2 Los Angeles Dodgers

April 01, 2013

Enemy Lines

A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE DODGERS

Every position will be set when Hanley Ramirez returns from his thumb injury—even third base, where Luis Cruz, a journeyman, played well last year.... Matt Kemp looks fine coming off his shoulder surgery. Not only does he have power, but he also uses the whole field.... They need Carl Crawford to get healthy. He's something few teams have: a true leadoff guy who can make the club go with his speed. If he's out, the leftfield platoon will be Skip Schumaker and Jerry Hairston Jr. If they only have to do that for two or three weeks, they'll get by.... Ramirez is a big man now, but he'll play short when he gets back [in May]. You just want him to make all the routine plays and let his bat talk, and I think he can do that.... Clayton Kershaw is the game's premier lefty. It's not fair to compare anyone with Justin Verlander, but I'll put Kershaw in there, along with Felix Hernandez.... With Zack Greinke they have two studs at the top, and if Josh Beckett is near the back of your rotation, you're doing O.K.... Ryu Hyun-jin is going to be on the club because of his contract, but I wouldn't say he's been impressive. He has average stuff and his location is spotty.... Ryu, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and maybe Ted Lilly will fight for the fifth spot, and the guys who don't make it will go to the pen—which will be really good, with lots of versatility.... Yasiel Puig, the Cuban outfelder they signed last summer, looks good. He's short to the ball, and for a 22-year-old he has a good idea at the plate: He tracks breaking balls and can fight off good stuff. He's the big prospect in a veteran bunch.

The Lineup

2013 Projected Statistics

MANAGER DON MATTINGLY

Third season with the Dodgers

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ROTATION W ERA WHIP K/9
LH CLAYTON KERSHAW 17 2.48 1.03 9.3
RH ZACK GREINKE 15 3.69 1.21 8.9
LH RYU HYUN-JIN (R) 11 4.00 1.31 8.3
RH CHAD BILLINGSLEY 11 3.81 1.34 7.6
RH JOSH BECKETT 9 3.84 1.19 7.9
BULLPEN SV ERA WHIP K/9
RH BRANDON LEAGUE 30 3.65 1.26 6.7
RH KENLEY JANSEN 10 2.32 0.92 13.8

NEW ACQUISITION (R) ROOKIE

LINEUPS AND STAT PROJECTIONS BY ROTOWIRE.COM

The K Meter

Percentage of 2012 plate appearances that ended with a strikeout, and major league rank

BY HITTERS | 19.0% | 11TH

BY PITCHERS | 21.0% | 8TH

Best Case

Crawford gets back to his 2010 form, and L.A.'s rapid assemblage of star talent wins an immediate title.

Worst Case

The quartet of Crawford, Gonzalez, Kemp and Ramirez underwhelms, Greinke's elbow ails, and L.A. misses the playoffs.

Joe Lemire has more on the Dodgers at SI.com/mlb

Modest Proposal

Cuban defector Yasiel Puig showed off an impressive set of tools this spring, his first in a major league camp. While Puig, 22, is signed through 2018, that doesn't make him special on this team; the Dodgers have three other outfielders signed through at least '17. So getting Puig into the lineup is going to require a trade. Matt Kemp is a superstar, and Carl Crawford is untradable thanks to his massive contract and injuries, so that leaves Andre Ethier. He's in the first year of a five-year, $85 million extension—a near match for the five-year, $75 million contract extension that kicks in this year for Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler. (Texas is looking for a way to get their own rookie sensation, shortstop Jurickson Profar, into the lineup.) The Dodgers' weak spot is second base, where Mark Ellis and Skip Schumaker platoon. Kinsler and Ethier are almost identical in age. (Both are 30, with Ethier 10 weeks older.) Offering Ethier for Kinsler could help the Dodgers create space for Puig and help both teams now and into the future.

PHOTOBRAD MANGIN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (GREINKE)Zack Greinke PHOTOTOM DIPACE (PUIG)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)