2010 Los Angeles Dodgers Preview

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dodgers.gif2009 Record: 95-67, 1st NL West

2009 Prediction: 87-75, 2nd NL West

2010 Prediction: 1st NL West

 

Impact Player: Matt Kemp

Impact Pitcher: Chad Billingsley

Top Prospect Player:
SS Dee Gordon

Top Prospect Pitcher:
RHP Chris Withrow

 

Manager: Joe Torre, 3rd Season (179-145,
.552)

 

Significant
Acquisitions
:  INF Jamey Carroll, OF Reed Johnson, OF Brian Giles,
INF Nick Green

Significant Losses: 2B Orlando Hudson, OF Juan
Pierre
, INF Mark Loretta, INF Juan Castro, 1B Jim Thome, LHP Randy Wolf,
RHP Guillermo Mota, RHP Jon Garland

 

During the regular season, the Dodgers were easily the best
overall team, not just in wins, but in everything.  They were number one in team ERA, runs
allowed, and hits allowed, and also number one in hits, batting average and
on-base percentage.  The Dodgers went to
the NLCS for the second straight year against the Phillies, and for the second
straight year they were bounced by the bombers from Broad Street.  This offseason, the team’s owner are engaged
in a bitter divource settlement that has led to a very unstable ownership
status, and the team is unwilling to spend any money at the moment.  Very little was done in the way of
acquisitions while the team lost many key parts including Randy Wolf, Orlando Hudson,
Juan Pierre, and Jon Garland.  There is little doubt, however, that the
Dodgers still have the depth of talent to win again in the improving NL West.  Two young hurlers in Clayton Kershaw and Chad
Billingsley
anchor the rotation while three bourgeoning young hitters are
about to become perennial MVP threats in Matt
Kemp
, Andre Ethier and James Loney.  There’s little standing in the way of LA
making it back to the playoffs.

 

Pitching

ChadBillingsley_2007_003.jpg

There is a lack of depth in the rotation that could be the
Dodgers biggest hurdle this season, but the top of the rotation is overflowing
with promising talent.  Billingsley is
about to become a true ace, the likes of which have not been seen in LA since the
days of Orel Hershiser.  He’s a dominating pitcher with the composure
of a winner.  Last season he wore down on
the second half after a very strong first half. 
With another year under his belt, he should be able to put together a
full season.  He won 16 games with a 3.14
ERA in 2008.  Kershaw is a Cy Young Award
waiting to happen.  He’s only 22, and he’s already an
established Major League arm.  Last
season he was only 8-8 in 30 starts, but he often didn’t pitch very deep into
games party because of a high walk rate, but also because there was a conscious
effort on a part of the Dodgers to limit his innings; there will be no such
limit this season.  His ERA last year was
a terrific 2.79, if he continues to pitch like that, he’ll be winning 15-20
games without batting an eye.  Hiroki Kuroda struggled with injuries
last season, but still had a 3.76 ERA in 20 starts; if he’s healthy he’s a
solid number 3 pitcher.  Vicente Padilla was much better after
the Dodgers acquired him from Texas and was re-signed to be the fourth guy.  The fifth spot will be a Spring battle
between lefties Eric Stults and Scott Elbert as well as bullpen
standout James McDonald.  Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger will be in the mix as well.

 

Jonathan Broxton
certainly has the mound presence of an elite closer at 295 pounds and a
fastball that touches 100 mph, but he’ll need to be slightly more consistent to
be considered in a group that includes Rivera, Papelbon and Nathan.  There’s no doubt that the ability is there,
though.  The bridge to Broxton is as
solid as anyone with lefty specialist and setup man George Sherrill back for a full season.  McDonald has become a dependable late inning
option as well and will be there unless he’s starting.  Ramon
Troncoso
and Ronald Belisario
were dominant last season with 2.72 and 2.04 ERAs respectively, while
dependable lefty Hong-Chih Kuo is
back from his shoulder injury and will look to remain healthy for the whole
year.  Cory Wade will be in the mix as well after shoulder problems kept
him from a repeat of his ’08 performance when he had a ridiculous 2.27
ERA.  Many other arms are also in the mix
and could step in if there are injuries, including Eric Gagne who’s back with the organization after a few years away.

