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Spring Training Workouts Have Begun – Baseball Is Back

The Dodgers have had their 1st workout with pitchers and catchers (Friday).  Here is a little preview of what we might expect from ST.

ST camp will be at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona, their ST home since 2009.  The Dodgers share the facilities with the Chicago White Sox.

Hey AF/BG, as an aside, Dylan Cease would not have to go very far if you made a trade to get him in ST.  Just sayin’.

Okay, back to reality.

  • The first full squad workout is next Wednesday, February 14.
  • The first ST game will be Thursday, Feb. 22, at 12:10 p.m. PT against the Padres at the Peoria Sports Complex.
  • The first home ST game at Camelback Ranch will be against the Padres on Friday, Feb. 23, at 12:05 p.m. PT.
  • SportsNet LA and MLB.TV are, once again, expected to carry the Cactus League games.
  • The last ST game in Arizona will be March 13 against the Mariners at Camelback Ranch.
  • In preparation for Opening Day in Seoul, the Dodgers will play the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO on March 17 and the Korean national team on March 18.
  • MLB and the Dodgers will have their opening day March 20 in Korea against the Padres.  This will officially be a road game for the Dodgers.  The two teams will face off again in Korea on March 21 in what will be a Dodger home game.
  • The two teams will depart from Korea, and the Dodgers will return to Dodger Stadium to begin the Freeway Series against LAA.  March 24 and 25 will be at Dodger Stadium, and Shohei Ohtani returns to Angel Stadium on Tuesday March 26 in the final game of the Freeway Series.
  • The Dodgers’ Opening Day on U.S. soil will be on March 28 against the Cardinals at 1:10 p.m. PT at Dodger Stadium.

 

Major League Baseball announced a new Spring Training event called Spring Breakout coming March 14-17, 2024.

All 30 MLB clubs will assemble rosters filled with 20-25 of their best prospects to take on top Minor League or rookie talents from other organizations.  MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a release,

“Spring Breakout will provide a new opportunity to showcase the future stars of the game as they continue on their journey to the Major Leagues.  Our fans will get unique opportunities to meet our best prospects, get autographs and see the next generation of Major Leaguers up close. We are thrilled that Major League Baseball, Minor League Baseball and all of our Clubs are working closer than ever to grow the game and to shine a brighter light on our future All-Stars.”

The Dodgers will play their Spring Breakout game against the Angels on March 16 at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

I will be very anxious to see what non-pitchers the Dodgers invite to this event.  It is a 7 inning game so I would expect no more than 10 pitchers and 10-15 position players.  The pitchers will be hard to determine because there are so many, and the position players will be hard because there are NOT very many.  Certainly not very many above A Ball.  Rosters will be announced closer to the game.

Who will be in ST.  The full compliment of the 40 man roster will be there, plus the following Non Roster Invitees (NRI).  Below is a table of the NRI.  This table was prepared by Eric Stephen, and since I could not do a better job of accumulating the information, I decided to “borrow” it from him and TrueBlueLA.

 

 

Dodgers 2024 non-roster invitees

Pos. Player 2024 age* Service Options (used) Acquired
RHP Nabil Crismatt 29 2.132 0 (2020-22) FA 12/12/23
LHP Stephen Gonsalves (L) 29 0.056 0 (2018-20) FA 1/24/24
RHP Kevin Gowdy 26 0.000 3 (none) FA 1/23/23
RHP Jesse Hahn 34 6.067 n/a FA 1/18/24
RHP Elieser Hernández 29 5.044 n/a FA 1/12/24
RHP Daniel Hudson 37 13.106 n/a FA 12/12/23
RHP Dinelson Lamet 31 5.160 n/a FA 2/2024
LHP T.J. McFarland (L) 35 8.050 n/a FA 1/26/24
RHP Michael Petersen 30 0.000 3 (none) FA 1/24/24
RHP River Ryan 25 0.000 3 (none) trade 3/28/22
RHP Eduardo Salazar 26 0.023 2 (2023) FA 11/16/23
C Chris Okey 29 0.033 2 (2023) FA 1/3/24
C Dalton Rushing (L) 23 0.000 3 (none) 2022 draft (2nd)
IF Jonathan Araúz (S) 25 2.062 1 (2021-22) FA 12/15/23
IF Austin Gauthier 25 0.000 3 (none) NDFA 8/4/21
SS Trey Sweeney (L) 24 0.000 3 (none) trade 12/11/23
3B/1B Kevin Padlo 27 0.086 0 (2020-22) FA 1/26/24
OF Drew Avans (L) 28 0.000 3 (none) 2018 draft (33rd)
OF José Ramos 23 0.000 3 (none) Int’l FA 2018
OF Travis Swaggerty (L) 26 0.008 1 (2022-23) FA 12/11/23
OF Ryan Ward (L) 26 0.000 3 (none) 2019 draft (8th)

