Dave Roberts: Dodgers Prioritize Finding ‘S.A.T.’ Players, Which Aids Rookies’ Transition To MLB

The Los Angeles Dodgers cruised to a franchise-best 106 wins during the regular season, clinching an unprecedented seventh consecutive National League West title in the process.

The club set an additional number of records along the way, receiving contributions from a plethora of players across the organization. Cody Bellinger and Hyun-Jin Ryu led the way for most of the year and are now in contention to take home NL MVP and Cy Young Award honors, respectively.

The Dodgers were also the beneficiary of one of the deepest farm systems in all of baseball, seeing a total of 10 rookies appear in a game for them this season. Will Smith and Alex Verdugo were among the standouts, playing key roles and eventually earning starting spots at various points in the year.

It was a seamless transition from the Minors to the Majors for the club’s rookies and other first-year players. “Yeah, because when you get up here the expectation, the pressure to perform, it matters, it’s about development,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

“So when you get a young player that is familiar with a lot of things that we do in an organization and sometimes more versed than the big league players are, it makes the transition much easier.

“I think that just the guys that we get, from scouting to identify players and our minor league outfield coordinator Tarrik Brock told me we want S.A.T. players: smart, athletic, and tough. So we have a lot of S.A.T. players. To have those type of players and have that intelligence, they can handle a lot.

“We have done a good job as an organization, just the cohesiveness from the minor league player development side to the big league side, whether it be verbiage, communication, talking to each other, putting eyes on one another during the season, Spring Training.

“And so having guys over in the minor league games and having them in camp. So it’s just the familiarity, we do a really good job of that, and we just feel that it gives these young players the best chance to perform at a high level.”

The Dodgers’ farm system was recently ranked the third-best in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, highlighted by top prospect Gavin Lux, who was one of three rookies to be included on the club’s NL Division Series roster (Matt Beaty, Will Smith).

All-in-all, 16 of the 25 players to earn spots on the Dodgers’ NLDS roster are considered homegrown — the highest total of any team that reached the postseason this year.