Categorized | Mark Timmons

What Might Have Been…

It was in 2004, that I first really noticed Andy LaRoche.  He was a 20 year-old third baseman who ended up with 23 HR and 76 RBI in A ball.  The next season, he hit 30 HR with 94 RBI and had a slash line of .305/.374/.553.  He had amazing opposite-field power – I said it was “Piazza-like.”  As he moved through the system he looked like the “real deal” to me.  He did have some injuries along the way, but I still felt his star was bright.

In 2004, Andy played for Vero Beach and some of his teammates were Reggie Abercrombie, Tony Abreu, AJ Ellis, Joel Guzman, Chin-lung Hu, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Russ Mitchell, Delwyn Young,  Chad Billingsley, Jon Broxton, and Eric Stults.  Andy was better than any of them.   In 2005, Matt Kemp hit 27 HR in 418 AB’s and Andy LaRoche hit 21 HR in 271 AB’s.  Kemp OPS’ed .918 while Andy OPS’ed 1.031!

I watched Andy a lot in 2005 at Jacksonville (the games were on the web) and was still very impressed.  I was also impressed with Russell Martin and his work ethic and proclaimed he would be a star as well.  Matt Kemp had raw talent, but was wild and undisciplined.  I had great HOPE for Matt Kemp but I KNEW that Andy LaRoche would be the Dodgers Third-baseman and Russell Martin would be the Dodgers Catcher for the next 10 years.

Well, I was half right about Russ Martin.  He was great in the beginning, but burned out rapidly.  I still can’t figure that one out.  I really can’t.  However, I was totally wrong about Andy LaRoche.  180 degrees off.  I was reminded of this Friday night when I took my son to an Indianapolis Indians game.  The Indians are the AAA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates and were playing the Pawtucket  PawSox.  Hitting 6th for the PawSox was Andy LaRoche (now 28 years-old and playing 2B), followed by Jason Repko in CF.

Old Buddy Jason Repko

Andy was hitting .256 and Jason was hitting .301.  Both appear to be career AAAA players.  Jason is 31 years-old and has battled severe injuries and physical problems for many years.  His star is really setting.  Andy still has an outside chance, but my impression is that he needs to get a personal trainer.  He looks a little soft to me.  Maybe that won’t help – some people are just built that way (John Kruk), but if I were him, I would try it.  Both Andy and Jason are really good guys – not back actors.  They love the game and play it the way it is supposed to be played.  I found myself to be very sad and melancholy as I watched them Friday night.  Oh… what might have been…

This is very sad to me because I know haw hard it is to play at the major league level and both Andy and Jason are close – just no cigar!  I wish them both Godspeed!  You will always be Dodgers to me.  It’s interesting to see the types of players at AAA.  The PawSox 1B is Lars Anderson who used to be the Red Sox Number One Prospect.  He has struggled to hit in the .260′s at AAA for three years.  He’s younger (only 24) but he’s not regarded as a top prospect anymore.

By the way, you can, click on the photos to see a full-size image.

OK, now that I am done wailing about Andy and Jason, today my son and I are going to the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.  We get to sit in a suite, complements of UPS Racing.  I asked him earlier in the week if he wanted to go:

Me:  “Stephen, do you want to go to the Brickyard?”

Stephen:  “No, it’s too hot.”

Me:  “Oh, we have a suite.”

Stephen:  “I’m in!

Dodger Rants & Raves

  • The Truth Hurts called Kemp’s shot.  He’s psychic, you know.  He told me what the stock market is going to do Monday, but made me promise not to tell.  Sorry!  Kemp is fine.  Don’t worry about him.
  • Cut Mark Ellis some slack – he is working himself back into shape.  He almost lost his damn leg for Godsakes!  Put him in the #2 hole and let him go.
  • Think about this:  Kemp, Ethier and Ramirez could be as good of a #3, 4 and 5 hitter trio as there is in the game.   OK – I said COULD not IS.
  • Hanley Ramirez looks like a kid in a candy store.  He’s a young 28 years-old and he is having fun and smiling (cheesing, actually) – something he hadn’t done much lately in Miami.   It has been well-chronicled that he was moody, lazy and had a bad attitude in Florida.  He deserved it.  That is a different dynamic however.  He was the main man in Florida but in LA he’s after Kemp and Ethier.  He can relax, get a fresh start and be the monster he is capable of being.  This guy is going to be an amazing player for the Blue.  I am just not sure where he should play.  I think LF is ultimately the best place for him, but this season he’ll probably stay at 3B.  Why mess with it?
  • Luis Cruz is playing too good to move him off of SS.  He has to stay there for now.
  • The Cubs allegedly want Allen Webster for Ryan Dempster.  No way!   How about Stephen Fife (his stock should be rising) and Jon Ely or Josh Lindblom instead?
  • Zach Lee gave up 1 run and 3 hits in 5 innings in his latest outing at AA.
  • RDLR and Ted Lilly both pitch today at Rancho Cucamunga.  If both come back in a week or two maybe the Dodgers don’t need Dempster, especially if C-Bill can pitch like he did against the Giants today, but… you can NEVER have too much pitching.
  • By the way:  How about Chad Billingsley?  WOW!  He pitched up to his ability today.  What a game!  If he can pitch like that, the Dodgers can go a long, long way!
  • The Dodgers need a leadoff hitter.  Juan Pierre?  Nah!  Shane Victorino?  Maybe!  He makes the most sense in LF because he can leadoff and has some power.  Reed and Tolleson for Victorino? Too much?
  • I feel a Kershawshank Redemption coming on.  After running out of gas in St. Louis last week, Clayton Kershaw faces the Giants today.  Sweeeeeeeeepppppppp!
  • OK, here’s the update on this site:  I want to cut back to posting twice a week.  David Caldwell (TheTruthHurts) is going to do the blog on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  I am going to do it on Sunday.  I can also do it on Tuesday or Thursday (not both days).  So, I am looking for someone to do it on Tuesday or Thursday or even both days if they want, and Friday.  It can be one person, two persons or three persons.  If you are interested, let me know at mark@ladodgertalk.com.
On August 1, 2012, I want to see this lineup:
  1. Victorino  LF
  2. Ellis 2B
  3. Kemp  Cf
  4. Ethier  RF
  5. Ramirez  3B
  6. Morneau  1B
  7. Cruz  SS
  8. Ellis  C

 Minor League Notes:

  • Jerry Sands went 4-6 with his 16th HR and Alex Castellanos went 3-5 with 2 HR (12, 13) and 5 RBI – They weren’t playing in Albq.  They were playing in Nashville.  John Ely got his 10th win with 6 strong innings (2 ER).
  • Ethan Martin was roughed up for 4 ER in 5 IP.  He got the win and is now 8-6.  He walked 4 and struck out 6.
  • Leon Landry was 3-5 and his BA sits at .328 in RC.
  • Cory Seager was 2-4 with a double.
  • Still no Yasiel Puig sightings as he works off the fat.

By the way, Giants – Here Come The Dodgers!

About Mark Timmons

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

35 Responses to “What Might Have Been…”

  1. Roger Dodger says:

    The Dodgers went stumbling out of the heat of St. Louis and falling on there collective faces.

    Then into the cool of San Francisco. They could have possibly ended up 6 games out of first place if they dropped all three to the Giants.

    But — the guys woke up and have won the first two games and made a statement to the Giants of San Francisco and the rest of the National League. The Dodgers are not dead.

    I only saw a few minutes of the game on Saturday . . . and have changed my mind on A.J. Ellis — when he hit that double down the line — he was all over that pitch, and his swing is what James Loney dreams about. A.J. has come a long way in his hitting skills.

  2. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    A.J. Ellis is what I figured he was. A .260 to .280 hitter with a high OBP. And he’s probably a lot more valuable when he hits 8th. He’s hit for more power than I expected, and after a hot start has settled into the area where I would expect him to be. Hopefully, he levels off and stays pretty much where he is now. He’s currently a .271 lifetime hitter (.375 OBP) in 468 big league at-bats.

    I hope the Dodgers handle RDLR carefully. I still don’t think it would be a good idea to put him in stressful situations at this time. Just too valuable to be taking any chances at all. Getting in some innings is OK, but I think it could be big mistake to put him into any situations where he feels he has to extend himself. That should wait until next year. Just my humble opinion.

    I still like Jerry Sands, but I doubt if the Dodgers want to experiment with using him at this time. Maybe next year. Of course, if he’s performing well he might become a valuable trade chip. Given the Dodgers’ ability to re-stock the farm system and acquire top grade talent over the winter, it wouldn’t both me at all.

    Guess we’ll know within the next couple of days the makeup of the team going forward for the rest of this year (barring any waiver deals in August).

  3. Badger says:

    I too was wrong about LaRoche. But then, so were all the scouts. At the time, he was rated a “A” prospect. That is rare and is “can’t miss”. Well, he did, and he was one of ours…. and one of the few A prospects we have had.

    Karros and Albert were talking about the schedule yesterday. Evidently the midgets are done traveling east and we are not. We have a mid August trip to Miami, Pittsburgh and Atlanta (mostly night games) then a September trip to Washington and Cincinnati. There are many against the West, and we end with 6 at home against the Rockies and the gnats.

    It sure would be nice to get that extra pitcher, and extra stick, before those trips. Remember, it’s possible to get a waiver wire deal late in the season. Somebody is going to put a contract out there, the question will be, will they pull it back if we claim it.

    You can have the race. I went to one in my life and that was one too many.

    I like your August 1st lineup.

  4. the truth hurts says:

    Guys, tomorrows winning lotto numbers are # # # # #….

    Like the lineup too mark, hope it happens.

    I hoped Andy would work out at least for you, you always have had a place in your heart for that kid, it’s unfortunate.

    Another person I compare to laroche is a guy named, James Loney.

  5. SpokaneBob says:

    At first I wasn’t in favor of getting Victorino, wanted Pence instead. But I have changed my mind in that Victorino can provide us with a better lead off option and when Gordon comes back he can stay in the 8th spot where I believe he will thrive. Also I believe that Gordon could learn from Victorino while he is with the team and eventually move back to that spot.

    So I am also in favor of Mark’s Aug. 1st line up. Make it happen Ned.
    Badgers right, we add these guys and the schedule/travel won’t matter.

  6. SpokaneBob says:

    Plus Victorino has shown he can perform in the post season.

  7. Bobby says:

    Morneu with another hr today.

    Man I’d love for something to work out with him!!

    And Josh Johnson 6bb but 1ER allowed. I’d still take him

  8. ken says:

    LaRoche has always been soft (at least since he appeared on televised games)

    When AJ Ellis drops his hands to the bottom of his letters or lower he can NOT hit, but when his hitch is shorter he can hit very well.

    I would trade Webster fo Dempster if there was a verbal agreement to extend for 2 years without a no trade clause.

    Mark Ellis is now a true platoon hitter. He does NOT hit RHP pitchers very well. Move Gordon to 2B. :)

    If the Dodgers win the WS, then Manny Mota will be the Executive of the year by keeping HanRam in line.

    Mark – Spend the money on an EDIT button and I bet Badger will sign up for 1 day a week for 3 months :)

    Glad to see Eovaldi won his game yesterday. In his interview he said that he was told that he was “untouchable” and was very surprised to be traded. If true, then maybe the Marlins were shopping Rameriz while the Dodgers were trying to acquire Choate. Who knows?

    I can do without the Romper Room glasses :)

    Dodgers need to throw in some of their minor leaque players in any trade or they will have a lot of DFAs occurring 7/31 and 9/1. Lets have some 2 for 1 trades for better players.

  9. JOsh says:

    I don’t know why but I’m a fan of Luis Cruz, and I think he will just get better the more big league games he plays. Why not put him ahead of Looney in the lineup?

  10. Bball says:

    Cruz is great for now and if he keeps it up u can’t keep him out. But remover Elian herrera earlier in the season. He was big money clutch hit man and now where is he. Cruz is a career minor leaguer for the most part. Not talking mess and hope he keeps it up but u no what they say it’s hard to get here even harder to stay. I see no problem with trying Gordon at second next year if Hanley really wants short back. They need a true third basemen if this will happen though. I still like Ellis layoff him. He’s solid. Not the best but solid

  11. Bball says:

    If the dodgers end up with soriano. Any chance they try him at first. I like his bat especially if the cubs pay most of his salary. Don’t know if he’s even ever played there just a thought

  12. Badger says:

    eh, I ain’t signing up for nothing ken. I signed up once in 1966. Big mistake.

    I predict a deal within 24 hours that is going to blow this place up with over 100 posts.

    I agree about MEllis. I kinda figured eventually he would get his numbers down to .250. He is about there. I am surprised by AJ. I thought the summer months would wear him out. So far, so good. Why isn’t Abreu in there against Vogelsong?

  13. Bball says:

    I just bought tickets for Saturday night because of the Hanley move and what I think is coming by Tuesday. The anticipation is a great feeling. I truly feel like this is a new era of dodgers baseball and I love it. This is awesome

  14. Reggie says:

    The chance that Dee Gordon ever plays 2B is the same that I will ever be white: ZERO! Come on! What are you smoking?

    On Mark Ellis: This is the worst he has done against RH pitchers in his career (by far).

    Can you say “small sampling.”

    Why does everyone panic when someone is not playing as well as they should be? Wake up, they are humans, not machines.

