Some people are saying that the Dodgers are a .500 team (when I say “some people” I don’t mean “informed baseball people”), which I think is just plain delusional. I think sometimes Dodger fans fail to take into consideration that change is inevitable, and often, it is good. Will everything be OK? Seth Godin summed it up today by saying:
It’s natural to seek reassurance. Most of us want to believe that the choices we make will work out, that everything will be okay.
Artists and those that launch the untested, the new and the emotional (and I’d put marketers into all of these categories) wrestle with this need all the time. How can we proceed knowing that there’s a good chance that our actions will fail, that things might get worse, that everything won’t end up okay? In search of solace, we seek reassurance.
So people lie to us. So we lie to ourselves.
No, everything is not going to be okay. It never is. It isn’t okay now. Change, by definition, changes things. It makes some things better and some things worse. But everything is never okay.
Finding the bravery to shun faux reassurance is a critical step in producing important change. Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance, it’s a lot easier to launch work that matters.
Will the Dodgers be OK? We are so much in the middle of the Forest that we can’t see the trees, or is it we can’t see the Forest for the trees? I will leaf that alone. What I will say is that we often look at how a player performed last year and extrapolate that into the next. What we fail to factor in is that we have a very young team and these guys often get better by leaps and bounds. In some cases you can count on it. I think we forget how far some of our young player have come, how much they have matured and how they will almost certainly continue down that same path.
In the middle of the long, cold winter, I usually pick-up a copy of Lindy’s Fantasy Baseball(I never play it myself), because over the years, I have found that their takes are pretty close to the reality. I don’t know for sure, but I think that they use a variety of statistical analysis as well as scouting resources to reach their conclusions. At any rate, I have read them for many years and their accuracy rate is exceptional when predicting what players might do. I thought I’d share a few of their predictions:
- Russell Martin is the 7th Highest Ranked Catcher in Baseball behind Soto, Posada, Wieters, McCann, Martinez and Mauer – no surprise there. He is rated ahead of Suzuki, Bengie Molina, Ryan Doumit, Yadier Molina, Chris Iannetta and Mike Napoli. I caught a lot of heat from some of you for ranking him that high, but you can see I’m not the only one! (Projection: .269/9 HR/58 RBI/470 AB) Comments: “He inexplicably morphed into Jason Kendall with slightly more pop, slipping even in stolen bases, a category he once dominated. He’ll either return to fantasy relevance or fade into oblivion this season.”
- James Loneyis the 15th Highest Rated First Baseman is Baseball ranked ahead of Chris Davis, Paul Konerko, Adam LaRoche, Jorge Cantu, Todd Helton, Carlos Delgado, Casey Kotchman and Aubrey Huff (Projection: .281/18 HR/30 DBL/92 RBI) Comments: “There’s a lack of sizzle and a whole lot of Mark Grace going on here. A more critical peek at his numbers reveals Loney is becoming more patient (70 walks last season), suggesting a brighter future. He’s due for a spike … don’t bet on an explosion.”
- Of course, the Dodgers don’t have anyone rated at 2B, but I do hope they give Blake DeWitt the opportunity. If he and Carroll can’t cut it, then we can make a deal. Second-basemen are a dime a dozen and that All-Star you all wanted back (Orlando Hudson) is only the 16th rated at his position (and he wants $9 mil a year? HA!).
- Casey Blake is ranked #17 at 3B, right ahead of Casey McGhee, Andy LaRoche, Garrett Atkins, Jhonny Peralta, Scott Rolen, Edwin Encarnacion, Ty Wigington and Kevin Kouzmanoff. (Projection: .276/18 HR/ 76 RBI). The words they use as “consistent” and “solid.” Certainly, he ‘s no star, but we could do worse.
- Raffy Furcal is ranked the #14 SS and Lindys calls him “No longer an elite fantasy option, as injuries have robbed him of his speed and power.” (Projection: .283/10 HR/51 RBI/15 SB) If he can put up those numbers with a .360 OB%, we will be fine. “Hurry up Dee Gordon!”
- Ryan Braun is rated the #1 outfielder, but #2 is none other than our Matt Kemp (Projection: .302/35 DBL/8 TRIP/31 HR/105 RBI/38 SB). Those are “elite” numbers. Andre Ethier is rated #16 (Projection: .293/36 DBL/30 HR/102 RBI) and Manny Ramirez is #18 (Projection: .302/26 HR/86 RBI). They say that they still believe “Ethier will win a batting title” and that “Manny still has an elite batting eye and isn’t done being relevant in our game.” If that prediction holds up for our outfielders, the Dodgers should be very good offensively. In fact, that should be baseballs best offensive outfield.
- When it comes to pitching, Lindys has Clayton Kershaw at #16, just ahead of Cliff Lee! Chris Carpenter was #15. Other pitchers ranked behind Kershaw are: Vazquez, Cain, Beckett, Jimenez, Webb, Peavy, Shields and Lackey who was rated #25, just ahead of Chad Billingsley at #26. (Projections: Kershaw- 16-6/2.88 ERA /198 IP/156 H/210 K/1.24 WHIP; Billingsley – 14-11/3.72 ERA/202 IP/180 H/188 K/1.29 WHIP). Here’s what they say about Clayton: “He’s a still a work in progress, last summer adding a slider to compliment his mid-90′s fastball and all-world curveball. Check out Fangraphs.com for more on his slider and put a check next to his name on your cheatsheet. He’s going to be unstoppable in the very near future.” Yeah, like maybe in 2010? Billingsley was rated ahead of the likes of Baker, Garza, Rodriguerz, Lilly, Weaver, Dempster, Nolasco, Anderson, Oswalt, Burnett, Bucholz, Jurrjens, Danks, Jackson and Harden. They regards the 2nd half of 2009 as a “hiccup.” Hiroki Kuroda was ranked #49, ahead of Hudson, Kazmir, Maine, Sherzer, Saunders, Pineiro, Zambrano and Randy Wolf (who was #65, and they predict 10 wins with an ERA over 4.00 for him). They project Kuroda at 11-8 with a 3.63 ERA/182 IP and ad WHIP of 1.20. Of Kuroda they said “his underlying numbers are solid and the injuries were not arm-related.“ Vicente Padilla weighed in at #96 (not bad for a #4), just behind Jon Garland at #95. They project him at 12-10 with a 4.33 ERA and 169 IP with a 1.43 WHIP.
- Which brings us to Jon Broxton, ranked #5 as a closer. Here’s the crux of what they say about him (sounds like what I say): “Perhaps a visit with a sports psychologist is in order…” ‘Nuff said! George Sherrill is rated #40 and Lindys thinks he could close more on the road, especially against LH’ers (where Brox has his issues).
So, while Lindy’s is not Bill James or Fangraphs, it’s still very useful, and I have found that their projections are quite accurate. I think a lot of Dodger fans depreciate the value of a lot of our young players, as well as our role-players. The 2010 Version of the LA Dodgers is destined to be VERY, VERY GOOD! Now, depending upon what happens with the divorce, we could be buyers in August. Get ready for a great season! I see at leat 93 wins!
- Jon Weisman has an excellent post on the Dodgers lack of resources at this juncture.
- The Phillies have $130 million committed to 14 players in 2011, which means they may not be abale to sign Jason Werth. Hummmm…
- The Dodgers could sign Noah Lowery as soon as NOW!