Monday, February 17, 2014

Schoenfield Picks Dodgers as Fifth-Best MLB Team

Sorry this is late; last week,'s David Schoenfield had the Dodgers as the fifth-best team in MLB, behind the Nationals (#3) and Cardinals (#1) in 2014:

5. Los Angeles Dodgers

How they can get to 90 wins: Well, having another 42-8 stretch again will help. The Dodgers runs scored and allowed totals projected to 89 wins (they won 92). They’re a good bet to score more runs, especially with full seasons from Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez.

Big offseason moves: Signed Cuban 2B Alex Guerrero, re-signed RP Brian Wilson, re-signed 3B Juan Uribe, signed SP Dan Haren, signed RP Chris Perez, lost RP Ronald Belisario, lost 2B Mark Ellis, lost IF Nick Punto, lost CF/2B Skip Schumaker, lost SP Ricky Nolasco.

Most intriguing player: Puig. He could be the MVP, he could hit .240. He's the most intriguing player in the game heading into the season.

Due for a better season: Matt Kemp would seem to be the obvious choice, but there are still concerns that his ankle injury that required season-ending surgery will remain an ongoing issue. Josh Beckett made eight starts with a 5.19 ERA. Right now, he’s slated as the No. 5 starter (with Chad Billingsley angling to return from Tommy John surgery), so he could certainly improve if he’s healthy.

Due for a worse season: On a rate basis, Ramirez is unlikely to hit .345/.402/.638 again. But the Dodgers will certainly hope he plays more than 86 games. Uribe, awful in 2011 and 2012, but good in 2013, is a strong regression candidate.

I’m just the messenger: The Dodgers have the best starter in the game Clayton Kershaw. Zack Greinke was a great No. 2. They have Puig and Ramirez and Kemp and Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. A team without flaws? Not necessarily.

Kemp, Crawford, Ramirez and Uribe have all battled injuries in recent seasons. Guerrero is an unknown. If Kemp can’t go, Ethier will be stretched defensively in center. Greinke is very good but has also had just one season in his career where he made 30 starts with an ERA under 3.00. Gonzalez is no longer the .900 OPS guy he was for a few seasons. Haren has been up-and-down the past two seasons. Even with their $200 million-plus payroll, this isn’t a team that’s a lock for the playoffs.

The final word: OK, that said, there is clearly big upside here, maybe even 100-win upside if everything pans out. The rotation has the terrific top three with Kershaw, Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu, and Haren pitched much better in the second half with the Nationals. Kenley Jansen is a top-flight closer with dominant stuff and the setup crew with Wilson, J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez and Chris Withrow is deep. Kemp is a wild card. So is Puig. But I’m also inclined to believe Puig is closer to the MVP candidate than the .240 hitter. The Dodgers are the clear favorite in the NL West.

Projected record: 92-70


Dusty Baker said...

Well fuck this puto.

Cliff Beefpile said...

Why do all baseball writers have such a hard-on for the Tigers and Nationals? I don't fear either one in a 7-game series.

QuadSevens said...

Well then I guess there's only one thing left to do. Win the whole fucking thing!