Results tagged ‘ AJ Ellis ’
The Pitchers are now out the way in our 2013 Preview so now the REAL fun begins. As we continue on with the 2013 Preview we’ll take a look at the Infield. This was an area where the Dodgers really needed help at last season when it came to batting. The production wasn’t all there for them when the summer hit but the Dodgers basically did their work to bring in the likes of Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez. Luis Cruz also stepped up and became a hidden gem last season as well. This season not much needs to be done and production is expected to be better. Lets take a look at the Dodgers infield.
2012 Review- Going into last season the Dodgers were lacking production from the Infield big time but at the start of the 2012 Season James Loney, Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon, and even Juan Uribe were producing in the early part. AJ Ellis was also making his case that season even finding himself in the discussion for the NL All-Star team. Once the summer came things took a turn south. Mark Ellis ended up missing time due to a leg injury suffered in the first Cardinals series, Juan Uribe and Jame Loney weren’t producing very good at all, Dee Gordon was struggling hitting and defensively. So many things happened where it hurt the Dodgers in games but Stan Kasten and Ned Coletti weren’t going to sit back and wait till winter meetings. In the heat of a NL West Race the Dodgers worked to make moves and managed to strike gold through Trade and call ups. Luis Cruz came up from Triple A and didn’t disappoint when given the chance. He was a huge spark in the Dodgers season come the second half. Another huge trade was the Dodgers acquiring Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins after they had a fire sale. Hanley’s numbers went up along with his production causing Dee to be sent down to Triple A for more coaching. In late August the Dodgers also struck with another blockbuster deal this time with the Boston Red Soxs that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford to L.A. and James Loney, Jerry Sands, and Ruby De La Rosa to Boston. After that the Dodgers still struggled until they heated up for a little bit until elimination but they showed a lot of promise.
offseason Not much was done in the Off-season because it was done over the summer. Dodgers traded for utility player Skip Shoumaker from the Cardinals in the off-season. Another addition made was the hire of hitting coach Mark McGwire who helped the Cardinals become one of the Top offenses in the NL. McGwire will have the task of helping a loaded Dodger line up this coming season.
Utility Skip Shumaker- Shumaker who was brought to the Dodgers via Trade from the St Louis Cardinals. While Shumaker will likely see time in the outfield it isn’t hard to see him play some second base or anything If Injuries hit. This was the only addition made but it is a solid one at that. In St Louis Skip was batting .279 with 1 HR and 28 RBI’s so he may not be the home run threat but he does make contact and get on base.
3 Questions to be Answered
1) Will Luis Cruz repeat his 2012 Season?- This has to be the main and key question right here. Will Cruz repeat what he did in the 2013 Season? Last season Cruz came out of nowhere and had a very good season for the Dodgers to where he will be starting at 3rd Base this coming season. Batting .297 with 6 HR and 40 RBI’s Cruz brought energy to the Dodgers and fans fell in love with him. Defensively he brought it as well at 3rd Base. This year there will be expectations from him. If he can repeat what he did last season consistently then he will be fine. Cruz have been working hard but the results is something we will see. If not then we could see Jerry Hairston Jr or Juan Uribe at 3rd.
2) Will Hanley have some success at shortstop?- Another question that many are wondering and that’s Hanley Ramirez and Shortstop. During the Caribbean World Series Hanley not only struggled batting but struggled defensively at 3rd base. Last season before he came to the Dodgers the Marlins moved him to 3rd base for defensive reasons. Hanley will be at shortstop and is willing to get it to work defensively which is a great sign. If he can step up then Hanley will be there for most of the season but I won’t be a bit surprised if he gets moved to third and Cruz goes to shortstop the moment he struggles.
3) AJ Ellis bound to produce again?- Last year some were high on AJ Ellis and he didn’t disappoint at all. He was one of the top players in the NL in terms of OBP (On Base Percentage). Defensively AJ was average and he needs work on blocking the plate better. This is another key at the bottom of the line up. Ellis needs to get on base in order for the team to have further success. AJ I believe will have a good 2013 season but he will have to A- Stay Healthy and B- Do a better job at blocking the plate.
