The Los Angeles Dodgers made history in their series against the Colorado Rockies over the weekend, becoming the first team ever to win three consecutive games on walk-off home runs hit by separate rookie players.
Matt Beaty, in his first game since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City after he was optioned a day prior, won it on Friday night. Alex Verdugo took the honor in extra innings on Saturday, and then Will Smith, also in his first game after getting recalled, finished out the sweep on Sunday with his second walk-off home run of the season.
“It’s great, it really is,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the team’s wide array of young players making an impact.
“One thing is we have a lot of good, young players. And the other part that I think you really can’t quantify is the clubhouse. The veterans that are already there, welcome these players and allow them to be the best version of themselves and go out there and support them. I think when you feel comfortable, you’re able to realize your talents.”
Considering the Dodgers made history with their three straight walk-off wins, Roberts said he had never seen rookies contribute at the level the team has received.
“On a championship ballclub, for them to make an impact with us as young players who are very green, I haven’t seen it. It speaks to the coaches, the players around, and player development having these guys ready when called upon,” he said. “It’s a collective effort.
“You look at Alex Verdugo, which we knew he was ready, so he was part of the depth piece as far as the outfield. You look at Will Smith, we’ve talked about the catching depth for a couple years.
“To see him and Alex do it at this level obviously checks a box. And Beaty and Garlick, you knew they were coming but really those are more surprises as far as getting here and how they’ve been so productive.”
The Dodgers are known for being able to develop players, further evident by a long list of National League Rookie of the Year winners and finalists.
Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Walker Buehler all finished in the top six in the voting each of the last four years, with Seager and Bellinger both winning the award unanimously.