My top 200 Dodger Prospects heading into the 2012 Season

February 27, 2012

200A.  Henry Heredia, 1B/3B (24 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/13/10

5’8”, 170 lbs, 20.25 years old

.197 average, .510 OPS, 0 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Signed out of the Dominican Republic during the 2010 offseason, Henry Heredia had a dreadful season in his professional debut.  Playing most of the season as a 19 year old, Heredia hit just .197 and had just 4 extra base hits (all doubles) for the year.  He also had a terrible 22:2 strikeout to walk ratio.  On defense, Henry is listed as a 3rd baseman, yet spent most of the 2011 season at 1st base which is perplexing given his small stature.  If Heredia is back next season, he’ll definitely return to the DSL.

200B.  Jose Moreno, C (21 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/26/2010

6’0”, 187 lbs, 21.75 years old

.265 average, .673 OPS, 1 HR, 8 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jose Moreno was already 20 years old when the Dodgers signed him of the Dominican Republic, so his baseball career got off to a late start.  His professional debut in 2011 didn’t really help his progress as he only played in 21 DSL games, spread evenly among the 3 month season.  His overall stats for the season were relatively decent for the pitcher friendly Dominican Summer League, but he didn’t get anywhere near the experience he needs given his age.  The Dodgers may keep him around for another season to help out with the catching duties, but other than that he doesn’t have much of a future.

200C.  Abinaer Soriano, OF (46 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers prior to 2011 season

6’0”, 175 lbs, 20.25 years old bats right handed

.216 average, .600 OPS, 1 HR, 17 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Signed prior to the 2011 season, Abinaer Soriano made his professional debut in the DSL and played the entire season as a 19 year old.  Unfortunately, he had a pretty ugly season at the plate as he had an OPS of just .600 and an OB% of .276.  His only value really came in the field, because even though his fielding% was a little low at .939, he was able to handle center field for the Dominican Dodgers for most of the season.  If the Dodgers don’t release him, 2012 will surely see Soriano back in the DSL.

200D.  Claudio Tejeda, SS (5 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 2/8/11

6’0”, 170 lbs, 19.25 years old, bats right handed

.167 average, .500 OPS, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Tejeda signed with the Dodgers in February of 2011, but didn’t make his professional debut until the tail end of the DSL season.  He only got into 5 games and managed a couple of singles, but the sample size is too small to analyze.  On defense he spent all his time at shortstop, and based on his height and weight he seems to be a good size for a middle infielder.  He played all of last year as an 18 year old, so he’s still quite young and will definitely return to the DSL in 2012, although this time around I’m sure he’ll get much more playing time.

200E.  Geuris Alcantara, RHP (3.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/26/10

6’2”, 185 lbs, 19.75 years old

0-0, 12.27 ERA, 3.82 WHIP, 10.84 FIP, 7.36 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Alcantara had an interesting professional debut as he made two relief appearances early in the DSL season, missed almost 2 months, then started the Dodgers final game of 2011.  His overall stats were pretty ugly, but it was an extremely small sample size so it’s tough to judge.  Like most DSL players I don’t know anything about how hard he throws or what pitches he has, but at 6’2” he has a good pitching frame.  Due to his age and limited experience he will definitely return to the DSL in 2012.

199.  Steve Cilladi, C (12 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 33rd round

5’9”, 182 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.185 average, .481 OPS, 1 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 187; Pre 2010 Rank: 193; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Steve Cilladi was basically the Loons personal catcher in 2011, only appearing on the active roster when an extra backstop was needed on the team.  Whenever his services were no longer needed during the season, Great Lakes would simply make up an injury for him and put him back on the DL.  In his spare time, I’m sure he helped out in the bullpen and caught side sessions.  When the season had finished, Cilladi had only appeared in 12 games and managed just 5 hits, although he crush one homer.  To provide a little background on Cilladi, his dad was a former athletic trainer for the Rockies and Cubs, so I’m sure he knows something about conditioning.  He played college ball in the NAIA with the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes, and during his four seasons there Steve hit .267 with 76 hits, so he wasn’t exactly a masher in college.  In addition, he wasn’t even the full time starting catcher during his Senior year.  Getting back to his current status, Steve is simply another organizational catcher who is most valuable during spring training.

198.  Angelo Ponte, C (1 game in AA, 2 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 1 game in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Non Drafted Free Agent signed by the Dodgers on 6/14/10

5’11”, 215 lbs, 25.25 years old, bats right handed

.333 average, .1.167 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011: 195; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Angelo Ponte wasn’t drafted in 2010 after playing his college ball at Fordham University, but was signed by the Dodgers shortly after draft day by the Dodgers.  As most people know, Fordham was the college that Vin Scully graduated from, so there are some ties between the school and the Dodgers.  In his 4 years at Fordham, Ponte had a career .283 average and only hit 4 home runs, so the Dodgers didn’t bring him onboard because of his bat.  They instead seem to use him as a “fill in backstop” when one of the Dodger minor league teams is in need of a catcher.  Ponte only appeared in 4 games in 2011, but played for 3 different teams including the Lookouts who were short on catchers back in August.  He’s a useful player for spring training when extra bodies are needed to catch all the pitchers, but besides that he doesn’t have much value as a 25 year old…although he does have some moves (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewMbt5f9ndA)

197.  Jose Luis Javier, SS (16 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers prior to 2011 season

5’10”, 160 lbs, 19.25 years old, bats right handed

.235 average, .578 OPS, 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jose Luis Javier, or JLJ as I like to call him, is another Dominican born player who signed with the Dodgers before the 2011 season.  Like several other young international signees, JLJ practiced with the team early in the year before making his professional debut in late July.  He ended up only getting into 16 games, and while his overall stats were pretty ugly (.235 average and struck out in 32.1% of his plate appearances), he did show good speed on the basepaths.  Also, while the Dodgers put him at the premium position of shortstop, he didn’t impress with his defense as he posted a .885 fielding %.  At just barely 19 years old, I’m sure he’ll get a longer look in the DSL next season.

196.  Keyter Collado, C (1 game in AAA, 1 games in LoA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/04

5’9”, 182 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats right handed

.333 average, .667 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 174; Pre 2010 Rank: 190; Pre 2009 Rank: 154

Keyter Collado has been a classic fill in catcher for the Dodgers organization, appearing in just 21 total games over the past 3 seasons.  2011 was an especially interesting year for the minor league veteran as he played one game in AAA early in the year, then sat out a month before re-emerging in the Midwest League.  In his first game with the Loons, however, Collado was involved in a nasty collision at home plate on the back end of a Great Lakes triple play, and as it turns out that ended his season on May 29th.  I’m not sure what 2012 will bring, but I’m guessing he’ll at least stick around to help out in spring training.

195.  Jorky Infante, 3B (32 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 155 lbs, 21 years old, switch hitter

.210 average, .567 OPS, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 186; Pre 2010 Rank: 167; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

2011 was Infante’s third season in the DSL, yet he showed no signs of improvement and actually regressed significantly from 2010.  His 4 doubles were the only extra base hits he had all year, and he also struggled in the field with a .902 fielding percentage at 3rd base.  The only highlight for the switch hitter was his continued plate disciple, as he walked almost as much as he struck out.  The Dominican native is still just 21 years old, but probably won’t have much of a role with the organization in 2012 since he doesn’t appear ready for a move to a US based rookie league, and probably wouldn’t get much value out of a 4th season in the DSL.

194.  Daniel Lantigua, RHP (0.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in 2011

6’3”, 180 lbs, 19.75 years old

0-1, 0.00 ERA, 6.00 WHIP, 7.70 FIP, 0.00 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

There really isn’t much to say about Daniel Lantigua.  2011 was his first professional season, but he only made one appearance for the Dominican Dodgers and didn’t even pitch a full inning.  Lantigua’s lone appearance occurred very late in the season, so it’s possible that he was signed after the 2011 season already started.  The only other thing to mention about Daniel is that at 6’3” he has a solid pitching frame, and because he’s still just 19 years old he had lots of time to build muscle.  I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL in 2012.

193.  David Iden, 2B (31 games in LoA, 5 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 35th round

5’9”, 160 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.259 average, .655 OPS, 0 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 193; Pre 2010 Rank: 175; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

A late round pick for the Dodgers in 2009 out of Cal Lutheran University, David Iden is the type of player who just wanted a chance to play.  At Cal Lutheran, the Thousand Oaks native was a career .343 hitter, and ranked in the school’s top 10 for career RBI’s (100), runs scored (121), and stolen bases (63).  Unfortunately, Iden hasn’t been very impressive during his 3 years as a professional.  In 2009, he was sent to the Pioneer League and struggled to produce.  He was then demoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010 and had another lackluster campaign.  I figured Iden would get released prior to the 2011 season, but he managed to stick around and again found himself in a rookie league.  An injury to Christian Lara opened up a spot on the Loons, however, and an Iden spent the last two months as a backup infielder in Great Lakes.  His first stint in a full season league didn’t go so well, though, as he batted just .211 and had only 4 extra base hits (all doubles) in almost 100 at bats.  At 5’9” Iden is undersized, which is another thing working against him, and now with three bad seasons under his belt he’s again a candidate to be released.

192.  Jesus Perez, SS/3B (2 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/13/10

6’1”, 180 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats right handed

.333 average, .762 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

What can I really say about a DSL player who has only played two professional games?  Not much, so I’ll just stick to the basic facts.  Perez was signed back in 2010, but spent most of the 2011 season practicing with the Dominican Dodgers before playing a couple of games at the end of the season.  He is listed as a shortstop, but played his lone game in the field at 3rd base.  He’ll be just 18 years old at the start of the 2012 season, and I expect the young infielder to get much more experience in the DSL next year.  At that point, we’ll have a much better idea of what Perez can bring to the table.

191.  JJ Ethel, C (12 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 49th round

6’2”, 180 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.303 average, .894 OPS, 1 HR, 7 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Most players drafted in the 49th round don’t sign, but Jack Joseph Ethel was a college senior so it was either the Dodgers or the real world.  He chose baseball, so at the very least he’ll be able to tell his kids one day that he played professional ball.  In his two years at Louisville Ethel did a whole lot of nothing at the plate as he managed just two career homers and hit just .271.  Here’s one of them (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28Van0qeVr8).  He had good defensive numbers, however, which is probably what got him noticed.  After signing in June Ethel joined the Arizona Dodgers and went 6 for 8 with a homer and 7 RBI’s in his first two professional games, but he didn’t do much after that.  At the end of the day, he probably won’t ever be more than a warm body that helps out during spring training and fills a backup catcher role.

190.  Stefan Jarrin, 2B (23 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 40th round

5’10”, 170 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.213 average, .609 OPS, 0 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Let’s be honest, there is no way that Stefan Jarrin would have been drafted at all if his grandfather wasn’t Dodger Spanish announcer Jaime Jarrin.  He played his high school ball locally at Gabrielino, and then went to Orange Coast College where he barely played.  He then transferred to East LA College, but in looking at the 2011 baseball stats for ELAC I can’t find his name anywhere.  I did find this batting practice video, however (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Y3YvpDDJ98&feature=related).  Jarrin joined the Arizona Dodgers upon signing, and posted a .213 average with just 5 extra base hits (all doubles) for the season.  He may stick around for a while as a backup infielder in the lower minors, but beyond that he doesn’t have much value.

189.  Jeffry Rojas, 3B/1B (51 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/14/10

6’0”, 170 lbs, 19.5 years old, switch hitter

.235 average, .574 OPS, 1 HR, 17 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Rojas is another young infielder signed out of the Dominican who made his professional debut in 2011.  He actually got off to a solid start, posting a .305 average in the month of June over 18 games, but then his production really fell off the table which led to his dismal final stat line.  While he’s listed as a shortstop, Rojas spent most of his time in 2011 as a corner infielder by splitting his time between 1st and 3rd base.  His defense was adequate at 1st base, but at the hot corner he posted an ugly .901 fielding %.  2012 will bring another year in the DSL for Rojas, but I don’t really see too much potential here.

