Dodger Thoughts

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

Tag: Scott Van Slyke (Page 2 of 5)

Yasiel Puig’s 96 mph fastball — from right field

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Just how strong is Yasiel Puig’s arm?

This week at, MLB Statcast analyst Mike Petriello wrote about the top outfield arms in baseball. His methodology in brief appears at the end of this post. I followed up by asking Statcast for some numbers specific to the Dodgers, and here’s what I got:

  • 96.0 mph — Yasiel Puig
  • 90.8 mph — Joc Pederson
  • 90.5 mph — Scott Van Slyke
  • 88.5 mph — Alex Guerrero
  • 88.2 mph — Kiké Hernandez
  • 87.7 mph — Andre Ethier
  • 79.7 mph — Carl Crawford

Puig was 2.6 mph behind Houston’s Jake Marsinick, the top outfield arm in the Majors. Here’s a 99.4 mph throw that Puig made at Houston in August:

[mlbvideo id=”404268183″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Read More

Jansen, Turner, Grandal, Van Slyke, Hatcher, Avilan officially retained for 2016

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 9.29.31 PM

By Jon Weisman

Six key arbitration-eligible players from the 2015 Dodgers — Luis Avilan, Yasmani Grandal, Chris Hatcher, Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Scott Van Slyke — have all been tendered contracts for the 2016 season.

None were a surprise, but the Dodgers had to make it official by 9 p.m. tonight or let them become free agents.

Any one of the sextet could still go to salary arbitration, but the Dodgers haven’t been to an arbitration hearing since Joe Beimel in 2007 and haven’t lost since Terry Adams in 2001.

Previously this week, the Dodgers signed A.J. Ellis and Joe Wieland for 2016.

Van Slyke in doubt for NLDS, Puig possible

[wpvideo jeZ05eBP]
By Jon Weisman

With Clayton Kershaw (above) starting things out with his morning windsprints, the Dodgers held their first postseason workout today.

The deadline to finalize the 25-man roster for the National League Division Series doesn’t come until 10 a.m. Friday, so the Dodgers haven’t made any announcements regarding who will be on it, nor the starting rotation.

General manager Farhan Zaidi said that while discussions about the final roster spots are continuing, including whether the last spot will go to a pitcher or a position player, the team hopes to let players know their status sooner than later so they they aren’t in the dark.

Scott Van Slyke, battling wrist problems, didn’t bat today, so his chances for playing in the NLDS are dimming. Yasiel Puig is considered healthy and, if the organization is satisfied that he had enough prep time at Camelback Ranch and this weekend against the Padres, he remains a candidate to play in the NLDS.

Ailments sideline Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Turner

San Francisco Giants vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Pirates at Dodgers, 1:10 p.m.
Carl Crawford, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
Corey Seager, SS
Andre Ethier, RF
Yasmani Grandal, C
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Joc Pederson, CF
Alex Guerrero, 3B
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Two weeks since Jimmy Rollins has been able to play shortstop, one day after Howie Kendrick returned to second base from a five-week absence, the Dodgers also face renewed health concerns at first and third base.

Adrian Gonzalez is day to day with back stiffness, Don Mattingly told reporters today, and Justin Turner is hobbled by soreness in his left knee. Steve Bourbon of has more on Turner.

Read More

So many pitchers, just enough time

[mlbvideo id=”462580683″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

It was nine innings that featured 16 pitchers, 35 baserunners, 232 minutes and 338 pitches. It ended with Kenley Jansen doing what Kenley Jansen needed to do, striking out Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and then getting a fly to right by David DeJesus to preserve a 7-5 victory for the Dodgers at Anaheim.

Scott Van Slyke became the Dodgers’ first No. 8 hitter with four hits and four RBI since James Loney hit a single, double and two grand slams at Colorado in 2006. His two-run hit off the pitcher in the seventh inning provided the Dodgers with the runs they needed to win, one day after Andre Ethier cleared the bases in the seventh inning with a comebacker to the pitcher that was thrown away.

[mlbvideo id=”463423183″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Justin Ruggiano had another big hit for the Dodgers, a two-run double pinch-hit while pinch-hitting for Ethier in the fifth. Corey Seager and Joc Pederson each reached base three times, including the first two walks of Seager’s career.

The Angels used nine pitchers, tying the most the Dodgers have ever faced in a nine-inning game. The last time it happened was the Loney two-slam game.

Oh, and while he did allow three runs in a game for the sixth time in 29 starts this year, Zack Greinke had his 26th quality start and still has a 1.68 ERA.

