The next time someone tells you he knows something about baseball, just smile, nod, and let him have his delusions. Because nobody knows anything.
It's not like the Dodgers' many star players are playing poorly -- far from it. Adrian Gonzalez has a .908 OPS. Hanley Ramirez still hasn't really heated up (he was my pick for MVP this year), but he's got a solid 128 wRC+ out of the short stop position. The mercurial Yasiel Puig is walking over 10% of the time.
But I guess every team gets to have one or two unexpected guys that bust out of the gate like Usain Bolt on uppers. For the Rockies it's Charlie Blackmon, destroyer of worlds. For the Dodgers it is unquestionably Dee Gordon.
Gordon was one of the Dodgers' top prospects back when they didn't have prospects, in all senses of the word. This was in the heady days of 2010 and 2011 when Frank McCourt was piloting the Dodgers into the ground like Howard Hughes. Dee was a willowy short stop who was fast as the wind but couldn't hit a lick. For a long time there, it looked like hitting was one skill Gordon would never master.
Coming into 2014, he supposedly put on some weight, though you wouldn't really know it to look at him. But I guess something got into his Wheaties, because he's been great. He has a .900 OPS right on the button, buoyed by an exceptional .408 OBP. He even has a home run! Due to the Ramirez acquisition, short stop was no longer an issue for the Dodgers, but they just moved Gordon to second base were they didn't have an incumbent. How convenient for them.
This probably won't keep up. He's still relatively young (26), but you don't usually go from terrible to great just because you hit the bench press a few more times. His line is helped by a .418 BABIP. His 5.6% walk rate isn't any better than the rest of his career. Still, there's a good chance he has "turned the corner" as they say.
As for Uribe, well, his career is just funny to me. He's just a big, goofy looking mug who swings as hard as he can. He had one decent and one horrible season for the Rockies at the start of his career, then spent the next decade being good with the glove and usually terrible with the bat. At first he seemed like another dead-weight acquisition for the Dodgers in 2012, when he hit .191. Boy, those hapless 2012 Dodgers. That sure was fun while it lasted.
Then in 2013, at age 34, he went and had a career year. He combined a solid 116 wRC+ with Arenadovian defensive wizardry at third base (+25.3 runes defensively according to Fangraphs). That added up to a 5.1 WAR year, more than a win and a half better than he had ever done before. Incredible.
Anyway, he's at it again. An .834 OPS and 3.1 defensive runs will do quite nicely, thank you very much.
Let's see, what else about the Dodgers. They have too many outfielders. Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, and Andre Ethier are four starting quality outfielders. There are only three outfield spots. Backup Scott Van Slyke has a 211 wRC+ in 31 plate appearances. Hell, prospect Joc Pederson can't even crack the roster with his 1.259 OPS in Triple-A. And Rockies fans complain about a crowded outfield -- HA!
Chone Figgins is in their employ. He is hitting .167/.444/.167.
As for the pitching side of things, they're doing just fine even with Kershaw shut down after one start. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren, and Zack Greinke all have ERAs below 3. Josh Beckett has three solid starts under his belt. Paul Maholm has been kind of a dumpster fire, but he's an okay fifth starter to hold down the fort. And Kershaw will return soon, though the Rockies are going to miss him at least.
Their bullpen is nails. Kenley Jansen is throwing the ball two MPH faster than at any time in his career, and usually velocity is lower in April. So that bears watching.
The Dodgers are clearly the cream of the crop in the NL West, and they haven't even hit their stride. They are currently 13-9, a game and a half ahead of the Rockies. What the hell, go ahead and sweep them Rockies. Why not.
|Scott Van Slyke||12||31||2||7||4||0||16.10%||25.80%||0.385||0.375||0.308||0.419||0.692||0.471||211||-0.7||3.1||0.1||0.4|
Friday: Lyles vs. Beckett, 8:10 p.m MT
Saturday: Nicasio vs. Maholm, 7:10 p.m. MT
Sunday: De La Rosa vs. Ryu, 2:20 p.m MT