The fourth question in the Dodgers’ Way staff roundtable was all about the players we are most excited to see in 2016.
Alex- Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw
I don’t want to put too much stock in a guy that hasn’t even been able to buy a drink for a full year, but you’re crazy if you’re not excited to see what Corey Seager is going to do this year. He’s saying all the right things, saying he still feels the need to go out and earn the shortstop job. He reported to camp early. He tore it up last September. Last year, we saw what rookie shortstops like Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor can do. On Baseball America, Seager was rated the fifth best prospect, Correa fourth, Lindor ninth. So he’s right in that conversation, and if he can put up similar numbers to the top-two AL Rookie of the Year votegetters, the Dodgers should be in good hands.
It’s another copout answer, but it’s always exciting to see what Clayton Kershaw is going to do. He had a good case for the Cy Young last year and finished with 301 strikeouts. And he was kinda garbage for a month. He wasn’t really and all peripherals pointed to him still being as dominant as ever, but he had a 4.32 ERA after nine starts. If he can get off to a stronger start this season, it’s going to be crazy to see the types of numbers he puts up.
Amanda- Corey Seager
There is one player in particular that I am excited to see in 2016 and that would be Corey Seager. I have followed his career since he was drafted and even got to go to many of the minor league games he played in. Having done so, I have seen his talent up close for years. I think he has a ton of potential and with baseball talent that runs in the family, I’m excited to see where it takes him. Not to mention I think he has one of the prettiest swings I have ever seen. For a guy who is 6’4, he is very smooth at fielding the ball. He has great awareness of the game and his ability to stay calm and just focus at each pitch is incredible. He has a lot of pressure placed on him already from fans and the organization, but with his work ethic and humble attitude I think he can live up to all the hype.
Daniel- Walker Buehler and Hyun-jin Ryu
I’m always a sucker for young talent so I’m really excited to see what Corey Seager can produce over the course of a full season. I’d also like to see Jose de Leon and Grant Holmes see some innings with the big club as I think they’re both high-ceiling arms. Like everyone, I’d like to see Julio Urias at some point but I can’t envision the Dodgers calling him up in 2016 given the amount of starting depth they’ve compiled and his lack of professional innings. There are however, two players that really stand out to me as players to watch in 2016.
The first player I’m truly excited about won’t even be on the 40 man roster this year. Walker Buehler (the Dodgers 1st round draft pick in 2015) will spend most of the season rehabing from Tommy John Surgery, however, both he and the Dodgers are targeting a return to the mound in Instructional League later this year. I can’t wait to see how he recovers from the procedure because if he can regain the sharpness in his pitches Buehler could sit at the front of the Dodgers rotation in the near future.
Similarly, Hyun-Jin Ryu is a player I’m anxious to see as he recovers from a torn labrum. The odds are stacked against him but if he can pitch like he did in 2013/2014 the Dodgers are definitely one step closer to that elusive World Series title.
Chris- Yasiel Puig
Yes, we’ve heard it all before. Yasiel Puig has matured, he’s in better shape, he’s more willing to take direction from other players. None of that exactly worked out for Puig in 2015 as he posted a good but not great .255/.322/.436 slash line while playing in only 79 games.
Call me naïve, but I’m willing to give him another shot at being the starting right fielder. Outside of Corey Seager (who I’m also excited to see) and Clayton Kershaw, there’s arguably no player on the Dodgers with more potential than Yasiel Puig. Any 25-year old player who has the tools to be an MVP contender is all right in my book. If the “Wild Horse” can be the same player in 2016 as he was in 2013 and ’14, the character concerns will disappear and he’ll be free to flip all the bats he wants.
Aamer- Corey Seager
Corey Seager all the way. This kid is just exciting. Every time he steps up to the plate you stop whatever you were doing and watch, kind of like Yasiel Puig from a couple of years ago. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he handles his first full season of Major League baseball and I’m guessing most Dodger fans are in the same boat. The way he came up last September and just destroyed Major League pitching has me salivating over his offensive potential. It will also be interesting to see how he handles the shortstop position over the course of a full season. Many analysts have predicted that a move to third base is in his future and it will be fun to see if he can shut those guys up.
Andrew- Corey Seager
Corey Seager might be one of the best prospects the game of baseball has seen since Bryce Harper, and that is saying a lot. Seager dominated every single level he played at in the minors, receiving his first call to the big leagues this past September. In 27 games played, Seager posted a .337/.425/.561 line with 4 HR and 17 RBI. With Jimmy Rollins out of the picture this season, Seager should be given the green light. The possibility of regression is always there, but I do not know how much he could regress. In Seager’s four minor league seasons, he hit .307 with a .891 OPS. If Seager’s statistics can carry over, we possibly could be looking at the next great star in baseball.