*age as of June 30, 2024

Add infielder Chris Owings to the list of NRI.  He was just signed to a MiLB contract with a NRI.

I think you can count on one hand the number of actual LAD prospects who are invited:

  • RHP River Ryan
  • C Dalton Rushing
  • IF Austin Gauthier
  • SS Trey Sweeney
  • OF José Ramos

I included José Ramos in the list, well, because he still is in the LAD top 30 prospects.  Ramos, for me, falls into that category that he was held onto way too long.  He has been passed over in the Rule 5 draft two years now.  I am not sure what he could have brought back in a trade, but his trade zenith would have been after the 2021 season as a 20 year old.  José has a double plus arm (70), and has good power.  But he just does not make enough contact (28.9% K rate in AA last year, career 27.3%).  Many scouting reports consider him very vulnerable to the high fastball that he just cannot catch up with.  He is still 23, so he has plenty of time to show he can be OF depth, but not a regular.  I expect to see him back at Tulsa to start the season.

Drew Avans and Ryan Ward are the Dodgers new version of AAAA OF that they usually acquire each season.  This year they needed only Travis Swaggerty.

IMO, the three that will get the most looks in ST will be RHRP Daniel Hudson, RHRP Nabil Crismatt, and RHP Dinelson Lamet.

Others that will get monitored would be LHP Stephen Gonsalves (former top shelf prospect for Minnesota), RHP Elieser Hernandez (effective pitcher with Miami), and TJ McFarland who was a very effective reliever at times with St. Louis and Arizona.  Typical inconsistent RP.  But look at what the Dodgers pitching staff has done with these types of pitchers.

The Dodgers will have a short build up to the beginning of the season, so I would expect to see a lot of regulars get more than usual playing time.

For me, the position players are set.  The only question will be where will we see Miguel Vargas play the most this ST.  Unless there is a trade or injury, the 13 position players are set.

But it will be the pitchers that will be center stage for the Dodgers.  We have gone over the names so much this offseason.  I still expect to see Gavin Stone compete with Emmet Sheehan to battle for the #6 (when Buehler comes back).  They both should break camp as the #5 and #6 SP.  My guess is that it will be Sheehan who will get that last SP once Buehler joins the rotation.

I am very much looking forward to watching the relievers battle.  In particular I want to see what Kyle Hurt and Ricky Vanasco can do against MLB hitters.  Are they legit high leverage late inning options for LAD? Will Matt Gage be able to get MLB RH hitters out in ST?  What will J.P. Feyereisen look like after more than a year off?  What will Blake Treinen look like, also after more than a year off?  Will Daniel Hudson’s knee(s) hold up throughout ST?  Gus Varland?   How long before Joe Kelly ends up on the IL?  Will he start the season with the Dodgers?

Like the starting rotation, the bullpen has the makings of being dominant, BUT with a lot of questions.

We are getting closer.

Since I will not be in Glendale, I will have to rely on those that are there to give updates before the games begin.

For those who have not seen it, and want to see a full report on the NRI from Eric Stephen…here you go:

https://www.truebluela.com/2024/1/26/24050077/dodgers-non-roster-invitees-2024-spring-training

 

 

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OhioDodger

I hope Feduccia gets a good look this spring. I would like to see what he can do.

Dionysus

I do too. LSU boys are built diff’rent.

Eric

 👍 

Singing the Blue

When AF was interviewed today he mentioned that all the pitchers looked great. Along with the obvious guys (Buehler, Yamamoto, etc.) he went out of his way to mention Vanasco, and Kevin Gowdy of all people. I wonder if they see something in him that everyone else has missed.

