3 Players Turning Heads Early at Spring Training
With spring training underway, the first two weeks have brought some interesting news from Dodger camp at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. While it’s still silly to take actual results with more than a couple grains of salt, there are certain players to watch—and it’s important to take notice when we get new information.
As we’re just a week into games, there hasn’t been much new data to parse. However, the second base question remains interesting, and a particular Rule 5 pick has made a name for himself.
In what is actually a relatively shocking turn of events, Gordon appears to be on his way to being a legitimate major league starter—albeit at second base. According to ESPN’s Jim Bowden (via Twitter), the Dodgers are leaning towards having Gordon start the year in the big leagues and letting Guerrero develop more in AAA.
Gordon’s problem has always been his bat: His career OPS is .614. However, if this MLB.com report is any indication, his offense has dramatically improved. As I mentioned above—it’s dangerous to draw any conclusions from spring training results. However, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that a 25-year-old Gordon is beginning to hit his stride.
Guerrero’s predicament is obviously related to Gordon; if there weren’t such an apparently viable alternative, we likely would see Guerrero in the major leagues on Opening Day, regardless of his defensive shortcomings at second base. As it is, though, Dodger fans are keeping an eye on him as he transitions to the other side of the infield.
One question that we’re not supposed to have to worry about is his bat, and so far that has been borne out. Through March 6, his line is .294/.333/.471, and this was punctuated by a grand slam on March 5 versus the Reds.
The big question, obviously, is his defense. He spent his entire career in Cuba playing shortstop, so he has had to learn an entirely new position this offseason. Whether or not he can adequately manage second base will be the key determining factor of his major league impact.
His defense is being watched closely: Daniel Brim at Dodgers Digest put together a .gif recap of all of Guerrero’s chances that’s worth examining as we monitor the Cuban’s progress.
Rosin has become a bit of a cause célèbre on the Internet as he continues to perform well. Through March 6, he has thrown five innings and allowed just four hits while striking out eight.
All of these numbers—as mentioned in the caveats above—are small sample sizes. Rosin was available to be selected in the Rule 5 draft for a reason: He doesn’t have an elite pedigree. However, thus far he has been extremely interesting.
At SB Nation’s excellent True Blue LA, Eric Stephen laid out a scenario in which Rosin could make the team; Mike Petriello did the same at Dodgers Digest. As both men mentioned, we don’t even know if Rosin deserves to make the team—let alone if he will. But to quote Petriello one final time: “It’s fun to have a story, and it’s even more fun when that story is an unknown Rule 5 guy trying to beat out millionaires.”