For any fan who follows the farm system of the Los Angeles Dodgers even remotely, one player who continues to instill hopes of offensive firepower in the lineup is outfielder and first baseman Jerry Sands.
Sands, who made his first Triple-A appearance for the Albuquerque Isotopes at the beginning of the season, is currently amidst a very impressive hot streak. Through his first six games, he's hitting .417 with two doubles, four home runs and 14 RBI. His slugging percentage calculates to an even 1.000 while he carries an OPS of 1.429.
Many believe that Sands could benefit from a full year at the Triple-A level before playing regularly in the majors. However, the power he displayed during Cactus League play and the first group of games in the Pacific Coast League could certainly benefit the Dodgers. As a team, Los Angeles struggled in most power categories last season. With general manager Ned Colletti focused mainly on pitching acquisitions during the offseason, the Dodgers find themselves in the same position in 2011.
Colletti is notorious for using middle or end-of-the-road veteran players before he takes chances on rookies. Also, the questions that come into play are: "just where would he fit into the lineup and who would he replace?"
Rather than thinking from the inside outwards, perhaps looking at it from the outside inwards could give a clearer understanding. Instead of dabbling with the 40-man and only giving Sands and occasional at-bat, put him where he's the strongest and let him show his value. If Sands continues to produce at this rate through the end of April into May, he should be activated, regardless of who's on the roster or any monies owed to a player who would be subsequently optioned.
The following slides highlight five reasons why Jerry Sands may be ready sooner than many think, and attempt to show how he may fit into the Los Angeles Dodgers' starting lineup moving forward.