The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the most electrifying lineups in all of baseball. If the offense can help out the Dodgers’ fantastic pitching staff, they will undoubtedly compete for the World Series.
1. Yasiel Puig
Puig’s rookie season in 2013 is one for the ages. He finished the season with 19 home runs, most of which happened right after he was called up. His .319 batting average was spectacular, especially for a rookie. If he gets better, he will be one of the best players in the game.
2. Carl Crawford
Crawford had a good 2013 which he needed. The veteran had never really hit his stride since leaving Tampa Bay, but last season he batted .283 with 30 doubles. Crawford needs to stay consistent because the Dodgers have four big name outfielders. Crawford has hit home runs in the All Star Game – where he was MVP – and the World Series. With tons of playoff experience, Crawford will be a key factor to this team and has proved he can be one of the best.
3. Hanley Ramirez
The former rookie of the year is coming off a season where he only played 86 games but managed to hit .345 with 20 home runs and 25 doubles. If he can put up those numbers the whole season, that will boost the team’s World Series chances even more.
4. Adrian Gonzalez
Last season Gonzalez hit .293 with 22 long balls and 100 runs batted in. He was the number one overall pick in the 2000 MLB Draft from Eastlake high school in San Diego. He has played with the Rangers, Padres, Red Sox and now the Dodgers. Known for his power, Gonzalez has hit home runs in the NLCS and the All Star Game. He is one of the most feared hitters in the league, and he has led the league in walks.
5. Matt Kemp
Kemp finished second in the MVP race to controversial Ryan Braun in 2011. Since then Kemp has struggled with injuries. In 2013 Kemp played in only 73 games and hit .270. Overall, he is a career .293 hitter. He has led the league in home runs, runs batted in, stolen bases, and WAR. He has also flashed the leather by winning the Gold Glove.
6. Juan Uribe
Uribe finished with a .278 batting average in 2013 which was up from the .191 he hit in 2012. He was able to contribute nicely for the Dodgers by hitting 12 home runs and knocking in 50 runs. Uribe won the World Series with the Giants and can be a threat everytime he steps up to the plate.
7. A.J. Ellis
Ellis hit a homerun in the NLCS, but overall, his 2013 season wasn’t as good as his 2012. His average was .238 in 2013 which is 32 points below his previous season. He is the favorite catcher for some of the Dodgers’ pitchers including Clayton Kershaw. Anything he can contribute on offense is a bonus.
8. Alex Guerrero
Guerrero just signed a four year contract with the Dodgers this offseason worth 28 million dollars. At just 26, and from Cuba, it appears he should be able to put up some great numbers. His stats from last season in Cuba are pretty impressive for a second baseman where he hit .290 with 21 home runs.
Ethier is a former great player who has won the Gold Glove and has hit home runs in the NLDS and NLCS. Last season he batted .272 with 12 home runs and 33 doubles. His role with the Dodgers for 2014 is still up in the air but he will most likely find himself pinch hitting a lot.
Federowicz went up and down from the Dodgers and their minor league affiliate last season. He filled in with his .231 average in 56 games.
Gordon, the son of a former player brings plenty of speed to the Dodgers. Like Federowicz, Gordon also spent portions of time between the minor leagues and the Dodgers. Last season he played in 38 games and batted .234. In 181 career games he has batted just .256. If he can contribute, he can become a key part of this Dodgers team. If he can’t contribute, his career could be numbered.
The Dodgers will be World Series favorites if everything goes right on offense. They don’t even have to hit that well because of how good their pitching staff is.
You can follow Thomas Frey on Twitter: @ThomasFreyRP