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A bunch of Dodgers waiting to welcome Charlie Culberson, who had just hit a game and division winning home run against the Rockies at Dodger Stadium

 

LOS ANGELES DODGERS – 60th season in L.A. and 128th season overall

First Season: 1958 (in Los Angeles) and 1890 (in Brooklyn)

Final Record: 91-71, National League West Champions, finishing four games ahead of the San Francisco Giants

* Beat the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series, 3 games to 2

* Lost to the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series, 4 games to 2

Manager: Dave Roberts, 2nd season

Who’s New:

2B Logan Forsythe

OF Franklin Gutierrez

P  Sergio Romo

 

GETTING CAUGHT UP: Highlights of the Dodgers in 2016, courtesy of YouTube

 

Key Position Players (2016 stats):

Corey Seager, SS (2016 NL Rookie of the Year) – .308 average, 26 home runs, 72 RBI, 40 doubles, 105 runs scored

Justin Turner, 3B – .275 average, 27 home runs, 90 RBI

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B – .285 average, 18 home runs, 90 RBI

Joc Pederson, CF – .246 average, 25 home runs, 68 RBI

Yasiel Puig, RF – .263 average, 11 home runs, 45 RBI, MUST have a breakout year as this is pretty much his last chance

Key Pitchers (2016 stats):

Clayton Kershaw: 12-4, 1.69 ERA, 172 strikeouts

Kenta Maeda: 16-11, 3.48 ERA, 179 strikeouts

Rich Hill: 12-5, 2.12 ERA, 129 strikeouts

Kenley Jansen (closer): 3-2, 1.83 ERA, 104 strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched, 47 saves

 

The reigning Rookie of the Year in the National League. Photo courtesy of gettyimages.com

 

 

Thoughts/Predictions:

For a team that set a major league record for players on the disabled list last year, these Dodgers had a great season!

Considering that they beat the Nationals in an epic NLDS and gave the Chicago Cubs all they could handle before succumbing to a 108-year old destiny, Dave Roberts – in his first season as manager no less – must be given much credit and kudos for the job he did.

Now as they begin their first year without the greatest broadcaster in the history of sports, Vin Scully; I honestly feel sorry for Joe Davis as he’s about to break a prominent rule: NEVER follow a legend,

People say that the Dodgers have the talent and depth to legitimately challenge the Cubs for the pennant again and reach the World Series for the first time in 29 years (which is not remotely as long as the Cubs’ 108-year drought, but still…).

I tend to agree with the pundits that L.A. has a good shot, but I’m not going to crown them kings right now as like every other contender, so much has to go right.

 

I don’t have to tell you who this best pitcher on earth is, as he blows his fastball by the Cincinnati Reds

 

That the number of players they put on the DL has to significantly decrease is foremost on that list.

As was mentioned, Puig has to have the breakout season that the Dodgers and their fans have been waiting for as he begins his fifth year in blue.

And Forsythe, the new second baseman, can’t be a bust.

If everyone stays healthy and has the season they are capable of, I don’t see any reason why those Dodgers won’t be competing deep into October.

However..

Before everyone plans that victory parade in Downtown L.A., let them play their 162 games in 180 days first as they not only have to get by the Cubs, but also top teams like the Nationals, the New York Mets, the St. Louis Cardinals, and their longtime rivals from roughly 400 miles up the coast, the Giants – who will once again be their main challenge in the division.

Then we’ll see how things unfold.

 

My Official Prediction: I see these Dodgers winning anywhere from 90 to 95 games, with a more than excellent chance to win their fifth straight National League West title if fate smiles on them.

 

 

Mar 21, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (23) congratulates right fielder Yasiel Puig (66) after scoring during the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

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