season, he hit one of the longest home runs ever recorded at old Yankee Stadium.Cleveland News-Herald

I love the James Outman story, and unlike Joe Charboneau, he is not a Knucklehead, but I still worry about him – especially against LHP. I worry about Gavin Lux’s ability to play SS. I worry that Vargas cannot play 2B or 3B, but that LF is his only position… which it probably is.

I look back on players whom I thought would be better than they were and try and learn from the past, but as Jeff said, it is hard to measure intangibles. Especially heart! James Outman is blessed with a heart the size of his body, but he still swings like a caveman against LHP. However, I would not bet against him.

If Outman, Lux, Cartaya, and Vargas can realize their potential, this indeed will be a superteam for a long time. I hear from sources that Gavin Stone has improved his slider and hook immensely. His fastball and change were already excellent, although he lost the feel for his change a while last season. They say that Sheehan looks ready to take a step forward.

The book Future Value is the best and most valuable baseball book I have ever read. I have a hardcover copy and also have it on Kindle.

Players are not ranked by whether they are blocked or have a position. They are ranked by an assessment of their skills. Whether they are blocked or not has no bearing on how any of the ratings fall.

Oh, and I worry about Dalton Rushing being able to hit “high cheese.” Maybe it was all of his injuries last year, but he clearly had a lot of trouble with high fastballs last year. Cartayas’ struggles remind me of Andy LaRoche’s struggles years ago – he sells out too quickly!

Great Piece Jeff!

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
Duke Not Snider

Yes… an excellent report, Jeff.

But about that possibly unfinished business in the bullpen….
Seems to me that AF and Roberts have always preferred having a true closer, a regular go-to guy. They like the structure it imposes, with each RP knowing his role. Certainly it makes the manager’s job easier, because there is less to manage. After Kenley left, AF got Kimbrel, although it seemed he was past his prime. But even when Kimbrel struggled, Roberts would say stuff like “we’re at our best if he is finishing games.”
Until he realized after a few more blown saves that it simply wasn’t true.

Devin Williams has been very, very good for a few years. His “airbender” is one of the best pitches in the game. He wouldn’t be a “rental” as there are two years of control on his contract.
The Brewers traded one year of Burnes for several years of control for three first-round-quality prospects, including one being an actual draft pick. What would two years of Williams and his airbender cost?
I assume, with Burnes gone, they’d want another SP. (No such thing as too much pitching.) They’d also want an RP to help compensate for Williams departure. (They reportedly already have a closer-in-waiting.) And they’d want a good bat, possibly with a have a positional need. (Catcher? We have at least three quality prospects.)
Straight up, Burnes is more valuable than Williams. The Orioles needed a true ace, and they got their man.
But for the Dodgers, would one year of Burnes be more valuable than two of Williams?
Nope. Not anymore.
With Yamamoto and Glasnow aboard–plus Ohtani returning to the mound in ’25– the Dodgers’ interest in the SP market has tapered. Rounding out the rotation are Bobby Miller, Buhler, Paxton, Kershaw, Sheehan, May, Stone, Gonsolin, Knack, Ryan, Hurt, Frasso, Ferris, Wrobleski…etc…all of whom are really good arguments against adding another SP. (One of them might also be a great closer someday.)
Dodgers also have a lot of impressive talent in the bullpen–but is there That Guy who steps in with the game on the line? For a team to be bulletproof, does it need a bad-ass equivalent to prime Gagne or Kenley?
Evan Phillips seems to be the closest thing to a true shutdown reliever who can close out games. Treinen flashed the ability in the past.
I’ve noticed something when Roberts is asked about the bullpen. He seems cagey, reluctant to assign the job to anyone in particular while also shying away from the “closer by committee” notion.
His fuzzy responses leave me with the impression that something could be in the works.
But that just may be wishful thinking.

Duke Not Snider

Re-reading this, it occurs to me that AF got Kimbrel cheap: a declining AJ Pollock to the White Sox, straight up for the declining Kimbrel, just one week before opening day.
But Kimbrel, clearly past his prime, was handed the most important job in the bullpen.
Devin Williams is in his prime. So is his airbender. In 2023, he had a 1.53 ERA and a WHIP of 0.92, with 87 Ks in 58.2 innings. The Dodgers’ pen is loaded with talent, but nobody with a recent track record like Williams’. (His WAR in ’23 was 2.6; Evan Phillips’s was 1.7.)
The brass might be content with the pen as it is. Early reports on Treinen are promising. Certainly there is enough talent to win another division title.
But what about the playoffs, facing off against the tough lineups like the Braves, Phillies, Astros, Rangers or Yankees?
It might require an overpay, but the goal isn’t to win the trade. The goal is to win the World Series.

Last edited 4 months ago by Duke Not Snider
Oldbear48

I know so little about the farm system and our prospects that I rarely comment about them. But last season I watched probably 15-20 minor league games. Mostly AAA and AA. I like that MLB.TV includes those with the subscription. One reason I watched Buehler’s rehab start. First spring game coming up this week. Really windy here, but the snow from yesterday has melted.

Dave

I’m confused on something. If a guy like Bruns has good stuff but poor control how does that make him a bullpen consideration? When you bring in a guy from the bullpen he has to throw strikes nit put runners on base.
I always thought what differentiated a starter from a reliever was the number of pitches they had.

dodger dad

yamamoto, glasnow, buehler,miller , sheehan, paxton, kershaw! if healthy(i know big if) that’s scary! hoping for a good year from chris taylor. that bench might be bottom 1/3 of baseball. probably getting very little offensively from barnes and rojas.margot may or may not help. still would like barnes gone! well we’re getting closer to opening day! can’t wait!

Duke Not Snider

Good question. I’ve often wondered that myself.
Few things are more frustrating than a reliever who enters a game and can’t throw strikes.
I have no strong opinion regarding Bruns. But I do recall that Koufax struggled with control for years before it all clicked.

Last edited 5 months ago by Duke Not Snider
Oldbear48

Six seasons before Koufax showed what he could really do. And Norm Sherry was one of the reasons. He told Koufax to just throw to the glove and quit trying to throw everything by the hitters. This was in the spring of 61.

Oldbear48

Remember when they moved Maeda to the pen? Made him quit nibbling. I think one reason Urias got better in 21 was because the relief experience in the 2020 playoffs made him concentrate more.

Eric

“When you bring in a guy from the bullpen he has to throw strikes nit put runners on base. I always thought what differentiated a starter from a reliever was the number of pitches they had.”

 👍  What you said is true. I don’t know where the other talk came from.

Phil Jones

Jeff, great article today. And you, Eric and Bear all make excellent points on the difference between a starter’s and a reliever’s tool kit and command. Certainly short term focus and one dominant pitch can make a reliever effective. Emptying the take for 3 hitters is a different mentality. Another is a starters routine is completely different having 30 minutes or so to get ready. Relievers are up in a second and must have the ability to get game ready, physically and mentally in just a few pitches. They need a rubber arm to throw multiple short stints in a row. Not all pitchers just well to the differences physically and mentally.
While I know scouts who firmly believe that closers need to possess a unique 9th inning mind set over a typical set-up man. I personally think that is a self-fulfilling prophecy and conditioning more then they do, but those scouts are looking for a very specific make-up, more than stuff.
I watched a college tournament this week end in Surprise. On Saturday, Oregon State hosted Minnesota. I know it was the 2nd game of the season. But there were combined 17 walks, 12 by Minnesota, 17 hits 23 strike outs and 25 guys LOB, 17 by Minnesota. Just ugly baseball. I repeatedly saw pitchers who’s approach seemed to be nibble away with every hitter, get to 3 and 2 and try to trick em with some type secondary junk. Nobody liked their fastball and trusted it to challenge a hitter. I admit I’m old school. I believe in establishing a quality well located fastball and working off that, especially early in the season. Give me a fastball away you can thrown in your sleep.
I talked to a long-time scout friend about the number of 3 and 2 walks off breaking balls and he agreed, stating he sees it now everyday. Even high school coaches have bought in to kids being able to throw any pitch at any time. Nice idea. And that’s fine if the kid is Justin Verlander. Most have marginal secondary stuff they can’t consistently locate. Certainly you adjust to the circumstances during the game. But I still believe the most effective pitch in the game is a well located baseball.

Oldbear48

Today is the 86th birthday of perhaps the greatest pinch hitter in Dodger history. Happy 86th, # 11, Manuel Geronimo Mota!!!

Farhan Friedman

Happy Birthday Manny Mota!

