The Ron Porterfield Factor

Ron Porterfield was named the Tampa Bay Rays Head Baseball trainer in 2006 by Andrew Friedman and served in that capacity until 2017 when Friedman lured him to Camelback Ranch with the title of Director of Pitching Health or Medical Director, depending upon which article you believe. Throwing a baseball is not a natural act. It puts lots of stress on the human arm and sometimes creates extreme damage. Andrew Friedman is trying to mitigate that by being proactive utilizing a person of Ron Porterfield’s expertise.

Porterfield is on the cutting-edge in training and rehabilitation and this is his second full season with the Dodgers. Porterfield received the Career Service Award from the American Sports Medicine Institute in 2008, an honor that “recognizes individuals who have provided a career of exemplary care to baseball players.” In 2009, Porterfield and his staff were named major league medical staff of the year from the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. He’s no chump!

Nathan Eovaldi and David Price credit Porterfield with saving their careers. Both called Clayton Kershaw and told him to listen to Porterfield. Hopefully, Clayton is doing just that as he tries to get ready for Opening Day. Evoaldi flat out says “Without Ron Porterfield, I would not be here.”

Jesen Therrien and Julio Urias are two of Porterfield’s latest rehab projects.Peter Gammons reported this in THE ATHLETIClast November:

Urías, now 22, was labeled a future star when he was just 16 in a tiny A ball franchise in Northern Michigan. But he went from May 20, 2017 to Sept. 15, 2018 without pitching in the major leagues because of one of those complex shoulder injuries that teams often consider to be career threatening. In his seven postseason appearances, Urías showed so much, between his 93+ mph velocity, his slider, his changeup and his curveball spin, that he is back in the preface of the Dodger pitching prospectus.

Porterfield refused to rush Urias and in fact, shut him down a couple of times. He flashed what he had last year at the end of the season and this year, is the talk of Dodger Camp as he is touching 98 MPH with his fastball and has impeccable command of four pitches. What do they call a pitcher has four killer pitches which he can command? An Ace! That’s what they call him.

The Dodgers were patient with Julio and were not tempted to trade for Corey Kluber because they had someone who just might be better. if he is injured, it won;t kill We don’t know how Clayton Kershaw will pitch this year. The Dodgers will be a better team IF he can stay healthy and put up his typical numbers, but it won’t kill the team if he is injured. The Dodgers are a class organization and they re-signed Clayton (actually for just 1 additional year) simply out of respect for his body of work for 10 years. Forgetabout the playoffs for once – the man has been the face of the organization for the past decade.

He may not be the pitcher he once was, he might be worse, he might be better, he might be the same, but we know he will stay a Dodger at least 3 more years! Loyalty counts for a a lot to me.If nothing else, the Dodgers have shown they are loyal to their long-time Ace.

Striker Buehler, Julio Urias, Hyun-jin Ryu, Rich Hill, Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda potentially form the nucleus of a TOP PITCHING STAFF. As Doc Roberts said yesterday, Tony Gonsolin and Dustin May are knocking on the door and could see time with the big club this season. Both pitchers have taken amazing strides the past season and both appear to now “get it” as how to pitch to MLB hitters.

Of course, it’s Spring Training – that’s a lot different from the Regular Season and the pressure is very different. The “eye test” tells me that these two young mean appear undaunted by the big stage. In 2018, Gonsolin and May both went from throwing in the low 90’s to the high 90’s. Gonso breaks the 100 MPH barrier with ease. I am about 100% certain you will see one of them with the big club THIS year and 57.8% certain you will see both.

Caleb Ferguson is struggling this Spring – some of that could be because he is struggling with what his role is, much like Ross Stripling did. Right about now, Caleb should embrace his role in the bullpen because that is where the Dodgers need him with Tony Cingrani out again. The injury with Cingrani appears to be the same as last year which could mean surgery in my opinion. Fergie needs to be the lock-down lefty to go with Alexander.

The team is shaping up nicely. Forget the record (although it is a winning one) – there’s about 2 weeks to Opening Day and the Dodgers are getting ready to break out of the gate. There will be no World Series Hangover. Watch and see! I am anxious to see what the next steps are with
Jesen Therrien as Porterfield is not rushing him either, but we will see soon enough!

P.S. I had to add the “Captcha” Feature to keep out the Russian Hacker Bots -Sorry!

