Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers have developed a reputation as a team that can identify undervalued and underutilized talent to help players breakout and give them a new outlook on their careers.
Over recent years the Dodgers have helped Justin Turner, Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Brandon Morrow come from seemingly out of nowhere to become legitimate contributors and in some cases All-Stars. They have also helped the likes of Jimmy Nelson, Phil Bickford, Blake Treinen and Corey Knebel re-establish themselves.
This past offseason the Dodgers placed an emphasis on improving their bench and depth by signing multiple players to Minor League contracts. One of their additions was Jake Lamb, a former All-Star with the Arizona Diamondbacks who has since struggled and suffered from multiple injuries.
Lamb has performed well throughout Spring Training and pushed his way into the conversation for a spot on the Dodgers Opening Day roster. While making the roster would represent an important first step, Lamb feels like in the long term he can end up being the next Dodgers success story, via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
“There’s no reason I can’t be the next guy in line,” Lamb said. “Not everyone becomes a superstar and has success every single year of their career,” Lamb said. “There’s definitely guys in the game that have done that and do that. But that’s not everyone. And I’m at peace with that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do some serious damage here the next few years.”
While Lamb has a good shot to make the roster, especially after the Dodgers’ trade for Craig Kimbrel in exchange for AJ Pollock, his chance to become the organization’s star wouldn’t necessarily end if he is sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City to begin the year.
In 2018, the Dodgers sent Muncy to Triple-A despite a strong showing in Spring Training when he hit .286/.333/.571. In OKC, Muncy continued to perform well during his nine games as he batted .313/.421/.563 before the Dodgers promoted him the their Major League roster, and he never looked back.
This spring, Lamb his hitting .333/.379/.667 with two home runs and three doubles in 27 at-bats.
Lamb in a strong place mentally and with swing
While Lamb struggled to remain healthy the past four seasons, he is feeling better than in previous years. The 31-year-old attributed his improved health and swing mechanics to his early success with the Dodgers.
Lamb is a career .236/.328/.431 hitter with 91 home runs, a 97 wRC+ and 6.6 WAR. However, from 2016-17, he hit .248/.345/.498 with 59 home runs a 112 wRC+ and 4.9 WAR while being named to the National League All-Star team in 2017.
Since earning his All-Star Game appearance, Lamb has batted a combined .203/.308/.355 across 220 games from 2018-21. He is coming off a particularly futile 2021 season with the White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays that saw him hit a combined .194/.306/.368 in 55 games.
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