Fast Forward two weeks and Eric Stults is still a leading candidate (and has pitched very well in the starting role), but most of the above names are no longer candidates to be on the opening day roster. It’s possible Kuo and Belisario could make the team, but time is running out because Kuo could be on the DL and Belisario could be on the “Felony Stupid List” for not showing up on time. James McDonald is “on-the-bubble” and could easily be sent to AAA as well. Josh Lindblom has an outside chance, but I think the Dodgers would like to send him to AAA to see if he can cut it as a starter all season. It’s a “given” that he will be an outstanding reliever, but some in the organization think he has the stuff to be a soild #3 Starter.
Armando Zerpa was sent back to Boston. Eric Gagne was sent to Minor League Camp and Cory Wade is sporting a sore wing, but Ramon Ortiz has been the surprise of the spring. He used to be a guy who tried to blow every pitch past the hitters at 95 MPH, but has now learned some new tricks. In fact he has pitched 9 innings this Spring and allowed 5 hits while striking out 11 and only walking 2. It has been reported that he developed a nasty new pitch in Japan in 2008.
Russ Ortiz is also pitching well with 5 scoreless innings so far (that’s a small sampling – let’s see what he does in his next start), and these two guys are screwing up my projections. I still don’t think it’s likely that Russ makes the team, but Ramon has the stuff to be the Dodgers #5. Eric Stults has his hands full. A few weeks ago, I said there would be a big surprise. So far, it has been Ramon Ortiz. Jon Weisman makes good points about the “Ortiz Tease”, as he calls it.
NEXT YEAR FOR XAVIER PAUL
X. Paul has no chance to make the team this year, unless someone gets injured. As of right now, Doug Mientkiewicz AND Garrett Anderson could BOTH make the team – You can’t have too many bats. Xavier won’t like it, but he could benefit from a full season at AAA and the become the Dodgers LF in 2011. Most people think he’s a 4th OF, but he could be a very serviceable LF in the future. Good Speed, Decent Power, Excellent Glove, Cannon Arm. Watch him!
WHO BATS #2?
I really am not invested emotionally as to who hits #2. There is no RIGHT answer. You typically only bat 2nd one time a game, but if Matt Kemp is the second batter, I think the Dodgers will score more runs in the first inning. Also, while he is a good baserunner, Blake DeWitt has average speed (at best) – I like him lower in the order because of the speed issue. Russ Martin is faster than DeWitt! It’s an argument for which I can play both sides, but these’s just one thing to consider: If you are an opposing manager, and knew you were going to have to face 4 batters in the first inning, which 4 would you rather face:
It’s an EASY answer, no explanation necessary!
GET WITH..ROW IT!
By all accounts Chris Withrow looked outstanding in his 1 inning of work. He struck out the side and displayed a 92-95 MPH fastball with a lot of late movement. He’ll see time in the Majors as soon as next season! Like Clayton Kershaw, he’s not going to need a lot of time in the minors.
CUTS THAT COUNT:
Travis Schlichting, Brent Leach and Ivan De Jesus Jr. were all sent to minor league camp. Both pitchers could be part of the “AAA Shuttle” this year. DeJesus will be a nice utilityman, as early as next season. He does not possess enough speed to hit high in the order, not enough power to hit above #7 and not enough range to be an everyday SS. He has a good bat, but his lack of other skills makes him a sub, in my opinion.
- Scouts are more than amazed at Dee Gordon’s speed. He can nearly beat out a routine groundball to 2B! The fielder has to execute perfectly every time or he’s on. He may skip High A ball and go to AA. It will depend upon his maturity level.
- Scott Van Slyke looks like a player, but then again, so does Preston Mattingly. 2010 is a make or break season for both.
- “Boy, do those Dodgers have arms!” A comment frequently heard among opposing scouts and officials.
- Jamie McCourt wants to be President of the United States (no thanks) – Bill Shaikin of The LA Times
- Must Read: Steve Dilbeck of The LA Times on Casey Blake (the one you don’t see)
- Tony Jackson’s Mailbag
GAME NOT OVER?
According to Ken Gurnick, Eric Gagne texted this upon his demotion to the Minors:
“I’m on my way back,” he wrote. “I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. But I’m gonna go down there and work my butt off and be ready if they need help!! Long season.”
FIVE DAYS UNTIL CAMELBACK RANCH!