Dodgers Spring Training Stock Watch: Who Is Rising and Who Is Falling
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ season begins in Australia March 22, which means players are running out of time to make an impression on the organization’s decision-makers. We’ve seen in the past how big springs (like Yasiel Puig’s from last season) can influence future decisions. So, in certain circumstances, it’s worth monitoring players' performances.
All of the players discussed in this article are players whose springs involve high stakes. Matt Kemp is finally back on the field, but we’ve all expected him to begin the year on the DL anyway. Noel Cuevas hit a game-winning home run, but he’s not going to make the team, so it’s relatively irrelevant.
For some players, though, spring training matters. Not so much in the sense of raw production—because we know that the small sample sizes and competition disparity makes the statistics virtually meaningless—but because of what we can see in terms of visible improvements or adjustments.
Rising: Paco Rodriguez
One of the surprising stars of last season, Paco Rodriguez was excellent for much of the year. His cumulative numbers still look great—2.32 ERA in 54.1 innings—but his playoff performance was so awful it created some concern.
The Dodgers seem to believe the problem was a mechanical one, and they have now found it and corrected it. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen; Daniel Brim of Dodgers Digest compared Rodriguez’s mechanics from last season to this spring, and the results were inconclusive.
However, one has to be optimistic the team feels like they have solved some of Rodriguez’s issues. He was such a vital member of the 2013 bullpen that it would be a shame if he cannot return to that level.
Rising: Seth Rosin
Like the next name on this list, I touched on Seth Rosin in an article last week. He has been impressive this spring, as he has yet to allow an earned run in eight innings. Along the way, he has racked up 10 strikeouts and allowed just one walk.
Now, it’s of course still an open question whether or not Rosin will make the roster. The bullpen is full of viable (and unviable but expensive) options, so the Rule 5 pick is likely to be squeezed out of a job. However, he certainly has made a name for himself.
Falling: Dee Gordon
How a week can change things! Just last week, I mentioned Dee Gordon as a player who was turning heads in the spring.
None of the exact facts have changed: The Dodgers’ Opening Day second baseman is likely to be Gordon. However, his last week hasn’t been particularly good (see the bottom of these Dodgers Digest reports), and that is slightly worrying.
My piece from last week made reference to Gordon’s improved offensive skills, but even with the caveat that the statistics are from spring training, he still can’t really hit. As documented in the above links, he has relied a bit too much on bunts, and his numbers for the spring are abysmal.