Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Month: January 2016 (Page 2 of 3)

Seager’s strongest shots

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Arizona Diamondbacks

By Jon Weisman

Something I was simply curious about (and I’m not suggesting there’s any deep meaning to it) was the quality of pitcher that Corey Seager hit the hardest during his September trial.

Below are the 21 pitches Seager hit at least 100 mph, according to Baseball Savant, and the 2015 fielding-independent ERAs of the pitchers who threw them. Click to enlarge …

Seager 20 fastest

The 4.60 FIP isn’t impressive, though I suspect that if you did this chart for most players, they’re not as likely to rocket their hardest-hit balls off of opposing aces.

Just for fun, here are the hardest hit balls off Clayton Kershaw in 2015 — featuring two pitchers (Madison Bumgarner, OK, but Francisco Liriano?) and a trifecta from none other than Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario. As a group, these batters were also not quite average  …

Kershaw fastest

Talking shop with Dodger photogapher Jon SooHoo

Fernando Valenzuela, pitching against USC in an exhibition game before the 1981 season. (Jon SooHoo)

Fernando Valenzuela, pitching against USC in an exhibition game before the 1981 season. (Jon SooHoo)

Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo, who last year completed his 30th season chronicling the team, will be part of a Samy’s Photo School seminar with Angels photographer Matt Brown on February 13 at the Petersen Automotive Museum. (For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.)

SooHoo looked back at his career, which began in some ways with the above photo of Fernando Valenzuela, in this interview.

— Jon Weisman

FanFest autograph vouchers, VIP experiences on sale Friday at 12 noon

Yasmani Grandal signs for a fan at the 2015 FanFest. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Yasmani Grandal signs for a fan at the 2015 FanFest. (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

FanFest logoBy Jon Weisman

The Dodgers have announced the autograph schedule and VIP experiences for the January 30 FanFest (presented by State Farm) at Dodger Stadium.

A limited number of vouchers for autograph and VIP sessions go on sale to the general public at 12 noon Friday at Season-ticket and premium seat holders will have a presale from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.

Remember: General admission to FanFest is free for all, but you must download your free tickets at (Click here for more information.) 

Vouchers ($25 each, with proceeds going to the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation) must be purchased in advance for each autograph or VIP experience session.

Click to enlarge the autograph schedule below. Note: Names subject to change.

Autograph schedule

Running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fanfest will take place rain or shine, although in case of inclement weather, some on-field activities may have to be curtailed.

More information follows:

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A fantasy camp veteran’s rebirth at Camelback Ranch

DSC_2777By Jon Weisman

Larry Malcolmson knows his baseball fantasy camps. The 66-year-old Tucson resident, now retired from the medical technology industry, went to his first adult camp in 1991 and has done more than 20 in all.

He hadn’t planned it that way, and certainly didn’t expect to find himself swinging a bat at Camelback Ranch at age 66.

“I went to what I thought as going to be my last one in 2001,” said Malcolmson (pictured at left) in a phone interview from Camelback today. “The youngest guy on our team, he died, leading off first base. When they did the autopsy, he only had one coronary artery — genetically did not have the other three. They were surprised he lived as long as he did.

“By his dying, the guys who were thrown onto that team — from all over — really bonded. We have continued to go back, not because of the fantasy but because we want to see each other once a year. Those 11 guys turned into about 40 guys that became kind of a club and went back every year.”

Malcolmson’s original allegiance was with the Cubs, but having lived for many years in Montecito, he would come down to Los Angeles for about 10 Dodger games a year. When his wife spotted the news about the new Dodgers-White Sox Fantasy Camp at Camelback Ranch, he made immediate plans to attend. So did his longtime campmates.

“We got 10 of the 11 we wanted to have, and the 11th was just right on the fringe — in fact he’s coming to the camp Thursday and Friday as a visitor,” Malcolmson said.

And the result?

“This is a ball,” he said.


Unsolicited, Malcolmson raved about every aspect of the camp, from the food during the day to the accommodations at night, from how the camp organization to the quality of the umpires and live pitching.

“The uniforms, they’re like butter,” he said. “I feel almost like I’m naked, because they’re so comfortable.”

The bonding between friends old and new remains primary for Malcolmson, but he said he has also been bowled over by the connections he and his teammates have made with Dodger legends such as Tommy Lasorda, Ron Cey, Eric Karros, Rick Monday and Steve Yeager.


“They are really going out of their way to know everybody in camp,” Malcolmson said. “They know everybody’s name. At the end of a game yesterday we lost, Ron and Rick told us what we needed to do different than the day before. Never happened in 22 years.”

_MG_9822In the clubhouse, the Dodgers are telling tales that left the campers “belly laughing,” according to Malcolmson. That camaraderie extends to after the sun has gone down. On Tuesday night, a big group had gone out for dinner, Malcolmson said, when Karros came walking by. The campers invited him to join them.

“He spellbound us with stories for three hours,” Malcolmson said, adding that Karros will be rejoining them for dinner Friday. “He took everyone on the team and bought us all ice cream. Guys are taking photos and putting them on Facebook. Where would you meet a guy this great, this cool, this nice, who is also the all-time leader home run leader for the Los Angeles Dodgers?”

