The Los Angeles Dodgers are NL West Champs. How good does that sound?
Dodgers fans deserve this, given how rough the last couple of years have been. From the tragic incident surrounding Bryan Stow to the tragedy that was Frank McCourt. Success and a quality ball club have been a long time coming.
Personally, the 2013 season is one giant blur. I am having trouble separating the pre-Yasiel Puig Dodgers from the post-Yasiel Puig Dodgers, and figuring out the difference between 30-42 and 92-70 is next to impossible. You just wonder what actually changed, if anything.
While you cannot go on a historic run like this team did without some help from "A" students, you also cannot end up 30-42 without some "you're going to need to retake this course next year" students as well.
That being said, here are the final grades for your 2013 Dodgers.
Note: I used the opening day roster, in addition to the call ups from the season. The players that appear are grouped by position.
All statistics via baseballreference.com
Clayton Kershaw is going to be your 2013 NL Cy Young and if it were not for a flukey, but feel good, story from R.A. Dickey in 2012, this would be Kershaw's third consecutive Cy.
In 2013, Kershaw appeared in just 33 games yet has the second-highest WAR in all of baseball, 8.5. The only person ahead of him? Mike Trout, with a WAR of 9.2
I'm not here to ruffle any feathers or pretend to understand how voting in baseball works, but if he did more in 33 appearances than Carlos Gomez (8.4), Andrew McCutchen (8.3) or Paul Goldschmidt (7.1) did in full seasons as position players shouldn't Kershaw win MVP?
Games Played: 33
Final Statistics: 16-9, 1.83 ERA, 0.915 WHIP, 236 IP, 232 K, 8.5 WAR.
Much of the Dodgers cockiness, swagger and arrogance is explained by the arrival of Yasiel Puig. Zack Greinke, though I doubt he minds, deserves a fair share of credit for the cockiness, swagger and arrogance as well.
Greinke was a catalyst in both of those altercations, and while the early season scuffle with San Diego seems meaningless now, the Dodger's tiff with the Diamondbacks was undoubtedly a season changing moment.
Greinke did his thing all year long, and the Dodgers followed.
Games played: 28
Final statistics: 15-4, 2.63 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 177.2 IP, 148 K, 4.0 WAR.
When the Dodgers signed Hyun-jin Ryu to a six-year, back-loaded contract people viewed it as quite a risk. He isn't young, he's already put plenty of miles on his arm and body, and he had never pitched outside of Korea before this season.
In 2013, he only made $3.3 million (back-loaded, remember) and he won 14 games. The Dodgers, for the first time since Yasiel Puig showed, look like bargain shoppers.
Ryu was consistent throughout the season, something the pitching staff needed desperately, and despite his inability to speak English he developed an all-time great friendship with Juan Uribe.
The friendship is on the "Woody and Buzz" level. Check it out.
Games played: 30
Final statistics: 14-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.203 WHIP, 192.0 IP, 154 K, 3.4 WAR
When the Dodgers traded for Ricky Nolasco, you could hear a collective "hip hip hooray" throughout the city of Los Angeles.
Few things are as enjoyable as your team trading for a much needed piece, particularly when said piece is from the area. I love it when the Dodgers bring someone home.
Nolasco plugged a hole perfectly down the stretch, and while nothing he did was spectacular or unforgettable, not having him would have been far worse than having him.
Games played: 16
Final statistics: 8-3, 3.52 ERA, 1.195 WHIP, 87.0 IP, 75 K, 0.4 WAR
Remember everything I said about the Nolasco move? I felt the opposite way about Edinson Volquez coming to the Dodgers. When my Twitter timeline reported that the Dodgers picked him up, seemingly hours after the Padres let him go, I was in shock. It was my "Hank on the toilet moment."
Yet for the same reasons Nolasco fit in, and succeeded, Volquez did as well (kind of). The back-end of the Dodgers rotation was in shambles all season long and Volquez became a necessity.
While his numbers are not impressive, he may have pitched his way onto the postseason roster in the last week.
Games played: 6
Final statistics: 0-2, 4.18 ERA, 1.179 WHIP, 28.0 IP, 26 K, 0.1 WAR
Stephen Fife is our third stop-gap in a row and he, as was the case with Nolasco and Volquez, did what was asked of him.
