Saturday, February 28, 2015

" Juliomania "

Photo Credit: Jon Soohoo

"That's how God works, he gave me a bad left eye but a good left arm"
The 18 year old Mexican lefty has benging mass on his left eye that barely allows him to see. But that hasn't stopped him from working towards his ultimate goal, reaching the MLB. Dodgers discovered and signed Urias during the same scouting trip they took to Mexico to look at Puig. He was 16 when he signed with the Dodgers and last year at 17 he was pitching for Rancho Cucamanga. Posting a 2.36 ERA in 20 starts, with 109 strike outs. This phenom, who is now ranked as the Dodgers second best prospect, behind Corey Seager, on average was hitting 96 mph on the radar gun, occasionally touching 98! But that's not what has impressed veteran Dodger catcher A.J Ellis this spring. He caught one of Urias's bullpens this spring, A.J was quoted as saying that what impressed him about Urias was his composure.  A.J loved his tempo and his ability to stay the same through out his bullpen, whether he hit his spot or not. "He has the confidence and the composure of a seasoned veteran," said A.J of Urias. 

Julio Urias might be ready for the big leagues this season, but the Dodgers don't want to rush him. They see him as a starter, potential ace to go along side with Kershaw. With 5+ potential starters this season for the Dodgers and Urias pitching less than 90 innings in the minors last season, you probably won't see him in the rotation come Opening Day. He might be up in September, Dodgers could use him out of the pen. But with Coulombe, who pitched in the majors last year, and Chris Reed, who was a closer at Stanford, now in the 40 man roster, Urias might have to wait. 

Compared to fellow Mexican native Fernando Valenzuela, who made his MLB debut for the Dodgers at the age of 19, Julio Urias is an exciting Dodger prospect to follow. Wether he gets called up in September or follows in one of his idol's foot steps and makes his MLB debut next year at 19, one thing is for sure... "Juliomania" will soon arrive to Chavez Ravine, and will be here to stay. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Why didn't the Dodgers sign Yoan Moncada?

Let me first start off by congratulating the Boston Red Sox, they had the "winning bid" of $31.5 mil. The 19 year old prospect, who has been compared to Robinson Cano, is a great acquisition.

Now, the Dodgers. They sent Friedman and Mattingley to Moncada's work out day when he was here in L.A. Yes they were impressed, yes they wanted him, but ultimately they felt that the cost might not match the reward. This was a tricky negotiation, team with the winning bid (Boston in this case) would have had to pay 100% tax for going over the international signing threshold. So Boston is paying about $63 million dollars to sign him, $31.5 signing bonus $31.5 in taxes. I believe that the money wasn't the issue for the Dodgers, they have all the money in the world. The big issue was the penalty that came along with anyone who signed Moncada, not being able to sign international talent (for more than the minimum) for the next 2 years. With Cuba possibly opening their doors to the MLB in the near future and the number of scouts the Dodgers have internationally, I believe it was the right move. 
There are plenty Cuban talent up for grabs. You have 18 year old right handed pitcher Yadier Alverez and fellow 21 second basemen Andy Ibanez. But the problem with those two players is that they might be subjected to the similar rules and penalties that Moncada signed for. Look for the Dodgers to be aggressive in pursuing, soon to be Cuban free agent, 29 year old Hector Olivares. He is seen as an MLB ready 2nd or 3rd baseman who can hit 20+ Homeruns in the MLB. And with Howie and Uribe only under contract for this year, this makes sense.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dodgers' Offseason

Oh no Matt Kemp is gone!
Let me start off by saying that I, for one, am relieved! Don't get me wrong, I love Matt Kemp and would have loved to keep him as a Dodger for the remainder of his career, but injuries have slowed him down. I agree that when healthy he is arguably the best player in the league and worth that massive contract awarded to him by Colletti. But that is a big if, I do believe in Kemp, but don't believe he can stay healthy for a long period of time. Yes, we could have gotten a bit more than Yasmani  Grandal and Joe Weiland, but it was more of a salary dump.
Now on to Hanley Ramirez..... this move made sense! We upgraded defensively by acquiring Jimmy Rollins, who is basically a rental, 2016 will be the year of the Seager! Corey Seager. We can be looking at back to back "Rookie of the Year" award winners in Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. And Julio Urias could win the ROY in 2017, if he isn't called up to the majors before then.
Dee Gordon was the trade that hurt the most to me, coming off of a career season and then watch him go. We got a great haul for him in Kike Hernandez and Andrew Heaney. Then, seemingly traded Heaney seconds later for Howie Kendrick. Now Howie is a big upgrade from Dee Gordon.  Howie, not the AL MVP, led the Angels in hits last season. He is a consistent hitter and solid defender, definition of professional. My only concern is signing him to an extension, with Yoan Moncada going to Boston and no real prospect in the Dodgers' farm system to take over 2B next year, not having Howie can leave a big hole in our line up and at 2B. Not to mention giving up a top pitching prospect in Heaney to get him.
Now for the pitching staff. I love the rotation; Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, and now McCarthy and Anderson. That is a very good rotation. I am still skeptical about Anderson, Zaidi knows him well from his Oakland days, but Anderson has had the injury bug the past couple of years. Nicasio is being trained as you read this to be a long relief man in Arizona, so their could be a chance that we see Zach Lee or Frias pitch quite a bit this season. I like the McCarthy signing, who seemed to find him self after leaving the Diamondbacks. The best aquesition in my eyes came just days ago, Brandon Beachy. Yes he is injured, and now on the 60 day DL, but Dodgers have a club option for 2016. If Greinke leaves and/or when Anderson is gone after this year he will fit right in to the rotation.
The bullpen can still use a bit of help though, specially now that Jansen might miss a couple weeks recovering from foot surgery. I don't believe that McCown is the answer to Jansen going down, Rafeal Soriano and K-Rod are still out there. To me K-Rod seems like a great option. He can close while Jansen in out and he has worked, and done well, as a set-up man before. I do like the addition of Joel Peralta to the pen, good, veteran, relief pitcher from Tampa Bay.
The club has changed, both on the field and in the offices. Friedman and Zaidi will show what "Money Ball" and money can do.All in all I, unlike Greinke, do believe the team has improved this offseason. There are a bit more contact hitters up and down the line up, not just big name stars aiming for the fences. Way better defensively, specially up the middle. And if you are one of those that doesn't believe in Joc, the Dodgers still have a back up plan in Andre Ethier. Yes, he is still around. I believe this team will win the NL West again and will have a great shot at the title.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

First Post

For a while now friends and family have been suggesting that I start a blog, so here it is.

Let me first start by explaining the name of my blog, "Foul Ball Deep in Center." Yes, I am aware that this makes no sense in the baseball world! I have played and watched, loved this game of baseball since I was 4. So when I heard this verse in one of my favorite band's songs, Matt & Kim - Lightspeed, I found it pretty hilarious and decided to use it as the title for my blog. The pictures and lyrics around my blog are also from this song, which is actually a pretty catchy and good song, so if you haven't heard it go check it out.

Now, the content in this blog. As I mentioned I have played and loved this game for a very long time, so I understand and see the game a little differently than most fans. I also like to talk and discuss potential moves (trades, signing, etc) that teams can make to help the team and organization out. Some examples of my upcoming post include: Yoan Moncada; the pros and cons to signing him. And my thoughts on this baseball off season and next year's potential free agents and trades. I will also give my predictions for this season soon, including who I believe will be celebrating come October.

Spring Training has started, pitchers and catchers have reported to their respective camps. And I, along with many more baseball fans are excited for this upcoming 2015 season! We are 44 days away from opening game, Cardinals vs Cubs!

I bleed blue, so most post will be about the Dodgers, but I will be posting about other things going on around the league. I hope you as a reader enjoy my take on different baseball topics and if you have any suggestions on what to post or tips, please feel free to comment.