Spring training is about half over, and several Dodgers players have distinguished themselves—both positively and negatively.
Spring training games are notoriously meaningless, but this year’s World Baseball Classic (WBC) has been a meaningful stage where some players have impressed.
Meanwhile, although general spring training statistics don’t tell very much, specific news nuggets (such as health) can be informative.
Luis Cruz was the third baseman for Mexico’s WBC team, and while he didn’t stand out as an elite performer, he certainly didn’t make a fool of himself either.
His most notable performance was probably his inclusion in the benches-clearing brouhaha with Canada, but he remains a winner because he was a public figure and his performance was nothing to be ashamed of.
When speaking of impressive WBC performances, it’s impossible to ignore the stacked Dominican Republic lineup, and Hanley Ramirez is certainly a large part of that.
His early displays of power are a positive sign.
Chad Billingsley is not playing in the WBC, but he is pitching in spring training, which is the biggest victory he could ask for at this point.
Various elbow scares led him to consider having Tommy John surgery this offseason, but he opted for rehab and recovery. So far, it has worked out in his favor.
The fact that he has avoided injury is the big takeaway; if he continues to do so, he will be a big part of the Dodgers’ deep staff.
Adrian Gonzalez was impressive in the WBC despite the fact that Mexico played only three games. Even with all the small-sample caveats (he only got 13 plate appearances), many of Gonzalez’s strengths were on display.
He hit a home run off U.S. ace R.A. Dickey, and in each game, he drew at least one walk. That is reminiscent of the power-and-patience combination that the Dodgers thought they would get when they acquired him from Boston.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that Carl Crawford might not be ready for Opening Day because of a setback in his recovery from offseason Tommy John surgery.
The Dodgers are hoping he can return to his pre-Boston ways, but any problems from his elbow will likely hinder that.
This one is admittedly tentative, as we don’t know how long Zack Greinke will be out. But he was scratched from his start Monday with elbow inflammation, and although his MRI came back negative, he is still questionable for Opening Day.
If he is out for an extended period of time, or if the injury lingers into the season, it will be a big blow for the Dodgers’ playoff chances.