Bluto

Kevin Gowdy finished 2023 very strong. His ERA in August was 2.38, with just 5 earned runs in his last 19.2 innings (21 Ks) Not a huge suprise, to me, to hear AF was excited to see how this springboards him towards a big 2024.

There’s some video. It’s a herky-jerky delivery, but his FB approaches 100 (2 seamer with movement.)

Came to the Dodgers last year, refined his pitch mix and finished 2023 with a TON of momentum.

Duke Not Snider

Thanks Bluto. I was not familiar with his name.

OhioDodger

One heck of a write up Jeff. Thanks.

Keith

Hey Jeff been reading here for a few weeks trying to get the feel of things. Great article, love all the info on ST, and the video of the players playing catch gets the blood pumping for the new season. I’ll be there the last week of ST, can’t wait.

Oldbear48

One of the dumbest comments I have seen in years was posted on yahoo sports this morning. Some fans who saw Yamamoto’s bullpen, from a distance mind you since there were no close-ups, said their teams stars are going to light the Japanese pitcher up. All of that based on his first bullpen session? That seems a little far fetched to me.

Duke Not Snider

Absurd. Kodai Senga just had a terrific season for the Mets–and Yamamoto is more accomplished than Senga. Several Japanese pitchers have now made a successful transitions to the MLB–and Yamamoto is said to be the best of the bunch.

Jeff has an interesting take on Ramos, suggesting that the Dodgers passed on the best window to trade him. Perhaps the Dodgers still believe in his talent. With Pages out of action (again), Ramos has a chance to move on the OF depth chart. Anyway, Jeff’s point highlights how tricky it is to assess and deal young talent. It’s easy in retrospect to see how the Dodgers blew it with Yordan Alvarez.
When I cook up fantasy blockbusters, I sometimes want to add Cartaya. But then I think, no, he’s just in a rough patch and we’d miss him when he’s gone. What if the Brewers wanted Cartaya or Thayron Liranzo in a deal for Devin Williams? (I am NOT dealing Rushing!)

I also hope Feduccia gets a real shot, but I figure that either Barnes or Smith would have to injured (a minor one, I hope) for him to make his ML debut. That’s really the only position player question that I see.
That and the matter of who winds up platooning with Heyward. Margot has his virtues, but I think Taylor is the better choice. He hit lefties pretty hard in ’22. He and Heyward could combine for 25+ HR from RF. (They each his 15 in ’23.)

Mark Timmons

The word I have been hearing is that Rushing cannot hit cheese! I saw him strike out against high-velocity last season on numerous occasions. I knew he had a lot of injuries last year, so I did not think anything of it. I am now being told that it might be the norm – that his bat might be a tick slow. I hope not, but MLB will find a hole if you have it and exploit it. BA says the same:  

Rushing’s hands aren’t particularly fluid and he can be beat by velocity up in the zone, but his discipline and power give him a chance to be a fringe-average hitter who reaches 30 home runs per season. 

In other words, he’s Max Muncy as a catcher. I’ll take that! I am going to watch him with high cheese!

OTOH, Thayron Liranzo is a guy I would deem untouchable. As a switch hitter with great power and a terrific arm, he projects to be a very good catcher, although, at some point, he may abandon hitting RH. That might be decided as soon as this year. Can he keep growing, or will he plateau?

The Ft. Wayne Tin Caps (Padres) have a 6-game series against the Loons April 23 – 28. I plan to attend a few games. My daughter now lives there, so I have a good excuse to go.

De Paula, George, Morales, J. Vargas, Gelof, Newell, and others could be there as well. I will get lots of video.

Oldbear48

I don’t think the Dodgers blew it with Alvarez. He never played a single game in their system after he was signed.

dodgerpatch

You read something dumb on Yahoo? Surprising (that’s sarcasm, btw).

I still think this is one of the most comprehensive breakdowns on Yamamoto’s stuff. I thought this analysis was impressive because it was … actual analysis, not the usual vapid PR fluff about how Yamamoto is amazing because he throws the javelin for training and does a lot of yoga. I don’t care about his yoga routine.

This guy is not on the hype train about Yams (can we just have a nickname with fewer syllables?), but I thought he backed up arguments with data. He’s good.

