Found February 21, 2013 on Dodgers Rumors:
In 2012, Luis Cruz was by far the biggest surprise of the season. Though some may try to argue that, it’s hard to argue a .297/.322/.431 batting line that included 6 home runs, 40 RBI, and 20 doubles in 296 plate appearances. Hopefully the 29-year-old can build on that performance and establish himself as the Dodgers starting third baseman. So who will it be in 2013? I got some ideas. Sure it’s probably a bit early for all this, but I can’t think of one reason not to get this out in the open. After all, I figured it was about time to have some fun around here again. Juan Uribe, don’t laugh I am being serious. Okay, I can’t even help but laugh. But in all seriousness, Uribe may surprise us all in 2013. Granted it wouldn’t take a whole lot since our expectations for him have all but evaporated. I’ve looked around at some of the stat projectors in the business, apparently it’s going to take a miracle. Could that miracle be Mark McGwire? McGwire known for focusing very little on mechanics and purely on approach, maybe McGwire can help Uribe regain some of that magic he had in San Francisco. Uribe is set to play all infield spots this spring to get him some regular looks. Mattingly recently said that he plans to have Uribe learn first base this spring. Interesting. Clearly the Dodgers haven’t given up on Uribe. Kevin Gregg, the ten year veteran has a lot to prove in 2013. The non-roster invite is hoping to prove he can be a force in the Dodgers bullpen this season. Gregg, 34, has been fairly useful over the last six seasons, averaging 28.6 saves from 2007-2011. Gregg didn’t post any saves in 2012 so I am not qualifying that into the equation. His production certainly took a turn on downward spiral in 2012, but if he can get back to the 2007-2011 form, the Dodgers may have found a solid option for the 2013 bullpen. Gregg certainly has the tools and proven success, now the rest is up to him. Dee Gordon, nobody has more potential on the Dodgers roster than this kid. Probably the early favorite for the biggest surprise in 2013, but unfortunately the deck is stacked heavily against him. Hanley Ramirez has already been announced as the starting shortstop, and why not? He’s among the league’s elite shortstops. That leaves Gordon all but destined to begin the season in minors to get more seasoning. After all, sitting on the bench isn’t going to do the youngster any good. The once superstar in the making suddenly has found himself on the outside looking in, but what’s the solution? Well Gordon was obviously rushed to the big leagues, but Ramirez assuming he stays at short is still under contract for 2014, not good for Gordon. Long term options are simple, trade him, bury him a bit in the minors, or teach him a new position. Will Gordon do enough to force Hanley back to third? I doubt it. Carl Crawford, 31, is returning from August Tommy John Surgery. He is progressing ahead of schedule and has already begun hitting in the cages. Crawford wasn’t long ago one of the elite outfielders in all of baseball. Crawford’s career got derailed in Boston as he never really got things going. I’m picking Crawford to be the biggest surprise and I am even going to go out on a limb and call him the 2013 NL Comeback Player of the Year. I am projecting a line of .297/.331/.452 with 16 homers and 28 stolen bases. If he can get his wheels under him, I can see him snagging his second Gold Glove. Zach Lee, one of the potential sleepers for the 2013 season. He might do some really good things in 2013 but I don’t think it will be for the Dodgers. Yup, I still have him pegged to be traded to San Diego for Chase Headley. I’m not wavering on that until I hear something new to go off of. If he stays in Los Angeles you can bet we will see him at some point, especially if Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, or Ted Lilly are shipped out of town. Skip Schumaker, the Dodgers new second baseman? Perhaps. I could see him beating Mark Ellis out of the starting job in Spring Training. Still, while I have tons of hope, my expectations remain very low. Schumaker certainly has a lot to prove. I believe he is up for the challenge. Wait, so that could leave him with the biggest opportunity to surprise…interesting indeed. Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers former closer, is all but destined to start the season as the primary set-up man for Brandon League. I will argue until I am blue in the face that Jansen is better than League in every part of the game. His repertoire, his athleticism, his passion for the game, it all screams future All-Star. I project Jansen to earn his closer job back, not just because he is more dominant, but because he is just a better pitcher. Of course there is the heart issue that Jansen has been dealing with for quite some time. Hopefully that issue has been dealt with properly and Jansen can get back to being one of the best closers in all of baseball. There it is. Time to post your thoughts and votes for the biggest surprise in the comments section. If I omitted someone you think is capable of out surprising the aforementioned, let’s hear it. Related Posts:Anibal Sanchez On The Dodgers RadarDodgers Will Revisit Pitching Needs As Offseason BeginsPlenty Of Pitching Options For DodgersDodgers Winter Meetings: Day 2 RecapDee Gordon Officially Hits The Trade Block
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
RELATED ARTICLES

Three Dodgers — Paco, Amezaga, Moylan — withdraw from WBC to focus on winning jobs

Paco Rodriguez, Alfredo Amezaga, and Peter Moylan, three Dodgers with realistic shots of making the Opening Day roster, have withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic to focus on making the club. With Scott Elbert rehabbing, Paco and Moylan in particular are competing for the spot of lefty-specialist, though J.P. Howell would appear to be the front-runner there. Amezaga would appear...

