Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and it's only 16 days until the season starts.
NL West rankings: the second basemen
Continuing the NL West rankings at each position:
A word on stats before we begin. OPS+ takes a player's on-base plus slugging percentage and compares it with the league average. It also takes into account the player's home field, so a hitter that plays in a pitcher's park gets a slight boost, and vice versa. An OPS+ of 100 means he was an average hitter. 110 means he is 10% better than average, 90 means 10% worse.
WAR takes all of a player's contributions on offense and defense and tells you how many wins that player is worth to the team versus "What if that player was injured and the team had to replace him with a minor leaguer."
As always, keep in mind that there is no one stat that gives you a full picture of a player and since I don't want to bore you by just listing a ton of numbers, I pick five or six that give you a general idea of what kind of player each person was last season.
1. D.J. LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies (.310/.374/.409/94 OPS+/2.9 WAR). LeMahieu won the Gold Glove last season, and his .302 career batting average is not entirely due to playing in Denver (he hit .294 on the road last season). His only drawback is his lack of power, but that's OK because the Rockies have plenty of players with power.
2. Joe Panik, San Francisco Giants (.288/.347/.421/104/1.3). Panik is one of the pesky players who don't do one thing great, but they do everything well. Near the beginning of September last season, Panik was complaining of fatigue and that the bat felt heavy. Two things to keep in mind this season: Giants hitting coach Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens told him to choke up on the bat by about a half-inch or so. After that, Panik hit .395/.440/.531. Also, Panik hit 10 home runs last season, all on the road.
3. Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks (.260/.345/.395/86 OPS+/1.1 WAR). Marte is a solid defensive player who is moving from short to second this season. He's only 23, so his offense could take a big step up this season.
4. Logan Forsythe, Dodgers (.224/.351/.327/82 OPS+/1.8 WAR). They keep track of almost every stat these days. Guess who led all of baseball in percentage of pitches taken last season? That's right, Forsythe, who took 67.5% of the pitches thrown to him. He may as well sit in the dugout for the first two pitches and go up for the third pitch. Forsythe has seven seasons in the majors now. In four of those seasons, he hit below .230. He does walk quite a bit, giving him a decent OB%, but at some point you have to swing the bat. Please Logan, swing the bat.
5. Carlos Asuaje, San Diego Padres (.270/.334/.362/88 OPS+/0.4 WAR). Most people following the Padres are giving Asuaje the edge at second base over Cody Spangenberg, but it's hard to see why. Asuaje is an average hitter at best and doesn't have nearly the glove the four guys above him on this list have to make up for it. If Spangenberg gets the job, he might slot ahead of Forsythe.
Corey Seager update
He played shortstop for the first time this spring on Monday. Only two balls were hit his way and he says his arm is pain-free. Read all about it here.
Walker Buehler sent down
The Dodgers sent prized pitching prospect Walker Buehler to the minors on Monday, a move that was expected as they try to conserve his innings. He is expected to be back as a starter at some point during the season. The Dodgers do not want him pitching more than 150 innings this season (that includes the minors). Also sent down was Rob Segedin.
Ask Ross Porter
Former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will be back this season to answer select reader questions. To send a question to Ross, email me and I will pass it on to him. Please include "Ask Ross Porter" in the subject line.
Andrew Toles looks ready for the season. Read all about it here.