I took it off because it is a pain to log-in sometimes and you complained and i did too, but we have to add it back. A CAPTCHA is a type of challenge–response test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human. It’s stopped them in their tracks. Dirty ___________s!

This article has 50 Comments

  1. I agree that Urias is an Ace and the challenge for 2019 is where to use his 70 to 100 innings. The Dodgers could spread them out, bunch them up in the post season, or use them to get off to a good start.

    Urias is ready to start the season so I prefer using him now and then shutting him down after 80 innings or spread out his innings by going to a 6 man rotation. It would be nice to have him for the playoffs but that messes with his year.

    The Dodgers beat the Padres in the B game 12 – 0. Maeda started and again did well. Allie had a good inning.

    The Dodgers would probably benefit more from a long reliever if the NL had the DH.

    1. I think Urias will have close to 100 more innings than 70.

      Much like Striker did last year with 177.

      If it were up to, I would start Urias in the bullpen for the first month.

    2. There’s no way I shut him down because he would have to be built back up in minor league games for a starters workload at the end of the season and into the post season. I would use him out of the pen in short stints to start the season and gradually build him up at the end of July putting him in the rotation after the deadline. 10 Starts at the end of the season and then use him as a starter in the post-season. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it. Bring up Gonsolin or May if we need another starter before then.

  2. Yes! Gonsolin and May look ready to contribute (Dominate). Lucky for them we have so many injured pitchers it’s only a matter of time before we see them on the biggest stage. It was nice to see the offense show up in the night cap split squad game yesterday. But, as good as the offense was, the pitching was just fantastic. Maeda is using that “split-change” more frequently and it falls off the table. He looks aggressive right now and I hope he doesn’t return to nibbling like he has in the past. May was a machine and we didn’t have any mid-inning pitching changes. Thank you!

    Joc is looking like he’s starting to heat up. Verdugo is solid at worst. Muncy sat out both games, maybe they feel like he needs to reset a little. Corey looks too damn skinny. Drink some milk, kid! I’m really bummed about Cingrani.

    Work was a nightmare this week, but I fixed all the broken IT stuff that was thrown at me. Today is going to be a quiet Friday and I’m on my way to AZ at 2PM after I pick up my teenage daughter from school. I think I’m going with my Stars and Stripes Dodgers Pro Fit for the weekend. Kershaw jersey will be packed. Ready to go!

    1. 59

      Once again have a great and safe trip to Arizona and back home.

      I know you are always about having fun, so that is a sure thing!

  3. The Athletic has a great piece on Alex Verdugo who will evidently start the season as the extra outfielder will will play all over the outfield. It’s s great enlightening read.

    The rap on Verdugo is that he doesn’t have enough power. Well consider this guy’s minor league stats over three seasons:

    2009 – 1 HR in 207 PA
    2010 – 10 HR in 600 PA
    2011 – 13 HR in 547 PA

    He turned out OK – His name is Mike Trout. Don’t get too hung up on Alex’s power numbers. The power comes later. OK, I am not saying he is Mike Trout… Stop before you start! 😉

    Will we see a platoon of CT3 and Joc in LF?

    1. Don’t rule out Verdugo platooning with Joc in LF. Verdugo hit .396 against lefties in OK. Verdugo can hit. I see him swinging hard with an uppercut. I would like to see him accept the fact that he is a doubles hitter and forget about trying to hit more than 10 home runs. He is more like Bill Buckner than Shawn Green.

      I would leave whoever starts the game regardless of position in the game through at least 6 innings and resist pinch hitting early in the game. The Dodgers too often pinch hit too early last year and wound up with bad match ups later in the game.

    2. The craziest part is that Verdugo has been messing with different bat sizes all spring trying to see which works. Then he switches back to his bat size from last year and has made very hard contact the last couple days, it’s insane that even when Verdugo is testing out different things he can still produce at a average rate, imagine what’s going to happen when he actually gets comfortable at the plate this season!! I really can’t wait, I predict he is going to win over alot of fans when they see him play and compete on a daily basis. Also I predict him to be a starting OF by the mid point of the season, not sure which position yet but he will run with his opportunity.

    1. Mark

      As you know, this is only the opening day line up, we will see once the regular season begins.

      Because everyone will be expected to produce, we can’t carry anyone this year.

      I laughed when someone said why would the Russians be trying to break in such a small site.

