3. Zack Greinke’s Best Year with the Dodgers May Come in 2015
Clayton Kershaw has been surprisingly human through the first two weeks of this MLB season. However, in the absence of the MVP-level Kershaw, Greinke has had a stellar start to the year. Greinke has started the year with two wins in three starts, and no losses. His 12 hits allowed and two walks over 19.2 innings pitched gives him a WHIP of 0.71. That is good enough for second in the National League.
Greinke has been using his change-up at a much greater capacity this year. Over his career he has thrown the change-up 9.9% of the time, compared to 26.4% this year. The 2009 AL Cy Young winner has thrown just under half of his Ks this year using the change-up, and batters are only hitting .143 against it.
Zack Greinke had a pretty great year in 2014 with the Dodgers, but he is on pace to do better in just about every statistical category at this point. Greinke is a top pitcher, and, believe it or not, will benefit even more when Kershaw is back to himself.
2. Dodger’s Improved Bullpen Could Be League’s Best when Jansen Comes Back
If you had said “The Dodgers’ bullpen will hold them back this year” two weeks ago, not many would have disagreed with you. If you said that now, I would probably think you don’t watch much baseball. The Dodgers’ bullpen has been dominant thus far. In the National League, the Dodgers bullpen is first in strikeouts, tied for first in WAR, and second in earned runs allowed.
The Dodgers’ bullpen has allowed nine earned runs over 37.1 innings (2.18 ERA). This number becomes even more impressive when you realize that eight of those runs came in the bullpen’s first 18 innings pitched. Only one earned run over the last 19.1 innings gives LAD’s pen a 0.47 ERA.
1. Adrian Gonzalez‘s Early Success is Real
After Gonzalez set the MLB record for most home runs in the first three games of a season (5), expectations were high. The next two weeks raised Dodgers’ fan’s hopes even more. Gonzalez opened up the year with hits in 11 straight games, 23 hits overall.
A-Gon is currently leading the entire MLB in hits, runs, doubles, multi-hit games, total bases, extra base hits, OPS, OPS+, slugging percentage, batting average, on-base percentage, and WAR; he leads the National League in homers and RBI’s. During Gonzalez’s 11-game hitting streak to open the season, he had two or more hits seven times, and three or more hits four times.
Adrian Gonzalez is breaking all sorts of franchise records through the first 12 games of this 2015 MLB season. We would all love to see another 30+ HR year from A-Gon; and while this is unlikely, and keeping up this pace is almost impossible, I do think Gonzalez will remain in the MVP race for the rest of the year and could potentially lead the NL in two of three Triple Crown categories.