Dodgers Update for March 23rd, 2018

Good afternoon Dodger fans, and welcome to a quick roundup of some of the news and views out there on the web about our beloved Dodgers.  Clayton Kershaw takes the bump today for his final tune-up before the 2018 season starts on March 29th, and the Dodgers are preparing to depart Camelback Ranch for more permanent quarters at Dodger Stadium.

Will this year be the year?  Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times looks at 5 things the Dodgers need to do in order to get over the World Series hump and finally have a championship parade this fall.

It’s always interesting to get feedback from some of the out-of-town blogs.  Kevin Henry of Colorado Rockies Fansided website “The Rox Pile” has a discussion with Dodgers Way’s Jacob Rudner and Michael Wittman, Jr. about the upcoming season.  Rudner and Wittman share their thoughts on the upcoming season including team strengths and weaknesses, thoughts on rotation depth, and the impact of Justin Turner‘s absence from the lineup.  The Dodgers Way Bloggers believe that the Dodgers will once again surpass 90 wins and possibly flirt with 100 on their way to another National League West title and believe anything short of an NLCS trip would “be disappointing.”  No bold World Series predictions by the two writers, however.

Matt Kemp has turned a lot of heads this spring, and Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times believes that Kemp will be in the Opening Day lineup, batting third.  McCullough posits that the main left-handed hitting compliment to Kemp in left field will be Joc Pederson, with Andrew Toles likely headed to AAA Oklahoma City to start the season in order to get regular at-bats.  Kemp batted third last night in the team’s 4-3 win over the Angels.  Originally considered to be likely to either be traded or released after being acquired from the Atlanta Braves, Kemp now finds himself in the thick of the Dodgers’ 2018 plans.

The Dodgers’ deep outfield is even deeper at the minor league level.  Kevin Henry of Colorado Rockies Fansided website “The Rox Pile” has a discussion with Dodgers Way’s Jacob Rudner and Michael Wittman, Jr. about the upcoming season.  Rudner and Wittman share their thoughts on the upcoming season including team strengths and weaknesses, thoughts on rotation depth, and the impact of Justin Turner’s absence from the lineup.  The Dodgers Way Bloggers believe that the Dodgers will once again surpass 90 wins and possibly flirt with 100 on their way to another National League West title and believe anything short of an NLCS trip would “be disappointing.”  No bold World Series predictions by the two writers, however. Matt Kemp has turned a lot of heads this spring, and Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times believes that Kemp will be in the Opening Day lineup, batting third.”  milb.com’s Josh Jackson takes a look at Dodger outfield prospect D.J. Peters.  Peters was rewarded for his progress with an invitation to big league camp and went 7-for-19 with two homers before being reassigned to the Dodgers’ Minor League camp.  Peters rates as the Dodgers’ number 6 prospect according to milb.com, and developed much of his strength growing up working for his father’s piano transport business.  Peters also talks about growing up watching the last group of Dodger youngsters to come through the pipeline, such as Matt Kemp, Russell Martin and Andre Ethier and talks about the excitement of playing with and competing against Matt Kemp for a possible roster spot during spring training.  If his spring excellence is any indication, Peters may find himself in Dodger Stadium sooner rather than later.

CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry looks at the career of Clayton Kershaw going into his Age 30 season and states that, if he remains healthy, Kershaw could easily finish as one of the greatest pitchers of all-time.  Notably, Kershaw ranks as the top active pitcher and 24th all-time in career ERA, and his 2,120 strikeouts already rank 68th all time, with many Hall of Fame pitchers with high career K-rates easily in sight.

Another Andy McCullough piece looks at Andrew Toles and his return to the field this year.  While much of the speculation has Toles starting the season at AAA Oklahoma City, Toles has certainly made an impact on the team during his time in Los Angeles and figures into both the Dodgers’ present and future plans.  After suffering a torn ACL and missing most of last season, Toles looks to make the most of his opportunities and prove that he has healed.

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