A few observations after the first 9 ST games. Counting a pair of split squad games, the Dodgers have 23 games remaining. We are getting closer to the MiLB players heading back to MiLB camp, and many will have positive experiences to build on for 2023.
Specifically, Eddys Leonard and Andy Pages have had good springs thus far. Both players have 3 hits, but Pages has 2 BBs to supplement the hits. He is also 4th on the team in RBIs with 3. Leonard has 2 which came from a booming double against the Royals. Pages played RF and CF without incident. Leonard played SS, and for the most part did okay. No miscues that I can remember. Limited range.
Standouts for the MiLB crowd include Hunter Feduccia. In his limited PA (5), Feduccia is second on the team with 5 RBIs behind Freddie Freeman (7). Devin Mann is 4-11 with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBIs. Ryan Ward has 3 hits and 2 BBs in his 7 ABs. He has a .556 OBP. Yes, extremely limited sample size, but something positive to work on.
It is hard to be critical of the batters when they only get 2-3 PA every other day. It is difficult to get the timing down on live competitive pitching.
The WBC is going to be an obstacle for the players/teams to navigate. The Dodgers have six players going to the WBC on four different teams. Fortunately all four teams will be playing their first round in Arizona. The tournament can run from March 11 thru March 21 with two of the four teams expected to be playing in the second round (03/19 or 03/20). The four countries:
- USA – Mookie Betts and Will Smith
- Mexico – Julio Urías and Austin Barnes
- Canada – Freddie Freeman
- Great Britain – Trayce Thompson
Columbia is the fifth country in that pool.
Clayton Kershaw and Miguel Rojas have opted out of the Tournament. Kershaw had problems with insurance and Rojas wanted to concentrate on working with the Dodgers as the new everyday SS.
James Outman has been the brightest star for the team thus far, and by a wide margin. He leads the team with 6 hits including a long HR and a run scoring triple. In 17 PA, Outman has only struck out three times, one on a very questionable call. He showed great discipline but got rung up a pitch that looked very much like a ball. Maybe I am a little biased.
James has the team’s lone sacrifice fly, and has two 2-out RBI hits. Outman has played in 7 games and started in 5. He has all of his hits as a starter, indicating that he is hitting ML pitchers. He has played all three OF positions and has made multiple good plays. He picks up the ball very well off the bat. He appears to be able to go back on balls well, and has the speed to get the balls in the gap. While playing LF on Sunday he had a good jump on a ball hit in front of him to make a good catch, calling off CT3 at the last moment. James has done everything he can to get his name on the 26 man roster coming out of ST.
Freddie has three HRs, while Mookie and Jason Heyward have two HRs, and none of them were cheapies. It sure looks like the Driveline swing review has been successful for Mookie, as he went there to work on bat speed, and it sure looks like his hands are getting through the ball very quickly.
JDM, David Peralta, and Max Muncy are all struggling at the beginning of ST, with a combined 4 hits in 41 ABs. But all three are veterans and figure to get their timing once they get consistent playing time. Peralta only has 1 hit, but has also struck out only once in 17 PA.
In his brief start, Jason Heyward is showing that he has made some positive adjustments to his swing. Will it last? He has 4 hits in 10 ABs with zero Ks. If he continues, he figures to get one of those OF spots.
I do not know if Trayce Thompson is off to a bad start, of if he is returning to who he was before he got hot last year.
Surprise of the Spring for me is Yonny Hernandez. He is 5-12 with a pair of walks. Miggy Rojas is 4-10 with zero Ks and zero BBs. His bat to ball skills have not regressed.
Pitching wise, Julio Urías has two starts and 6.2 IP and 5Ks. In Sunday’s game he pitched four efficient innings, showing a great breaking ball. It looked as if he could throw his breaking ball for a strike any time he wanted to. He threw 49 pitches in 4.0 scoreless IP on Sunday.
Three OKC starters have pitched well in their pair of games each. Michael Grove and Ryan Pepiot have started twice, while Andre Jackson has relieved twice. Pepiot and Jackson have 5 Ks. Pepiot has not walked a batter, and Jackson walked one. Tony Gonsolin, Noah Syndergaard, and Dustin May have one start each, with only May allowing a run. Gonsolin did what he seemingly does best, and that is to pitch out of trouble.
Clayton Kershaw was reported to have pitched 3.0 innings in a B game on Sunday, but has not yet appeared in an A game. Will he be sufficiently ramped up for the start of the season?
There has been some good relief pitching. Yency Almonte has not pitched yet, not sure why. Maybe somebody has heard and can share.
Evan Phillips, Caleb Ferguson, and Alex Vesia have been excellent. Brusdar Graterol has pitched in traffic, but has kept runs off the board. He has 4 Ks against 0 walks. Shelby Miller and Jimmy Nelson need to pitch more.
Rubby De La Rosa pitched in his third game on Sunday. He came in with runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, and left them stranded with a strikeout and a fielder’s choice.
Other NRI’s who have stood out for me are:
- Mark Washington – 3 G, 1.2 IP. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 BB, 2 K
- Nick Robertson – 2 G, 2.0 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 BB, 3 K
- Tayler Scott – 2 G, 2.0 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 BB, 3 K
- Wander Suero – 2 G, 2.0 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 BB, 3 K
These are simply initial observations with a lot of games still to be played. There are no conclusions that can be made after just 9 ST games. But those that have shined thus far will get longer looks. The regulars should start to get more ABs. ML pitchers should get more innings, but some of the MiLB relievers will stick around for a while. Can Andre Jackson move to serious consideration for one of those 8 relief spots out of Spring Camp?
