Roundup: Roster predictions, record predictions, Smith’s balance, Paxton’s stuff, Top 100 lists galore, more

As Spring Training gets started, roster prediction season has begun (and so have record projections). We’ll probably do some ourselves later. Plus, there’s a couple quality analysis reads on a few Dodgers, and a whole load of Top 100 stuff.


The Athletic: Roster prediction season is here! Honestly, not a whole lot of drama this year from the looks of it, but Fabian Ardaya gives it a crack.

FanGraphs: Team record projections are always fun to get people’s blood pumping at least, and ZiPS has the Dodgers at 94-68, with a 94% chance to make the playoffs and a 16% chance of winning the World Series, both of which are the second-best projections in baseball (to the Braves).

Baseball Prospectus: Meanwhile, PECOTA has them at 102-60, with a near 100% chance of making the playoffs and a 19% chance of winning the World Series, both of which are the best in baseball.


FanGraphs: Esteban Rivera looks at hitters whose weight distribution was wonky last year, including Will Smith and Enrique Hernandez.

When you transfer too much weight over your back foot, you either get stuck and create a path which leads to lazy fly balls to the opposite field or you fall too heavy on your front side and hit grounders like Smith did against Manaea. You lose depth in your bat path and can’t cover as much of the zone with your barrel. For Smith, that negatively impacted his wOBA on outer third pitches. For the bulk of his career, he has been able to cover those pitches, so this should be something he can fix. To do that, he’ll have to get back to his early 2023 swings where he was balanced and creating space for his bat to work through the zone.

His leg lift started working on an angle towards his back leg, which allowed him to have a controlled explosion and balanced swing. With the Dodgers, he had a 96 wRC+ – much more in line with his career 94 mark. Yes, it was over a sample of 185 plate appearances, but the movement quality improvement is undeniable.

Baseball Prospectus: Michael Ajeto goes deep on James Paxton‘s pitches. Definitely read the whole thing, though his conclusion seems similar to mine.

If it isn’t the most James Paxton thing ever, you could argue that he was on the verge of an elite season before he tweaked his knee on June 24th. I don’t know if I would make that argument, per se, but through that point, only Jacob deGromSpencer Strider, and Taj Bradley had posted higher strikeout minus walk percentages. Clearly, the story hasn’t changed. When he’s healthy, Paxton is still very, very good, even without his best secondaries. Can he stay healthy? History says it’s unlikely, but he’s in a rotation that has the firepower to make it a less dire situation than others.


MLB Pipeline: Dodgers land just Dalton Rushing at #75 and Nick Frasso at #80 in their Top 100.

MLB Pipeline: Diego Cartaya, Jackson Ferris, and Gavin Stone do land on their list of prospects who just missed their Top 100.

ESPN: Dodgers have five prospects in the Top 100 from Kiley McDaniel, with Josue De Paula at #68, Rushing at #75, Cartaya at #85, Frasso at #86, and Andy Pages at #87.

ESPN: Overall, the farm system of the Dodgers is ranked 8th in baseball, worth an estimated $247 million.

Since the Dodgers’ top three prospects will all likely retain their prospect status and a couple players from that international group will likely rocket up the rankings, keep an eye on this as a potential top-five system at this point next year — provided they don’t make some big trades to help that big-money MLB roster.

The Athletic: For this Top 100 from Keith Law, there’s De Paula at #25, River Ryan at #33, Rushing at #86, Stone at #95, and Thayron Liranzo at #99.

The Athletic: Among those that just missed the Top 100 for him is Cartaya.


MLB: The promotional schedule for the Dodgers is out. It seems like there’s understandably going to be a lot going on in 2024.


My body is ready for baseball already.

About Chad Moriyama

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"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times