2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Team Predictions

From the nice ladies and gentlemen of True Blue LA, I give to you the results of 2 months of rosterbation and predictions from all of, well, us. It took some time but by filling in the blanks with help from Pure Azure, keithc13, and G.Scott, we all put together a TBLA consensus (or at least a TBLA average). Sometimes this meant a total of 3 predictions (Jamey Wright), sometimes this meant a total of 42 predictions (Matt Kemp).

Baseball Prospectus expects the Dodgers to finish in last place with 77 wins, 2 behind the Rockies and Padres. As a group, True Blue LA expects the Dodgers to go 84-78. Upon reviewing the average projections for the team, an 84-win finish seems to be more or less consistent with the statistics people expect the players to put up.

First off, our starting rotation. With the addition of Harang and Capuano to solidify the back end, Ned Colletti made sure to fill it out this season, with Eovaldi in reserve similar to how he signed Padilla to take over in case of injury to our main five on the mound. Some wish he had retained Kuroda, though he was no more of a sure thing than Capang™ is out there.

Player IP ERA K/9 BB/9
Clayton Kershaw 222.1 2.59 9.93 2.34
Chad Billingsley 191.2 3.61 8.17 3.41
Ted Lilly* 168 3.88 7.36 2.19
Aaron Harang 141.1 4.46 7.17 3.03
Chris Capuano 166 4.15 8.4 2.76

*Starting season on the 15-day DL

The immediate things to point are:

  • No one expects Kershaw to fall too far from glory, though they compromised between his 2010 and 2011 numbers.
  • True Blue LA thinks that 2010 Chad is the real Chad.
  • Nothing remarkable will come from Ted Lilly, but he'll be a solid #3 option, according to the masses.
  • Harang's low innings pitched number comes from my 50 IP prediction, I projected him as 2012's 2011 Jon Garland. If you remove my prediction, his average innings total rises to 159.1, a whole 3 starts more than the original average
  • Chris Capuano was predicted by several to have more strikeouts than innings pitched, which is why his predictions call for a career high in K/9, though last year he posted a 8.13 K/9, so this is within the realm of possibility for the Dodgers 5th starter.
  • Overall, other than Chad's ERA being a bit high for a #2, the ERA's suggest a standard #1-#2-#3-#4-#5 configuration as far as the "number" a starter can be assigned from his performance in general. Though, I'm sure we know that Kershaw is somewhat better than your average #1 starter.

The rest of the team is after the jump.

Player Name IP ERA K/9 BB/9 Saves
Javy Guerra 61 3.55 7.79 3.53 29
Kenley Jansen 67.2 2.03 13.4 3.83 18
Scott Elbert 61.2 2.29 9.53 3.33
Todd Coffey 63.1 3.69 6.8 2.9
Matt Guerrier 63.2 3.76 6.13 3.18
Mike Macdougal 49.2 3.98 6.45 5.1
Jamey Wright 38.2 4.18 4.1 3.5
Josh Lindblom 48 3.56 7.63 3.5

The bullpen seems to shape up well, if the consensus is to be believed.

  • More people expect Javy Guerra to get the lion's share of the closer duties, with him and Kenley Jansen sharing it somewhat, though it seems though we as a group seemed divided on who will ultimately hold down the job, resulting in neither being projected to have a standard closer's trophy shelf of saves.
  • We don't seem to believe our bullpen will blow up, or we at least all expected it to be a different reliever and were too divided on the issue of who it will be to give any one reliever the axe.
  • Despite that last point, it is clear that Jamey Wright is considered the weakest link, with the highest ERA and lowest IP and K/9.
  • We all think that Kenley Jansen and Scott Elbert are nails.
  • As much as Ned Colletti is criticized, our bullpen projects to have a solid if unspectacular middle relief corps.

The pitching as a whole grades out to a 3.53 ERA over 1291.1 innings pitched. Last year, this ERA would have placed us 5th. The 5th place team last year? The Dodgers, with a staff ERA of 3.56. About 150 IP are missing from the projections somewhere, likely taken out because of pitchers who are injured. Nathan Eovaldi, Shawn Tolleson, John Ely, Michael Antonini, Scott Rice, Chris Withrow, Josh Wall, and Rubby De La Rosa figure to make up that total with at least replacement quality innings.
On the run prevention side, the Dodgers should be pretty solid, however, the hitting is where the trouble is, as we all know.

