Joshua Saylor was born and raised in West Hills CA. While he grew up a die hard Lakers fan, nothing compares to his love for the Dodgers.
Josh graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 2012, where he not only watched his 49ers make the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years, but also attained a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
While in school, Josh began his radio career as an intern for Homefieldsports and AM 1400 KKZZ in Ventura. He then worked as a producer and co-host of a sports radio show at Kbeach radio on the campus of Cal State Long Beach. Finally, in the summer of 2011 Josh became the intern of the Loose Cannons Radio Show, featured on Fox Sports Radio. After a year helping produce the Loose Cannons, Josh was then hired to be a part of the AM 570 Fox Sports LA Promotions team.
In his free time Josh enjoys sleeping, listening to music, browsing the internet, playing fantasy sports and hanging out with his dog Kobe.
Before the season began, I made a few predictions for a successful 2013 Dodger season. Let’s see exactly how well those predictions have played out, going into the post All-Star game stretch of the baseball season.
Here were my predictions:
Well this definitely has not happened so far this season, at least not for any significant stretch of time. Its unfortunate, but at times this season Matt Kemp has seemed so fragile. However, there is a positive twist to this issue. The team has been on fire without him recently, winning 23 of there last 28 games. It should actually be a relief to Dodger fans, that they are not so reliant upon the health of Kemp.
Kemp has posted a mediocre line this season, hitting only 263 with only 5 home runs, 27 rbi, 319 on base percentage, and a shockingly low slg percentage of 382. However, in the month of July, Kemp look to be finally turning things around, hitting 368 with 3 home runs, 895 slg percentage, and a 429 on base percentage. Hopefully, this will be his final stint on the DL this season, and he will pick up where he left off, starting to turn things around. In the mean time, it looks like the Dodgers have offense covered while that ankle heals.
Josh Beckett. What can I say? That didn’t go as planned. Nobody’s perfect. Next..
Hyun-Jin Ryu has been great during his first season in the
Thank the high heavens that Dodgers fans were blessed with the dominance of Clayton Kershaw. He has picked up right where he left off last season. His stats are once again unreal, posting a league leading 2.01 era, 152 innings pitched, 184 batting average against, .88 whip, and 148 K’s. Basically, Kershaw is well on his way to winning his 2nd Cy Young award in 3 years.
Now, aren’t we glad this happened? Puig mania not only set LA on fire, but he has been the biggest story in baseball since being called up to the big leagues. His energy has been a game changer for the Dodgers. He is the Mike Trout of the 2013 season, despite not making the All-Star game. Even-though Puig has gone into a little slump recently, he is still hitting 376, with 9 home runs, 22 rbi, 595 slg percentage, 417 on base percentage, and 6 stolen bases in only 44 games. However, the one downfall is the 44 K’s in 44 games, but those should go down when he becomes a little more patient in the next couple years. Also, without Puig that Matt Kemp injury seems a lot worse…Viva Puig!
CC has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers this season. The one thing the Dodgers have been missing the last couple years, was a true leadoff hitter at the top of their order. When healthy, the Dodgers have one of the best in the business. No, he isn’t what he was back in his days with the Rays, but he is still dynamic and provides a ton of speed on the base-paths for the heart of the Dodgers order. The big key will be keeping Crawford healthy for the stretch run and into October. If Mattingly has to sit him a little more than people would like, that’s fine if he is leading off for the Dodgers in October.
New Bold prediction..
Yes, remember that you heard it here first. Hanley Ramirez will win the NL MVP award this season. Unlike Matt Kemp a couple years ago, Hanley is playing on a first place ball club, that is going to win the NL West. Also, for those saying he won’t qualify because he has not played in enough games, by the end of the season he will have enough at bats to qualify. Just take a look at these numbers. Most people don’t put up these kind of numbers for even a week. In July, Hanley is hitting 392, with 4 home runs, 703 slg percentage, and a 464 on base percentage. Overall, he is hitting 381, with 10 home runs, 690 slg percentage, 436 on base percentage, 31 rbi and 5 stolen bases in only 45 games played. If Hanley even keeps up half of this pace, he needs to be considered in the NL MVP voting. In fact, if he hasn’t already entered into the mind of the voters, something is drastically wrong.
This is going to be an interesting offseason for the Lakers. They have a lot of unanswered questions heading into the offseason.
Here are the three biggest questions facing the Lakers this offseason...
1. Steve Nash
Lets face it Lakers fans, Steve Nash looked old and brittle this season. He just wasn’t the same player we saw in Phoenix the last few years. He is, after all, 39 years old. Even superstars can only defy getting old for so long. It will be interesting to see what the Lakers do about their point guard situation this offseason. Only time will tell, but just to add a little twist here, Chris Paul will be a free agent this offseason. Maybe the Lakers can still get what they wanted after all?
2. Kobe Bryant
Yes, there is no doubt Kobe Bryant is the heart and soul of the Lakers, even at 34 years old. However, he is also making 30 million dollars next season season. If the Lakers want the ability to make more moves, and to bring in better players, Kobe Bryant will take a pay cut. I mean the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, only makes 18 million dollars this season. Why? Because winning is more important than making as much money as possible. We will see this offseason what is more important to Kobe... winning or getting paid. Also, under the new collective bargaining agreement, a player making 30 million a season just doesn’t work anymore.
