Monday, February 25, 2008

Los Angeles Dodgers 2008 Preview

Bring on the youngsters. It's time to finally see what that young talent in LA can finally do for this team, who has been sitting on them for quite sometime.

The Dodgers were big players in free agency this off season, adding Andruw Jones into their arsenal and wooing Joe Torre from other potential suitors to attempt to bring back glory to the West Coast.

The question is, did the team make enough moves to contend in a very difficult NL West and will the pitching be strong enough to lead the team onward?

Key Additions:

Joe Torre Manager
Andruw Jones, CF
Hiroki Kuroda, SP

Key Losses:

Mark Hendrickson, P
Olmedo Saenz, 1B
Luis Gonzalez, LF
Randy Wolf, SP

I don't know enough about Kuroda to make an assesment on this addition, but the other two are great for this team. Getting the vetern leadership of Andruw Jones (not to mention the power of his bat and amazing defense in the field), as well as the guidence of young Torre amounted to a very decent off season for this team.As for the losses, none of these seem to be "back-breaking" losses for this team. Randy Wolf provided some depth to the rotation, but all in all this team did a fine job of addition by subtraction.

Probable Line-Up:

1: Rafael Furcal - SS
2: Juan Pierre - CF
3: Matt Kemp - RF
4: Andruw Jones - CF
5: Jeff Kent - 2B
6: James Loney - 1B
7: Russ Martin - C
8: Andy LaRoche - 3B

Lineup Grade: B+

I am not 100% sure if this is what the exact line up order will be come opening day, but this is the eight batters the opposition will face. Through free agency, the Dodgers attempted to go out and add some more power to their line-up via Andruw Jones. This team has almost revamped its power numbers from last year, along with the addition of Jones comes Matt Kemp and James Loney, two young players with a ton of talent and above average power. Russ Martin is the glue that holds this line-up together, a jack of all trades if you will. Martin will likely move up in the line-up (probably the 2 hold) in an effort to get more players on base and create RBI opportunities for the 3-6 hitters. I can also see Loney (a .300+ hitter in limited action last year) moving up to the 5 hole in an effort to give Jones further line-up protection. All in all, this line up appears to have little holes, with a nice balance of speed, power, and average.

Probable Rotation:

No. 1: Brad Penny
No. 2: Derek Lowe
No. 3: Chad Billingsley
No. 4: Hiroki Kuroda
No. 5: Jason Schmidt
Closer: Takashi Saito
Setup: Jonathan Broxton

Rotation Grade: B-

The Dodgers clearly have some talent in thier rotation, but the only problem is that do not have a clear ace on this staff. Penny, Lowe, and Billingsley can both produce great starts and are very consistent, but neither are able to instill enough confidence to say "If we had one game to win, who would do it for us?". Once could say that Brad Penny would qualify as this team's ace, but as every fantasy owner knows, Penny starts off strong and begins to trail off after the All Star break. It will be interesting to see how Kuroda moves up and down in this rotation. Rounding off the bottom is Jason Schmidt, who desperately needs a bounce-back year after the horrendous outing he gave last year. Closing out games (for now) is Takaski Saito, as consistent as they come. But waiting in the wings is a young stud in Broxton and it will be intriguing to see if he begins to take over more games this season. Overall, the rotation is pretty mediocre: unspectacular, doesn't WOW anyone, but consistent enough to contend.

Predicted 2008 Finish: 85-77 3rd Place in the NL West

As it has been said, the NL West is a 3 team race this season, but unfortunately for the Dodgers, I see them being on the outide looking in. Although the line up is sound and they bring in a great manager, the rotation is still shaky and without a clear ace to lead the team to the playoffs, I see Dodger fans watching the postseason at home.


Young Cicero said...

Huge blow to GDB when Torre came out of his short retirement to manage the Dodgers. We had him under contract to be our MLB analyst for the '08 season.

Oh well. Good luck Joe, when your work in LA is done we will have your chair ready and waiting at the GDB table.

Young Knuckleballer said...

I realize these posts were done by 2 different people but there's no way, the Dodgers rotation should get the same grade as the Rockies. I'd take LA's top 3 over Jeff Francis any day of the week.

Young Por 'que said...

I don't know what to tell you. I don't see how you can put the Dodgers rotation anywhere above a B. I think the Rock show should drop drop down a notch or two.