What was interesting about talking to Malcolmson is that when asked about his favorite on-field memory this week, he spoke matter-of-factly about a two-run single to left center, before enthusiastically changing his answer.



“A lot of the (good) feeling you get is watching your teammates succeed,” he said. “So some of the highlights are watching these guys pound the ball, watching these guys make great plays in the field. Today, I took a couple of innings off and was just managing the team with Rick and Ron — it was fun watching the guys succeed.

“All I’m doing is yelling at my guys — quit worrying if you made an out. Just start smiling. You’re out in Arizona playing ball. Quit thinking you have to have a 1.000 batting average. Just because you wanted to have a great hit that time and didn’t — that’s why they call it baseball.”

Still, in his mind, the camp has come close to perfection.

“If I sum it up, I wanted new, fresh and first class,” Malcolmson said, “and my expectations are being succeeded.”

Dodgers bring back a different Joe Blanton

Joe Blanton allowed two runs in six innings of his first Dodger start, on August 5, 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Joe Blanton allowed two runs in six innings of his first Dodger start, on August 5, 2012. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Joe Blanton’s new life as a full-time reliever — illustrated by his 1.57 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 21 games for the Pirates last season — has reunited him with the Dodgers for 2016 on a one-year contract.

Blanton started 10 games for the Dodgers in 2012, and it didn’t go all that well, with a 4.99 ERA and 1.42 WHIP despite an 8.0 K/9. The following season, spent with the Angels, went even worse (6.04 ERA), which led to his release in the midst of a multi-year contract.

But as Neil Weinberg of Fangraphs noted in November (via Mike Petriello of Dodgers Digest), Blanton turned the beat around by shifting emphasis to a slider and lowering his arm slot. Throw out the four starts he made in 2015 for Kansas City (which sent him to Pittsburgh near the July trading deadline), and Blanton had a 2.04 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 9.7 K/9 out of the bullpen.

The 35-year-old will give the Dodgers reliever depth as someone who can throw multiple innings in an outing. His 2015 stats on pitches 1-25 were almost identical to his numbers on pitches 26-50.


Once he pitches a 2016 game, Blanton will become the latest two-term Dodger and potential member of the Grover Cleveland All-Stars (click to enlarge).


With Vin Scully at his side, Glenn Frey calls Pedro Guerrero homer in 1985

Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, who passed away today at age 67, once called a Pedro Guerrero home run alongside Vin Scully. Jason Footer of The Sporting News passed along the clip.

– Jon Weisman

Martin Luther King and Jackie Robinson: A collection of connection

mlk jackie

By Jon Weisman

For Martin Luther King Day, here are some tidbits celebrating the civil rights leader’s connection with Jackie Robinson the Dodgers.

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Think Blue Review: The latest edition

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In its latest edition, Think Blue Review looks back at the latest acquisitions of Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda, while also detailing the latest information about Fanfest.

— Jon Weisman

Download free admission ticket for FanFest

Mark Langill/Los Angeles Dodgers

Mark Langill/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

While FanFest (presented by State Farm) remains free to all attendees, the Dodgers are asking fans to download their free tickets for the January 30 event at

Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., FanFest will feature appearances and autographs from Dodger players, coaches and legends. Parking gates open at 9:30 a.m. (parking is also free), with the admission gates in the outfield plazas opening at 10.

Concerned about El Nino? FanFest will take place rain or shine, although in case of inclement weather, some on-field activities may have to be curtailed.

Autograph session tickets will go on sale soon, and an announcement will be made on the player schedule and the sale of these tickets. All autograph session ticket proceeds will benefit the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. Donations will support LADF programs and provide assistance to community organizations in the areas of education and literacy, health and wellness and sports and recreation.

VIP Experiences including player meet-and-greets and Q&As, batting and pitching lessons, and clubhouse and press box tours will also be available soon for advance purchase online.

FanFest will feature the following for all fans:

  • family-friendly activities, including interactive games and a run-the-bases experience
  • interviews with current and former Dodgers on FanFest’s main stage.
  • the @Dodgers social media lounge, with a charging station, photo area with oversized Clubhouse stickers and RBI Baseball on XBox
  • photo opportunities inside the Dodger dugout and with the World Series trophy
  • the second-annual LADF Yard Sale, with one-of-a-kind Dodger items for budgets of all sizes, including jerseys, T-shirts and more
  • the LADF Mystery Bag Fundraiser, where fans can purchase an official Major League baseball autographed by a current or former Dodger for a $40 donation and autographed jerseys for an $80 donation (while supplies last)
  • Dodger merchandise on sale, along with food and beverages.

Fans will also be able to buy Opening Day mini plans and individual game tickets (excluding Opening Day) at FanFest. The best way to guarantee Opening Day tickets is to purchase a mini plan. (For more information, visit

Note: One day before FanFest, on January 29, the Dodgers’ exclusive online sale of tickets for all 2016 games — including a very limited number of Opening Day tickets — will be held beginning at 10 a.m. at

Dodger partners State Farm, Budweiser, Chef Merito, Coca-Cola, Welk Resorts, Hi-Chew, Montejo, Sunrun, Blue Prints, Gazillion Bubbles, Los Angeles Times, Marika and broadcast partners SportsNet LA and AM570 LA Sports will partake in FanFest’s family-friendly activations and giveaways.