188.  Aris Angeles, RHP (29.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/5/09

6’0”, 179 lbs, 22.5 years old

1-3, 2.73 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.27 FIP, 7.58 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 196; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Angeles was signed by the Dodgers prior to the 2010 season as a 20 year old, and had a terrible professional debut.  In 2011 Aris repeated in the DSL and was much better, but that was probably due to the fact that he was one of the oldest players in the league.  In addition to the stats listed above, Angeles had a .222 batting average against in 2011 and also allowed just 1 homer all year.  If the Dodgers believe that Angeles has any value, they’ll bring him to the US in 2012 and give him a chance in the Arizona Rookie League.  If not, they’ll either release him or let him spend another season with the Dominican Dodgers.

187.  Detriano De La Cruz, OF (9 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/17/10

6’3”, 195 lbs, 20.25 years old, bats right handed

.208 average, .595 OPS, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Detriano De La Cruz is another young Dominican player who made his professional debut in 2011.  He actually spent most of the season on the sidelines, then finally got into 9 games during the final month of the DSL season.  In 9 games De La Cruz only managed to collect 5 singles and a double, but he did show a good eye at the plate with 5 walks in 30 plate appearances.  The recently turned 20 year old has a good frame, and he played all 9 of his games in right field where he didn’t make an error while recording one outfield assist.  He will definitely return to the DSL in 2012, and from his destination will really depend on his performance on the field.

186.  Ricardo De La Rosa, RHP (38.3 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/29/09

6’0”, 184 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats right

3-2, 3.05 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 4.01 FIP, 5.40 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 191, Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Ricardo De La Rosa, who has no relation to Rubby, made his professional debut in 2010 as an outfielder, but hit just .163 and showed no power.  So the Dodgers decided to transition him to the mound in 2011, and the move seems to pay off as De La Rosa posted a solid ERA and even picked up a couple of saves for the Dominican Dodgers.  That being said, Ricardo doesn’t have a great pitching frame and his low strikeout rate is a bit worrisome, so I’m sure the organization will want to evaluate him for at least one more season in the DSL before considering a move to the US.

 

185.  Vladimir Martinez, 2B/SS/OF (54 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/10

6’2”, 173 lbs, 19.75 years old, switch hitter

.222 average, .579 OPS, 0 HR, 20 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 142; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Vladimir Martinez is a shortstop from the Dominican Republic who made a brief professional debut in 2010.  In 2011 he returned to the DSL and played a full season, but overall he had a pretty disappointing year.  The switch hitter managed just 4 extra base hits (all doubles) in 176 at bats, which led to his ugly .244 slugging %.  His only offensive highlight was that he walked just as much as he struck out (11.7% of plate appearances).  On the defensive side of the ball, Martinez spent most of the year at 2nd base even though he’s listed as a shortstop.  He also showed some versatility by playing some outfield.  At the end of the day, Vladimir’s youth should give him another chance in the DSL in 2012 where he will try and put together a much better year.

 

184.  Sawil Gonzalez, RHP (20.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/7/2010

6’3”, 180 lbs, 22 years old

1-2, 5.23 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 4.55 FIP, 11.32 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Sawil Gonzalez was signed by the Dodgers back in May of 2010, but he didn’t make his professional debut until 2011 when he was already 21 years old.  The right hander was used exclusively in relief for the Dominican Dodgers, collecting two saves, but overall he had a mediocre season.  Opposing batters only hit .181 against him, but he was haunted by a high walk rate that resulted in an ugly ERA.  At times he was effectively wild, however, as shown by his outstanding strikeout rate.  He is another foreign player who has a solid pitching frame, but at 22 years old he’s probably too old to ever make an impact in the organization.

183.  Dave Jensen, LHP (3 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in August 2011 as a Non Drafted FA

6’6”, 215 lbs, 24.25 years old

1-0, 6.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 4.20 FIP, 9.00 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Dave Jensen signed late in the 2011 season with the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent, and he ended up only pitching in 3 games spread throughout the month of August.  I’m not sure why the Dodgers signed him so late and used him so sparingly, but that can’t really bode well for the soon to be 24 year old.  Going back to his earlier days, Jensen played his college ball at Northwestern, but in his 4 seasons there he never had an ERA lower than 6.50 and he never had a K/9 higher than 5.24.  After graduating in 2010, he signed with a indy ball team called the Wichita Wingnuts, but he only appeared in 1 games in 2010.  After that he apparently didn’t play organized ball until he signed with the Dodgers.  Overall, Jensen appears to have a great pitching frame, but based on his college stats it doesn’t appear that he has very good stuff.  I can’t see him pitching above rookie ball next season, and I’m still perplexed as to why he was even signed in the first place.

182.  Juan Garcia, OF (40 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/26/10

6’1, 180 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats left handed

.182 average, .517 OPS, 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Juan Garcia is one of the youngest players in the Dodgers organization, and his lack of experienced showed in his professional debut as the outfielder hit .182 with just 6 extra base hit in almost 100 at bats.  There really isn’t anything positive to say about him, expect for the fact that he showed versatility by playing all 3 outfield positions during the 2011 season.  His defense wasn’t very good, however, as he posted a .915 fielding %.  Because he is still so young I’m sure the Dodgers will give him another chance in 2012 back in the DSL, and hopefully he’ll show some improvement.

181.  B.J. Larosa, C (8 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 23rd round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.182 average, .399 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 153, Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

B.J. Larosa was selected in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft out of Bucknell University.  The chemical engineering major was coming off a senior season in which he hit a team-high .371 and only struck out 19 times in 202 at bats as the team’s starting catcher.  After signing, he made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League but only got into 10 games.  I wasn’t sure what 2011 would bring for Larosa, but as it turned out he was the Quakes personal catcher.  Even though he wasn’t on the active roster for most of the year, he traveled with the team and helped out in the bullpen.  A pair of injuries by his teammates did allow Larosa to make two different appearances on the active roster, but he was terrible in the 8 games he played in with a .182 average and a .399 OPS.  Like the Dodgers other “extra” catchers Larosa will definitely help out in spring training, and he will probably have a similar role during the 2012 season as he had in 2011.

