Breaking Down the Dodgers: Infield

The 2010 season is almost underway and the Dodgers are poised for another strong year. The offense will need to bring their best if the Dodgers are going to repeat as NL West Champs. Tyson Qualls plans to break down each aspect of the offense. First up, the infield.

Russell Martin:

Once considered the best catcher in the NL, Martin has fallen on hard times lately. Last season he posted one of the worst of his career with a .250 average and 7 home runs. Fortunately for Martin, he is still young and has plenty of time to regain his stride.

He started this season off on the wrong foot with an injury. It is imperative that he get back on the field and show the Dodgers that last year was the exception and not the rule. Martin is capable of providing a good average, decent power, and great base stealing for a catcher. If Martin plays to his capabilities, he will be an All-Star once again come July.

James Loney

As a slick fielding first baseman, Loney's biggest knock has come from his apparent lack of power. Loney is an incredibly patient hitter who is capable of routinely going deep into counts. Depending on the protection that he gets from Manny Ramirez and Andre Eithier, Loney should see a healthy diet of good pitches. If he can add the power that has eluded him early in his career, Loney will vastly improve the Dodgers' offense.

Blake Dewitt:

Joe Torre has yet to commit on the young second baseman, but Torre's approval should be coming soon. Dewitt has scorched pitchers in spring training, posting a .368 average thus far.

Dewitt took a major step backwards last season, batting a career low .204 in 31 games. He spent much of the season honing his skills in AAA. Like most of the Dodgers offensive firepower, Dewitt is young and still has plenty of time to develop. Long term, he is capable of being a quality player for the Dodgers, this season expect around .250 and 10-15 home runs.

Rafael Furcal:

Furcal has consistently been one of the best hitters on every team he has played on. Last year, he simply was not himself. He never rose from an early season funk and posted the lowest batting average of his career.

He is the spark plug for the Dodgers' offense and sets the table for the likes of Ramirez, Matt Kemp, and Ethier. If the Dodgers are going to have any success scoring runs this year, it all starts with the veteran short stop.

Casey Blake:

One of the most consistent, hard working players on the squad, Blake's worth is more than just stats. His presence and experience are vital assets to the young talent.

Blake is a great 6,7,8 hitter and applies pressure to pitchers after they have just made it through the power spots. His ability to increase pitch counts late in the line ups, give the heavy hitters better looks later in the game. Blake is the kind of role player that puts good teams into the great category.

Questions or Comments? Contact Tyson Qualls at tysonqsports@gmail.com

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