El Gasolino: An Explosive Subject

I think it was DodgerRick who coined the moniker “El Gasolino” in reference to Pedro Baez.  He has also been called “The Human Rain Delay” because an infielder can make a sandwich and drink a beer between pitches.  I also call him “Dumb” because you can’t get major league hitters out with a fastball as your only pitch unless you can throw it 120 MPH!

The offensive explosion caused by El Gasolino last night is something that is going to occur with great frequency unless and until he learns another pitch (slider, cutter, curve, changeup) and can pick up the pace between pitches.  He has a 97-99 MPH fastball and he doesn’t have a clue where it is going when he throws it.  He simply cannot put it where he wants and inevitably, in almost every at bat, he lays one right out in a hitter’s wheelhouse.

Pedro Baez CANNOT make this team (write this down, Doc).  He needs to go back to Tulsa or OKC and learn another pitch.  He should also be forced to wear a “shocking dog collar” and at 20 seconds he starts getting a slight shock until at 30 seconds, it becomes a full blast!  A slider or a cutter would help him so much, but if he keeps just throwing the fastball, you are going to see explosion-after-implosion.  He HAS to learn a new pitch and pick up his pace.  He can’t make the team the way he is.  End of story.

Ryu pitches today and after Walker Buehler’s impressive debut last night (2 IP, 1 H, 5 K, 0 BB), it is still within the realm of possibility that Buehler could win the 5th starter’s spot.  A lot of it depends upon Ryu, but I don’t think Buehler needs to pitch to any more AAA hitters.  After all, that is mostly what he faced last night, and you see how he toyed with them.  He needs to pitch against the big boys. These last two and half weeks will tell the tale. His stuff  was nothing but electric and has lots of late movement.  Really, Ryu should stay in extended spring training or go to the pen.

Walker Buehler is ready! Forget sending him down – the Show is where he needs to be.  This isn’t a 19 year-old Clayton Kershaw.  Walker is 24 and ready.  He was dialing it up around triple digits last night.  He could be the third straight Dodger Rookie of the year, with Alex Verdugo winning it in 2019!  I’m just not sure the Dodgers can hold Kay Bear off until 2020… Maybe Verdugo and Ruiz are Co-ROY’s in 2019?

Training Camp Notes

  • If the Dodgers keep an 8-man bullpen, these are the locks:  Kenley Jansen, JT Chargois, Scott Alexander, Tony Cingrani, Adam Liberatore, Ross Stripling.  There are just two spots left and I think Josh Fields (who has not pitched so as not to wear him out so quickly) will get one spot.  They will try and keep Times New Roman, I mean Font!  He is a larger Font… but I digress!
  • In the 7th inning last night, Joc Pederson had a nice hit by going with the pitch and hitting it the other way to start the Dodgers rally.
  • Take note:  Rich Hill usually pitches horrible in Spring Training.  He has changed up what he is doing and looks to be in mid-season form after pitching 4 strong innings.  I look for him to pitch deeper into games this season with his blister issues evidently in the rear-view mirror.
  • I can’t say enough what a special player Kike Hernandez is.  He has a flare for the dramatic and just plays wherever you put him. He’s the Dodgers Swiss-Army Knife.  I do not understand the disdain some Dodger fans have for him.
  • The cuts should start today.


AC Posted It But Here’s the Non-Spell Checked Version of the First Camp Cuts FromDodger Insider

The first trimming of the roster occurred Saturday night after the game, with the Dodgers optioning INF/OF Tim Locastro, LHP Henry Owens, RHP Dennis Santana and RHP Brock Stewart to Minor League camp.

The club also reassigned the following 16 non-roster invitees to Minor League camp:

  • C Keibert Ruiz
  • C Shawn Zarraga
  • INF Matt Beaty
  • INF Drew Jackson
  • INF Edwin Rios
  • OF Yusniel Diaz
  • OF DJ Peters
  • OF Henry Ramos
  • OF Travis Taijeron
  • RHP Zach Neal
  • RHP Yaisel Sierra
  • RHP Joe Broussard
  • RHP Daniel Corcino
  • RHP CC Lee
  • LHP Brian Moran
  • RHP Brian Schlitter

This article has 45 Comments

  1. We agree Mark on Baez. I have been hoping for him to be traded for a few years now.
    Joc also sent a ball to the left field fence his first time up. He was going oppo in the WS. The announcers have been saying he is as good as any Dodger when he is right but his inconsistency threatens to keep him off the team. I agree.
    Doc said that Joc said he wasn’t focused on defense last year and that resulted in less aggressive play. I have also believed that his concussion for collisions and his hamstring pull were also part the deterioration of his defense. He did lose weight over the winter and my eye says he is faster this spring. His best value to the team is as a center fielder. Whatever defensive advantage Joc has over Toles and Kemp is not a difference maker in left field.
    At this point in spring training I am not saying this is the best lineup, just that it is the lineup that would give me the most enjoyment watching the Dodgers.
    2B Taylor
    LF Toles
    3B Turner
    SS Seager
    1B Bellinger
    RF Puig
    CF Pederson
    C Barnes

  2. ST cuts have hit. Optioned:
    Reassigned to Minor League Camps:
    Keibert Ruiz
    Drew Jackson
    Rained on
    Zach Neal
    C C Lee

  3. Totally agree on Baez, Mark, keep him down in OKC until he learns another pitch. Every major leaguer can hit a fast ball sooner or later when you groove it down the middle of the plate, doesnt matter how fast you throw it. He looks exactly the same as last year, I would have though that he might have worked on something over the winter.

  4. Bum, Joc is like a bad dream… The last time I was down really hard on a player, was Puig… But one year and an improved attitude and attention to hitting coaches and look what we got… Is this true for Joc??? I would hope so, but to sit down Forsythe is just plain dumb at this time. Joc has to earn it and IMO he hasn’t…
    Like the aforementioned players it’s time to get off Baez, because painfully LADT will not be the basis for upcoming cuts…

    1. Joc has to hit his way back onto the good graces of everybody. I can’t do it for him. Forsythe is the better bet for now, but, in my case, I hope Joc finishes strong this spring and never gives FRAZ a reason to send him down again.

  5. As long as Logan Forsythe is on the team and Seager is healthy, Chris Taylor is the best CF on the roster and one of the best in baseball. Joc can play CF, but he is not a Centerfielder. Taylor is, Toles might be. Verdugo can play CF but he is not a Centerfielder either. Peters “might” be.

  6. Beaz and Pederson, to me just disappointment after disappointment, time to trade, or send down. I will really be surprised if the Dodgers open the season with Buehler in the rotation, not that he’s not ready, but the team will need his innings more at the end of the season then in the beginning.

  7. I think I’m gonna be glad,
    I think it’s today, yeah.
    The reliever that’s driving me mad
    Is going away.
    Baez got a ticket to ride,
    Baez got a ticket to ride,
    Baez got a ticket to ride,
    And we don’t care.

  8. 1 – I came up with “El Gasolino’ remembering a reliever named Juan Berenguer, who earned the sobriquet after parts of 14 seasons as a starter and reliever. He spent his last 2 1/2 years a a reliever with the Braves and had ERAs over 5.00 his last 2 seasons, which is when he obtained the name. i just though it fit Baez.
    2 – The Human Rain Delay – Mike Hargrove, a hitter. The slowest pitcher I ever saw was Lew Burdette. who mostly pitched with the Braves. I saw him at the end of his career with the Angels (i lived in Orange County and got to go to Anaheim to see him pitch). He was throwing a lot spitters by then and fidgeted and twitched to hide what he was doing. It was enough to drive everyone crazy.
    3 – Joc runs the best routes in CF. If he is in shape he is the best defensive CF on the team. His inconsistency may end up costing him his Dodgers career. He has the potential; will he ever reach it?
    4 – The Dodgers are going to break camp with Taylor in CF and Forsythe at 2B. Logan is an elite defensive 2B and if he can regain the production he had his last 2 seasons in Tampa he will be a big plus for the Dodgers INF.
    5 – Any big surprises among the 1st cuts? Maybe Stewart. I think that they will stretch him out as a starter and may keep Font since he is out of options. Maybe not a big surprise.
    6 – Toles may learn to play CF but he isn’t one now. He runs bad routes. Just being fast doesn’t make you a CF.
    7 – Fields still has options and may start the season in AAA.

    1. I cannot find one area of disagreement on your post. Joc is the most natural CF on the 40 man. He runs back on the ball better than CT3 or any of the others. I think CT3 will get there with more experience, but Joc does it naturally. I do think CT3 runs down the gappers better than Joc. But you have to hit and hit consistently to be a regular, and Joc has not done that in LA. He does have potential, but it isn’t going to fully materialize in LA.
      I do not think that Stewart being optioned was as much of a surprise except for the timing. Minor league games start on Monday, so it makes sense for Stewart to join the OKC rotation early on. I would have liked to see him continue as a reliever, but FAZ wants to lengthen him as a starter if needed.

