Los Angeles Dodgers (86-76) – 2nd Place NL West
To call the Dodgers 2012 season crazy would be a gross understatement. First, a new ownership group bought the team, led by Magic Johnson. Then, trying to compete with the Giants, the Dodgers took on a ridiculous amount of salary, trading for Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton from the Phillies, Brandon League from the Mariners, Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins, and Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford from the Red Sox. Make no mistake, the Dodgers will spend the money to get the wins, making them the Yankees of the National League from here on out.
Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Hanley Ramirez, and Brandon League
were all traded to the Dodgers mid-season, but the biggest trade was
acquiring Crawford, Beckett, and Gonzalez from the Red Sox
Pitchers- Clayton Kershaw once again was the ace of the Dodgers’ staff. He finished 2nd in the NL Cy Young voting, compiling a 2.53 ERA and striking out 229 batters. The staff was also anchored by two surprise candidates, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. Mostly known as innings eaters throughout their careers, Harang and Capuano both finished with ERAs under 4 and both had double digit wins. Before getting hurt, Chad Billingsley also had quite a bit of success, posting a 3.55 ERA in 150 innings. Ted Lilly was very good before getting hurt as well, but his injury left the Dodgers with a big hole in their rotation. Once coming over from Boston, Josh Beckett was very successful, sporting a 2.93 ERA in 7 starts. The bullpen, led by Kenley Jansen was pretty good. Jansen had 25 saves and a 2.35 ERA before having to shut it down for the season due to an irregular heartbeat. Brandon League, Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert, and Ronald Belisario were also very good in the pen, all having ERAs below 3.
Clayton Kershaw is the unquestioned ace of the Dodgers' staff
Infield- The Dodgers’ infield was dramatically different pre and post trade deadline. Hanley Ramirez replaced Juan Uribe at third and Adrian Gonzalez replaced James Loney at first. They were both pretty good post trade, Ramirez batting .271 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs in 64 games, and Gonzalez batting .297 with 22 RBIs in 36 games. The middle infield wasn't quite as good. Mark Ellis primarily manned 2nd base, hitting .258 in 110 games. Shortstop was split between Dee Gordon and Luis Cruz. Dee Gordon has insane speed, but struggles mightily with the bat. Gordon stole 32 bases in 87 games, but hit just .228. Luis Cruz fared much better at the plate, hitting .297 in 78 games. AJ Ellis was the primary catcher, hitting .270 with 13 home runs in 133 games.
Outfield- Superstars Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier both played very well and got the extensions to prove it, Kemp signing an 8 year 160 million dollar extension before the season, and Ethier signing a 5 year 85 million dollar extension in June. Kemp struggled with injuries, but he was still able to hit .303 with 23 home runs and 69 RBIs in just over 100 games. Ethier hit .284 while clubbing 20 home runs and driving in a team leading 89 runs. Left field wasn’t as good as right and center in 2012. Juan Rivera started the season there, hitting just .244. Shane Victorino played in left following his acquisition, but he wasn’t much better, hitting just .245. However, the Flyin' Hawaiian was able to steal 15 bases in his 53 games with the Dodgers.
Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier anchor the middle of the Dodgers lineup
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