3. Dwight Howard
Let the drama begin. Will Dwight Howard be back in a Lakers uniform next season? For those Lakers fans saying he should remain loyal to the Lakers... You're forgetting, this a business, and this is Dwight Howard. The guy hasn’t been able to make up his mind about anything since his final year in Orlando. He finally has what he wanted all along. The chance to choose where he wants to play. He didn’t show up for the Lakers in the playoffs this season, and even got himself ejected in the final game against the Spurs, leading to an apparent little feud with Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. It will be interesting to see if any of that has an effect on whether Dwight chooses to stay with the Lakers this offseason.
Matt Kemp needs to be healthy
In order for the Dodgers to have a successful 2013 season, Matt Kemp must return to form. That shoulder injury Kemp is returning from was much more serious than people thought. It would be nice, at some point, to see Kemp move to one of the corner outfield spots in order to preserve him offensively for years to come. Nonetheless, Matt needs to return to his 2011 .324 average, 39 home run, 126 RBI, .586 slugging percentage and .399 on base percentage good old self. Now, I’m not saying he needs those exact numbers, but he needs to get back to the player who was capable of putting up these kind of ridiculous stats.
Besides his on the field play, Kemp needs to be the the leader of this team. They're massive expectations in LA for the Dodgers. We have seen the Lakers fail to live up to championship expectations so far this season. A healthy Matt Kemp is not just the Dodgers best player, but is also the heart of the Dodgers and their brand. He needs to become what Derek Jeter means to the Yankees. The best way to start is by leading the Dodgers to a World Series Championship in 2013.
Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett will surprise people this season
Yes... I am saying it here.
Lets start with the rookie Ryu...
According to MLB guidelines Ryu is a rookie, even at 26 years old and after playing 6 seasons professionally in South Korea. In 6 spring training starts, Ryu has posted a 2-2 record and 3.86 era. He showed off his mid 90’s fastball, devastating slider and deceptive change in his few starts. There is definitely room for improvement with that curveball, but that will come. This guy is good. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win the NL Rookie of the Year. Most importantly former Dodger Chan Ho Park said he will shine in Hollywood.
And now Josh Beckett...
There is no doubt Beckett is not the same pitcher he was even a few years ago, when he was blowing batters away with that 95 plus fastball. However, he still has quality stuff, and can still get major league hitters out. He also posted a sub 3 era over his last 7 starts last season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Beckett winning at least 15 games for the Dodgers this season, and help provide a solid 1-4 in the Dodgers rotation consisting of Kershaw, Grienke, Ryu and Beckett.
Clayton Kershaw needs to continue his dominance
Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in the National League. I would say in baseball if that guy Justin Verlander didn’t play for the Detroit Tigers. He and Matt Kemp are the two most important parts for the Dodgers this season. However Verlander is already 30 and Kershaw is only 25 and left handed. So who would you take?
Over the last 2 seasons, Kershaw has lead the national league in strikeouts, era and whip. He should have won the Cy Young last year, but RA Dickey was the best story in baseball and played in the biggest market. I can’t see him not winning his 2nd Cy Young in 3 years this season. He will outduel Stephen Strasburg in every category. Strasburg hasn’t even thrown over 200 innings once in his career, while Kershaw has cracked the mark each of the last 3 seasons. As long as that hip is healthy, which it appears to be, nothing can stop Kershaw from exerting his dominance over the NL.
At some point Yasiel Puig must be called up to big leagues
Little was known about this player when the Dodgers gave the Cuban defector a 7-year 42 million dollar contract. Well that contract appears to be a steal now. He had the best spring training of any dodger. He hit .527 with 3 home runs and 11 runs batted in this spring. Puig even showed off his speed with 4 stolen bases. He has too much talent not to be called up before September. Look what happened when the Angels called up Mike Trout last season due to injuries to outfielders. Trout took off from that point, and that is the same feeling I have regarding Puig. He may not be quite as good as Trout, but he is simply too talented to keep in the minors for long. He has been optioned down to AA, but it is only a matter of time before Puig is off and running at the major league level. The bigger question is who would he replace in the outfield? It appears the odd man out would be Andre Ethier...
Finally what will Carl Crawford provide for the Dodgers
Crawford is recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but has looked good this spring for the Dodgers. The Dodgers need someone who can provide a spark at the top of the order. It’s the one big question the Dodgers are still facing, and something they were really missing last season. If healthy Crawford is one of the better weapons on this team. Crawford is a career .292 hitter, with over 400 stolen bases in his career and a ..332 on base percentage. He can create havoc on the base paths, and provide scoring opportunities for the heart of the Dodger lineup. He even has a little pop in his bat with 118 career home runs and 114 career triples. Just 3 years ago in 2010, Crawford had his best season, posting a .307 average, 19 home runs, 13 triples, 90 rbi’s, and a .356 on base percentage. If healthy, Crawford can become that elite leadoff hitter the Dodgers have been searching for.
The Dodgers open up their season against the rival San Francisco Giants on April 1st. No matter what happens, it is going to be a season full of drama for the LA Dodgers. Hopefully the drama includes their first World Series Championship in 25 years.