With no minor league season, it’s hard to know just how some players are doing. We can’t watch MiLBtv or look up Triple-A stats, for instance, on Baseball-Reference. Outside of the occasional camp scrimmage streamed online, there aren’t many avenues to keep track of players who aren’t in the major leagues.
There aren’t enough players to play full scrimmages at USC, but pitchers maintain readiness and development by facing hitters in simulated situations, and hitters if they need more at-bats either taking batting practice or hit off a pitching machine. But it’s not quite the same as live game action.
“It’s definitely a different atmosphere. It’s a little more laid back. Sometimes it’s hard to get really going. We do our best to try to make it competitive,” pitcher Mitch White said last week before making his major league debut in Texas. “There’s only so much you can do. Sometimes it feels a little more dead. That’s just the truth of it, but we’re doing our best to keep the progression in mind and our development.”
On Friday I asked Gavin Lux, who was at the Dodgers’ alternate training site at USC for most of the first half of the season, which players stood out to him. He singled out a pair of first-round picks from the last two years.
“Kody Hoese can really, really, really hit. I felt like every day he was hitting the ball off the wall or shooting a double the other way,” Lux said on a conference call. “I mean, like he can really, really hit.”
[Editor’s note: Lux did really use “really” three times in that first reference]
“Bobby Miller came in, and he was like 95-98 with a hard slider. Good breaking ball, good changeup,” Lux said. Pretty much all the new draft guys, all the pitchers were 95-96 with pretty good breaking balls. Shout out to our scouting staff, because those guys were pretty impressive, especially coming right out of the draft.”
Links & notes
- Dave Roberts on a conference call Friday, on rookie reliever Brusdar Graterol: “I think he’s probably the most popular player in the clubhouse, as far as guys gravitating towards him. He’s just really authentic and sincere. I just learned that he bought his mom a house back in Venezuela. So that’s something that he’s very proud of, and rightfully so.”
- Clayton Kershaw made his way into the top 10 starting pitcher power rankings in an unauthored piece at MLB.com.
- Molly Knight at The Athletic marveled at Mookie Betts’ exploits, and wrote how the Red Sox loss is the Dodgers’ gain.
- Victor Gonzalez in 2018 wanted to quit baseball, but now is getting major leaguers out for the Dodgers. Jorge Castillo profiled the left-hander for the Los Angeles Times.
- Jesse Rogers at ESPN profiled how old friend Yu Darvish began to turn things around last year, and how it’s carried into a strong start to 2020.
- The weekly COVID test numbers from MLB and the MLBPA showed one positive test for a player and none for any staff members. The player was Daniel Mengden of the A’s, and as contract tracing and isolating happened, Oakland had four games postponed this week. The A’s, in first place in the AL West, resumed their schedule on Friday hosting the Padres.