UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, TCU to compete at Dodger Stadium.

UCLA baseball

The UCLA baseball team won the 2013 College World Series.

UCLA and Vanderbilt, the two most recent College World Series champions, will play at Dodger Stadium in the College Baseball Classic on March 8.

UCLA will play USC in a game televised on the Pac-12 Network at 3:30 p.m. Vanderbilt will play TCU in the opener of the marquee doubleheader at 11:45 a.m.

Vanderbilt is ranked No. 1 in the Baseball America preseason top 25. TCU, which advanced to the 2014 College World Series, is ranked seventh. UCLA is ranked No. 11.

Here’s more information from the Dodgers’ press release:

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SportsNet LA releases spring training schedule.

Vin Scully

Vin Scully is coming to Arizona to broadcast the Dodgers’ March 27 game against the San Francisco Giants. (Associated Press photo)

SportsNet LA announced Thursday that it will televise 31 of the Dodgers’ 35 spring training games.

Vin Scully will call four spring training telecasts: all three Freeway Series games, April 2-4 against the Angels, and a game against the San Francisco Giants on March 27 in Glendale, Arizona. Charley Steiner will be joined by analysts Rick Monday, Kevin Kennedy and Orel Hershiser during the other SNLA broadcasts.

Currently, four Dodgers split-squad games will not air live: March 20, 21 and 29 against the Texas Rangers, and March 6 against the Brewers. The games March 20 and 21 are to be played indoors at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The March 6 game is scheduled to air on MLB Network on a delay. This broadcast will not be blacked out by SportsNet LA, according to a spokesperson for the network.

MLB Network previously announced that it is broadcasting three Dodgers Cactus League games live: March 5 vs. the White Sox, March 11 vs. the Cubs and March 12 vs. the Padres. However, these games will be blacked out in SportsNet LA markets.

(Related: Cable merger would broaden Dodgers’ TV reach, but not all are thrilled)

Here’s more from a Dodgers press release Thursday:
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Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Joc Pederson among top 10 prospects (BaseballAmerica.com).

The results have been tabulated: Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Joc Pederson are good at baseball.

Seager (5), Pederson (8) and Urias (10) are among the top 10 prospects in the game according to BaseballAmerica.com. Pitcher Grant Holmes, the Dodgers’ first-round pick in 2014, is 74th on BA’s list of the top 100 prospects in the game.

We’ve seen a few of these lists in recent weeks. Now it’s time to devise the master ranking. What is the consensus among the experts?

The answer, in chart form:
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Andrew Friedman explains how he analyzes the cost of signing Yoan Moncada.

Yoan Moncada

twitter.com/yoanmoncada

GLENDALE, Ariz. — For teams interested in signing 19-year-old Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada, it’s essential to ask whether they have enough money to compete with the Dodgers in a bidding war.

For the Dodgers, whose 2014 payroll was the highest in baseball history, money might not be their greatest obstacle.

More than the cost of his signing bonus — estimated in various reports to be between $30-$50 million, plus a 100 percent tax — Moncada might not appeal to the Dodgers because they would be restricted from signing cap-eligible international players to massive contracts for two years starting in July. Are the Dodgers willing to not bid more than $300,000 on cap-eligible free agents in the upcoming international signing period? What about in 2016-17?

Dodgers president Andrew Friedman called this a topic for debate “that we’ll always have.”

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Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis hopes to change pitch framing ‘from a weakness into a strength.’

A.J. Ellis, Brian Gorman

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis devoted time this off-season to improving his pitch-framing skills. (Karl Gehring/The Denver Post)

A.J. Ellis is bad at framing pitches.

Pitch F/X data has known this for years. People who analyze Pitch F/X data have known this for years.

Now Ellis knows this too.

A brief summary: Pitch F/X technology allows any casual fan with a computer to know how many actual strikes are called balls by the plate umpire, and how many actual balls are called strikes. Over the course of a full season, some catchers are measurably better than others at getting balls called strikes.

There are many nuances that go into receiving a pitch favorably and Ellis hasn’t mastered all of them. In 2014, BaseballProspectus.com tabulated framing data for 104 catchers. Ellis ranked 99th.

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It’s a quiet morning as Dodgers pitchers, catchers, and a few others report to camp.

Camelback RanchGLENDALE, Ariz. — Day 1 of spring training was an uneventful one for the Dodgers. The only pitcher or catcher not in camp before noon was Joel Peralta, who is flying to Phoenix now and scheduled to take his physical this afternoon.

Several position players have reported early, including Yasiel Puig, Joc PedersonCorey Seager, Scott Schebler, O’Koyea Dickson and Matt Carson, a non-roster invitee.

New pitcher David Aardsma, another non-roster invitee, is wearing number 58.

Kenley Jansen is not here — no surprise, since the pitcher underwent surgery on his left foot Tuesday in Los Angeles. Unless that changes, we won’t have any news today about the biggest (and so far only) injury of camp.

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Report: Clayton Kershaw will save more than any MLB player during spring training.

According to the website taxaball.com, Clayton Kershaw leads all of baseball in a category we didn’t know existed until today: Spring training tax savings.

Writes Jonathan Nehring:

Had Arizona decided to adopt the traditional duty day calculation that most states have adopted they would be collecting 4.54% of every MLB player’s salary during spring training while teams training in Florida would have been playing tax free. Fearful that players and teams would move their spring training locations to Florida (or another state that doesn’t charge income tax e.g. Texas), Arizona valued the economic impact that spring training brings them over the economic impact taxing MLB player’s salaries would bring Arizona.

 

To the right is a list of the MLB players who will save the most money by Arizona not taxing income earned in Spring Training.

Clayton  Kershaw

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Dodgers will begin the season without a closer after Kenley Jansen injures foot.

Kenley Jansen

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen saved 44 games in 2014, his first full season as the Dodgers’ closer. (Getty Images)

About a month ago, I wrote that the Dodgers’ bullpen could be a weakness if Kenley Jansen got hurt.

We’re about to find out if that’s true.

Jansen, who saved 44 games in 49 opportunities in his first full season as the Dodgers’ closer last year, had surgery Tuesday to remove a growth from a bone in his left foot. He is expected to miss the next 8-12 weeks.

The 27-year-old pitcher had been training at Dodger Stadium since January. According to the team, Jansen first reported discomfort in his left foot while running last week. A subsequent x-ray, MRI and CT scan showed the problem in the fifth metatarsal of his left foot. The surgery was performed by Drs. Earl Brien and David Thordarson under the direction of Dr. Neal ElAttrache at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. Continue reading

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Julio Urias, Corey Seager, Joc Pederson among top 11 prospects (FanGraphs.com).

Julio Urias

Julio Urias, 18, is fourth on FanGraphs’ list of the top 200 prospects in baseball. (Associated Press photo)

Julio Urias, Corey Seager and Joc Pederson continue to lay waste to the 2015 prospect rankings.

In the latest glorified opinion, Urias is fourth, Seager is sixth, and Pederson 11th on FanGraphs’ Top 200 prospect list. Right-handed pitcher Grant Holmes, the Dodgers’ first-round pick out of high school last year, is 89th. Andrew Heaney, whom the Dodgers traded to the Angels to acquire Howie Kendrick, is 50th.

Pitcher Chris Anderson and outfielder Alex Verdugo also made the list but were not ranked (players 143-200 were not assigned a specific numerical ranking).

For Urias, Seager and Pederson, it’s time to play baseball. The Sporting News, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com all ranked the three prospects similarly high on their lists. (BaseballAmerica.com, we’re waiting.) All of this makes their arrival in major-league camp one of the top storylines of spring training — which I wrote about over the weekend.

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Dodgers sign David Aardsma to minor-league contract.

The Dodgers have signed David Aardsma to a minor-league contract, the pitcher announced on his Twitter page Sunday. The contract includes an invitation to spring training.

Aardsma, 33, saved 69 games in 78 opportunities with the Seattle Mariners from 2009-10. He underwent Tommy John surgery the following year and has only appeared in 44 major-league games since — all but one for the Mets in 2013.

In 33 games last year for the Memphis Redbirds, the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, Aardsma went 4-0 with a 1.29 ERA.

Aardsma held a showcase for scouts Monday and reportedly hit 92 mph on the radar gun.

The Dodgers have extended invitations to 19 non-roster players.

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