The Los Angeles Dodgers have developed a reputation as a team that can identify undervalued and underutilized talent to help players develop and give them a new perspective on their careers.
In recent years, the Dodgers have helped Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Brandon Morrow rise seemingly out of nowhere to become legitimate contributors and, in some cases, All-Stars. They have also helped the likes of Jimmy Nelson, Phil Bickford, Blake Treinen and Corey Knebel get back on their feet.
Last offseason, the Dodgers put an emphasis on improving their bench and depth by signing several players to minor league contracts. One of his additions was Jake Lamb, a former Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star who has since struggled and suffered multiple injuries.
Lamb has performed well during spring training and has clawed his way into the conversation for a spot on the Dodgers’ Opening Day roster. While making the list would represent an important first step, Lamb feels that in the long run it may end up being the Dodgers’ next success story, via The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya:
“There’s no reason why he can’t be next in line,” Lamb said. “Not everyone becomes a superstar and is successful every year of their career,” Lamb said. “There are definitely guys in the game that have done that and do that. But that’s not everyone. And I’m at peace with that. But that doesn’t mean it can’t do serious damage here for years to come.”
While Lamb has a good chance to make the roster, especially after the Dodgers’ trade for Craig Kimbrel for AJ Pollock, his chance to become the star of the organization wouldn’t necessarily end if he gets sent to Triple-A. Oklahoma City to start. year.
In 2018, the Dodgers sent Muncy to Triple-A despite a strong showing in spring training when he hit .286/.333/.571. In OKC, Muncy continued to perform well through his nine games, as he hit .313/.421/.563 before the Dodgers promoted him to their major league roster, and he never looked back.
This spring, Lamb is hitting .333/.379/.667 with two home runs and three doubles in 27 at-bats.
Lamb in a strong place mentally and with swing
While Lamb has struggled to stay healthy over the past four seasons, he feels better than he has in years past. The 31-year-old attributed his improvement in health and swing mechanics to his early success with the Dodgers.
Lamb is a .236/.328/.431 career hitter with 91 home runs, 97 wRC+ and 6.6 WAR. However, from 2016 to 2017, he hit .248/.345/.498 with 59 home runs, 112 wRC+ and 4.9 WAR while being named to the NL All-Star team in 2017.
Since earning his All-Star appearance, Lamb has hit a combined .203/.308/.355 average in 220 games between 2018 and 2021. He’s coming off a particularly futile 2021 season with the White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. in which he hit a combined .194/.306/.368 average in 55 games.
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