Friday, March 28, 2008

Blake DeWitt could start at 3rd base

Andy LaRoche? Torn ligament in right thumb, out 2 months.

Nomar Garciaparra? Microfracture in right wrist, out 1-2 weeks.

Tony Abreu? Strained right groin, out 2-3 weeks.

And that, my friends, is why young Blake DeWitt could find himself thrust into the 3rd base position to start the season.

Before looking at the whole situation, let's look at DeWitt. He's had 41 at-bats thus far, hitting .224 with an OBP of .339. Of his 11 hits, 4 have been doubles, 2 were home runs, and 1 was a triple. He has more walks than strikeouts at 9 to 7. So, it shows he has pretty good pop in his bat when he does get a hold of one.

Still, a .224 AVG isn't exactly Earth-shattering. In today's day and age, it seems like more baseball people worry about the OBP, and at .339, that's not really jumping off the page either. Seems to me that his extra-base hits have caused optimism on his behalf.

He's never played about the Double-A level, but in the Dodgers' case, they don't exactly have many other options. Chin-lung Hu is more of a SS or 2B, which is where he'll find himself if Jeff Kent can't go to start the year. Therefore, DeWitt it is. His minor league stats show that he could be good for around 15-20 HR and 65-75 RBI a year.

I think it's worth a shot to see what he can do. He really doesn't have much pressure on himself, unlike LaRoche last year, when he failed miserably. LaRoche was expected to immediately start producing runs, whereas DeWitt has better hitters surrounding him this year (addition of Andruw Jones, improving hitters of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Russell Martin). It could work for the time being.

In the meantime, the injury bug that seems to always find its way to the Dodgers' clubhouse has not disappointed. Kent's injury seems minor, so that's a plus. Nomar's could go either way from what I can tell, which is not at all surprising. Abreu keeps digging himself more and more of a hole with another injury and a poor Spring. His days could be numbered when LaRoche is healthy and if DeWitt and/or Hu play well.

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