Of specials note, there appears to be only one short-printed Dodgers variation card available. It's of Clayton Kershaw and I'll have a pic of it later on.
#11 Andre Ethier
"He's reached that point in his career where he has figured things out," said a scout who has watched Ibanez since he broke into the majors in 1996. "He has a plan every time he steps into the box, and he's smart, so he adjusts quickly to whatever the pitcher is trying to do to him. Going to the weaker league (the NL) and playing in that bandbox (Citizens Bank Park) in Philadelphia has helped jack his numbers up a little bit, there's no doubt, but he is now one of the smartest hitters in the game. And don't discount what great shape the guy is in. He's in better shape now than when he a kid breaking into the league. He's not a big bulky guy, but he's strong, real strong."Like Maddux with pitchers, Ibanez might be the perfect teacher for our young hitters. Per a story by John Mcgrath at the Tacoma News Tribune:
(Lou) Piniella meant Raul Ibanez, whose services as a Mariners’ problem-solver were notable because, for one, Ibanez no longer worked in Seattle – he had signed a free-agent contract with Kansas City after the 2000 season – and, for two, of all the sharp minds around baseball capable of sharing intelligence with him, Piniella’s instant choice was the Royals’ 30-year-old designated hitter.BTW, Harold Uhlman at Think Blue LA just wrote a fantastic story about Raul Ibanez that is worth checking out. He notes that Kevin Seitzer's (one of my favorites while growing up) advice early in his career left an indelible mark.
The son of a Cuban-born chemist, Ibanez is smart, with an exceptional baseball IQ. A few months ago, when I asked him what he knew about Ted Williams (who also hit 29 home runs at the age of 41), Ibanez smiled. The Splinter’s book on the science of hitting, he recalled, was a precious childhood possession.
“He gave me a solid foundation,” Ibanez said. “He taught me how to be fluid with my hands, how to hit with my legs and most important, to be stubborn with my approach, trying to hit to left-center.”What the Dodgers are doing seems rather unprecedented. They are actively recruiting the best minds in the business; both in the front office level and on the field. BTW, you can follow Ibanez on twitter here: @RaulIbanezMLB.
Ibañez, 43, will gain his first front-office experience following a 19-year big league career with the Mariners (1996-2000, 2004-08, ‘13), Royals (2001-03, ‘14), Phillies (2009-11), Yankees (2012) and Angels (2014). The 2009 All-Star posted a .272 career batting average with 305 home runs and 1,207 RBI in 2,161 games, while making five postseason appearances during the course of his career. The left-handing hitting outfielder/first baseman was originally selected by the Mariners in the 36th round of the 1992 First-Year Player Draft out of Miami-Dade College.
"DODGER PITCHERS. Don Newcombe, Billy Loes, Karl Spooner, Don Bessent, Clem Labine and Johnny Podres, left to right, are expected to be the pitchers throwing for the Dodgers in the World Series which gets underway Sept. 28. They're shown off to the side of a work out of the team at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn, N.Y., Sept. 26. Newcombe is expected to open for the Dodgers, seeking their first World Series title."The only hurlers missing from the photo are Carl Erskine, Ed Roebuck and Roger Craig. Below are more links to check out:
There’s a big change coming in 2016 for the Dodgers’ official magazine.
Starting in April, Dodger Insider magazine will be distributed for free at the autogates at every Dodger Stadium regular-season game.
In June, Clayton Kershaw will celebrate his 10th anniversary in the Dodger organization. In turn, the Dodgers are celebrating Kershaw in the 2016 Yearbook.
Publishing at the start of March — in time for the opening game of Spring Training — and available at both Dodger Stadium and Camelback Ranch, the 2016 Yearbook will feature a special 27-page section reminiscing over the divine decade of Kershaw’s life as a Dodger.
Urias, No. 4 on the Top 100 and the top lefty on the list, understandably comes in second with a score of 240. He doesn't have the 80 or 70 on his report card like Giolito, but he is consistently plus across the board. Urias' 65 fastball may sit in the low 90s, but he can reach back for more, and it plays up because he commands it to both sides of the plate. Both his big breaking ball and his fading changeup are 60s -- that also allows his fastball to play up. Urias throws all pitches for strikes, thus the 55 grade on his control (it wouldn't surprise anyone if that ended up a 60).
Ibanez is one of those players that most likely should have been consumed by the game. Apparently with little chance of making it to MLB and even less chance of a lengthy career, he defied all the odds. He simply wouldn’t be defeated by a five ounce ball and a 34 inch bat.