Which kids are deemed best?

Baseball America came out with its ranking of top ten Dodger prospects. At the top of the heap: Cody Bellinger, followed by Yadier Alvarez, Jose De Leon, Alex Verdugo, Willie Calhoun, Andrew Toles, Yusniel Diaz, Brock Stewart, Gavin Lux and Austin Barnes. Eric Stephen at True Blue LA takes it from there.

  • Haircut discussion aids Turner, Jansen signing.

    • RBI

      What a great story. I’m pretty excited for this next season. A bright spot in an otherwise grim future…

  • Grandal, Avilan, Fields and Wood all agree to one-year deals, avoiding arbitration. Dodgers trade Micah Johnson to Braves for cash or PTBNL.

  • The Dodgers signed another Cuban, this one a second baseman who hits for a very high average but is 29 years old. His name is Miguel Fernandez and he has lost an entire year of playing time.

    Fernandez first applied for MLB in October of 2014, as his friend Yasmany Tomas was in the process of signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and many thought Fernandez would demand a significant contract the moment he was cleared.

    The problem? Fernandez was caught by the Cuban government trying to leave. That led to a
    season-long suspension that held him in Cuba until mid-2015. He was officially cleared in December of 2015. However, by then it had been over a year since he had played any baseball as he had not been allowed to do much of anything while in restriction.

    Fernandez took this delay in time to get himself physically ready for showcases that he’s
    had late in the fall, hoping for a major league deal, but he found the market very thin for him, likely due to his time off and age.

    For $200K it’s hard to see any downside here.

  • Bob_Hendley

    Nothing is free. Cotton, Holmes and Montas are ranked 4-6 in A’s top ten. None are likely to be in the BA top 100, however. Whereas, up to six in the Dodgers’ top ten could make the top 100.

  • WBBsAs

    By rights, the invited team should have been the Dodgers: https://twitter.com/Walldo/status/821069761006047232

  • WBBsAs

    By rights, team visiting the WH today should have been the Dodgers: https://twitter.com/mikememoli/status/821069751959044097

  • Bob_Hendley

    No pressure on Hill. Buster Onley over at ESPN rates the Dodger rotation as the 8th best in the majors, but says that if Hill continues to pitch the way he has (ERA of 2.00 over 24 starts past two years), then could be the best. This with no recognition of Wood and DeLeon.

    • Bumsrap

      That’s a big swing from 8th to 1st. The health of McCarthy, Kazmir, and Ryu could also change the rankings in a few months.

      • Bob_Hendley

        Perhaps, though they are seen as possible 5th starters behind Klayton, Hill, Maeda and Urias, so not so much.

  • HLKLA

    Grant up to his usual stuff as he gives his take of Obama pardoning Willie McCovey for tax evasion.

    • Here’s the post from our favorite Giants blogger.

      • HLKLA

        I love the Bruce Bochy line at the end.

    • WBBsAs

      All the rest of the Gnats, though, are still criminals.

  • David Cameron at fangraphs suggests the best 2b fit in trade is Javier Baez from the Cubs for a pitcher.

    All of that to say that the Cubs need another starting pitcher, and
    since the Dodgers seem willing to move De Leon for a second base
    upgrade, there’s a fit here. De Leon would be perfect for the Cubs…

    [snip]

    The Cubs have one too many good middle infielders, and are short on
    starting pitching. The Dodgers have been emphasizing defense since
    Friedman got to town, and are also looking for right-handed power, which
    Baez certainly has. De Leon is much more valuable to the Cubs than the
    Dodgers, and swapping Baez is probably the best way for Chicago to get
    the young arm they need.

    • Bumsrap

      I have favored Taylor as the in-house second baseman and am more than happy to start the season with him in the lineup. I would wait for around June to make any trades for that right handed bat so that we know what is healthy in-house.

      All that said, yes, I would trade De Leon for Baez. I think the Dodgers should improve their defense at second as well as get another righty bat in the lineup.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Great idea, yet as he points out a trade between what might be considered to be principal NL rivals is unlikely. This is just the sort of trade that the baseball gods like so they can mess with it making FOs reluctant to pull the trigger and forever brand themselves as smart/stupid. Of course, the Dodgers as a franchise already have D4P (Delino for Pedro) to live with.

      • Bumsrap

        And Beltre and Martin if we include free agents that were Dodgers. To go on more, we could add Piazza.

        De Leon has better tools than Stewart but I like Stewart better if for health reasons alone. De Leon and Hernandez for Baez?

        Texas will be using Profar for DH and 1st base. Would Calhoun for Profar be a good trade?

  • foul tip

    Unknowingly linked to same item Link posted. Ignore and/or delete. Preferably both. 😉

    http://dodgersdigest.com/2017/01/18/javier-baez-makes-sense-to-fill-dodgers-2b-void-but-a-deal-seems-unlikely/

  • Bumsrap

    I really like the concept of pitching and defense wins games. There was a time when the only joy of watching a Dodger game was the defense of Cora and Isturis at second and short. I want pitching and defense but I also want hitters as well. A Seager and Baez middle infield would achieve that balance.

    Soon the Dodgers are going to have an awesome lefty righty pitching combo in Urias and Alvarez. The Dodgers are loaded with young pitching. They need defense to compliment them. Baez does that and who knows, maybe Ward can teach him to make more consistent contact.

    / = platoon

    Pederson
    Puig
    Seager
    Turner
    Gonzales/SVS
    Ethier/Thompson
    Baez
    Grandal/Barnes

    • Bob_Hendley

      Setting up Joc to face his next challenge, learning to hit lefties. Worth a shot.

      • Bumsrap

        I also like Grandal/Barnes at the bottom of the lineup due to their ability to get walks. Dodgers could use Pederson at lead off against righties and Barnes at lead off against lefties. This assumes that Toles starts the year in OK and the outfield is not thinned through trades.

        Also, the more I think about it, I really like getting a second baseman that excels at defense. The Dodgers were weak at turning the double play last year. By adding SVS and Thompson back into the platoon mix, I think the Dodgers will improve the most with better defense at second than with an ourside the organization righty bat.

        • Bob_Hendley

          Rather see Grandal in a slot where his dinger power comes more into play. Right before the pitcher not optimal in that sense.

          • WBBsAs

            It would ensure that he gets more IBBs.

          • Bob_Hendley

            Por eso! They can give those to Taylor, would prefer Grandal getting some pitches to hit.

          • Bumsrap

            Is this better? I was trying to find a lineup that could stay fixed regardless of the platoon. I don’t think Barnes will hit higher than 7th.

            Pederson
            Puig
            Seager
            Turner
            Gonzales/SVS
            Ethier/Thompson
            Grandal/Barnes
            Baez

          • Bob_Hendley

            You want us to be more chatty, so if I may. Grandal doesn’t have the sort of splits that warrant a platoon (OPS+ 120 versus righties, 115 versus lefties). Barnes is a backup catcher who should get his starts against lefties, but constructing a lineup to accommodate him seems like the tail wagging the dog. Doc likes the l-r-l construction in the heart of the lineup and Grandal being a switch hitter works well in the 5th or 6th slots.

          • Thanks Bob. I think Doc will agree with you. My thinking about Grandal is that he is so hot and cold and seems to get hurt more than other catchers do. He doesn’t do well when playing hurt.

            I think he should get more rest and one way to do that is sit hi against lefties. Barnes might be a better defensive catcher and playing against lefties he would start only about 30% to 35% of the games.

            I don’t think it will make much of a difference if Grandal hits 6th or 7th so why not have more of a set line up?

          • Bob_Hendley

            Why configure a line up to respond to the strengths/weaknesses of a fellow starting 30% of the time, essentially misusing a fellow who starts 70% of the time? It seems backward. Fred!?

          • Are you saying Grandal will hit better than Ethier against righties and better than SVS against lefties? If not, 7th is the right spot.

          • Bob_Hendley

            I think that you try to maintain the l-r-l construction at the top of the line up as much as possible. Grandal as a switch hitter allows you to do that alternating between 5-6 slots as was the case last year (two-thirds of the time) facilitating in-game switches.

          • Fred = Bumsrap

            Change it one place and it gets changed everywhere.

  • Bumsrap

    Aren’t we a chatty group.

    • Bumsrap

      Update: Oops, looks like Soler is now with the Royals.
      If the Dodgers go after Baez, should they try to also get Jorge Carlos Soler? Would Verdugo for Soler be a good trade. Soler is 24 and hits from the right side. Would Toles for Soler be a better trade? The Cubs probably would prefer Wood for Soler but if the Dodgers give them De Leon for Baez, that would be helping the Cubs too much as their need is starting pitching.

  • foul tip

    Those who preach that the Dodgers would win more if they had base stealers and played small ball won’t much care for the content of this. Turns out it’s not the 60s any more, and maybe the stolen base–while very visible–doesn’t rank up there with the homer as a game changer after all.

    Story doesn’t mention the 60s or the homer angle. But to read comments some other places at times, especially when the team struggles, you could be forgiven for thinking some of them would rather see a Dodger stolen base than a Dodger HR. For a lot of them, if you don’t play small ball you’re just not playing the game “the right way.” No matter that recent WS winners didn’t play it all that much. Fixation on the past to the extent your thinking is locked there is not a formula for success in anything. [End rant.] 😉

    https://dodgers.mlblogs.com/the-dodgers-arent-a-basestealing-team-but-are-emphatically-a-baserunning-team-cae16c46f7ab#.ubucy6q7q

    • Bumsrap

      Great article. Thanks f t.

  • HLKLA

    RIP Red Adams

  • Ken Rosenthal on the 2b search.

  • foul tip

    Calhoun #4 on this list of MLB top 10 2B prospects. His potential no doubt affecting the Dodger 2B strategy. But counting on him for much this year may be an overreach.

    http://m.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article/213958338/2017-top-10-second-base-prospects/

    • Bob_Hendley

      Almost every other analysis of Calhoun I have read actually has strong doubts that he is a potential 2nd base solution for the Dodgers in the future, given his defensive weaknesses. Even this article concludes that his defensive home might be in question. Do the Twins need a DH?

  • Forsyth for Leon a done deal.

    • HLKLA

      I believe that this is a good move. We did not have to give up more prospects.

      • WinnipegDave

        I don’t think it is Pedro-Deshields part 2. At least, I really hope not.
        So, barring that, should be alright.

  • WinnipegDave

    Is Forsythe better defensively than Dozier? Anyone know? I’m thinking Dozier is better with bat in hand but with our current lineup I think defense first at 2B is the better option.
    That being said, I wonder where Forsythe bats in the lineup. Is he better near the top or will he be placed near the bottom?

    • Bob_Hendley

      Going by dWAR they both seemed to have been rated as above average fielders last year, though Dozier has a better reputation. Logan batted lead off for the Rays. Not sure there is much competition for that spot on the Dodgers. After all, Chase was our lead off guy last year.

  • Fangraphs tackles The Mystery of Yasiel Puig.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Had expected something a bit more analytical from Fangraphs, but it does capture the general situation.

  • Forsythe very familiar to Dodgers F.O. staff.

  • Fangraphs finds Forsythe and Dozier to be equal in performance.

    • WinnipegDave

      That’s encouraging. However, clearly Dozier was the first point of interest for the Dodgers – which would suggest the FO ranked him a bit higher. Sounds like the difference is very minimal however. And when you consider the asking price, Forsythe appears to be the all around better choice.

    • Bob_Hendley

      Dozier has a bit more of a track record, so a greater degree of certainty regarding his credentials. Logan was a utility player in the recent past, so evaluation requires some belief that he has turnered a corner, a la Justin.

  • HLKLA

    Dodgers acquire Eibner from A’s and DFA Frias. I hope Frias can make it through waivers.

  • HLKLA

    http://www.truebluela.com/ Here is the link..

  • Hyun-jin Ryu pain-free as he heads to spring training. I hope so. When he was healthy he was pretty darned good.

    • HLKLA

      He has said that before, as one blog pointed out.

  • Is 2017 the Dodgers’ year? CBS Sports ponders. (Caution: autoplay video is ON)

  • foul tip

    Hot stove stuff here says the Forsythe trade moved the Dodgers past the Cubs as NL best. Guess we’ll find out.

    http://m.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article/214356484/will-dodgers-be-a-better-team-than-cubs/

    • HLKLA

      I still believe that left handed pitching will be the Dodgers Kryptonite this season.

      • Bob_Hendley

        I wonder. We actually hit lefties better in 2015 with essentially the same line up, but with better performances by Quique and SVS. 2016 also featured Chase with almost 100 PA against lefties (OPS+ 28) and Howie with a down year in general. Given the way that things go, I might vote for relievers being our major weakness, though the FO is still shopping for a set up guy.

  • Big Rich Hill story in the Times.