Los Angeles now leads the National League West by 8 1/2 games, the Dodgers’ biggest lead since the last day of the 2013 season.

Shoulder sidelines Yasmani Grandal

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Juan Ocampo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers at Reds, 4:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Chase Utley, 2B
A.J. Ellis, C
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Alex Wood, P

By Jon Weisman

Yasmani Grandal is not expected to start before Thursday at the earliest because of an ailing left shoulder, Don Mattingly told reporters today.

Grandal is third on the Dodgers with 140 weighted runs created (wRC+), but he is 3 for 30 with five walks and no extra-base hits in his past 35 plate appearances. Mattingly said there is worry the shoulder condition is altering Grandal’s swing.

The 26-year-old catcher isn’t expected to go on the disabled list, especially with rosters expanding one week from today. But it will mean more work than usual for A.J. Ellis, who is quietly posting his best averages at the plate (.356 on-base percentage, .360 slugging percentage) since 2012.

The Dodgers need improvement from several players as they look to win their first game since August 16. During the current five-game losing streak …

  • Justin Turner is 1 for 18 with two walks and two errors.
  • Jimmy Rollins has a single, double and homer in 22 plate appearances.
  • Adrian Gonzalez has four singles and a walk in 20 plate appearances.
  • Scott Van Slyke, Carl Crawford and Alex Guerrero are a combined 1 for 28 with one walk.

Rollins’ third-inning home run six days ago at Oakland is the Dodgers’ most recent four-base hit.

Alex Wood, who takes the mound today for the Dodgers, has been charged with exactly three runs on five hits with three walks in each of his past three starts.

Mat Latos pitched a five-inning simulated game Monday, and is scheduled to start Saturday against the Cubs, with Brett Anderson, Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw taking the starts between now and then.  Juan Nicasio, as noted Monday, has been activated from the disabled list.


Bear and grin it: The line between too much and too little encouragement


By Jon Weisman

How far should you go to light a fire under someone?

After seeing the Oscar-nominated movie “Whiplash” last winter, with its internal debate between tough love and abuse, I was curious what the reaction would be in the sports world. So earlier this season, I talked to Scott Van Slyke, A.J. Ellis, Kiké Hernandez, J.P. Howell and Darwin Barney about it for the July issue of Dodger Insider magazine. Click each page below to enlarge.

Read More

At 21, Jose Peraza called up for MLB debut — youngest Dodger since Kershaw

Nationals at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Jose Peraza, 2B
Yasiel Puig, RF
Scott Van Slyke, 1B
Kiké Hernandez, CF
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Alex Guerrero, LF
A.J. Ellis, C
Brett Anderson, P

By Jon Weisman

“Life moves pretty fast,” warned Ferris Bueller, no doubt with Jose Peraza in mind.

With Howie Kendrick and his strained left hamstring officially headed to the disabled list, Peraza — the 21-year-old infielder acquired from Atlanta in the Dodgers’ July 30 three-team deal — has been called up to make his Major League debut for Los Angeles.

Born on April 30, 1994 — the day that the Dodgers rallied from a 10-5, eighth-inning deficit to beat the Mets — Peraza is poised to become the youngest Dodger since Clayton Kershaw made his debut on May 25, 2008 at 20 years and 67 days. And, he’ll be the Dodgers’ youngest position player since Adrian Beltre, who was 19 when he was called up in 1998.

Peraza has a .318 on-base percentage and .379 slugging percentage in Triple-A this season, numbers that have soared to .415 and .590 since moving to Oklahoma City. He has also stolen 27 bases in 34 attempts this year.

Kendrick has a .341 OBP and .418 slugging percentage in his first season with the Dodgers and is fifth among National League second basemen in wins above replacement. Since July 20, Kendrick was hitting .396/.420/.583.

Also tonight, Scott Van Slyke is making his second career start batting in the No. 3 spot, and first since May 15, 2012. Kiké Hernandez is making his third career start batting fifth.

Also, Carlos Frias is back on the disabled list with lower back tightness. Frias was optioned to the minors earlier this month, but technically, that action has been voided.

Update: Van Slyke and Puig have shifted spots in the lineup.

Scott Van Slyke activated, Chris Hatcher placed on disabled list

Arizona Diamondbacks vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Rangers at Dodgers, 7:10 p.m.
Kershaw CCXXIII: Kershawlicon Valley
Yasiel Puig, RF
Chris Heisey, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Scott Van Slyke, LF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
A.J. Ellis, C
Clayton Kershaw, P

By Jon Weisman

Scott Van Slyke has come off the disabled list and into the Dodger starting lineup tonight against Texas lefty Wandy Rodriguez, but he is taking the roster spot of a pitcher, not a position player.

