Gregory Bull/Associated Press
RHP Seth Rosin has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers thus far in 2014.
This category is made up of players who performed above what was expected. None of them came into the spring as locks to make the roster, but all are in Australia.
When general manager Ned Colletti mentioned Miguel Rojas as a possible candidate for the second base job in January, it came as a general shock to many Dodgers fans who had never even heard his name before. That was with good reason—the 25-year-old infielder has a career .589 OPS in 2,466 minor league plate appearances.
He is relevant, though, for his glove. In the article linked above, Dodgers veterans compared his defense to Omar Vizquel, which is obviously high praise.
Picturing him at second base required a stretch of the imagination, though, because the bat was just that awful.
But a 1.001 OPS this spring can go a ways towards making an imprint, and that is most definitely what happened for the Venezuelan. While he is still not assured of a place on the 25-man Opening Day roster, he was selected for the 30-man travel squad that will go to Australia. Regardless of whether he begins the season at Triple-A or the majors, though, he will be on the big league club’s radar and given a chance to prove his spring wasn’t a mirage.
As my previous mentions of Dee Gordon have clearly shown, I don’t know what to make of Gordon’s spring. The small sample size caveats all apply—his .286/.326/.476 line came in just 42 at bats—so we can’t really say that he has legitimately improved. Additionally, this piece from Dodgers Digest notes that (through March 10) only one of his hits had come off a no-doubt big league pitcher.
While we’re discussing his spring, Baseball Reference has a nifty tool called opponent quality that it applies to a player’s spring training statistics. For the 2014 spring, Gordon’s opponent quality is 8.2, which means the pitchers he’s facing are—on average—essentially Triple-A pitchers. For comparison’s sake, Hanley Ramirez’s opponent quality is 9.1.
The qualifications above are valid. We don’t truly know how good Gordon is—or, honestly, how good he really was this spring. However, given the fact that his career WAR is negative, the fact that he looks like he might be a competent major leaguer at second base qualifies his spring as a pleasant surprise.
Speaking of pleasant surprises—quickly becoming a fan favorite—Seth Rosin lit up the spring. In 11 innings, he posted a 1.64 ERA and racked up 12 strikeouts to just two walks. This performance inspired the Dodgers to add the Rule 5 pick to their travel roster, which would have seemed unlikely just one month ago.
We still don’t know whether or not he will make the Opening Day roster (and remember that—as a Rule 5 pick—if he doesn’t, he can be offered back to the Phillies for a small amount of money). This article from Mike Petriello at Dodgers Digest does a good job of laying out the numerical problems in the bullpen, but suffice it to say, it’s still difficult to see a way for Rosin to be on the 25-man roster come March 30.