Archive for the 'Dodgers' Category

Dodgers Continue to Build Through Prospects

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

The Dodgers have won the National League West the last six years. They must be doing something right, though they have not won a World Series since 1988. In 2016 myworld rated them as having the second best prospect class with Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Jose Deleon and Grant Holmes. The last two years myworld has put them in the ninth spot. Last year the Dodgers who made Top 100 lists included Walker Bueler, Alex Verdugo, Yadier Alvarez, Keibert Ruiz, Yusniel Diaz, Jeren Kendall, Mitchel White, Starling Heredia and Edwin Rios. That is almost a starting lineup with a couple starting pitchers.

Myworld would probably rate Keibert Ruiz as their top prospect this year. Catchers who can provide some offense are not easy to find. He can also hit from both sides of the plate. His defense is solid, his arm is strong and the intangibles appear to be there. A 26 percent success rate on the caught stealing front is evidence of an average arm. His bat has the potential to hit for double digits in homeruns while hitting for a relatively high average. He will not be an automatic out as it appears most catchers are nowadays. Last year he played in AA so expect a full year in AAA with a possible September callup.

Gavin Lux would rate next on the list, and this is a bit of a surprise. The 2016 first round pick appeared to be somewhat of a bust after hitting just .244 in 2017 with issues throwing the ball accurately. His errors at shortstop were still pretty prevalent last year, but with Corey Seager planted at short the best position for Gavin may be second. His bat showed a little more life last year with a .324 average and 15 homeruns between High A and AA. Another full season in AA and he could be ready for the Dodgers by 2020.

Jeter Downs could be a steal from the Reds. Named after Derek Jeter, the Dodgers acquired him by saying goodbye to Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp in a trade with the Reds. Jeter still has some progressing to go, but plays the same position as Gavin, so where he fits is a question mark. He did hit for marginal power (13 homeruns and .402 slugging) in Low A and showed good speed with 37 stolen bases. His range and arm probably fit best at second base, but if his bat plays he could cut it in a super utility role.

Edwin Rios strikes out too much and is pretty stiff to stay at third base. First base may even be a challenge. His speed is non-existent so playing the outfield is not in the cards. What Edwin has is the ability to hit the ball hard when his bat makes contact. A 23/110 walk to whiff ratio is a red flag but he did hit .304 in AAA. The best thing the Dodgers could do for him is to trade him to an American League club where he could play DH.

Will Smith is another possible catcher for the Dodgers. He was also a first round pick in the 2016 draft. His bat may not be as consistent as Ruiz, but the pop is there, enough so that the Dodgers used him for 43 games at third base. There was a bit of a struggle in AA where he finished with 9 errors and an .880 fielding percentage. The bat is powerful enough to slug 20 homeruns between AA and AAA. The tools are there for him to catch, with an above average arm and soft hands. A .138 average at AAA means he has more seasoning to do at that level before he suits up in a Dodgers uniform.

In the outfield myworld is not as high on Alex Verdugo as many are. We think he will end up being a fourth outfielder. His bat does not seem to hit for the big time power that teams look for in their corner outfielders. Last year he did hit .329 in AAA but against major league pitchers it dropped to .260. The one big criticism with him is his lack of fire to want to be the best. He seems content on being average.

An outfielder who has power is D.J. Peters. His big issue may be an inability to make contact. Last year he struck out 192 times in 132 games. He did slug 29 homeruns, good for a .473 slugging average. At 6′6″ there is that Aaron Judge comparison, but his defense is not as strong. The arm exists to play right field. If Verdugo does not pan out Peters is ready for 2019. Don’t expect an average over .250 but 40 homerun seasons could be possible. He will see most of next year in AAA and the question is whether Steven Moya or Aaron Judge are the best comparisons.

Jeren Kendall is the antithesis of Peters. The 2017 first round pick is packed full of speed, but is not a punch and judy hitter. He had enough pop to blast double digit homerun totals. The speed will allow him to fit in centerfield and steal 40 plus bases. Like Peters he has trouble making contact with 158 whiffs in 114 games resulting in a disappointing .215 average. Despite the low average the Dodgers will probably promote him to AA.

Starling Heredia is a potential power/speed package that was signed for $2.6 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. After hitting over .400 at two different rookie levels in 2017 in 110 at bats, Starling could not find himself over .200 in 203 at bats at Low A last year. The 2019 season will be a pivotal year for Starling.

The Dodgers always seem to develop ace pitchers. Last year it was Walker Buehler. This year look for Dustin May and his mid-90s fastball. At 6′6″ he has good height, which is usually a problem for finding the plate. Dustin has no problem throwing strikes. He needs to develop a little more consistency with his curve, cutter and change, but the requisite pitches are there for him to fit in the rotation. Another half season in AA could make him ready for the Dodgers rotation in 2019 if he achieves success in AA/AAA.

Mitchel White was a second round pick in the 2016 draft who also has good height (6′4″) and a good mid-90s fastball. His best pitch may be his slider. A lack of command made him a bit hittable in AA with hitters tagging him for a .273 average. He has had Tommy John surgery right before competing for college and a myriad of injuries have limited him to less than 100 innings, except for last year when he logged in 105.

Dennis Santana is a converted shortstop and a bargain signing ($170,000) out of the Dominican Republic in 2012. As a shortstop he had a good arm, but after he showed his bat was lacking after his first year the Dodgers converted him to the mound. His fastball can rise north of the mid-90s but his poor secondary stuff could make him fit best in the bullpen. Last year hitters struggled making contact off him, hitting him at a .183 clip. He did get one poor appearance (12.27 ERA) in the major leagues but he hopes for more in 2019. Expect the Dodgers to find some room for him in the bullpen by mid-season next year.

Yadier Alvarez is a Cuban who the Dodgers spent $16 million to sign. They have not had much success with their Cuban mega signings. Yadier has a lot of flash with his fastball reaching triple digits. His biggest problem is finding the plate with 43 walks in 48 innings last year in AA. He has a good slider, which when combined with his fastball could make him a good closer. The lack of a third pitch will make it difficult for him to make it as a starter unless he can find the plate more. The Dodgers will probably put him in the bullpen in AA for 2019.

Pearce Leads Red Sox to World Series Victory

Monday, October 29th, 2018

As myworld focused on pointing out players who would be the most unlikely heroes in these playoff games, one was voted the MVP of the World Series. Steve Pearce hit two homeruns yesterday to lead the Red Sox to a 5-1 win. He hit three homeruns in the World Series and drove in eight runs. Released by the Orioles three times and traded during mid season to the Red Sox by the Toronto Blue Jays, Pearce becomes our most unlikely hero that actually became a hero.

David Price also pitched a great game. Price has had a history of struggling in the playoffs, but in this post season he pitched mostly solid games. Last night he gave up just three hits, one of them a first inning solo shot from David Freese to lead off the Dodgers at bat. That turned out to be the only run of the game.

Clayton Kershaw continued his post season struggles, though he went seven innings. The Red Sox touched him for three homeruns, Steve Pearce with a two run blast in the first and Mookie Betts with a solo shot in the sixth and J.D. Martinez with a solo in the seventh. Kershaw only allowed four other hits, but it was the homerun ball that killed him. Steve Pearce slugged his second homerun of the game and the fourth for the Red Sox in the eighth inning, a solo shot off Pedro Baez.

Joe Kelly and Chris Sale closed out the game with one inning of splendid relief work each. They faced six hitters and struck out all six. Kelly was another World Series rock, appearing in five games and not giving up a run. When he was struggling during mid-season and Alex Cora was questioned for continuing to bring him in during tight games Cora’s response was “We’re going to need Kelly”. That proved very prophetic.

The 119 wins by the Red Sox for the 2018 season have only been topped by the 1998 New York Yankees (125) and the 2001 Seattle Mariners (120). Puerto Rico has to be proud with rookie manager Alex Cora guiding this 119 win team to a World Series championship. It was their fourth championship in the last 15 years, three more than the New York Yankees have won during that time. That has to irk some Yankee fans.

Red Sox Rally to Win Game Four

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

The Dodgers had just gotten a three run homer from Yasiel Puig in the bottom of the sixth. Rich Hill was in cruise control through the first six innings. A walk in the seventh and Dave Roberts came out. Despite chants from the crowd to leave Hill in Roberts took him out. The Red Sox brutalized the Dodger bullpen for nine runs in the next three innings to win 9-6. A most unlikely hero Steve Pearce was instrumental in the rally with his four RBIs.

The two starting pitchers, number four starters in their rotation at best, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rich Hill were in a pitcher’s duel. Rodriguez was the first to break down when he gave up four in the bottom of the sixth, including the big three run blow to Yasiel Puig. Dave Roberts, having witnessed the break down of Rodriguez in the sixth did not want to see the same thing happen to Hill in the seventh. He pulled Hill after a one out walk, hoping the bullpen would preserve the shutout.

Things got ugly after that. Scott Alexander walked the one batter he faced, Brock Holt. In came Ryan Madson. He retired pinch hitter Jackie Bradley on a popup. Keith Moreland pinch hit for the pitcher’s spot and he took Madson deep. It has not been the best of seasons for Ryan Madson. Madson has now inherited seven runners on base in this World Series and allowed all of them to score.

He got out of the eighth and it was time for Kenley Jansen to get the two inning save. He failed the night before giving up a solo blast to Jackie Bradley in the eighth to begin the marathon game. He failed last night giving up a solo blast to Steve Pearce to tie the game. Both teams were hoping that a marathon game would not follow.

Roberts turned to Dylan Floro to pitch the ninth. The RBI man Rafael Devers, who in his previous start ended his consecutive RBI streak at eight games started another streak with a pinch hit RBI single to give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead. Steve Pearce then assaulted pitcher Kenta Maeda with a bases clearing double to drive in three runs.

Those three runs proved crucial when Enrique Hernandez hit a two run homerun off the Red Sox struggling closer Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the ninth. Like Kenley Jansen, it seems like Kimbrel gives up a run each time he comes in to pitch. With a 9-4 lead it was probably an inning the Red Sox did not need Kimbrel. After throwing 28 pitches in both games three and four he may not be too fresh for game five.

Game five will be Clayton Kershaw and David Price, two pitchers maligned for their post season starts.

Manny Machado seems to be making a habit of stepping on the legs of first basemen. He did it again last night, stepping on the foot of Steve Pearce when he grounded out for the second out in the ninth. Against the Brewers he appeared to kick the leg of Jesus Aguilar when crossing the bag. It appears his dirty play and lack of hustle post season performance could cool teams wanting to bid top dollar for Machado. A lot of teams may fear that once he gets his money he will dial it back and cruise through the rest of his career.

Dodgers Win Marathon

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

Myworld lasted until the 13th inning before crashing. The game lasted seven hours before ending. That is past 3 A.M. Eastern time. It was the longest game in World Series history, lasting longer than the four games combined that were played in the 1939 World Series.

Max Muncy, released last year by the Athletics and turning into a slugger for the Dodgers put an end to the game with his walk off solo shot off Nathan Eovaldi in the bottom of the 18th. Nathan, released by the Yankees was working his seventh inning of relief. His pitch count was in the 90s. Muncy almost ended the game earlier, hitting one out in the 15th but it went foul. His uniform number 13 is giving him some luck.

Rookie Walker Buehler was unhittable for the Dodgers. The Red Sox mustered just two hits off him. The game would have ended 1-0 Dodgers if Roberts had not pinch hit for him in the seventh. He brought on Kenly Jansen to put together a two inning save. Jackie Bradley put an end to that notion with his two out solo shot in the eighth.

Joc Pederson had homered off Rick Porcello in the third to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead. For Joc it was his fourth World Series homer in nine World Series games. He has a World Series homerun every seven official at bats.

Ian Kinsler made an error in the bottom of the 13th with the Red Sox up 2-1. Ian is one of three finalists being considered for a Gold Glove at second. He was trying to get Yasiel Puig at first but threw it past the first baseman. That Muncy kid scored from second. Kinsler had entered the game as a pinch runner in the 10th. He was almost picked off at first, overran the bag at third and almost tagged out. The third time was the charm with Cody Bellinger gunning him down at home.

The Red Sox got their run in the top of the 13th on a throwing error by pitcher Scott Alexander that allowed Brock Holt to score from second. So the two teams matched solo shots and throwing errors to allow a runner to score from second to score their first two runs. Both runners who scored from second on the throwing errors got on base via a walk.

