Lessons Learned in Dodgers Spring Training Thus Far

  1. The Dodgers have been aggressive on the base paths.

Since August 2015, when the Dodgers Management reassigned third base coach Lorenzo Bundy and hired Former Milwaukee Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke for what was believed to be base running errors, or just a lack of the running game all together, the team has been a lot more aggressive on the base paths. The youth movement, trades (e.g., acquiring very fast second baseman Micah Johnson), and a new manager, who was a leadoff hitter during his career (and is most remembered for this stolen base), the Dodgers have taken their aggressiveness into Spring Training. We anticipate the Dodgers, because of the talent and depth available, with a manager who has an affinity and familiarity for the running game, to be at the top of the League in hit-and-run plays and stolen bases. It is no surprise that the team has been extremely successful during Spring Training where they have added a run game to an already talented line-up, pitching staff, bullpen, coaching staff, front office, and ownership group.

  1. Rookies and non-25 man roster players are playing tremendously well.

Rico Noel. Charlie Culberson.  Rob Segedin. Ever heard of the them?  Scott Van Slyke. Austin Barnes. Cody Bellinger. All are performing at really high levels and/or continuing past success. Want to know what each of them has in common? Each of these players is leading the team in one or more offensive category. Bellinger is looking like the heir apparent to Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Noel, Culberson, and Sedegin were all thought of as smaller pieces in trades or low-level pick-ups. We know Van Slyke and what he has done to left-handed pitching.

Austin Barnes is a wonderful ballplayer who can catch and play second base. However, he is too talented to be a utility player. He holds a .300 career minor league batting average with a .390 on base percentage (OBP), consistently pushing a .400+ OBP. No surprise there as he has walked more than he has struck out during his minor league career. He is Yasmani Grandal’s age at 26 years-old. Manager Dave Roberts wants to find him more at bats.  Look for Austin Barnes to make an impact after being included in the 2015 Dee Gordon offseason trade. He should get those at bats if A.J. Ellis struggles and as Dave Roberts moves away from personal catchers.

The regular season has not started yet and we find injuries already having an impact. The Dodgers depth and perseverance as a team will be tested.

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Written by Jeremy Evans

Jeremy M. Evans is the Founder & Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing entertainment, media, and sports clientele. Evans is an award-winning attorney and industry leader based in Los Angeles.


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