Righty reliever Chris Hatcher has been placed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, retroactive to June 15.

For the time being, that leaves the Dodgers with a season-low six pitchers in their bullpen: righties Kenley Jansen, Yimi Garcia, Juan Nicasio and Josh Ravin, and lefties J.P. Howell and Adam Liberatore.

Liberatore is the only Dodger who has pitched in two games since Friday. The Dodgers have gotten a pair of eight-inning outings in that time, from Zack Greinke and Brett Anderson.

Van Slyke enters tonight’s game 6 for 21 with a double and four walks against southpaws this season (.756 OPS). Last year, Van Slyke had a 1.045 OPS in 130 plate appearances against left-handers.

Update: Don Mattingly told reporters today that the Dodgers would likely go back to a seven-man bullpen as soon as Thursday.

Read More

After 22 months, Brandon Beachy returns to action in rehab start

By Jon Weisman

Making his first appearance in a professional game since August 20, 2013, right-handed pitcher Brandon Beachy faced six batters tonight in a rehab start with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Beachy allowed two groundouts and two lineouts while walking one and striking out one.

The 27-year-old has a 3.23 ERA in 267 2/3 career innings with 275 strikeouts, including a 4.50 ERA in 30 innings with 23 strikeouts in 2013, between his first and second Tommy John surgeries.

Another Brandon, last name of League, faced four batters in his rehab inning during the same game, with one hit allowed and one strikeout.

Earlier, Ken Gurnick of reported that the Dodgers planned to activate Scott Van Slyke from the disabled list on Wednesday, and that relievers Paco Rodriguez, Joel Peralta and Pedro Baez were continuing to progress toward their returns as well.

What wood you do: A Dodger Insider special

What wood you do

In today’s special Dodger Insider online feature, broken bats are broken down by magazine freelancer Chris Gigley, who talks to Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson and Scott Van Slyke about maintaining and sacrificing their tools of the trade.

Our inaugural special, “Inside the #RallyBanana,” can be accessed here, and our “Meet the Originals” package on the 50th anniversary of the MLB draft can be found here.

Check it all out, and don’t forget, there’s more content like it in the June edition of Dodger Insider magazine, available at all Dodger Stadium team stores.

— Jon Weisman

Big crowd on Dodger injury rehab train

SVS 051115js291

Dodgers at Padres, 1:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Yasiel Puig, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Yasmani Grandal, C
Andre Ethier, LF
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Alberto Callaspo, 3B
Mike Bolsinger, P

By Jon Weisman

Scott Van Slyke and Joel Peralta began their rehab assignments Saturday, as Ken Gurnick of notes.

The timing of Van Slyke’s return is noteworthy in part because the Dodgers will use a designated hitter for the first time this season when they play Monday and Tuesday at Texas. Alex Guerrero seems like an obvious choice, but Van Slyke could also figure in the mix as he works his way back into active duty.

(Update: Don Mattingly told reporters today that the Dodgers planned to have Van Slyke play left field for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga today and first base Monday, then take Tuesday off and be activated in Los Angeles on Wednesday if all goes well.)

The Dodgers are scheduled to face righties Yovani Gallardo and Chi Chi Gonzalez in Arlington. The 23-year-old Gonzalez has a 0.42 ERA after three career Major League starts, totaling 21 2/3 innings, though with only eight strikeouts.

Here’s an excerpt from Gurnick’s update:

Van Slyke, healing from a strained mid-back muscle, went 1-for-4 with a double and strikeout as a designated hitter against Stockton in his first rehab game.

Peralta, healing from a pinched nerve in his neck, reached his pitch limit after two-thirds of an inning, charged with one run on two hits in his second rehab appearance.

The list of Dodgers lined up for injury rehab assignments with Rancho Cucamonga in the next few days includes Paco Rodriguez (elbow spur), who shows up there Monday, Brandon Beachy (Tommy John surgery) on Tuesday, and Brandon League (right shoulder impingement), who goes back to back both of those days.

Peralta, out since April 23, has allowed no runs or inherited runners to score in his 5 2/3 innings this season, scattering two singles and three walks while striking out four.

An activation of League from the disabled list is expected around June 24, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News, who separately notes that Beachy is expected to use the full 30 days available to him for his rehab assignment, which would place his arrival in the Dodger rotation no sooner than July 17, the first day after the All-Star Break.  No doubt, the sequence of the Dodger rotation will depend on the use of Zack Greinke and/or Clayton Kershaw at the Midsummer Classic.

