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Sarah's Take: LA's future bright after stellar '17

MLB.com

The 2017 season was memorable for the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the first time since the magical 1988 season, the Dodgers advanced to the World Series before losing in a seven-game series to a fabulous Houston Astros team. Because the Dodgers have a good young nucleus, many predict the organization will experience continued success.

The 2017 season was special for the Dodgers. Their 104 wins were the most since the franchise moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. The Dodgers' clubhouse had no strife and practically every game had a different hero. They had many improbable come-from-behind victories.

The 2017 season was memorable for the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the first time since the magical 1988 season, the Dodgers advanced to the World Series before losing in a seven-game series to a fabulous Houston Astros team. Because the Dodgers have a good young nucleus, many predict the organization will experience continued success.

The 2017 season was special for the Dodgers. Their 104 wins were the most since the franchise moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles after the 1957 season. The Dodgers' clubhouse had no strife and practically every game had a different hero. They had many improbable come-from-behind victories.

When the season began, Adrian Gonzalez was projected to be the Dodgers' first baseman and cleanup hitter. After all, Gonzalez had filled these roles since joining the Dodgers in August 2012 in a trade with the Boston Red Sox. However, at 35, his body limited him to 71 games and he didn't perform well. In the past, this kind of absence could have derailed the Dodgers' World Series aspirations, but not in 2017. The unanimous National League Rookie of the Year, Cody Bellinger, stepped in to fill in for Gonzalez and established a new National League rookie record for home runs with 39. With one year remaining on Gonzalez's lucrative contract, it will be interesting to see what the Dodgers will do with him.

Video: Must C Classic: Bellinger's HR sets NL rookie record

It's difficult to believe Chris Taylor didn't make the Opening Day roster because the Dodgers wanted a player who could play both the infield and outfield. By the end of the season, Taylor was a fixture in either center field or left field. He became the Dodgers' leadoff hitter and was constantly on base.

Before 2017, Taylor had only one career home run because he focused on hitting the ball on the ground and using his amazing speed. But during last offseason, Taylor revamped his swing to have a higher launch angle. In '17, he had 21 homers, and many of them came in crucial situations.

Video: NLCS Gm3: Statcast™ measures Taylor's 444-ft. homer

While many Dodgers fans hope their favorite team obtains Giancarlo Stanton, whose 59 homers led the Majors and helped him win the NL MVP with the Miami Marlins, the Dodgers don't need to take on Stanton's enormous contract, particularly when Andrew Toles should be returning from a torn ACL.

At this time last offseason, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi were trying to find a trade partner for the underachieving Yasiel Puig. Since his rookie season, when the fun-loving Cuban burst onto the national scene, he had caused frustration for the Dodgers, since he didn't perform up to his perceived enormous potential. Now the Dodgers are thrilled that they couldn't trade Puig after a terrific 2017 season.

Although Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs was rewarded with the NL Gold Glove Award in right field, Puig was the best right fielder in baseball in 2017. As he always has done, Puig threw darts to anywhere on the diamond, but this year he didn't miss the cutoff man. He committed fewer mental errors defensively. He routinely sacrificed his body to make highlight-reel catches that prevented many runs. Offensively, Puig controlled his natural aggressiveness to not chase many balls out of the strike zone and hit a career-high 28 home runs.

Video: Must C Combo: Puig makes catch, hits clutch homer

The Dodgers had the best pitching in the National League, but there is much room for improvement. Los Angeles has three left-handed dominating starters in Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill and Alex Wood, but they don't have a dominating right-handed starter. Kenta Maeda appears to be more suited for the bullpen than a starter. After Yu Darvish's World Series debacle, it's doubtful the Dodgers will re-sign him. Because Brandon McCarthy hasn't been able to remain healthy for a full season as a Dodger, the organization needs to sign a quality right-handed starter.

The strength of the 2017 Dodgers was their bullpen. They need to re-sign Brandon Morrow, particularly with Pedro Baez's September meltdown. However, the most important re-signing is longtime pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.

The future looks bright for the Dodgers, but no one should forget the 2017 Dodgers even though they didn't win the final game needed for the World Series championship.

Sarah D. Morris can be reached at sarahmorris27@gmail.com.

Los Angeles Dodgers