It’s always exciting to see new Dodgers play in Blue for the first time during Spring Training. It may be that the team picked up a high dollar free agent in the offseason like Zack Greinke, or perhaps the Dodgers may have signed a less costly free agent like Skip Schumaker (who looks like he will be adding a lot to this team). It wasn’t long ago (last season in fact) that the Dodgers couldn’t afford to do much of anything in the winter in order to bolster the 2012 team. Straddled with bankruptcy drama thanks to former owner Frank McCourt, the Dodgers couldn’t even afford to resign starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda. Instead Ned Colletti shopped around for a bargain, and he found essentially a two-for-one deal with Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang.
The Dodgers now still have Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang, but they are now on the bubble after the new ownership went on a shopping spree and signed Greinke, traded for Josh Beckett, and scouted and signed international talent Hyun-Jin Ryu out of Korea. In fact, one of the most exciting things to watch during this Spring Training is the new international prospects which the Dodgers have acquired.
Today was the first day we got to see outfielder Yasiel Puig on television, and he looked strong. The $42 million right-hand hitting Cuban prospect has had two hits including a double in 6 at-bats so far this Spring. He’s also struck out twice. Limited playing time this offseason due to a staph infection in his elbow and a knee injury wasn’t optimal, but the Dodgers will give him plenty of at-bats in camp this Spring. The Dodgers have not had a plethora of promising power hitting position prospects within their farm system in recent years, so the idea of a possible five-tool player like Puig in the outfield for the Dodgers in the near future is fabulous.
Hyun-Jin Ryu’s Spring debut was also a bit of a global event. No. 99 pitched one inning in game two for the Dodgers on Sunday, and he allowed one hit while striking out a batter during his scoreless frame. Sandy Koufax has been giving the big left-hander tips on how to grip his curveball. When Sandy speaks, you listen. Even if you speak an entirely different language. Ryu’s curveball was hit for a triple by Dewayne Wise of the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, but that shouldn’t deter Ryu from perfecting the pitch. The biggest hurdle for Ryu is staying away from the ballpark food. Since he arrived in camp, he has reportedly lost 15 pounds.
“I’m working on my diet,” Ryu said. “The toughest thing is at night time when I get hungry. I have to force myself to sleep.”
We’ll have to keep Ryu far away from the Dodger Dogs come April.
Or perhaps the Dodgers can sell Korean style Dodger Dogs throughout the season. Either way, these international prospects are sure to spice things up this season.