Tonight in Philadelphia, Rubby De La Rosa will make his first MLB start. (As Joe Block notes, it’ll be just his 24th professional start since arriving in America.) Dee Gordon will likely make his first start at shortstop, though that’s not confirmed yet. (Update: now confirmed. He’s leading off, and Jerry Sands is in there too.)It’s a momentous day for both, and I’m trying to remember the last time we’ve looked forward to a Dodger game with such high anticipation. Ignoring Opening Day or other special events, when was the last otherwise nondescript regular season Dodger game that drew such interest? I suppose we have to mention Clayton Kershaw‘s debut in 2008 – “Like Christmas in May“, as I referred to it at the time. There’s also Manny Ramirez‘ Dodger debut later that year, or his return from suspension in May 2009. Other than that, though? Seeing Gordon and de la Rosa appear at the same time has to rank pretty high. This is all totally unscientific, of course, so tell me where this ranks for you.
In Buster Olney’s ESPN column this morning, he noted that Jerry Sands had seen more pitches per plate appearance of anyone in Monday’s games, seeing 23 in 3 PA, an average of 7.7 per. Even when he’s not producing, it’s a clear sign that he’s also not helping the pitcher at all by getting himself out. For the season, he’s seeing 4.21 pitches per plate appearance. If he had enough PA to qualify, that would place him in a tie for 14th best in MLB. You might recognize some of the 13 names ahead of him, which include Jose Bautista, Adam Dunn, Jamey Carroll, Curtis Granderson, and Dustin Pedroia. Try not to look at the #1 name on that list, however. Trust me.
The draft continues, as the Dodgers selected Florida high school third baseman Alex Santana (son of Rafael) in the second round, North Carolina State catcher Pratt Maynard in the third, and college RHPs Ryan O’Sullivan and Scott McGough in the fourth. (Jon Weisman also notes that the potential is there to see first round pick Chris Reed pitch for Stanford on Friday at 12pm on ESPN2.) The Santana pick is somewhat underwhelming – as Baseball America’s Jim Callis wrote, “Think Santana is the first guy who didn’t get full-writeup treatment in our state by state coverage” – but I’ve taken an unexpected shine to Maynard.
It helps that he’s a college catcher entering a system all but completely devoid of backstop talent, of course, and especially so because his speciality seems to be getting on base. But part of it is because his name sounds like a PCU fraternity brother of Carter Prescott III & Bantam Draper. Part of it is because moments after the selection, a woman claiming to be his aunt tweeted her excitement at me. Part of it is probably because I’ve always been infatuated with catchers who hit from the left side, and absolutely part of it is because when I did a Google image search for him, what you see at the right is what popped up.
I also came across a March post from Mariners blog MySeattleSports.com, outlining his virtues and hoping the Mariners would take him. It’s worth clicking through for the various reasons why.