Imani Abdullah Going Through A Growth Process For Dodgers
LOS ANGELES—Most 11th-round picks have room to grow. But righthander Imani Abdullah is proving to be exceptional even with that as a given.
"When I came in, I was probably about 6-foot-3, around 200 (pounds),” said the slender Abdullah, who has added "a couple inches” in height and nearly 20 pounds.
"I’ve kind of stopped growing this way (height) and now I’m getting thicker—a good kind of thick,” Abdullah said. "I might have another inch left. Maybe . . . My dad didn’t stop growing until his late 20s so I might have that in there. Genetics.”
Added height and weight hasn’t been Abdullah’s only growth spurt. The 19-year-old San Diego prep came to baseball—and pitching, in particular—relatively late. So late, in fact, he thought another sport might be his route to a college education.
"I was a golfer. My dad’s a good golfer so I’d be golfing with him,” Abdullah said. "Then I kind of went to the drawing board. The objective was to get to (college), and how was I going to get to school?
"I’m still fairly new to pitching. My first full year of pitching was junior year of high school. Senior year was my second.”
Last summer was the 2015 pick’s first full season and Abdullah flashed some of the potential the Dodgers saw when they lured him away from a commitment to San Diego State. He made 16 starts at low Class A Great Lakes and went 4-4, 3.61 while under the workload restrictions the Dodgers impose.
"There’s definitely restrictions on the younger guys,” said Abdullah who threw 72.1 innings for Great Lakes. "I think five innings, 70 pitches. Not one pitch over. It doesn’t matter—five innings, 40 pitches, you’re done.
"So there’s some restrictions. I understand.”
Abdullah is a long way from the major leagues—giving him plenty of time for more growth.
• Outfielder Mitch Hansen had surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow in late January. He is expected to recover in six to eight weeks. Hansen hit .311 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs for Rookie-level Ogden last summer.
• First baseman Ike Davis signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers that included a ticket to big league camp. The 29-year-old hit 32 home runs for the Mets in 2012 but has been in four organizations since.
Imani Abdullah Falls Out Of Love With Baseball
Baseball is a game of constant adjustments that humbles every player at some point, and Abdullah is no exception.
— Bill Plunkett covers the Dodgers for the Orange County Register