The sounds of baseballs hitting players’ gloves are finally back at Camelback Ranch. This means that the long off-season is over and Spring Training is underway. All the Dodgers pitchers and catchers have reported to Glendale, Arizona, along with many position players. With the first pre-season game less than a week away, it’s time to ask some very important questions.
Will Logan Forsythe Bounce Back?
Logan Forsythe‘s first year in Los Angeles was a huge disappointment. Dodger fans expected him to put up remarkable numbers with his bat. Instead, he hit .224 with 6 home runs and 36 runs batted in. After he got off on the wrong note at the beginning of the season, he struggled with injuries that kept him from being the offensive force the Dodgers expected him to be.
Will Chris Taylor Stay Hot?
In 2016, Chris Taylor was just another name in Triple-A. He then made changes over the off-season and we saw a brand-new Chris Taylor in the spring of 2017. When Spring Training ended, Taylor was the 26th man on a 25-man roster. He was brought back to the Major Leagues early in the season and he never looked back. The former second baseman took over center field and the leadoff spot in the lineup. The speedy slugger hit .288 with 21 home runs and 72 runs batted in. After having such a remarkable turnaround last winter, the Dodgers are hoping he can put up big numbers this year.
Where Do Matt Kemp and Joc Pederson Fit In?
Joc Pederson‘s 2017 season was horrendous but his World Series performance was spectacular. This off-season he ramped up his workouts with the goal of getting a starting job in left field. Matt Kemp was traded back to the Dodgers this offseason. He reported early to spring training this year and the biggest surprise was that he was 41 pounds lighter. He also wants to start in left field. I don’t think we will know who will get the spot until spring training ends.
Can Clayton Kershaw Remain Healthy?
Clayton Kershaw has struggled with back problems for the last two years. In 2016, it was a herniated disk. In 2017, it was a lower back strain. Despite time on the DL, Kershaw pitched well both years. But what can we expect from him this year? If his back gives him problems again, the Dodgers are likely not going to re-sign him when his contract expires. The Dodgers need him to stay healthy in 2018. But because of his back issues, what can we realistically expect from him this year?
Is Corey Seager Healthy?
Corey Seager always says that he feels fine but you can’t always believe him. Towards the end of the 2017 season, Seager’s elbow was causing him lots of pain. He ended up having to miss about ten days to let his elbow rest. He also injured his back during the NLDS against the Diamondbacks. It was so bad that he had to miss the NLCS to let it recover. He decided not to have surgery to repair either his back or his elbow this offseason. He says he feels great but I’m not sure we can believe him. He hasn’t thrown more than 100 feet this offseason. Will he be healthy enough to make the roster?
How Will The Starting Rotation Look?
Unless he gets injured, Clayton Kershaw will once again be the number one starter for the Dodgers. It’s logical to assume that lefty Rich Hill will be next. If I were putting together the rotation I would put lefty Alex Wood behind Hill. This gives us three lefties in a row so far. I think that the next logical starter would be Kenta Maeda. I know that he struggled as a starter in 2017 but he’s a smart pitcher and I think he can recover. The pitchers who will be fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation are Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brock Stewart, and Ross Stripling. You can also expect to see Walker Buehler at some point this year.
Can Cody Bellinger Avoid The Sophomore Slump?
The reigning NL Rookie of the Year, Cody Bellinger, is well aware of what is called a Sophomore slump. After hitting .267 with 39 home runs and 97 RBIs in 2017, Bellinger is trying to keep his stats from dropping in 2018. He has been working hard over the offseason and he put on fifteen pounds of muscle to help him. Will it be enough? We’ll see in just a couple of months.
If you have any more questions that you would like to ask or if you have an opinion on these questions, please comment below.