Happy New Year Dodger fans. At this point we are not sure what the new year will bring. However, we can be assured that it will bring something different, perhaps unusual, and no doubt unexpected. I for one propose that we give up on the Julian, Gregorian, Mayan, Aztec, etc., calendars and move on to a Dodger calendar. Everything revolves around the Dodgers. Oh heck, I guess for us it already does. I really do not know what the 40-man roster will look like even in six weeks’ time. I trust, without reservation, what the front office will come up with within the parameters that are set for them. They do have bosses and must proceed accordingly. I am not a big fan of platoons. In fact, I dislike them as a strict regimen according to analytics. I think it must be discouraging for a pitcher like Rich Hill who is working well in a game to not be allowed to face a lineup for the third time. I think it must be discouraging for a hot hitter to be taken out before his third or fourth at bat because he is on the “wrong” side of the plate. However, two consecutive World Series appearances suggests that someone knows much more than I do.
One thing I do know is that I want Cody Bellinger to be a full time first baseman. He is a gifted first baseman and I understand he is also a gifted center fielder. My preference is to use him where he will be handling more chances and making his fellow infielders better knowing they are free to throw to him from all positions and angles. I also know that right-handed first basemen are much more common than they used to be but I still like a left-hander at first base. I have a concern that Cody, who plays full out, will have an encounter with the outfield wall. I think at age 23 and making those all-important adjustments he is headed for a good year. He didn’t have a bad year in 2018 but he is getting ready to soar and playing regularly at first base will be to his and the team’s benefit.
The Dodgers have apparently been linked to free agent Josh Harrison. He had passed through waivers at the trade deadline in 2018 but at that time was in the midst of an injury plagued season that limited him to 97 games and 344 at bats so he was not claimed. He is coming off the final guaranteed season of the four-year, $27.3 million contract extension he signed in April 2015. During his eight-year career he has played 397 games at second base, 266 at third base and 110 in the outfield. The 31-year-old right-handed hitting Harrison has hit .277 against right-handers and .279 against left-handers. He no doubt will be looking for a three or four year contract which may well eliminate him as a prospective second baseman for the Dodgers.
Beaty was released by the Toros of the Dominican Republic Winter League after only 11 at bats .in which he had three hits. It isn’t as bad as it sounds. He became part of the numbers game in which MLB players are preferred in the DR league. His wife Jessica explained.
“But winter ball especially in the DR and especially with the Toros is all about big league names. Each team can only have 10 imported players on the roster, and the week Matt was released they needed his spot for a pitcher and were also activating Hunter Pence and Yunel Escobar.Matt was the only position player (outside of one of two catchers) of the imported players who doesn’t have big league time.”It also didn’t help that Matt had originally signed a contract for the first half and the Dodgers vetoed that so were lucky to even still get a spot at all. The GM was super nice and said he hopes Matt can come back next year.At the end of the day, we had a great experience both at the baseball games and at the resort. The resort was beautiful, and the team did everything to accommodate our needs during our stay. Matt got work in for three weeks which was another important thing.”
Bobby Witt Jr:
Remember right-hander Bobby Witt who spent most of his career with the Texas Rangers. His son, who is a shortstop at Coleyville Heritage High School in Texas, is ranked first or second in most mock drafts for the 2019 First-Year Player Draft. Dodger prospect Cody Thomas is an alumnus of the same school.
“As a rising junior a summer ago, Bobby Witt Jr. was one of the youngest players selected to participate in the Under Armour All-America Game at Wrigley Field. Though he went 0 for 2 in the contest with a strikeout, his performance that week in front of dozens of scouts left a deep impression, as the 6-1, 185-pound shortstop solidified himself as possibly the best position player in the prep class of 2019. He combines raw power from the right side of the plate with top-end speed in the field, which gives him spectacular range at short. His frame could easily support another 10-15 pounds, leading scouts to believe he could hit for above-average power at the big-league level. Witt also has great bloodlines, as his father, Bobby Witt Sr., played nearly 16 seasons in the big leagues for eight organizations. He’s committed to the University of Oklahoma, but should he be taken where most expect him to be.”
Nathan is not a relative of the aforementioned Bobby Witt Jr. He was born in Clarkston, Michigan and attended high school in his hometown. He was selected by the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft. He had just one year of college ball at Michigan State University whose most famous alumnus might just be Magic Johnson. With the Spartans he did not post flashy numbers recording a 4.37 ERA over 22.2 innings pitched while striking out 19 and walking eight as a redshirt sophomore. Perfect game posted this scouting report prior to the 2017 draft:
“A redshirt sophomore who often played the role of fireman for the Spartans out of the bullpen this spring, Witt is somewhat of a deep sleeper that some scouts are particularly interested in. He’s still quite raw on the mound from essentially any perspective, but the XL-framed right-hander worked up to 95-96 mph with his fastball in most outings this spring; with good life to the pitch as well. Some scouts believe that as he continues to gain consistency with his delivery and more experience on the mound; Witt might end up throwing even harder than he does now, especially in short bursts out of the bullpen. Michigan State does a tremendous job of developing pitchers; so either way, Witt is likely to take another step forward in 2018.”
He didn’t return to SMU for his junior year and his progress at the professional level has been slow with only five innings pitched in 2017 which is not unusual for a pitcher in his draft year. However, he pitched only 13 innings in 2018 posting a 3.46 ERA with 14 strikeouts and six walks. Maybe as a sign of things to come he finished his 2018 season by allowing one earned run over 10 appearances through eight innings while striking out eight and walking two. I certainly would like to see him begin the 2019 season with the Great Lakes Loons but there may not be room until later in the season. I don’t think the short season rookie league would be his best option.