Here’s a history lesson (I will keep it very short, I promise). Way back in the 1930s, there was an outstanding St. Louis Cardinals pitcher named Dizzy Dean. Dean was a great pitcher, racking up… More
So far this spring, we here at Think Blue Planning Committee have kept close tabs on all the usual suspects and intriguing story lines—Matt Kemp and the outfield, the state of the pitching rotation, and who could be this season’s big surprise. This, of course, is with good reason as fans of the Dodgers are excited to see how all these scenarios play out.
Two players we haven’t commented too much on are Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe. The two seasoned veterans are quietly having a solid, ….. spring trainings, which most likely will translate to them having solid, …. seasons.
2017 was indeed a banner year for JT. An impressive first half, followed by a successful campaign to make the All-Star team, an NLCS Co-MVP, and a winning home run in Game 1 of the World Series. He did miss 32 games due in part to injuries, both to his hamstring in mid summer and his thumb in late September. He finished the season with a .322/.415/.530/.945 slash line with 21 homers and 32 doubles.
So far during 2018 Cactus League play, Turner has batted .393/.452/.679/.1.130 with two homers and two doubles in 11 games. He’s had an effect on the team in ways other than in the batter’s box. Kemp credits JT with helping him at the plate, telling David Vassegh “I’ve learned a lot from JT and all these guys, talking to these guys about their approach.”
Similarly, Chris Taylor credits Turner with helping him revamp his swing.
Forsythe did not have as great a 2017 regular season as JT. Brought over in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2016-2017 offseason, the quiet second baseman had a sub-par .224/.351/.327/.678 slash line, making many a Dodger fan wonder if trading pitching prospect José De Leon was worth it. (De Leon recently underwent Tommy John surgery, so I’ll leave it to you to decide if the trade was worth it). Logan has admitted that injuries played a role in his downturn. He battled a foot injury early in the season and didn’t quite get things together until the end of the season.
Forsythe upped his game in last postseason, hitting .297 and getting many a key hit. He showed incredible patience at the plate, walking nine times. Logan has done a lot of work with Dodgers’ hitting coach Turner Ward, working on hand positioning, controlling the barrel of the bat and having a shorter swing. So far this spring, it’s paid off. He’s hitting .421/.476/.842/1.318. Small sample size, sure, as he’s only played in eight games. But it sure seems that now that he is healthy he’s ready to resume his steady presence at the plate and in the field.
There is a little uncertainty in some aspects of the Dodgers’ roster, from Corey Seager‘s elbow, to how Cody Bellinger will handle his sophomore year, to whether Yasiel Puig can replicate his benchmark year last year. However, barring injury, Turner and Forsythe will be the steadying force that stabilizes the lineup and anchors the infield.
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Rivalries—they’re one of the most important parts of the game. In baseball, rivalries are as real as Cody Bellinger‘s rookie home run record. They are the bat flip of all bat flips. They are the homers heard ’round the world.
They are, simply, baseball.
Just in case you’ve missed a few of our recent columns, last week Andy took a look at the potential fallout if Corey Seager wasn’t ready for the season opener, while I shed some light on the Dodgers‘ overall bench picture a few days prior. Consequently, after digging a little deeper into the positional depth, I thought today would be a good opportunity to take a glance at how the middle infielders line up from an organizational perspective.
The end of spring training is rapidly approaching. Some things are becoming a little more clear, either through cuts or the performances of the players themselves. There is still much to be determined, namely the outfield.
You know, Shohei Ohtani—the rookie pitcher who can’t hold the Tijuana Toros to under six runs in four innings. The guy who was supposed to be the new Babe Ruth.
Unlike several of his predecessors, Dodgers‘ boss Andrew Friedman is developing a reputation for giving his younger players opportunities to show their value on the highest stages. This spring, for example, the Los Angeles management crew invited a whopping 22 players who were not on the 40-man to take part in major league workouts at Camelback Ranch, elevating the number of participants on the big league side of camp to well over 60 players.
With Opening Day now less than three weeks away, the suspense surrounding the Dodgers Opening Day 25-man roster is growing with each passing moment. Of course, there are a number of players who may be on the bubble of making the club, but there are also a handful of legitimate longshots who could sneak in under the radar if several circumstances align themselves.
The Dodgers are halfway through spring training and their All-Star shortstop has yet to take the field defensively. In the games Corey Seager has appeared, he has done so solely as a designated hitter. While the Dodgers have plans for him to start playing the field next week, we should look at the options that Los Angeles has should his elbow discomfort amount to something more.
Aside from the massive mystery illness and the huge injury blow dealt to righty swing man Tom Koehler last week, there really hasn’t been any major news lately in the Dodgers‘ clubhouse. However, there has been plenty of speculation in the blogosphere about the team’s Opening Day roster, and the situation surrounding Koehler certainly threw a wrench into many of the early prediction models.
In the Oscar-nominated baseball movie from 2011, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill brought the historic tale of the 2002 Oakland Athletics to life. Moneyball is about a small market team finding overlooked players that were able to rival the nearly $200M payroll of the New York Yankees.