Players to Watch For
Utl Jerry Hariston Jr- Jerry Hariston Jr is another utility player the Dodgers have and he was really solid last season at 3rd Base and Left Field. I have him as a player to watch because he is a veteran player who the Dodgers will need to step up. A healthy Hairston Jr will be a solid one. In 2012 Hariston was batting .273 with most At Bats coming from him being at 3rd base before the All-Star break but due to Injury Hariston had to have season ending surgery. 2013 he will be a player to keep an eye on.
2B Mark Ellis- Another player who contributed very well for the Dodgers and is a key player as well. Ellis is a guy who you can put at 2nd in the order and rely on him to get on base to set it up for Matt Kemp or whoever at the 3 spot. While there has been some people wanting him to lead off Ellis is fine at the 2 spot in the line-up. Defensively he can also bring it as well just as long as he is healthy.
Overview: This group has A LOT of talent starting wise and you can say on the bench as well. You can expect guys like Adrian Gonzalez, Mark Ellis and Hanley to produce with the bat. Defensively the left side is going to need some work just by the looks but I am sure they will have it together. These guys will only have so much time in the Spring due to the World baseball Classic (Cruz and Gonzalez Team Mexico and Hanley- Dominican Republic) but they have time to work individually.
On Deck for the 2013 Dodgers Preview: Outfield
And It Begins. That’s right folks Baseball is finally here. The Dodgers full squad are at Camelback Ranch in Glendale Arizona and preparing for their upcoming 2013 campaign. This year there’s a lot of high hopes for the Dodgers after the ending of last season and the off-season moves that were made. Regardless of the signings there’s still questions that loom around this team but it seems like for the most part are working towards answering those. Theres a lot of headlines going into Spring Training this year…You can say more than last season at that and yes it is Interesting.
One of the biggest things that’s being talked about with the Dodgers is chemistry. Many fans and media seem to mention this a lot and wonder how the Dodgers will mesh on the field. Other players seem to be talking too, Most noticeably Giants First Baseman Brandon Belt who said “All I can say is you can’t buy chemistry.” That quote has had many Dodger fans talking but the players aren’t fazed by it at all. Matt Kemp however had something to say about Belts comments with a few words of his own. The Dodgers for the most part look like they’re getting the whole chemistry thing down but once they get on the field that’ll be a whole different thing. I honestly don’t believe the Dodgers will have an issue with chemistry. Hanley, Adrian, Kemp, Ethier, Cruz and so on have played in the second half of the 2012 season and only a few pieces will have to mesh which they’ll have all spring to get it together.
Clayton Kershaw named Opening Day Starter
Clayton Kershaw was named the Dodgers Opening Day Starter by Don Mattingly (Insert your pretend surprised face here). This was something that we ALL knew for months unless there was something we didn’t know. Baring any injury Kershaw is the Dodgers guy and there shouldn’t be any shock or anything like that.
Hyun Jin Ryu Impresses
Many Dodger fans have been waiting to see what Hyun Jin Ryu brings to the Dodgers and when he was given the chance in a Bullpen session he didn’t disappoint. Ryu placed the ball where he wanted very well, had good command with his fast ball but the curveball needed more work. Mattingly, AJ Ellis, and Rick Honeycutt were all very impressed with his bullpen session but the knock on Ryu was his conditioning which has gotten better. In Korea training and conditioning is a much slower paced conditioning schedule so it’s all apart of the adjustment that Hyun Jin Ryu will have to make. Feb 25th is when we’ll see Ryu pitch in a live game.
Non Roster Players
Usually in Spring teams have players who get signed to minor league deals and give them a shot to make the 40 man roster. This year the Dodgers are hoping to find a gem that will make the Opening Day Roster like years before. This year the Dodgers are looking for a vet in a young Bullpen and there’s a few arms that stick out to the Dodgers. One of them being Peter Moylan who was with the Braves last season but only played in 8 games. Moylan also has an issue with staying healthy which is something he’s working towards doing. Another is a player the Dodgers just signed to a Minor League deal in Mark Lowe. Lowe played 38 games with the Rangers last season until getting injured. Lowe has an escape clause in his contract if he does not make the Dodgers come Opening Day where Moylan is willing to pitch in Triple A if he doesn’t make it. Both of them will have to battle with Josh Wall and Stephen Fife. Outside of pitching you have players like Tony Gwynn Jr who was on the team last season fighting for a spot on the 40 man roster. Alex Castellanos, Ellian Herrara, and Yasiel Puig are currently on there right now so a spot for Tony Gwynn jr will be pretty difficult at this moment.
