After an awful start offensively to begin the 2011 regular season, the Los Angeles Dodgers called up prospect Jerry Sands.
Sands had been promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque before the start of the season, but he was so impressive early on that he got the call up after just ten games.
The young slugger received a standing ovation from the Dodger crowd during his first major league at bat. It was a great moment at Dodger Stadium during a strange week for the organization.
Sands has just seven hits in 30 at-bats since being called up, but Dodger fans are hoping that he sticks around for a number of reasons.
For one, fans would like Sands to at least have the opportunity to get used to major league pitching.
Secondly, if Sands puts up statistics for the Los Angeles that even remotely resemble his minor league numbers, then he can benefit the team tremendously.
Here are five reasons why Jerry Sands will stick in Los Angeles.
Sands has incredible power, which is something Los Angeles must be very excited about.
With the exception of outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, there is a noticeable lack of power throughout the L.A. Dodger lineup.
Los Angeles hit just 120 home runs as a team in 2010, second fewest in the N.L.
Sands has shown power at every level, having hit as many has 35 home runs last season.
During his minor league career, he averaged one home run for every 13.8 at bats.
Besides hitting for power, Sands has shown the ability to get on base consistently.
He hit a very solid .294 during his minor league career, including an impressive On Base Percentage of .390.
The Dodgers have had their struggles getting guys on base over the last couple seasons.
Dodger hitters had a collective on-base percentage of just .322 last season and have nearly identical results thus far in 2011.
When a team is unable to get guys on base, it can be extremely difficult to score runs.
Even If Sands struggles at times to hit the ball out of the ball park, he can still help the Dodgers win by either getting a base hit or by reaching base via the walk.
Sands was selected in the 25th round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft and has climbed the ladder very quickly.
Immediately after being drafted, Sands hit 10 home runs in just 46 games for the Rookie Gulf coast Dodgers.
In 2009, Sands split time between the Rookie level and Single-A Great Lakes. He went on to hit .315 with 19 HR and 58 RBI.
Last season, Sands spent the first half of the season with Single-A Great Lakes before moving up to Double-A Chattanooga. Overall, he had a monstrous season, hitting .301 with 35 HR and 93 RBI.
Sands began the 2011 season with Triple-A Albuquerque, and he hit .400 with five home runs in just ten games. The early success was enough for him to be brought up to the major league level, where he currently stands.
Despite a slow start in the big leagues, there is no reason to believe that Sands should be sent back down.
Sands can play either first base or left field, which can be very beneficial to the Dodgers, who have had trouble getting offensive production out of those two positions in particular.
Current Dodgers first baseman James Loney is a mediocre hitter, at best, for his position. Since coming up to the big leagues in 2006, Loney has a career OPS of just .770.
Despite playing a power-hitting position, Loney has never hit more than 15 home runs in a season.
In 2010, Loney had his worst full season, hitting just .267 with ten home runs. He is off to a bad start to begin the 2011 season, currently hitting just .167 with a dreadful OPS of .427.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers have used a variety of left fielders in the early part of the season, none of whom have been overly impressive in the early going.
Tony Gwynn Jr. has made consistent contact, but he has been unable to reach base consistently, nor does he have any power.
Marcus Thames, on the other hand, has power, but he has struggled to put the ball in play.
With the way things currently stand, you should expect Sands to either be the Dodgers' everyday first baseman or left fielder by the end of the season.
Sands is currently 23 years old and will be 24 before the end of the season, which is right around the age that elite prospects typically begin to get the feel for major league pitching.
At 6'4", 220 pounds, Sands is already physically developed.
He has also shown great baseball instincts and has the reputation of being very coachable.
For Sands, the Organizational Player of the Year for the Dodgers in 2010, now is as good of a time as ever to play for Los Angeles.