In addition, Pedro Baez has been throwing bullpen sessions at Camelback Ranch “but is probably still a week away from starting a rehab assignment,” according to Bill Plunkett of the Register.

Adam Liberatore and Josh Ravin are the two current Dodger relievers who have spent time in the minors this season, but if the Dodgers want to make room in the bullpen for Peralta, Rodriguez, League and Baez, they’d have to carve out more space.

If Van Slyke, Peralta, League, Beachy, Rodriguez and Baez are all activated over the next month, that would turn over nearly 25 percent of the active roster. And that doesn’t factor in Carl Crawford, in Arizona recovering from his oblique injury, and Hector Olivera, whose MLB debut is still expected in the coming weeks.

* * *

Josh Sborz, drafted 74th overall by the Dodgers last week, was profiled by Cash Kruth at after striking out five in three shutout innings for Virginia at the College World Series on Saturday.

“He throws strikes. He attacks you. That slider is, what, 84 to sometimes up to 87, 88 mph. It’s a pretty darned good pitch,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “So you have a lot of confidence in him that he’s going to go at them and give his best. And he’s been pretty darned near as good as you can be all year long for us.”

Aside from his fastball and slider, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Sborz also shows solid feel for a changeup that he really doesn’t need as a reliever. Last season, Sborz posted a 2.92 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) while mostly working out of the rotation, and the Dodgers have said they plan to begin developing him as a starter.

Scott Van Slyke becomes third Dodger outfielder on DL

Scott Van Slyke has a .423 on-base percentage against lefties this season, but both his home runs have come against righties. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Scott Van Slyke has a .423 on-base percentage against lefties this season, but both his home runs have come against righties. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Dodgers at Rockies, 12:10 p.m.
Joc Pederson, CF
Chris Heisey, RF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Justin Turner, 3B
Alex Guerrero, LF
Kiké Hernandez, SS
Austin Barnes, C
Juan Nicasio, P

By Jon Weisman

Scott Van Slyke, who has been ailing with back inflammation, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, with Chris Heisey returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take his place on the roster.

Van Slyke has only played once in the past eight days. He has been in a 4-for-36 slide with two walks and no extra-base hits, dating back to May 13.

He joins Yasiel Puig and Carl Crawford on the disabled list, though Puig continued to progress toward a return by taking live batting practice today in Colorado, according to Ken Gurnick of

This will be a fish-or-cut-bait stint for the Dodgers with Heisey, who will now have the five years’ service time to refuse a minor-league assignment.

Ian Thomas, one of the pitchers acquired from Atlanta, in the Juan Uribe/Chris Withrow trade, has also been called up from Oklahoma City as the 26th man permissible for today’s doubleheader.

Thomas, who would be the first Ian in Dodger history if he gets into a game, had a 0.00 ERA in 12 2/3 innings with Triple-A Gwinnett this year, before giving up six runs in 2 1/3 innings during his only appearance with Oklahoma City.

For the Dodgers’ only doubleheader last year, the 26th man was Red Patterson, who started the second game at Minnesota and allowed one run on five baserunners in 4 2/3 innings. Patterson is currently rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery.

Adrian Gonzalez leads NL All-Star balloting at first — other Dodgers trail

Atlanta Braves vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Tim Wallach, who knows a thing or five (1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990) about All-Star selections, and Joc Pederson celebrate Adrian Gonzalez’s 1000th RBI on Tuesday.

By Jon Weisman

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez is the only member of the National League West-leading Dodgers (and NL’s No. 1 offense) in first place at his position in the initial release of NL All-Star voting numbers.

Gonzalez has nearly twice as many votes as second-palce Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, but otherwise, the Dodgers need help — especially Joc Pederson, who (as you’ll see detailed later in this post) ranks No. 1 among NL center fielders in Wins Above Replacement.

It’s worth noting that Gonzalez was the NL leader among first basemen at this stage last year, only to eventually lose out to Paul Goldschmidt of Arizona.

Fan voting continues through July 2. You can read more about the selection process here. Click the image below to enlarge the current results.


For some perspective, here’s where the top Dodger All-Star candidates rank in WAR, according to Fangraphs.

  • Gonzalez is first among first basemen, a hair ahead of Goldschmidt and Rizzo. Tuesday’s home run was only Gonzalez’s second of May, but he still has a .411 on-base percentage and .481 slugging percentage this month. Gonzalez has been in four All-Star Games, but none since joining the Dodgers in 2012.
  • Dodger rookie Pederson leads NL center fielders in WAR, not insignificantly: 0.3 ahead of No. 2 A.J. Pollock and 0.7 (50 percent higher) above No. 3 Dexter Fowler. And that’s with Pederson losing a bit of value because of his sub-par baserunning so far this year. Thanks in part to Andrew McCutchen’s slow start, no one is even close to Pederson offensively in center.
  • Overall NL voting leader Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton dominate the national headlines and rightly so, but right behind Stanton in right field WAR is Andre Ethier, whose wRC+ is actually better than Stanton’s. An NL Comeback Player of the Year candidate, Ethier (like Gonzalez) last reached an All-Star Game in 2011, but given that he is fifth among all outfielders in WAR, his chance to make the game as a reserve is fairly strong.

[mlbvideo id=”131526483″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]

  • For the record, Yasiel Puig (50 plate appearances) is 16th in WAR in right field, and 13th on the current outfield ballot.
  • Yasmani Grandal is fourth in WAR at catcher, behind Buster Posey, Derek Norris and Miguel Montero. Currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list, Grandal has the fewest game and plate appearances (tied with Brayan Pena) of anyone in the top 10. On the offensive side, Grandal ranks second.
  • Also sitting in the No. 4 spot is Howie Kendrick at second base, behind 2015 ballot leader Dee Gordon, Kolten Wong and Joe Panik. Of note: When Kendrick went 0 for 8 May 22-23 against San Diego, that was the first time all season he hadn’t reached base in consecutive games. Kendrick’s only All-Star appearance came the same year as the most recent one for Ethier and Gonzalez, in 2011.

[mlbvideo id=”132972783″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]

  • Justin Turner and Alex Guerrero aren’t on the All-Star ballot, but they sit in fourth and seventh positions at third base. Neither has 100 plate appearances yet this season (Turner is at 99), and Guerrero has actually only played nine games at the hot corner (Fangraphs doesn’t separate players by games played at each position on its rankings). Turner at least has 22 games, but it’s still an uphill battle for him to leapfrog such candidates as Matt Carpenter, Todd Frazier, Nolan Arenado and Cubs rookie Kris Bryant. In case you’re wondering, Juan Uribe is just outside the top 20.
  • You’ll also find Guerrero in fifth place in left field, two spots ahead of Scott Van Slyke. Nori Aoki, Justin Upton, Charlie Blackmon and Matt Holliday lead in left field. Guerrero’s best shot would be if he keeps hitting, and the NL falls in love with a combination left fielder-third baseman from Bruce Bochy’s division rival.
  • Jimmy Rollins is one spot ahead of 2013-14 All-Star Troy Tulowitzki in WAR at shortstop, but unfortunately that’s down at 12th.

Walkoff wallop: Scott Van Slyke delayed but not denied

[mlbvideo id=”111629583″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

Last week was peculiar for Scott Van Slyke. Hitting .394 with a .462 on-base percentage and .606 slugging percentage through May 2, Van Slyke went 0 for 10 with five strikeouts from May 3-6, then didn’t get into either of the games over the weekend at Coors Field, where he somewhat predictably had a .985 OPS in 25 plate appearances last year.

Tonight, Van Slyke was in the lineup against Miami, not only facing a right-hander, but for the first time in his career starting in the No. 8 slot. The big outfielder made the most of it.

First, Van Slyke doubled in the fifth inning and appeared to score the Dodgers’ second run on Jimmy Rollins’ deep liner to right, only to be thwarted when Joc Pederson was doubled off first base following Giancarlo Stanton’s great catch and bullet throw.

Van Slyke then made what appeared to be the pivotal play of the game for the Dodgers, catching Adeiny Hechavarria’s bases-loaded liner with one out in the seventh inning and throwing out Christian Yelich at home to perserve a 1-1 tie.

In the bottom of that same inning, Van Slyke singled, went to second on a Yelich error and this time came around to score for real, on a redemptive single to center by Pederson.

Then, after Yelich stunned Dodger reliever Yimi Garcia with a two-run homer in the ninth — the first runs allowed by Dodger relievers at home in their last 38 1/3 innings — Van Slyke came through again.

[mlbvideo id=”111750283″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

The come-from-behind, 5-3 walkoff victory gave the Dodgers a 21-10 record — 14-2 at home — and a season-high five-game lead in the National League West. Already, it’s the Dodgers’ fourth walkoff victory at home in 2015, and in all four of those games they were either trailing at one point or never led.

* * *

It would be wrong to let this game go by without tipping our cap to this play by old friend Dee Gordon.

[mlbvideo id=”111570983″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

Page 2 of 5

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén