Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Welcome to the Blue, Yasmani Grandal!

Yasmani Grandal is the key piece coming to the Dodgers from the Matt Kemp Trade.  You can follow Grandal on twitter here: @YazmanianDVL08.  Per a Dodger Press Release:
Grandal, whose name is pronounced yas-MAH-nee gran-DAHL, has a .245 career batting average with 24 home runs and 94 RBI in 216 games with the Padres from 2012-14. The switch-hitter appeared in 128 games last year at catcher (76 games) and first base (37 games) and posted career-best marks in runs (47), hits (85), doubles (19), home runs (15) and RBI (49) in his third big league season.

Grandal was selected to the 2012 MLB All-Star Futures Game and posted a .310/.408/.487 slashline in four minor league seasons from 2010-13 in the Reds and Padres organizations. The native of Cuba was originally selected by the Reds in the first round (12th overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Miami and then acquired by San Diego from Cincinnati on Dec. 17, 2011 in a five-player deal.
There has been a lot said about Grandal's skills behind the plate.  He is noted by the sabermetrically inclined for having superior pitch-framing skills.  While others say that he can't throw runners out and his recent knee injury to his ACL/MCL has limited his mobility (he had a torn ACL/MCL).  Whatever the case, he will pair up with AJ Ellis as the Dodger backstop.

At this point, I think it's too early to tell who will be the Dodgers primary catcher.  Grandal is likely to hit better than Ellis (and with more power), but Ellis has the trust and respect of the Dodger staff (which Grandal appeared to not have in San Diego).  BTW, it should be noted that Grandal was busted for PED's after his fantastic 2012 rookie season.

Via Pedro Moura at the OC Register, "Grandal is a gamble for Dodgers."
He is a catcher, one with a superb ability to frame balls so they look like strikes, and he has a .350 career on-base percentage, seventh-best among active catchers. He has hit 24 home runs in the equivalent of a season and a half of work – and did it playing half his games in Petco Park, one of the most homer-suppressing stadiums in the sport.

But the second school of thought is that Grandal is barely an average hitter for a catcher, with questionable skills behind the plate. The case for that: Grandal’s offensive statistics after his 2012 rookie season look a lot different than they did during it, and, beyond pitch-framing, his defensive numbers have never looked all that great.
Can Grandal have the kind of break out season the Dodger front office, no doubt, are hoping for?  Can he field his position at the dish with sufficient skill?  How much defensive skill at the catcher position are the Dodgers willing to give up for offensive prowess? We won't know any of these answers until we are well into the year, so be prepared for an interesting 2015 Baseball season.

In celebration of Grandal's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph grabbed from a photo from Zimbio (Mike McGinnis/Getty Images North America) and the 1964 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats for Yasmani Grandal, via Baseball-Reference:

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Happy Festivus Day!

A Festivus for the rest of us!

In honor of this Seinfeld holiday I felt it would only be proper to air some grievances.
  • I don't quite know who to blame for the Dodger television mess.  But Time Warner, SportsNet LA and the Dodgers... You are on notice.  Get your act together and put Dodger Baseball on tv for all to enjoy!
  • To those who scoff at my fandom for Matt Kemp - do you not have any sense of decency?  Can I not mourn the departure of a great Dodger player while at the same time also realize it is best for the long-term health of the club?
  • I also got something to say about those folks who have or plan to 'boo' Matt Kemp... You are so disappointing.  Have you any sense of Dodger Blue loyalty? 
  • To those afraid of the changes - get over it!  We always knew the Dodgers would go through a dramatic transformation and it would be likely that many of our favorite players might be traded or allowed to walk away.  The Dodgers cannot succeed as a collection of high-priced free agents. 
  • To the saber-geeks, you should read Joe Posnanski story at NBC Sports entitled "Vanguard after the Revolution: Bill James sparked a baseball insurrection, but he has regrets about the world he wrought."
“I have to take my share of responsibility for promoting skepticism about things that I didn’t understand as well as I might have,” he says. “What I would say NOW is that skepticism should be directed at things that are actually untrue rather than things that are difficult to measure.
 i.e. leadership, clutch and grit.
If you have any other grievances please share them.  I'm moving on to the "Feats of Strength." Anyone want to wrestle?

Video Link:

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Blog Kiosk: 12/23/2014 - Dodger Links - Alston and Superman, Kershaw on Anderson and Adrian Gonzalez

I came across this photo on eBay and immediately had to figure out what this was.  As you can see, former Dodger manager Walter Alston is with Superman.  But who is playing Superman and what is this for?

Some research unveiled that the Superman in the photo is Denny Miller who played the character in Air Force recruiting commercials in the 1970s. At erbzine.com he shares his memories of this event:
In the spring a young man's fancy turns to baseball. Okay, the love of baseball. And Florida is covered with a migration of the best baseball players in the land. It's called spring training. 

I'm going to spend several weeks at ten of these training camps making a one-minute or thirty-second TV recruiting spot at each camp. We'll shoot on the baseball diamond with the players in the background. In the foreground will be that team's manager talking with Superman, me. I get to meet and work with Joe Torre, Yogi Berra, Walter Alston and seven other managers. Plus, I get to meet some of the players.

It was a baseball fan's dream. That was the good news. The not-so-good news was that I have to get dressed and have make-up put on in the team's locker rooms.
Go here to read what else he had to say about the experience.  Below are some links to check out:

  • MLBPA must have some sort of deal with the Konami video game Pro Evolution Soccer 'cause they have several 'create-a-player' videos on youtube right now, and Dodger first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is one of them. Check out a couple of videos below of them creating AGon and another video of some AGon gameplay of PES2015.

Video Link:

Video Link:

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