      1. That’s because Joc pushed his way onto the Dodgers at age 22 after twice being voted most exciting player in AAA and AA ball. When he is good, he is real good and when he is bad, he is real bad. That inconsistency finally affected his defense last year but hopefully not this year.
        MJ, I seem to be less of a fair weather friend and more cautious with players that have small sample sizes. Joc is now officially an underdog. I root for underdogs.

        1. Bum

          I guess it is how you perceive things, because I root for the underdog, too.

          But my perception is not on a small sample size, so I guess it is where your heart is.

          Because you say your more cautious with players with a small sample size, yet you are ignoring, quite a good sample, size.

          I do think a small sample size, in back to back seasons, mean more, and deserves a chance, especially when another player, has left that chance, wide open.

          Especially when the pro

  9. Sure…go ahead and cut and paste from the source while I have to rely on my Kindle’s spell check to make up names.
    Bums is consistent with being a fan of Joc and I am okay with that. We all have players who we talk ourselves into being better than they truly are. Joc came into ST competing for LF. LF and C were the only two non-pitching positions open for competition. Nobody has had more AB’s than Joc, so he has been given a very fair competition.
    Toles – BA .400, OBP .393, OPS 1.193, 2 HR, 9 RBI
    Verdugo – BA .348, OBP .365, OPS 1.114, 2 HR, 5 RBI
    Kemp – BA .348, OBP .400, OPS 1.226, 3 HR, 6 RBI
    Joc – BA .161, OBP .188, OPS .413, 0 HR, 1 RBI
    Let’s throw in Logan in the competition:
    BA .412, OBP .444, OPS 1.327, 2 HR, 6 RBI
    If ST competition means anything, then Toles and Kemp have earned a roster spot. Cuts have now started, meaning that the regulars are going to get more playing time to get ready for 3/29. Why does Joc continue to justify more AB’s than Toles or Kemp (or Verdugo who is still with the ML team)? Or what has Logan Forsythe done that would garner any consideration for CT3 to move to 2B so Joc can play CF?
    I know that it is a sacrilege as a Dodger fan, and maybe It Is because he was a BoSox draftee, but I still like and follow Josh Reddick. Look what he did when he moved to a new team. That is what needs to happen to Joc for him to fulfill his potential. He is not going to do it in LA. Some can play in LA or NY or Boston, while many cannot.
    IMO Baez is just a lost cause and needs a ticket out of town. He is snake bit, and it seems he has no chance to succeed in LA. There are too many more deserving relievers that deserve the roster spot over Baez. If he makes the 25 man, the results will be 100% on Doc, positive or negative. The difference between Doc and the all of us mere fans who have blinders on with certain players, is that Doc makes out the lineup, and has a say in who makes the 25.

    1. I like Reddick too.

      I am assuming that you are taking salary and options into effect when you conclude:
      “If ST competition means anything, then Toles and Kemp have earned a roster spot. ”
      Because otherwise wither Verdugo?

      I still like Baez. He has an elite fastball and I dig his change. He’s missing the three big “Cs” though, confidence, consistency and command.

      At some point the Dodgers won’t be enamoured with the arm. But I don’t think it’s as clear cut as calling him a “lost cause.”

  10. Bum

    I am sorry, but just because Joc hit one ball the other way, in spring training, doesn’t mean anything.

    Joc had three years to change his approach, and he hasn’t done it.

    He has put his toe in the water occasionally, to try to hit the other way, or bunt to avoid the shift.

    And almost every time he has tried to bunt, he has tried to bunt after he has one strike, on himself.

    And he is not a good bunter, and if he was really serious about picking up hits, by bunting against the shift, he wouldn’t be bunting, after he is down with one strike.

    Joc has not made a commitment to hit the other way, or bunt to avoid the shift, or stay with one swing or batting stance, in the three years, he has been on this team.

    And because of all of that, the ball that Joc hit the other way last night, doesn’t mean much at all.

    We don’t even know if Joc was trying to hit that ball the other way, it looked more like what Chase did, on his excuse me, RBI the other day.

    The truth is that Joc was very lucky he was given centerfield, after what he did with his bat, in 2015.