Mark Timmons

A photo I snapped a few years ago:
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Duke Not Snider

Loved Mota. He was a starter him on my Strat-o-matic team.

Dionysus

Not everyone has to be an All-Star. Role players are valuable too. Gauthier might be the next Chris Taylor, so we don’t need to spend 4y/$60m on a glue guy. Feduccia or even Cartaya could be a back-up catcher. One of the current AAA SP mix could become a bullpen stalwart. There are no small roles, just small actors.

Mark Timmons

BANG!

Bluto

People seem hopeful on Will Smith resigning, I feel like every sign seems to indicate this won’t happen.

I’m probably wrong.

Make mine Blue

Tell us something we don’t know. lol

Bluto

I dunno, I feel like everyone is hoping they resign Smith as if it’s an easy task.

Duke Not Snider

We don’t even know if it’s a discussion. If not, why not?

Bumsrap

I prefer that he re-signs.

Bumsrap

I always have maybe too much hope for a pitcher with great stuff but little control because that might have been said about Koufax. Likewise, I have more hope for Stone because Kershaw was able to go from average to great after he added a third pitch (slider).

I bet Atlanta would have already locked up Lux and Outman to long term contracts.

How close are DePaula’s defensive skills to Soto’s.

Eric

“I bet Atlanta would have already locked up Lux and Outman to long term contracts.”

 👍  and Smith too.

Mark Timmons

It takes two to tango, and here is the fallacy about the Braves vs. Dodgers: The Braves have Riley, Olsen, Harris, Murphy, and Strider locked up to long-term deals. The Dodgers have Freeman, Betts, Ohtani, Glasnow, and Yamamoto locked up longer term. Too many long-term deals will cripple your ability to pivot. Atlanta has nothing on the Dodgers, and no one has a clue what Will Smith’s agents want. Outman may be a candidate after this season if he can show progress against LHP, but Lux is coming back from a devastating injury. The Dodgers have extended as many as Atlanta!

dodgerpatch

The difference is Atlanta has shown a willingness to lock up their core players when they’re young, well before they hit free agency – or even arbitration.

It requires some trust that the potential of a young player is truly there, and the organization has to be willing to overpay when that player would otherwise be cheap and controllable, but there are advantages to this approach I’ve posted about before.

The advantage is Atlanta has all of there core players locked up in their prime years. Signing a free agent to long-term deal means you’re paying him big $$$ when he’s declining. The Braves control their players in to parts of their free agent years when they’re still in their primes, but at a price that’s lower than market.

Make mine Blue

You nailed it Patch. Young and cheaper lock up price, older and maybe not getting back what you had hoped for at a very steep price.

Mark Timmons

Easy, peasy… everyone should do it. Why don’t they? Because it is a huge risk and backfires as much as it works.

dodgerpatch

After Corey Seager’s ROY year in 2016, what if you had the opportunity to lock him up for 10 years/20 mil for a total of $200 million? Would you do it?

Texas signed him to $325/10 and has to pay him $31 mil/year until he’s 37. Chances are that backfires on them.

The Dodgers could’ve have Seager on the team right now at well below market value and in his prime years. The contract would have ended in his age 33 year, about the time he’ll start to decline, and the Dodgers wouldn’t have any further commitment to him.

Would you rather have Seager or Lux at SS?

On the other hand, the Wander Franco contract blew up in the Rays’ faces (although I imagine there’s probably an insurance policy for this kind of thing). Still, the contract he signed, avoiding his ARB years, is for 25 mil/year, and, based on his play, it was a steal. I mean, shit! Even the Rays were willing to open up the checkbook at that price.

He was a budding star. Pity he screwed it up.

If he had continued that level of play and hit free agency, with the rate of salary inflation, he might’ve been getting 40 mil/year.

Last edited 5 months ago by dodgerpatch
Keith

How about the Rays paying Wander Franco 200 million plus right now how would you like to be on the hook for that early signing. I’ll take the way the Dodgers run a team over the Braves. In Andrew we trust.

dodgerpatch

I think the Dodgers are the best run team in sports, but I also give credit where it’s due.

The Braves, at least on paper, are a better team than the Dodgers, still, even with the all of the huge signings in the off-season. Top-to-bottom they’re just excellent.

They’re doing it while, at least now, staying under the CBT.

