Jun 30

Beneath the cliffs of insanity

Friday’s 9-0 loss to the Mets marked the 11th time in Los Angeles Dodger history that the team could have achieved the same result simply by forfeiting.

 The Dodger offense in 45 innings since Monday:
  • Total baserunners: 39
  • Runners to get as far as first base: 20
  • Runners to get as far as second base: 15
  • Runners to get as far as third base: 2
  • Runners to get as far as home: 2

It was a lovely evening at the ballpark last night to watch futility.

While wondering whether Campbell’s sells alphabet soup with all the letters between A-N and P-Z removed …

  • Carlos Lee became a rumored trade target for the Dodgers last night in a deal that could cost them former first-round pick Garret Gould. Chad Moriyama analyzesthe pitfalls of that deal. An excerpt:

    … Carlos Lee’s current slash line is .290/.342/.412/.754, which is in line with his recent production, and he projects to hit .276/.328/.434/.762 the rest of the way. Additionally, consider that he’s a terrible defender in the outfield and a fringe to poor defender at first base.

    James Loney’s current line is .236/.303/.323/.626, which is partially the result of lower than normal BABIP. He projects to hit .266/.327/.387/.714 the rest of the way. Plus, he plays above-average to plus defense at first.

    Now 50 points difference in OPS is nothing to scoff at, but factor in the defense and then consider that Loney has a .802 OPS career against righties (.669 against lefties) and Juan Rivera  has a .821 career OPS against lefties (.747 against righties). Now the gap is basically non-existent.

    You know how to tell that this trade is an iffy upgrade? When it’s even arguable as to whether a potential acquisition is an improvement over James Loney and Juan Rivera. …

    Update: Reports online this morning indicate the Dodgers and Astros have agreed to terms, and the deal hinges on Lee’s approval.

  • Mark Ellis is beginning a rehab assignment with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight, writes Andy Kamenetzky of ESPNLosAngeles.com. He could be activated inside of a week.
  • Andre Ethier could return to the lineup as soon as Monday, writes Alex Angert of MLB.com, but it’s a dicey proposition.
  • The Dodgers have signed first-round pick Corey Seager in a deal that features a $2.35 million bonus, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Times.
  • At Minor League Ball, John Sickels started a conversation about whether baseball has become too expensive for the average kid. Alex Remington offers his own thoughts at Fangraphs. The commenters in each post offer wide-ranging responses.
Jun 04

Dodgers draft infielders Seager, Valentin with top picks


As Harvard-Westlake righthanded pitcher Lucas Giolito fell into the teens of the 2012 MLB draft, I began to wonder – and I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner – whether the Dodgers might go after him.

Giolito had been projected as a potential No. 1 overall pick this year before he came up with an elbow injury that hinted at the potential need for Tommy John surgery down the road. That poses a fear factor, but I wasn’t sure it would be enough to dissuade prep pitching fan and occasional daredevil drafter Logan White of the Dodgers.

As it happened, only two slots before the Dodgers’ selection at No. 18, Giolito was plucked by the Washington Nationals, who will potentially line him up with post-TJ ace Stephen Strasburg. And so came a different sort of twist. For the first time since James Loney in 2002, White began his draft with a position player and the intention of keeping him there: 6-foot-3 Corey Seager of Northwest Cabarrus High in Concord, North Carolina – the younger brother of Seattle third baseman Kyle Seager.

“(Seager) has similar pure hitting ability while projecting to hit for more power and a better frame,” than his brother, writes John Manuel of Baseball America. “Seager has a chance to play shortstop as a pro but likely slides to third base and has the pop to fit the profile. He has a smooth, powerful swing, and the consensus was he’d have to go out in the first round to keep him from attending South Carolina.”

Here’s ESPN.com’s take: “Corey is bigger and more physical than his brother. Corey could be a tough sign here with a strong commitment to South Carolina, but you have to think the Dodgers are confident they can get him signed. Seager is a very projectable athlete that plays shortstop now but projects to move to third base, where his above-average hands, smooth feet and plus arm will make him an above-average defender. He shows an advanced feel for hitting with a sweet swing from the left side and average present raw power that could be plus as he fills out his broad shoulders, giving him All-Star upside if he develops as scouts project.”

Though it will be years before Seager is big-league ready, assuming that day comes, I’m sure many Dodger fans are heartened to finally see the team draft some offensive help. White is typically adamant about taking the best player available, and if he thought an infielder was that guy, well, that gives me some amount of optimism.

With their second pick, coming in the supplemental round before round two, the Dodgers went with another infielder with major-league bloodlines: Jesmuel Valentin of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.  Conor Massey of Baseball America did a story in May about the son of one-time Dodger Jose Valentin.

“Jesmuel has a similar build to his father at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds,” Massey wrote. “He’s primarily a shortstop, but plays a lot of second base in deference to his high school teammate at Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Carlos Correa. He’s a smooth defender with a strong arm and is an average runner with good instincts on the bases. Valentin said he doesn’t particularly care which position he plays—which must run in the family.”