Los Angeles Dodgers: 3 Up and 3 Down

In most cities, January means NFL excitement, not baseball excitement.  Then again, Los Angeles is not most cities. The Dodgers hopes for a 2013 division title will undoubtedly be on the shoulders of  Matt Kemp (top) and Andre Ethier. On January 26th, the Los Angeles Dodgers held a Fan Fest at Dodger Stadium and approximately 21,000 people showed up. 21,000 – that is more than...

Virus Strikes Eliezer Alfonzo, Matt Wallach On Deck

Non-roster catcher Eliezer Alfonzo won’t be in the Dodgers’ major-league camp this spring, as he remains in his native Venezuela infected with dengue virus. Don’t ask me. Wiki that thing if you must. All-in-all a tough break for Alfonzo who is on a minor league contract with the Dodgers. Alfonso was already given permission to report late to camp so he could tend to a family...

Speedsters: Examining the fastest prospects in the Dodgers' farm system

Speed, as much as it tries to make a comeback, is still a lost art in baseball. Gone are the days of Lou Brock, Vince Coleman, Rickey Henderson and Maury Wills stealing 100-plus bases in a season. The Dodgers have one player who's come up through the system in recent years to have plus-plus speed: Dee Gordon. While fast, he hasn't been able to get on base enough to...

Could the Dodgers pull of a deal for Seattle’s Casper Wells?

The Dodgers bench is looking bleak offensively for the 2013 season. Unless something of the miracle type happens during the spring, the Dodgers bench is not looking very impressive. Juan Uribe, Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, and Tim Federowicz just don’t scream or even whisper “offensive threat” off the bench to me. First of all, the Dodgers bench is of the ripened...

Dodgers Rumors: Team will likely have to trade Dee Gordon

The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't short players in very many positions.  This is certainly true of shortstop.  Hanley Ramirez moved bad to short when he came over from the Miami Marlins.  This left Dee Gordon out in the cold.  Actually, Gordon was nursing an injury, but now he's left out in the cold. The Albuquerque, New Mexico cold. Gordon is expected to start the...

Kemp, Crawford miss exhibition opener

PHOENIX Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford won't be in the lineup Saturday when the Dodgers open their exhibition season against the Chicago White Sox. And they won't be in the lineup Sunday, either. Manager Don Mattingly said he doesn't expect the rehabilitating outfielders to play in Cactus League games until early next month. Kemp is recovering from a major shoulder operation...

Matt Kemp rallies from behind in Face of MLB contest

It was about 5:00pm yesterday afternoon when I was casting my votes away, in hopes of helping Matt Kemp rally from behind in his effort to beat Jayson Heyward. At this time, with less than 8 hours to go, Heyward had 62% of the votes, Kemp with 38%. This was a major deficit, though some ground had been made on 80 percent deficit Kemp faced earlier on in the day. The situation seemed...

Player Profile #73: Zack Greinke | SP | LAD

In the last three years Zack Greinke has posted FIPs no higher than 3.34, yet his lowest ERA during that span is just 3.48. He’s been one of the most “disappointing” pitchers by FIP standards with only Luke Hochevar, Derek Lowe, and Ricky Nolasco posting larger gaps between ERA and FIP over the last three years (among the 71 SP who’ve average 150 innings per season). That’s...

ME AFTER STANDING BEHIND MATT KEMP AT THE LA MALL

The post ME AFTER STANDING BEHIND MATT KEMP AT THE LA MALL appeared first on THEHUSKER.COM.

Kemp, Martin, Billingsley, Kuroda, and Two Dudes I Never Want To See Again: It's OK, When It's A Six-Way.

I have a soft spot in my collecting heart for cards which pair my favorite players together. If the price is right I have a hard time passing up cards that kill two or more birds with one cardboard stone.Today's post features one such piece of cardboard I recently came to own. For under a dollar a swatch I landed a sweet Teammate Timelines Six Swatch Memorabilia hit from 2009...

Podcast: 'Dugout Blues' episode 24 - prospects galore, BA Top 100, Q&A

On this episode of "Dugout Blues," Jared Massey (L.A. Dugout) and crack wise about prospects, as we often do. Massey released his Top 20 Dodger prospects list and I tell him why he's utterly and completely wrong. We also look at a couple of surprises in the Dodgers' system from the Baseball America Prospect Handbook -- specifically, Bobby Coyle and Joey ...

Player Profile #68: David Ortiz | 1B | BOS

When Adrian Gonzalez first came to Boston at the start of 2011, one of the first things fans noticed was the effect he had on David Ortiz. Somehow in his 15th and 16th major league seasons, Ortiz put up his two best single-season strikeout rates, 13.7% and 13.3%, respectively. Whether or not that truly was Gonzalez’s doing is moot; the former slugger is now an all-around hitter...

New Life

VIDEO & FEATURE: Dallas McPherson returns to Los Angeles -- the same town where his once-promising career was derailed -- but with a different team, and a different outlook on his career and the game.
Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.