Thursday, June 30, 2011

Allen Webster: the Dodgers' most underrated prospect

When the Dodgers drafted Allen Webster in the 18th round of the 2008 MLB Draft out of McMichael High School in North Carolina, folks didn't give it a second thought. And why would anyone? I mean, there aren't that many 18th-round picks who end up being successful in the minor leagues, let alone the major league.

However, Webster has done nothing but impress in his three-plus seasons as a professional baseball player.

He's made all the usual stops so far: the Gulf Coast League (2008), Pioneer League (2009), Arizona League ('09), Midwest League (2010), California League (2011) and now the Southern League ('11). He has more than held his own at every stop.

For his career, he has a 2.79 ERA, 7.6 H/9, 0.4 H/9, 3.6 BB/9, 8.5 K/9 and a 2.35 K/BB ratio. He threw a career-high 131 1/3 innings last season, and he's on pace to best that this season.

One of the best things about Webster is he doesn't have to rely on a 98 mph fastball to get hitters out. Because of this, he's the best pure pitcher in the Dodgers' farm system. He works with a low-90s fastball with good sink and movement, a power curveball in the upper-70s and a low-80s changeup that is his sleeper pitch.

So, with the great numbers and good stuff, why does he not get more recognition? It's easy to see why he's overshadowed by the likes of Rubby De La Rosa, Zach Lee and Chris Withrow. All three are flamethrowers and have better pure stuff than Webster. However, Webster is the best pitcher of them all.

He also gets a ton of groundballs. For his career, his ground out/fly out rate is at 2.39, including a 4.33 rate for Double-A Chattanooga. For comparison's sake, he would be mentioned in the same breath as Tim Hudson (2.41 in 2011), Brett Anderson (2.32) and Trevor Cahill (2.24). This bodes well for his future success.

I rated him my No. 3 prospect in my midseason Top 15 and No. 6 in my preseason Top 30. Baseball America had him unranked after his debut season and rated him No. 10 in 2010 and No. 5 this season. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus ranked him the Dodgers' seventh-best prospect heading into the season and No. 13 in 2010.

Despite some high rankings, it still feels like he's underrated and undervalued by the masses. There is a lot of value in a guy who projects to be a 180-200-inning, middle-of-the-rotation starter. He doesn't have the ceiling of De La Rosa, Lee or Withrow, but if I had to put money on the most successful of the quartet, it'd be on Webster.

Chad Moriyama of True Blue L.A. and Memories of Kevin Malone fame did a nice write-up on Webster in March.
"Webster has a good combination of tools for success. He has shown the willingness to be coached, he has projection, and he has three potentially good pitches with good control and solid command. That said, questions do exist. His fastball command needs to improve, he needs to locate and execute his power curve consistently, and one of his two off-speed pitches has to emerge as a tool he can use to get swings and misses from advanced bats. As a whole though, the positives outweigh the negatives, leading to his lofty status as a prospect."
A fair and object look at the right-hander.

Depending how the rest of his season goes, he could contend for a rotation spot in 2012, if the Dodgers need it. If not, I could see him getting a shot in Triple-A, but wouldn't be surprised to see him return to Double-A. The Pacific Coast League is a notorious launching pad and the Dodgers are hesitant to send good pitching prospects there.

Webster is my favorite prospect in the Dodgers' system. I'm excited for his future and can't wait to see him in person -- either in the PCL or the majors.


Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness recounts the 51 sins of the Frank and Jamie McCourt era. It's a great read.

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. has a recap of the Dodgers in June.

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts has his sixth edition of "Dodger Cogs and Dogs" - always a fun read. Matt Kemp is No. 1 for the fifth consecutive edition.

Roberto Baly of Vin Scully is my Homeboy urges folks to connect with him via Social Media. 150,000 pagviews? Dayum!

DodgerBobble recaps his day at Viva Los Dodgers, which includes autographs from Steve Yeager and Ron Cey.

Evan Bladh of Opinion of Kingman's Performance ponders how many innings the Dodgers should let De La Rosa throw this season.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Editorial cartoon about the McCourt saga

I really wish I had any shred of artistic ability in my bones. Alas, I can only write (and that's even debatable). I got an email from a freelance artist, Gary Finkler, who is undertaking an interesting endeavor: A sports art blog.

Anyway, here is a cartoon he did about Frank McCourt.

You can view his blog at Keep up the good work, Gary.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My mid-2011 Top 15 Dodgers' prospects

The minor-league season is about half-way done and it's time to update my prospect rankings. As I did last year, I'm releasing my midseason Top 15 prospects.

All players who have not reached 50 innings pitched or 130 at-bats in the Major Leagues as of June 26 are eligible for this list.

Read the full preseason 2011 Top 30 from January.

Only five more?
Jerry Sands OF/1B (1)
Started: Triple-A Albuquerque
Current Location: Triple-A
- Sands is at 125 Major League at-bats. I'm confident he'll get five more this season, which is why I've singled him out up here. He's heated up in the last week and has a great slash line: .336/.398/.701 with 10 home runs. He would be my No. 1 prospect on this list, as he was to start the season.

1. Rubby De La Rosa RHP (5)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Majors
- De La Rosa was really good in the Southern League, posting a 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 11.7 K/9 rate. He's had some success with the Dodgers since his call-up in May -- 3-2, 5.26 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 9.5 K/9. However, his last two starts have been rough. He needs to improve his control, which he has done since his first start against the Phillies. His breaking ball needs some work, but his changeup is lights-out, when it's on.

2. Zach Lee RHP (4)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes
Current Location: Low-A
- Lee started off really strong before cooling a bit. As a 19-year-old, he's facing advanced competition in the Midwest League. He's 5-1 with a 3.47 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 8.0 K/9. He suffered an elbow injury and has struggled a bit since coming back, but there isn't much to be concerned about. The Dodgers probably won't push him to High-A this season, but he should start there in 2012.

3. Allen Webster RHP (6)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: Double-A Chattanooga
- Webster just might be my favorite prospect. He doesn't get the publicity De La Rosa and Lee get, but he just gets the job done. He started with Rancho Cucamonga and was promoted to Chattanooga as a 21-year-old. He has more than held his own in Double-A, posting a 4.03 ERA in six games (five starts), a minuscule 1.07 WHIP and 6.5 H/9 rate. He isn't striking out as many hitters as he did in the California League (5.6 K/9 compared to 10.3 K/9), but he's been quite effective. He could contend for a rotation spot in 2012.

4. Dee Gordon SS (2)
Started: Triple-A Albuquerque
Current Location: Majors
- Gordon has dropped, but not because of his play. It's because the guys in front of him have played better. He put up a .318/.361/.370 line with 22 stolen bases (in 25 attempts) for the Isotopes in the Pacific Coast League before being recalled to be the Dodgers' everyday shortstop in June. He has all of 18 games in the majors, but he's had some electrifying moments on offense and defense. He's in a slump of late, but he's still firmly entrenched as the Dodgers' starting shortstop. He'll be off this list next season.

5. Garrett Gould RHP (13)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes
Current Location: Low-A
- If Webster is my favorite prospect, Gould is my second-favorite. I've been touting him since the Dodgers stole him in the second round of the 2009 draft, saying he could, one day, be a Top 5 prospect. Well, here we are. Gould is dominating the Midwest League with the Loons: 7-3, 1.70 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 3.0 BB/9, 8.0 K/9. I'd love to see him pushed to the California League for my own selfish reasons (so I could see him in person in 2011). I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in Great Lakes and skips Rancho all together next season.

6. Trayvon Robinson OF (3)
Started: Triple-A Albuquerque
Current Location: Triple-A
- Much like Gordon, Robinson (the subject of my previous post) has dropped because some higher-ceiling pitching prospects are performing well. Robinson has been no slouch, though. He's tied his career-high in home runs with 17 already this season and has a .954 OPS. Now, the fact that he plays in the launching pad that is the PCL has an impact. However, he hits just as well -- if not better -- away from Isotopes Park. The one thing that concerns me is his K-rate, which has increased from 28.9 last season to 30.6 this season. He needs to get that under control.

7. Nathan Eovaldi RHP (28)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Double-A
- The biggest jump of any Top 30 prospect, Eovaldi has established himself as a starter in Double-A as a 21-year-old and has been dominant. He has a 2.56 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 3.21 K/BB ratio and a most impressive 9.9 K/9 rate. His off-speed pitches have improved, which has helped him improve overall. He even touched 101 MPH out of the bullpen a few weeks ago. While his future likely lies as a late-inning reliever (if he remains in the Dodgers' system), he's only improved his stock with a great showing as a starter in 2011. He's (again) made a believer out of me.

8. Chris Withrow RHP (10)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Double-A
- Withrow had a really rough April followed up by a better May. His June, however, has been excellent -- 22 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 20 K, 2.49 ERA. He still might have the best pure stuff of any Dodger minor-league pitcher, which is what keeps him on this list. Some think he could end up being a late-inning, power reliever if he doesn't get his command under control.

9. Shawn Tolleson RHP (NR)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes
Current Location: Double-A Chattanooga
- Baseball America picked Tolleson as its Dodger sleeper, and it didn't miss (it picked Jansen last year). Tolleson has been the most dominant pitcher in the organization, posting a 0.71 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 6.20 K/BB ratio and a ridiculous 14.7 K/9 rate among three minor-league levels (Low-A, High-A, Double-A). He only has an 8.1 K/9 rate in Double-A, but that's to be expected as he faces advanced hitters. He could contend for a bullpen spot next season.

10. Jake Lemmerman SS/3B/2B (18)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- The second 2010 draftee to make the Top 10 (Lee), Lemmerman (right) was surprisingly placed with the Quakes after a great debut in the Pioneer League. He's been cold of late, but he still has a .281 batting average, a .381 on-base percentage and is holding his own at shortstop. He's playing in a hitters heaven, so his numbers should probably be a little higher. He doesn't have a high ceiling, but his floor is a lot higher than others.

11. Angelo Songco OF (22)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- I have a lot of "favorites," and Songco (left) is one of them. He isn't the biggest guy (6'0, 195), but he can put the bat on the ball. He has a .305/.363/.526 slash line for Rancho Cucamonga and 37 of his 87 hits have gone for extra bases (23 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR). His defense is just average, which limits him to left field. I'd like to see him promoted to Double-A, but the Dodgers have a logjam of outfielders in the upper levels. He should get there sometime this season. He does need to show he can hit lefties better, though.

12. Blake Smith OF (15)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- Another guy I like more than most, Smith has great power potential. A 2009 second-round pick, Smith has a .516 slugging percentage for the Quakes this season. He swings and misses a lot (29.3 strikeout percentage), which is something he needs to improve. He's almost a clone of Kyle Russell. Like Songco, I'd like to see him promoted. He plays a good right field, which helps his standing as a prospect.

13. Jonathan Garcia OF (12)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes Current Location: Low-A
- Garcia got off to a fast start this season (7 HR in April), but struggled mightily in May. In June, however, he's been great. His overall slash line is .261/.304/.504 -- pretty impressive for a 19-year-old in a pitcher's league. I'd like to see him have a strong second half and be on the Quakes' roster come 2012. I'd also like to see his walk percentage increase.

14. Aaron Miller LHP (8)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- No. 1 on last year's midseason Top 15, Miller is a peculiar case. He has talent and the make-up to be a good pitcher, but he's been bitten by the injury bug. He's managed just 19 1/3 innings in the Cal League and hasn't been particularly great in those innings (3.72 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 9.8 H/9, 4.7 BB/9). He needs to first get healthy and come back to have a strong second half.

15. Javy Guerra RHP (NR)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Majors
- I had given up on Guerra ever contributing after last season. Not because he pitched poorly, but because he was 24 and still in Double-A and showed no signs of improving his control. He started 2011 in Double-A this season and was lights-out: 1.06 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 7.9 K/9. He earned a call-up to the majors in May and has been solid out of the 'pen. He's impressed manager Don Mattingly enough to earn save chances. He struck out 8.8 hitters per nine innings in the minors, but has yet to find his strikeout groove in the majors (5.3 K/9). He just might be a fixture in the Dodgers' bullpen the rest of the season.

