But, they might just help us win the World Series. I love Juan Pierre, but would you rather have him or Jim Thome as DH in the World Series? Well, we now have a choice. Thome says that he is not physically able to play 1B (although I suspect we will see him there from time-to-time), but he is a potent LH batter and even though he is in the twilight of his career, he has a .373 OB% and still slugs .500. Jon Garland has “been there, done that” and is a solid starter who could benefit immensely by pitching in the Ravine. We now have 7 starters (as soon as Kuroda comes back). Torre has lots of options, including a 6-man rotation and giving Clayton some rest.
The down side is that we have to give up Tony Abreu, but this is war and there are casualities. I hate to see him go…
Dave Duncan, Anyone?
The NY Times Dave Waldstein broke an article on August 30th that Dave Duncan might leave the Cardinals next year. The Dodgers should jump into that fray, assuming that only 29 other teams would be interested. Here’s a couple of excerpts from the article:
Duncan has expressed displeasure over the way his son Chris, a Cardinals outfielder who was traded to Boston earlier this summer, had been treated in the news media, and he ceased speaking to the St. Louis-area newspapers. He did take time to speak to an out-of-town reporter and pondered for a moment the notion that the highly successful partnership he and La Russa forged during the 1980s might soon be disbanded.
“It would be different,” he said. “Who knows what the future will bring?”
I am sure that there are lots of hidden dynamics here, not the least of which is the relationship between Duncan and LaRussa: over 25 years! But hey, when we trade Russ Martin to the Red Sox, all we have to do is insist that Theo throw in Chris Duncan and then pay Plaschke and Simers to never write anything bad about the kid. That could put the Dodgers at the head of the class.
Smart Stuff From Around the Web
Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts has a very insightful take on the Dodgers pitching:
Dodger relievers have thrown 20 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings and have a 0.79 ERA in 45 2/3 innings since Aug. 16. For the season, the bullpen has allowed the fewest runs per game in all of baseball (3.79) and has had the third-best percentage of inherited runners stranded, despite pitching the second-most innings, behind only San Diego.
The acquisition of George Sherrill has certainly helped, but for a little perspective, he has only pitched 14 1/3 of the Dodgers’ 450 relief innings this season.
Sure, it would have been nice if Ronald Belisario hadn’t gone on the disabled list, if Cory Wade’s sophomore season hadn’t been relatively jinxed, if “Jonathan Broxton” and “sweat” never shared the same sentence, if everything were just perfect. But instead of perfect, Dodger fans will just have to settle for the best.
Dodger relievers are averaging 3.5 innings per game, only one out more than the major-league average. With an extra reliever on the roster compared with most teams, the extra workload is negligible, and the cost in terms of bench strength pretty minimal. And with 40-man-roster reinforcements further lightening the workload in September and off days helping out in a potential October, it’s time for people to just accept that the Dodger bullpen is a team strength and quite arguably the best in either league.
With 31 games left in the season, Dodger pitchers overall are second in the majors in adjusted ERA and tops in walks plus hits per inning (WHIP). In this era, you don’t need your starting pitchers to average six innings to have a great pitching staff.
1) James McDonald, RHP, Grade B+: 4.11 ERA with 35/27 K/BB in 50 innings for the Dodgers, 46 hits. I think he’s capable of better.
2) Ethan Martin, RHP, Grade B: 4.02 ERA with 109/60 K/BB in 94 innings for Class A Great Lakes, 81 hits allowed. Strong K/IP and hit ratios reflect stuff, but needs to throw more strikes.
3) Ivan DeJesus JR, SS, Grade B: Out all year with a broken leg.
4) Andrew Lambo, OF, Grade B: Hitting .259/.312/.417 for Double-A Chattanooga. Hit .321/.383/.548 in April, but performance has been mediocre ever since.
5) Josh Lindblom, RHP, Grade B-: 4.00 ERA with 75/26 K/BB in 92 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, with particularly good performance at Albuquerque. Has come a long way very quickly.
6) Devaris Gordon, SS, Grade B-: hitting .305/.367/.401 with 69 steals in 93 attempts for Great Lakes. Lacks home run power, but speed and gap power look strong and he’s made progress refining his skills. Stock definitely up.
7) Ramon Troncoso, RHP, Grade C+: 2.66 ERA with 43/26 K/BB in 71 innings, a very solid rookie season.
8) Scott Elbert, LHP, Grade C+: 3.84 ERA with 125/44 K/BB in 96 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 15/3 K/BB with 4.80 ERA in 15 major league innings.
9) Austin Gallagher, 3B, Grade C+: .257/.319/.345 in 60 games for Great Lakes, on DL since July 4th. Obviously not living up to potential.
10) Josh Bell, 3B, Grade C+: Traded to Orioles, hitting .298/.383/.507 in Double-A this year. Coming along nicely.
11) Xavier Paul, OF, Grade C+: Has missed most of the season with a staph infection and a fractured ankle.
12) Chris Withrow, RHP, Grade C+: 4.72 ERA with 123/54 K/BB in 109 innings between Class A Inland Empire and Double-A. ERA is rather deceptive, as his component ratios have been pretty solid, though walk rate needs to come down. Breakthrough candidate for 2010.
13) Justin Miller, RHP, Grade C+:5.14 ERA with 78/60 K/BB in 140 innings, 163 hits between Great Lakes and Inland Empire. Best mark is 2.96 GO/AO ratio, but low strikeout rate and excessive hittability are bad signs.
14) Tony Delmonico, 2B, Grade C+: Hitting .285/.383/.430 for Great Lakes, converted to catcher, where he has performed adequately but needs more experience.
15) Pedro Baez, 3B, Grade C: Hitting .286/.326/.445 for Inland Empire. Needs better plate discipline.
16) Jaime Hoffman, OF, Grade C: Hitting .290/.387/.454 with 15 steals in 25 attempts between Double-A and Triple-A. Controls the zone well, has a touch of power and speed, but probably a Quadruple-A guy who will get stuck on the fringes.
17) Jesus Castillo, RHP, Grade C: 4.40 ERA with 80/52 K/BB in 141 innings for Chattanooga, 145 hits. Mediocre performance overall.
18) Kyle Russell, OF, Grade C: Hitting .273/.367/.549 with 26 homers, 15 steals in 17 attempts, 65 walks, 169 strikeouts in 455 at-bats for Great Lakes. Very impressive power/speed production, with lots of walks, but that strikeout rate is scary.
19) Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, Grade C: 3.49 ERA with 66/38 K/BB in 90 innings, 92 hits for Great Lakes. Rated as a sleeper pre-season, he hasn’t really broken through but hasn’t been bad either. Just 19 years old, has pitched better in the second half.
20) Javy Guerra, RHP, Grade C: 1.54 ERA with 55/15 K/BB in 41 innings for Great Lakes, 3.91 ERA with 23/16 K/BB in 23 innings for Chattanooga. Control took a step backwards after promotion, but he did skip a level.
The Dodgers farm system has thinned out over recent seasons, though the development of Gordon is a big help. Martin is a big breakthrough candidate for 2010, and Eovaldi, Delmonico, and Winthrop must all be watched closely. Lambo got a lot of hype with his hot start but his final Double-A line is going to be unimpressive overall. The 2009 draft adds a nice mixture of college and high school talent to the system, so the prospect list for ’10 will look considerably different.
Last Night’s Game Recap: No Offense – Just 3 HR and 2 more Hits, Sherrill Blows Game, McDonald Loses it. That’s all folks!
Minor League Recap – 8/31/09 by Jared of TrueBlueLA
Andrew Lambo - 0 for 2, RBI, R, 2 BB (.256 BA)
Lucas May - 0 for 4 (.301 BA)
Javy Guerra - 2 IP, 0 Hits, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K’s (3.46 ERA)
Dee Gordon – 1 for 4, RBI, R, 2 K’s (.303 BA)
Kyle Russell - 1 for 4, 2B, RBI, R, K (.274 BA)
Jerry Sands - 0 for 2, BB (.216 BA)
Alfredo Silverio - 1 for 3, R, K (.274 BA)
Geison Aguasviva - 3 IP, 2 Hits, 0 R, BB, 3 K’s (1.63 ERA)
Cole St Clair - 1 IP, 2 Hits, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K’s (2.62 ERA)
Mario Songco - 1 for 5, 3 K’s, PO (.343 BA)
JT Wise - 2 for 4, HR (5), 2 RBI, R, K (.304 BA)
Steven Ames - 2 IP, 2 Hits, 2 ER, BB, 3 K’s (1.95 ERA)
The 2009 5th rounder has enjoyed the cozy confines of the Pioneer league and feasting on left-handed pitching. Wise is batting a staggering .424 against them with a 1.230 OPS. Compare that to his split against righties, which is a somewhat disappointing .253 BA and .706 OPS. This mirrors his performance in college this spring, where he put up an insane 1.529 OPS against southpaws and a far more modest .846 OPS against righties. Hopefully JT can improve upon his same-handed counterparts as he advances through the Dodgers’ system
Tony Abreu – 2 for 3, RBI (.351 BA)
Chin Lung Hu - 3 for 4, 2B, RBI, R (.295 BA)
Blake DeWitt - 0 for 4, K (.256 BA)
Jamie Hoffman - 0 for 2, R, 2 BB, CS (.284 BA)