Dodger Thoughts: Luis Vasquez
June, 9, 2011
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesClayton Kershaw
The Dodgers are going to give Jerry Sands a breather from the major leagues, replacing him on the active roster with lefty-hitting outfielder Trent Oeltjen, who had a .429 on-base percentage and .583 slugging percentage at Albuquerque. Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com has details.
In addition, the Dodgers outrighted minor-leaguer Luis Vasquez from the 40-man roster to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Have no fear about Sands — despite his recent slump, his initial foray into the bigs should be viewed in a positive light, providing some great moments as well as some knowledge of how he has to improve.
As for the major-league roster, I wonder if this move sets the stage for Casey Blake to play some left field, as was discussed months ago.
* * *
It's Clayton Kershaw Day on the Internet, with several pieces on the Dodger lefty:
- Tim Kurkjian of ESPN.com is exceedingly complimentary, noting that no 23-year-old major-league pitcher (according to the Elias Sports Bureau) had ever had as many career victories and as low a career ERA while striking out more than a batter per inning before Kershaw. Kershaw says he benefited from his fast start.
"The Dodgers did me a huge favor calling me up as early as they did,'' Kershaw told Kurkjian. "I took my lumps, but I'm better off for it. What I've learned to this point has been huge for me.''
The biggest adjustment came this year when he added a slider in part because, "I couldn't control my curveball.'' Manager Don Mattingly agreed, but added, "No one [umpires] calls the curveball [for strikes] anymore. No one swings at it. So, you can't throw it. But his slider and changeup have become very good. When I first saw him, he could throw a fastball for a strike on the inside part of the plate to right-handed hitters. Now he can throw the ball to both sides of the plate, against right-handed and left-handed hitters. His bullpens are now art. He throws five pitches in, five away. He moves the ball around. It's boom, boom, boom.'' ...
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs names Kershaw as a finalist for best southpaw in the National League, before going with a Phillie.
- David Schoenfield of ESPN.com also makes the case for Kershaw as a top young lefty in MLB, before giving Tampa Bay's David Price a slight edge.
- According to the Dodger press notes, since making his major-league debut in May 2008, no pitcher with at least 400 innings has a lower opponents' batting average than Kershaw (.221 batting average, 7.3 hits per nine innings).
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesScott Rolen and Russ Mitchell in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Line Dancers"
- Clayton Kershaw pitched four shutout innings, allowing two baserunners and striking out three.
- Lance Cormier, Jon Huber, Roman Colon, Wilkin De La Rosa and Oscar Villarreal completed the shutout, allowing four hits, walking one and striking out one.
- Matt Kemp doubled in Casey Blake in the fourth inning.
- Dee Gordon singled, stole second and scored in the eighth inning after singles by Aaron Miles and Trent Oeltjen.
- John Lindsey doubled in his first spring at-bat.
- The Dodgers turned three double plays.
- We're going to give lowlights the evening off ...
- Ralph Branca shared his memories of Duke Snider in the New York Times.
- The Dodgers were dead last in 2010 international spending with a mere $314,000, according to Baseball America. The efforts to step it up outside our borders are lagging, to say the least.
- Minor-leaguer Luis Vasquez is a "clubhouse sensation" with his magic tricks, writes Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
November, 19, 2010
Matt Slocum/APAndy LaRoche congratluates Delwyn Young after Young's solo home run May 17 in Philadelphia.
Both players occasionally flashed ability but mostly have washed out. That's not as big a surprise for Young, who was never expected to be much more than a bench player, but the bigger disappointment was LaRoche, whose fine minor-league career seemed to have him poised for a starting role. Indeed, yours truly insisted in 2008 that the Dodgers didn't give LaRoche a fair chance to win the third-base job before deciding to trade Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan for Casey Blake, days before the Ramirez trade.
When LaRoche was sent away (along with minor-league pitcher Bryan Morris), I consoled myself with the fact that at least the Dodgers were getting a major talent back. And more than ever, there's no doubt the trade was a major win for the Dodgers, especially with injuries and stagnating development making LaRoche a discard.
Either player might be worth a flyer on a minor-league contract, especially considering the Dodgers' depth issues, but based on Ned Colletti's past actions, if there's any ex-Pirate he'd be taking a chance on for next season's major-league roster, it would be today's third DFA, Zach Duke. Duke is five years removed from the 1.81 ERA he posted in his rookie debut and hasn't averaged more than 5.5 strikeouts per nine innings since, but he did have a 4.06 ERA in 2009 and will still only be 28 in April. For a general manager who saw potential in every R. Ortiz under the sun, Duke certainly seems like someone whose tires would get kicked.
And believe it or not, there's a fourth ex-Pirate in the Dodger news today, though don't expect to see him in Los Angeles. The Dodgers purchased the contracts of two players and added them to their 40-man roster – one was 28-year-old catcher Hector Gimenez, who had a .916 OPS for the Pirates' Double-A team in Altoona – the first time in eight professional seasons he had broken the .800 mark.
The other was Luis Vasquez (25 in April), who had a nifty 2.68 ERA and with 39 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings, but all the way down in Single-A. Vasquez allowed only 24 hits but walked 26.
No, this doesn't mean the Dodgers have solved their catching and bullpen issues. Nor, certainly, have they provided us an answer who will start in left field in 2011, though Colletti gave Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (news via MLB Trade Rumors) this conversation piece: Jay Gibbons, Xavier Paul and Jamie Hoffmann are all considered candidates to be the outfield's Opening Day third wheel.
* * *
Don Mattingly completed his managerial stint in the Arizona Fall League, and Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com touched base with him.