The next five (in alphabetical order): LHP Scott Elbert (19), OF Leon Landry (9), RHP Matt Magill (11), RHP Angel Sanchez, (NR), OF Scott Schebler (NR)

Graduated: Kenley Jansen (7), Sands (in five ABs)
Dropped out of Top 15: Landry (9), Magill (11), Ethan Martin (14)
Moved into Top 15: Guerra (NR to 15), Lemmerman (18 to 10), Tolleson (NR to 10), Songco (22 to 11)
Biggest riser: Eovaldi (from 28 to 7)
Biggest faller: Martin (from 14 to 31)

Chime in with your thoughts here or on Twitter.

Friday, June 24, 2011

It's time for the Dodgers to bring up Trayvon Robinson

The Dodgers' left field situation was a concern from Day One. Here we are nearly three months into the season and it's still a problem.

Dodger left fielders have hit a collective .216/.286/.298 with 2 HR, 20 RBI, 15 2B (9 of which came from Jerry Sands), 27:59 BB:K ratio. That is absolutely putrid coming from a traditional "power" position.

It started with a platoon of Tony Gwynn and Marcus Thames. I wrote back in Spring Training that Gwynn could have filled a huge need for the Dodgers by living up to his potential. He has decent on-base skills and is a really good defender. If all went well, he would have succeeded as the Dodgers' No. 2 hitter and left field wouldn't have been a problem.

Sadly and unsurprisingly, that did not happen. Gwynn has put up an uninspired .222/.266/.291 line through 64 games (117 ABs). He hasn't had a chance to play everyday, but I don't think even if he did play everyday that he'd be the answer in left field.

Thames, who has dealt with injury issues, has been even worse: .193/.246/.333 in 57 at-bats.

Sands was recalled and given a shot in left. He started off slow, got hot and cooled off. He hit .200/.294/.328 in 125 at-bats. He has since returned to Triple-A for a little more seasoning. He is the Dodgers' future in left field or at first base -- it remains to be seen which position in which he'll settle.

Which leads us to Trayvon Robinson. He has been on fire for the last month, raising his slash line to .317/.388/.575 with 16 home runs. He's drawn 29 walks in 259 at-bats -- good for an 11.1 percent walk rate. That's actually a decrease from last season (16.8 percent), but still a good rate. However, his strikeout rate has jumped about 2 percent -- from 28.8 last season to 30.9 this season. Another concern is his stolen base numbers have decreased for three consecutive seasons -- from 47 in 2009 to 38 in 2010 to just seven in 2011.

Despite the negatives, it's time for Robinson to get a shot in left field. He certainly cannot be any worse than the players the Dodgers have sent out to left field this season (Gwynn, Thames, Jay Gibbons Xavier Paul, Jamie Hoffmann and Trent Oeltjen).

Dee Gordon, Rubby De La Rosa and Sands have all gotten the call -- each of which was surprising. So, why not Trayvon?

In theory, Robinson is the Dodgers' future in center field, pushing Matt Kemp to right field and Andre Ethier to left field (if he isn't moved). That would make the Dodgers' outfield much better defensively.

I was on board with the Thames signing and playing Gwynn, but the experiment has failed. It's time to start fresh with some young blood.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ogden Raptors start season with 20-0 victory

Well, that's certainly one way to start a season.

The Dodgers' Pioneer League affiliate, the Ogden Raptors, won its season debut on Monday 20-0. That isn't a typo, the team actually scored 20 runs in the first game of the season.

On Thursday, I made note of a few guys to watch for the Raptors -- James Baldwin, Scott Schebler and Scott Woodward. Baldwin went 1-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBI and a walk. Schebler had the best night of the trio, going 3-for-6 with a home run, three runs scored, four RBI and a walk. Woodward, making his professional debut, went 1-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and one RBI.

Right-hander Gustavo Gomez threw five shutout innings, giving up three hits while striking out six. Gomez, whom the Dodgers signed out of Panama in 2008, ranked No. 60 on Brandon Lennox's (True Blue L.A.) Top 200 prospect list.

The team could get an influx of players, as guys like Joc Pederson and Noel Cuevas are struggling in limited playing time in Low-A and High-A, respectively. Both were 2010 draft picks and aren't getting much experience. They could benefit from consistent playing time.


True Blue L.A. has the first half surprises and disappointments from the Dodgers' minor-league system. It's a good read.

Jared Massey of L.A. Dodger Talk has a good post on why Clayton Kershaw should throw less fastballs.

Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness has two great reads. One revisits his letter to the McCourts in October 2009, asking them to sell the team. The other is a post titled, "Clayton Kershaw, Ace." It's something I've been saying for two years. The first link, ironically, has the same title as Petriello's post.


Kershaw's performance last night against the Tigers was masterful. He threw nine innings, giving up two hits, one walks while striking out 11. He did it all on 112 pitches. Very impressive, young man.


Matt Kemp has passed Andre Ethier for fourth place in fan voting for the All-Star game. Kemp is still roughly 328,000 votes behind Matt Holliday, but he's made up about 200,000 votes in a week. It'd be nice to see him start the game in center for the National League.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Dodgers need to trade Andre Ethier

Let's face it, the Dodgers are a bad team. Unless there is a trade that comes out of nowhere to acquire an impact bat without sacrificing key young players (unlikely) or some of the prospects go nuts (even more unlikely), the Dodgers need to be sellers by the July 31 trade deadline -- or hopefully much sooner.

The most attractive piece the Dodgers could make available is Andre Ethier. Ethier is hitting .313/.390/.452, with 6 HR, 34 RBI. It isn't logical for a team that ranks 13th out of 16 National League teams in on-base percentage to trade a guy with a .390 OBP, but it's what's best for the organization.

Ethier is a premiere hitter, despite not being able to hit left-handed pitches nearly as well as righties -- 18-for-75, /240/.289/.347 this season, .246/.309/.368 for his career.

