Tonight is the first chance for Dodger fans to see 21-year-old Nathan Eovaldi pitch at home, following his first big league victory this week in Arizona. Fittingly, it comes on the same day that the Dodgers signed their first-round pick, Chris Reed, out of Stanford University.
It’s amazing how quickly these things happen. Nathan signed just three short years ago in 2008 and already he’s here and having an impact. Dee Gordon, selected just seven rounds ahead of Eovaldi, is also making his mark in the big leagues already. And then there’s Clayton Kershaw, who is already an All-Star and Cy Young candidate at age 23.
We meet many of these kids on their first visits to Dodger Stadium shortly after they sign, and it’s really cool to watch them progress through the minors. I can still remember Chad Billingsley showing up here in 2003, wide-eyed and ready to start a pro career and he’s already been in the big leagues now for six seasons.
Of course, some of our youngest players are here now because of injuries or other circumstances, but it’s still incredible to see how quickly they turn into Major League players. That obviously comes with hard work from the player development staff, which is responsible for getting them ready once the scouts go out and identify their talent level as amateurs.
It’s a unique process that you don’t really see in football or basketball because there aren’t really minor leagues the way we have it. But for those who see Chris Reed at tonight’s game, be sure to track his progress through the minors. Hopefully he’ll get here as quickly as some of his recent fellow draftees.