Before Spring Training games started, I wrote that there were actual competitions worth watching this year for the Dodgers, and so far it’s been an intriguing start to them. Unfortunately, a part of that is due to Gavin Lux‘s injury and the spot it opens up.
On the bad side, Miguel Vargas still hasn’t been cleared to swing a bat. Despite the Dodgers consistently downplaying things, that probably isn’t the best sign for his readiness. On the good side, he looks solid at second base. There’s some clunky actions at times, but for the most part looks like he can handle it.
Amazingly, he does also have a .400 OBP despite not being able to swing, drawing four walks in now 10 at-bats.
Speaking of second base, it seems like Mookie Betts might actually see action there this year, so it’s something to watch as more than a novelty. He has very little issues with his range and hands, but has struggled at times with throws and transfers. Given that arm strength is not an issue, that seems like a familiarity thing.
Meanwhile, James Outman is looking to slug his way into the outfield conversation, and I don’t see why he couldn’t force the Dodgers to keep him around. He’s now 6-for-13 with a triple and a homer, walking twice and striking out only three times.
Then again, his main competition might be Jason Heyward, who is one of the few doing better so far. Heyward is now 4-for-10 with two homers and a walk, with zero strikeouts. Most promisingly, he’s elevating the ball regularly.
There actually hasn’t been a ton of prospect action yet, and we’ll probably get more of it as the World Baseball Classic starts, but Gavin Stone and his changeup certainly seem on the cusp of breaking through.
Additionally, Devin Mann is 4-for-11 so far with a pair of doubles, while Yonny Hernandez is 5-for-12 with a double. I, uh, also think we’re like a Miguel Rojas injury away from Yonny being the starter, so that seems relevant.
Lots of hype in camp about Noah Syndergaard‘s velocity, but it hasn’t really shown up so far. Too early to be concerned about it, but it’s not the best of starts.
Speaking of early stuff, Caleb Ferguson has been impressive.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Nelson has not. As one of the key injury progressions to watch, his arm does not look built up yet, but he also had to pitch through cold and rainy weather in Spring Training for whatever godforsaken reason.
Looking forward to the WBC, not only for that fun tournament, but also because the prospects will basically takeover in Spring Training games.