College BB Materials Signatures
#407 Philip Pfeifer #420 Walker Buehler
Ultimate Pastime Sports Collectibles
1614 South Carlos Avenue, Suite K
Ontario, CA, 91761
Sporting News Grill (inside Holiday Inn)
14299 Firestone Blvd
La Mirada, CA 90638
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."