 

ROTATION

Age

B/T

Chad
Billingsley

25/6

R/R

Clayton
Kershaw

22

L/L

Hiroki
Kuroda

35

R/R

Vicente
Padilla

32

R/R

Eric
Stults

30

L/L

 

 

 

BULLPEN

 

 

Jonathan
Broxton

25/6

R/R

George
Sherrill

33

L/L

James
McDonald

25

L/R

Roman
Troncoso

27

R/R

Ronald
Belisario

27

R/R

Hong-Chih
Kuo

28/9

L/L

Cory
Wade

26/7

R/R

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

Scott
Elbert

24/5

L/L

Charlie
Haeger

26

R/R

Carlos
Monasterios

24

R/R

Armando
Zerpa

23

L/L

Justin
Miller*

32/3

R/R

Jeff
Weaver

32/3

R/R

*=newly acquired

 

 

 

Lineup

matt-kemp1.jpg

Manny Ramirez‘s
suspension for steroid use last season derailed the image of the fun-loving,
uber-talented star outfielder and it now appears that his career is winding
down.  He’s still a terrific player and
is a force in the middle of this lineup, but even he acknowledges that this
could be his last season; it’ll definitely be his last in LA.  Along with Manny in left, the Dodgers have
one of the scariest outfields in baseball with young All-Stars Kemp and Ethier
in center and right respectively.  Kemp
is one of the best all-around players in baseball, doing everything very
well.  A 30/30 season seems
inevitable.  Ethier led the team in 2009
in both homeruns (31) and RBI (106), making the 50-game absence of Manny seem
like nothing at all.

 

First baseman James
Loney
should eventually develop more power than he’s shown so far, but his
all-around game is impeccable; he should win a Gold Glove any year now.  Rafael
Furcal
is back at shortstop and will look to bounce back from a
disappointing season a year ago.  He’s
still only 32 and is an elite defender.  Ronnie Belliard won’t play defense at
the level Orlando Hudson did last
year at second base, but he was basically the starter over Hudson down the
stretch and in the playoffs, while steady veteran Casey Blake is back at third base until the team finds a better
option there.  If ownership gets
steadier, they may make a run at Mike
Lowell
if he’s healthy to provide some depth at the position.  Catching will be the responsibility of
Canadian Russell Martin who will
look to prove his accusers wrong after a powerless 2009.  He’s still one of the best defensive and
game-calling catchers in the NL.

 

The bench has some depth with veterans Jamey Carroll and Reed
Johnson
and Blake DeWitt will
also be around.  DeWitt may still be
future at third.  41-year-old Brad Ausmus is back for yet another
year to backup Martin, while Jason Repko
and veterans Brian Giles and Alfredo Amezaga will fight for the last
roster spot.

 

Pos.

 

Age

B/T

SS

Rafael
Furcal

32

S/R

1B

James
Loney

25/6

L/L

CF

Matt
Kemp

25

R/R

RF

Andre
Ethier

28

L/L

LF

Manny
Ramirez

37/8

R/R

C

Russell
Martin

27

R/R

3B

Casey
Blake

36/7

R/R

2B

Ron
Belliard

35

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

BENCH

 

 

C

Brad
Ausmus

41

R/R

INF

Jamey
Carroll*

36

R/R

INF

Blake
DeWitt

24/5

L/R

OF

Reed
Johnson*

33

R/R

OF

Jason
Repko

29

R/R

 

 

 

 

 

POSSIBILITIES

 

 

INF

Chin-Lung
Hu

26

R/R

C

A.J.
Ellis

29

R/R

INF

Angel
Berroa*

32

R/R

INF

Nick
Green*

31

R/R

1B

Doug
Mientkiewicz*

35/6

L/R

INF

Argenis Reyes*               

27

S/R

OF

Brian Giles*

39

L/L

UTIL

Alfredo Amezaga*

32

S/R

*=newly acquired

 

The Dodgers still have one of the best teams in the NL.  Kemp, Ethier and Loney will be stars for a
long time and Billingsley and Kershaw are the future and the present in the
rotation.  The division looks to be more
competitive than it has been in years so the goings might be tougher this
season, but that adversity may end up helping them come October.

Final Prediction:
92-70, 1st NL West

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2 comments

  1. SLY

    Impressive stuff.

    I don’t have the patience to do a team by team breakdown. I would also be kicked off mlblogs.com for all the explitives I would spew if I was forced to write anything positive about the disgusting franchise that has Carmelo Anthony’s wife’s first half of her first name on their hats.

    I am glad you are more mature than I am.

    Shaun

    The Three Bs

    “Time Theft”

    http://syaple.mlblogs.com

    You may find this entertaining.

    I do.

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