2010 Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Preview
For three of the past four seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers (95-67) have taken the N.L. Central. They certainly have a chance to do it again. If they do, it will mark their third consecutive division crown. However an acrimonious divorce between co-owners Frank and Jamie McCourt could create an uneasy and tentative atmosphere around the team, making it tough for the club to transact business smoothly.
Starter Randy Wolf is gone and he won’t be easy to replace. Here’s the pitching situation. Lefty Clayton Kershaw (8-8, 2.79 ERA, 185 SO) has a power arm that can mow down batters. He’s young and talented, starting his second full season in the majors. Righty Chad Billingsley (12-11, 4.03 ERA, 179 SO) is a sturdy hurler, who can change speeds on his tightly spinning curve. He’s a high-count pitcher.
Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.76 ERA, 87 SO) is a talented flyball pitcher but he has major durability concerns. His strikeout pitch is a sharp, late-diving splitter. Fourth starter James McDonald (5-5, 4.00 ERA, 54 SO) is a solid athlete who needs to consistently control his pitches. The Dodgers are in search of a fifth starter. The good news on the bullpen is that the Dodgers have two closers—righty Jonathan Broxton (7-2, 2.61 BA, 36 SV, 114 SO) and lefty George Sherrill (1-1, 1.70 ERA, 21 SV, 61 SO). Broxton’s fastball hits 99-mph. Sherrill can setup or close. The pen is exceptionally deep.
Shortstop Rafael Furcal (.269 BA, 9 HR, 47 RBI) is a switch-hitter who can make things happen in an instant. Center fielder Matt Kemp (.297 BA, 26 HR, 101 RBI) and right fielder Andre Ethier (.272 BA, 31 HR, 106 RBI) can pop the ball out of the park. All three are also fine fielders.
Manny Ramirez (.290 BA, 19 HR, 63 RBI) offers topnotch hand-eye coordination but seems to have diminished bat speed. In the field, he’s uneven and has lost his ability to throw effectively. First baseman James Loney (.281 BA, 13 HR, 90 RBI) is a solid hitter and an excellent fielder. Catcher Russell Martin (.250 BA, 7 HR, 53 RBI) is a streaky hitter who plays well behind the plate. Quick feet, soft hands, a strong arm and a fast release define him as a catcher.
We can just say it upfront: manager Joe Torre is one of the best. It is that simple. The team could end up for sale and that could result in instability around the Dodgers’ organization. The other problem is that the courts have already been asked to determine who is the rightful owner of the team. That makes it tough for GM Ned Colletti to do business.
That being said there’s a solid foundation plus depth defining this Dodger team. Joe Torre is a master of dealing with impossible situations. The fact is that the Dodgers could certainly notch another 90-plus-win season. Of course, the Rockies will certainly be a worthy opponent to the former Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers.
For more info on the Dodgers check out the MLB official page for Los Angeles.