Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Debut Review: Jerry Sands

The LA Dodgers called up OF/1B prospect Jerry Sands today.  Count me in with those who believe that it is too early and a panic move by the Dodgers who are seeing that the Marcony Thynn jr thing isn't really working out in LF.

The Dodgers have scored 52 runs in 16 games which (starts to look up the ranking, gets lazy) isn't very good at all.

Dodger left fielders are 16 for 64 on the season with 2 walks, 10 strike outs, and 2 RBI.  They have a triple slash line (batting average, on base percentage, slugging) of .250/.273/.344.

Meanwhile, Jerry Sands was lighting up AAA with a .400/.422/.875 line.   That's 45 trips to the plate with 5 home runs, 17 RBI, 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.

Sands was a 757th (25th round) pick by the Dodgers in 2008 out of Catawba College.  His first year in rookie ball was unimpressive.  He hit .205/.346/.438 while striking out 43 times in 185 plate appearances (29%).   Sands got 185 more times at bat in rookie ball.  This time he hit .350/.427/.687 with only 28 strikeouts (17%).  He was moved to A ball where he ended the season hitting .260/.361/.510 while striking out 30% of the time.  He started out 2009 in A ball again and, like his second go round in rookie ball, he showed vast improvement, hitting .333/.432/.646 while cutting his strikeouts to 25%.  He was called up to AA where he hit .270/.360/.529.  In 2010 combined sands hit .301/.395/.586 with 35 home runs to put himself on the radar for 2011.  In Sands' total minor league career (so far) he's hit .294/.390/.584 while striking out 21% of the time.

Sands has shown the ability to hit for power and draw walks in the minor leagues.  The strikeout rate is high, but not unacceptable for a power hitter.  One concern is that Sands has always been a bit old for his level.  Sands was 20/21 in rookie ball and 21/22 in A ball.  I was looking forward to this year as a 23 year old in AAA to see how he fared against more age appropriate competition.

Now, we'll see how he does against grizzled major league vets like Tim Hudson of the Braves.

In Sands' first major league at bat he had runner James Loney at first base.  Hudson started him with a 92MPH sinker which Sands fouled off.  Hudson followed that up with another 92MPH sinker, this one low and inside, which Sands again fouled off.  Sands down 0 - 2 in the count.  Hudson threw a 85MPH cutter way outside which Sands took for ball 1.  Hudson came back with another sinker, this one pretty much down the middle, which Sands took the opposite way for a double.   Last season all hitters combined to hit .170/.199/.251 after starting the count 0-2.

In his second at bat, Sands came up with runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out.  Hudson came with a splitter low and away which got away from McCann and moved Loney to 2nd base.  Hudson came back with a sinker in nearly the same location as the one Sands hit in his first at bat.  Sands struck this one well and flied out to deep right allowing Juan Uribe to score from 3rd.

In his third trip, Sands came up with 1 out and nobody on.  Sands got ahead in the count 3-1 before fouling off a sinker low and in and a slider away.  He then struck out on a slider low and outside.

In his fourth and final time up, Sands faced Braves reliver Jairo Asencio who started him off with a changeup high and inside for ball 1.  The next pitch was a fastball down the middle that Sands fouled off.  Sands watched a curveball low and away for a ball before fouling off a changeup that caught a lot of plate.  Sands swung through a pretty nasty changeup at the knees for strike 3.

It's hard to make much out of 4 at bats, but Sands drove the ball against a pretty good pitcher in Tim Hudson though both balls were hit to RF.  In his second two at bats he fouled off a few hittable pitches before striking out.  He didn't chase many pitches out of the zone; only a good slider by Hudson.

Certainly not a bad debut for Mr. Sands, man.

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