Having said that, he'd still be the most attractive position player on the trade market -- which begs the question: what could the Dodgers get in return for the outfielder?

Ethier has let it be known back in Spring Training -- intentionally or unintentionally -- that he doesn't think he'll be a Dodger long-term.

"You don't know," Ethier said. "Six years now is a long (time) to be in one city for one team. There's no inclination now other than going out and playing this year and seeing what we got.

"You don't know if this is your last (year) or not, but you want to enjoy it to its fullest extent and make the most out of it."

In seemingly the next breath, he said this to the L.A. Times:
"Yeah, as long as the organization is moving in the right direction still, moving in a direction where they're committed to winning … rather than if things don't go good for a year or two here, (then) rebuild and try to figure things out.

"I just want to be somewhere that gives me the best shot to win. I feel like we got that here. But it's a wait-and-see basis."

One thing we know for certain: Ethier will never work in a MLB front office, as he still has one year of arbitration to go before hitting free agency. That, coupled with his production, is precisely why the Dodgers should trade him now -- to maximize the value they could get for him. A team dealing for Ethier would get him for at least 1 1/2 years.

So, what teams would be interested in his services and what could the Dodgers be looking for in return? Let's explore those questions.

Boston Red Sox
Ethier's apparent BFF, Dustin Pedroia, plays in Boston and it could use a guy to patrol right field in Fenway Park (J.D. Drew is a free agent following the season). While Drew's time in Boston has produced solid numbers (.268/.376/.468), he's played an average of 131 games per season (not counting 2011). In the same time, Ethier has played an average of 148 games with better overall numbers than Drew (.288/.363/.493). Ethier would add to an already potent Red Sox's lineup.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
Daniel Bard, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ryan Kalish, Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick

To Boston: Ethier
To Los Angeles: Lowrie, Kalish, Bard

- This would be a steep price for Boston to pay, especially with Scutaro in the final year of his deal and Lowrie performing well in his place. The Sox do have Jose Iglesias in the minors and despite his struggles at Triple-A, he is the Red Sox's future at shortstop. Lowrie surely isn't going to bump Pedroia or Kevin Youkilis from their positions, so they might be more willing to move him. Kalish would step in for Ethier in RF and Bard would be a nice setup option for a beleaguered Dodger bullpen. Not sure Boston would be on board with this deal, though.

Cincinnati Reds
The Reds have a three-man rotation in left field in Jonny Gomes, Fred Lewis and Chris Heisey. While Heisey has experienced moderate success in his 287 at-bats (.261/.331/.439), he probably isn't the long-term answer. Gomes and Lewis are platoon players at best. Ethier would look nice in the middle of the Reds' lineup, hitting in front of reigning NL MVP Joey Votto.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
Yonder Alonso, Juan Francisco, Yasmani Grandal, Ismael Guillon, Devin Mesoraco, Neftali Soto

To Cincinnati: Ethier
To Los Angeles: Alonso, Mesoraco, Guillon

- The Reds have played better of late, but they're behind both Milwaukee and St. Louis in the division (38-35, 2 GB). They could use a spark. Alonso is blocked by Votto and is the team's best trade chip. Mesoraco is really close to the majors and we all know of the Dodgers' lack of catching prospects. Guillon is a high-upside lefty who is just 19 years old. Ethier would slot right into the middle of the Reds' order and form as dangerous a 1-6 as there is in baseball (Stubbs, Phillips, Ethier, Votto, Rolen, Bruce). Cincinnati has another good catcing prospect in Grandal who is hitting well for Bakersfield. They could possibly afford to deal Mesoraco with Grandal being the team's 2010 first-round pick. If not, the Dodgers could get Grandal (as a player to be named later because of MLB rules) and another prospect to replace Mesoraco.

Cleveland Indians
The Indians have been the biggest surprise team in baseball this season. They have a 39-31 record, good enough (right now) for first place in the American League Central. They're doing all this with Grady Sizemore not giving the team much, Travis Hafner on the DL, Shin-Soo Choo greatly under-performing (.244/.332/.354) and Carlos Santana (oh how I miss thee) hitting .228/.354/.404. The Indians could use a boost to the offense, which is where Ethier would come in. A 3-4-5 of Ethier-Santana-Choo would be quite formidable in the AL Central (provided Choo and Santana get on track).

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
Chun-Hsiu Chen, Lonnie Chisenhall, Nick Hagadone, Jason Kipnis, Jason Knapp, Lou Marson

To Cleveland: Ethier
To Los Angeles: Kipnis, Knapp, Chen, Hagadone

- The Indians probably wouldn't be too keen on dealing Chisenhall, as he's they're future at the hot corner. Kipnis is performing well at Triple-A and could slide right in as the Dodgers' second baseman for the ineffective Juan Uribe and potentially injured Casey Blake. Knapp is the best prospect the Indians got from the Cliff Lee deal -- a deal in which they spurned the Dodgers' proposal. Chen, a catcher, is performing well at Double-A and would immediately be the team's best catching prospect. Hagadone, whom the Indians got for Victor Martinez, is strictly a left-handed reliever, but he's having success in the role.

Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies have yet to adequately replace Jayson Werth and Chase Utley is just coming back from injury. Raul Ibanez is a free agent after the season and the Phillies aren't ready to hand the job to Domonic Brown yet. Ethier would be a fine replacement for Werth and would supplant Placido Polanco as the team's No. 3 hitter.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
Brown, Brody Colvin, Jonathan Singleton, Sebastian Valle, Vance Worley

To Philadelphia: Ethier
To Los Angeles: Brown, Singleton, Valle

- Ethier would provide a boost to the Phillies, which is the best team in baseball, even without Utley for most of the year and guys like Ibanez, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins struggling. Brown would come in and be the true right fielder the Dodgers need, while Singleton would be the team's future at first base. Valle is a solid prospect, but is only in High-A and doesn't have the best plate discipline (2 BB, 27 K this season in 31 games).

Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are playing better than most thought they would after losing key pieces to last year's division-winning club. The team has one of the best pitching staffs in baseball, but is pretty pedestrian on the offensive side, despite having Matt Joyce, who is enjoying a breakout season. Ethier would slot in as the No. 3 hitter in front of Evan Longoria and would provide a boost to the Rays' struggling offense.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
Tim Beckham, Alex Cobb, Desmond Jennings, Jake McGee, Alexander Torres

To Tampa Bay: Ethier
To Los Angeles: Jennings, Cobb, Torres

- The Rays need a boost offensively. Ethier would bring a consistent hitter to the Rays' lineup and allow them to continue to contend. One stumbling point is the fact that Ethier is a free agent after 2012 and the Rays are highly unlikely to sign him to a long-term deal. The return of Jennings, Cobb and Torres would be the best the Dodgers could do out of any of these deals talent-wise. Jennings would allow Kemp to slide to right field, Cobb is having great success at Triple-A and was recently recalled to the majors and Torres is having a solid season.

I'd rank the deals in order of preference this way: Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Boston, Cleveland. It's hard to pass up two Major League-ready players in Alonso and Mesoraco at positions in which the Dodgers need help. Acquiring Alonso would also prompt the Dodgers to deal James Loney. The only problem is, his trade value is non-existent right now, despite his recent hot streak. It'd be nice to get Brown and Singleton from Philly, but they are the team's two best prospects and might not want to trade both. The Tampa deal is nice because Jennings is one of the best CF prospects in baseball and the two pitchers are ML-ready. The Red Sox's deal would be great if they're willing to trade Lowrie and Indians don't have much of a shot unless they want to trade Chisenhall.

I'm not sure if I'm overestimating Ethier's value, but I think two ML-ready prospects and third B-level prospect isn't too much to ask for an All-Star outfielder with a career .853 OPS.

I've always been an Ethier fan, but it's time to sell high on him. The Dodgers need to get cheap, young talent in return for him and look toward 2012.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My trip to see future Dodgers in Stockton

I ventured to Stockton on Friday night to see the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes take on the Stockton Ports. I was bummed I didn't go the night before because Matt Magill took the ball and fired six strong innings.

I got to see Jon Michael Redding (right) take the hill for the Quakes. The 23-year-old righty had been pitching well for the Quakes and still has a nice line for the season (5-4. 3.38 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 7.5 K/9), but he got roughed up on Friday -- 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R (all earned), 2 BB, 2 K. He took the loss as the offense couldn't overcome 10 Ports' runs.

The three players I was most interested in seeing were Jake Lemmerman, Angelo Songco and Blake Smith. Ironically, they all hit 2-3-4 in the Quakes' lineup Friday night. Lemmerman was forced to bunt in his first at-bat after Nick Buss led off with a double. Songco drove him in with an RBI groundout. Smith followed by striking out looking.

In the third inning, Songco hit a ball to left-center field that was about three or four feet from being a home run. The ball absolutely jumped off his bat. While the Ports' left fielder should have caught the ball, it ended up as Songco's 21st double of the season (49th RBI). Smith followed up by smacking the next pitch over the center fielder's head for another double, his 17th of the season (50th RBI).

The Quakes led 3-2 after three, but it was all downhill from there. The Ports would go onto score eight of the next nine runs to more-than-seal the victory.

Ethan Martin made an appearance out of the bullpen. Martin has struggled mightily this season and might just be destined for short-reliever work (if the Dodgers don't move him to third base). He threw an inning while walking one and striking out one.

Buss had the best night on offense, going 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Lemmerman went 0-for-3 while making his 13th error of the season. He was hot at the beginning of the month but is just 8-for-37 in his last 10 games, which includes a four-hit game on June 11. Despite his recent struggles, he still boasts a .381 OBP. For a guy drafted just last year (albeit out of college), Lemmerman has held his own.

SS Jake Lemmerman

Songco has been even colder than Lemmerman in his last 10, going just 7-for-36. He still has an .864 OPS and could get bumped to Double-A before too long.

Smith has been one of the hottest hitters on the team, going 11-for-33 in his last 10 games with two home runs, 11 RBI and a 1.177 OPS. He, like Songco, could get promoted if guys like Alfredo Silverio and Scott Van Slyke get promoted to Triple-A.

The team dropped last night's affair 4-3. Today, the Quakes are down 6-5 in the fourth inning. Lemmerman and Songco are getting the day off. Travis Denker has hit his 15th home run of the season.

The Quakes return to Stockton in early August. I'll definitely be there -- hopefully with some new blood on the team (I'm looking at you, Garrett Gould).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Selig needs to put the McCourts out of their misery

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times is reporting Frank and Jamie McCourt have come to a settlement in their divorce proceedings.

Good news, right? Well, maybe.

The settlement is based on Frank winning two additional court decisions.
"The settlement is contingent upon Major League Baseball's approval of a long-term television contract that has been reached between the Dodgers and Fox. If Commissioner Bud Selig were to reject the agreement, the settlement would be voided and the parties would resume proceedings in divorce court."
The TV deal with Fox calls for Frank to take out yet another loan -- like the loan he took out when he purchased the team in 2004. He'd borrow $385 million from Fox ($235 million for the Dodgers, $80 million for debt) and would regain control of the team.

Many who cover this call the approval a longshot and, as Molly Knight of ESPN said, this doesn't change the fact that Frank might not make the June 30 payroll.

Which leads me to one Allan Huber "Bud" Selig.

Mr. Selig, this is a plea from myself and every other sane, rational Dodger fan out there: Do the right thing and do not approve this deal. You screwed the Dodgers over by letting a man who couldn't afford the team buy it on credit seven years ago.

While there have been four playoff appearances and two trips to the National League Championship Series, the McCourts have been the butt of every cheapskate joke imaginable. This man is not fit to own the iconic franchise that is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ever since Day One, he didn't exude the confidence, the demeanor or the attitude of an owner. He's run this proud franchise into the ground and is living on borrowed time (baseball-wise). It's time for you to step up and do what needs to be done -- for the Dodgers' sake and Major League Baseball's sake.

At this point, it's hard to see Selig approving the deal. Stranger things have happened, though. I honestly don't care who ends up owning the Dodgers (after the McCourts, of course), I just know he/she could not be any worse than these deadbeats.

I think Knight put it best when she tweeted the following:
"Still feel like McCourt is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, and Selig will neg that Fox deal. No $ from that and it's over."
To which I replied, "We can only hope." And it's true. It's a last-ditch effort to keep control of the team.

The bottom line, from Shaikin:
"McCourt settlement is 'null and void' without MLB approval of Fox deal. That is considered highly unlikely."
While the future ex-Mrs. McCourt would be out of the picture, the scars from the last two years will not be healed. Frank is not in a position to be a George Steinbrenner-like owner (or even close to it), and he never will be. I'm not saying I want an owner who's going to spend $200 million on payroll per season, but it'd be nice for the Dodgers to be in contention for prime free agents (such as Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia) and for them to spend money on international scouting (just to name a couple).

Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts raises some legitimate questions about today's news.

No matter what happens, this is not going to end soon. If Selig approves, the Frank keeps the team and we fans have an owner who none of us want. If Selig denies, the McCourts could go to trial with MLB -- a trial Josh Fisher of Dodger Divorce calls, "risky."

Despite the bad with today's news, I still ask (hope) Selig denies the deal. The sooner Frank and Jamie are no longer affiliated with MLB, the better. But it isn't worth it to keep Frank around just to end the saga quickly. If it takes an additional year so MLB can wash its hands clean of the debacle that is the McCourts, then that's what needs to happen.

The first step to restoring this once-proud franchise is trimming the fat. Unfortunately, the fat begins at the very top.

June 30 can't get here soon enough. If McCourt doesn't make payroll, then all this drama could be over sooner than we think.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Could James Loney be in the Nationals' sights?

The Washington Nationals, despite being 33-36 and in last place in the National League East, are just five games out of a Wild Card spot. Now, its only June and it's far too early to be thinking about the playoffs, but these Nationals are competitive and with a couple of moves, could be a serious contender for a playoff spot.

This brings us to James Loney. The Nationals were said to be interested in him at the Winter Meetings, but nothing obviously came from it.

With Adam LaRoche going down with season-ending shoulder surgery today, the Nats could make a play for LaRoche. It'd make sense.

*Hat tip to Speedy8 of the Dodgers' Message Board*

Loney would be under team control through the 2012 season and he's owed less than the $4.875 million he signed for in February. He could make in the neighborhood of $6-7 million next season, which isn't as attractive to the Nats. However, Loney is in dire need of a scenery change. He's hit a lot better in the last couple months (.293/.350/.413 in May, .271/.333/.354 in June), but he's still not providing enough offense for the Dodgers.

Nationals' Park has a park factor of .901, which tends to favor pitchers (anything less than 1.0 favors pitchers). By comparison, Dodger Stadium has a park factor of .782.

In nine career games at Nationals' Park, Loney has a slash line of .429/.500/.629 (15 hits in 35 ABs). It's a small sample size, but a change could improve both teams.

So, what would the Dodgers be looking for in return? Well, certainly not Jordan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, as was reported when the Nats first had interest in Loney. However, Washington has some good depth at catcher. They acquired Wilson Ramos last year when they sent Matt Capps to the Minnesota Twins at the trade deadline. Ramos is the team's primary catcher. They also have Derek Norris, who was rated by Baseball America as the team's No. 2 prospect (No. 72 overall) and Jesus Flores.

Norris, 22 is in Double-A and is hitting .211. It's not all bad, though. His OPS, despite the low batting average, is .822. His walk rate is an amazing 24.1 percent and he's actually scored more runs (33) than he has hits (28). He threw out 51 percent of would-be basestealers in 2010. To snag Norris, the Dodgers would likely have to sweeten the proverbial pot.

Flores, 26, has 200 games of Major League experience, with a .260/.314/.406 slash line. Not great, but certainly exponentially better than Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro. He had a nice 29-game run in 2009, but suffered a torn labrum in September 2009 and is just now getting back. He didn't play at all in 2010 and has just a .597 OPS and a 4:39 BB/K ratio in Triple-A.

The Nats could choose to include Ramos instead if they'd rather keep Norris. Ramos was the team's No. 5 prospect and has a .730 OPS in 49 games.


To Washington: Loney, Chris Withrow
To Los Angeles: Norris
- Throwing in Withrow is a high price, but if it means getting a frontline catcher, I wouldn't hesitate one bit.

To Washington: Loney
To Los Angeles: Flores
- This deal actually makes the most sense for both teams. The Dodgers open up a spot for Jerry Sands at first base while acquiring a decent starting catcher for a guy who is likely to be non-tendered this winter.

To Washington: Loney, Josh Lindblom or Javy Guerra
To Los Angeles: Ramos
- The Dodgers lose a piece of the bullpen, but Ramos is well worth it.

Loney's time with the Dodgers will come to an end after game 162 is played (barring something unforeseen), so if he has any trade value whatsoever, they need to cash in on it now. A team on the cusp of contention like the Nats could be willing to take a flier on Loney and his .303/.359/.478 mark away from Dodger Stadium.


The Ogden Raptors announced their roster. The Pioneer League season starts in less than a week. Here are some players on the roster all Dodger fans should be interested in:

OF James Baldwin (My prospect rank: 23)
- Fourth-round pick last year, Logan White is said to be "Matt Kemp-high" on him.
RHP Ralston Cash (20)
- Second-round pick, ranked as high as No. 13 on Kevin Goldstein's Top 20 Dodger prospect list.
OF Scott Schebler (36)
- The Dodgers' 26th-round pick in 2010, Baseball America picked him as its "breakout" prospect.
3B Scott Woodward (NR)
- The Dodgers just selected him in the draft a couple weeks ago in the seventh round.


I'll be making the 35-mile trek to Stockton tomorrow night to see the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in action against the Stockton Ports. Matt Magill is pitching right now. He's holding the Ports to four hits, two walks and two strikeouts in four innings. I'm interested in seeing Jake Lemmerman, Blake Smith and Angelo Songco in action in person. I'll post a recap and photos Friday night or Saturday morning.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Matt Guerrier vs. Jesse Crain and why the Dodgers chose wrong

I haven't bitched about Matt Guerrier for a while, so I figure it's time (you're next, Juan Uribe).

Everyone and their mother was surprised when the Dodgers signed Guerrier to a 3-year, $12 million deal. Needless to say, I was not a fan.
"On the surface, Guerrier looks like a decent pickup. Then you factor in his age (32), the number of games pitched (most in baseball after Pedro Feliciano) and his low K/9 rate (5.9 for his career) and it isn't a great deal.

And most of all, the contract. Why on God's green earth is Guerrier getting a 3-year deal? It's not like right-handed middle relievers are rare. This just makes no sense.

Ned Colletti strikes again. There is absolutely no need to dump $4 million a year (though I'm sure some will be deferred) on a middle reliever. Guerrier has a nice ERA for his career (3.38), but his peripherals are not great.

The only good thing is Guerrier has been better the past two seasons than he has his entire career. He has a 2.75 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 7.0 H/9, 2.3 BB/9 and 2.34 BB/9 in his last two seasons. However, his K/9 is less-than ideal (5.4)."
Guerrier has done little to prove me (and others) wrong. He owns a 3.90 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 8.6 H/9, 3.6 BB/9 and a 1.85 K/BB ratio. He has struck out batters at a better clip in his first 32 1/3 innings as a Dodger (6.7) and has yet to allow a home run, but that's about it. He's been mediocre, something which many expected.

Which leads me to Jesse Crain, Guerrier's former teammate with the Twins. Crain, who is three years younger than Guerrier, signed a 3-year, $13 million deal with the White Sox. I'm not advocating the signing of middle relievers to 3-year deals, but if the Dodgers were so hellbent on signing a reliever to a 3-year deal, it should have been Crain, not Guerrier.

Crain has performed much better than Guerrier while pitching in a tougher hitter's league and a hitters park.

Crain bests Guerrier in almost every major pitching category:
  • 3.10 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 5.0 H/9, 8.7 K/9 and a 1.87 K/BB ratio
Not only that, but Crain's pure stuff is much, much better than Guerrier's.

I know, hindsight; shoulda, woulda, coulda; I get it. But this just shows the ineptitude of the mustachioed one making personnel decisions for the Dodgers.

I'm hoping Guerrier can improve, but this is probably what Dodger fans should expect for the next two-plus years.


A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about Garrett Gould and how he was back. Well, he's done nothing to make that post look foolish. Gould is one of the best pitchers in the Midwest League and could very well be in line for a promotion after the league's All-Star Break.

When I release my midseason top 15 prospect list in a few weeks, Gould is almost certainly going to be in my top five after starting the season at No. 13.


Old friend and former Feelin' Kinda Blue mancrush Cory Wade was released by the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday and was signed Monday by the Yankees. At first, I thought Wade might have been released due to performance, but was alerted that he had been pitching well in Triple-A:
  • 2-1, 1.23 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 8.3 H/9, 1.5 BB/9, 8.3 K/9, 5.67 K/BB ratio
The Rays have one of the best 'pens (statistically) in baseball, so why release a guy who is dominating Triple-A? Wade had an opt-out clause for June 15. If the Rays didn't add him to the active Major League roster, they would have to release him.

Well, the Yankees wasted no time scooping him up. He should get back to the majors sometime this season.


Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness wrote on Saturday it's time to give A.J. Ellis a chance. It's a good read and makes a lot of sense.

Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. wrote Aaron Miles has "the emptiest .300 batting average in Dodgers' history."

Roberto Baly of Vin Scully is my Homeboy has all the coverage you need on Vin Scully's damaged Hollywood Walk of Fame star.

Kenny Shulsen of Lasorda's Lair has a nice interview with former Dodger Tommy John.

Andre Ethier is still in fourth place, Matt Kemp fifth among National League outfielders in All-Star balloting. Ryan Braun, Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday are leading the way. No other Dodgers are in the top five at any position (unsurprisingly).

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Scott Elbert finally ready to live up to potential?

When Scott Elbert left Triple-A Albuquerque last season for "personal reasons," his prospects of being a successful Major Leaguer were dim. This season, however, he's shown (in limited work so far) he might be ready to turn the proverbial corner.

Before his outing Thursday, Elbert had not given up a run in 7 2/3 innings of work. He struck out eight batters, walked three and gave up four hits. Colorado got to him a little this weekend, but he did record his first career save on Sunday.

Despite his ugly ERA (5.63), he owns a 10.1 K/9 and 7.9 H/9 rate. He does need to exhibit better control (5.9 BB/9), but when Hong-Chih Kuo comes back, which could be soon, Elbert should not be optioned back to Triple-A. He's exactly what the Dodgers need -- another left-handed option out of the 'pen.

Most of all, Elbert just needs extended time in the Majors. He needs a chance to be a reliable reliever for the Dodgers. This up-and-down stuff isn't going to help matters.


Rubby De La Rosa is awesome. He earned his third win of the season on Sunday by holding his own in Colorado. He got off to a rough start -- giving up three in the first inning on a Seth Smith home run -- but calmed down and and threw four scoreless innings. He came out for the sixth but left after one pitch with a forearm cramp. He isn't expected to miss his next start (Saturday). However, a former flame-throwing Dodger prospect had forearm issues that ultimately led to his being traded -- Edwin Jackson. Here's hoping it's nothing serious.

Matt Kemp is out of this world. He hit his National League-leading 20th home run today. He is the early favorite for June Player of the Month in the NL. Here's hoping the fans come to their sense and vote him in as a starter fore the All-Star game. He deserved to go two years ago when Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel selected an inferior Shane Victorino instead of Kemp.

