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2014 Minnesota Gameday HQ Round 2

FIELDING With seven of eight fielders returning, these Dodgers can take an already-impressive fielding crew up a whole new level in 2014. Again, there’s talent everywhere. Third baseman Uribe, a standout shortstop a decade ago, can still turn it at age 34, perhaps better than any corner man in the game today, ranking in the top 5 in double plays turned, range factor and fielding percentage at his position. Do-everything catcher Ellis, who only played 109 games last season, lost 15 pounds this offseason in hopes of catching 120-plus games this season. And don’t forget about past Gold Glovers Kemp, Ethier, Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw, not to mention 23-year-old Puig’s 95-mph cannon from right field. Up the middle is murky with shortstop Ramirez and second baseman Gordon. STARTING PITCHING Who has a better 1-2 pitching punch than lefty Kershaw and righty Zack Greinke? Check that. How about a 1-2-3-4 with Hyun Jin-Ryu and newcomer Dan Haren added to the mix? It almost doesn’t matter whether three-time All-Star Josh Beckett goes back in time to find himself and fill in the fifth spot. This Dodger staff is dominating. The 2013 and 2011 Cy Young winner Kershaw controls batters better than anyone in the game (first in ERA last three seasons; first in WHIP last three seasons; first in strikeouts in 2013 and 2011). Funny thing is, Greinke, Ryu and ex-National Haren didn’t fall too far away from that tree, which is part of the reason why the Dodgers ranked second, fourth and second in the National League in those three categories last season and should rate high again. RELIEF PITCHING Whose 2013 story was better? Workhorse Kenley Jansen’s friendly takeover of the Dodgers’ top bullpen role, pitching 75 games as both a middle reliever and closer during the season, posting 28 saves, a 1.88 ERA and 0.861 WHIP, orr ex-Giant All-Star Brian Wilson’s late August move to the enemy, not being scored on in 17 of 18 regular season games (0.66 ERA and 0.878 WHIP), and then pitching six scoreless playoff innings. Pick your poison. These two Dodger ace righty relievers are to die for. MANAGING Should the Dodgers get out to a 30-42 start in 2014, as was the case on the first day of Summer 2013, all hell will break loose. GM Ned Colletti has seemingly done a wonderful job putting this expensive dream team together. But should Manager Don Mattingly, who only received a one-year contract, and Colletti’s team get off to a miserable start and not recover like last season, well, let’s just say we wouldn’t be surprised if Guggenheim Baseball Management showed the other side of Steinbrenner if things run off course. Yasiel Puig STEPHEN DUNN/GETTY IMAGES SPORT


2014 Minnesota Gameday HQ Round 2
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