Don’t forget to download your free FanFest tickets today.

Vin Scully to receive Lifetime Achievement Award from L.A. Sports Council

Vin Scully at Camelback Ranch in 2015. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Vin Scully at Camelback Ranch in 2015. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Vin Scully will receive the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the L.A. Sports Council during the 11th annual L.A. Sports Awards, February 25 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

“I can’t think of a person more deserving of this recognition,” Sports Council president David Simon said. “Even more remarkable than his longevity is the consistently high quality and integrity his announcing has represented over the years.”

— Jon Weisman

Dodgers name minor-league coaches for 2016

By Jon Weisman

Having announced their 2016 minor-league managers in December, the Dodgers have now named nearly all the coaches at their six farm system affiliates. The group includes some familiar names. Here we go …

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Youth in rotation: A bevy of Dodger starting pitchers under 30

By Jon Weisman

With the signing of Kenta Maeda, 11 of the 13 Dodgers on the active roster with MLB experience as starting pitchers will be under 30 when Spring Training begins.

The names of the youth brigade: Brett Anderson (28), Brandon Beachy (29), Mike Bolsinger (28), Carlos Frias (26), Clayton Kershaw (28 in March), Zach Lee (24), Maeda (28 in April), Frankie Montas (23 in March), Hyun-Jin Ryu (29 in March), Ian Thomas (29 in April) and Alex Wood (25).

The only starting pitcher over age 30 on the 40-man roster scheduled to take the mound this spring is Scott Kazmir, and he will be only 32, the same age as Brandon McCarthy, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won’t pitch until the summer at the earliest.

Smaller Under 30 chartWhile these Dodgers could have one of the highest percentages of under-30 starters since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1958, they won’t set a record.

In 1962 — a season that went to 165 games because of the three-game tiebreaker playoff with the Giants — every single game the Dodgers played was started by an under-30 pitcher except the 165th, which came three days after Johnny Podres’ 30th birthday.

(Click on the chart below for more detail.)

Under 30 starts

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Alex Anthopoulos takes long view of Dodger tenure

Alex Anthopoulos at Spring Training in Dunedin, Florida last year. (Nathan Denette/AP/The Canadian Press)

Alex Anthopoulos at Spring Training in Dunedin, Florida in 2015. (Nathan Denette/AP/The Canadian Press)

By Jon Weisman

As word spread of Alex Anthopoulos joining the Dodgers as vice president of baseball operations, one big question naturally followed. How long would a lead actor (just named 2015 Sporting News MLB Executive of the Year) want to take on a supporting part in another organization?

But Anthopoulos worried about the spotlight, nor is he putting a time limit on his move to Los Angeles. In fact, he’s doubling down on his commitment by moving his family to Southern California after school lets out in Toronto this year.

“That came up with a few of the clubs that I spoke to,” the former Blue Jays senior vice president and general manager said in a conference call with reporters today. “A few of them said, ‘You’re probably only going to be here for a year.’ It was flattering to hear that, but at the same time, we know that there’s only 28 of these jobs with other teams. I wouldn’t move my family out here if I felt this was going to be a quick stay.”

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Infielder-outfielder Rob Segedin joins Dodgers

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Seg 574847By Jon Weisman

Ronald Torreyes, who was designated for assignment when Kenta Maeda was signed, and Tyler Olson, who met the same fate the day Brandon Beachy returned to the Dodgers, have been traded to the New York Yankees for minor-league infielder/outfielder Rob Segedin and a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The 27-year-old Segedin had a .379 on-base percentage at Double-A Trenton last year and a .350 OBP in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, slugging .426 combined. A right-handed hitter, he has played 265 career professional games at third base, 66 in right field, 48 at first base and 44 in left field.

According to the Bergen Record, Segedin earned his degree in 3 1/2 years, with a double major in finance and management from Tulane, the alma mater of his new boss, former Green Wave ballplayer Andrew Friedman.

Dodgers trade Joe Wieland for Erick Mejia

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Mejia 1443710By Jon Weisman

Speedy, switch-hitting minor-league infielder Erick Mejia has been acquired by the Dodgers from Seattle in exchange for right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland.

Mejia, who turned 21 in November, played at four levels in 2015, spending most of his time with Single-A Everett, where he had a .361 on-base percentage and was successful in all 18 of his stolen-base attempts. Over his last two years, Mejia has stolen 33 bases in 36 attempts.

On August 3, Mejia was named Northwest League Player of the Week, after going 12 for 28 with a double, triple, two walks and two steals.

Wieland, who was acquired 13 months ago in the Yasmani Grandal trade, made two starts for the Dodgers, allowing eight runs in 8 2/3 innings. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Oklahoma City, delivering a 4.59 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings. He turns 26 later this month.

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