They have a core team that’s going to be together for a while.

I think they’ve done an outstanding job, and not to say their model is better than what the Dodgers have done, and there are risks with their approach – there’s always risk in any signing – but it makes sense, and it works.

Oldbear48

I think if he gets convicted of the crime he is charged with, and it looks like he will, the Rays legal department will be able to come up with a reason to void the contract.

RC Dodger

I would think that Franco may end up getting suspended from MLB like Bauer did and possibly the majority of the contract voided. But I am not familiar with the terms of the contract or his legal status.

Badger

“if he can show progress against LHP”

I keep hearing that but then looking at his numbers I see he had a better BA and better OBP against lefties than he did against RHP. The difference was in slugging. He put up 3.3 WAR as a rookie. He’s known as a hard worker so I look for overall improvement in his game and believe he will be an extension candidate after this season. But then I’ve felt that way about Smith too and it hasn’t happened.

As for the closer position. I’ve said for years games are often won in the 7th or 8th when someone other than the designated closer gets the top and middle of the order out, sometimes with runners on. In my opinion that guy should get the save.

Mark Timmons

Figures don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the truth! He looks pathetic against LHP. Let’s see what 2024 brings…

Duke Not Snider

Outman is a power hitter against righties, and a contact hitter against lefties. He says he is working to develop more power against lefties. We’ll see what happens.
While you may think Outman looks terrible against lefties, he delivers those “quality ABs’ that Roberts likes and has managed to produce a very nice .350 OBP against both righties and lefties–which is much higher than Margot. It’s remarkable that a guy who strikes out so often has produced a solid OBP.
Against lefties, I think we’ll see both Margot and Taylor platooning with Heyward, with Taylor also spelling Max on occasion, and Rojas giving Lux an occasional day off.

Eric

“I think what Eric is talking about is who is the last homegrown LAD to get an extension? I think it was Kershaw (twice). I think the question is legit.”

Yes and thank you.

“we have no idea what Smith’s agent is thinking. Or Outman or Lux or Miller or Sheehan…Or the Dodgers?”

True and I think Smith, Miller, Sheehan should definitely get the contracts if possible. Outman is borderline and I lean towards getting the contract if possible. Need to wait and see about Lux. I’d add Buehler too as a wait and see candidate, but I think it’s too late, he’s a free agent after this year.

Mark Timmons

Smith? Yes, but I doubt his agent would do it.

Miller? 10 years and $300 mil might get it done… but he has no real history… just potential.

Sheehan? What you want to give him and what he wants may be two different things. It takes a fool on one side or the other to make that deal.

Mark Timmons

If I were Bobby Miller, I would look at the Yamamoto deal and think I might be able to come close to that…

I would love to see the Dodgers lock up all their young players, and it makes sense if you can do it like ATL has done. It does take a certain type of personality to accept those deals….

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
Duke Not Snider

I think it’s clear that AF is very selective about long-term contracts. He saves money by churning through young talent like Outman and Miller who are earning much less than what veteran peers make for similar performances. He prefers that salaries be settled year by year, sometimes with arbitration. And his method is working.

A lot of teams are burdened with bad long-term contracts.(The Angels had a few. Thank goodness Rendon thought the Dodgers were “too Hollywood” or something.)

What was the Dodgers’ worst contract in recent years?
It was the Bauer contract, for reasons beyond baseball. On the plus side, it was just a three-year commitment. (And critics–hello!–said it was a mistake before it happened.)

But the deals for Mookie and Freddie have delivered on their promise. Now we’ll see how the deals for Ohtani, Yamamoto and Glasnow work out.

Mark Timmons

As of now, Albies and Acuna’s deals are up by 2026, so I do not consider them to be long-term.

Ozuna is done after this season, and Iglesias and Arcia are done after next. Yes, some were homegrown, but they were mostly picked when the team tanked. The Dodgers have not had that luxury. It’s apples to onions.

