Monday, April 18, 2011
Dodgers call up Sands to 'The Show'
By Scott Randall
In a bold move to help improve their struggling offense, the Los Angeles Dodgers called up prized prospect Jerry Sands.
He will make his major league debut tonight against the Atlanta Braves, batting seventh and playing left field.
So who is Jerry Sands, and what can Dodgers fans expect from the 23-year old?
Sands hit .301 with 35 home runs and 93 RBI last season en route to winning the Dodgers minor league player of the year award.
But his 2010 season was split between Class A and Double-A, seemingly still a year away from any contributions at the big league level.
However after opening his 2011 Triple-A season with home runs in three straight games, Sands proved he might have been ready sooner rather than later.
This came after Sands led all Dodgers players with a .999 OPS in 22 games this spring (minimum 20 AB).
He looks to be a power hitter that can also hit for average, something the Dodgers are sorely lacking outside of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
So where can Sands fit in with the major-league team right now?
Over 50 percent of his minor league games have been played at a corner outfield position while also spending time at first base.
Thus far left field in Dodger Stadium has been manned by the vaunted trio of Tony Gwynn Jr., Marcus Thames and Xavier Paul, who was sent down to make room for Sands.
James Loney, who is hitting .150 and has yet to show significant power in his career, has been the lone first baseman.
Although it was against Triple-A competition, in 10 games Sands has outproduced what Dodgers left fielders and first baseman have combined to do in 32 games.
In fact, you can combine their slugging percentages (.219 and .344) and Sands would still be outslugging them by more than 300 points.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly has compared Sands physically to Matt Holliday, who never hit more than 16 home runs in a minor league season.
Another comparison could be made between the two -- Holliday played just six career games in Triple-A before being called up by the Colorado Rockies in April of 2004.