In today’s first day of full-squad workouts, the day started out with Ned Colletti, Grady Little and Tommy Lasorda addressing the club. It was the first time that either Ned or Grady had spoken to the entire team in their current roles and I’m sure it was an exciting day for both of them.
Once the players hit the field, more than anything I wanted to get eyes on our new players. While I’ve seen veterans such as Bill Mueller, Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Brett Tomko, Jae Seo and the rest of them play many times, it was great to see them all in Dodger uniforms. It was also great to see our highly-touted young players like Russell Martin, James Loney, Andy LaRoche, Matt Kemp and Joel Guzman mix in with the established big leaguers. I was also anxious to see Andre Ethier, who I had not seen previously. He sure appears to be good looking player.
It was also announced today that the Dodger minor league system was ranked first in terms of talent by the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. This is a tremendous accomplishment considering that the organization was ranked 28th as recently as 2002. Not coincidentally, 2002 marked the hiring of Logan White as scouting director and Terry Collins first as field coordinator then as farm director at the end of 2004. They, along with assistant general manager Kim Ng, who served as interim farm director in 2004, deserve so much of the credit for our renaissance.
Logan and Terry have also put together outstanding staffs who have scouted and helped to develop these players. We as an organization couldn’t be prouder to be recognized. However, we know that our jobs are not done and we must continue to work hard to help our current players reach the Major Leagues and to continue to add talent through our scouting efforts.
In response to the post about Justin Ruggiano, we were very pleased with his progress last year. Justin hit a combined 15 home runs and drove in 66 between Vero Beach and Jacksonville while hitting over .300 at each stop. As to why Justin’s name doesn’t get mentioned as much, we in the organization like to think it is because we have a deep system and some of our players just get skipped over. However, the organization is aware of Justin’s play. We expect him to start in Jacksonville this year.