    This will pass is what my grandfather used to say.

  15. Win For Vin says:

    I was flipping back and forth between the Cubs/Cardinals and the Dodgers/Giants games today….saw Soriano fumble what looked like an easy ball in the outfield…he kind of looks lost. Therefore, if the Dodgers are looking for another outfielder…I’d say go with a defensive guy like Victorino (before the damn Giants get him…which is what they’re saying on mlbtraderumors.com).

    I’m not honed up on minor league prospects, but if Allan Webster is “untouchable” and Fife isn’t…why isn’t he in LA? Is he really young?

    Call me sentimental…but I miss Russel Martin. I wish we had him back. I’m sorry for all the crappy things I said about him! He’s still a step up from Ellis in my opinion.

    • RogerCraig says:

      Fife is 26. Webster is barely 22 and has only been pitching 3 or 4 years.

      Russ Martin is hitting .182 for the Yankees this year in the best hitting lineup in baseball. He is through.

      Not only is AJ Ellis’ BA almost 100 points higher, but his OB % is almost 200 points higher. How is that a step-up from Ellis? That’s a huge step DOWN.

  16. Anonymous says:

    How do you spell Sweep?

    First Place!

  17. Rob says:

    I agree, we need to keep victorino out of SF unless we get pence.

  18. Rob says:

    Kershaw stepped up like the ace he is!!!!

  19. Badger says:

    In your face gnats!

  20. Bobby says:

    Always good to beat that trash up there.

    I’ll be at the stadium to welcome HanRam!!!

  21. JOsh says:

    swept!

  22. DodgerDude says:

    The Truth Hurts told us the Giants would sweep the Dodgers. He told us the truth and I don’t think the truth hurts.

  23. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    THE TRUTH HURTS, the Giants, that is. I believe that Dave predicted a sweep at the beginning of this series. And the TRUTH it was. Truth never lies.

    Now let’s get some more reinforcements in the next couple of days, and stick it to the Dbacks.

  24. Rob says:

    Dodgerdude has it flip flopped but we know what you mean. The midgets are going to try to solve their lead off problem with an outfielder like us. We need to be one step ahead of them and take whoever they are trying to get from the phillys. I think the Phil’s will keep pence and trade victorino, Rollins, and Blanton, so that means we need to get victorino.

  25. ken says:

    Mark Ellis

    10 seasons
    BA against RHP
    1 – .317
    8 – Between .241 & .279
    2012 – .201
    2012 SLG .239
    When N >= 30 The sample size become significant.

    .165 point differrence between hitting against LHP and RHP during 2012 – That is a peson who needs to be platooned.

  26. Bobby says:

    By the way, from Cucamonga tonight:

    Ted Lilly: 2ip, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1bb, 1k

    RDLR: 3ip, 2 hits (both infield singles) 1bb 3k, and get this; he threw 97mph!!! clearly his arm is ok

  27. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I think it’s a given that RDLR’s arm is OK. The Dodgers wouldn’t have sent him out for a rehab assignment if it wasn’t. But I still think the Dodgers need to be careful and not put him in the stressful situations that arise inevitably in a pennant race. He’s OK now, but that doesn’t mean at this early stage that there is any reason to put him in situations where he might over exert himself.

    I believe he needs to be put in non-critical situations, and slowly work his way back. He will then have this offseason to continue his rehab, and then should be fully ready to push himself harder in spring training and beyond. Maybe I’m being over-cautious, but I think RDLR is simply too valuable to take any chances with.

    • Badger says:

      Agree. And I think the Dodgers know this. He is on the prescribed schedule and I am sure the team will be very careful with him.

      You guys ready for the big move? It’s coming…………..

  28. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    I believe I’m ready for the big move. I just wish I knew what it was. I try my best not to pay attention to rumors, because that’s not always what you get. There could be surprises. But whatever the case, I’m more than a little certain that we will have stuff to talk about between now and midnight (my time) Tuesday.

  29. Bobby says:

    In fact, Badger, I’ll take the big move on offense.

    I wonder now, if with Lilly, and eventually RDLR (bullpen) being ready to join the staff if we don’t wait till the Aug 31 deadline to go after somebody on waivers. You might see even more big name pitchers available then (Cliff Lee?)

    But I would love to have Morneau at 1b, or a big bat in LF. I really do like Loney and his D, so it would be a bit sad if he’s no longer around, but i’ll live

  30. Roger Dodger says:

    So . . . we need to think like a Yankee fan . . . the new boss will get what it takes.

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