Dodgers Roundtable: Who Will Under Perform?

Aug 27, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pinch hitter Carl Crawford goes down after a close pitch in the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 27, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pinch hitter Carl Crawford goes down after a close pitch in the eighth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The last question in our staff roundtable is all about the Dodger players we think will under perform this season.

Alex- Andre Ethier

It’s always tough to call out a player to underperform, but I think Andre Ethier falls back to earth this season. Last year, Mattingly utilized Ethier perfectly, limiting him to only 48 plate appearances against lefties. Ethier was healthy and hit righties hard like he has in the past, but I’m not sure if I can see him doing it again this year. It’s hard for me to buy into a player putting up his prime numbers a few years past his prime.

If he’s not traded before his 10-5 rights kick in, he starts the season as the everyday left fielder against righties. If he sustains the success he had last year, everyone will be happy. If not, I could see Trayce Thompson taking over as the everyday left fielder, jumping over Ethier, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke. A Thompson/Yasiel Puig/Joc Pederson outfield is the best defensive outfield they can throw out there and each guy could be a 20/20 player if things go right (Puig and Joc need to learn how to steal bases at the major league level, but they’re more than fast enough).

Amanda- Chase Utley

First of all, this question hurt my heart a little. It was really hard to look at the team and pick a player that I think will under perform. However, that being said I found one player in particular that might not rise to the occasion.I think Chase Utley will under perform in 2016. He is coming into the season at the age of 37. Though there is no denying the impressive career he has had, I think age is going to catch up with him this year. Not only is the fact that he is 37 years old a problem, but he is still facing a possible suspension for the slide in the post-season against the Mets and Ruben Tejada. I like that he is an old school and gritty player, but with the suspension and his age I do not think Utley will be able to be a stand out player this coming season. Unfortunately, he is my guess for the player that is likely to under perform.

Daniel- Carl Crawford

Carl Crawford is the most obvious candidate for me here. A player who derived a lot of his value from his speed (on both sides of the ball) for most of his career, enters the 2016 season at 34 off the back of a series of injury plagued seasons. Crawford’s speed, defense and power have all been steadily declining since 2010 (as you would expect for a player on the wrong side of 30) and after appearing in just 69 games in 2015 will likely need more than a few games to find his swing.

Also a problem for Crawford is the fact that he is seemingly blocked from any sort of meaningful playing time in 2016, with Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Andre Ethier, Scott Van Slyke and potentially Trayce Thompson ahead of him on the depth chart. This lack of playing time will likely hinder Crawford’s ability to provide any sort of value in 2016 – providing he isn’t straight up cut out of Spring Training.

Chris- Scott Kazmir

The Dodgers got nice new addition by signing Scott Kazmir to a 3-year deal to help out in the rotation. The lefty started last year in Oakland and ended it in Houston after being traded midseason and finished with a shiny 3.10 ERA. In 18 starts in Oakland, he dominated with a 2.38 ERA. With Houston though, he pitched to the tune of a 4.17 ERA.

Luckily for the Dodgers, his FIP (a stat that judges a pitcher based on the events he controls, like strikeouts, walks, HBP, and homeruns) says he pitched better than his ERA with Houston showed. Unluckily for the Dodgers, his FIP also says he didn’t pitch as well with Oakland as his ERA showed. All in all, Kazmir finished 2015 with a 3.98 FIP, suggesting he pitched over his head last year. I’m expecting something in the middle, more similar to his 2014 ERA of 3.55. It’s not exactly ace-level like in his last half season in Oakland, but it’s solid third starter production who can make 30 starts per year which the Dodgers will gladly take.

Aamer- Carl Crawford

More from Dodgers Way

Do I really have to answer this one? It feels an awful lot like betting against a family member. If I had to choose someone it would have to be Carl Crawford. I just don’t know if his body can handle the rigors of a Major League season anymore. It seems like every year he has a muscular problem that sidelines him for a huge chunk of the season. And when he recovers, he plays well for a little while, and then gets injured again. It’s a good thing the team has some outfield depth because as sad as it is to say, Crawford is not really someone who you can count on to play a lot of innings anymore.

Andrew- Brett Anderson

Just having Brett Anderson healthy last season was huge for the Dodgers, as they dealt with their fair share of injury problems for the season. In 2015, Anderson pitched a career-high 180 1/3 innings for the Dodgers with a 10-9 record and a 3.69 ERA. The problems I have with Anderson is his difficulty in getting batters out. Last season, Anderson posted a 3.94 FIP along with a WHIP of 1.33. Anderson also had a BABIP of .310, which isn’t all that impressive. I would be very surprised to see Anderson hold up for another full year, which really will make or break his role with the Dodgers. Thankfully, the Dodgers have Julio Urias and Jose De Leon waiting for their chance.