The Dodgers’ sixth annual Winter Development Program, which helps prepare minor league players for the Major Leagues both on and off the field, opens this weekend at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona.
Twelve of the Dodgers’ top minor league prospects will be in Arizona for the week-long event and workouts will focus on fundamentals, strength training and conditioning. Prospects will also meet with Dodger legends, including Tommy Lasorda, Maury Wills, Ron Cey and Eric Karros and learn from Dodger staffers about topics including media relations, diet and Major League travel.
Dodger Manager Don Mattingly will be on hand to work with the prospects as will many of the organization’s minor league coaches and instructors.
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Prospects attending include the Dodgers’ 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, outfielder Joc Pederson, along with former first-round picks right-handed pitcher Chris Withrow (2007), right-hander Zach Lee (2010) and left-hander Chris Reed (2011).
Left-handed reliever Paco Rodriguez and catcher Tim Federowicz, both with big league experience, will also attend the camp in addition to right-handed pitchers Steven Ames and Matt Magill, who were elevated to the 40-man roster this past off-season. The Winter Development Program roster also includes a pair of left-handers, Cuban native Onelki Garcia and the recently acquired Rob Rasmussen, along with catcher Matt Wallach and outfielder Jeremy Moore.
Eight of the 15 participants in last year’s Winter Development Program reached the Major Leagues in 2012, and since its inception in 2008 36 participating players have reached the big leagues. Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, A.J. Ellis and Scott Elbert are among other past participants.
Last year, for the second consecutive season, Dodger affiliates posted one of the top combined winning percentages among big league teams, ranking third with a .531 mark (404‐357), with four of seven farm teams reaching the postseason. Over the past two seasons, the club’s minor league affiliates’ .536 combined winning percentage trails only Texas (.545) for the top mark in the Majors.
Make sure to tune into KHTS this baseball season, for a broadcast of all the Dodgers’ games.