Quietly, the Dodgers’ latest big-money international signing — Erisbel Arruebarrena — made his professional debut over the weekend, and he didn’t look half-bad. I caught a few of his plate appearances and a play in the field on MiLB.tv.
Admittedly, I haven’t been able to watch all the video of his debut and second game yet, but I’ll just give my observations of what I saw.
Arruebarrena debuted on Saturday for the Chattanooga Lookouts against the Jackson Generals. In his first game, he went 0-for-3 with a walk, run scored and a strikeout. He walked in his first plate appearance, showing an advanced eye and pitch recognition at the Double-A level. The now-24-year-old should be expected to have a better eye, despite not being known for his bat. He was also part of two double plays on the day — 6-4-3 and 4-6-3. He almost got to a ground ball in the 5.5 hole. Off the bat, it didn’t look like he’d even be close, but his dive attempt was just a tad late. I’m not sure he would have been able to throw the runner out, but he definitely has the range to be a shortstop.
In his second game, he went 2-for-5 with a single, double, a run scored and two strikeouts. He worked the count in his first at-bat before being called out on strikes on a borderline pitch. In his second at-bat, he dropped down a nice bunt up the third base side that he legged out without a throw. He isn’t known for his speed and the Generals’ third baseman was playing back quite a bit. Still, it showed his awareness of the situation. In his next at-bat, he hit a booming double off a left-handed pitcher. It would have been a home run in most parks, but the Jackson ballpark has a tall wall in left-center field. It made a nice sound off the bat.
Also, in the second game, Arruebarrena was in on three double plays — two 6-4-3s and a 4-6-3. If nothing else, Arruebarrena at shortstop and Darnell Sweeney at second base should improve the Lookouts’ defense immensely. And it makes the Chattanooga games more watchable, as Arruebarrena should be playing every day while he’s down there.
Not a ton to take away from his first two games, but he looks physically good out there so far. The extra time in Arizona probably helped him out. If he hits well enough, he could be in Albuquerque sooner rather than later. Ideally, he’ll be promoted once Alex Guerrero is recalled, but with the way Dee Gordon is playing, that might be delayed. It would be nice to see an Arruebarrena-Guerrero double play combination in Albuquerque for a bit. It could be a glimpse into the future.