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
Duke Not Snider

Sean Murphy and Will Smith are really good parallels.
Will is 28 and Murphy is 29. I’d put them in the top 5 of catchers with Rutschman and Realmuto and maybe the better Contreras.
A quick search tells me that Smith is getting $8.5 million this year, while Murphy had signed a 6-year, $73 million contract that works out to an AAV of $12.16 million. (This season, however, the salary is $9 million.)
As an FA, Realmuto scored a 5-year, $115-million contract, with an AAV of about $23 million–a record for a catcher. (I really like Realmuto and remember hoping the Dodgers would sign him–but then Will won the starting job and exceeded expectations.)
Perhaps Will wants to test free agency to get max money. (This should not be confused with Max money, since Muncy is underpaid.)
Rutschman, 26, is about $8.73 million this season, mostly because of a $8 million signing bonus. (Worth remembering that he also got an $8.1 million bonus as the overall No.1 pick in 2019.)
What would it take to keep Will in Dodger blue for the next 5-6 years? I hope AF tries to find out. I assume he’d remind Will that he’d be catching Ohtani, Yamamoto, Glasnow and Miller for years to come. And he’d be in a lineup with Mookie, Freddie and Shohei…
Locking up Smith for 5-6 years could create some roster flexibility, such as converting Rushing to 3B and potentially dealing Cartaya.
But it’s entirely possible that Will, like Seager and Trea Turner, would simply prefer to play elsewhere.

Last edited 5 months ago by Duke Not Snider
RC Dodger

Rutschman has a salary of only $770,000 this year. Last year he had a salary of $733,000 plus was paid pre-arb performance incentive of $1.8 million.
The $8.1 million bonus was his draft signing bonus, not an additional bonus.
Orioles will try to extend Rutschman at some point but have not done so yet. He will likely sign for much more than Will Smith.

RC Dodger

Excellent points Jeff!

Keith

Here here Mark

Duke Not Snider

Again, I’m more interested in what Will Smith is thinking than his agent.
I don’t think Will is a puppet.

Duke Not Snider

I see no need to extend Outman, because he’s more easily replaced than Smith.
Will is not so easily replaced–even though the Dodgers have 3 top catching prospects.
If Outman starts slugging lefties the way he slugs righties–a big if–then an extension might make sense. I also I think Lux has more to prove than Outman.
As Mark points out, the Dodgers have a lot of superstars locked up long term. LA is a big market team with a big budget. Atlanta is more medium market and have been savvy with their deals. (I don’t think they’d be quick to extend either Outman or Lux.)
The real question isn’t what Will Smith’s agents want.
It’s what Will wants.
Maybe he’ll want to test the market. Maybe he really wants to get out of LA. But maybe he’ll realize he’s in a great situation with the Dodgers and he’ll want to stick around.

Oldbear48

Seems the players are not too enamored with the new uniforms; in fact some just hate them. The Panda was signed to a minor league deal by the Giants, he is trying to come back at age 37. Soler’s signing was made official today.

Make mine Blue

What new unis are you talking about?

Oldbear48

The uniforms have been upgraded by Nike and are called Vapor. Supposed to allow for fit, moisture management and movement. They have taken several years to develop. Most of the player reviews have been negative. Most of the changes are not visible to the fans eyes. They are supposed to dry faster.

GF7OLtnaUAACPML
Last edited 5 months ago by Oldbear48
Oldbear48

Looks like Bryce Harper is moving to first base permanently. Freddie and Olson still the class of the league along with Goldschmidt.

Dionysus

Good luck to Michael Busch.

Duke Not Snider

Yes, that was why the Phils let Rhys Hoskins walk.
I’ve read that 1B was the best position for both Busch and Miguel Vargas, but some guy already has that job with the Dodgers.

If, god forbid, Freddie gets hurt, would Miguelito get the call? Or would Max would shift over with Taylor taking over 3B?
Anyway, it’s good that Busch has a fresh start–and also good that the Dodgers have Ferris and Hope in the minors.
Freddie has far surpassed my expectations when he signed. I knew he’d be good, but he’s been terrific. Great performance, great attitude. And I think he is aging better than Goldschmidt.
Would not surprise me if Freddie, now 34, plays to age 40.

Make mine Blue

NOw if he could just make an appearance on the radar screen in the post season. Has Freddie caught the Kershaw bug?

Oldbear48

Freeman is a .285 hitter in the post season. A lot of players who are stars will have a bad series or two. Kersh’s numbers are skewed by a couple of bad performances, but they are not the only stars who have had post season problems. Bonds sucked in the post season.

Oldbear48

Ohtani will not play in Thursday’s spring opener against the Padres. Musgrove is supposed to start for San Diego. Game is on ESPN.

Eric

Will Smith seems like a really good stand up guy, meaning if the Dodgers gave him a decent offer that is under the going rate he would do it because he wants to stay and be loyal to the Dodgers like Muncy and there’s very few of those guys out there.

Last edited 5 months ago by Eric
Bluto

What is the point of this baseless speculation?

can that guy from the other site weigh in on the work ethic of people named Smirh?

Eric

That didn’t take long.

Mark Timmons

We have no clue if AF has talked to Smith’s agent about an extension or not. The Dodgers play these cards close to their vest. Some players are content with signing a deal that keeps them with a team instead of seeking Free Agency. Witness Max Muncy – he signed a team-friendly contract, which I think he could have far exceeded had he gone to free agency. That was not where his priorities were. But Duke likely nailed why Will Smith has not signed with the Dodgers. JT Realmuto scored a deal worth one less year and $42 Million more than Murphy. That is real money, and even if Will wants to be a Dodger, he HAS to at least test Free Agency. He would be a dunce to accept an extension at anything close to what Murphy got and if the Dodgers have to pay more to keep him, they might as well do it when he hits free agency. By all accounts, Will can do the math, and the math does not add up to him getting an extension… unless the Dodgers want to give him 5 years and $115 Million and then the Dodgers are the morons for taking that risk with a plethora of catchers in their system.

Badger

It’s possible, even likely, Will Smith peaked at age 26 with 25 home runs and an .860 OPS. We won’t see that again but he will still project around .800 OPS with 18-20 home runs and 3-4 WAR for maybe 3 years. What is he worth to the Dodgers? With a stable of young catchers moving up in the organization will they extend Smith? Maybe. But I doubt it will be for 5 years.

Mark Timmons

It looks to me that Will Smith has bulked up a little this offseason, but he is not a large-framed person. Catching wears him down, and you may have nailed it. If the Dodgers were to keep him, I would move him to 3B, but that’s just me.

Bluto

I agree largely with this. Why in the world would Smith not try the free market?

the only part I disagree, is obviously (to me) the two sides have spoken to some extent.

Oldbear48

Boston signed Liam Hendricks to a two year 10-million-dollar contract. He will not pitch this season. Milwaukee re-signed Brandon Woodruf to a two-year deal. He also will not pitch this year.

Mark Timmons

I hve heard that Hendriks will be back in August…

Duke Not Snider

It would be great if Dustin May can get into the mix.

Oldbear48

Possible, but not likely.

Duke Not Snider

Why would he not try the free market?
Perhaps because Smith ma believe he can get fairly rewarded by a team that should be a championship contender for the rest of his career.
I think most Dodgers know they are playing for a first-rate organization. But it’s possible that Smith, for personal reasons, may want a change, just like Seager and Trea Turner.
Or maybe decides the Dodgers are “too Hollywood.”

RC Dodger

Will Smith might opt for an extension to protect himself from injury risk, and because his life will not change much whether he signs a $70 million extension or a $115 million free agent contract. Each player has different objectives with his career, some are strictly about the most money, others are about winning, and others seek security for their career.
I hope the Dodgers extend Smith because he has been a great Dodger and helped them win a championship. He is clearly a team player. On most teams, he would be getting at bats at DH but the Dodgers have instead deployed Martinez and Ohtani as full time DHs.His stats and WAR would be even better if he was allowed to be DH when not catching.

I find it surprising that some posters don’t want to extend Will Smith, but have no problem giving Ohtani $700 million, Yamamoto $375 million, and Glasnow $137 million before they play one game for the Dodgers. I prefer the Braves approach of keeping young, homegrown players as often as possible. But the Dodgers have signed the highest paid player and highest paid pitcher in MLB history, so they are taking a different approach. The next couple of years will likely be battles between the Braves and Dodgers as both are quality organizations. We will see if the free agent star approach prevails or the homegrown extend approach works.

Mark Timmons

I am 100% in favor of extending Smith, but It would have to be over $100 Million… not $70 Million. There is no way he will take $70 Million, and there is no way the Dodgers will offer $100 Million. Hell, CT3 got $60 M.

Also, let me remind you that I was not in favor of signing Ohtani. I am still not sure…

Duke Not Snider

Yep.
And he is a once-a-century talent in the prime of his career.

