Thursday, December 27, 2007

LaRoche and Kuroda highlight list for top rookies

Dayn Perry from has another top 10 list, this time for rookies. Fortunately for fans of the Dodgers, two of their young blood are included. Here's the list:

1. Clay Buchholz, SP, Red Sox
2. Joba Chamberlain, SP, Yankees
3. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
4. Andy LaRoche, 3B, Dodgers
5. Kosuke Fukudome, OF, Cubs
6. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox
7. Homer Bailey, SP, Reds
8. Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Dodgers
9. Chase Headley, OF, Padres
10. Daric Barton, 1B, A's

About LaRoche - "Last season, Dodger third basemen combined to "hit" .254 AVG/.327 OBP/.386 SLG, while the average major-league third baseman put up a batting line of .273 AVG/.342 OBP/.443 SLG. As you can see, L.A. has some ground to make up. Fortunately, LaRoche, as long as he's plugged into the lineup and left alone, should do the job. In five minor-league seasons, LaRoche hit .295 AVG/.376 OBP/.525 SLG, so he's got the track record. In 2008, don't be surprised if he posts an OBP of .350 or better and slugs .450 or better. Needless to say, such numbers would constitute a drastic improvement over what the Dodgers got from the hot corner in 2007."

About Kuroda - "The signing of Kuroda gives the Dodgers the deepest rotation in the National League. Kuroda throws four pitches for strikes, keeps the ball on the ground and has good control. Scouts say he's got a knack for bearing down in the late innings and with runners in scoring position. At age 32, his ceiling is obviously quite limited, but in 2008 Kuroda should be good for 200 innings or so and a sub-4.00 ERA. That's just what the Dodgers need at the back of the rotation."

I really hope LaRoche is the answer at 3rd base. Nomar Garciaparra is the other option, and he just seems like he's on his last limbs of life. It's too bad how badly his body has broken down, but that's the way it is. I know he can't be counted on to play too much, so LaRoche should get plenty of chances to strut his stuff. But, if he struggles out of the gate, I've got to think that the Dodgers will think trade for an upgrade.

Kuroda I've discussed before, but I still think it's a good signing. They got a good arm and did not have trade any of their prospects to do so. Even if the deal is pricey, it's a good investment.

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