Categorized | Mark Timmons

It’s Time To Get Real

Several bloggers and some of their followers are lobbying for AJ Ellis to hit at the top of the Dodgers lineup, instead of near or at the bottom.  They point to his .360 OB%.  Wow!  Here’s the deal – it’s a small sampling – he has 244 AB’s in parts of 4 years, so opposing offenses have not even thought about him, but let’s assume that it’s a valid number.  Let’s assume that he will have a .360 OB% over an entire season (which I really doubt, but hope for).  He still can’t hit at the top of the order.  Why?  Because I can drink a beer and make a sandwich in the time it takes for him to go from 1st to 3rd!   Understand this:  AJ Ellis is a great guy and MAYBE he will have a good OB%, but he is slower than molasses.

What would you rather have – a guy with a .330 to .340 OB% who can go from 1st to home on a single to RF or a guy who can get on more but just runs station-to-station?  You can’t measure what Dee Gordon does to a pitchers’ psyche, and you can’t expect a 23 or 24 year-old with a zest for the game to not improve his OB%.  Dee Gordon is smart, fast and coach-able – I think he will adapt.  The next question is whether Mark Ellis should hit #2.  While Mark Ellis not fast, he is faster than AJ. I think  you have to start the season with Mark Ellis at #2 and Dee Gordon at #1.  If that becomes an issue, it will have to be dealt with in due time.

The dynamics of hitting #8 and #1 or #2 are quite a bit different.  I like AJ Ellis, but Dodger fans need to realize that he is average defensively (at best) and has not proven he can hit at the major league level.  I still believe that Fed-Ex will be the Dodgers’ starting catcher before the year is over.  I’m not ready to anoint AJ Ellis as the starter.  Also, I have have read people say that Russ Martin hit second, so why couldn’t AJ hit second?  Russ Martin had some speed, could run and was a good base runner to boot.  AJ Ellis simply is not!

Finally, I am going to remind you that what happened to the Dodgers last season was a microcosm of strange circumstances.  For half the season, it was obvious that the Dodgers were affected by the divorce and bankruptcy, and for a while some even wondered if they would be paid.  By the second half of the season, even though they had many injuries to key players, they got their act together and played as one of the best teams in baseball.  Some of you seem to forget that.

Look, for any team to do well, certain things have to happen.  Certain players have to play well.  It is no different with the Dodgers, but there is basis for hope (just like any team):

  • If AJ Ellis is what some bloggers think, then Catcher is a solid position.
  • There is evidence and logic behind believing that James Loney can come back and be a guy who hits .290-.300 with 90-100 RBI.
  • Mark Ellis is on the downhill slide, but if healthy, can still be a solid player at 2B – hopefully he can hit a little too.
  • The sky is the limit for Dee Gordon – watch him grow!
  • Juan Uribe showed up in better shape than last year and is seeking retribution.  All the Dodgers need from him is an “average” year.
  • Juan Rivera and/or Jerry Sands should be at least “major league average.”
  • Matt Kemp is a man possessed to be the best player in baseball.
  • Andre Ethier wants to prove the naysayers wrong and is playing for a new deal.  We know what he can do if his head is right (it may not be).

I believe that this years’ team is better than last years’ version.  The pitching depth is better and Harang and Capuano will surprise some of you.  The bullpen should be better – last year, the pen lost 4 or 5 games for Kershaw.  You think he can’t win 30 with a better pen?  He might not do it this year, but if he stays healthy he is as likely as anyone in baseball to do that:

  • He has a smooth delivery that doesn’t require a lot of energy.
  • He has a man’s body now and is stronger.
  • He is a battler and smart.
  • He’s not moody and every mistake just strengthens his resolve.
  • He doesn’t make many mistakes and will continue to pitch deeper into games.

This 2012 version of the Dodgers is going to be fun to watch, led by that jackrabbit at the top.  Watch and see.

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

15 Responses to “It’s Time To Get Real”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to someone who finally realizes that some things in the world of sport need to pass the “eye test” so to speak, instead of always abiding by the stats/rankings. AJ Ellis is a likable guy who everybody wants to succeed, but blindly following his stats and OBP (small sample size disclaimer), while disregarding what your eyes tell you when you watch him play is not the way to go about it. Plus, I think the guys who actually sit in the dugout have a clue about what’s going on. Don’t need to reinvent the wheel here folks, just need to execute better.

  2. I agree….this team will be better this year than last. Mark hit on all the players who have the motivation to hit better than last year.
    But he was wrong on Kemp….he is ALREADY the best player in baseball!!

  3. Bobby says:

    right now, i’d go with Ellis as the #2. A vet is usually more patient in that position, especially with a guy like Gordon on the bases in front of him.

    Maybe later in the year Ethier does it. Maybe Silverio. Maybe our new 3b David Wright?

  4. Bill Russell says:

    Who will hit second it only one of the many question marks we have heading into the 2012 season.

    Who will become the new owner, will the pitching staff hold up, can the team score enough runs and who will shield for Belisario in the pen as he does his blow?

    This will be the first spring that I won’t be in attendance since Camelback opened. As the season nears the excitement builds and the hope that the Dodgers can get back to contenders is always in the back of our minds. Lets hope that the new ownership fiasco doesn’t drag on forever. Go Blue

  5. Bill Russell says:

    I wonder if Kennedy will out play Ellis and become the #2 hitter. Let’s go Adam…..

    • Mark_Timmons says:

      Adam Kennedy is not as good of a 2B as Mark Ellis is, but I could see a semi-platoon developing there. Kennedy could play twice a week against tough righthanders to give Ellis a break and keep him fresh.

  6. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    In this age of 5-man rotations, winning 30 requires close to perfection. 162 games divided by 5 starters = 32.4 starts. The ace will occasionally get an extra start when someone else is passed over in the rotation due to days off. Still, last year Kershaw had only 33 starts. He’s not likely to ever go much above that.

    A high OBP is also valuable in the 8th slot. Getting on base in that position will often clear the pitcher, which on the Dodgers will result in Dee Gordon, with his speed, leading off more innings.

    Based on the news concerning his concussion, Silverio is not likely an option this year.

    Mark Ellis at 2nd base, hitting #2. That would seem to be the best option, but I’ll reserve judgment until I actually see the guy play.

    I’m still counting on Jerry Sands winning the job away from Rivera sometime during the season. I believe he could provide significant protection behind Kemp and Ethier. We’ll just have to wait and see. He also hit 2nd last year, so he’s an option there as well.

    If anyone gets flu-like symptoms while at ST, it might be good idea to check out a local doctor. I had a spot discovered in my right upper lung in October, and had a biopsy at Sloan-Kettering in January. Turned out to be a fungal infection caused by an organism endemic to the Southwest (Coccidioides). I put two and two together, and determined that I must have had Valley Fever (AKA, Coccidioidomycosis)in 2009 while attending ST. At the time I thought it was the flu. Probably a local doctor in AZ would have been familiar with VF, and diagnosed it then and there. Thanks to a procedure known as Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS), I had the surgery on January 12th and was home on January 14th. Modern medicine isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot less invasive than it used to be.

    Given what I observed around me, I felt extremely fortunate after I heard the word “benign” out of the doctor’s mouth. It certainly changes your perspective. And it did occur to me that it could be malignant even though I don’t smoke now. I used to smoke about a pack a day before quitting over 40 years ago. Besides, it’s possible to get lung cancer even if you never smoked. Just a lot less likely. Bottom line, I feel very fortunate, and have a lot less to complain about. It really is all about perspective.

    • Mark_Timmons says:

      That’s great that it turned out for the best. We never know what tomorrow brings. Godspeed to you!

      That’s also a good point about the number of starts…

  7. Bill Russell says:

    That is great Brooklyn and I echo Marks words from above.

  8. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Thanks guys!!!!!

  9. Xeifrank says:

    Mattingly, should at least be open to the idea of hitting A.J. Ellis at the top of the order. Most projection systems have at least a 50 point difference in the OBP numbers between Gordon and A.Ellis. I would much rather have a slow A.J. Ellis on base ahead of Ethier and Kemp than one more out and Dee Gordon sitting on the bench. At least be open minded to it.

  10. RogerCraig says:

    I am open-minded to it, if Plan A doesn’t work. The thing is: how can you “project” a guy who has less than 250at bats in 4 years?

    If AJ hits 2nd, I think Ethier would have to go to #3 and Kemp would have to switch to #4 or you would severely impede Kemp’s baserunning abilities.

    • Xeifrank says:

      A.J. hits first, Ethier 2nd and Kemp 3rd. Dee Gordon drops to 8th if he falls out of the leadoff spot. You can project by looking at both his 250 MLB at-bats and his minor league numbers. He has done it in the minors with not having a pitcher hit behind him. Sure, there is some uncertainty just like there is with Dee Gordon. I’m not expecting Mattingly to do it, but just wish he had an open mind about it.

      • DodgerDude says:


        Are you really serious?

        • Xeifrank says:

          Yep! It all depends on the delta between A.J. Ellis’ true talent OBP and Dee Gordon’s. If you believe the major projection systems like ZIPs etc… then A.J. Ellis should be leading off against LHP at the very least. It is better to clog the bases a little bit than to make an out and not have to worry about clogging.


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