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Thursday, August 04, 2011

ESPN LA: Jackson: James Loney’s future in L.A. at risk

Loney are the Brave…or who ever else will take him.

During a pregame media session with Mattingly, I asked him whether, when he thinks about what he wants this team to accomplish over the next few years, he still sees Loney as a part of it. Mattingly’s answer was even less committal than I anticipated.

“I don’t know,” he said. “This probably isn’t the right time to even talk about it. We’re just trying to win a game every day.”

...Throughout his career, Loney has been a stand-up guy, the kind of player Dodgers fans could easily embrace if he wasn’t perceived as the poster child for the team’s maddening lack of offensive punch. The harsh reality, though, is that his time in Los Angeles probably is winding down, that if he ever does regain that sweet, line-drive stroke that was such an integral part of this lineup from 2006-09, he will regain it somewhere else.

“I saw it for two years, where he ended up at .300 with 90 RBI, and you didn’t know how he did it, but he did it,” Mattingly said. “It made you think that if he could ever hit for power, he could really go off. I always felt like you would watch him take batting practice and see (the power), but he wouldn’t be able to take that into a game.

“I’m not saying I don’t think it’s ever going to happen, but it hasn’t to this point, and it has been a long time.”

Repoz Posted: August 04, 2011 at 10:56 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, history, projections, sabermetrics

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   1. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3892513)
James Loney’s future in L.A. at risk
Lone's future in the major leagues is at risk.
   2. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:47 PM (#3892528)
It made you think that if he could ever hit for power, he could really go off.


Yeah, and if I had a couple of million dollars I wouldn't have to work for a living, either.

Loney's skill set a couple of years ago was not a lot unlike that of Mark Grace (with more pop). If you leave the guy alone, maybe the power DOES come (as it did for Mattingly himself and for Adrian Gonzalez, both of who also had very similar skills to Loney), but even if it doesn't you still have a pretty nice player albeit not a star. I honestly don't know whether the expectations got him, whether Mattingly tried to clone himself, or what, but it's pretty unusual for a guy with Loney's skills to come apart that quickly.

-- MWE
   3. AROM Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3892536)
but it's pretty unusual for a guy with Loney's skills to come apart that quickly


I can think of an extremely recent example - Casey Kotchman.
   4. AROM Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:58 PM (#3892538)
Loney never hit for power in the minors, but in the big leagues he hit 19 homers in his first 2 years and 446 at bats. He was 23 years old, it's pretty common for guys with big frames and sweet swings to develop power right at that time, so just about everybody figured it was real. You had us fooled, Mr. Loney.
   5. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 04, 2011 at 01:59 PM (#3892541)

I can think of an extremely recent example - Casey Kotchman.


Actually, when I think of both of these guys, I think of two players who were overrated as prospects because they posted high batting avergaes in very good hitters park.
   6. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 04, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3892574)
I can think of an extremely recent example - Casey Kotchman.


Kotchman's had a pretty nice bounceback this year, but that's a good comp, actually, although Kotchman was more of a contact guy than Loney.

Actually, when I think of both of these guys, I think of two players who were overrated as prospects because they posted high batting avergaes in very good hitters park.


Loney was a pretty highly thought-of guy before he got to Las Vegas - the Dodgers pushed him pretty hard until he hit a wall in his first go-round at AA. He was playing full-season high A at age 19 and holding his own.

-- MWE
   7. Don Malcolm Posted: August 04, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3892640)
It used to be that Loney's problem was that he just couldn't hit much at Dodger Stadium. That began to escalate last year to a situation where he couldn't hit much anywhere. That now seems to be the case generally.

He started this year 9-for-60. He's currently in a 6-for-60 stretch. That's one third of the season in which he's hitting .125. Over the other two-thirds of the season (thus far) he's hit .313, but it's a very empty .313.
   8. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: August 04, 2011 at 03:42 PM (#3892649)
Travis Lee?
   9. Don Malcolm Posted: August 04, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3892671)
Travis Lee?


Sort of, but not really, I think. Lee was a college guy, showed a LOT of power in the minors. Had a decent rookie year with 20+ HRs, then hit a wall, had a couple of bouncebacks that made it seem like he might get it together a la someone like Carlos Pena, then didn't.

Lee's slump was more dramatic and got him sent around to teams. Loney's more like the frog in the pot, he's slowly fried to death as his decline (the increasing water temperature) proceeds by increments.

Lee also walked a good bit more than Loney does.
   10. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: August 04, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#3892697)
Sort of, but not really, I think. Lee was a college guy, showed a LOT of power in the minors. Had a decent rookie year with 20+ HRs, then hit a wall, had a couple of bouncebacks that made it seem like he might get it together a la someone like Carlos Pena, then didn't.

Lee's slump was more dramatic and got him sent around to teams. Loney's more like the frog in the pot, he's slowly fried to death as his decline (the increasing water temperature) proceeds by increments.

Lee also walked a good bit more than Loney does.


Makes sense.

Btw, I have an ongoing blog thing in which we come up with the nickname first and then assign a player to it. "Frog in the Pot" will absolutely be the next selection. With all due credit, of course.
   11. AROM Posted: August 04, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#3892701)
"Kotchman's had a pretty nice bounceback this year, but that's a good comp, actually, although Kotchman was more of a contact guy than Loney."

Kotchman is one year older, so the match up extremely well - initial success, stagnation and decline instead of expected improvement. Of course, nobody knows whether Loney will follow that path to a bounceback season. Or if he'll even get a chance. If Dan Johnson had given TB a .230/.360/.435 line, Kotchman would be having a nice year in Durham.
   12. phredbird Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#3892722)
strictly subjective, but everytime i see him, he looks scared. he's never looked comfortable as a player to me. contrast with matt kemp. kemp positively swaggers, never looks ruffled, even when he has an embarassing at bat.
   13. flournoy Posted: August 04, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3892748)
Btw, I have an ongoing blog thing in which we come up with the nickname first and then assign a player to it. "Frog in the Pot" will absolutely be the next selection.


Rod Barajas.
   14. The Non-Catching Molina (sjs1959) Posted: August 04, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#3892831)
Loney reminds me of Wes Parker.
   15. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 04, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3892841)
If Dan Johnson had given TB a .230/.360/.435 line, Kotchman would be having a nice year in Durham.


Dan Johnson, by the way, is a good example of what can happen to guys who succeed by working the strike zone and waiting for a pitch they can drive. I've seen him about 10-15 times since his demotion and he's just totally lost; pitchers have figured out where they can throw strikes to him and he hasn't been able to make adjustments.

-- MWE
   16. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: August 04, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3892895)
Loney will forever remain the guy who made me think during the NLDS in 2008, "Oh ####, the Cubs are actually going to lose this series."
   17. Walt Davis Posted: August 04, 2011 at 08:06 PM (#3892898)
Loney never hit for power in the minors, but in the big leagues he hit 19 homers in his first 2 years and 446 at bats. He was 23 years old, it's pretty common for guys with big frames and sweet swings to develop power right at that time, so just about everybody figured it was real. You had us fooled, Mr. Loney.

ahem (#22) :-)
   18. Ron J Posted: August 05, 2011 at 02:21 PM (#3893314)
#11 If Kotchman teaches us anything it is that teams should squeeze the eyes of players they are contemplating giving up on. Just in case pus comes out.

My skin crawls every time I read the name Kotchman.

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