Los Angeles Dodgers Predictions
The Los Angeles Dodgers have become the New York Yankees of the past decade with their billion-dollar makeover. The dark days of the McCourt ownership and bankruptcy are now behind them. Armed with deep-pocketed owners (and a likely multi-billion dollar TV deal), the Dodgers have taken on $600 million in salary commitments over the past year.
Los Angeles traded for former All-Stars Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford before the deadline last year. They also added free-agent starter Zach Greinke and top Korean lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryo this offseason. While the midseason move didn’t pay dividends last year, the Dodgers are hoping all of these transactions lead to an NL West title in 2013. With the highest payroll in MLB history, it better.
Hanley Ramirez (SS) – While the leadoff spot has been a problem spot for the Dodgers, it will be no longer. Ramirez has hit .309 with a .385 on-base percentage while slugging .536 in his career as a leadoff hitter.
Mark Ellis (2B) – Hit .258 with 62 runs scored in just 110 games played last year. I presume either Ellis or Carl Crawford will hit in the 2-hole throughout the season.
Adrian Gonzalez (1B) – Career .244 hitter at Dodger Stadium, but Gonzalez quietly had a solid year last season. He hit .299 with 18 homers and 108 RBIs in his time between Los Angeles and Boston.
Matt Kemp (CF) – Was off to a torrid start last year with talk of a possible 50 homer/50 steal season. However, a nagging hamstring injury forced Kemp to miss 56 games last year. He still finished with 23 homers and 69 RBIs.
Andre Ethier (RF) – Hit .284 with 20 homers and 89 RBIs last season. Ethier has shown he’s capable of a monster season, but now just needs to be more consistent.
Luis Cruz (3B) – Has spent 12 seasons in pro baseball with six different organizations. That’s why Cruz’s 2012 campaign was a feel-god story as he hit .297 over 283 at-bats in a breakout season.
Carl Crawford (LF) – Still in the prime of his career, Crawford will be out to prove that the past two seasons were simply a fluke. Good health and an escape from Boston should help him move forward.
A.J. Ellis (C) – One of only four catchers in the NL last year to start at least 125 games. Ellis is rock-solid behind the plate, and he’s not to bad with a bat, either. He hit .270 with 13 homers last year.
Clayton Kershaw (LHP) – The young Ace is 35-14 over the past two seasons with the lowest ERA and WHIP each year. Kershaw went 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA with 229 Ks in 227.2 innings in 2012.
Zach Greinke (RHP) – The $147 million man is only 10th in wins (57) and 24th in ERA (3.37) among all starters since 2009. Still, Greinke went 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 34 starts last year between Los Angeles (AL) and Milwaukee.
Josh Beckett (RHP) – Posted a 2.93 ERA over seven starts with the Dodgers last season after being traded away from Boston (5-11, 5.23 ERA). Beckett could find a new, comfortable home in the National League.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (LHP) – Led the Korean Baseball Organization in strikeouts five times in seven seasons. Now, we just have to see if that can translate to the MLB.
Chad Billingsley (RHP) – Offseason rehab and a throwing program have put surgery for a torn elbow ligament on hold. Billingsley went 10-9 with a 3.55 ERA over 25 starts for the Dodgers in 2012.
Brandon League (RHP) – Lost the closer job in Seattle but finished the season allowing just one run, eight hits and striking out 27 batters over 27.1 innings with the Dodgers. League will battle Kenley Jansen for the closer’s job in 2013. Jansen proved he has closer’s stuff last year by going 5-3 with a 2.35 ERA and 99 strikeouts over 65 innings.
1st Place NL West & OVER 90 Wins – The Dodgers are clearly the class of the NL West with the moves they have made over the past year. This is now one of the best lineups in baseball, and they have arguably the best 1-2 punch in the league in Kershaw and Greinke. There are also no weaknesses in the bullpen. Los Angeles is a legitimate World Series contender and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it win 100 games in 2013.
|2013 Los Angeles Dodgers Odds|
|Total Regular Season Wins||O90 (-115)|