    And Joc has not did much to try to get better, in these last two off seasons, after his first year.

    In fact, he let himself go, and gained forty pounds, after he was given that chance, and that is why Joc’s defense went down.

    Because Joc is not blessed with great speed, so he couldn’t afford to lose any speed he had, because even a gain of five pounds, could affect a player’s speed, let alone, forty pounds.

    I am sorry, but it is hard for me, to feel for Joc, when I see other young players, doing everything they can, to try to get better.

    Especially a player like Toles, who had to work so hard in the off season, just to be somewhat ready to play, after he suffered that knee injury.

    And look at the commitment that Farmer has made, in the off season too.

    Both of these players have not only made a great commitment in the off season, they are both competing their fannies off, in spring training, too!

    And Toles has had to compete in the last two spring trainings, to try to even get that chance, to play on the major league team.

    And Toles was playing well, before he got hurt, unlike Joc, who stopped hitting once again, and because of that, he was sent down to AAA.

    1. MJ and AC, I am not disputing data. I can see what you see. I have not predicted supportive stats for Joc. I have only said I am still a fan and would enjoy watching him play more than some others. Those others, for me, tend to be players that most likely won’t be Dodgers next year like Forsythe.
      MJ, do you hate Joc or just hate that I like Joc and want to save me?

      1. Bum,

        I think that no one disputes your right to root for Joc, nor would we ever tell you not to. I think the problems arise when you try to concoct schemes to get Joc into the lineup at the expense of a better, more deserving and more valuable player which weakens the team. It’s like making your alcoholic, derelict cousin president of your company.

      2. Bum

        Almost everyday, you will do something, to try to prop Joc up, to the detriment of another player, so don’t act innocent.

        And I have not said much about Joc lately, even when others, have commented on Joc.

        But anytime Joc does the smallest thing, you run with it.

        It is just hard for anyone to feel more for a player that has been given many chances, and that player hasn’t taken advantage of those chances, then players that work hard in the off season, and have to fight for their chance.

        Like I said below, it is to bad Joc doesn’t seem to have the same commitment to getting better, than you have for him.

        And I haven’t said much about Joc lately, because I feel for you, because I know you wish the best, for Joc.

  11. I just watched Walker Buehler’s 2 innings from last night. WOW! I don’t know who he was facing, or if those guys were legit Cub prospects, but ma, Buehler’s stuff looked filthy.

  12. To me Joc and Baez are two of a kind. They have been asked to change and they just do not want to do it. As far as I am concerned they should be traded or sent down. Joc looks like he is starting to see the light, but it is too late. Baez has to know he needs another pitch. When does the light go on?

  13. Greetings from a very warm and enjoyable Dubai, where I’m doing my own Spring Training.

    Good to see the Baez & Joc debate raging on. For what it’s worth, I keep em both for now. Baez may be useful later in the season if injuries kick in,
    and although I’ve been sceptical of Joc over the years, it didn’t escape my attention that he was our best hitter, when the lights were brightest of all, in the World Series. He looks like a great Team guy, and I love the way he is with his brother. He has grown on me.

    My real concern, and I felt it from game 7, was the decision not to get elbow surgery on Corey.
    My hunch is that although it may have calmed down during the off-season, it’s back as soon as he’s started throwing again.
    The effects of this will be seen in a lack of practice, and of course, a lack of form, as was witnessed in a poor WS showing.
    Unfortunately, all they have done is put off the inevitable surgery to a later date.
    I hope I’m wrong.

    I watched the highlights of Buehler, and like Bobby, was very impressed. He’s 24 not 19 – let him pitch.

    1. I have said this before, but I will say it again. I do not have any inside knowledge of Corey’s arm problems. Maybe you do, but I am sure the Dodgers Medical Staff and Front Office do. I would be shocked if several doctors were not consulted. One of a couple scenarios is likely:

      1. Surgery was not recommended; or
      2. Surgery was recommended by some and not others and maybe Corey opted for rehab.

      This is where 2nd Guessers are never wrong. If he needs surgery, they can always say “I knew it!” The thing is, they don’t know.

      That said, the Dodgers have said that they are erring on the side of caution and bringing Corey along slowly to prevent a recurrence.

      I I am very confident that the Dodgers front office would have rather had the surgery (if needed) during the off-season rather than wait for the surgery during the season. Nothing I have ever seen from FAZ leads me to believe they are that dumb.

    1. 3 Years – $75M. Just a tad short of the $200M Boras was looking for. At 32, this will probably be his big payday. I do not see any $25M AAV at the age of 35 coming his way. I think the Phillies believe they can contend in 2019, so Arrieta may make sense for them.

  14. 1- Kemp looks awesome this spring
    2- Grandal definitely getting his swing back, which only helps our insanely talented group
    3- Ryu did not look good, as most of his outs were hard hit shots right at guys

    1. I sent you an email invite to our team’s pool. The brackets are live up until 15 minutes before Thursday’s tip-off.

  15. Kemp is the starting LF. No platoon. Toles makes the team as backup. Pederson goes to AAA maybe for good. Tough call on Grandal /Barnes/Farmer. Farmer has to be on this team at some point. For now he goes to AAA. I have no problem trading either Grandal or Barnes. Barnes can go. Keep Grandal for power and SH. Next year it’s Farmer and 1 or 2 prospects. Farmer moves to 3B when young catcher is ready. Turner will be gone by then.

    1. Maybe he gets traded. I hope he has a great Spring Training. That would make him more valuable.

      Buehler is likely going to struggle at times, like Clayton did, but as a #5 we can live with it and we still have Stripling.

      Milwaukee or Baltimore could use Ryu – Just prospects or a reliever.

      1. Milwaukee maybe. Baltimore is real strict with medicals, and I am not convinced that Ryu’s shoulder is sound, and it would not surprise me if he did not pass Baltimore’s tough medical evaluation.
        The problem with Milwaukee is that they do not have middle infield prospects that they can afford to move. I would like to see what it would take to get Mauricio Dubon, a legit 2B/SS prospect. With Keston Hiura as their #1 prospect, Dubon could be more accessible, but probably not, as there really is not much else in the system. There is also a RH hitting 19 year old OF, Tristan Lutz, who could be more than a lottery pick. With Yelich, LoCain, Braun, Broxton, Santana, Perez, and Phillips, the Brewers have enough OF depth that they may be willing to move one of Perez, Phillips, or lottery pick Lutz. Maybe Ryu for Lutz could work. But my suspicion is that Ryu is not going anywhere. He will remain a Dodger throughout the year, and then hope Scott Boras can work magic next winter. I think there are plenty here that are hoping for the 2013/2014 version of Ryu to re-emerge. I am just not that optimistic.

  16. Stripling is going to be starting in place of Wood on Wednesday against the Rockies. Wood will pitch in a B game to get his innings in. I would assume that FAZ is not convinced that Ryu will be ready for Game #5 and Stripling may get that start, so he will draw the ML game this week and Wood will still get his innings.
    Buehler is more of a long term solution for the 2018 #5. He is projected to go 150 innings in 2018, so if he is in the rotation by June, he should be good to go for the remainder of the year.
    I still think that the Dodgers will go for a Co-Ace in July and Buehler would then go to #4 and Maeda could go to the pen to get ready for the playoffs. I have already projected that Cole Hamels is my pick for this year’s Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander. I am further in Hamels camp because, like Kershaw, he is very philanthropic. For those who did not catch the story last December, see the article below to learn what he and his wife Heidi did.

    1. I’ve wanted Hamels for the last 3-4 years, as he’s actually done well in the playoffs. But let’s see what happens by June. If Toronto falters, maybe we can swoop in for Marcus Stroman. I’d pay handsomely for that guy in our rotation!

  17. I think the thing that keeps Joc in the running for a job in the Dodgers outfield is his prodigious power. My guess is that the Dodgers are reluctant to part with that power as long as they feel he has a decent chance of finally harnessing it. I’ve always been a big Joc fan (probably as much as Bums), and as such I’d love to see him succeed. But with all the talent that the Dodgers have in the outfield, he is going to have to put it together soon, or he will become history, at least Dodgers history.

    As for Baez, I’ve been a fan of his too. I always remember that he didn’t convert to pitching until 2013. But that was 5 years ago, and it’s time that he came up with a secondary offering or two, to keep my patience from running out. And he’s no longer all that young. He turned 30 today. Happy Birthday Pedro.

  18. I think Joc went the opposite way twice on Friday night. One was caught at the warning track. It appears to me that he’ putting the work in. He just may have to keep putting the work in at AAA until he’s there. I didn’t get to see today’s game, but it appears someone on the opposition got lit up today by the Dodgers hitters.

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