Saving the best for last. Sandy Koufax back with the Dodgers as an Advisor and was it a sight to see him back in a Dodger uniform. It was a treat having a Dodger great back in Uniform talking with players and helping pitchers like Hyun Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke prepare for the upcoming season. I think this is overall a great thing for the Dodgers to do. Koufax is one of the best Dodgers and to have him involved with franchise is great for not only the Dodgers and it’s players but for the Fans as well.
The Los Angeles Dodgers held their Fan Fest which was a chance for many Dodger fans to come up to the Stadium and see their favorite Dodger players, coaches, legends, and personalities in person before the season started. Last year the Dodgers held a Fan Fest which was a such a success that they held it again on Saturday, A Month before Spring Training. Like last year, I managed to go this year and I have to say in my view Fan Fest over did itself from last season. Unlike last year I managed to meet many current players and coaches who turned out to be very great people. Fan Fest though started off great for me when i met the Stan Kasten. The man behind the work of putting the Dodgers back on top. I managed to get a picture with him after he talked on the podium to Season Ticket Holders who got to enter at 30 minutes before the General Public. After meeting him I have to say I can see why I along with many Dodger fans are sold on this guy restoring the Dodgers back to Major League prominence.
Back to the players. The players were very friendly and welcoming to the fans today that it made the event even better in my view. From Andre Ethier, Zack Greinke, Nick Punto, Jansen, and Javy Guerra meeting the Dodger players made me feel like a kid again. The highlight of the whole thing was having a good conversation with Javy Guerra about season tickets and Andre Ethier joking around with my little cousins. One thing that bothered me was how long the lines were for Kemp, Ryu, Cruz, and Mark Ellis which cause us to not even attempt to stand in line for them. The interviews were also very good as well and attracted a huge crowd once Vin, Kemp, and Aj came. Matt Kemp managed to follow a fan on twitter during a Q&A with fans as well as encouraged many Dodger fans to make the trip to Spring Training next month. I honestly believe the best on stage Interview by far was by Tommy Lasorda who gave the fans a real pep talk to pump them up. He told many Dodger fans in attendance that he had a Wait Problem because he can’t wait till the season starts. I honestly felt very pumped up when he was talking. Made me want to suit up and play. You can always count on Tommy Lasorda to get the Fans going. Vin Scully was also a treat to hear and see. Vin always blesses us with his voice during Dodger games and his presence was even greater to see at Fan Fest. The crowd also got its first look at Hyun-Jin Ryu as he came to the stage and greeted the many Dodger fans at Fan Fest. One area that really caught my attention was the baseball history tent where they had historical artifacts from years on in baseball. I was very impressed with the programs from the late 1800′s and old uniforms they wore in the 1920′s as well.
There were some things that would’ve been done better like being better organized but In my opinion I was very good. There were some people on the other hand who had a lot of complaints about Fan Fest and I hope the Dodgers fix that next time to make it even better. Many Dodger fans not only showed for Fan Fest but to also buy Tickets for Individual games. From early Saturday morning many Dodger fans showed up to receive a wristband and take part in a raffle to purchase tickets so it wasn’t promised that you’d got tickets regardless if you got a wristband. Some decided to buy online but there a few who told me that the website crashed and that they were unable to get tickets while some were just unlucky. Tickets sold out very quickly. Tickets online were however limited which ment only a number was sold. it’s unclear though if more will go on sale later on so that’s something to wait and see later on. It will also be interesting to see if Season Tickets and Mini Plan demands go up because of the people who didn’t get tickets to the games.
All in All Saturday the Dodgers did a lot to bring a bigger buzz and anticipation for Baseball. 21,000 Fans were in attendance for Fan Fest. It pumped me up even more for the season and I can’t wait till Spring Training to see the Los Angeles Dodgers step on the field for their road toward bringing back a championship to Los Angeles. The threat of rain was a big concern but it grew smaller and smaller as the skies cleared and the sun beamed through Blue Heaven On Earth. Cousins had fun, Got to meet players, and meet more Dodger fans and catch up with many friends as well. Oh how I can’t wait for the season to start.
It seems like as of late the Umpiring in Baseball games have been pretty bad..well from what I’ve seen. Blow Calls at the plates, Wild Strike Zones, so on and so on and it’s really upseting some fans, Managers, and Players. I know I can’t speak for every baseball fan but I can speak for myself that the Umpiring so far this season hasn’t been all that. I mean I can count for a few Dodger games that really cost the Dodgers some wins. Two Bad calls against the Brewers (AJ Tagging Morgan more than a mile from home plate and Loney’s call) the one in Colorado from Hariston, Few blown calls at the plate. Its really annoying to see it and when its argued you get two sides of it. I’ve seen the fan arguements and some say its the right call where I strongly disagree at times. I understand it’s baseball but you have to remember games like that can come back to bite teams later on in the season where it Could cost them that ONE Playoff spot. Regardless I’m all about having the Right Call and getting Calls right. There have been options looked at to make sure the RIGHT CALL is made in Baseball and a few options was brought up.
One of them was adding Replay to plate calls. The issue with that was the fear of slowing the game down even more which is something that pushes the replay idea away. Baseball is already 2-3 Hours long and Replay to every Plate call would slow the game down even more. Now if Replay should be added make it to ONLY close plays at Home play like a sliding situation but THATS IT. Many will say Umpiring at home plate and blown calls is part of the game and makes baseball exciting and while I agree it makes things exciting making sure we have a 100% right call would also make sure things better for teams. Another Idea was electronic Umpires and this was an Idea I really don’t agree with. Human error is a common thing and we all do it but going total electronic technology where we replace human umpires don’t do it. First off its Baseball Umpires will be there and two you then force a change all over Baseball which sends many Umpires out of a job. I don’t like umps sometimes but I don’t think replacing them helps either So out goes that. I Believe that MLB should encourage more Umpire help like meetings if majority disagree with the call. That is the next best thing to replay and keeps the normal speed of the game. That along with the Replay at Home Plate Tag/Safe Calls will be an upgrade. nothing drastic, nothing less.
As I stated earlier I’m about having the Call right. Getting the RIGHT Call and helping umpiring helps big time. They are human just like us and they will mess up just like us but its becoming a very constant thing where now MLB should address something to improve the umpiring for the good of Baseball in my honest opinion. Will it happen? I think something will happen but what it is I can’t say but I hope its nothing that slows down or really messes up the game of Baseball. We all will agree or disagree with the call but I think The RIGHT CALL has to be made and getting it right is the key.
Its About that Time to fill out your Ballots!! We’re about 3 Months away from the Midsummer Classic and this year it’s being hosted in Kansas City Missouri (Royals). Yesterday the Ballots were released for the fans to Vote for the Starters in the All-Star game and many on the Ballot are well worthy while others you wonder why they’re on there. For the Dodgers the Ballot consisted of James Loney, Matt kemp, Andre Ethier, Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe, AJ Ellis, Dee Gordon, and Mark Ellis. Yeah Pretty much the Starting Line up for the Dodgers. There are others who are on the Ballot who have been there before and others who are putting up really good numbers. Now In my honest opinion its kind of early to vote right now seeing the season started a few weeks ago but It never hurts to Vote right now.
I took the liberty of voting early because Voting just once doesn’t hurt. So far my NL Picks are basiclly What I think will be the picks come the Announcements. Many people may agree many may disagree but It’s a good discusion.
1B- Joey Votto (Reds)
2B- Aaron Hill (D-Backs)
SS- Starlin Castro (Cubs)
3B- David Freese (Cardnials)
c- AJ Ellis (Dodgers)
OF- Matt Kemp (Dodgers) Andre Ethier (Dodgers) and Micheal Cuddyer (Rockies)
This isn’t final as there may be some guys who show me that they deserve to be a Starter in the All-Star game. For my AL People no need to worry I kept a close eye and so far the AL Infield is almost a Detroit Tiger dominated one with Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrerra, and Alex Avila. If Derrick Jetter continues his play then watch for him to be a starter as well. It’s Still early so theirs enough time to vote. Remember fans you can only vote up to 25 times but take time to see who’s really worthy to go.