Winter Development Program Underway at Dodger Stadium
Although no official press release has been issued yet, the Dodgers invited 27 prospects to Dodger Stadium this week to participate in their 8th annual Winter Development Program. Last year I had the opportunity to attend media day during the winter program where Ned Colletti, then general manager, fielded questions from the Dodger Stadium media room. You can also check out additional photographs I took of some of the prospects invited last year.
I had the special chance to witness a poignant moment between Zach Lee and Don Newcombe on the field and Ross Stripling taking in the Dodger Stadium grandeur while sitting in the dugout. I was lucky enough to catch these moments on camera.
The following players were invited to the 2015 program which began Monday at Dodger Stadium:
Corey Seager is not attending the development program this year. According to Gabe Kapler, the director of player development for the Dodgers, Corey will remain home in North Carolina after a busy offseason which included playing time in the Arizona Fall League.
Ross Stripling sits in the Dodger dugout during the 2014 Winter Development Program at Dodger Stadium. Photo: Stacie Wheeler
Kapler has made some changes to the Winter Development Program this year. Usually the players have on field practice and drills with coaching staff in order to gauge their physical progress, but this year the focus will be on off field education. The four-day program provides invaluable training, mentoring and mental preparation for players who may be breaking into the Majors soon in order for them to prepare for Major League life both as a player on the diamond as well as in the spotlight of media focus. Usually the players are also given a tour of Los Angeles as well during the training.
"“We didn’t want them to ramp up in the middle of winter, to impress physically,” Kapler said. “Rather, we wanted them to be open-minded, nimble of thought, and be excited about coming in to share a unique experience.”"
Unfortunately the program is closed to the media so far this week, but we will be at Spring Training this March following these invited prospects and the rest of the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch.