Dodgers' prospect Jerry Sands has had his fair share of success early in the spring. In his nine Spring Training games, Sands is 6-for-13 with two home runs, a triple and three walks.
While it is certainly a small sample size, he's been impressive thus far.
It'd be tempting to give him a chance to start in left field opening day -- especially if he keeps up this pace -- but the Dodgers must resist that option. He needs to play against advanced pitching before getting his chance with the Dodgers.
If James Loney suffers an injury during the season and Sands is handling himself well at Triple-A, he could get a call-up earlier than expected. That is where Sands' future lies. Unless Loney goes nuts this season, there is a better-than-good chance he will be non-tendered next winter (or traded), paving the way for Sands to play first base.
Sands' batting average (and subsequently on-base and slugging percentages) dropped when he moved up to Double-A last season, but his power numbers remained relatively similar.
The only thing that fell significantly was the number of singles he hit. That is encouraging, especially since he had a similar number of at-bats and plate appearances.
Sands probably isn't going to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues, but a .270+ average and 30+ home runs a season is certainly not out of the question.
As my No. 1 Dodger prospect, Sands looks poised to prove people who are not yet believers in his abilities wrong. If he doesn't exhaust his rookie status this season, he has a legitimate chance to be atop the Dodger prospect rankings on a variety of lists.
Perhaps I'm jumping the gun a bit, but it's really exciting to see a power-hitting prospect like Sands. Matt Kemp still has great power potential, but Sands is the Dodgers best power prospect since Paul Konerko and Mike Piazza before him.
And perhaps the best part of all this is his walk-up music that will be blaring on the obscenely loud (at times) Dodger Stadium speakers, even if Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness doesn't agree.