The main goals of the program are to help Dodger minor-leaguers not only prepare for the majors, but also to prepare themselves for the off-the-field aspect of being a Major League Baseball player.
From the Dodgers' official press release:
"Fifteen of the club’s top minor league prospects will be in Los Angeles for the event, which includes seminars with Dodger staffers and workouts that focus on fundamentals, strength training and conditioning. Throughout the week, Dodger prospects will familiarize themselves with the greater Los Angeles area through social events and a community service visit to A Place Called Home, a youth center in South Los Angeles. The program is highlighted by sessions with Don Mattingly, Tommy Lasorda, Don Newcombe, Maury Wills, Eric Karros, Shawn Green, Stan Kasten and Ned Colletti and the annual Legends Dinner with Dodger alumni."The attendees are as follows:
Lee, Magill, Pederson and Reed all attended the 2013 Winter Development Program.
Baez, Garcia and Martin were added to the 40-man roster in November, so they were locks to be there. Lee and Schebeler were the Dodgers (and my) minor-league pitcher and player of the year, respectively.
Rosin was acquired from the Mets after they selected him from the Phillies in December's Rule 5 Draft. Stripling is the best prospect of the first-timers.
Magill threw a handful of games with the Dodgers, while Dominguez pitched briefly with them last season before suffering a quad injury. Buss had the smallest cup of coffee of any of the minor-leaguers invited to the program.
The most interesting -- and I use that term loosely -- is the inclusion of Rojas. General Manager Ned Colletti mentioned Rojas by name in a radio interview a couple weeks ago as someone who could be in the second base mix if Alexander Guerrero isn't ready to go. I blew off the thought, as did others. But the invitation to the program leads me to believe there's at least been some talk about him either being a utility infielder or the team's second baseman come March in Australia.
The Dodgers are really doing this just to spite me. I still maintain there's no way Rojas is on the Dodgers' roster come opening day. His glove may be really good (though, it probably isn't even a 65 or 70), but one has to at least hit a little to be a major leaguer. Rojas has displayed minimal ability to hit at the minor-league level. If I can say something nice about his offense, it's the fact he's walks a little (7.6 percent) and doesn't strikeout a whole lot (11.4 percent).
Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue