Monday, March 28, 2011 Updated: March 29, 11:28 AM ET
Dodgers' outfield: Ready for impact
By Jon Weisman ESPNLosAngeles.com
The Dodgers hope for big production from Andre Ethier (left) and Matt Kemp (right), with Tony Gwynn Jr. a key contributor in left.
Left field remains a concern, but the Los Angeles Dodgers hope monster seasons from Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier will more than compensate. Outfield also is where minor leaguers (say, Jerry Sands or Trayvon Robinson) could make the most impact.
Tony Gwynn Jr.
Gwynn can help the Dodgers with his speed and defense, but not if he's making outs at the plate by the bundle. Short-term goal: He needs 39 hits to pass Chris Gwynn for the No. 2 spot in the family.
As grim as it got for Kemp in 2010, that's how gleeful it could become for him and Dodgers fans in 2011. Remember how excited you were about Kemp a year ago? That's the player who is poised to make a grand return.
It would have been a revelation to see how Ethier's red-hot start to 2010 would have played out without the vexing injury to his pinkie. He ended the season as the Dodgers' top hitter, but what can he do at full health?
Thames' career platoon splits (.775 OPS versus righties, .838 versus lefties) aren't quite as dramatic as you might think, so he could steal more playing time if the left-handed options don't produce -- and if he can field halfway decently.
A brutal March -- four singles, three walks, two new contact lenses -- has lowered expectations for Gibbons considerably. His power got him back to the majors after nearly a three-year absence, and he needs to show it again to keep him there.
With Manny Ramirez's injuries opening the door for Paul, 26, to secure a starting job, he couldn't come through. Now, all he has to do is out-hit some journeymen to avoid becoming one.
MORE DODGERS ROSTER ANALYSIS: Pitching »Infield »Jon Weisman is author of the Dodger Thoughts blog on ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.