Without question – ever since I read The Big Chair by Ned Colletti – I have loved hearing the man simply talk baseball. Therefore, when he was a guest on MLB.com’s ‘Chatting Cage’; I jumped on the opportunity to scribe what he had to say.
Of course, Colletti talked on a wide range of topics and didn’t shy away from any questions posed by fans of the game. While he’s not in the general manager’s seat anymore, you can tell a lifetime within the game has provided a keen baseball instinct. His answers in a short conversation provide you with a wealth of information, and wanting a little more.
You can watch the entire session right here below. However, let’s highlight a few things Colletti had to say about the current Dodgers.
Indeed, Colletti was responsible for drafting current superstar Cody Bellinger. At the current time, Bellinger has a bWAR over 2.2 which is more than several team’s entire rosters have compiled. So when Colletti was asked about Bellinger’s development as a player, his answer was worth listening to around the 3:00 mark.
Colletti was asked if Bellinger has become a ‘stop and watch’ guy within the game.
“Very interesting, he was a high school draftee as a first baseman. You’re rarely going to draft a first baseman that high, but we did because of the athleticism. Also, as a senior in high school he had only one home run. So you really had to have a lot of projection. We had great scouts, guys who could really project. He doesn’t just hit home runs, he runs hard, this kid could win a gold glove at any outfield spot in time. This year, you’re seeing the bookends of a rookie year and 2018 and a lot of learning. I think he really adjusted to it, and you’re seeing the culmination of a lot of hard work and adjustment. He’s been one of the best in the game.”
When asked to share a fact on Clayton Kershaw that no one else knew, Colletti offered this.
“He was up among the league leaders in walks early in his career. I sat him down and told him to get his command straightened out. We sent him down and said ‘look, no one can really hit you; throw effective strikes and don’t build a big pitch count’. A few years ago he had a record breaking ratio of strikeouts to walks. He’s really straightened that out well.”
Furthermore, Colletti said his favorite part of being general manager was the competition each day. The daily grind of giving your team a chance at the highest level to compete was what he loved most about it. Colletti added that he misses that grind while on television – but being on the screen has provided some of his competitive edge.
Lastly, Colletti put his stamp on Dodger baseball by restoring much respectability to the proud franchise. Obviously, his fingerprints are still dotted all over the version of the team we watch today. It’s really nice to still have him around the organization and offering insights that few others are qualified to do.
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