A RIVAL SCOUT SIZES UP THE DODGERS
You gotta bank on them being the class of the division—they got two guys that can stop a bad streak, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.... Yasiel Puig's always gonna be streaky because he'll get overanxious, swing first pitch and all that. But there'll be more power this year—he might hit 25 bombs—and he's gonna do nothing but get better.... Jimmy Rollins isn't what he used to be, but he's not done yet, either. If he gets his hands on the ball, you're going to be out, and he knows how to position himself.... Joc Pederson is ready. He's short to the ball, he hits good fastballs, sprays the ball around. There's no reason he shouldn't be in there for Rookie of the Year.... Corey Seager's a top prospect. He's a big shortstop—6'4"—but I think he'll stick there. I don't want to say he's like Cal Ripken, because I don't think that's fair to the kid.... Kershaw: great. I don't think his playoff struggles are due to fear or anything. Some people think he tips his pitches—but people say stuff. I'll take my chances with him in October.... Brett Anderson, man, it's just keeping him on the field. He might have an old body for a young man. He doesn't have smokin' stuff—maybe his curveball is his only big plus—but he can pitch.... It's weird, seems like everyone has a great bullpen but the game's richest team. The pen, and who is going to close until Kenley Jansen gets back from foot surgery, is a real concern. I do think when they get the big guy back, they'll be fine.
Though the Dodgers traded away one high-priced outfielder this winter in Matt Kemp, they still enter the season with one too many. Andre Ethier, 33 in April, has no room to play on a team that has rookie sensation Joc Pederson taking over in center, Yasiel Puig as an everyday player in right and the even more expensive Carl Crawford in left. Ethier doesn't have much value as a platoon bat, either, with two of the starters batting lefthanded. Scott Van Slyke and Chris Heisey are better fits for what the Dodgers need. There are still three years and $56 million remaining on Ethier's ill-considered contract extension, making him untradable. It's a lot of money to eat, but the Dodgers may have to just release the veteran. Having him around creates a roster crunch that affects the development of both Pederson and Puig, who don't need to think about how Ethier is waiting anytime they go hitless for two straight nights.
LEAGUE RANK 2
MANAGER DON MATTINGLY 5TH SEASON WITH DODGERS
2015 PROJECTED STATISTICS BY ROTOWIRE.COM
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PUIG)
TOM LYNN FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (KERSHAW)