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Friday, March 1, 2013

MLB 2013 Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers

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MLB 2013 Team Preview: Los Angeles Dodgers
By Wild on Sports Baseball Analyst Aaron Dorman
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
2012 Record:
86-76
The Dodgers thought they’d hit the jackpot after a new owner bought a bunch of Red Sox in August, but they coasted to a second place finish. 

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: Zach Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Skip Schumaker
NOTABLE LOSSES: Shane Victorino

Keys to Success: What is the health status of Carl Crawford? The Dodgers have him now for a long long time so they better hope he brings a little bit of what he left behind in Tampa. In fact, the Dodgers are making a rather large gamble that both Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett also are not in rapid decline. Can Dee Gordon mature into an everyday player? How will they juggle their abundance of starting pitching to get the best results? Who will they trade? What could they even get for someone like Aaron Harang?

Prospect Watch:
Prospect Key 
TBD= Work in Progress
X= Posses the Tool
XX= Excels at Tool

ZACH LEE, RHP:
Velocity
Second Stuff
Command
Control
Strikeouts
Health
x
 
 
x
TBD
x
The Dodgers gave Lee five million two years ago but he has yet to really reward their extravagance and right now looks more like a mid-rotation starter than the ace he once promised to be. Lee, 21, went 6-6 with a 4.39 ERA last year with 103 K in 121 IP split between High-A Rancho Cucamonga and AA Chatanooga. He still has time to develop his secondary pitches and his control is good, so he is a good bet to reach the majors as a starter, but he’ll probably start 2013 at AA again.
YASIEL PUIG, OF:
Power
Speed
Hitting
Plate Discipline
Defense
Arm
x
x
x
x
TBD
x
Puig got a seven-year contract from the Dodgers despite not playing in a professional league for over a year. Scouts praise his tools but even so at the time of the signing analysts were perplexed with the length and dollar amount (42 million) for a player that raw. A .354/.442/634 line in 95 AB (23 games) makes the Dodgers look smart but the sample size was still too small to draw any major conclusions, other than perhaps his batting eye is solid for a player who had such a large playing gap. He also split time between the Arizona League (rookie) and the California League (High-A), great hitting environments. He provides a much needed boost to Los Angeles’ farm system, one that is especially devoid of position player talent.


2012 Top Draft Pick: Corey Seager, SS 

Sleeper MLB Contributor: Both ALEX CASTELLANOS and SCOTT VAN SLYKE look ready to step in and do something in the outfield if Carl Crawford isn’t healthy or Andre Ethier is inexplicably traded away. 

2013 Outlook and Projection: Over the past nine months, the Dodgers have spent an extraordinary amount of money, not all wisely, but the sheer bulk of talent brought in promises to give them at least short-term success. Ironically, despite all their imports, the strength of the Dodgers remains in their two elite home-grown superstars Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw. No other player on the team can safely be counted on to produce at a top level, although about half a dozen Dodgers are certainly capable of rising to such heights. Their spending has instead bought them upside and all-around depth around the diamond. Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez may never again be all-stars but if they match their 2012 production, they will be very useful for the Dodgers, and major upgrades over who they replaced. In particular, look for Josh Beckett to thrive even without his best stuff in Dodger Stadium. On paper, the Dodgers have surpassed the Giants in terms of overall talent on hand, although they will have to play 162 games to prove that they are in fact, the best. Lots of long-term commitments means that this is the Dodgers team for the next few years at least. But they haven’t run out of money yet.
STRONG CONTENDERS


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