Dee Gordon 0.288 0.323 0.353 0.676 3 69
Mark Ellis 0.256 0.314 0.352 0.666 10
Matt Kemp 0.306 0.381 0.545 0.926 37
Andre Ethier 0.302 0.379 0.513 0.892 29
Juan Rivera 0.254 0.314 0.395 0.709 8
James Loney 0.288 0.351 0.44 0.791 16
Juan Uribe 0.247 0.298 0.379 0.677 13
AJ Ellis 0.256 0.355 0.346 0.701 5

While the Dodgers struggled in 2011 to score runs, the predictions point to a return to a respectable offense, with Loney, Uribe, and Ethier to improve on last year's campaigns and for AJ Ellis to pick up some OBP to help the team out now that Rod Barajas and his inability to let a pitch travel outside the strike zone is gone.

  • The projections for the lineup are pretty optimistic, all things considered.
  • The lowest OPS numbers come from the top 2 in the lineup, Gordon and Ellis, however, their OPS's are at least OBP-heavy, and if Gordon has a .323 OBP and steals 59 bases, the team will be in decent shape at the shortstop position provided his defense isn't in the toilet.
  • Likewise, if Ellis improves from 2011's number to a .314 OBP, he'll at least be worth keeping around for his defense, though he would be better off serving in the 8 hole with AJ Ellis batting second to take walks.
  • If Juan Uribe hits 13 HR and improves his OPS to .677, he won't be great, but I think we have to take that if we could choose that option right now. His defense is solid enough at 3rd that we could use that kind of occasional power in the bottom of the lineup.
  • Same goes for Loney: if he can flirt with an .800 OPS, I'm sure only the most optimistic of people wouldn't be satisfied by that. With an apparent absence of first basemen on the trade market, a bit more of Jim will help James provide for the team.
  • We think Matt Kemp will take a step back, but not too far, keeping his OPS above .900.
  • True Blue LA is really buying into Andre's health and spring so far. As someone who's notably unhappy with his contract status, it's not far-fetched to think that Andre Ethier will want to solve his problem with an OPS in the high .800's now that he's finally healthy. This is the year that Ethier brings home the dough.
  • Juan Rivera's numbers for us seems to be the one area where we don't improve much over 2011, but considering the black hole of suck that was left field for the Dodgers last year, like I've said, I think we have to take it. It would be a step back from his 2011 OPS of .740 and it comes with below average defense, but as long as he's not giving us DFA-quality at-bats, the position is his to keep.
  • I didn't add in at-bat totals for position players, because for many people they weren't included and the roster becomes a complete mess if we try to figure out how often the position players will play. But it's safe to assume that some members of the nursing home will go down the 15-day DL road once or twice, opening up a spot for a Josh Fields or Jerry Sands down in AAA.

Jerry Hairston Jr.
Adam Kennedy
Tony Gwynn
Matt Treanor
Justin Sellers

And finally, the bench. Considered the weakest point of the Dodgers roster by many, it is a powerless bunch. The only reason Jerry Hairston Jr is even predicted to hit 7 HR is because he's likely to see the most at-bats of the bunch, otherwise, it's mostly a low-OBP, low-power bunch with Tony Gwynn and Justin Sellers as the only slick glovemen.

  • If Justin Sellers puts up a .723 OPS, i think we have to start him at 2B and bat him 7th or 8th (Though, who am I kidding? Mattingly would obviously bat him 2nd and we all know it.). That .330 OBP would look mighty fine with his defense at a position like second base.
  • Treanor is expected to be the worst of the bunch, which is not surprising considering he's a catcher. Though his performance, if at this level, will be abysmal, I don't think that the Dodgers would DFA him until his OPS drops below .550 because of something like "veteran leadership." Of course, he is an old catcher, so seeing someone like Tim Federowicz or Gorman Erickson would not be much of a stretch at all.
  • Gwynn and Hairston project out as acceptable bench pieces, though fringy at best. Hairston's pure versatility and Gwynn's spectacular glove out in the outfield will make them good additions to any bench with those slash lines, however, Adam Kennedy and Matt Treanor are ultimately where this bench falls short and earns it's reputation as being one of the worst in the majors.

Now, after reviewing the predictions for the individual players, i have to say that I think the TBLA prediction of 84 wins is a tad low. If these guys give us this level of production without an excessive amount of injuries, I have to stick with the prediction of 86 wins I contributed in the season prediction thread. With a light schedule during the first half of the season, and the potential for the Dodgers to add a big piece or two at the deadline should any become available, they could stretch forward and clip 90 wins, but something in the mid-80's is what we should expect. With the way the division seems to be shaping up, 86 wins might just be enough.

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