180.  Samuel Taveras, RHP (49 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 2/17/11

6’5”, 175 lbs, 22.5 years old

5-1, 2.02 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 3.51 FIP, 5.33 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Samuel Taveras is another Dominican player to sign later in life, and he made his professional debut with the Dominican Dodgers in 2011.  While he had unbelievable stats in 2011 and has a great pitching frame at 6’5″, he was mostly ignored because of his age.  His 2.02 ERA and 0.88 WHIP were great, as was his .175 batting average against, but his K rate was surprisingly low (5.33 K/9) which makes he think he’d get exposed if he played against more advanced competition.  The Dodgers have a decision to make on Taveras heading into 2012 as he is too old for another season in the DSL, so they have to determine if he is worth sending to the Arizona Rookie League.

179.  Brant Stickel, LHP (6.2 IP in LoA, 5.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 17.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/6/10

6’4”, 210 lbs, 25 years old

0-4, 5.22 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4.39 FIP, 7.36 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Brant Stickel is a Canada native who played his college ball at the University of Calgary.  After college, the lefty was signed by the Calgary Vipers of the Golden Baseball League where he finished the 2010 season.  His contract was then sold to the Dodgers in October of 2010 after he hit 92 mph during a tryout in Arizona.  In 2011, Brant had a unique season in that he started off the year in Great Lakes, then was demoted twice and finished out the year in the Arizona Rookie League.  Stickel was terrible in the short time he played with the Loons and the Raptors, but was dominate with the Arizona Dodgers as he allowed just 7 hits in 17.1 innings against the younger competition.  Overall, Stickel has good size and the fastball to succeed, but given his age he is going to have to make a great impression this spring and then perform well in a full season league to have any kind of a future with the organization.

178.  Gianison Rosa, C/OF (31 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in March 2011 as a minor league free agent

6’0”, 205 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats left handed

.221 average, .771 OPS, 1 HR, 11 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Gianison Rosa was originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 26th round of the 2009 draft, but he only played two games for the organization before getting released.  From there he went on to play some independent ball, and then was signed by the Dodgers as a minor league free agent in March of 2011.  Rosa spent the 2011 season in the Arizona Rookie League, and even though he is listed as a catcher he spent all his time as an outfielder with the Dodgers.  From an offensive standpoint he had a disappointing year for a 21 year old, hitting just .221 while getting limited playing time.  The only positive thing about his season was the he walked in an incredible 21.2% of his plate appearances, although that was tarnished by the fact that he also struck out in 29.3% of plate appearances.  Overall I think Rosa may stick around for another year, but he’ll probably just play with the Raptors as a bench player and provide some organizational depth.

177.  Melvin Santana, SS/2B (56 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/7/10

5’10”, 160 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.245 average, .688 OPS, 0 HR’s, 17 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Santana signed out of the Dominican in 2010, but didn’t make his professional debut until 2011 in the DSL.  Listed as a shortstop, Melvin played the majority of the season at 2nd base and also frequented the DH position in the lineup.  His defense wasn’t very good, as he posted a .910 fielding %, but he seems to have good speed (successful in 10 of 13 SB attempts) so I’m guessing his range is pretty good.  At the plate, Santana didn’t homer all year, but he showed gap power by leading the club with 17 doubles and a respectable OB% of .344.  He also demonstrated a good eye by walking almost as much as he struck out.  I do expect Santana to play another year in the DSL, and if he shows continued growth I could see him making his US debut in 2013.

176.  Kevin Thompson, 2B/SS (4 games in HiA, 11 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 6 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 48th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.263 average, .598 OPS, 0 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Thompson is originally from La Canada, but he played his college ball in New Mexico and was mediocre at best.  With the Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds, Thompson had 2 career homers, 4 career SB’s, and a career batting fielding percentage of just .901.  The good news is that he had a college career batting average above .300, and can play all over the infield.  After signing with the Dodgers Thompson was initially dispatched to the Arizona Rookie League, but ended up playing at 3 levels in 2011.  Given his age and versatility, Kevin should be a good organizational player but I don’t think he’ll ever be more than that.

175.  Ronny Lugo, RF (26 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/30/09

6’2”, 170 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.230 average, .586 OPS, 0 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 190, Pre 2010 Rank: 157; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Ronny Lugo was signed out of Venezuela prior to the 2009 season, and hit a combined .240 over two seasons in the DSL.  In last year’s rankings, I predicted that his baseball career was probably done, but instead the Dodgers decided to bring Lugo to the US as he spent 2011 with the Arizona Dodgers.  The move was extremely surprising, and Ronny did nothing to justify the promotion as he hit just .230 with the Dodgers and posted a dismal .586 OPS.  Even still the Dodgers stuck with him as their starting right fielder for the majority of the season, and I’ll bet that he returns to the Arizona Rookie League again in 2012.

 

174.  Adam Dedeaux, LHP (15.1 IP AAA, 12 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 0.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed 7/1/10 as Non Drafted Free Agent

6’0”, 200 lbs, 25.75 years old

0-0, 11.06 ERA, 2.49 WHIP, 8.22 FIP, 6.18 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 177, Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers signed Adam Dedeaux as a non drafted free agent out of the University of Southern California.  Given that Dedeaux was used sparingly at USC and had a college career ERA above 6, it is possible that Dodgers signed Adam as a favor to his grandfather.  You see, Dedeaux’s grandfather and long-time USC baseball coach Rod Dedeaux was great friends with Tommy Lasorda before Rod passed away in 2006, so you can see the connection.  Whether or not he was signed as a favor doesn’t change the fact that Adam was quite old to be starting his professional career.  After throwing 10.2 innings in the Arizona Rookie League in his 2010 professional debut, Dedeaux played an interesting role for the Dodgers in 2011.  After a stint in extended spring training, Adam made the biggest jump possible by starting his 2011 season all the way up in AAA.  As you may have guessed, Dedeaux got crushed during his time with the Isotopes, then performed even worse when he was sent back down to the Pioneer League later in the season.  I’m not sure if the Dodgers will keep him around in 2012, but if they do he’ll probably just continue to be the organization’s sacrificial lamb when a team needs a spot starter.