RC Dodger

Excellent video Dodgerpatch!
Very informative.
Yamamoto has great potential and looks to have a great attitude. The Contract Projection in the video was $150-$200 million compared to the $375 million paid by the Dodgers. Also, Senga was only paid $75 million for 5 years last year by the Mets and he pitched great in his first year.
Dodgers are paying him more than any pitcher in MLB history so they must expect him to be a Cy Young contender every year. Seems like a very risky contract for a 5’10” pitcher without MLB experience, but he will be fun to watch.

Duke Not Snider

Size is so overrated.
Yoshi is about an inch shorter than Pedro Martinez. The Dodgers brass lost him in part because of dumb physical profiling.
I’d wager that Yoshi will outperform 6-8 Tyler Glasnow. Rooting for both, of course, but Yoshi has the better track record.
A lot of Japanese pitchers have had success in ML, and many say he’s the best of the bunch.

Last edited 4 months ago by Duke Not Snider
Eric

“Yamamoto’s bullpen, from a distance mind you since there were no close-ups, said their teams stars are going to light the Japanese pitcher up.”

If he’s 3/4 as good as he was in Japan, he’d still be an ace. 1/2 he’d be a borderline ace or #2.  👍 

Badger

Lamet. In ‘22 his K/9 was 12.5. But he also walked 5.3/9. The guy’s stuff has to be electric,

The 3 veterans, Feyereisen, Hudson and Treinen interest me the most this early. If those guys all get it back? Damm.

I think there is another trade or two to be had. I have no clue who, just a feeling something else will happen before late March.

Make mine Blue

Agree. Treinen was very good before his injury, his absence was tough to fill for quite a while last season. Plus he is one heck of a decent guy to have around, or so I am told.

Mark Timmons

I have not heard definitively, but I would suspect that Lamet will be converted to a reliever. His stuff could play up big-time in the bullpen. I would not trade for Williams at this point. If he is needed, they can do it later. I have heard that Stone and Hurt are in the ask.

The Dodgers have about 25 bullpen pitchers competing for 7 or 8 spots. It should be very interesting.

Last edited 4 months ago by Mark Timmons
Bobby

I had Lamet on my fantasy team his rookie year, so I’ve always paid attention to him.

I agree, if he moves to the bullpen, his stuff could be electric in late innings. This, or all of our under the radar pickups, has a chance to be really high reward.

Duke Not Snider

I think Lamet had already been converted to RP.

Eric

“The 3 veterans, Feyereisen, Hudson and Treinen interest me the most this early. If those guys all get it back? Damm.”

 👍 

Dave

They seem well stocked with relievers, many signed to minor keague contracts to see which ones blossom. Plus Phillips, Graterol,Brassier, Kelly, Treinen, Hudson Frierson, Vesia etc. Is there really a need for Cease or Jansen?

Last edited 4 months ago by Dave
Dionysus

No there isn’t.

Mark Timmons

Seconded, and the motion carries!

Mark Timmons

I wonder about the following:

In light of what Andrew Friedman has said about Miguel Vargas:

We’ve had some conversations with Miggy this winter,” Friedman said. “Now that we’re through the ’23 season, I think there’s a real chance we look back on it as a real positive. He had never struggled in his career. Last year was tough for him in a lot of ways.

“He’s an incredibly talented hitter. That didn’t show like it should and there were assumptions and things like we see with young players who feel they have to do more. They don’t trust that what got them there is good enough and they try to do more and they’re tweaking and they’re changing things to conform to what they think they need to do to be a major-league player. Vargy is one of the more talented natural hitters I’ve seen as a minor-leaguer coming up. So just getting back to that is going to be really helpful for him. And just how clear-eyed he is about it has us really encouraged leading into spring training.”

In light of that, I wonder if Vargas might see some time in RF? His speed is a plus and his arm is above average (55). Of course, RF in 2025 could be manned by Andy Pages who has a cannon (70), but if his bat plays like I think and AF thinks, you have to try and find a position for him. He could platoon with Heyward in RF… maybe. If his bat plays up, they have to find a position for him and while he could get an occasional start in LF for Teo and 3B for Max, RF is the only other opportunity.

I continue to think it is possible that Margot or Rojas may get traded this Spring… maybe both. I am hoping that Gavin Lux takes to SS like a fish takes to water. I just would not bet on it. I am also anxious to see Andy Pages and if he remains committed to fitness and diet!

Mark Timmons

Of course, Vargas could also get traded.

Duke Not Snider

Has Vargas tried RF before? If not, why not?
And why not give it a try?
I still think Kike makes more sense to this team than Margot. Having two Swiss Army Knives is not a bad thing. (Has Whit Merrifield signed somewhere?)
I still like Rojas as the primary insurance for Lux.
There are still a lot of good FA position players out there…

RC Dodger

Interesting comments from AF about Vargas. He still is only 24 and has a bright future. I think he will be a solid MLB hitter. But I would prefer to play him at 3B, 2B and maybe LF. He already underwent a position change last year at 2B, and LF is an easier outfield position to play. If Miggy hits MLB pitching, the Dodgers can play Teoscar or Mookie in RF to make room for him. And Vargas could be a platoon option at 3B with Muncy. I think Vargas will be a better hitter than any of the bench options they have now: Margot, Rojas, Taylor or Barnes who are all RH bats.

Mark Timmons

That’s my opinion as well.

Check this out:

https://x.com/SHO1716OHTANI/status/1756222269138096505?s=20

Duke Not Snider

On reputation, Vargas SHOULD be the best hitter off the bench.
But unlike Miguelito, the incumbents have proven themselves at the top level. And they all bring defensive skills that Vargas lacks.

And if we factor in splits, Taylor hit lefties hard (which is why I want him, not Margot, platooning with Heyward) and Rojas really wasn’t that bad against southpaws either. When Lux rests against lefties, Rojas should do fine.

Dionysus

Mark, even if he is not traded, a full-time move to OF might be in the works, especially if 2025 is the target date.

Mark Timmons

Could this be the 2025 Outfield:

LF – Vargas
CF – Outman
RF- Pages

All Home Grown!

Duke Not Snider

Possible. And perhaps we could add Jose Ramos to the mix if he takes a step forward. Chris Newell perhaps? Any one else?
In the next wave, de Paula and Kendall George have potential.
Re Pages, the last thing I read is that we SHOULD NOT expect to see him at ML level this season. I assume this is because of his recovery from injuries.
Questions about the progress of Rushing and Cartaya form a good argument for locking up Will Smith long-term.

Eric

“locking up Will Smith long-term”

 👍 

Eric

“Phillips, Graterol,Brassier, Treinen, Hudson Frierson”

 👍 

“Is there really a need for Cease or Jansen?”

No

RC Dodger

Excellent recap Jeff. I hope to visit Camelback this year.
I am very impressed with the dedication and approaches of Ohtani and Yamamoto. They seem to be constantly working on their fitness and skills, while seeking to fit in with the team. Dodgers did a nice video with Yamamoto already and his personality seems great. His favorite America food is In and Out Burger! I also admire that both Yamamoto and Ohtani have made efforts to speak English at some press conferences and the MVP speech. They do way better than I would in Japan trying to speak Japanese. Both seem like great players and teammates.
While I still think the Dodgers allocated way too much payroll to these two players, that is not their fault and of course they should take the offers. Ohtani is the highest paid player in MLB history, and Yamamoto is the highest paid pitcher in MLB history. But as players this year, hopefully Ohtani will be the best DH in MLB and improve on JDM production from last year, while hopefully Yamamoto will be a #1 starter and can match Kershaw era of 2.46 from last year. It will certainly be an exciting year for the Dodgers.

Bobby

Just to clarify, the Spring Breakout event starts this year, in 2024.

Mark Timmons

There should be a lot of great TELEVISED games.

We have to be out of our house on March 11th, and as it stands right now, we do not get possession of the new one until May 5th. I hope that bridge we will be living under has internet.

Last edited 4 months ago by Mark Timmons
porpoiseboy

You have to join the troll Union for that.

Mark Timmons

What makes you think I am not the President of such a 😀union?

Duke Not Snider

Lately I’ve been caught up in the potential of the new lineup, so I decided to delve a bit deeper.

Ohtani > JD Martinez
JDM had a mighty fine, all-star season in ’23, while Shohei had an MVP season.
JDM’s OPS was .893; Ohtani’s was 1.066.
JDM’s OBP was .321; Ohtani’s was .412

Lux > Rojas
Lux is coming off an injury, but let’s assume he picks up his pace from ’22
Lux’s OPS was .745; Rojas’s in ’23 was .672.
Lux’s OBP was .346; Rojas was at .290.

Teoscar > Peralta
Keep in mind that Teo is coming off a “down” season and usually puts up better numbers.
Teo’s OPS was .740; Peralta’s was .675.
Teo’s OBP was .305; Peralta’s was .294.

Anyone who feels real geeky can look up and compare their foot speed. But we know that the new guys are all much faster than the guys they are replacing.

It’s fun to be a Dodgers fan.

Last edited 4 months ago by Duke Not Snider
Mark Timmons

Teo is someone who could have a monster year.

The Dodgers will give him the QO and he will sign elsewhere for a 3-4 year deal… garnering the Dodgers another pick.

I think Teo will OPS closer to .850.

dodgerpatch

My somewhat controversial take here is that Lux > Vargas is biggest gain in total offense as opposed to Ohtani at DH. JD was pretty good last year. Ohtani is a stud, but the differential is not that dramatic.

Mark Timmons

It’s the difference between Batman and Superman!

Duke Not Snider

I assume you mean Lux > Rojas. (But on defense, Rojas > Lux.)
I will push back a bit on whether the change at DH or SS will have more impact.

While JDM was VERY good last year, Ohtani was GREAT. His OBP and OPS were much higher than JDM’s, and he was on pace for 50+ HRs before his lat issues sidelined him. (Shohei might have continued playing hurt if the Angels were in contention, but the Angels were out of it. They were also still clinging to the hope they could re-sign Shohei, so he was shut down.)

I expect some regression from Shohei, Mookie and Freddie–but only because they were all so damn good in ’23. At any rate, Shohei is likely to bat either 3rd or 2nd, and so he’s likely to get an extra AB with Lux likely batting 9th. And let’s not forget that Shohei, with his speed, won’t clog the basepaths the way JDM sometimes did. (If he avoids injury, Shohei should have A LOT more plate appearances over the season than he ever had with the Angels, because this offense should really cook. Is a 60-HR season possible? )

So I’m not at all pessimistic our Big Three; I just think they won’t be quite as stupendous. At the same time, I think it’s reasonable to expect improvement from Will, Max and Teoscar because of their history and because they are more likely to come to plate with guys on base.
Part of this is just a gut feeling.
My gut doesn’t know what to expect from Outman, Lux and the Heyward/Taylor/Margo mashup in RF.

Consider this potential lineup with the most recent OPS

Mookie .987
Freddie .977
Shohei 1.066
Will .797
Max .808
Teoscar .740 (career .802)
Outman .790
Heyward/ Taylor .813/.746
Lux .745

Eric

Muncy either walks, homers or strikes out against LHP. He’d be a great #9 Vs LHP. I like this.

Vs RHP:
Betts
Freeman
Ohtani
Smith
Outman
Muncy
Hernández
Heyward
Lux

Vs LHP:
Betts
Freeman
Ohtani
Hernández
Smith
Taylor
Outman
Lux
Muncy

Last edited 4 months ago by Eric
Duke Not Snider

Interesting idea.
If Max struggles again, this could make sense, even though it disrupts the L/R rhythm that Roberts likes.
I hope Roberts this season is more attuned to recent performance, as opposed to the back-of-the-baseball card. The top 3 are certainly locks; the only question is whether Shohei bats 2nd or 3rd.
But if Teoscar or Max is swinging a hot bat, they could bat cleanup instead of Smith. Minor adjustments.
It will be interesting to see if Outman can build on his rookie success, and whether Lux will come back strong. He has added muscle since in ’22 season.
I’m glad we have him instead of Adames.

dodgerpatch

Yes. I meant Lux > Rojas.

All of your points are good ones. I only say this b/c:

1. Ohtani is probably due for some regression. In fact, ZiPs predicts his wRC+ to be exactly what JD’s was last year. Ohtani will have more plate appearances, have a better walk rate, better power – but the Dodgers got a lot out of JD last year.

2. Rojas was pretty abysmal offensively last year with a 69 wRC+. I think the Dodgers should keep him around because of his glove, but he’s not a starter. Lux was trending upwards in 2022 with a 114 wRC+. I thought he was a guy poised for a breakout last year before his injury.

