Pull up a chair and come sit down at our Lasorda’s Lair roundtable discussion. This new column will feature a different discussion topic each time which our writing staff will have the opportunity to address individually. We also would like for you to participate by answering the roundtable question in the comments below.
Question: Which Dodger do you think will have the biggest month in April offensively?
Scott Andes, Editor- I’m going to say that a healthy Hanley Ramirez will have a big April. this is the first time in a while that he’s healthy to start the season, and we know what he is capable of. He’s already started out with two huge home run bombs in the opening series this weekend. Hanley is an MVP bat, and is dripping with talent. He’s healthy, happy, and loves being a Dodger. With Gonzalez hitting behind him, he’ll get even better pitches to hit, and should take advantage. He’ll be the Dodgers biggest bat, not only in April, but all season long.
Aaron David Gleason, Staff Writer- Yasiel will definitely be the biggest producer of April. If you’re a pitcher, and you don’t have a slider…pitch around the guy!! Also, we forget, but he’s still a kid. We should attribute his early success to the fact that he’s not rusty in the early going–he has energy and spark. Even though the team is doing well, as I write this, I’d like to see more spark from Hanley. He looks depressed or something–I can’t tell if he’s hurtin’ but his range to his left is about 47 inches and he isn’t hitting a lick….yet.
Julian Lopez, Staff Writer- There are a couple of players that come to mind when I think about which Dodger will be the offensive MVP in April. Will Matt Kemp come back and prove his doubters wrong instantly? Even though he is off to a horrendous start (1 for 15) I still think that SS Hanley Ramirez will be the Dodgers best hitter in April. When he was healthy last year, Hanley absolutely destroyed the ball and I think he is the best hitter on the team. Hanley doesn’t really have a weakness as he can hit the ball anywhere in the field. Ramirez is one of the game’s best SS and it wouldn’t surprise me if by the end of April, he was batting near .350 with 5-7 home runs and 15 RBIs.
Ryan Somers, Staff Writer- Despite getting off to a bit of a slow start, I still feel that Adrian Gonzalez will wind up being the most productive Dodger offensively for the month of April. Granted, Adrian might not have the power of a Hanley Ramirez or Yasiel Puig, but throughout his career Gonzalez has been a model of consistency. This is vital to the Dodgers success because as we know there are a few regulars in the lineup who are prone to prolonged slumps. The professional approach and leadership which Gonzalez brings to this lineup cannot possibly be understated. Hopefully some of the younger guys are paying close attention to how Adrian goes about his business on a daily basis. This will only lead to more success for the boys in blue.
Lucas Talbot, Staff Writer- We all know that Hanley Ramirez is going to come up big in the month of April, but the spotlight won’t only focus on Ramirez, but two other players that will come up big as well. Those players are Juan Uribe and Scott Van Slyke.
Uribe hit .278 in 388 at bats with 108 hits and 12 home runs. Uribe was injured for the first two seasons of his first contract. Uribe came into the 2013 season as the back up third baseman, but ended the season as the starting third baseman. Uribe signed a well earned 2 year extension and is out to prove that he deserves this extension and that last season isn’t a flake and is fully healthy. Uribe will be one of our most clutch hitters and leaders this season.
Van Slyke spent the whole 2013 season shuttling between Triple-A and the big leagues, hitting .240 with 31 hits and 7 home runs in 53 games. Traveling back and forth has not allowed Van Slyke, the chance to play at his the comfort level that he wanted to be at in the MLB, but he was able to contribute with the time he was given to play last season. It was enough for Van Slyke to come into spring training and earn a seat on the flight to Australia. Van Slyke proved why he earned the spot by hitting .667 with a home run in 2 games (started the first game of the two) in Australia. While Van Slyke has yet to play a game stateside, Van Slyke will prove that he is deserving of a roster spot with every chance he is given. I think Van Slyke, off the bench, is due for a nice and consistent season.
This all starts for Uribe and Van Slyke by having a nice month of April of contributing to the wins total for April.
Stacie Wheeler, Editor- Even though Hanley Ramirez had a bit of a slow start to the season, I think the naturally gifted hitter will break out to have a great April. We had a preview of what is to come on Sunday when he crushed two homeruns and a double all off Matt Cain in the win over San Francisco. Hanley already has 8 hits in the first 8 games (including 3 doubles and 2 homeruns). Hanley usually progressively hits better as the months go on, but he does have a career batting average of .284 in April/March with 25 homeruns. After watching Hanley’s monster shot almost leave Dodger Stadium on Sunday, I’m anticipating even more moon shots and “I See You” gestures this April!