173.  Jose Agusto Diaz, RHP (27 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 2/8/11

5’11”, 185 lbs, 21 years old

2-0, 0.67 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.05 FIP, 7.67 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jose Agusto Diaz quietly had a very good professional debut in 2011, allowing just 2 earned runs in 27 DSL innings which resulted in a microscopic ERA.  He served as the team’s part time closer, saving 2 games and finishing 8 more.  He’s not a big guy and his strikeout numbers weren’t very impressive, but anytime a player has an ERA under 1 then he’s doing something right.  Since Diaz will be 21 years old when the 2012 season starts, the Dodgers may want to challenge him with a promotion to a US based rookie league even though he has just 27 professional innings under his belt.  Then again, he could just as easily spend another year in the DSL.

172.  Victor Araujo, RHP (60 IP DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/26/09

5’11”, 171 lbs, 22.25 years old

3-4, 1.80 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 2.87 FIP, 9.15 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 188, Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Victor Araujo signed later than most Dominican players, inking his deal with the Dodgers just after his 20th birthday, and then only pitched 14 innings in relief during his 2010 professional debut.  In 2011 the Dodgers transitioned Araujo to the rotation, and he responded with an outstanding season in the DSL.  He posted a 1.80 ERA, ranked among the top 10 in the league with a 0.93 WHIP, led the Dominican Dodgers with a 2.87 FIP, and was one of the few players on the roster to strike out more than a batter per inning (9.15 K/9).  He also won a Dodgers Pride Award in the month of August.  Even still, questions remain about Victor as his size are less than ideal for a pitcher, and he was one of the players in the DSL last season.  The Dodgers must move him to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012 if they want him to have a chance at having an impact with the organization.

171.  Luis Silverio, LHP (23 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 6/9/10

6’3”, 190 lbs, 20.75 years old

1-2, 7.04 ERA, 2.30 WHIP, 4.68 FIP, 9.39 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The left handed Silverio made his professional debut in 2011, and although his stats were less than impressive I think he could have a future as a Dodger prospect.  Silverio struck out more than a batter per inning, and while his ERA was 7.04 he had a much more respectable FIP of 4.68.  In addition, Silverio has a solid 6’3” frame and only allowed just 1 home run all year.  The Dodgers will definitely leave Silverio in the DSL for another season, but a strong sophomore year could lead to a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2013.

170.  Robert Purpura, RHP (12 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 10.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in July 2011 as a non drafted free agent

6’0”, 185 lbs, 25 years old

2-1, 3.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4.81 FIP, 8.87 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Robert Purpura was one of several non drafted free agents signed by the Dodgers this past July.  The southern California native had just finished his college career at Vanguard, a small Christian college in Costa Mesa, where he graduated with a degree in Kinesiology.  Nicknamed “Paps” by his teammates, Robert was both a starter and reliever for the Lions in 2011 and he posted a 3.35 ERA over 51 innings while accumulating 50 strikeouts.  While I don’t know much about his pitches, a recent college opponent said that “Purpura is a really good pitcher, and he had a really good fastball and slider:”  After signing with the Dodgers, Purpura was sent to the Arizona Rookie League where he spent the first month of his professional career and allowed just 5 hits over 10.1 innings.  That earned him a promotion to Ogden where his fortunes changed as he had a 6.75 ERA in 12 innings despite being one of the older players in the league.  That age factor will also haunt him going forward as Purpura is now almost 25, so he is probably too old to ever have an impact in the Dodgers organization.  He’ll probably spend 2012 in the Loons bullpen as a middle reliever.

169.  Webster Rivas, 1B/C (55 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/29/09

6’0”, 195 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.279 average, .751 OPS, 2 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 179, Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After an uninspiring professional debut in 2010, Rivas showed solid improvement in his sophomore season with the Dominican Dodgers both at the plate and behind the dish.  A year after hitting .246 with a .662 OPS, Webster increased those numbers to .279 and .751.  He also showed a great eye, walking almost as much as he struck out.  In terms of defense, Rivas spent most of 2010 at 1st base, but this past year he was the Dodgers primary catcher and threw out almost 50% of would be base-stealers.  He seems like a prime candidate to move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012, although he’s still a long ways off from being considered a legitimate prospect.

168.  Robert Chamra, RHP (20.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 34th round

6’4”, 225 lbs, 24 years old

3-0, 3.92 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 5.67 FIP, 6.53 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The 34th round pick of the 2011 draft, Robert Chamra signed quickly with the Dodgers and joined the Arizona Rookie League in mid June.  The tall right hander had a mediocre professional debut, allowing 13 walks in 20 innings while striking out just 15.  Going back to his college days, Charma started his schooling at Temple, but transferred to North Carolina State after his sophomore season.  With the Wolfpack in 2011 Robert posted a team high 8 wins, but only struck out 39 batters in 68.1 innings.  Here is a video of his throwing warm up pitches in college (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r_4MkeIaFY).  I don’t really think the big right-hander has much potential, but hopefully he’s able to prove me wrong with a successful campaign in 2012.

167.  Beau Brett, 1B (18 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 35th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.160 average, .483 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 106; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Back in 2010, Beau Brett was a draft eligible sophomore at USC who had accumulated only had 44 at bats over two seasons with the Trojans and had never collected an extra base hit in his college career.  Nevertheless the Dodgers selected Brett in the 35th round of the 2010 draft, and he surprisingly signed with the club.  From what I can tell, the only reason the Dodgers even drafted Beau was because of his baseball bloodlines, with his most famous relative being his uncle George Brett.  Upon signing, Beau was placed the Arizona Rookie League but had an ugly professional debut.  In 2011 the Dodgers sent Brett back to Arizona, and sadly he was even worse in his sophomore season.  The lefty hit just .160 with just 8 hits in 50 at bats, and had an OPS of just .483.  As a 1st baseman, that just isn’t going to cut it.  Heading into 2012, I’m not sure if the Dodgers will even keep Brett around because he clearly doesn’t have much value.  If the Dodgers do grant him another season, I’m guessing he’ll get a chance to play in the Pioneer League to see if a change in environment can jumpstart his career.

