Five Major Questions for the 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers

Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

Source: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

Can Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson rebound?

Joc Pederson spent the first half of the 2015 season lighting up scoreboards and sparking dreams of a 40-homer season and even a possible rookie of the year campaign. He spent the second half of the season strapping those dreams to TNT and hitting the detonator. Once opposing pitchers figured out how to expose Pederson’s long swing, his production took such a nosedive that he lost his everyday center fielder job to utilityman Enrique Hernandez in August.

Just take a look at his offensive stats by month:

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Joc was able to redeem some of his value by generating a lot of walks in August and September, but was never able to get back up to pre-July levels of production. He’s going to have to if he wants to keep his starting job for the entire 2016 season.

Yasiel Puig is still a Dodger, and barring a dramatic turn of events, he will be the club’s opening-day right fielder for the third straight year. How he’ll perform is anyone’s guess. He could be 2013 Puig, who was otherworldly. He could be 2014 Puig, who was elite. He could be 2015 Puig, who was overweight, injured, and limited to 77 games. Last year, a flood of accounts ranging from news stories on Yahoo! and Bleacher Report to Molly Knight’s New York Times bestseller The Best Team Money Can Buy shed light on just how much of a clubhouse headache Puig was. As the reports came in, so did numerous trade rumors that ultimately went nowhere. Puig is without a doubt Dave Roberts’ toughest challenge in his first year as Dodgers manager, and 2016 may wind up being the Cuban phenom’s make-or-break year with the club. Not only does Puig have to behave himself, he must stay healthy in order to turn around his production. And he’s not the only one…

3 Responses

  1. Michael N. Norris

    Lets put it this way…….fans HAD high expectations. If Greinke was still a Dodger and they had that lock down 1-2 punch they had last year with the new additions, then yeah. BUT, this is a flawed roster filled with more holes than Swiss cheese.

    Reply
  2. bandrewv

    Basically none of the hitters in last year’s lineups had spectacular years. Bright spots, there were a few, but we won 92 games despite the fact, as was mentioned in the article, we had the 3rd lowest run production in the second half of the season. I think it is fair to count on most of this lineup regressing and showing improvement back to more typical production (maybe not for Crawford, he seems to be done…). All over the diamond, I think you can say, “odds are that guy will be better than he was last year.” I feel OK about the starting lineup and feel perfectly comfortable in Friedman’s judgement of what it takes to get this team back into the playoffs. Lucky for him, he has the resources to make in-season moves. Better to be in a decent position with plenty of options to start the season, than a marginally better position with much fewer options. As we’ve seen time and time again, it’s all about getting into the playoffs. Once there, it’s anyone’s guess who will take the crown! So, in my humble opinion, Friedman, if you can get us to the playoffs year-in and year-out, that’s the #1 most important thing. I’ll take the opportunity to coin flip over the “guarantee” of a championship any day.

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  3. Carlos Rendo

    Great article! Unfortunately, I injured my hamstring reading it.

    Reply

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