The Red Sox threw four of their starting pitchers in an attempt to win the game. Rick Porcello started the game. Eduardo Rodriguez got one out in the ninth. David Price got two outs in the ninth but also gave up a single and walk. Nathan Eovaldi is probably out after his six innings to close out the game. The Red Sox have chosen Eduardo Rodriguez to start game four.

Red Sox Steal Another Game

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Myworld had a busy day yesterday. We were conked out after the fourth inning of last night’s game. The last we remember the Dodgers were up 2-1. When we awoke the Red Sox had won 4-2.

David Price pitched well. He went six innings allowing just two runs. The bullpen of Joe Kelly, Nathan Eovaldi and Craig Kimbrel went perfect with one inning each for the last three. The Dodgers offense managed only three hits off Price, going 0 for 16 after they scored two runs in the fourth.

In this new game of relying on the bullpen, Hyun-Jin Ryu may have been left in one inning too long. He gave up three runs in the fifth, enough to give the Red Sox the win. Ryu retired the first two hitters in the inning but the number nine hitter Christian Vazquez ripped a single to keep the inning going. That brought the top of the Red Sox order and should have singled to Roberts that it was time to go to the pen. Mookie Betts got the second of his three hits and Andrew Benintendi walked to load the bases.

The Dodgers brought in Ryan Madson, a batter before J. D. Martinez. He walked Steve Pearce to tie the game. J.D. Martinez does what he does best, slicing a single to right field to break the tie and give the Red Sox a 4-2 lead.

Rafael Devers failed to drive in a run, ending his consecutive RBI streak at eight games. With an RBI he would have broken the record he now has to share with Lou Gehrig, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard of post season consecutive game RBI streak with eight.

The series now goes to Los Angeles where the Dodgers will try to change their fortune at home.

Red Sox Strike First in World Series Win Over the Dodgers

Wednesday, October 24th, 2018

These two teams have not met in a playoff game since 1916. Babe Ruth pitched in that World Series game. Clayton Kershaw, another pretty good lefty had never pitched at Fenway. His struggles in the playoffs continued as the Red Sox treated his first visit rudely with five runs in just four innings of work. Chris Sale, the ace of the Red Sox staff was only able to survive four innings before departing with three runs allowed.

The Red Sox bullpen was pretty sharp, limiting the Dodgers to just one run in the last five innings. If that is the Red Sox achilles heel it is the bullpen. Craig Kimbrel was pretty sharp for once, retiring the Dodgers in order with two whiffs. Andrew Benintendi had a good day with four hits, all against lefthanded pitchers.

Tough to find an unlikely hero. Rafael Devers got the start at third. If you had to identify one it would be Eduardo Nunez. He pinch hit for Devers in the seventh with the score a precarious 5-4 and hit a three run homerun. That put the game safely on ice for the Red Sox.

Mookie Betts gave the nation an opportunity for free tacos at Taco Bell with his stolen base in the first inning. You have to get the taco on November 1 between 2-6 PM local time. J.D. Martinez got a big hit with his RBI double off the wall in center field to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead. He could have had a triple if he had not stumbled rounding second.

Rafael Devers RBI single in the seventh gave him RBIs in eight consecutive post season starts. He now joins an esteemed group led by Lou Gehrig, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard for the longest RBI streaks in post season history.

And finally the villain of these playoffs, Manny Machado drove in three of the four runs for the Dodgers. He had an RBI single, RBI ground out and sacrifice fly to drive in the three runs but it was not enough.

Puig Leads Dodgers to the World Series

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Yasiel Puig has lost his ability to be the center of attention and that is probably a good thing. Now he just blends in. Until he hits a three run homerun to lead the Dodgers to a 5-1 win. That is also probably a good thing.

It was actually a two run homerun from Cody Bellinger in the second inning that gave the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. He was voted the MVP of the World Series despite only hitting .200. It was clutch catches, clutch running (beating out a DP grounder prior to the Puig Homeruns) and clutch hitting that got him the vote.

