Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I guarantee that the Russians have not influenced my rankings at all.
Comparing the teams
Continuing each weekday until conclusion, I will take a look at all five NL West teams, comparing them at each position, the rotation and the bullpen. Every team will be ranked at each position so we can get a better idea of where the Dodgers stand as they try to win their first World Series since the Reagan administration. If you see a stat you don't recognize, such as WAR or FRAA, just click on it and you will be taken to the explainer. All stats are courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
The emails I received for the first base rankings contained a mixture of people who thought I was insulting Adrian Gonzalez and those who thought I was insulting Wil Myers.
Looking back, I do think I had Myers too low. I am going to retroactively move him up to fourth place, and he will shoot up the rankings if he puts together another season like last year.
Today, we move on to second base.
1. DJ LeMahieu, Colorado
Last three seasons: .307 AVG/.366 OB%/.412 SLG%/6.6 Offensive WAR/ 3.4 Defensive WAR
LeMahieu won the batting title last season, and it wasn't entirely because of Coors Field. He hit over .300 at home, and on the road, he showed more pop than usual, drew more walks and cut down on his strikeouts. He's not the crystal-clear No. 1 that Buster Posey was at catcher and Paul Goldschmidt was at first, but he has done more than enough to get first place over the next guy on our list.
2. Logan Forsythe, Dodgers
Last three seasons: .262/.334/.419/8.1 OWAR/1.8 DWAR
Forsythe has been a consistent hitter over the last two seasons, hitting pretty much the same against righties and lefties, at home and on the road, etc. He has a slugging percentage of .444 in both of those two seasons. The big problem for Forsythe is his defense, which isn't exactly Gold Glove level. He's not a prototypical leadoff hitter, as his OB% is on the low side for a leadoff guy and his career high in steals is nine. But he should fit nicely with the Dodgers, and he will have Chase Utley around to tutor him on how to play second better.
3. Joe Panik, San Francisco
Last three seasons: .280/.343/.403/5.3/0.9
Panik was atrocious at the plate last season, hitting .239 with a .315 OB%. He did win the Gold Glove though, which lifts him to the No. 3 ranking. The gap in the rankings between LeMahieu, Forsythe and the rest of the list is pretty big, and you could make an argument for any of the below to be ranked third.
4. Brandon Drury, Arizona
Last two seasons: .275/.321/.449/1.2/-1.7
After playing at least one game at every position the last two seasons except catcher and center field, Drury is locked in as the Diamondbacks' second baseman this season. He had decent power last season (31 doubles, 16 homers), but he doesn't walk much and doesn't excel defensively anywhere.
5. Ryan Schimpf, San Diego
Last season: .217/.336/.533/2.5/-0.5
"Wait," you are saying, "Schimpf hit 20 homers as a rookie last year. He should be higher than fifth." But he was 28 last season, really old for a rookie. Plus, after a red-hot July and August, the league figured him out and he hit .171 with four homers and 38 strikeouts in 96 at-bats in September.
This concludes the look at second base. If we assign points based on where a player ranks at each position, giving seven points for first place, five for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth, then the NL West stacks up like this so far, with many positions left to look at:
Colorado, 7 points
Dodgers, 5 points
San Francisco, 3 points
Arizona, 2 points
San Diego, 1 point
That brings the grand total after three positions to:
San Francisco, 15 points
Dodgers, 13 points
Arizona, 11 points
Colorado, 11 points
San Diego, 4 points
Ask Ross Porter
Once again, former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will be answering select reader questions. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on. The answers will begin once the season starts, but send the questions in now.
Trayce Thompson's restored health is a positive sign for the Dodgers.