With the 22nd overall pick in the MLB draft the Dodgers picked Grant Holmes. Holmes is a right-handed pitcher from Conway High School in South Carolina. Instead of pretending I know anything about him, like you’ll see a lot of other bloggers do, I’ll give you the best first hand acount of someone who’s seen him live. Clint Longenecker wrote about seeing Holmes in April for Baseball America. In it he said,
“After running his fastball up to 97 in recent starts, Holmes touched 94 mph and 95 mph in the first inning, sitting 90-92 over extended innings, touching 93. Holmes pitched off his fastball, as 76 percent of his pitches were heaters. He worked from the third-base side of the rubber and the ball jumped out of his hand.
He has a heavy fastball with arm-side run and sink when on top. Monday he showed greater ability to pitch to his glove side after pitching more to his arm side on the showcase circuit. Holmes, who turned 18 the last week in March, had an impressive second inning, when he struck out the side on 10 pitches and eight straight strikes.
His 78-81 mph power breaking ball with considerable depth and abrupt tilt was a swing-and-missing offering on the day, and he commanded the pitch. Three-quarters of his 16 breaking balls went for strikes, garnering five swings and misses.
“He has the power to his curveball and he can shape it,” a National League scout said. “When it is on, look out. He doesn’t abuse or overuse, but it was on last night. It is a plus breaking ball. It is an out pitch.”
The Florida commit also showed feel for his 84-86 mph changeup that showed at least above-average potential, flashing plus. Holmes had a standout sequence and showed his feel for the offering to end the fifth inning as he faced the leadoff hitter, who had a hard, line-drive single to left field in his first plate appearance and a hard out to left in his second.“
A lot of other people seem to think that although he doesn’t have the projection of other pitchers in the Draft he does have “now’ type stuff with his pitches. Jason Parks from Baseball Prospectus tweeted that it was, “Huge value for Dodgers getting Grant Holmes at #22. I love this pick.” From Jason to others that I’ve heard and read, it seems like a solid pick by the Dodgers, who always seem to do very well in selecting good pitching in the first round more times than not.
On Thursday, the Dodgers wrapped up their three game series with the Giants with a much-needed win after dropping the first two games of the series. This was one of the most disappointing series so far this season, mainly because well, it’s the Giants. Dodger fans alike take losing a series to the Giants harder than losing to any other team. The series was weird in a way because it was definitely a tale of two sides of the Dodgers that was not to be expected. In fact if I would have told you what would happen before the series began, I don’t think to many people would have thought I was being serious.
Everyone knew that game 3 starter Hyun-Jin Ryu would pitch well during his start. Now if someone would have said both Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm would only give up a run combined during their two starts I would have laughed at them in humorous disbelief. To my amazement they did, though it wasn’t smooth waters by any means. Combined Ryu, Beckett, and Maholm stat line was 18 IP, 9 SO, 1 ER and a 0.50 ERA. The bullpen was a little shaky but decent. In their defense they pitched a lot this series going a combined for 12 2/3 IP, 5 SO, 4 ER, and a 2.84 ERA. With that kind of pitching you would expect to win the series right? Wrong.
What people would not have believed is that he Dodgers hitting would be just ridiculously bad. Unfortunately that’s exactly what it was. It definitely didn’t look like a championship lineup out there this week. As a team they hit for a .255 BA (25-98) but the real problem was they couldn’t hit when they had chances to score runs. There were a few time this week when the dodgers had the bases loaded and couldn’t push across a single run. In fact the Dodgers bats hit .192 (5-26) with runners in scoring position and left 24 runners on base. I don’t care how good you think you are, you will not win many series posting those kind of numbers. Not to mention Hanley Ramirez getting plunked on the hand by a pitch, adding injury to insult, and was out of the lineup for the last game.
Leaving runners on base and in scoring position is something the Dodgers struggled with last season too. According to www.teamrankings.com, the Dodgers had an average of 3.62 runners left in scoring position and of 7.17 runners left on base per game. This season hasn’t fared any better in the early going for the Dodgers. So far in 2014 the Dodgers have an average of 4.06 runners left in scoring position and of 7.00 runners left on base per game. This is a lineup built to score but at times they seem to struggle with stringing hits together. If the Dodgers have hopes of going to the World Series anytime soon, this is a trend that must stop.