Fueled by an outstanding start, the Los Angeles continued all the way to the top of the MLB in 2017, with a 104-58 record. Their rivals, the San Fransisco Giants, finished 40 (!) games behind them. The Dodgers eliminated the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Chicago Cubs, and made the world series. But, they fell to the Houston Astros in seven games. Motivated for a title, the Dodgers had some moves to make this offseason. Let\’s take a look at their offseason.
Notable additions: OF Matt Kemp, RHP Tom Koehler, LHP Scott Alexander, INF Donovan Solano, SHP Pat Venditte.
Notable subtractions: RHP Yu Darvish, RHP Brandon Morrow, LHP Tony Watson, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, LHP Scott Kazmir, RHP Brandon McCarthy, INF Charlie Culberson, OF Andre Eithier, OF Franklin Gutierrez, OF Curtis Granderson.
What they did well: The Kemp for Gonzalez, Kazmir, McCarthy and Culberson trade was made so the Dodgers could clear up money for this offseason.
What they did bad: They didn\’t use that money. Though Darvish struggled in the postseason, Morrow was excellent, and they didn\’t make too much of an effort to bring one of them back. You might say that they already had good enough pitching for them, but Darvish and Morrow both went to the Cubs, who have a better staff, in my opinion.
Sneaky Sleeper: Now a sleeper candidate for the starting left field role, Andrew Toles had his season cut very short due to a torn ACL. Now 26, Toles has been pretty solid in his short, 79 game career. He has a .294 batting average and eight homers plus 31 RBIs in 217 Plate Appearances. Toles is still young, and there is more to come from him.
Incoming outbreak: I don\’t know why, but I\’ve always liked Ross Stripling. He\’s a starter and a reliever at the same time. He reminds me of David Phelps in his Yankees days, but now he\’s a full-time reliever. He could be like another Yankee, Chad Green. Stripling has had an ERA in the high 3s in his first two seasons. But, I just have a gut feeling he can be this year\’s Alex Wood (and I liked Wood from his Atlanta days).
Unsuspected slump: In 2017, Kenta Maeda failed pretty much all of the expectations people had for him. He had a 4.22 ERA, and even though he had a similar K/9, he pitched less innings due to injury. This is a make-or-break season for Maeda.
Blue-chip Bopper: Yet again, Kyle\’s Brother had a great season. He hit 22 homers, had a .295 batting average, and had a .375 OBP. Oh, and by the way, his name is Corey Seager and he\’s good.
Astounding ace: this is easy, once again. Clayton Kershaw. Next.
Here\’s the Dodgers projected roster, starting with their lineup.
CF Chris Taylor (R)
SS Corey Seager (L)
3B Justin Turner (R)
1B Cody Bellinger (L)
LF Matt Kemp (R)
RF Yasiel Puig (R)
C Yasmani Grandal (S)
2B Logan Forsythe (R)
Here\’s their rotation.
LHP Clayton Kershaw
RHP Kenta Maeda
LHP Alex Wood
LHP Rich Hill
RHP Tom Koehler
Kenley Jansen (R) is their closer, with Pedro Baez (R), Adam Libertore (L), Hyun-Jin Ryu (L), Josh Fields (R), Tony Cingrani (L), Yimi Garicia (R), Scott Alexander (L) and Ross Stripling (R) in the bullpen as well.
C Austin Barnes (R), OF Andrew Toles (L), OF Joc Pederson (L) and 2B Chase Utley (L) are on the bench.
Finally, for my prediction, I think the Dodgers, a really good team, will make the playoffs in 2018.