5 Key Takeaways from Dodgers’ 2019 Spring Training

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Now that there’s only a week to go before the Dodgers open the 2019 season, some thoughts about spring training so far are in order.

A.J. Pollock is a smart player—Many fans were weary of the oft-injured A.J. Pollock signing, and that’s fair. Looking at how he was injured, though, he seems to have just run into bad luck as opposed to being a player that is not healthy. One thing that stands out to me is he’s a very smart player, in addition to being a very good player. His heads up play in last night’s game against the Cubs, racing in from center field to cover second base, allowed the Dodgers to turn a 1-5-8 double play. He’s seemingly fitting in quite well in the Dodger clubhouse, even joining in Ross Stripling‘s hair band. While spring training stats don’t mean everything, in 16 games he’s slashed .289/.385/.556/.940 with three homers, three doubles, and a stolen base. If he keeps that steady all season, he will be well worth the signing.

A bad spring training doesn’t mean a bad yearMax Muncy and Chris Taylor are not having the best spring. Muncy is batting .143, and has yet to homer. Taylor is only slightly better, batting .191 with one homer. Muncy has been battling a sore arm, which may be the reason he’s not hitting well at the moment. This team has enough other hitters to carry either or both while they get it together. And if they don’t, they have the players to replace them.

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish—It’s okay that Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler and Julio Urias not ready to start the season as usual. Kershaw will start the year on the injured list, Buehler is not ramped up in pitch count yet, and Urías will start the season in the bullpen. All these pitchers will be heavily relied on to get the Dodgers through to the World Series again, and that’s more important than where they start the season. It is a huge bummer that Kershaw will not get to continue his streak of Opening Day starts, but I am here for Rich Hill having that honor. (Hill has not yet been named Opening Day starter, but his current path lines him up perfectly to do so).

Seager is back!Corey Seager played in his first game since April of last year, and he picked up right where he left off. In his first at-bat, the ball almost left the field, and his second at-bat, it did. He told reporters after the game that it was a good sign that he had no thoughts about his hip or his elbow during the game. His bat back in the lineup is maybe the best addition of this season.

Justin Turner is amazing—Just wrap him in bubble wrap and send him back to Los Angeles for the next week.

Feast or famine. While the Dodgers offense is no doubt going to be powerful, and hit a bazillion home runs, it appears there will also be a lot of strikeouts. Hopefully, that is something they can work on as the season progresses.

All in all, the team looks ready to go. I have a feeling it will be a much better start to this season than it was to last year’s campaign. And let’s hope for a better end, too.

 

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24 thoughts on “5 Key Takeaways from Dodgers’ 2019 Spring Training

  1. I hate to disagree but I do. Dodger offense has looked stagnant except for a couple of guys. The strikeouts between Muncy, Pederson and Taylor are alarming, I think Muncy’s wrist is part of the problem, but he did not strike out a lot last year until late in the season. I have been saying from the beginning I do not expect him to come close to repeating what he did last year, but being this bad this close to opening day does not bode well for the offense. And replacing Muncy means moving Belli back in from the outfield, because other than Freese, there is no one in the minors who plays first who is MLB ready right now. Beatty would be the closest. Rio’s has not hit that well. Belli is only hitting .233,

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    1. Miller can play first and is MLB ready. Not that they particularly want to make him their season-long first baseman but he is an option. I’ve been saying that Seager may not be ready to start the season in spite of Doc’s announcement that he was. I saw last night’s game. Doc was right – I was wrong. Boy is it going to be nice to have him back.

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      1. Well since he opted out there goes that option. I hope I am wrong about Muncy, but I never thought he could repeat last year…now Pederson has back issues….

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  2. I was lucky enough to watch most of the games Pollock played in ‘15. He was amazing that year, at age 27, and to some degree he’s still living off that incredible season. It of course is not likely to ever be repeated. If it were done more than once, we wouldn’t have got him as cheaply as we did. He’s another typical Friedman signing, a wounded star past his prime, but capable of 475 at bats, a 106 OPS+ and a positive dWAR. Let’s all hope he can play more than he has the last 3 years.

    It’s not ok that Buehler and Kershaw are not ready but I get your point. I think Urias is ready to contribute as a swing man and on this team that is a most valuable position.

    Muncy and Taylor are a concern and I’d like to know what the team has planned for them. Many, including me, talked of trading Muncy high, and with the addition of Miller I kinda figured Taylor’s days were numbered. Miller/Hernandez makes the platoon at second an easy call. Muncy? Who knows. Slow starter? Maybe. One year wonder is also something to consider.

    I’m not concerned about this team eventually pulling away in the West. World Championship? Nope. Got some work to do to beat Boston, Houston or New York on their field.

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  3. The most impressive ab for Seager was his third when he hit a sf to score Turner from third. Maybe he can teach his teammates how not to strike out with runner on third and less than 2 outs! That just fries me!

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  4. Hunter Pence has beaten out old friend Willie Calhoun for the last Rangers outfield spot. Pence has had a great spring after totally revamping his swing this off-season.
    Prediction: We will trade for Pence at the July deadline and he will lead us to our first WS victory since 1988. You heard it first here and I can pretty well guarantee that you won’t hear this anywhere else…………………….ever.

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  5. Either Pence or Trout at the deadline! How good did that hr feel for Grandal today! Let’s hope the guys we kept this year can start hitting as well as the guys we let go when we get to Dodger stadium!

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    1. I’m sure Grandal loved hitting that homer, but as long as he hits them in ST, he can hit as many as he wants to.
      Pence vs. Trout – let’s do Pence, after all, he’s so much cheaper. 🙂

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  6. Giants have just traded for Connor Joe, former Dodger farmhand who had a breakout year last year. They got him from the Reds who obtained him in the Rule 5 from the Dodgers. If I have my rules correct, this still means that in order to keep him Farhan will have to put him on the 25 man and keep him there all year. I guess at this point the only question is why FZ hasn’t pinched more guys from our farm system (directly or indirectly).

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  7. In more breaking news, Brad Miller has just opted out of his contract with the Dodgers, which obviously means they told him he wasn’t going to make the opening day roster. I hope they don’t regret that decision. Time will tell. Look for Farhan to sign him.

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  8. I hate to lose Miller but if it was between him and Verdugo they did the right thing. You can’t keep Verdugo in the minors anymore. Miller was very impressive someone will snatch him up by tomorrow.

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  9. I’m somewhat surprised. They sign him, he outplays Taylor, then he just walks? Were they just doing the guy a favor? He opted out. Maybe he wanted no part of this place. Whatever. Utility guys are not that difficult to find. We already have more than one.

    Ok Taylor. You’ve been granted a reprieve. What are you going to do with it?

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    1. Dodger management is the most heartless and corporate business interest team in the majors. Next they might start a war with Granada just “to win one”.

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      1. I assume you know this Steve because you’re intimately acquainted with all 30 MLB club’s front offices? At first I thought you might be Bear commenting under a different name but, upon reflection, you make Bear seem like a raving optimist. Some people who know me well think of me as a pessimist but I can’t hold a candle to the two of you. 🙂

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  10. Ownership is heartless, AF and company suck, Roberts can’t manage and the players are a bunch of losers because they lost the last two WS! Is there anybody here who actually likes the Dodgers? Am I the only one?

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      1. I’m in on the Padres. Except for a few gawd awful months at MCRD, I like San Diego. I could live there, if only I could afford to live there. The Padres gonna have it going on soon.

        After reading the Times piece it sounds like we could still offer Miller a roster spot. Just have to move somebody. Any suggestions?

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      2. I have a feeling that Miller may be a “sleeper” this year. Certainly still has the spark to widen eyes.

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  11. Roberts announces Hill will open the season on the IL – knee problem. Ryu will be OD starter. Ferguson and Verdugo will make OD roster. Urias may move into the rotation to start the year. If Gonsolin pitches well today he just might find himself in the bullpen to start the year. (That last comment was mine, all the others were Doc).

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