One of the best parts about attending Arizona State is that from February-March, all I do is go to Spring Training games (when I can and have a car available). Today is the only time I will be going to Camelback Ranch this season due to my spring break and the fact that the Dodgers leave for Australia in early March. Camelback Ranch is a beautiful ballpark that is shared between the Chicago White Sox and the Dodgers. Today they played each other as Hyun-jin Ryu took the mound for the boys in blue while the White Sox countered with ace Chris Sale. The Dodgers won the game 5-0 and here is what stood out to me:
As soon as I arrived at Camelback, I walked over to where the players were taking batting practice and saw Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez take some swings. There was also one player signing autographs and from far away I thought it was Yasiel Puig, it turned out to be Dee Gordon. Gordon is still skinny but his arms look huge compared to last year. His added muscle could help him win the starting 2nd base job once the season starts. Gordon entered the game in the sixth inning and made a couple of good plays at 2nd base. In his only at-bat, Gordon walked and then being typical Dee Gordon, stole 2nd base with ease and later scored.
Hyu-Jin Ryu threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out none. The big question this year will be can he avoid a sophomore slump after a terrific rookie season? Brian Wilson struggled in his spring debut but was able to get out of the inning by forcing a double play started by Justin Turner and striking out Avisail Garcia with a fastball high in the zone. Kenley Jansen, Chris Perez, and J.P. Howell all looked good in their one inning of work each.
My standout player of the game and the prospect I see having the biggest impact with the Dodgers going forward is OF Joc Pederson. Pederson is a natural center fielder with a good arm and a good glove. Pederson is coming off of a season where he hit .278 with 22 home runs, 58 RBIs, and 31 stolen bases in Double-A Chattanooga. He has a lot of potential but the problem is that the Dodgers outfield is so crowded. Pederson impressed today with his opposite field home run in his first at-bat in the 7th to left to give the Dodgers the lead. He also had a deep flyout to center in his 2nd at-bat. Pederson probably won’t make the Dodgers 40-man roster unless injuries plague the outfield.
Today was a great day at the ballpark and I can’t wait for the season to start.