Max Gamboa and Marcus Chiu

Max Gamboa

What an exciting time of the year!  Spring has arrived, Spring Training is over in a day or two and minor league play starts on April 5.  It doesn’t get much more exciting than this other than at the end of regular season play and teams go into extended season play.  One can only try to imagine what the minor league players in particular are feeling as they are reassigned for the 2018 season and start the season for real.

A number of players, although selected in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft last June, did not begin their professional careers in 2017 due to rehabbing from TJ surgery or because the Dodgers were being extra careful with them.  The extra careful part applied primarily to pitchers.

Right-hander Max Gamboa was one of those recent draftees with whom the Dodgers were moving along with caution.  He made his first and only one inning 2017 appearance last August 23 in the Arizona League, pitching a scoreless inning.

Gamboa was selected as a junior by the Dodgers in the 18th round last June out of Pepperdine University.  The 6’5″/185 pound native of Greenbrea, California was actually a walk on at Pepperdine as a freshman.  He pitched primarily in relief in his first two college seasons moving into a starting role his sophomore year.

He was formerly a high school water polo player before becoming a full time baseball player.  At Pepperdine he compiled an aggregate ERA of 3.81 along with 129 strikeouts in 131 innings pitched.  Control was a challenge as he walked 59.  Gamboa experienced considerably more success in relief than he did as a starter.  That suggests relief pitching will be his ticket going forward as does a scouting report about his delivery, one which the Dodgers will work to change.

“Gamboa is the owner of one of the most electric arms on the west coast, with a 94-96 mph fastball and the ability to blow it past good hitters.  He stands projectable 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, leaving some to dream he can throw even harder.  Gamboa is seen as an injury risk because of his delivery.  He has a stand-up finish with an arm recoil, and his arm is not in proper position at foot strike.  Gamboa profiles purely as a reliever due to his control struggles and injury risk, but his frame and big velocity make him intriguing to some.”

That report was then and this is now.  The Dodgers minor league coaching staff will already have worked on refining Gamboa’s delivery and perhaps will have him work through the Driveline program before a 2018 assignment to the Ogden Raptors.


Max Chiu

Chiu was selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round in the 2017 Amateur Draft out of College of Marin, a community college in Kentfield, California.  Perhaps he is following the pattern set by former Dodger community college draftees, Willie Calhoun and DJ Peters.

The 6’1″/190-pound third baseman/second baseman produced a triple slash of .349/.478/.657 at Marin along with 13 home runs and 46 runs batted in 43 games.

Chiu made his professional debut with the Arizona League Dodgers on June 24, 2017 against the AZL White Sox.  He started slowly in June and July and caught fire in August with a slash line of .397/.442/.580 in the second half of the season.  He split his time equally between second base and third base with a significantly better fielding percentage at second base.  His head coach at Marin speaks very highly of Chiu, almost excitedly.

“Marcus put in the work in the weight room, put in the work on the field and he put in the work in the classroom to paly on the field, ” College of Marin coach Steve Berringer said.  “He did everything the right way.  This is a big deal.  I don’t think you replace him with one guy.  You maybe get the opportunity to coach a guy like Marcus once in your career.”

His high school coach, Jamie Vattuone, spoke of the sound created when Chiu took batting practice.  Perhaps a Carlos Rincon sound.

You don’t hear that from high school hitters too often, ” said Vattuone.  “The sky’s the limit for that kid.”

One wonders if Chiu might start the 2018 campaign with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.


The Connection

So what is the connection between Max Gamboa and Marcus Chiu?  Actually it is just one of those happenstance connections.  Both played with the California Warriors summer ball team, both were drafted by the Dodgers on the dame day, and they flew together from San Francisco to Phoenix.  They became hotel roomates near Camelback Ranch and signed their first professional contract on the same day.  Both naturally were a bit overwhelmed actually seeing their name placards on their lockers filled with the necessary baseball regalia.  “That’s when I had the realization that we’re living our dream:  Getting paid to play baseball,” Gamboa said.

“This is unreal, ” Chiu said.  “This is something I’ve dreamt of ever since Little League.”



This article has 63 Comments

  1. Dodgers claim Mazzoni from Cubs and option to OKC ; DFA Thompson. Looks like we are inching closer to final roster. Pick two of Toles, Pederson and Farmer. My preference is Toles and Farmer — think Joc needs to work on swing in OKC. My guess is Pederson and Farmer.

  2. If you listen to Doc’s interview about Trayce he mentions that Toles doesn’t need to play every day to be effective because his swing is more simple and consistent. So, maybe there is hope for Toles making the opening day roster.

    1. Hawkeye

      They just interviewed Joc, about opening day, so I think that was just BS by Roberts.

      And it is obvious there competition meant nothing.

          1. I didn’t take his comments that way. He mentioned he hadn’t seen enough of ST to make the call.
            Mark, why the screening every time I try to post? I thought we were past that aggravation.

        1. Rudy

          I don’t know why I am upset, because I rather Toles play everyday, but it just doesn’t seem right, that Joc doesn’t have to earn his way.

          I guess I am just big on stuff like that.

          And I think you evaluate a player, on what they did for the entire season, not 7 games.

          The Dodgers should have never said it was a competition, and that is probably why I feel so strongly about this.

          And it wasn’t even a fair competition, but Toles still prevailed.

          Because I feel for Toles, because he was told that, and he had to work harder then
          any of the players, coming back from that knee injury.

      1. Why wouldn’t I want Joc to succeed? I like the guy. I didn’t mean I was rooting for him over anyone else. Toles should be a starter in my opinion.

        1. Hawkeye

          This was about what is fair, nothing about a personal dislike.

          I just thought it was odd, since Joc is already making this team, even though he didn’t earn that right.

  3. I don’t think anyone here dislikes Joc or Toles. They both seem like nice people. But Toles to me is clearly the better player, and the better fit for this team.

    But regardless, we all know how this team works. It’s the 25 guys in LA, about 15 more guys in OKC, and about 5 guys in Tulsa that will shuttle back and forth all year. God knows what our lineup will be come Mid-May, let alone October for the NLDS!

    Nobody in their right mind expected CT3 to be our leadoff hitter all year or Bellinger to be rookie of the year March 27 last year, so let’s see .

  4. DC, as we discussed, I am a fan of Marcus Chiu. I do think he should stay at 2B because that is a more natural position for him. I think he gets to start out at Great Lakes. I see no reason for him to stay in extended ST and then to Ogden. I want to see him pushed and see what he has in full season A ball. If he can hit at Great Lakes, I look for a summer promotion for him to RC.
    I am not as familiar with Max Gamboa. I usually look at the West Coast collegiate players, but I did not follow them as much this past year. He looks like he is the proverbial lottery pick. If the pitching coaches can help with his command/control and he can grow more into that big frame, he could become a potential high leverage late inning reliever. I hope he gets to start at Great Lakes.

  5. There were some other less heralded roster transactions today as 12 players were released by the Dodgers. 10 RHP, Logan Crouse, Malcom Culver, Patrick Duester, Pablo Fernandez, Alex Hermeling, Santos Mateo, Andrew Robinson, Scott Shuman, and Miguel Urena. 2B Samuel Ortiz. OF Blake Gailen. I would consider 2015 30th round draftee, Logan Crouse (21), as somewhat of a surprise. Admittedly, I was disappointed in the release of Alex Hermeling.

    1. Really surprised at releasing Logan Crouse and Alex Hermeling. Hermeling was a non-drafted free agent after success in the Northwoods League.

      Miguel Urena looked like he was coming along albeit with the Raptors. He was selected as a MiLB 2017 Organizational All-star.

      Relief pitcher — Miguel Urena, Ogden (19 games), Great Lakes (16 games), Tulsa (one game): Urena led the system with a 2.71 ERA while recording 10 saves in 11 chances and frequently turning in multiple-inning appearances across three levels. The 22-year-old right-hander has pitched in the organization since 2013, but this was his first year being used exclusively as a reliever. At 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds, he should be intimidating whenever he
      comes in.

      “If he [entered before the ninth], he truly treated it like he was closing out the last inning of the game,” Kertenian said. “That was a big part of his success. He took every opportunity he had very seriously.”

