Everyone is talking about how the Dodgers need more pitchers, better starters, get rid of Capuano and Lilly and Harang and get Price, Sheilds, Dempster and/or Greinke.
In case, I was watching a different game than you, the Dodger’s pitching was pretty good last season. The Dodgers were 3rd in all of Major League Baseball in team ERA at 3.34, just .01 point behind Washington. The Dodgers allowed the fewest home runs and second fewest runs. They did have 19 blown saves, so if they need any help it is in the pen, but if they re-sign League and Jansen returns healthy, they should be looking good. If the Dodgers could have cut those blown saves in half, they would have won the division.
Let me repeat that: If the Dodgers had cut their blown saves in half (from 19 to 9), they would have won the NL West! The Dodger starting pitching ERA was 3.41 which was third in all of Major League Baseball. Tampa Bay was best at 3.34 and Washington was second at 3.40. You aren’t facing reality if you put the Dodgers collapse in 2012 on the pitching. The pitching was great. The starting pitching was stellar! Give that argument up.
The Dodgers 2012 problems were caused by their inability to score runs. Plain and simple. They frequently choked in the clutch. The Dodgers scored the 5th fewest runs in the major league last season with 637 (3.9 runs per game). Texas scored 5 runs a game. The Giants scored 4.4 runs a game. Only the Mariners, Cubs, Marlins and Astros scored fewer runs than the Dodgers. It wasn’t the pitching – it was the hitting.
Some fans say that 2012 wasn’t a failure because the Dodgers brought in a bunch of new players and really didn’t expect to win in 2012. That’s pure BS, of course. They expected to win. Most others thought the same thing. Stan McNeal of The Sporting News said this:
Adding shortstop Hanley Ramirez, left fielder Shane Victorino and bullpen depth made the Los Angeles Dodgers my biggest winners at the nonwaiver trading deadline. Now they have traded for an even better player, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, to bolster their weakest position.
Combine these upgrades with the talent already on hand, and the Dodgers must be considered favorites to win the National League.
Most other publications said the same thing, but it never materialized. Instead, the Dodgers offense went into the tank. If Matt Kemp couldn’t do it, nobody could.
Here are four players who could be key to the Dodgers hopes in 2013:
Adrian Gonzalez – One of the best 1B in baseball and THE best defensive 1B in baseball. His average 162 game season is .294 BA; .371 OB%; 29 HR, 38 Doubles, 103 RBI ad and OPS of .877. I think maybe he will not hit 29 HR again, but the rest of his numbers are impressive and likely to be repeated for a few more years.
Hanley Ramirez – The Dodger want a Good Hanley so I do not think they will chance a move to 3B. A Happy Hanley can lead the league in hitting, but a Bad Hanley can kill a team. Hanley’s average for a 162 game season is .298; .371 OB%25 HR; 84 RBI; 39 Doubles and a .866 OPS. I have no clue which one will show up. After hitting .292, .332, .301, .342, .300 from 2006 to 2010, he hit .246 in 2011 and .257 last year. I want the Hanley of 2006 to 2010, not the one we have seen the last two years. How do the Dodgers make that happen?
Luis Cruz – Tell me he doesn’t deserve a chance and his defense is great at 3B. We don’t know if he will hold up and if he can continue to hit, but he has to be given the opportunity.
Which bring me to…
Carl Crawford – Injured most of 2012 and with a chronic bad left wrist, he was out of shape when he came back, but still hit pretty well in the short time he was back. My son-in-law, who is a huge Red Sox fan watched every game Crawford started last season and he said that he was heavier and out of shape, but that he looked good in a few games. Now recovering from Tommy John Surgery, he is a huge risk and you need to remember that he has had surgery on both of his wrists as well. He will be 31 this year. His game is speed and he has bulked up. Does that sound like a good thing? His stolen base totals have declined since 2009 and in 2011 he hit .255 with a .289 OB% and had just 18 Stolen Bases. He only had 117 AB’s in 2012 and hit .282 with a .306 OB%.
Cork Gaines of Business Insider Sports Page wrote a Headline that said this:
Carl Crawford Is The $142 Million Bust And Why There Is Little Hope That Will Change
The first problem is Carl Crawford is not that good of a hitter. He’s simply another Tampa Bay Ray who benefited by being in a run producing position and busted in his next destination. Randy Winn, Julio Lugo, Carlos Pena, Jorge Cantu and others also left Tampa and saw their careers plummet. Leaving the Tampa Bays and falling flat is something I’ll leave for another article. One of the main issues with Crawford’s hitting skill is his inability to take a walk. Crawford swings at a high percentage of pitches and because pitchers put more focus on the Red Sox, the weakness finally caught up to Crawford. Last season his strikeout percentage was a career high, 19.3% per plate appearance. The only blazing attribute he brings to the table is his ability to steal a ton of bases….People are now coming to a realization that Carl Crawford’s stat ceiling is limited. He’ll never come close to a first round pick ever again. He’s also going to be 31 next year and just came off an 18 stolen base season and was DL’ed because of a strained hamstring. When he signed the contract, many feared the day when his body couldn’t steal as many bases. It’s possible Crawford’s days of forty plus stolen bases are gone. He’s also stuck in Boston for the next six years where his at bats are under a microscope. Crawford also missed games because of a strained hamstring and elbow. Is his body physically wearing down already?
Easily the most overrated player in the game.
Just astonishing that he has been reduced to crap. And the Red Sux are stuck with him for 6 more years and $142 mil. He looks like a little leaguer out there. Anybody who saw Crawford play with the Rays in 2010 should have seen the meltdown coming. Crawford even in his best years underachieved. Brian Cashman had no interest in him and he turned out to be spot on. This month of Sept. has totally turned things around as far as who the better GM is. Cashman is the genius and Theo Epstein the idiot.