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2009 Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Preview

The Los Angeles Dodgers (84- 78) are always in the hunt, and lately more times than not, they have bagged a playoff spot. Over the last five years, the team has made it to the post-season three times. This year, the Dodgers will have a new look, which is shaped by their trimmed payroll. A bunch of guys, including Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny and Nomar Garciaparra are gone. Young, up-and-coming players have apparently arrived.

The pitching rotation has seen some changes, but the Dodgers, who were ranked second in the majors in ERA (3.68 ERA), will still be tough to beat. Number one starter Chad Billingsley (16- 10 W/L, 3.14 ERA, .248 BAA) is a power hurler with a lively fastball (90- 94 mph) that licks both sides of the plate. However, he has a tough time with control. Second starter Hiroki Kuroda (9- 10 W/L, 3.73 ERA, .253 BAA) can be dominant when he has his stuff. An 89- 93 mph two-seam fastball, late-movement slider and tricky splitter are his best pitches. Big lefty Clayton Kershaw (5- 5 W/L, 4.26 ERA, .265 BAA) offers an explosive curve (91- 95 mph) and a hard driving curve. Veteran power pitcher Jason Smith (Did not play in 2008) is a huge question mark. He has a fine fastball, tough slider and a difficult-to-hit changeup. Righty Jonathan Broxton (3.13 ERA, 14 SV, .217 BAA) looks to be the closer of the future. Is the future now?

The Dodgers lacked offensive clout last season. That is until Ramirez arrived in the midseason deal. Leading off is Rafael Furcal (.357 BA, 16 RBI, 5 HR) with Andre Ethier (.305 BA, 77 RBI, 20 HR) hitting second. This is a fine one-two punch. Russel Martin (.280 BA, 69 RBI, 13 HR, 18 SB) and James Loney (.289 BA, 90 RBI, 13 HR) are two tough outs. Casey Blake (.274 BA, 81 RBI, 21 HR) has decent homerun potential.

Defensively, the infield looks good. At first Loney is an excellent defender while at the other corner Blake DeWitt is less skilled. At short Furcal shows fine range, high energy and excellent play from deep in the hole. Loretta, who can play any spot, looks to be the second baseman. Martin is a skilled and smart catcher. The best in the outfield is Ethier in right.

Manager Joe Torre is certainly the right guy for the job. He works well with vets, rookies and everyone else. The future Hall of Fame manager knows how to get the most out of every player and every moment. General manager Ned Colletti is a low-key guy who last season looked like he could be out until he sealed the deal that brought Ramirez to the club. Still, he'll be under a lot of pressure to produce a winner in 2009.

This is a club that is greatly diminished and yet in the NL West, one of the least competitive divisions in MLB, the team formerly from Brooklyn certainly has the stuff with which to contend. If they do take their fourth NL West crown in six seasons, the hard part will be getting through the first two playoff rounds.

Read more on the Dodgers other NL West division competitors like the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, and San Francisco Giants.

For more info on the Dodgers check out the MLB official page for Los Angeles.

 

2009 Baseball Preview

The 2009 Major League Baseball season is here and Maddux Sports once again has unveiled their annual preview of this years summer pastime. We go in-depth on all 30 baseball teams as well as our divisional predictions including order of finish. To find your favorite team click on the division links to the right. At anytime you can return to the 2009 baseball preview page.

09 MLB Division Previews


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