Commentary

Scouting report: Los Angeles Dodgers

Originally Published: September 28, 2008
By Keith Law | Scouts Inc.

The Dodgers ambled into the playoffs out of the majors' weakest division, and four National League teams have equal or better records but won't play in October. I'm not sure what the opposite of "battle-tested" is, but you can apply it to the Dodgers.

Strengths

The Dodgers' bullpen is one of the best in baseball, full of power arms who throw strikes. Its top three arms are dominant. Takashi Saito, one of the most underrated closers in the game, sets up hitters with a 92-93 mph fastball with good life and gets swings and misses with a power curveball that has a hard downward break. Hong-Chih Kuo, a former starter who couldn't stay healthy in that role, throws 93-95 mph from the left side with a sharp slider in the low 80s and an average changeup. He's a lefty-killer who is just as effective against righties. Jonathan Broxton typically works as the eighth-inning guy but closed in Saito's absence and was extremely effective. He throws 95-97 mph with a slider in the high 80s that touches 90, and shuts down right-handed hitters. His control has improved significantly since 2006, the last time the Dodgers made the playoffs. (Five of his walks this year were intentional, as manager Joe Torre is wrapped in a new love affair with the free pass.) Still, his weakness against lefties makes him a minor liability against any team with left-handed options on the bench.

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