Duke Not Snider

JDM was excellent, and it surprises me that he hasn’t signed yet. One recent rumor has him likely to go to the Angels. I hope that happens. They really need help. (I also hope he picks up a first baseman’s glove too–a little versatility could add a year to his career.)
Rojas struggled against right-handers–the majority of pitchers–, but he really didn’t suck against lefties in ’23, with a BA of .286 and OPS of .737. Rojas should get occasional starts to rest Lux and Max.
Remember, with Rojas as the full-time SS at the bottom of the batting order, the Dodgers still had the second-best offense in ’23, trailing only the Braves. The Braves are still awesome, and potentially better–but the revamped Dodgers offense could be better still.
Lux, as the “second leadoff,” should score a lot more runs than Rojas. In a similar number of games, Lux scored 66 runs in ’22 while Rojas scored 49 runs in ’23.

Here’s an impressive stat. Outman, who often batted 8th last season, managed to score 86 runs, in part because he knocked himself in 23 times. It’s also a testament to his strong .353 OBP. He was part of the reason that Mookie set a record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter.

Last season, I often argued that Outman should be promoted in the batting order because he was thoroughly outhitting Peralta (.790 to .675 in final OPS) and thus should get more ABs. That still makes sense to me.
But now that the Peralta-led platoon has essentially been replaced by Teoscar, Outman will likely remain down deep in the lineup, just ahead of Lux, with both setting up Mookie, Freddie and Shohei. This new lineup is a lot “longer,” as they say.
The performance of pitchers is harder to predict–greater injury risk–but things are certainly looking up.

Last edited 4 months ago by Duke Not Snider
Eric

“Ohtani > JD Martinez
Lux > Rojas
Teoscar > Peralta”

 👍  Plus no Vargas.

Mark Timmons

What he said!

Mark Timmons

The Athletic’s Keith Law rated the MLB Farm systems. Baltimore was #. Milwaukee was #2 and here is #3:

3. Los Angeles Dodgers

No longer atop the list but still strong and deep, the Dodgers just keep turning … well, not lead into gold, but something near gold (mercury? iridium?) into gold, picking up River Ryan (No. 33) in a trade and Peyton Martin late in the draft and developing them both into high-end starting pitching prospects in a year. The Dodgers also remain one of the leaders at finding talent on the international free agent market even beyond their top few signings, with a lot of very toolsy and/or projectable guys on their back fields every spring, one of whom might turn into the next Josue De Paula (No. 25). They did see their top prospect from last year, Diego Cartaya, flop in his Double-A debut and look bad doing it, raising questions about the feel to hit and the catching, although one player dropping doesn’t destroy a farm system. They remain in good position to swing a big trade when they need to, and wisely added another promising arm (Jackson Ferris) in the Michael Busch trade to keep their pitching pipeline rolling.

Mark Timmons

They are a pitching factory, but name a team that continuously drafts as low as the Dodgers, who develop more position players. Injuries have slowed the development of Lux, Pages, and Vargas, but I believe all three will be above-average MLB players. Will Smith is an All-Star. James Outman could be. Busch was ready but was blocked, so he was traded.

Of course, AF also drafted Yordon Alvarez and then traded him, as well as Willie Calhoun, Edwin Rios, Matt Beaty, Kyle Garlick, Luke Raley, Conner Wong, and Jonny DeLuca, who have all been useful MLB players… not stars.

The team was hurt in the beginning by having the wrong people in International Scouting, so they made some horrible decisions at the beginning of Friedman’s run. AF trusts his people, and in this case, it was too much. Since then, the Dodgers have brought in a group of prospects that should start to produce in the immediate future, led by Diego Cartaya and a cadre of Catchers. We will see how this group does, including Rushing, DePaula, Liranzo, George, Gelof, J. Vargas, Fernandez, Munoz, and Newell. There may be one or two stars in that bunch.

Last edited 4 months ago by Mark Timmons
Duke Not Snider

The wealth of talent may make it harder for young prospects to break out. If Gelof’s brother was a Dodger, would he still be laboring in OKC and not becoming a star for the A’s? (Perhaps, since he plays 2B.)
It would be fun to know which how AF and his staff grade out all these prospects.
I don’t think any are “untouchable,” but some come close. Which are the hardest to replace? At the opposite end of the spectrum, which are expendable?

