Erisbel Arruebarrena provided a nice distraction during spring training. Reporters covering the Dodgers spent countless minutes rolling our “R”s, trying to pronounce Arruebarrena, figuring out how many “U”s were in the name, and mostly waiting for the 24-year-old shortstop to arrive in the U.S.
When he finally did get his visa and arrive in spring training on March 13, the Cuban shortstop was shuffled to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp. Then the major-leaguers left for Australia. Hardly anyone got to see the kid play baseball.
Nearly two months later there he is, taking up a space on the 40-man roster and $25 million of the Dodgers’ payroll over the next five years. Ever since Arruebarrena reported to Double-A Chattanooga, he’s proceeded to bat .136/.188/.220, which hardly seems to justify a $25 million contract. Was this signing a mistake? Was rolling my “R”s one big time-killerrrrrr?
A pro scout who recently watched Arruebarrena in the Southern League chimed in with this report.
I’d say Erisbel’s current offensive numbers are an accurate representation of his abilities – he has a long/loopy swing, almost like a golf swing that struggles to make contact with any type of pitch. He has serious recognition problems vs. AA-effective secondary stuff, turning his back early & often vs. almost all curveballs/sliders. Those things combined lead to rare contact on mistake fastballs only, or if a pitcher makes a bad decision to throw him the same loopy curveball three times in a row.
That said, him at SS is sometimes awesome to watch; way above instincts, really easy/super-quick receive-and-throw actions deep in the hole or going up the middle with a really good feel to complete very tough plays. He did flash a couple mental errors, like dropping a popup or ball bouncing off his glove with the infield in. Even with the bat how it is now I’d like to have him in my organization, because his floor is first-division middle infield-utility. As he gets comfortable over the next couple seasons in the US I think his feel/baseball IQ will improve a bit/less mental errors on both sides. I see him as a mid-.500s OPS guy but with major league top-5 shortstop defense.
Make of that what you will. It’s the most up-to-date scouting report we have on a player we know little about, perhaps the least known member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.
• The Dodgers held a closed-door team meeting.
• Also from dailynews.com: “As was shown with Donald Sterling, media and public outrage can occasionally make a difference, and if enough is generated, it may make the decision easier for the Dodgers to sever ties with [Tommy] Lasorda.”
• May 26 is Memorial Day. Here are the camouflage caps all 30 teams will wear to honor the occasion.
• Speaking of 2012, happy birthday to Aaron Harang (36).
• In conjunction with Saturday’s Old-Timers Day at Dodger Stadium, Jerry Reuss will be signing his book “Bring In the Right-Hander!” (see attached) starting at 11 a.m. at the right-field plaza New Era store. In a 22-year Major League career, Reuss pitched for eight teams, including the Dodgers from 1979-87. A two-time All-Star, he was a member of the Dodgers’ 1981 world championship team and he pitched a no-hitter at San Francisco on June 27, 1980. The book is also available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble bookstores and University of Nebraska Press.
• El Michels Affair has an instrumental cover of “C.R.E.A.M.” by the Wu-Tang Clan: