Every day, people ask me if Jerry Sands can break camp with the big club and make the Opening Day roster.
Every day, I tell them that no, there’s not room for him right now and that he needs more seasoning, having started 2010 in A ball and having just 303 plate appearances above that level. Let’s not forget, despite his 35 homers last year, he did strike out 123 times against low-level competition.
I still believe that, but the more we see him play, the harder it’s going to be to make that case, because Sands has been unbelievably impressive in the early going of camp. Entering the day, he’d reached base seven times in fourteen plate appearances with a homer, but in today’s game against Colorado, he really set the fans ablaze by hitting one dinger and reportedly just barely missing a second, settling for a triple. As ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweeted:
Normally, this would be a fun development that would cause you to keep an eye on a guy in the minors, but Sands just so happens to play two positions occupied by James Loney (sore knee, lack of production) and JaMarcus Gwybbons Jr., (trying to become Voltron and form a major-league ballplayer). Sands has developed a level of hype among Dodger fans that we haven’t seen since Clayton Kershaw was ready to make his debut, so it’s hard to blame them for wanting to see him immediately.
PECOTA, by the way, projects him for a .244/.321/.464 line, with 22 homers and 119 strikeouts, if allowed to play in the bigs right now. It’s scary to add another potential whiffmaster to a lineup that already features Matt Kemp & Casey Blake, but that’s production that you’re unlikely to see from Loney or the left field crew.
I still don’t think there’s anything Sands can do to push his way onto the Opening Day roster, though he’s certainly doing his best to push up his ETA from the originally expected September cup of coffee. See the poll below and let me hear it, fans – when do you think we’ll be seeing Sands in Los Angeles?