Scott Schebler saw his first major league action in 2015, and the Dodgers outfielder found it to his liking.
What went right
With Corey Seager wreaking havoc in September, and Justin Ruggiano shining after rejoining his original franchise, Schebler flew a little under the radar with an otherwise fine September. Schebler hit thee home runs in the season's final month in only 37 plate appearances.
Schebler's 13.3 plate appearances per home run were tops on the Dodgers in 2015, ahead of Ruggiano (15.0 PA per HR), Alex Guerrero (20.9), Joc Pederson (22.5) and Adrian Gonzalez (23.0).
Schebler made his major league debut with a short, one-game stint, starting in left field on June 5, going 1-for-3.
His 19.2-percent strikeout rate in Triple-A was Schebler's lowest mark since 2012.
Schebler stole 15 bases in 17 attempts with Oklahoma City, and showed his versatility with 37 starts in center field in the minors to go with 46 starts in right field and 35 more in left.
What went wrong
Schebler's numbers in Triple-A on the surface were underwhelming, hitting .241/.322/.410 with 13 home runs in 121 games, plus 16 doubles and nine triples, including hitting just .193/.304/.295 in May and .232/.312/.339 in August. But Schebler also suffered a bit of bad luck, with a .278 batting average on balls hit in play.
He hits the ball hard, and with the encouragement of player development director Gabe Kapler has embraced exit velocity as a measure of his performance alongside traditional statistics. From Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register in September:
"If I’m not getting hits, maybe I can play a little game. How hard can I hit it?" Schebler said. "I’m so competitive. I wanted to find a way to still salvage an at-bat, even when I didn’t get the result I wanted.
"I think that calmed my nerves."
He checked his exit velocities so often, he came to calibrate his mind. He said he could predict, off the bat, how hard each hit was clocked.
"I tried to tweak so many dang things because I wasn’t getting results," he said. "Honestly, I ended up going back to what I started with, and you’re like, ‘Well, why did I even change in the first place?’"
Stats: .250/.325/.500, .348 wOBA, 3 HR in 40 PA with Dodgers, 0.2 rWAR, 0.5 fWAR
Salary: pro-rated share of minimum $507,500; roughly $94,000.
Game of the year
Schebler not only hit his first major league home run on Sept. 4 in San Diego, but he also stole two bases in the game, his first two major league steals. Schebler, who was 2-for-5 in the game, was just the 22nd Dodger with a home run and two steals in the same game in the last 102 years, and the first since Matt Kemp in 2010. Schebler is also the only one of the group to do so within his first three career games.
Schebler has 35 days of major league service time and two option years remaining, having used one option year in 2015.