      I expect a number of those players will play some independent league ball and maybe get the chance to re-enter the MLB minor league system from there.

  6. This is the 2nd outing I’ve seen from Sborz, and I’ve liked his stuff both times. I hope we finally let him pitch from the pen, and let him progress quickly to the big league pen, maybe this year.

    To me he’s a bullpen guy, not a starter (or he’s one of the 11 guys we ship off to get Archer/Stroman in July)

    1. All reports have him pegged as a relief pitcher if he makes the bigs. However, when he got his out tonight he looked as if he knew he got away with a bad pitch.

  7. I agree with MJ. Toles has clearly beaten out Joc. Joc had 3 years to prove himself and he has not done it. He looked terrible at the plate last night as he has all spring. If you bring in Joc as a pinch hitter you just as well record one out. I do not hate Joc. I look at the total body of work. It should be Farmer and Toles who make the team. Joc needs to go to AAA to figure out his problem. I would not bet on it. Management does funny things. They just do not believe in ST. They kept Hatcher, so they are capable of keeping Joc.

    1. I’m assuming there will be some recognition of the Dodgers winning the NL pennant. Joc had a big post-season. Maybe the Dodgers would like Joc to be there for that recognition. He may be there on a real short leash while Toles gets consistent PT for a while.

      Welcome your National League champs on opening day at Chavez Latrine!

      1. Hawkeye

        I love you, but Joc didn’t even play in the first post season series, and he had very few at bats, in the National League, Post season series.

        Joc played in seven games, in the World Series, and I guess he doesn’t have to be ready to play in spring training, because of what he did in seven games, not what he did all season long, last year, when he played himself off this team.

        They should have stopped this charade and told Toles sooner, because he never had a chance to make this team.

        I can’t imagine how Toles feels.

        1. I’m just trying to figure out their logic especially considering Doc said Toles doesn’t have to play every day to be effective. It will work itself out sooner rather than later. In the end, I think they prefer Joc’s defense in LF for now over Toles’ defense.

          1. Hawkeye

            You know there is not any big difference in their defense in left, in fact, Toles can get to more balls, then Joc can, become he is much faster, then Joc.

      2. Hawkeye

        I just thought about this so bear with me, but Kike did what Joc did in the World Series, in one game, because Kike practically, won that last game, and helped the team clinch the National League pennant, by himself.

  8. I don’t think the best player always wins the position. They have to consider what is best for the team short term and long term and also what might be best for each players’ development… and we don’t have all the intimate details. So, it’s a tough balancing act to decide who goes where. In Trayces’ case, there is too much depth in the OF and this also gives him a shot with another team.

    1. Also, what is best for the players. I think both Toles and Joc could handle the demotion from a psychological standpoint.

      1. Hawkeye

        Toles has been working for this, for a very long time, coming back from that knee injury, unlike Joc, who looks like he didn’t work on his hitting, in the off season.

        You should have seen the games at the beginning and middle of spring training, Joc looked like he was just learning how to hit.

        And not only did Toles and Verdugo, out hit Joc, most of our young players, all out hit, Joc.

      2. Hawkeye

        Put yourself in Toles position, he was told this was a competition, and he won this competition, even after they tried to favor Joc.

        1. Toles right now is disappointed, but happy to be playing baseball. We will see him back in no time. I too prefer Toles, but AC is correct that he needs to work on pitch recognition and routes in the outfield.

    2. Mark

      They should have never told Toles this was a competition.

      He was never going to make this team.

      Because after Toles out played Joc, they didn’t start Toles for seven, of the next eight, games.

      And they gave most of those starts to Joc.

      And even after they Put the weight on the scale for Joc, Joc still did nothing.

      This so called competition, was just a charade.

      1. I believe they were showcasing Joc for other teams. It would not surprise me in the least if Joc is traded during the season. But maybe he will surprise everyone but Bum and hit the hell out of the ball. That would be welcomed.

        1. Rudy

          Like AC said, they are going to have a hard time moving Joc, if he is nothing more then a fourth outfielder, like he will be on this team, because he is making 2 plus, million dollars.

          It is very unlikely, after three plus year, but hopefully he will be able to hit off the bench, or work walks, which he is good at.

          But thanks, for your responses!

  9. It’s getting better, the leak was a sewage leak and smelled like…… One Dodger player told Pedro Moura of The Athletic “I hope this doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a sh***y year.” They didn’t identify the player.

  10. Hang in there MJ. I agree with you. Toles has not stated in the past 2-3 weeks. He has always come on against the secondary pitchers. He did start the getaway game when all the starting outfielders left for LA. Doc has almost made it impossible for Toles to win 4th outfield position. Toles can play all three outfield positions, Joc cannot play right field. I have no faith in Joc coming off the bench and pinch hitting. I do have faith in Toles pinch hitting. I believe Joc is the favorite of Doc and management. He has done some good things in the community I believe he is well liked. So is Toles. He is more reserved. Joc played himself off the team last year and he did nothing at AAA. He did have a good WS. If he truly turned a corner , we should see some evidence of it this Spring. We have not. If they keep Joc, and I think they will, it is all based on hope and not what he has done. Tough for Toles to swallow. I would ask for a trade. It would be hard for me to accept anything Doc tells me, if I was told I was competing for the left field job and he gives it to Joc.

    1. Thanks Idahoal!

      I just feel for Toles, because I think he is a good guy, and I think they should have been more up front, with him.

      Because he worked so hard in the off season, to come back from his knee surgery, and it looks like he put in even more work then that, because he did do pretty well, after not seeing live pitching, for quite a while.

      But you are right, this won’t keep Toles down, he is always working to get better.

      And it is really going be better for Toles to play everyday, so he can see a lot of live pitching, and get his confidence back on the field, with his knee.

      I think it is the politics that bothers me, more then anything else, and that really isn’t on Joc.

      Because Roberts was telling the press even before the game last night, that Toles was still in the conversation.

      And we know Toles was never going to be on this team.

      Hopefully Joc is working with Turner Ward, and sticks with the advice Ward gives him, like Puig did.

      Thanks again, Al!

  11. I did not see AC comments until I posted the above comments. I was right. They kept Joc. What a shame.

  12. The OF is going to be a blast to follow over the next 18 months. Kemp and Puig’s status on the ML level. How Verdugo and Toles fit in. Bryce Harper. Will Taylor move to 2B?

  13. I know that it may appear that Toles lost the LF job to Joc, but I do not see it that way. Toles lost the LF job to Matt Kemp and his $21.75M salary, and in part to the slow moving free agent market this winter. Nobody was going to trade for Kemp without knowing where all of the free agent OF’s were going and what the price was. If this were a competition between Toles and Joc, we would not be having this conversation, because Toles clearly beat out Joc. Stealing a line from Mark,”even Ray Charles could see that.” (Mark, I will send the royalty).
    There are too many early season off days for the regulars to need a day off, so the thought that Toles could get 3-4 starts per week are not based on reality, or at least in my reality. Neither Kemp, or CT3, or Puig need an extra day off per week when they are only playing 7 consecutive days or less through April.
    If Kemp goes down, Toles will get the call and he will start over Joc, even if in a platoon role. Joc’s role has been defined, and he is the extra OF. That is not what Toles is, and he is best served (and therefore the Dodgers are) if he gets consistent AB’s on an everyday basis. Agreed he would not be facing Scherzer, Strasburg, deGrom, Syndergaard, Lester, Darvish, Ray, Greinke, Martinez, etc. but AAA pitching is not that far away from many #4 and #5 starting pitchers. Toles needs pitch recognition and timing, and he is not going to get that sitting on a bench.
    If there is a need for a starting OF, and it is not Toles, I will join the disenchanted with questioning the player selection process.

    1. Thanks for your comment and level headed perspective.

      Not what I would have said, which is why you write and I read 😉

    2. That was downright level-headed. And to suggest Toles demand a trade after not only coming off of a knee surgery but also being out of baseball altogether three years ago is silly. I’m sure Toles is disappointed, but from his quotes, he isn’t angry. He will go do the work and be ready when Kemp winds up on the DL.