Puig extended that lead with a three run bomb off of the unlucky Jeremy Jeffress. Jeffress had a couple unlucky outings in which he gave up big homeruns, his first to Justin Turner, a two run shot in the eighth inning of the second game that erased a 3-2 Brewer lead.

Rookie Walker Buehler did his best impression of Clayton Kershaw in his 4.2 innings of work. He struck out seven and only allowed a solo shot to Christian Yelich in the first. The only problem with that impersonation is Buehler throws righthanded and Kershaw sometimes struggles in the playoffs as a starting pitcher.

Kershaw did come on in the ninth to close out the game, putting an exclamation point to the victory, striking out two of the three hitters he faced. Striking out the last hitter and receiving the catcher’s hug is always a cool experience. Normally starting pitchers are not in that long to feel that initial celebratory vibe. Kershaw got to experience it.

The unsung hero may be Ryan Madson. He is not used to having regular season ERAs over 5.00. That does not matter when you enter the playoffs. He got five outs in game seven and finished with a playoff ERA of 1.80. Those are the kind of numbers he is used to seeing. He also was credited with the game seven win.

Now the World Series the networks were hoping to televise, the Red Sox versus the Dodgers. No back to back champs this year. You have to go back to 2000 for the last back to back champ. That was the year the New York Yankees won their third consecutive World Series. For the Dodgers though, they are going back to back in the World Series, and three appearances in the last four. But this time they hope to finish as a World Series winner, something they have not done since 1988.

Brewers Take it to Game Seven

Saturday, October 20th, 2018

The Brewers scored early scoring four in the first inning and then made it stick with their 7-2 win over the Dodgers to take the National League championship series to a game seven. After Wade Miley went the first 4.1 innings Craig Counsell turned it over to the bullpen and they were perfect for the last 14 outs (except for a hit by pitch from Corey Knebel). Knebel finished off the fifth and retired the Dodgers in the sixth. Jeremy Jeffress took care of the seventh and Corbin Burnes was perfect for the last two innings.

The victim of the first inning onslaught was Hyun-Jin Ryu. He lasted three innings but was batted around for five runs on seven hits. Only David Freese could generate any offense for the Dodgers with his solo shot to lead off the game and an RBI double in the fifth. The good news for the Brewers was Freese was double switched out of the game after the fifth. The last time Freese faced the Brewers in a league championship series back in 2011 when he was with the Cardinals he went deep three times, driving in 9 runs.

Jesus Aguilar has been struggling in the post season with a batting average of .172. Last night he came alive with a two run double in the first inning and an RBI single in the eighth. He also scored twice from his three hits and a walk.

In a bit of an oddity, Knebel got his first major league at bat in the playoff game. He has been in the major leagues since 2014 but has never carried a bat to the plate. In fact the last time he carried a bat to the plate was a high school game in 2010. He got another opportunity in the bottom of the fifth to hit with two outs and the bases loaded. Counsell could have pinch hit for him but he let him hit. Knebel struck out. Not bad for a guy who has not swung a bat in seven years. The saving grace is he pitched a scoreless sixth inning.

Dodgers and Red Sox Roll

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

The Brewers used Wade Miley for one batter and then went to their bullpen. The Dodgers used Clayton Kershaw for seven innings and went to their bullpen. Advantage Dodgers. They win the game 5-2.

Brandon Woodruff worked a starters load for the Brewers but he gave up three runs in five innings. Kershaw may have the numbers of a number five pitcher in playoff appearances but he was unhittable yesterday, allowing just one run in his seven innings while striking out nine. Kershaw may have lost some stuff because of injuries over the years but he can still put together dominating outings.

All five of the Dodgers runs came within a three inning span, 5th through 7th, when Woodruff may have started to get tired and Joakim Soria just was not effective in his seventh inning appearance, retiring only one hitter. Sometimes you can go to the well one time too often relying on your bullpen and find there is no more water left. The Brewers plan on starting Wade Miley for the critical sixth game to keep them in the playoffs.

For the third consecutive game the usual homer happy Dodgers went without, but they did steal bases and slap around seven singles with two doubles. Austin Barnes drove in the first run with a bleeder RBI single up the middle to tie the game 1-1. Yasiel Puig was standing in the on deck circle but Clayton Kershaw was scheduled to bat. The Brewers could have called the bluff and walked Barnes to bring up Yasiel Puig or Kershaw - but didn’t.

Puig was able to get his at bat in the sixth and drove in a run with a single. Max Muncy also had an RBI single, ignoring his homer happy ways to drive in runs to break the 1-1 tie. The two RBI singles put the Dodgers up 3-1. A Justin Turner RBI single and a Brian Dozier RBI ground out the next inning would make it 5-1. Not one RBI created from an extra base hit. That’s normally not the Dodgers formulae for winning games.

Red Sox 8 Astros 6

It was a wild game that many were probably unable to stay up late to watch. It ended on a diving catch by leftfielder Andrew Benintendi with the bases loaded. If he had not made the catch the Astros probably would have won the game 9-8 since the ball would have rolled to the corner of the left field wall and all three runners on base would have scored.

Jackie Bradley can not be called an unlikely hero anymore. He may be hitting ninth in the order, but the bat has been carrying the juice of a clean up hitter. His two run homerun in the sixth carried a long way and gave the Red Sox a 6-5 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. It also gave Bradley nine RBIs for the series two short of slugger David Ortiz for the franchise record for most RBIs in a playoff series.

There were six different times in this game a team took the lead or tied the game. That must have left a lot of fans dizzy. For those staying up late at night there was no time to take a break for sleep. You can do that at the office.

Kimbrel got the two inning save, but it was not easy. He gave up a run, walked three and issued two hits and probably would have lost the game if not for the Benintendi catch.

There was a bit of controversy on a non-catch. Mookie Betts made a leaping attempt to catch a ball by Jose Altuve that was clearly going over the fence for a two run homer. The replays show Betts may have been able to catch the ball but a fan touched the glove of Betts and prevented him from keeping it open to make the catch. If his glove was in play the interference call would have been valid. If his glove was hanging into the stands there should have been no interfence call. The replay officials did not reverse the fan interfence call since it was unclear whether his glove was in the stands when he made his leap.

Betts continued to show his gold glove wins are no fluke with another great play in the eighth. Tony Kemp hit what appeared to be a leadoff double down the right field line. Betts was able to get to the ball and rifle a strike to second to nail Kemp.

All three Red Sox outfielders combined their bats and their gloves to win this game, accounting for at least a plus 12 in the run department.

Dodgers Win Marathon to Even Series; Red Sox Blast Astros

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

There were lots of zeroes on the scoreboard in the Dodgers eventual 2-1 13 inning win over the Brewers. Gio Gonzalez only went one inning, giving up one run before a sprained ankle ended his day. The Brewer bullpen muscled down, throwing 11 shutout innings before Cody Bellinger ended the game with his walk off single in the bottom of the 13th to give the Dodgers a 2-1 win and even the series at two games each. Coming into this game Bellinger’s postseason average for 2018 was .048 and for his career .176.

The Dodgers bullpen also pitched well, not allowing a run for eight innings. Julio Urias, the one time Mexican sensation, came back from oblivion to throw one inning of shutout ball to get credit for the win, proving all that rehab from injury can pay off. Ryan Madson, who was horrible in relief during the regular season with the Nationals and Dodgers stranded a critical runner at third in the seventh and then pitched a scoreless eighth. Madson has only allowed one hit in his 3.1 post season innings, stranding six of the nine runners he has inherited.

Red Sox 8 Astros 2

Jackie Bradley has had his major league career defined as good glove but weak bat. He was again the Red Sox offensive hero with a grand slam homerun in the eighth inning that put the game out of reach and gave the Red Sox the win. It may have been his only hit in the game, but it was a big hit.

Nathan Eovaldi, whose career has been a bit of a disappointment considering his three digit fastball, was the pitching hero, going six innings and capturing the win while allowing two runs. Eovaldi is considered the hardest thrower from Alvin, Texas since, well Nolan Ryan, who was sitting in the stands rooting for his Houston Astros. Eovaldi’s fastball was ringing the radar at three digits.

Steve Pearce, another journeyman player who was a late acquisition from the Blue Jays broke a 2-2 tie with a solo homerun in the sixth. For Pearce it was his first post season homerun.

The Red Sox now lead the best of seven series two games to one.