I am so excited for Opening Day next Monday, but I have been enjoying this year’s version of Spring Training. Not only did I have a chance to visit Camelback Ranch and take a look at the team for myself, but the revamped Dodger roster has been scoring a lot of exciting runs including grand slams and rookie shots.
Joc Pederson looks fantastic, Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick are both providing much needed middle infield defense as well as consistently providing quality at bats, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke are ready to have another historic season together as the dual aces of the squad, Yasmani Grandal and A.J. Ellis are a big upgrade over A.J. Ellis and Drew Butera, Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe are manning the infield corners with Gold Glove worthy defense, and the bench looks as though it will be stacked with talent including Justin Turner and Alex Guerrero. That was a long sentence.
On the flip side, the pitching staff has been shaky and decimated with Spring injuries. Kenley Jansen, essentially the second-best pitcher on the team after Kershaw, will be sorely missed for another month or so. Brandon League and Hyun-jin Ryu are both injured and unavailable to start the season active and healthy. There were a variety of other injuries to multiple pitchers vying for a spot on the team including Chad Gaudin and Erik Bedard.
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The tough bullpen decisions will be made soon, but until Jansen and Ryu are back and healthy, the Dodgers will have to get by with perhaps more run production out of their retooled lineup to make up for Jansen’s domination in the late innings.
Yasiel Puig wasn’t mentioned earlier, because I’d like to take a moment to marvel at his arm. Outfield assists have always been one of my favorite plays in baseball (don’t hate me if I also enjoy the occasional catcher blocked play at home plate). Yasiel Puig’s arm is just amazing, and his throwing abilities have always fascinated me since his first game with the Dodgers.
On Tuesday, in the Dodgers final Spring game at Camelback Ranch, Yasiel Puig mowed down Gillespie at third base.
Puig is readying for a big year for the Dodgers both in the batter’s box but also in the outfield. I’ve always maintained that Puig is the best outfielder the Dodgers have, and his arm is a tool which sets him apart from most.
Let’s take another look at some of Puig’s other assists and outfield throws:
Last Sunday, Puig showed off his arm in right field when fielding a single from Matt Duffy. It was not only really far, but it was accurate as well.
Puig threw out Wil Myers at first base after fielding a single in right field on March 25th.
Let’s never forget last September when Yasiel Puig threw out Brandon Belt at home to save the game for the Dodgers.
The pitching staff might need to play catch up a little to begin the season, but the offense has been spectacular this Spring. Sure, Spring numbers may not mean much, but Yasiel Puig’s arm (and bat) is just getting warmed up.