166.  Chance Gilmore, LHP (17.1 IP in Arz Rooke Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 25th round

5’11”, 187 lbs, 25 years old

2-0, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 4.30 FIP, 9.35 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 149; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jeremy “Chance” Gilmore was drafted in 2010 out of Coastal Carolina, where his dad Gary was the head coach.  Chance had a solid season as a junior in 2009, and then really made his dad proud in 2010 as he hit .341 with 12 homers and 54 RBI’s and helped his team reach the super regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament.  Gilmore signed with the Dodgers quickly in 2010, but struggled in rookie ball despite being 23 years old.  Therefore Gilmore was converted from outfielder to pitcher in 2011 and again spent the season in the Arizona Rookie League, this time as a left handed reliever.  While Chance had pitched in high school, he didn’t throw at all in college so as expected he was a bit wild.  In 17.1 innings he walked 13 batters, but at times he was effectively wild as he struck out more than a batter per frame.  Looking towards the future, the biggest thing working against Gilmore is his age as he’ll be 25 years old when the 2012 season starts.  He’ll probably get a chance to pitch in a full season league, but beyond that I doubt he has much of a future with the Dodger organization.

165.  Simon Binns, RHP (7.1 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season

6’3”, 170 lbs, 18.75 years old

0-0, 9.82 ERA, 2.59 WHIP, 6.47 FIP, 11.05 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers signed Simon Binns out of Panama when he was just 17 years old, and he made his professional debut this past season in the DSL.  He was used very sparingly, however, appearing in just 7 games that were spread evenly through the season.  In those 7 games he was quite wild and hittable, but that was probably because he was getting such inconsistent playing time.  The good news is that Binns has an excellent pitching frame and posted a strong strikeout rate, so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.  Given his age and lack of experience Simon will definitely return to the DSL in 2012 where I expect him to get much more playing time.

164.  Daniel Carela, RHP (10.1 IP in HiA, 17.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in 2011 as a minor league free agent

6’3”, 225 lbs, 24.5 years old

1-0, 5.46 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 4.59 FIP, 7.39 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Daniel Carela, a native of New York, was originally signed by the Mets as a non drafted free agent in October of 2008.  After a rocky professional debut in 2009, Carela put together a great season in 2010, posting a 1.82 ERA in the New York-Penn League over 24.2 innings and allowing a .188 batting average against.  He’s a video of him that year (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eGto2ikMVw&feature=endscreen&NR=1).  Despite his strong stats and a fastball that apparently reaches into the mid 90’s, Daniel was released by the Mets during their 2011 spring training.  He was signed by the Dodgers in May of this past year, and was sent to Rancho Cucamonga after a brief tune-up in the Arizona Rookie League.  Carela was used sparingly with the Quakes while allowing 12 runs (5 earned) in just 10.1 innings, then ended the season by getting rocked back in the Arizona Rookie League thanks to his inability to find the plate.  As mentioned above he has a great fastball when he can find the plate, but his offspeed stuff is not very good so the 24 year old probably doesn’t have much of a future unless he masters a secondary offering.

163.  Jonathan Linares, C (7 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season

6’0”, 160 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats right handed

.300 average, .891 OPS, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

A Venezuela native, Jonathan Linares was signed by the Dodgers before the 2011 season and made his professional debut in the DSL as an 18 year old.  The catcher played 7 games in June, but then for whatever reason was shut down for the remainder of the season.  The good news is that in those 7 games, Linares collected 4 doubles in 20 at bats and only struck out twice.  He was also perfect defensively, and threw out 3 of 8 would be base stealers.  Hopefully Jonathan will be at full health in 2012 so he can get some more experience with the Dominican Dodgers.  I know it’s way too early to tell, but a strong campaign next year could make him a candidate to move to a US based league in 2013.

162.  Greg Downing, LHP (23.0 IP in Arz. Rookie League in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 47th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 21.25 years old

2-0, 5.48 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 5.20 FIP, 9.39 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Greg Downing was a stud in high school, setting a New York City record with 108 strikeouts in 53 innings as a senior.  Despite his strong stats he didn’t get much love from scouts due to his small size and violent pitching motion, so he decided to attend Monroe Community College.  After two years at the community college, Downing transferred to Division III Franklin Pierce University where he ranked 13th nationally with his K/9 of 11.27 in 2011.  He also smoothed out his pitching motion and had a solid 2.30 though 74.1 innings.  Upon getting drafted by the Dodgers he said “I’m still shocked. I knew I had a shot to get picked, but wasn’t 100-percent sure it was going to happen. I really need to thank Coach [Jayson] King and Franklin Pierce for getting me exposure to MLB scouts, and I need to give credit to my father, who passed away when I was 10 years old, for teaching me to love the game of baseball.”  Downing signed quickly, and continued to post strong strikeout numbers in his professional debut.  His other stats weren’t so good, however, including his batting average against of .302.  Here is a video of him pitching with the Arizona Dodgers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k473oTyCRdE&feature=autoplay&list=ULRG5zuY9P90g&lf=mfu_in_order&playnext=1).  Given his size, I’m guessing that the Dodgers will continue to use Downing in relief, and I’m guessing he’ll spend 2012 in the Ogden Raptors bullpen.

161.  Leo Rodriguez, SS/2B (63 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 6/1/09

5’11”, 160 lbs, 20.25 years old, bats right handed

.278 average, .688 OPS, 1 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 154; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

2011 was Rodriguez’s second season in the DSL, and while his stats look pretty similar to 2010 he actually showed solid improvement year over year.  The most important development in Leo’s career is his defense, as he spent most of 2011 at the premium position of shortstop after playing mostly 2nd base in 2010.  He held his own up the middle, and also showed his versatility by playing a little 3rd base as well.  At the plate, Rodriguez’s average and OPS were almost the exact same as in 2010, but his ISO (Isolated Power) increased a bit and he also walked almost as much as he struck out (which was just 9.6% of the time).  Given his youth, defensive capabilities, and experience, I expect Rodriguez to move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012 where he should get a chance to prove himself against more advanced competition.