      But there is much more to this site, and like I said, it only takes one person to click on to one of their fake American like sites.

      And isn’t baseball considered the all American sport?

  4. Timely post on Ron Porterfield Mark. Nice to know he is helping the Dodgers to get their pitching ducks in a row.

  5. I finally put opening day on my calendar. March 28th. 1pm. My sons have a minimum day so I might just stay home with them after lunch. Might even have one of those “craft beer” thingies Mark was talking about.

  6. I have no problem with Verdugo starting the season as the 4th outfielder. A starting position should be earned, particularly as a rookie.

    The dodgers have not given too many starting positions to players recently. JT had to earn 3B. Cory and Cody earned their positions, just earlier than expected.

    Kiké looks like he may have earned 2B but still too early to tell. As already mentioned, let’s see where we are at 50 games. We’ll also see if Muncy has earned 1B by then as well as Joc in LF.

    1. SoCalGrinch

      I totally agree with you, it is to soon to know.

      Even some players talk at this point about wanting to save the hits or streaks they are on in spring training, for the regular season.

      Muncy might surprise us, and turn it around once the regular season begins.

      Although it is natural to be more concerned about Muncy, because he has only put in one really good season, in the majors.

      I don’t think Verdugo’s job is going to be as easy like it would be, if he was playing everyday, because he has only been an everyday player up to now.

      And because of that, he is use to getting consistent at bats.

      It is much easier for any player, if they are getting consistent at bats, because that makes it easier for a player to keep up with the adjustments the pitchers will be making, from day to day.

      And this is Verdugo’s first season in the majors as everyone knows, so he will have his work cut out for him.

      But if he does get that chance, he needs to run with it.

      It will be interesting to see what our guys do in tonight’s game, because everyone looked really good against the Padres last night, but it is the Padres, so it is hard to tell from just that one game.

  7. I could see Verdugo batting 2nd, 6th or 7th in the line up. In that way, he doesn’t take away from the power hitters spots in the line up. Seems to me, that he would be great at moving runners along, or setting the table for the power guys. I’ve been a Dodger fan since ’63 and I have never been to Opening Day! But that’s changing this year! Top of the lower lodge, behind home plate… can’t wait!

    1. MJROD

      Those sound like excellent seats, in more ways then one.

      Close enough and centered enough, to really see well, and it keeps the sun at bay if it is one of those kind of days.

      Although the weather has been so mild when it comes to the sun lately, so it will probably feel better to have some sun more like we are use to in California.

      I hope it is a perfect day for you!

      1. Thanks MJ! One of good Dodger buddies is going with me. The only downside is our wives are dropping us off, and then shopping during the game! It could cost a lot more than the price admission

        1. MJROD

          You knew you were going to pay one way or another, even if you weren’t being dropped off by the wives.

          At least you two can indulge if you do that kind of thing, because you two have a ride home.

  8. MJRod – XLNT time to hit Phillipes before the game.. If so have a double dip beef sandwich for me!!!
    Have a great day
    P.S. you’re spot on with Verdugo… Gosh I wish we had a Toles in the lineup also…

    1. I was bummed upon hearing about Toles… I was hoping he would be a great redemption story. Still could I suppose… here’s to hoping that comes to pass

  9. are they really doing the three-batter minimum in 2020?

    i like it in theory but i think it will cause some issues, mostly related to injuries

    1. IIRC the 3 batter minimum can be less if inning ends. Will have to see how that exception is used

    2. Palmdale

      Are you talking about Robert’s itchy fingers, when you are talking about injuries, with that three batter minimum?

      1. I’m in favor of trying to do something to stop all the pitching changes. It’s a gradual change in the game that has made watching games become burdensome, especially in the later innings when managers trots out 5-6 relievers to cover the final 3 innings.

        However, logistically I see some real problems with the rule. For example, what if a guy just doesn’t look right [cough Ryan Madson cough] and walks someone on four pitches. He HAS to stay in now? Or what if a guy just doesn’t feel quite right and the manager notices it? Is he now forced to go on the DL?

        I’m not looking for a debate here; I’m just saying the rule sounds simply but it could result in chaos. I think it puts the rule itself into the strategy of the game and I’m against that in principle.

        As Anton Sigour said, “If the rule you followed led you too this, of what use was the rule?”


        1. Palmdale

          I was more just joking with you.

          But I hear you, I don’t like all these different moves that slow down a game either.

