Stock watch: Crawford continues fast pace

August, 21, 2014
8/21/14
6:00
AM PT

RISING

Streaking
Carl Crawford, LF: Dodgers manager Don Mattingly takes a heavy dose of criticism, even from many Dodgers fans. I wonder how many of them will give him credit for sticking with Crawford even when he was batting .240 not that long ago? Crawford has rewarded that patience by batting .485 with five multi-hit games since Aug. 10. His emergence, of course, means Andre Ethier's role gets even further diminished, but it's the point of the season when you just go with your best nine.

Justin Turner, INF: The Dodgers' bench is better than it has been in years and Turner is the primary reason why. He has stepped in twice for injured Juan Uribe and, while not quite living up to Uribe's defensive abilities, has actually hit better than they could have expected from their regular third baseman. According to Baseball Reference WAR, Turner (2.7) is second to Yasiel Puig (4.1) among Dodgers position players. That tells you all you need to know.

Yasiel Puig, CF: Other than Crawford, Puig has been the only real sign of offensive life on this homestand, but the Dodgers knew he could hit. They weren't so sure how well he would play center field. So far, he has not seriously injured any of the team's corner outfielders, he has made some great catches up against the wall and he has discouraged other teams from taking extra bases with his arm. He looks like a more complete player, mostly because center field allows him to show off the full range of his game.

FALLING

Slumping
Zack Greinke, RHP: The Dodgers pushed his scheduled start back two days to give him extra rest for his sore right elbow. Greinke admitted he probably won't feel 100 percent the rest of the season. That, clearly, is a bit worrisome considering the Dodgers' primary World Series hopes ride on the arms of their two Cy Young winners, Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. The best-case scenario is Greinke can pitch with some pain and Hyun-Jin Ryu returns from the DL in fairly short order. The worst-case scenario is too dire to even bring up at this point.

Dee Gordon, 2B: A good series and a bad series are literally a matter of inches for the Dodgers' leadoff hitter. It's all about infield hits. Lately, he has been getting thrown out by a hair frequently at first base and his offensive numbers have suffered for it. Gordon is just 2-for-16 on the homestand and hitless in his past 12 at-bats. He's a .196 career hitter against the San Diego Padres. What's that old line about you can't steal first?

Miguel Rojas, SS: The Dodgers love his glove, but he just couldn't hit enough to hold onto the shortstop gig while Hanley Ramirez was out. In an 0-for-9 slump, Rojas was replaced by Erisbel Arruebarrena, who very well could be the Dodgers' Opening Day shortstop next season. Rojas looks like a nice candidate to hold a bench role the rest of this season and going into next, so at least he has established himself to that degree.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.296 16 69 92
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 27
RBIA. Gonzalez 116
RY. Puig 92
OPSY. Puig .863
WC. Kershaw 21
ERAC. Kershaw 1.77
SOC. Kershaw 239