The outlook for Cartaya, alas, seems to have moved from “future all-star” to “future backup.” Maybe he’ll bounce back. Rushing has cooled off a bit while Liranzo has heated up–but is a couple more years away. Yeiner Fernandez may be better as a UT guy. And maybe Feduccia won’t get his chance unless Barnes or Smith get banged up.
Add all this together… and can we please just sign Will Smith, proven all-star, to a nice extension?

Eric

“I think Kyle Hurt will get a legit shot at the bullpen this spring. He could be special.”

 👍 

Scott Andes

I’m wondering where Michael Grove fits in this year or if he does at all. If you squinted really hard you could kind of see the makings of a solid bulk guy last year. He had a few stretches where he was almost effective. If he can keep the ball in the park, he could be a useful depth piece.

Duke Not Snider

Good question. Grove does seem like a good swing man or bulk guy, but he might have more opportunity to succeed if he gets traded.
How about Grove + Varland + Vargas for Devin Williams? Or Grove + Vargas for Tanner Scott?
In terms of SP candidates, I think Grove ranks below several peers–Sheehan, Stone, Knack, Ryan, Frasso. The bullpen is pretty crowded too. But Grove might be a solid back-end starter for a lot of teams.
I’m hoping that, with a six-man rotation, the Dodger starters will more often
pitch into the late innings.
I miss complete games. Hope Yoshi throws a few.

Badger

There are some great takes in here the last few days.

I have little to add, but will offer this: Ohtani/Martinez. Look at the oWAR numbers. 6 to 1.9. That is a huge upgrade. We’ve also improved the SS position (offensively only) and LF. The pitching looks incredibly deep and I believe there are plenty of innings over 162 games to spread opportunities around. AF and his staff will find ways to keep the October roster fresh.

It’s a great time to be a Dodger fan. I feel fortunate and very much look forward to sitting in my recliner and watching the entire season unfold.

Bobby

Yesterday afternoon, as I was doing some work, I had the Dodger channel on as they were showing that great, intense 2016 NLDS Game 5 in Wash DC, where we won 4-3 and the last 3 innings took like 2 hours to play.

The commentator, Harold Reynolds, I believe, mentioned something like “The Dodgers have been in the playoffs 4 years in a row now”.

And that got me thinking “holy shit, he thinks 4 in a row is impressive!” Since that game, we’ve made the playoffs 7 more straight times.

It is absolutely insane to look back and think we’ve gotten to October 11 straight times, and there is zero slowing down looking ahead.

Regardles of the robbery in 2017, or the numerous failures to come up big in important situations, and thus only 1 title in those 11 years, it is insanely impressive to be that good for that long, AND still have no end in sight.

2024 will be just as fun. So happy we get to live thru this. See you all on March 28!!

Badger

Was just perusing fangraphs projections and the ATC projections show Ohtani with 38 home runs, 102 runs scored, 99 RBIs and 4.6 oWAR. For those unfamiliar with ATC they arrive at their projections by averaging the results of several different projection systems together. Both Mookie and Freddie project even higher WAR than Ohtani. What an incredible top of the lineup this team has.

Oldbear48

The 26-man roster prediction on the Dodgers website does not include Vargas. Seems Juan is convinced Miggy will start the year at AAA. But Treinen and Feyereisen are on his list.

Duke Not Snider

It is incredible. Three HOF talents in their prime.
I expect Shohei to shine for a couple of reasons. First is the quality of the lineup. Even when Trout was healthy, Shohei never had so much support around him. Second is the fact he can concentrate on hitting, and not have to prepare for pitching until ’25.
The ATC projections only make sense if Ohtani misses about 30 games.
Just 99 RBIs? Seriously? The Dodgers had four guys reach 100 last season.

The Dodgers were second to the Braves in offense last season–second in runs scored, OPS and OBP. And now the lineup is bolstered by Shohei, Teoscar and Lux.
Last season, Mookie set a record for RBIs for leadoff hitter. This season, he could break that record.

Oldbear48

Stupor bowl Sunday. Football finally over and we can concentrate on baseball.

Oldbear48

Picks for the Dodgers opening day roster already on their website. No surprises.

Badger

I noticed they listed 5 starters. There are like 4 days off in the first 9 games so working with 5 will be doable for a while. I still look for 5 days between starts for most of these guys.

Mark Timmons

I think it could be 5 starters and Yarbrough on the 6th day to go 2, 3, or 4 innings and bring in the power, righthander!

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