          I would assume if a pitcher is really injured, I don’t think they will hold the manager to that rule.

          But I know what you mean, because it takes some pitchers a while to give up the ball, even when they may be really injured.

          After those games in Boston, someone should have figuratively shot Ryan Madson, and shipped him to the glue factory, so Roberts wouldn’t have that choice.

          That one move, by taking Hill out, kept me talking to myself even before Madson was called into the game.

          And after Madson predictable couldn’t pitch as well as Hill, and that game was lost, I kept on posting the exact same sentences on here.

          Talk about better left alone?

          That had to be the most unbelievably worst moves, I have ever witnessed.

          I couldn’t even imagine how Hill felt after he was taken out.

          I think Hill needs more respect in the post season.

  10. MLB ran a piece today on “Thirty Prospects Crushing It This Spring” and they chose Omar Estevez.

    With Estevez and now Downs, we’ve done a nice job shoring up our middle infield pipeline. Obviously Lux is the main guy to watch–and there’s Anaya & others–but we look to be improved in that area.

    We also lack a true CF, but hopefully Pollock fills that needs for the next few years . . .

    1. Palmdale

      I noticed Omar Estevez’s number’s when I was looking at the stats.

      I had not realized he had hit two HRs, and had the numbers he had.

      1. More so than the stats, he has just looked solid at the plate. Someone threw a Martin Prado comp on him on another blog and that would be close to best case scenario.

  11. I wish we had more of the same line up we had last night, in tonight’s game too.

    Because I would like to see how well our guys would do against an experienced big league pitcher, unlike the Padre’s pitchers last night.

    It looks like the Reds have their regulars in their line up tonight.

    1. Verdugo – CF
      Turner – 3B
      Taylor – SS
      Miller – 2B
      Martin – C
      Carrera – RF
      Rios – LF
      Asche – 1B
      Urias – P

  12. Ken Gurnick – Clayton Kershaw Unlikely to Pitch Opening Day

    In a nod to both the calendar and the obvious, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts conceded Friday that it’s “unlikely” Clayton Kershaw will be the club’s Opening Day starting pitcher.

    Roberts said that the club hasn’t decided who will make the March 28 start against Arizona. The most stretched out starter is Rich Hill, who Roberts said is “in the mix.”

  13. Just looked at the tentative starting lineup for the Reds, and noticed that there are four former Dodgers starting tonight. I always appreciate other teams finding value in former Dodgers and was also pleased to see that the Indians had signed Trayce Thompson since he could catch on with them since they lack OF depth and he would provide athleticism.

    1. If Scott Schebler, Conner Joe, Hendrik Clementina and Ibandel Isabel were in the lineup, the Reds could field all 8 former Dodger position players. Dodgers Midwest is who they are.

  14. Hot damn does Urias look good out there.

    If he’s not one of our five best starting pitchers this year I’ll fill my swimming pool with US Water.

  15. Puig looks good for the Reds, playing relaxed. Maybe it was a good move for both teams. I watched Urias in person last Sun in Scottsdale vs the Rocks and he looked really good, trusting his breaking ball and a lights out change to go with his mid 90’s heat. He is one of their 5 best right now. The ball Muncy hit that day would have been way out most anywhere but at 415 and a 30 foot wall to dead center it was a long double. Dodgers gonna be just fine people.

    1. Red is a really bad color to wear though. Red hats don’t go with anything really.
      Lets hope the Dodgers give Julio a chance, more than just 100 innings.

      1. Good to see you Hamchuck! They let the kids play late in the game and they busted it open! I like the way things are coming together. This year will turn out to be better than people think. Verdugo has a chance to be a rookie of the year candidate, but Victor Robles and Eloy Jiminez may challenge in the NL. Orlando hit a mammoth shot grand slam and they need a RH OF bat but it’s a numbers game at this point and he probably would clear waivers and could go to OKC.

        1. Hello Vegas and thank you for the nice words the other day. I can’t tell you how much it means. I still see this as our core Dodgers from the last 2 World Series so lets see if we can push it all the way. Hopefully a big trade somewhere down the line????

          1. I agree, they are set up really well for a deadline deal for whatever they think is needed. The health of key players like Kersh, Buehler, Seager, Pollock and Jansen loom large and the late season needs are not yet known. Freidman has no problem doing meaningful late season deals.

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