Oct 27

Jerry Sands works on his game

Bryan Smith of Fangraphs is at the Arizona Fall League, and shared these impressions of Dodger minor league player of the year Jerry Sands:

… I try not to be results-based in my batting practice “scouting” analysis, but it’s a lot more art than science, and I’m no expert.

Which brings me to an interesting scouting conundrum that popped up today, seeing the Phoenix Desert Dogs take batting practice for the second consecutive day. If you used just those two days, and those 40 swings, to make completely definitive judgments about players, there’s no question you would arrive at the fact that Austin Romine has more power (be it raw or present power) than Jerry Sands. The person who saw just 40 swings would, trust me, be shocked to learn that Romine hit just ten home runs this year where Sands hit 35.

You would be shocked because they have taken totally different approaches to the batting cage over the two days. For Sands, the focus has been hitting the ball the other way. At first, I thought maybe Sands was primarily an opposite field hitter, but given the sheer number of balls he’s hit towards right field in two days, I’m convinced it’s the orders he was given by the Dodgers. This is a guy not out there to show that he can hit the ball 400 feet, but working on improving his game by spraying balls around the park.


If you read the whole post, you’ll see Smith was less impressed with Dodger minor-leaguer Matt Wallach.

In game action, Sands has a .484 on-base percentage and .417 slugging percentage (no homers) over 31 plate appearances, with only four strikeouts. From what I can tell, reports of Sands getting a lot of time at third base have been overblown.

Ivan De Jesus, Jr. has a 1.076 OPS, while Trayvon Robinson is at .971. On the mound, Javy Guerra and Scott Elbert have each allowed a run in four innings. Elbert, whom it appears might be converted to relief for good, has had better control his past two outings.

* * *

On the anniversary of a divorce, Josh Fisher writes: “Jamie McCourt filed for divorce a year ago today, and we cannot say it’s been a banner year for the organization in any way. Not on the field. Not in the newspapers. Not on the farm. The Dodgers will be back, of course. You just can’t keep a club with its built-in advantages down forever. But we will spend the next months (but hopefully not years) determining whether the club moves forward under McCourt direction or otherwise. Still, if nothing else, the McCourt divorce stands out as another unfortunate example of what happens when everything that can go wrong…well…does.”

Oct 12

Arizona Fall League: Opening Day

The Arizona Fall League throws out its first pitch of 2010 today, and Dodger fans might pay it a little more mind than usual. Not only is this Don Mattingly’s first official gig at the helm of a baseball team, the Phoenix Desert Dogs, but there are a couple of key players to watch:

1) The Dodgers’ minor-league hitter of the year, Jerry Sands, will be tested out at third base.

2) The Dodgers’ minor-league mystery of the year, Scott Elbert, will be tested out on the mound.

Other organization members on the Desert Dogs of Phoenix (or is it the Dogs of Phoenix Desert) are Javy Guerra, Jon Link, Justin Miller the Younger, Matt Wallach, Ivan DeJesus, Jr. and Trayvon Robinson. A few of these guys will be competing for major-league jobs in 2011.

Phoenix has its first game against Mesa at 12:35 p.m.

* * *

  • Logan White will interview for the Mets’ vacant general manager slot, according to Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com. Jackson adds the following about surprising rumors in recent days that the Dodgers were pushing White out the door.

    … As recently as 10 days ago, rumors surfaced that White, whose current contract is set to expire at the end of this month, was on the verge of being fired by the Dodgers. White told ESPNLosAngeles.com on Oct. 1 that he was aware of those rumors but hadn’t been told anything official and that he planned to continue working as usual until he was told not to.

    “I’m still working,” White said at the time. “I haven’t been told anything [different]. There is a lot of innuendo and rumor out there, and I hate to even address some of those because they are so ridiculous.”

    Those rumors appear to have been the result of confusing White with another Southern California amateur-scouting chief. The Los Angeles Angels had fired their scouting director, Eddie Bane, along with three of his scouts, on Sept. 29. Multiple sources said Monday the Dodgers have every intention of re-signing White and keeping him around in his present role if he isn’t hired as a GM by another club. …

  • Vin Scully Is My Homeboy passes along these interviews by reporter Maria Serrao with Scully himself.
  • Friend of the Dodger Thoughts family Daniel Paul has passed along this link to some Dodger caps his son Harry designed. Click the link and rate the cap.
Oct 01

Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Yo, Rubby Rubby

Jerry Sands got a decent amount of coverage while hitting 35 homers in the minor leagues this year, so his being named Dodgers Minor League Player of the Year comes as little surprise. But the Dodgers Minor League Pitcher of the Year flew a little further under the radar: Rubby De La Rosa.

De La Rosa

A 21-year-old righty from the Dominican Republic, De La Rosa started the season at Single-A Great Lakes and had a 3.19 ERA with 55 strikeouts against 66 hits and walks in 59 1/3 innings (relieving in the first half of the season before being shifted into the rotation for five starts). Following a promotion to Double-A Chattanooga, De La Rosa started eight games, averaging 6.5 innings per start, and had 39 strikeouts in 51 innings against 59 hits and walks. In August, he made six starts that each lasted exactly seven innings, in which he allowed a grand total of seven earned runs.

Meanwhile, more established prospects like Chris Withrow and Ethan Martin had their struggles, while another contender, Elisaul Pimentel, was traded. Allen Webster, a 20-year-old who spent the year with Great Lakes, finished with a 2.88 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings, but in the end, De La Rosa rubbed the Dodgers the right way.

