The Los Angeles Dodgers are just a few days away from breaking camp, and heading back home to Vin Scully Avenue to open the season. As the legendary announcer would say, it’s time for Dodger baseball. It’s a new year, and another shot at the elusive National League pennant they barely lost out on last season. LA lost to the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 NLCS, but a better team is on the table for 2017. See what’s changed in the Los Angeles Dodgers 2017 season preview.
Los Angeles Dodgers 2017 Season Preview
A team with a payroll topping the entire league should feature some world class talent. The Dodgers do not falter in this aspect. A roster displaying such names as Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, and Yasiel Puig demand respect. The Dodgers aren’t out here for respect with a lineup as deep as theirs. They seek a rematch against Chicago, and championship to follow.
Adding and Subtracting
The biggest impact addition LA managed this off-season was the trade that brought second baseman Logan Forsythe to the Dodgers. The 29 year old middle infielder will play steady defense and strongly contribute in the lineup, hitting lefties well for the team that was the worst at doing so in 2016.
Forsythe is a clear upgrade over utility man Enrique Hernandez, who seemed to be the front runner to man second base for 2017 after the exit of Chase Utley. After the Dodgers managed to bring back Utley, the move still has massive payouts by impressive depth and a choice of acceptable pinch hitters.
In attempts to bolster the bullpen, Sergio Romo was signed recently. He’ll be a late innings option that compliments both Pedro Baez and Kenley Jansen. Romo pitched to a 2.64 ERA last season on 40 appearances, striking out 33 and walking seven.
The off-season brought a few more goodbyes than hellos. Right fielder Josh Reddick parted ways with the Dodgers, and linked up with the Houston Astros. No need to stress, however, considering Yasiel Puig, tiring as he may be, is still a fine suitor even in his struggles. Andrew Toles is an acceptable option as well if Puig struggles further.
Howie Kendrick‘s 2016 was a down year, and Los Angeles sent him over to the Philadelphia Phillies in November. Andre Ethier is slated to take Kendrick’s place. Working his way back from injuries, he should a fair left-handed bat again this season.
Julio Urias Gets More Breathing Room
There is a lot to expect of a pitcher making his debut at the impressive age of 19. Left-handed starting pitcher Julio Urias delivered.
Exceeding his rookie limits, he turned in 15 starts for Los Angeles last season. Innings limits capped him at 77 innings but it was enough for Urias to strike out 84 batters and sport a 3.39 average.
He proved he was a brilliant talent worthy of all eyes on him. Urias also showed he’s raw, and has some work to do yet. His walk rate was rather poor at 3.6 per nine, pretty out of the ordinary when looking at his minor league stats the last couple of years.
Watch Julio Urias to see an extended leash in 2017. The Dodgers will stretch him out more so than last season. With his workload increase, and considering the history of increasing a young pitcher’s workload, the Dodgers will be quick to reel him in at the first sign of any trouble. He will still be a big contributor to the team. LA would love to use him in the post-season, so sticking to the plan will have its rewards.
Corey Seager Following Up His 2016
After an awe-inspiring, 27-game MLB debut in 2015, Corey Seager showed the league his 2016 successes were no accident. Seager was worth 1.8 Wins Above Replacement in just 113 plate appearances, by way of a .337 average in 2015. He also flashed Gold Glove-type defense at both third base and shortstop. Seager has shown no signs of slowing down. In a position stacked with young talent, he’s the best of them.
Corey Seager caught a pop-up and bleacher fans chanting, “M-V-P, M-V-P”
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) October 10, 2016
Seager, just 22 at the time, played his first full season in Los Angeles last year. He proved invaluable to the Dodgers run at the World Series, playing a season worthy of an MVP award. Seager finished third, behind Kris Bryant and Daniel Murphy. He was also an All-Star, a Silver Slugger, and the National League Rookie of the Year. Some argue that he’s already the best shortstop in the league, as young player who nearly took home every award for which he’s eligible deserves.
If anyone is questioning whether or not he can improve on a season in which he hit .308/.365/.512, with 40 doubles, five triples, and 26 home runs, the answer is yes.
Big league pitchers thrive on exploiting holes in swings and poor pitch recognition. If pitchers found a way to get Seager out last season, he quickly adjusted and punished the next arm to try it. If no pitcher in the National League East, or any pitcher in the league at that, found a way to consistently get Seager out in 184 major league games, it’s likely they will this season. We’ll find out at that point just what type of player he is. However, players all over the league praise him for his veteran-like approach to the game, a sign that a sophomore slump may give way to sophomore super-stardom.