  14. Chris Taylor had a much better spring last year than Toles didt this year, and CT3 started the season in AAA. I don’t think these players take these things personally. Look how that worked out for CT3. Who cares who’s on the roster March 29. Let’s see who’s on the roster May 29, and July 31, and Oct 10 when it really matters.

    1. Bobby

      I thought about that, but it is a little different with Toles, because Toles was already on the team last year, and the only reason he lost his position, was because he got hurt.

      Taylor wasn’t already on the team, before his great spring training, like Toles was last year.

      But you are right, everything will come out of the wash eventually.

      I am very happy, that Farmer got this chance!

      Because he really worked hard in the off season.

      He had a great spring training, and he really deserves this chance.

  15. With the season upon us, let me ponder A Fan’s Notes, with sincere apologies to Frederick Exley
    1. While the Dodgers will probably win the West, I don’t see them going far in the playoffs with their current starting staff.
    2. The more I hear from Dave Roberts, the more I see him as nothing more than Mortimer Snerd to Stan Kasten’s Edgar Bergen. If he doesn’t watch out his next job may be as Trump’s next mouthpiece, um, Press Secretary.
    3. I see Verdugo as being the perfect 4th outfielder next year, resting Puig, Taylor, and Toles, until he takes one of their jobs.
    4. KeeKay has become a real player.
    5. I think this is a great site with great baseball minds participating.
    Play ball!

  16. The past 5 teams before the Dodgers to lose Game 7 of World Series recovered well enough to average 98.6 wins next season (3 won 100 or more). All 5 made the playoffs, 4 won their division and one (2015 Kansas City Royals) came back to win the World Series the following year.

  17. I will get over being upset. I hope Joc plays well. I will not hold my breathe. I do not know what Doc told Toles. We will never know. In my opinion, Toles was clearly not given the same opportunity as Joc. You may be right AC. Maybe Toles was competing with Kemp. Toles would never of won that battle because of Kemp’s contract.

    Hawkeye, again I do not know what Doc told Toles. If I felt the manager lied to me, I would ask to be traded. Once someone lies, you can never trust them again. I could never play for someone who had lied to me. That is why our country is in such a mess. The politicians lie all the time. My father said to me many years ago. ” If you never lie, you never have to remember what you said.” Now I will shut up. Go Dodgers.

    1. Idahoal

      I thought I heard Nomar say last night, he talked to Toles, so I hope I heard that correctly.

      Because Nomar has been a big fan of Toles, since he came up.

    2. Doc doesn’t strike me as a guy who lies or gives coaches’ speak to his players. I’m sure Doc sat him down and said they wanted to see him get more consistent AB’s for awhile and when they feel he is ready and needed he will be recalled. Toles is a better hitter, has more speed, a better arm, and would be a better pinch hitter than Joc. I have to feel they’re doing what they think is best with Toles considering there is a $22 million contract in LF that they would love to move if not this year at the end of the year. I agree that this is initially is more about Kemp than Joc. If Joc provides nothing it will be quickly changed once the Dodgers feel that Toles has seen enough pitches.

      1. Hawkeye

        Like I already said, I just don’t like what they told Toles.

        As well, as when they were trying to put more weight on the scale, for Joc.

        I have no problem with Kemp.

        And Idahoal, your dad was right!

        And please don’t shut up,!

  18. I was rooting for Andrew Toles from before Feb 13th. And not long before then Matt Kemp wasn’t even going to ST. And then for sure not on the 25 man squad. I can’t wait to see what Toles does in OKC and how soon he’s back playing in the Ravine. I can’t wait to see how well Matt Kemp does back home. And I hope Joc finds his way back too. It’s going to be a great Dodger season and the wait is almost over. Yeah.


    Dodgers have the talent and depth, both on the major league roster and on the minor league level, to survive the long haul of the regular season. I don’t believe that any team that is capable of competing for the WS this year has the resources available to make a the BIG trade at any point during the season and especially at the trade deadline that the Dodgers possess. However, I wonder when they will choose to pull the trigger to make the great trade that make cost future resources to win in the present.

Comments are closed.