Sep 07

Dodgers designate Ronnie Belliard for assignment

In 83 regular-season plate appearances for the Dodgers in 2009, Ronnie Belliard had five homers and a 1.034 OPS. In 183 plate appearances in 2010, Belliard had two homers and a .622 OPS, sinking to levels below what got him cast off by the Washington Nationals last summer.

Belliard’s chapter in Dodger history ended today with the team designated for assignment in order to purchase the contract of 27-year-old Australian outfielder Trent Oeltjen, who had a .979 OPS for Albuquerque. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles has details.

Belliard and Marlon Anderson — how their Dodger stories paralleled.

* * *

Dodger prospect Jerry Sands finished tied for third among all minor-leaguers in home runs this year with 35. As John Manuel of Baseball America notes, behind Sands was a familiar name: Joel Guzman.

The one-time Dodger phenom, now 25, hit 33 homers for the Orioles’ Double-A farm team in Bowie. That’s right — Double-A, the same level Guzman was at as a 20-year-old when he was considered arguably the Dodgers’ top position prospect.

Guzman had a career-high in walks with 45 this season, against 121 strikeouts — still not enough to assuage questions about his eye at the plate.

John Lindsey (.353) won the minor-league batting title in absentia, to go with the slugging percentage title.

Jun 25

Minor leaguer Redman suspended for 50 games

Prentice Redman, a 31-year-old career minor leaguer who has a .401 on-base percentage and .551 slugging percentage for Albuquerque this season, will sit out the next 50 games after testing positive for amphetamine usage.

Redman’s only major-league appearances came in 2003 with the Mets. The Dodgers announced that Matt Kemp will be sent to Albuquerque to replace Redman. Just kidding.

Xavier Paul (.392/.594), Jamie Hoffmann (.358/.441) and Michael Restovich (.367/.556) are the other primary outfielders on the Isotopes, with Timo Perez and Jay Gibbons also seeing time on the grass.

The news of Redman’s suspension comes on the day that Dodger prospect Andrew Lambo returns to the field for AA Chattanooga after serving his own 50-gamer.

Lambo is joined by the recently promoted Jerry Sands and Aaron Miller.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins called up Jason Repko. Repko has a .780 OPS in AAA this season, batting mostly against righties. His numbers are better against righties for a change, but BABIP (batting average on balls in play) explains that.

May 15

Kershaw LIX: Kershaws Clay

Joe Torre told reporters this afternoon that Russell Martin feels good but will probably rest instead of starting Sunday’s game, along with Casey Blake and possibly Manny Ramirez. Torre isn’t worried currently about resting Matt Kemp.

* * *

Good game between Houston and San Francisco this afternoon, one that I was able to watch with the sound down while I worked. Tim Lincecum started for the Giants and allowed a run (without a hit) in the top of the first. Roy Oswalt started for the Astros and surrendered a two-run homer to Juan Uribe in the fourth. And the score remained 2-1 until the ninth, when Brian Wilson relieved Lincecum after a 120-pitch, eight-inning effort. Houston loaded the bases on a walk, a charitable infield single and another walk, and then .378-OPSing Kazuo Matsui extended Wilson into a 15-pitch at-bat. But on his 39th pitch of the ninth, Matsui flied to left and the Giants hung on with their 159-pitch 2-1 victory.

* * *

The hottest pitcher and hitter in the Dodger minor leagues are both with Great Lakes, at least for now. Allen Webster, born February 10, 1990, struck out 11 in six innings Friday and now has 38 in 34 1/3 innings this season (against 36 baserunners) along with a 1.57 ERA.  Meanwhile, 22-year-old outfielder Jerry Sands homered again to give him 13 in 35 games, to go with a .459 on-base percentage and .813 slugging.

* * *

Vin Scully was interviewed on San Diego radio station AM 1090 Friday, and thanks to Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A.here’s the recording. The interview’s interesting in that it mainly allows Scully to just talk about the current Dodgers, something he probably prefers to talking about himself.

* * *

A warm welcome back to San Diego pitcher Kevin Correia, making his first start tonight since his 22-year-old brother Trevor’s tragic death.

* * *

Update: Looks like Andre Ethier’s the one who got stung. He jammed the pinky finger in his right hand in batting practice. Garret Anderson replaced him in the starting nine, in the relatively primo No. 5 slot.

Apr 25

Vin Scully traveled in mysterious ways


Above, Ken Levine passes along a fun promo for Vin Scully’s 1967 Rose Parade co-hosting gig with the bewitching Elizabeth Montgomery.   We know Scully’s voice can cut through time and space, but this is ridiculous!

In contrast, while I share the Left Field Pavilion’s disappointment at how many non-Dodger events are included in this MLB Network tribute to Scully, it’s all worth it for the pictures of Scully hitchhiking. Yes, hitchhiking.

  • The somewhat press-shy Andre Ethier gave a fairly lengthy interview to Steve Greenberg of SportingNews.com.
  • Red-hot Jerry Sands of the Dodgers’ Class A team in Great Lakes is profiled by Hugh Bernreuter of the Saginaw News. Sands hit two homers Saturday to up his season batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage to .443/.500/.967.
  • John Lindsey Watch: In Albuquerque’s 6-2 victory over Omaha on Saturday, Lindsey homered and singled in five at-bats, which meant his season batting average and on-base percentage fell to .500 and .548. His slugging percentage did tick up to .821.
  • By comparison, Isotopes third baseman Russ Mitchell went 3 for 5 and is up to a .359 OBP and .446 slugging.
  • Ivan DeJesus, Jr. had been struggling at Albuqerque, so his 3 for 5 came in handy. His overall 2010 offense still remains down in the .277/.323 dumps.