He made spot starts early in the season and came back and pitched in middle relief down the stretch.
Fife had an extreme high (seven innings, four hits, shutout baseball) and an extreme low (four innings, nine hits, four runs) in back-to-back starts. Those two starts, and the results, are a microcosm of Stephen Fife's 2013.
Games played: 12
Final statistics: 4-4, 4.18 ERA, 1.526 WHIP, 58.1 IP, 45 K, 0.1 WAR
We have come to our first member of the 2013 negative WAR club. Chris Capuano sees Stephen Fife's inconsistency over 12 appearances, and raises him 24 appearances of just as much inconsistency.
Capuano had his moments in 2013, but they were few and far between and if not for the injury to Matt Kemp, I would have been fine with him being left off the postseason roster.
Why bring Capuano to the playoffs if you've got a bullpen full of young, dynamic, hard-throwing arms?
Games played: 24
Final statistics: 4-7, 4.26 ERA, 1.410 WHIP, 105.2 IP, 81 K, -0.1 WAR
Hindsight has never been more 20/20 than it was with the Dodgers' decision to replace Kenley Jansen with Brandon League as the closer (likely because of the money he is making.)
League blew save after save, frustrated fan after fan, and is one of the many reasons I'm slowly balding at 21. He is also president of the 2013 Negative WAR Club.
If I never see him pitch again for the Dodgers, that would be wonderful.
Games played: 58
Final statistics: 6-4, 5.30 ERA, 1.546 WHIP, 54.1 IP, 28 K, -1.4 WAR
Several weeks ago, I wrote about Belisario and said that he "disappointed" in 2013. "Disappointed" is an understatement.
Compared to his 2012 numbers, his ERA is a point and a half higher, his WHIP is half a point higher and he magically forgot how to strike out opposing hitters.
That being said, he still managed to lead the team in appearances, also magical. As was the case with Capuano and League, I don't think Belisario will be necessary in the coming weeks.
He can just hang out with Brandon League in the 2013 Negative WAR Club.
Games played: 77
Final statistics: 5-7, 3.97 ERA, 1.471 WAR, 68.0 IP, 49 K, -0.6 WAR
The Chicago Cubs were trying to throw Carlos Marmol into Lake Michigan when the Dodgers called and said, "Wait, don't!"
As weird as the Marmol move was, it became far less weird when Edinson Volquez showed up. Given the historic hot streak the Dodgers were on, a small part of me thinks that Ned Colletti was just trolling the world with these moves.
Marmol showed up in Los Angeles, had a rough start, settled down and had a rocky finish. He wasn't nearly as bad as some of the guys the Dodgers threw out there, but he also wasn't nearly good enough to have a shot at meaningful baseball.
Games played: 21
Final statistics: 0-0, 2.53 ERA, 1.547 WHIP, 21.1 IP, 27 K, 0.3 WAR
J.P. Howell is the first reason Capuano and League have no business touching a baseball in any facet this postseason.
Howell is a hard-throwing lefty that has been rock solid all season long, particularly down the stretch. In 15 innings of September baseball he only allowed four hits, four walks and zero runs. His season, statistically, is beyond impressive and quite surprising.
With runners on the corners and one out I trust Mattingly, and he trusts Howell.
Games played: 67
Final statistics: 4-1, 2.03 ERA, 1.048 WHIP, 62.0 IP, 54 K, 1.6 WAR
Paco Rodriguez, along with Kenley Jansen and Chris Withrow, is one of the many reasons I am excited about the future of these Dodgers.
Rodriguez is a tall, strong, hard throwing, lefty that happens to only be 22 years old.
His season was a surprise given his age and lack of experience at the big league level. While he has fallen off a little bit down the stretch, likely due to overuse, I expect big things from him in big moments this October.
Games played: 76
Final statistics: 3-4, 2.32 ERA, 0.902 WHIP, 54.1 IP, 63 K, 1.5 WAR
Chris Withrow, like Paco before him, is a tall, hard throwing righty that happens to only be 24.
Coming into the 2013 season, Withrow had never thrown a pitch on the major league level which didn't seem to phase him. He was clutch, aggressive, dominant and earned the trust of the fans.
While his youth and inexperience might not get him much time on the mound this October, if he is called upon I have utmost faith in him.
Games played: 26
Final statistics: 3-0, 2.60 ERA, 0.952 WHIP, 34.2 IP, 43 K, 0.7 WAR
Wilson, despite the pattern of this piece, was a signing I was entirely on board with when I heard about it. Brian Wilson? A Dodger? YES!
Over the course of just 18 appearances and 13.2 innings, Wilson has established himself as the second most dominant arm out of the Dodgers bullpen and is likely the set-up man for the October run.
When Wilson made his appearance in San Francisco a week ago, getting three quick outs (two via strikeout,) I had a Giant smile on my face. Yes, pun intended.
Games played: 18
Final statistics: 2-1, 0.66 ERA, 0.878 WHIP, 13.2 IP, 13 K, 0.6 WAR
As good as the Dodgers offense has looked when they've trotted out Ramirez, Gonzalez and Puig, and as dominant as Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke have been, it's entirely possible that the bullpen will win the World Series.
Jansen is the captain of said bullpen, and as I wrote several weeks ago, I trust him with my life.
From his health issues, stemming from a dangerous heart condition, to the fact that he was originally a catcher, the Kenley Jansen story is a great one. The best is yet to come.
Games played: 75
Final statistics: 403, 1.88 ERA, 0.861 WHIP, 76.2 IP, 111 K, 2.6 WAR
So much was made of the mega trade between the Red Sox and the Dodgers last summer and it's all no longer relevant. Both teams won the trade, an extremely rare feat, and both teams might be meeting in the World Series.
Carl Crawford was one of the staples of the mega trade, and more than a year later, has been extremely valuable, and pretty good when healthy.
With a healthy Carl Crawford near the top of the order this postseason the Dodgers find themselves in a pretty confident position.
Games played: 116
Final statistics: .283/.329/.407, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 15 SB, 1.6 WAR
Much of Ethier's grade comes as a result of my lack of trust in him against left-handed pitching. Ethier has been a Dodger, and a good one, for eight seasons now, yet he has become less and less effective against the southpaws.
If Ethier is coming up to bat with runners on second and third, two outs and a lefty jogging in from the bullpen I have zero faith in him. It's kind of tragic, isn't it?
That being said, he stayed healthy (until it mattered) during the season, rediscovered his ability to hit the ball in the gap, and played great defense in center field.
Games played: 142
Final statistics: .272/.360/.423, 12 HR, 52 RBI, 33 2B, 2.7 WAR
I'm running out of things to say about Yasiel Puig.
When Manny Ramirez showed up in Los Angeles in 2008, I expected my life to change forever. While Many was great and he took the Dodgers to a couple NLCS', he went from "iconic figure" to "old, fat and cheating" at a rapid pace.
Yasiel Puig, fingers crossed, won't ever get old, won't ever get fat and won't ever cheat.
He's young, cocky, aggressive and talented. Sure, he might run into outs or throw the ball 17 feet above the cut off man's head, but cut him some slack. Have you ever been a Cuban defector, showed up in America, earned $7 million, and behaved perfectly?
Oh you haven't? Then why should Puig?
No team other than the Dodgers have Puig in the postseason, he is the ultimate X-Factor.
Games played: 104
Final statistics: .319/.391/.534, 19 HR, 42 RBI, 11 SB, 21 2B, 4.8 WAR
Jerry Hairston Jr., like the guys that will follow in the next few slides, has all the veteran know-how and savvy you want on your bench and in your clubhouse.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have much talent left in the tank.
Hairston struggled offensively throughout the season, particularly down the stretch and he might have just swung and missed his way right off the postseason roster.
Games played: 96
Final statistics: .211/.265/.275, 2 HR, 22 RBI, -0.9 WAR
Schumaker falls into the same category as the two guys to follow, Mark Ellis and Nick Punto, but he might be the leader of the bunch.
Skip is a must-have this postseason, and for Dodger fans out there panicking because he may be your starting center fielder against Atlanta, remember that Skip started three games in CF for St. Louis in the 2011 World Series.
Games played: 125
Final statistics: .263/.332/.332, 2 HR, 30 RBI, -1.4 WAR
Few moments this season were as unexpected, or as fun, as the Nick Punto/Danny DeVito saga.
Punto, like Mark Ellis, is past the point in his career where he can be flashy at the plate. He won't win games on his own (though he has this season) but he will make the right play, say the right thing, and lead by example on a daily basis.
Games played: 116
Final statistics: .255/.328/.327, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 2.1 WAR
Mark Ellis has been a sound presence on and off the field since the first day he put on Dodger Blue.
While he won't put up any flashy numbers or make any headlines, he will show up day in and day out and get the job done at the plate and on the field.
Having guys like Ellis on the bench in the postseason is a must for any team with World Series aspirations.
Games played: 126
Final statistics: .270/.323/.351, 6 HR, 48 RBI, 3.0 WAR
Just like Carl Crawford, Gonzalez's performance thus far in Los Angeles has been worth every penny, and prospect, given to Boston.
He was the healthiest, most consistent Dodger in 2013, and while his numbers are not MVP-esque or jaw-dropping, he got the job done night in and night out.
Having a bat like Gonzalez's in the heart of your lineup throughout the postseason is an advantage the Dodgers are not used to having.
Games played: 157
Final statistics: .293/.342/.461, 22 HR, 100 RBI, 32 2B, 3.9 WAR
When discussing the advantages this Dodger team had heading into the playoffs, I listed Hanley Ramirez as an "uncertain advantage" simply due to the fact that he has never played in the postseason.
He is deserving of an "A" even though he missed half the year when you consider his new attitude and mindset in addition to the fact that he crushed the ball all season long
Optimistically, though also largely based on how clutch he has been this season, I expect him to have a breakout postseason. In a perfect world he will put the Dodgers on his back all postseason long.
Games played: 86
Final statistics: .345/.402/.638, 20 HR, 57 RBI, 25 2B, 10 SB, 5.4 WAR
My love for Juan Uribe is well documented. I'm anything but apologetic for how irrational my feelings are for him.
He exceeded all expectations this season, nearly made up for how pitiful he was in 2011 and 2012, mentored Yasiel Puig, likely won himself a Gold Glove and crushed the ball.
Juan Uribe is the kind of hidden gem the Dodgers have in their pocket now, that they didn't think they would have in March and April. He can be, and likely will be, a difference maker this postseason.
Games played: 132
Final statistics: .278/.331/.438, 12 HR, 22 2B, 50 RBI, 4.1 WAR
While none of Ellis' offensive numbers stand out, aside from the home run total, he was (for the second season in a row) the rock of the pitching staff.
His ability behind the plate defensively, his skill communicating with and commanding the staff and his occasional pop at the plate (which often came in the most opportune moments) make him who he is.
Games played: 115
Final statistics: .238/.318/.364, 10 HR, 52 RBI, 2.2 WAR
Being a backup catcher ain't easy. It's likely one of the hardest jobs in all of sports. Playing infrequently does nothing to help you hone your skills and fine-tune your craft.
Federowicz seemed rusty at times throughout the season, likely because he was playing once or twice a week. While he was far from perfect, he was undoubtedly serviceable and did what was asked of him as best he could, particularly when he showed signs of power at the plate.
Games played: 56
Final statistics: .231/.275/.356, 4 HR, 16 RBI, 0.3 WAR
The TA's traditionally play a minor role throughout the semester and usually just get a passing grade for simply showing up. Lucky them, right?
Scott Van Slyke: 53 G, .240/.342/.465, 7 HR, 19 RBI, 0.9 WAR
Dee Gordon: 38 G, .234/.314/.298, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 10 SB, 0.1 WAR
Michael Young: 21 G, .314/.321/.392, -0.2 WAR
This group of guys, led by the insanely expensive Josh Beckett, either failed the course due to injury, dropped the course due to a roster move, or were given an incomplete due to insufficient playing time.
Josh Beckett: F
Chad Billingsley: F
Ted Lilly: F
Matt Kemp: F
Aaron Harang: Drop
Matt Guerrier: Drop
Matt Magill: INC
Jose Dominguez: INC
Javy Guerra: INC
Peter Moylan: INC
Drew Butera: INC
Elian Herrera: INC
Alex Castellanos: INC
Nick Buss: INC