Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blog Kiosk: 2/17/2016 - Dodgers Links - Urias, De Leon and Kenta Maeda

Let's hope we see something like this in 2016... And more!

Featured above is a vintage October 2, 1949 ACME press telephoto of the Brooklyn faithful in the midst of some celebratory revelry.  The photo was taken during the last game of the season against the Phillies.  The Dodgers were clinging on to a one game lead in the National League, and would go on to prove these fans right.  They defeated Philadelphia to take the pennant.  Photo via an eBay auction I say this morning.

Below are more links to check out:
  • You can now follow former Dodgers pitcher Dennis Powell on twitter: @coachpowell48.
  • Here is a brief look at Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections for the MLB, here.  It predicts the Dodgers will have a banner year.  Like all projections, of course, you should take it with a grain of salt.
  • David Schoenfield at ESPN; "Ranking the teams: 6 through 1."  The Dodgers are at #6.
The final word: With an estimated $242 million payroll, the largest in the game, the Dodgers really have only one big star. Oh, Seager is going to be one, Puig still has the potential to play like one and Gonzalez used to be one, but this is a team built on the depth of its 40-man roster. 
For the first offseason in a while, they do not appear to have traded away an immediate All Star and batting champion. So, that.
I first picked up on the newly-signed Los Angeles Dodger Kenta Maeda in 2008 during his rookie season with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB), while scouting for the Cleveland Indians. He was a highly touted 20-year-old, coming out of the high school baseball factory that is PL Gakuen, and being dropped into a Carp system with a reputation for drafting and developing players better than any team in the NPB. He was blade thin, but the athleticism was obvious; with fast-twitch muscle to burn, he just moved differently than most in everything that he did. He had the velocity, the command, and the secondary, so check those boxes; but what was more intriguing was the way the ball would leave his hand – the stuff really stood out and you could tell that there was more to come.
"I can't be more excited, and not just with the pitchers in Major League camp, but the state of our Minor League pitching as well," said organization pitching coordinator Rick Knapp. "It's an exciting time to be me."
Knapp provides his thoughts on several Dodger pitchers; including Urias and De Leon below:
Urias: "He got a wake-up call struggling at Triple-A last year and learned he has to pitch on the plate more. He's always been ahead of the curve. Now, if we have any concern, it's to build up the innings cautiously. It's a balancing act. I was [Major League pitching coach] with Rick Porcello when he was with the Tigers at age 20. It might mean five-inning starts. We will manage Julio accordingly."

De Leon: "It seems he's come out of nowhere because he made a big change in his delivery, not throwing across his body, and he lost a lot of weight. Now he's on a mission. He has the makeup, intensity, competitiveness and he's figuring out the strike zone. Nothing he does will surprise me."
  • Fast Company ranks, "The Most Innovative Companies of 2016: Top Companies by Sector" and it includes the Dodgers.  They are at #6 for their Accelerator program that focuses on incubating a crop of sports startups.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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