Minor League Notes:
Since my last report you might have heard that Clayton Kershaw has been added to the major league rotation. In his first start he made the baseball world take notice, and in his 2nd start he predictably fell back to earth. Eric Stephen did a study of how our ballyhooed phenoms had done in their 1st start, and then compared it to their 2nd starts. Usually the 2nd start did not go as well. On the other hand, none of those pitchers had the skill set of Clayton Kershaw.
My niece was studying in Mexico this past semester as part of a language immersion study and she had around 15 other students from around the United States as part of her group. As chance would have it, one of those students played with Clayton on his High School baseball team. She wrote to ask me if I'd heard of this "Clayton Kershaw" who was supposed to be some hot shot Dodger prospect. I sent her back the article I had written about the Minotaur and told her he was now the talk of baseball. Her study ended on May 24th and she used our house as a step off point before heading home, so as luck would have it, we got to sit down and watch Clayton's debut together. It couldn't have gone any better.
Not quite as exciting was Luis Maza and Terry Tiffee getting the call. Maza put in his dues, and he looks like a decent utility player to me. He can play 2nd base, and while his arm is Ecksteinish, just like the early version of XStein he gets the job done. I'd rather have him then Ramon Martinez. Tiffee was hitting over 400 when he got the call, unlike Maza he did get some chances with the Twins but didn't do anything with them. Since Mark Sweeney only now knows how to tell others how to hit instead of actually hitting, I don't see how giving Tiffee a shot on the bench is any worse then watching Sweeney do nothing with at bat after at bat. However Torre is probably impressed with how Sweeney learned how to win by watching Barry Bonds hit the big fly since that is about the only thing that Sweeney ever did to help the Giants win.
Blue Hot Is Greg Miller turning it around? After a nice series of games dating from 5/10 he put the cherry on the sundae, by striking out the side last night. Over his last 8 games in which he has thrown 10 innings, he has not allowed a run. During this stretch he has 13 strike outs and only 6 walks. This might be the best group of games he has pitched since we thought he was going to be a Kershaw. He is probably just teasing us, but at least he still has enough to be a tease.
Jamie Pedroza was moved back to SS sometime in May and it seems to have awakened his bat. After hit less the 200 before the move he has now seen his average rise to 253. He had 4 multiple hit games in his last seven. The power he displayed last year is still MIA but at least he's coming around.
This is it folks and I had to work hard to bring up Pedroza. The last two weeks of May have not been kind to our prospects. Silverio started out hot but he has yet to walk in 97 at bats. Santana and DeJesus keep making their cases as prospects but May, Lambo, and Baez aren't doing a whole lot these days. Ortiz is showing some power but has 36 strikeouts already. The pitching which was on fire in April is getting whacked in May. Morris hasn't pitched since he threw his best game on May 18th. Meloan is struggling while McDonald is doing okay but nothing like he did last year in AA.
Some of you may be wondering why LaRoche is not on this list. Other then his big RBI game last Tuesday his last two weeks have been uneventful. He has a sub 400 slug % playing for Vegas. So the guy who everyone complained about getting the call actually had a higher batting average then LaRoche's slug%. It is possible that LaRoche needs to stay in AAA until he gets his power back as the last thing the Dodgers need is someone who can hit singles. The walks are nice as noted by his 438 OB% but come on, he's a 3rd baseman. When he gets his power back then lets bring out the pitchforks but until then I don't see the beef. Zero extra base hits in his last 10 games. I'm to lazy to go further but with a total of 6 extra base hits in 120 minor league at bats so far this year it is obvious the injury has cut into his usefulness.