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Dodgers featured in MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days”

Cody Bellinger hit the home run that put the Dodgers into the playoffs.

MLB Network took its Spring Training show “30 Clubs in 30 Days” to Camelback Ranch with the Dodgers being front and center of the camera alongside Brian Kenny and Dan Plesac.

They kicked off the show by doing a trivia quiz with Dave Robers on the 1945 Cardinals. That team was led by Stan Musial and won 95 games en route to an early playoff exit.

The Acquisitions

Despite starting the season with injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Corey Seager, Kenny and Plesac highlighted the off-season acquisitions that make the Dodgers the team to beat.

The signing of A.J. Pollock to roam the outfield shifted the intended plans to put Cody Bellinger in center field this offseason.

“Guys like Cody Bellinger, Kiké Hernandez, and Chris Taylor allow us to do is give other guys runway. For Cody, we had him penciled in to play center and halfway through the conversation we acquire a great player in A.J. Pollock,” Roberts said.

According to the skipper, Bellinger will now be playing right field. That allows Pollock to keep his gold glove in center and have Max Muncy control first base.

Joe Kelly was another one of the three headlining acquisitions the Dodgers made and will be the bridge to Kenley Jansen.

The Injuries and the Injured

Plesac didn’t shy away from the elephant in the room and addressed the questionable Opening Day start for Clayton Kershaw.

“We’re seven, eight deep. Unfortunately, we’ve had to do somethings with Clayton and injuries the last few years, but we’ve overcome them with our ‘next man up’ mentality,” Roberts said.

The hope is to have Kershaw take the bump against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 28. If that does not work out, the Dodgers are ready for someone else to take the reins.

That other probable pitcher is Walker Buehler, who had a breakout season last year in some of the Dodgers’ highest pressure situations: from Game 163 to the NLCS Game 7 win.

As sabermetrics find their way into the daily operations, Roberts toed around last season’s innings limit for Buehler and the possibility of doing it again. With a deep roster that can make up two starting rotations filled with aces, it gives the Dodgers a luxury to rest their players accordingly.

One of the players who’s coming off extended rest is Corey Seager, who has started throwing across the diamond and has no restriction running the bases.

Despite not necessarily being injured, Kenley Jansen did not have a healthy season. An irregular heartbeat that led Jansen to be defibrillated in Colorado was the start of health concerns. In November, Jansen had heart surgery to correct the beat and is on track for a healthy year.

“Energy-wise, I feel great, I feel I’m in a much better place. Don’t have to think about anything, trust the doctors and know that you’re fixed. Losing weight is not a bad thing either, definitely feeling so much better. I feel like I’m in shape and ready to roll to have a great season this year.” Jansen said.

Unlike last year, Jansen intends to have a normal Spring Training with much more game participation.

The Prospects

A crowded outfield has impacted Alex Verdugo’s playing time tremendously in the major leagues. Both MLB Network hosts agree that the No. 35 overall prospect will either have a large role in the Dodgers success in the upcoming season or be part of a trade package.

Fellow Dodger prospects Dustin May and Gavin Lux were mentioned as formidable contributors to the Tulsa Drillers winning the Texas League Championship. Those two will also be important players in the future as the Dodgers are in a unique position where their major league and minor league teams are finding success at every level.

Out of the two catching prospects the Dodgers have in their pipeline, Will Smith is more likely to get his call up sooner than Keibert Ruiz. Especially with Russell Martin behind the plate at the moment.

The Projected Lineup

MLB Network projected the Dodgers’ 2019 lineup to look somthing like this:

  1. A.J. Pollock CF
  2. Corey Seager SS
  3. Justin Turner 3B
  4. Cody Bellinger RF
  5. Max Muncy 1B
  6. Chris Taylor 2B
  7. Joc Pederson LF
  8. Austin Barnes C

With second base being the only everyday position the Dodgers haven’t fill this offseason, Chris Taylor will possibly fill the No. 4 spot of the field. Considering his offensive breakthrough in 2017, Taylor could bring a production to the position that has been missing the last couple of years.

Pollock’s signing and success as a leadoff hitter give the Dodgers stability in a lineup that is constantly changing. According to Kenny and Plesac, that lineup will once again make the Dodgers the team to beat.

MLB Network Predictions

Kenny: Another 90+ win season for the Dodgers, especially with Seager, Turner, and Jansen expected to have healthy seasons. They’re a better team in 2019 compared to any other year.

Plesac: Even with Kershaw being questionable to start the season, it’ll be a seventh consecutive NL West title for the Dodgers. As one of the deepest teams in the league, they’ll make another run for the pennant and possibly the World Series.

Al Leiter: Exactly 94 wins will come out of Los Angeles, and they’re a better sounding team this year than they were last season. The healthy players at the core of the team (Seager, Turner, Jansen) will be a deciding factor, especially with Buehler taking the mound for his first full season.

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/mlb-pipeline-top-dodgers-prospect-list-comparison/2019/02/28/” type=”big” color=”red”] MLB Pipeline Names the Dodgers’ Top Prospects For 2019[/button]

Written by Megan Garcia

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  1. I watched the MLB 30 clubs in 30 days also. As I have stated over the winter this club barring significant injury should win between 95-100 games. Last year the team played at about .430 pace the first quarter due to losses of Seager and Turner and an ineffective Jansen. They still won 92 games out of 162. Now take away Kemp. Puig and Grandal and add Pollock, Seager, Verdugo. Kelly, Martin and healthy Turner, Jansen, Ryu, Yimi Garcia and Cingrani. It is not reasonable to expect the same production out of Muncy but he should still be very productive especially if we have better versions of Bellinger, Taylor and Barnes.

    This team should be better than the last two years. It will be faster and better defensively in the outfield which counts a lot in the huge outfields of the NL West. And a full time lead off guy in Pollock and a solid 2 slot in Seager which we sorely missed. The Bullpen has the potential to be better. And the starting pitching should be improved with our without Kershaw as they are 7 or 8 deep.

    Plus the Rockies are the only threat in the NL West. Some people in AZ say the Diamondbacks will be better than forecast but the losses of Goldschmidt, Pollock and Corbin will be hard to overcome I think.

    I am a Verdugo fan and think he will eventually if given a chance win the bulk of the playing time in left field and he can also play center or right very well as he has speed and a cannon arm. Plus his splits are very good he had two doubles yesterday taking pitches that jammed him to left field.

  2. But streakiness made catching up a tougher hill to climb last year as opponents exploited a heavily left-handed-hitting lineup and the Dodgers needed a 163rd game just to win the division title. Not falling behind would be a good way to begin.
    In order to improve on last year there must be improvement against LHP.

    • Paul look at the NUMBERS end of May the club was 26-30 a .464 winning percentage..the rest of the way they were 65-41 a 613 winning percentage that is not streaky. That is dominant…

      Everyone keeps harping on left handed problems but the team has Seager back who has great splits, Turner for a full season, Pollock that hits lefty’s well, Verdugo who has great splits and Bellinger had great 2017 splits and is working on his form…Barnes hopefully has found his swing.

      Puig was terrible against lefty’s and so was Bellinger. If you look at a lineup of Pollock, Seager, Turner, Bellinger, Muncy, Taylor, Verdugo and Barnes that is a very powerful lineup and should hit right or left handed pitching well…

      I am really impressed with the Bull Pen possibilities they have some great arms with experience. With Jansen healthy it should be as good as any team in the MLB.

  3. I think the whole team will depend on what Roberts does-We have the players-But is he a good enough manager–Right now I am NOT a fan–But we will see

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