"Yo MDS, is that Susan Sarandon with the flip cam? Oh yeah baby!"
The Dodgers '10 minor league player of the year made his MLB debut today, going 1 for 3 with a double in his first at bat (against Tim Hudson). Jerry Sands had everyone excited today. Only the worldwide disdain for James Loney was enough to battle the crowd's enthusiasm. Loney successfully halted the cheers, generated by Sands' double, by stopping at third base. Those cheers turned to moans, behold the only true power James Loney possesses. Enough of Loney, I'm sick of him. You go left and I'll go right, we'll meet up after the jump to discuss Sands from a scouting and statistical viewpoint.
Sands is a big boy, he's listed at 6'4, 225 lbs and has legit power to all fields. He shows patience at the plate, although he was more aggressive in his time at AAA. That aggression did pay off, he struck out only three times in forty at bats! I heard Sands was trying to shorten his swing (which can be long at times), but we can't expect him to make this kind of contact at the major league level. A Sands owner should come away with a smile if Jerry strikes out in less than 25% of his at bats. Sands can show patience, has legit power and makes average to above-average contact for a power hitter. He also has a little bit of speed for a big guy. He projects to be the Dodgers first baseman of the future, but can fill in at LF for now.
Batting mechanics (AFL) via Project Prospect
"On the plus side, Sands showed a good feel for bringing his hands to the ball. I didn't see his swing as being too grooved. He was able to adjust to pitches based on location. Pitchers who mixed speeds, however, caused him trouble.
A product of Division II Catawba College in North Carolina, Sands showed an inefficient, disjointed swing. Starting open, he took a big stride that forced him to lean his torso back to find balance. His hips drifted forward then twisted open along with his shoulders. Because of his long stride, he didn't give himself much time to plant his front leg and leverage off of it. He has decent bat speed but he gets by more on strength than quickness.
Though he is patient, Sands didn't put himself in a good position to drive off-speed pitches. He occasionally buckled on good breaking balls and seldom made loud contact. He fought himself with his swing mechanics; his upper body and lower body out of sync. He wasn't in a good position to drive pitches that he wasn't expecting."
35 HR and 18 SB in 590 AB between A and AA.
These numbers are why fantasy baseball managers are so excited to see Sands in La La Land. Not to mention the five homers he hit in forty triple-A at bats. Of course, Sands was playing in a hitter friendly PCL park at AAA. The change in venue from the PCL to Dodger Stadium is no small detail. For our projection we're using a 27% K%, 41% FB% (42% GB%, 17% LD%), 15.3% HR/FB% and a .313 BABIP. 2011 Projection .260 AVG, 23 HR, 6 SB (500 AB).
Jerry is a must add in NL-only and deep mixers. He's worth a speculative grab in all other leagues. The kid may struggle against more advanced pitching, outside a hitter's park, but he does have the potential to be something special. Grab him and see where he takes you. If you're looking to add Sands via waivers (FAAB); well it all depends on the league size and format, but I'd be willing to spend $20-$40 depending on my team needs.