“There’s talk on the street; it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody’s watching you
People you meet, they all seem to know you
Even your old friends treat you like you’re something new.” ~Glenn Frey/Don Henley
Anyone paying a half bit of attention has noticed that there are quite a few names making noise in the Dodgers‘ spring training camp this year. Some are becoming famous on Twitter, such as Cody Bellinger for his quest to get to 10,000 followers (#CodyLove), Jack Murphy for his amazing hair, and Charlie Culberson for his sky high batting average. Others are opening eyes with their speed (Rico Noel), or clutch hitting like Rob Segedin. I thought I’d take a quick look at some of this newfound depth the Dodgers have.
Cody Bellinger – Cody is a left-handed first baseman who was drafted by the Dodgers in the fourth round of 2013 draft. Bellinger is the #6 ranked Dodgers prospect on MLB Pipeline. He has spent the last two years with Ogden and Rancho Cucamonga, where he was selected to both the mid-season and postseason All-Star teams.
He has a wonderful progression, hitting three homers in 2014, and 30 in 2015, which he attributes to fine-tuning his swing mechanics and putting some weight on his 6’4″ frame. He seems to be the heir apparent to Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Bellinger was given his first non-roster invite to spring training this year where in five games, has a .667 average with a 1.394 OPS. (Dennis composed a profile on Bellinger back in December)
Charlie Culberson – Culberson is a right-handed hitting utility infielder who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the 2007 draft. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies straight-up for Marco Scutaro in 2012. He was eventually called up to the majors on July 29, 2013, platooning with Corey Dickerson in left field. Culberson signed a minor league contract, which included a spring training invite, with the Dodgers last November. He started off incredibly hot, and through six Cactus League games he has a .700 batting average and 2.000 OPS.
Jack Murphy– Murphy is a doppelgänger of Oakland A’s pitcher Dennis Eckersley — long wavy hair and a fantastic mustache. Murphy came from Toronto in the trade that saw Darwin Barney depart Los Angeles. The switch hitting catcher attended Princeton University and has played the last three offseasons with the Canberra Calvary in the Australian Baseball League, where he was named both their MVP and Silver Slugger in the 2014 season. In three games this spring he is batting .500.
Rico Noel – Jablonski Rico Noel was drafted in the 2010 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres. He stole 90 bases in 2012 with the Lake Elsinore Storm in the Class A-Advanced California League. He was in Triple-A in 2015 with the Padres, but ultimately asked to be released. After signing a new deal with the Yankees, he was promoted to the majors on Sept 1, 2015. He hit a single in his first plate appearance and stole five total bases for New York last season.
Noel was removed from the Yankees’ 40-man roster over the winter, eventually signing with the Dodgers to a minor league contract with an NRI to spring training. In eight games this spring, he’s only batting .222, but has stolen three bases. He could make a great late season call up, especially considering manager Dave Roberts‘ philosophy of manufacturing runs.
Rob Segedin – Segedin is a right-handed hitting corner infielder/outfielder who’s career has been plagued by injuries. He has suffered from Pars Defect, a stress fracture in the vertibrea of the spine, in addition to femur defects that saw him undergo labrum surgery and having the bones of his hips shaved. He was heathy through 2014, but sprained his wrist in 2015 going into the stands after a ball.
Segedin came to the Dodgers over the winter via trade with the Yankees for Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Olson. He’s off to a hot start in spring training, having a two-homer game and batting .313 with a 1.228 OPS. Playing first, third and the outfield, he figures to start at third for Oklahoma City, and be there waiting in the wings if injuries begin to plague the infield.
Trayce Thompson – Selected by the Chicago White Sox in the second round of the 2009 draft, Trayce played most of his career in the minors, being promoted to the Majors on August 3 2015. On December 16, 2015, he was traded to the Dodgers along with Frankie Montas and Micah Johnson in a three team trade that included the Cincinnati Reds sending Todd Frazier to Chicago and three players from LA to the Reds.
Trayce, as has been widely reported, is the brother of 1/2 of the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson and son of former NBA player Mychal Thompson. He is the Dodgers #15 ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline and has played in seven of eight spring training games. An outfielder, he is poised to be in contention for Carl Crawford‘s spot of the roster should Crawford continue his decline in play.
While all stats in spring training should be taken with a grain of salt, it is safe to say that the Dodgers have players that have added excellent depth for this year and for years to come.