160.  Ariel Pena, RHP (23.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 6/26/09

6’4”, 208 lbs, 20 years old

1-1, 5.32 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 4.72 FIP, 5.32 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 140; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Ariel Pena’s professional career has consisted of two subpar seasons in the DSL, yet I continue to give him some respect in my ranking due to his ideal pitching frame and youth (he played all of last season as a 19 year old).  In addition, the Dominican native did show some improvement year over year as he increased his strikeout rate, reduced his walk rate, and decreased his FIP from 7.14 in 2010 to 4.72 in 2011.  That being said, Pena didn’t have a good enough year to warrant a promotion to a US based league, he’ll most likely return to the DSL for a 3rd season in 2012 and will need to show even more improvement if he wants to continue his baseball career beyond that.

159.  Mike Drowne, LHP (9.1 IP in LoA, 23.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 28th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 23.5 years old

1-1, 6.00 ERA, 2.27 WHIP, 4.53 FIP, 10.36 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 151; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers selected Mike Drowne in the 28th round of the 2010 draft out of Sacred Heart University (Connecticut), he was a leadoff type hitter who had hit .313 with 33 stolen bases and set a school record with 65 runs scored in his final year of college.  Despite signing quickly with the Dodgers, Drowne played in just 4 games in 2010 because the Dodgers wanted him to focus on switch hitting, so he spent more time on the practice field than in games.  Then during last year’s spring training, the Dodgers decided he would be better off as a pitcher.  In an interview with Hugh Bernreuter, Drowne admitted “At first, I was disappointed because I spent all winter working on hitting left-handed. But they drafted a lot of outfielders and there are a lot in the system. There aren’t as many left-handed pitchers.”  He later came to the realization that this would be his best move, and also told Hugh “Actually the transition wasn’t that tough.  I was the ace for my high school team and did a little pitching in college.”  After spending some time in extended spring training, where reports were that he was touching 93 mph and had a good slider, the Dodgers were aggressive with Drowne and sent him Great Lakes.  Unfortunately he really struggled with the Loons and was demoted back down to the Pioneer League after allowing 13 walks and 14 runs in just 9.1 innings.  Down in Ogden Drowne was slightly more successful, although his walk rate was still sky high and he was probably a bit lucky because 11 of the 23 runs he allowed with the Raptors were unearned.  His only bright spot was that he had an excellent strikeout rate in Ogden, posting a K/9 of 11.8.  Drowne will probably get another shot with the Loons in 2012, but given his small stature and his inability to find the plate I doubt he’ll have much success on the mound for the Dodgers unless he greatly improves his control.

158.  Charlie Mirabal, SS (2 games AAA, 33 games in LoA, 34 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07

5’11”, 180 lbs, 25 years old, switch hitter

.290 average, .711 OPS, 3 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 165; Pre 2010 Rank: 161; Pre 2009 Rank: 79

 

As I’ve written before, Charlie Mirabal has an interesting story.  He was signed by the Dodgers out of an open tryout before the 2007 season, and made his professional debut as a middle infielder in the DSL.  After some initial struggles, the Dodgers decided to try him out as a pitcher during 2008, and he put up some great numbers.  He posted a 1.99 ERA in 32 innings and had an outstanding strikeout rate.  Despite his success on the mound, for whatever reason the Dodgers decided to move him back to shortstop in 2009, and that’s where he’s been ever since.  He was promoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, then shocked the world by making his 2011 debut all the way up in AAA.  He only played two games for the Isotopes, however, and ended up splitting most of his season between Ogden and Great Lakes.  Overall Mirabal had a pretty good season for a middle infielder, although most of his damage was done in the hitter friendly Pioneer League.  He hit the first 3 homers of his career, and struck out in just 16.7% of his plate appearances.  At 25 years old, however, Mirabal is probably not much more than organizational depth at this point, and he’ll most likely fill the backup infielder role for the Loons or Quakes in 2012.

 

157.  Raul Burgos, RHP (67 IP in LoA in 2011)

Acquired in 2009 minor league portion of Rule 5 draft

6’1”, 210 lbs, 24.5 years old

2-4, 4.16 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 4.86 FIP, 5.64 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 158; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Raul Burgos was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2005 season.  After spending two seasons as a position player in the DSL, Burgos was moved to the mound because he was unable to get his average above .190 in either season.  He spent 2007 pitching in the DSL, and then was moved to the Arizona League where he spent all of 2008 and 2009 and had a combined ERA over 5 over 26 innings.  After the 2009 season, Raul was selected by the Dodgers in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft and was sent to the Pioneer League for 2010.  After a mediocre season with the Raptors, Burgos was promoted to the Loons in 2011 and was big part of their bullpen.  While he walked almost as many batters as he struck out and had a lackluster FIP, the “Bodyguard” was able to limit the damage against him as he posted a solid ERA of 4.16.  In addition, the Dodgers liked Raul enough to re-sign him for next season (he was a minor league free agent).  He’ll probably continue to climb the ladder and spend the 2012 season with the Quakes in Rancho Cucamonga.

156.  Chris Henderson, 1B/3B (61 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 21st round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats left handed

.220 average, .573 OPS, 1 HR, 10 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 112; Pre 2010 Rank: 129; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Chris Henderson was an amazing college player at George Mason University.  In 2009, his final season with the Patriots, Henderson hit.413 with 14 homers, 58 RBI and 70 runs scored.  He also had a ridiculous .487 on-base percentage and a .702 slugging percentage.  In addition, he did all this as a catcher and was named one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher.  The other two finalists were the 2009 #4 overall pick Tony Sanchez, and the Dodgers own Jeremy Wise.  Since signing with the Dodgers, however, Henderson has put his catching equipment in storage as he has split his time between 1st and 3rd base.  After an uninspiring debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009, Henderson had a big season for the Ogden Raptors in 2010, albeit without much power, as he hit .341 with a .429 OB%.  That earned Henderson a promotion to the Midwest League in 2011, but like many of his Loon teammates he struggled mightily at the plate.  Henderson never hit better than .250 in any month, and ended the year with an ugly .573 OPS.  He was also limited to just 61 games and was even sent back to extended spring training at one point due to his struggles.  With a career minor league fielding of .870% at 3rd base, “Hendo” seems like he’ll be limited to 1st base or DH moving forward.  That’s not a good sign given his lack of power and his overall offensive struggles last season.  I expect Henderson to spend another season with the Loons in 2012, and he’s going to have to really step it up if he wants to have any value to the Dodgers.

