Last year, we mixed in some other front office personnel which makes this far more exciting for you guys. We’re going to do that again this year and our first post from someone other than me in quite some time comes from De Jon Watson, our new Director of Player Development. Chris Haydock, the Assistant Director of Player Development will also weigh in from time to time, but I know that a lot of people have asked for more minor league info, so here goes:
—De Jon Watson—
The first week of the season for me has been really exciting because our guys have all left Spring Training and they’re getting a chance to play games under the lights and getting acclimated to the ballparks and cities and weather where they’re going to play. It’s been especially interesting for the kids in the Great Lakes who have never seen snow before. It was a bit of shock at how cold it was and the fact that they’d have to play in that weather, but they’re learning mental toughness and seeing that the big leagers have to play in this weather, too.
My first trip to San Bernardino was a very good trip. I was fortunate enough to catch our club against Rancho Cucamonga and in that three-day trip we saw Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver. It was a great opportunity for our position players and our pitchers to see how big leaguers go about their business. It also allowed our hitters to see how they stack up against real big league pitchers. Young kids like Ivan DeJesus had quality at bats and hit the ball hard off Colon, going 3-for-4. Then they saw Jered Weaver, coming at them from a different arm slot and one of our young kids Jesus Castillo matched him pitch for pitch for five innings before getting into a little trouble. The entire bullpen is impressive down there with Ramon troncoso, Brent Leach, Jordan Pratt, Jacobo Meque and Cory Wade.
Lucas May is also off to a really good start. He hit two home runs the night before last and really is swinging the bat well and adjusting to his position change as a catcher. He’s an athletic kid that was drafted as a shortstop but now he’s a catcher. He’s got a tremendous throwing arm and his game calling is improving by the start.
Blake DeWitt was swinging the bat well and the results are not there, but he hit two balls hard off Colon and he’s playing solid defense. Ivan DeJesus is playing really solid at short and having very quality at-bats and using the entire field to hit so it’s been fun watching him. We’ve got another kid, Russell Mitchell, who is coming off a hyperextended knee that’s also swinging the bat well.
Jared Hoffman got off to a good start. He’s a big, strong kid who runs well and is getting more confident by the day.
I can also tell you that it’s been great having a club that’s less than 80 miles from the parent club in case we have to send someone out on a rehab assignment. We just received Yhency Brazoban and he’ll be starting for us today in San Bernardino. It’s just easier for our training staff to keep an eye on him that way and it’s a huge benefit. The fans are very supportive and there seems to be a ton of Dodger fans in the park wearing their blue.
Last night I was at Dodger Stadium for the Jackie Robinson celebration and now i’m in Las Vegas to watch our Triple-A club. We’ll have more for you in a week or two.
If you want to ask questions for De Jon, he’ll be hosting a live chat on April 24 at 2 p.m. on dodgers.com.
Here’s tonight’s big league lineup: