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Restoring the rosters: No. 2 – Los Angeles (NL)

Sep 8, 2009, 4:50 PM EDT

This is part of a series of articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
No. 28 – San Diego
No. 27 – Milwaukee
No. 26 – Baltimore
No. 25 – Chicago (AL)
No. 24 – Chicago (NL)
No. 23 – Pittsburgh
No. 22 – Detroit
No. 21 – Tampa Bay
No. 20 – New York (NL)
No. 19 – Houston
No. 18 – Oakland
No. 17 – St. Louis
No. 16 – Florida
No. 15 – San Francisco
No. 14 – Texas
No. 13 – Cleveland
No. 12 – Minnesota
No. 11 – Arizona
No. 10 – Los Angeles (AL)
No. 9 – Toronto
No. 8 – Boston
No. 7 – Colorado
No. 6 – Montreal/Washington
No. 5 – New York (AL)
No. 4 – Philadelphia
No. 3 – Atlanta
It’s finally time for what I viewed as the two powerhouse teams. While No. 1′s presence at the top of the rankings will probably come as a surprise to many, everyone should have known the Dodgers would rate highly, even if not one of their former Rookie of the Year winners is still in the league.
Rotation
Ted Lilly
Chad Billingsley
Clayton Kershaw
Edwin Jackson
Hiroki Kuroda
Bullpen
Joakim Soria
Jonathan Broxton
Ramon Troncoso
Pedro Feliciano
Takashi Saito
Hong-Chih Kuo
Chan Ho Park
With four guys who have pitched like All-Stars this year, this rates as the best rotation any team has produced. Kuroda is another above average starter for the fifth spot, and even if you didn’t want to include Japanese players in the rankings, you could just go ahead and plug in some guy named Pedro Martinez instead.
The bullpen also rates in the top three, thanks in large part to Soria’s presence. The Dodgers signed him out of Mexico in 2001, but he made just four appearances in Rookie ball for the team before getting hurt and eventually released.
Depth is an obvious strength as well. Missing out on spots were Cory Wade, Dennys Reyes, Wesley Wright, James McDonald and Eric Stults. No Eric Gagne either, of course.
Lineup
LF Shane Victorino
C Russell Martin
RF Matt Kemp
1B Paul Konerko
3B Adrian Beltre
CF Franklin Gutierrez
2B Willy Aybar
SS Alex Cora
Bench
1B James Loney
OF Delwyn Young
INF Andy LaRoche
C David Ross
INF Chin-Lung Hu
The lineup isn’t quite as strong, mostly because of the middle infield. Aybar can hit, but he’s a weak defensive second baseman. Cora lacks range at shortstop these days, and I’m not sure that Hu isn’t the better option there. There are also Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Devaris Gordon on the way, so things could get better at shortstop before long.
The outfield defense would be absolutely phenomenal. Gutierrez might well be the game’s best center fielder right now, and Victorino and Kemp both rate in the top 10 or so. I’d love to see what Lilly could do in front of that group.
Summary
The Dodgers produced five straight Rookies of the Year in the ’90s: Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi, Hideo Nomo and Todd Hollandsworth. All are out of the league now and the team hasn’t come up with one since, but obviously, the talent has continued to flow. Given the job done by the scouting department, it’s more than a little remarkable that the club went 19 years without winning a postseason series before advancing to the NLCS last year.

  1. Beezo - Sep 8, 2009 at 5:20 PM

    Not trying to be nitpicky, but the Dodgers won a postseason series last year vs. the Cubs. Before that, they hadn’t won a series since 88.

  2. Matthew Pouliot - Sep 8, 2009 at 5:25 PM

    Damn. That was always such a fun fact, too.
    Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. JS - Sep 8, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    And now we have the Mariners at #1. A-Roid. Griffey. Ichiro. Yeah…they are stacked.

  4. JL - Sep 8, 2009 at 7:31 PM

    I honestly have no idea what the M’s lineup will look like, but I sure hope Griffey isn’t starting in it.

  5. WhiteSoxIlini - Sep 8, 2009 at 11:24 PM

    My attempt at forecasting the Mariners.
    Rotation
    -Felix Hernandez, R
    -Derek Lowe, R
    -Gil Meche, R
    -Joel Pineiro, R
    -Mike Hampton, L
    -Jason Hammel, R, Spot Starter, Long Reliever
    Hampton gets the nod over Hammel just so the rotation doesn’t consist of all right-handers.
    Bullpen
    -Ryan Franklin, R, Closer
    -Brian Fuentes, L
    -Matt Thornton, L
    -George Sherrill, L
    -JJ Putz, R
    -Mark Lowe, R
    There are 4 legitimate closers, and one who’s capable of closing once Bobby Jenks gets traded (Thornton).
    Lineup
    -RF Ichiro, L
    -CF Adam “Not Pacman” Jones, R
    -LF Raul Ibanez, L
    -3B Alex Rodriguez, R
    -DH Ken Griffey, L
    -C Kenji Johjima, R
    -2B Jose Lopez, R
    -1B Jeff Clement, L
    -SS Willie Bloomquist, R
    Very good lefty-righty mix throughout the lineup. Ibanez’s renaissance no doubt pushed the M’s up these rankings. 1B is lacking a true Major caliber starter. Varitek could start at 1B, but without his defense and game-calling at catcher, he’s kind of worthless. Johjima isn’t hitting well enough to play 1B either. Clement at least has potential and some pop.
    Bench
    -C/1B Jason Varitek, S
    -INF Yuniesky Betancourt, R
    -OF Terrmel Sledge, L
    -UT Dustin Ackley, L
    Summary
    -Overall, the M’s are a very good and balanced team, with few holes (1B, SS, lefty starter). There’s a reason why they’re #1 in these rankings.

  6. Ski - Sep 9, 2009 at 12:33 AM

    You forgot David Ortiz. I’d slide Griffey to the bench in his favor.

  7. Ricky Ledee Lives - Sep 9, 2009 at 3:39 AM

    Expected the dodgers to be number one when this started but I didn’t expect Victorino to be your left fielder on that club, that’a a freakin disgrace.

  8. WhiteSoxIllini - Sep 9, 2009 at 3:13 PM

    Good call on Ortiz. I’m bound to miss some people, heck I’m not a professional sports writer. Instead of Griffey however, I’d replace Clement with Ortiz. Put Ortiz either at 1B or DH, with Griffey occupying the other spot. That solves the 1B hole.
    The revised lineup..
    RF, Ichiro, L
    CF Adam Jones, R
    LF Raul Ibanez, L
    3B Alex Rodriguez, R
    1B/DH David Ortiz, L
    C Kenji Johjima, R
    DH/1B Ken Griffey, L
    2B Jose Lopez, R
    SS Willie Bloomquist or Yuniesky Betancourt or Matthew Pouliot
    With Clement on the bench and his capability to play C, I’d replace Varitek with another prospect.

  9. Kenny - Sep 10, 2009 at 11:45 AM

    This Dodgers team is better then the Mariners. The Dodgers SP is just ridiculous, depending on how you look at it they have 3 number 1′s, a number 2, and Kuroda could be a average 2 or very good 3. Any 5 of these guys would kick all the Mariners starters out with the exception of Felix, and a couple maybe Pinerio. And we all know if Pinerio was in the AL this year, his numbers wouldnt be this good. The bullpen would be pretty damn to, with two very good closers.The defense would even be pretty damn good. They arent great up the middle, but they arent terrible either. They have a very good defensive 3B, and KOnerko is average at 1B. The OF defense is ridiculous. Which would only make all these pitchers even better. The offense may not be great, but with the pitching and defense, even with this offense, this team is def the best

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