Duke Not Snider

Not sure I follow the logic.
If Taylor got $60m for four years–I think that’s right–then I could certainly see AF offering Smith $100m for five. (Realmuto set the bar for top catchers, getting $115 million for five.)
Smith is a much better player than Taylor and, as a catcher, far more vital to the team’s success.
I do remember that not only Mark was not in favor of signing Ohtani, but he also insisted that there was no way that AF would offer… what was it?…more than $500 million?
Something like that.
But I can’t read AF’s mind either. Or Will Smith’s.
RC makes a good point about an extension being a hedge against injury, some of which can kill a career.

Mark Timmons

Here’s a Headline that will shock no one:

Angels’ Anthony Rendon: Baseball Has ‘Never Been a Top Priority For Me’

Oldbear48

Yanks have an offer on the table for Snell. But there does not seem to be much chance of that happening yet. Nationals owner pulls the team off of the market. Trout says leaving the Angels is the easy way out. He wants Moreno to sign some big players.

Bluto

The gall of the Lerner family, to imply that they wouldn’t spend money in the Nationals’ off-season, then to say the team is off the market at the start of the regular season is amazing.

Mark Timmons

Greedy Bastards!

Cassidy

Good luck with that Mike! You couldn’t even get to .500 with Ohtani!

RC Dodger

Good point Jeff.
Buehler appears periodically on the Just Baseball podcast and he recently insisted he is not rehabbing and he is fully healthy this spring. With the hundreds of reporters at spring training, surely one can ask Walker directly about his health. Unless he had a setback in the last few days, my guess is this is just load management and wanting to limit his innings to be available for the playoffs. At least I hope so.

Dionysus

It’s his 2nd TJS.

He’s a Ferrari.

He hasn’t his big FA contract yet.

Kudos gloves all the way. Apart from Seager, nobody has done more in the postseason for us.

Dionysus

Ok

Singing the Blue

David Peralta has signed with the Cubs on a minor league deal with an invite to ST. I think that’s going to work out very well for the Cubs, although signing Belli might work out better.

RC Dodger

Peralta played hurt for the Dodgers the second half of the year, and had surgery right after the season. We did not see the best of David Peralta last year. Hope he bounces back.

Mark Timmons

Peralta had surgery after 2022 and started 2023 slowly (.416 OPS in April). He picked up in May (.786 OPS), and then in June, he OPSed .961. In mid-July, he injured his arm and declined for the rest of the season. If he can stay healthy, he will be an asset for the Cubs.

RC Dodger

Arizona recently signed Randall Grichuk to a one year, $1.5 million contract. Seems like a solid signing for the Dbacks, who have quietly had a really good offseason. Grichuk had a 779 OPS overall last year, but against LHP had a 995 OPS in 2023! Of course, he played for the Rockies half the year. His career OPS against LHP is 822. He seems like a good platoon option with Joc Pederson who crushes RHP but struggles against LHP. Grichuk is the Walmart version of a lefty killer but a lot cheaper than Teoscar at $23 million.

Mark Timmons

That could be a potent duo.

Mark Timmons

I have been told that Buehler is fine and that he has almost all of his velocity back. They just want to start him later so that he is fresher at the end of the season. That may or many not be true.

Singing the Blue

The Dodgers are doing a relay rotation this year.

First half: Yamamoto, Glasnow, Miller, Paxton, Sheehan or Stone

Second half: Yamamoto (2-3 week visit to IL with hangnail), Glasnow (in and out), Miller, (Paxton injured),
Sheehan or Stone (whomever didn’t get the first half), Kershaw, Buehler

Playoffs: Pick the four strongest at that point

Singing the Blue

We’ve improved upon the formula.

I pleaded with Andrew to bring back Lynn, but he refused to.

dodgerpatch

Yup. There’s going to be a lot of creative IL diagnoses.

It’s what I’d do. Gotta build a slow crescendo so you’re at your peak for the playoffs. No more grinding it out through the dog days of Summer.

On a related note: I almost wish they’d reduce the length of the season to 154 games again to really build up the playoffs. It’s a tournament now, and to stack that on top of a long season is too much – for the players … and for the fans.

From what little I know about coming back from TJ, the velo comes back fairly quickly. It’s the pitchability and feel that take longer. Encouraging if true about Buhtane’s velocity return, though.

Last edited 5 months ago by dodgerpatch

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