The biggest obstacle for James Outman is that he has options remaining while those he is in supposed competition (Peralta, Thompson, Heyward) do not. The Dodgers will need an injury or for someone to get released for Outman to make the team out of ST. But if he continues to play as well as he has thus far, how does he get left off?
SO many things can yet happen. I’ve enjoyed the games but mostly because I enjoy baseball season and this is the beginning of it. The play hasn’t been all that entertaining.
I’m still not fully confident in Muncy at third. Vargas will eventually figure it out at second but who knows how long it will take. He remains a third baseman in my view. I haven’t changed my opinion on centerfield. A platoon makes sense, though the one glaring problem with that could be Thompson getting 60% of the at bats. If Heyward keeps it up it could be bad news for Outman. I would rather Rojas be available as utility, but I get that is not likely. Yonny in the Rojas role? Yeah, ok.
At this time I am not confident this team will slug like last year’s team. Maybe. I’m thinking the pitching might be the better half of the roster.
Still a lot of games to play here Soon they will take on more meaning – for everybody.
Urías gave up three hits yesterday and two of them were hit to Muncy. Muncy could have made the plays. Should he have??? It would not have taken a Nolan Arenado or Ke’Bryan Hayes to make the plays.
Vargas has always been able to glove balls, but it has been his throws that have given him the errors. He made another good play at 2B today, but his throw was a little off line. As we learned with Lux (except 2020), the throws from 2nd are shorter and less likely to go off line as much. I like Vargas at 2nd. He does look comfortable out there.
Trayce Thompson has been disappointing so far. But, it is still early. He was brought here to mash lefties and has not done that.
As someone who cannot watch the games on TV this article did a nice job of reviewing what has happened so far this Spring with the Dodgers. Us usual, an excellent job Jeff!
I would really like to have Outman stay with the team and play on a regular basis to start the season. But, with Peralta having signed a guaranteed $6.5MM contract he is, of course, a lock to start the season with the Dodgers. With Taylor now needing to be more available for infield duty than originally planned will it be either Thompson or Heyward auditioning for the final OF spot? I would not like the team to send Outman down to AAA and keep both Thompson and Heyward. Excluding Thompson, I know three are LH hitters. But, Thompson had trouble with hitting lefties last year, so basically we’re talking all four being LH hitters. Again, my vote is Outman and Peralta. Lots of games ahead to sort it out.
Like in the past the Dodger pitching should be strong. The starters will be in need of reinforcements throughout the season if the past is of any indication. It’s almost certain that Kershaw and Gonsolin will be spending time on the IL. This will give some of the top pitching prospects to get a taste of MLB. I would think it would be almost certain that Pepiot, Grove, Stone and maybe Miller see some time with the Dodgers.
The bullpen looks to have another year at near or the top of the MLB rankings. And with the depth available in the system I doubt there is a relief staff better than the Dodgers have that will start the season.
I very much looking forward to the new players that we will see with the Dodgers in 2023. With the team’s pitching strength as a given it will be up to the team’s offensive output to determine how far they go in the upcoming season. If they can win 90+ games and get into the playoffs then we all know anything can happen. And, with the Dodgers it usually does!
I wish there was an easy way to compare previous Spring Trainings.
Wasn’t Kevin Pilar a fan darling in last year’s ST? And he started and ended nowhere.
All that to say, do we really have any idea what to look for in Spring Training games?
Your statement is true, but your example of Kevin Pillar was not. Last year, in 20 AB, Pillar hit .100/.143/.250/.393. I HR and 1 single. 1 BB and 3 K.
There have been a lot of good springs that did not result in the player making the roster out of camp. And on the flip side there have been bad springs and the player did not lose his spot on the roster.
AF loves veterans. If you look at today’s lineup, you will see the opening day lineup.
Yeah, i have no memory at all.
I have a lot of memories, many of which I created myself to make it easier to live with me. I suggest you begin with embellishing. That way there’s basis in truth so you don’t have to tell a complete fabrication.
Not only am I rooting for Outman to make the 26, I want him starting in CF and would prefer him hitting higher in the lineup than Muncy. Muncy should take his walks to the 9th spot in the lineup.
Muncy should bat clean-up.
I think I prefer Betts, Freeman, Smith, Muncy, Martinez. At this point I can’t be sure.
As for the outfield, it’s definitely Peralta in left and Betts in right. I had a platoon of Outman and Thompson but then they invited a team of center fielders to camp, including Heyward so I don’t know what the plan is. As you all know I have assumed Outman is going to be traded, and if so I would like a 4 WAR shortstop in return.
Still a few weeks to figure this out.
Because cleanup is the best spot for a walk or K?
Because clean-up doesn’t mean what it used to.
OPS with runners on.
Muncy is going to be better this season. Is he clean up better? I don’t know, but with the guys I see here now, that’s where I have him. It could change of course.
Justin Turner just hit in the face by a pitch. Lots of blood. Does not look good.
This is scary.
Does it look like he is bleeding from his mouth?
Yes, latest report is that he is being monitored for a concussion and treated for soft tissue injuries
I only saw one video where I could see blood. It was coming from his lower face so it might have been mouth, but soft tissue damage includes lacerations to the face. I do not know much (okay noting at all) about facial soft tissue damage, but it can be serious to very serious. We are going to need to wait until we get reports.
Looks like good news so far.
JT had the same thing happen in the College World Series when he played for Cal. State Fullerton. I didn’t think he could rebound from that beaning. He is one tough dude!