Mailbag #25: Brady Aiken, hitting prospects, female umps, EA

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Powder Hound: If Brady Aiken was available to the dodgers at #25, would you take him, and do you think the dodgers would?

Just for clarity’s sake, the Dodgers select at No. 24 in the upcoming MLB Draft. This is an interesting dilemma. In 2012, Jared Massey and I discussed the possibility of the Dodgers drafting Lucas Giolito had he fallen to No. 18, as Giolito was almost a sure-thing to have Tommy John surgery. I think we both came down on the side of “yes,” but it was a moot point. Corey Seager was a great “consolation” prize, though.

Brady Aiken was the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, and he and the Astros couldn’t come to terms on a contract. A lot of words have been written about the entire situation, so I won’t rehash it. Aiken is a potentially elite talent in a draft lacking a lot of elite talent. Odds are, he won’t make it to No. 24, even after TJ surgery. If he was available, I could see this front office taking a risk on him. With the impending July 2 spending spree, the Dodgers could afford to take a risk such as Aiken or even Duke right-hander Michael Matuella (who also had TJ). They probably aren’t going to get a front-line player at No. 24 without taking a chance on an injured, elite talent. There are mixed reports about the severity of Aiken’s injury, but I’m inclined to believe he’ll be able to recover from it relatively well.

It’ll be interesting to see how new scouting director Billy Gasparino runs his first draft with the Dodgers. He could make a splash by taking a chance on one of the injured guys (but not Nathan Kirby, hopefully).

Quinten B: The Dodgers farm system seems loaded with pitching prospects and with the rumored deal with Yadier Alvarez is seemingly going to get even stronger. Yet the only blue chip position prospect in the organization is Corey Seager. Is the ratio of pitching prospects to position prospects any cause for concern?

Not really. The Dodgers have traditionally been better at developing pitchers over the years, but there have been some good hitters to come out of the organization — Carlos Santana, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Raul Mondesi, Mike Piazza are the first to come to mind. That isn’t even factoring in Joc Pederson, who is off to a great start in his first full season. They had a couple of blue chippers in Joel Guzman and Andy LaRoche who just didn’t pan out, though.

There are some non-blue chip hitting prospects in the system and in years past who could and have contributed significantly to the MLB club. Players who fit that bill are guys like Austin Barnes, Scott Schebler and Darnell Sweeney. Some guys who turned into those kinds of players include Blake DeWitt (hey, he was pretty good in 2008) A.J. Ellis and Scott Van Slyke.

Plus, these pitching prospects could be used to acquire either blue chip hitting prospects or established major leaguers. If the prospects are used to acquire the latter, the need to develop hitting prospects isn’t as great. Plus, it’s tougher to find a great pitcher than it is to find a great hitter.

Gabe Delgado: NBA has three female referees, NFL this coming year will have one female referee, MLB zero female umpires why. Why hasn’t MLB done a study to find reason for no women umpires.

I’m not sure if there is a study to explain it, but there have been female umpires in professional baseball. Bernice Gera umpired in A-ball in 1972, but it was definitely significant. As recently as 2007, there was a female umpire in the Southern League.

While I think we’re a long way from a female playing professional baseball, I think a female umpire is on the cusp. It will take at least six years (and, unfortunately, probably longer) for that to happen. As long as the umpire is good enough, it doesn’t matter to me if the ump is a male or a female. We’re so used to having male umpires, but that isn’t a reason for not having female umps.

John Capoccia: What happened to Arrubarena? I don’t see his name on any of the Dodger’s minor leauge rosters. Has he been traded or released?

Erisbel Arruebarrena was outrighted of the 40-man roster over the winter, and unsurprisingly, no one claimed him (and his remaining contract). He appeared in some spring training games and I thought he might begin the season at Double-A Tulsa. Instead, he is still in Glendale, Ariz., at Camelback Ranch in extended spring training. He’s getting work every day on the back fields, and Gabe Kapler said the club will “explore multiple ways of sharpening his all around game.” Basically a non-answer, but I assume this means trying to teach him to hit big league pitching and for him get some work at second- and third base. He’s already plenty proficient at shortstop, and the other infield positions shouldn’t be an issue. His issue will always be his bat.

I will say I am surprised he hasn’t yet joined Tulsa or Triple-A Oklahoma City. With Corey Seager in Triple-A, I’m not sure he’ll spend a ton of time there — and if he does, it’d be a position that isn’t shortstop.

Daniel: my name is Daniel and I’m an English teacher. I love sports and especially the Dodgers. I’ve always wanted to work in the sports industry and I’m just curious how could I make a career change from teacher to sportswriter without sacrificing my livelihood?I know this probably isn’t the best way to go about it but would you have any suggestions?I’m asking you guys because I love would you do, I have a ton of respect for you, and I really respect you guys.

This is very apropro. I have a degree in journalism (with the intention of working in sports journalism (all of the #hottakes). My wife has an English degree.  Neither of us are working in our current industries. There is a far greater demand for teachers than there are sports journalists. I started doing this as a hobby at my own blog before Mike, Chad, Daniel and I formed this behemoth of a blog.

I honestly do not know how you go from English teacher to working in the sports industry without sacrificing your livelihood. You don’t have to get a degree in journalism, broadcasting, etc., to work in the industry, but there aren’t a lot of easily attainable, high-paying jobs out there unless you want to work in analytics (SQL and the like). If I had to offer advice, I’d either start your own blog or inquire as to the availability of open positions at other blogs. Keep in mind, they aren’t going to be high-paying (likely unpaid, really), so I wouldn’t recommend going into it full-time. It’d have to be something to start as a hobby, work at it and hope it grows into something. You’re doing it right by reading here, but I would also recommend reading some other blogs — not necessarily all Dodger-based — to get a feel for the industry and what folks are looking for. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.