Feb 20, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson poses for a portrait during photo day at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Dodgers may be in Australia, and they may be starting off baseball’s regular season at a god awful time this coming Saturday, but their prospects are still in Arizona playing minor league games.
Before I get into the guys still here in the states, I did get to see a couple of the players in person over the weekend that made the trip to Sydney. Joc Pederson will be a special ballplayer someday, but I am not sold it is today, or even this year. At the game I attended, Pederson came running in on a line drive to center, only to see it fly right over his head. A single poor read is one thing in the outfield, but it was at the plate that left me unconvinced he is big league ready. He has a good swing and should be able to hit at the big league level, but he has to mature some still. With a runner on first base, and the third base coach still giving signs, Pederson was had his feet firmly planted in the box and was ready for the pitch. It just shows some polish is still needed.
With all the negative reports coming out in regards to Cuban import Alexander Guerrero, he looked pretty good to me. He showed some good footwork, and spun his hips well around the bag while turning a double play. Dee Gordon will probably still open the season as the starting second baseman, but Guerrero will take the job from him, assuming Guerrero hits as well as he is expected to.
On the minor league fields, I got a really good look at Daniel Moskos. He was sitting 92-93 MPH with his fastball which had good arm-side run, and he was throwing a slurvy breaking ball at 82-83 MPH. The breaking ball has a good bump and dove in toward a right-handed hitters feet, but both pitches were very easy to see out of the hand. I am certainly no professional hitter, and I was able to recognize pitch and location very quickly out of his hand. He has not pitched in the big leagues since 2011 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and he really struggled this spring in big league camp with the Dodgers. He could serve as depth in the bullpen, but he should not be a guy they lean on in high leverage situati0ns.
Tyler Ogle is a man without a position. He was catching when I saw him, and that is his primary position, but he is certainly a below-average defensive backstop. He also plays first, but is only 5’10” tall making him far from a big target. At the plate he shows good bat-to-ball skills, and is patient, but his baserunning even had the kids watching the minor league games cringing.
The Dodgers also have a past prospect in minor league camp that was an under-the-radar signing this off-season, Trayvon Robinson. Robinson was the main chip headed to the Seattle Mariners in a deal that saw Erik Bedard sent to the Boston Red Sox and the Dodgers received Stephen Fife and Tim Federowicz in 2011. Robinson made his big league debut on August 5, 2011 and made an immediate impact by robbing Torii Hunter of a home run. He is still just 26 and showed impressive athleticism. He moves fast, and you can see he still has the defensive chops despite dropping a ball he got to easily from center that was much closer to the left fielder, but he showed his range to at least get to the ball. He will probably spend most the season at Triple-A, especially given outfield is a position of strength for the Dodgers, but a good start to the season in Albuquerque and he could net the team a low minors prospect from a team in need of an outfielder.