Monday, May 19, 2008

Five Things I Never Thought I'd Say

1. Blake DeWitt, starting third baseman. 6-for-6 with the bases loaded. Tied for second on the team in home runs. Dependable defense. "This kid has the calm of a veteran player," says Joe Torre, and DeWitt has earned the starting third base position even after the return of Andy LaRoche. Much like Russell Martin before him, DeWitt has seized a role and it doesn't look like he plans on letting go.

2. Matt Kemp, defensive threat. I've always considered Kemp a four-and-a-half tool player, docking him half a point for his evolving baserunning skills (although the speed is definitely there). I've taken his arm for granted...until Monday night, when he turned two potential errors into assists. So his fielding may be evolving as well, but not since Raul Mondesi have the Dodgers seen a player with so much raw talent. Fortunately, Kemp seems to have a steadier head than Mondy.

3. Juan Pierre, under-appreciated. By Dodgers blogs, anyway. Yes, his skills are limited (a two-tool player?), although Pierre, a lifelong center fielder, has adjusted to left field nicely. Offensively, it's simple: I like it when he gets on base. Now if he could only do it more often.

4. $18 million on the disabled list. We have an excuse (it's no longer mental!). Now put Andruw Jones on the DL, get him away from the boo-birds and let him clear his head. Ease him back with a rehab assignment in Las Vegas and get Don Mattingly to solidify his swing mechanics. Maybe some of that salary can be salvaged.

5. Thank you, Chan Ho Park. It's been seven years since his last victory as a Dodger, but Park is writing a nice second chapter in Los Angeles by providing steady long-relief work. He even had a decent spot start this weekend, helping the Dodgers to a rare win in Angel Stadium. Although he lacks the efficiency to be a regular starter, Park deserves to be commended if only for keeping Clayton Kershaw's seat warm.


Delino DeShields, Sr said...

It's not often that an $18 million player gets put on the DL, and the team INSTANTLY improves. But then again, Jones is having a mystical season. Or do I mean mystifying?

Rob said...

But Juan Pierre is getting on base more often, at a .361 clip, a rate not seen since his 2004 with Florida. Is it a fluke? It's certainly within his career parameters, and given his history, it's unlikely to be sustained given his declining batting average, but it's definitely worth noting.

Orel said...

Good point, Rob. I guess I meant: If only he could get on base as often as a leadoff hitter should.