One way or another, James Loney is going to be a Rockie before his career is over. I tweeted something after today's game:
"If Todd Helton unexpectedly retires this offseason, the #Rockies should go after James Loney. He loves hitting in Coors: .902 OPS #Dodgers"
My numbers were off. He now has a career .935 OPS in Coors, counting Sunday's grand slam. Loney has struggled mightily this season, but here's hoping this sparks him. In reality, it's not going to happen, but you never know. Unless he goes absolutely nuts for the rest of the season, he could be in another jersey next season -- or even as soon as July 31, provided he has any trade value whatsoever.

One thing that hasn't struggled is his glove. Loney is a plus defender and is one of the best at digging throws out of the dirt.


Trayvon Robinson is riding a hot streak in Albuquerque. He went 5-for-6 on Sunday and is on a 14-game hitting streak. He's hit .390/.432/.610 in his last 10 games and has a .900 OPS on the season. He isn't too far away from a call-up.

Jerry Sands returned to Triple-A and hasn't skipped a beat. He's gone 5-for-11 with two doubles, two RBI, four walks and two strikeouts in three games. We have not seen the last of the Sandman this season in Los Angeles.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clayton Kershaw struggles in Coors, but who doesn't?

A Twitter comment about Clayton Kershaw needing to be a better pitcher on the road to be considered elite got me thinking: what are his numbers on the road and what are they if you take out Coors Field?

Here are the answers (including Thursday's performance):

Career on the road
48 G, 3.64 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.7 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 4.11 BB/9, 8.89 K/9, 2.16 K/BB ratio

Not bad, not bad at all. By comparison, here are some other elite lefties' numbers on the road:

Cole Hamels - 3.64 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.7 K/9
Cliff Lee - 4.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 6.7 K/9
Jon Lester - 3.76 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.8 K/9
David Price - 4.23 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.1 K/9
CC Sabathia - 3.56 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.1 K/9

As you can see, Kershaw's numbers are pretty comparable against a lot of the best LHPs in baseball.

Career at Coors Field
9 G, 5.69 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 9.7 H/9, 1.5 HR/9, 4.41 BB/9, 9.55 K/9, 2.17 BB/K ratio

It isn't exactly breaking news that a pitcher struggles in the launching pad in Denver.

Career on the road, sans Coors
35 G, 3.07 ERA, 1.24 ERA, 7.1 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 4.0 BB/9, 8.7 K/9, 2.17 K/BB ratio

So to say he needs to pitch better on the road to be elite isn't exactly accurate. He needs to pitch better at Coors Field, that's for sure. But what pitcher doesn't?

Eovaldi, Russell enjoying nice seasons for Chattanooga

Dodgers' RHP Nathan Eovaldi is enjoying a great season at Double-A Chattanooga after having just a mediocre season in 2010 in three levels of the minors.

Eovaldi, who ranked No. 8 on my 2010 Dodger prospect list and No. 28 in my 2011 list, has proven me wrong. As a 21-year-old in the Southern League, he is mostly facing competition who is older than him, but he's been dominant at times. This is quite encouraging for his progress and could even see some time in L.A. later this season (I mean, who woulda thunk Javy Guerra would be in the Dodger bullpen right now?).

Through 11 games (10 starts, one relief appearance), Eovaldi is 4-4 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 6.8 H/9, 0.4 HR/9, 10.3 K/9 and a 2.81 K/BB ratio. In his lone relief appearance on Tuesday, he fired one relief inning, striking out one and reportedly hitting 101 MPH on the radar gun.

Eovaldi sits in the low-to-mid-90s as a starter with a decent curveball. He's made a little progress with his changeup, but it's probably what will keep him from being a successful starter in the majors.

However, his two-pitch combination -- especially with an upper-90s fastball -- could play very well out of the bullpen.

Kyle Russell, 24, is also enjoying a nice season at Double-A. The former third-round choice from Texas, Russell has 12 home runs, 20 2B and 38 RBI in 59 games this season -- good enough for a .909 OPS. Last season in 76 Southern League games, he was able to OPS .781 with 10 home runs and 23 2B.

The problem with him -- always has been, always will be -- is his K-rate. Last season, he struck out 37.5 percent of his at-bats. This season, he's actually improved to 35.4 percent. But that's still way too high for a Major League regular. That's actually between the career K-rate of Adam Dunn (33.1 percent) and Mark Reynolds (38 percent). Russell does play excellent defense in right field, so his power/defense combo could be enough for him to be a bench player at worst in the bigs.

One thing that concerns me is he's 24 (25 on June 27) and still in Double-A. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I'd like to see the Dodgers push him to Triple-A (despite the high K-rate) to see if there's any hope for him as a regular. It might be a little hasty on my part, but if he goes to Albuquerque and succeeds, he could be in the mix next season or used as a trade piece.

In all likelihood, though, he'll reach the majors as a part-time player.

The Lookouts' roster has improved with Allen Webster and Shawn Tolleson being promoted and Kenley Jansen returning on a rehab assignment. Some would say Jansen could benefit from some time in the minors to work on his secondary offerings. That isn't the worst idea, especially with Guerra, Scott Elbert and Josh Lindblom (in limited time) holding their own in the Dodgers' bullpen.


Dee Gordon made his Major League debut this week and so far, so good. He's 3-for-8 with two runs scored and a stolen base. Despite looking like a bat boy, he is the most exciting prospect the Dodgers have and manager Don Mattingly said he's going to play every day (I wish he'd make the same commitment to Jerry Sands). Update 2:37 p.m.: Well, it looks as if Sands will be playing every day... but in Albuquerque. He was optioned to Triple-A with the Dodgers recalling Trent Oeltjen. Sands will be back.

Pure speculation here, but perhaps the Dodgers are not sold on Rafael Furcal's health for the rest of the season. It's nice to see a lot of prospects on the team, though. Six players have made their debut this season: Ivan DeJesus, Rubby De La Rosa, Gordon, Guerra, Lindbolm and Sands. It's entirely possible for guys like Eovaldi, Trayvon Robinson and Russell to make their debuts later this season.


The Dodgers begin a four-game series in Colorado tonight. Expect a lot of frustration, even with Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Rubby De La Rosa pitching three of the four games.