155.  Edinson Bock, RHP (7.1 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season

6’2”, 190 lbs, 17.75 years old

1-0, 3.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.25 FIP, 11.05 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Edinson Bock, who was signed by the Dodgers out of Venezuela prior to the 2011 season, is the second youngest players in the Dodgers minor league system.  He won’t turn 18 until April 15th, yet put up some pretty interesting stats in his limited professional debut.  Bock allowed just 2 hits in 7.1 innings which calculates out to a .083 batting average against, and also struck out more than a batter per inning.  The bad news is that Edinson also walked more than a batter per inning, which is what caused his WHIP to be 1.50.  At 6’2” the right-hander has a good pitching frame and will certainly get more innings when he returns to the DSL in 2012.

154.  Ryan Acosta, RHP (3 IP in AAA, 12.2 IP in HiA, 41 IP in LoA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in May 2011 as a minor league free agent

6’2”, 170 lbs, 23.25 years old

2-4, 4.76 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.66 FIP, 6.04 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Before I get into his baseball career, it should be noted that Ryan Acosta has an interesting back-story as his father was former minor league baseball player and then became a coach in the Yankees organization before tragically dying in a car accident when Ryan was in high school.  It was obviously a tough time for Ryan, but he continued playing baseball for his dad and was eventually selected by the Cubs out of high school in the 12th round of the 2007 draft.  He was given a $225K signing bonus upon signing, but despite his hefty bonus  the Cubs released Acosta for an undisclosed reason after just one full season, so he was a minor league free agent heading into 2009.  The Yankees then scooped him up, but he was released again his 2010 campaign despite a 3.50 for their class A affiliate.  From there Acosta joined the Dodgers, and actually played for three different Dodger minor league affiliates in 2011.  The majority of his season was spent with the Loons where Ryan posted a solid 2.85 ERA over 41 innings despite a K/9 of just 5.5.  Given his history it’s extremely difficult to predict where Ryan will play or how he will perform in 2012, but I think he’s worth keeping around especially since he is still just 23 years old.

153.  Faustino Oguisten, SS/2B/3B (25 games in DSL, 13 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/19/09

6’2”, 165 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.326 average, .792 OPS, 0 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank, 175, Pre 2010 Rank: 163; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Faustino Oguisten struggled through his first two seasons in the DSL, so he started 2011 back in the Dominican Republic.  He got off to a hot start for the Dominican Dodgers, however, and earned a rare mid-season promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in early July.  After arriving in the states Oguisten was used sparingly and only appeared in 13 games, but he managed to hit an even .300 with the Arizona Dodgers and struck out just twice in 20 at bats.  Despite the improvement Faustino showed in 2011 and his defensive versatility, he doesn’t really offer a whole lot of upside as he’s collected just 10 total extra base hits in his career (248 official at bats) and has a career fielding % of just .909.  Nevertheless, the fact that the Dodgers gave him a chance in the US shows that he has some value, so we’ll just have to wait and see how he does when he gets more consistent playing time in 2012.

152.  Devon Ethier, OF (27 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 32nd round

6’0”, 165 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.119 average, .441 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 85; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Devon Ethier, Andre’s much younger brother, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 32nd round of the 2010 draft.  He is almost the complete opposite of Andre as Devon hits and throws right handed, and is a light hitting yet speedy offensive player.  In his sophomore season at Gateway Community College in Arizona, Ethier hit .315 with 34 runs scored in 50 games, and stole 21 games in 24 attempts.  He also threw 23 innings and posted a 4.70 ERA.  After the draft, Devon said “I don’t believe in any way or form that I’m in his (Andre’s) shadow.  I’m a completely different person and player. I’m on my own path. For me, it’s amazing he’s in The Show (big leagues) and with the Dodgers. It’s a big ‘Wow’ for me. You don’t find many people who have older brothers playing in the major leagues.”  Devon signed late with the Dodgers in 2010 so his first real professional season came in 2011, and boy was it ugly.  Ethier only collected 5 hits all season long and ended up batting .119 for the year.  He also struck out in a third of his at bats, and due to his struggles was used very sparingly and only participated in 27 games.  He didn’t even get to show off his speed because he basically never got on base.  I’m not sure what the Dodgers will do with Ethier in 2012 because he’ll be almost 22 years old, but his stats don’t warrant a promotion.   I’m guessing he’ll return to the Arizona Rookie League for another season but if he continues to struggle I don’t think he’ll be around much longer.

151.  Andrew Shellon, RHP (18.1 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 8/20/10

6’2”, 150 lbs, 19.25 years old

2-2, 5.40 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 5.98 FIP, 6.38 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Signed out of Panama in August of 2010, Andrew Shellon made his professional debut in the DSL in 2011.  The Dodgers were careful with his 18 year old, limiting him to just 15 relief appearances for the season, and he responded by having a very inconsistent year.  He proved to be somewhat unhittable as opposing batters hit just .172 against him, but he was also very wild and all didn’t have a great strikeout rate.  He is still very young, however, so his control is something that he can hopefully improve next year.  In addition, he has frame that is similar to Rubby De La Rosa’s when he signed as an 18 year old, so hopefully he’ll get better nutrition and gain some weight just like Rubby did.  Overall, despite his pedestrian stats and his extremely high walk rate, I have a good feeling about Shellon and consider him a sleeper heading into 2012.

150.  Joseph Becker, 2B/SS (70 games in AAA, 1 game in HiA, 13 games in LoA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/11/07

5’10”, 184 lbs, 26.25 years old, bats right handed

.300 average, .767 OPS, 3 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 173; Pre 2010 Rank: 169; Pre 2009 Rank: 190

Becker was originally signed by the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent in 2007 out of Antelope Valley College, where he hit .350 for his career.  Since signing, Becker has been a traveling man as he’s played for 9 different Dodger minor league affiliates in five seasons.  After playing in just 20 games in 2010, mostly with the Loons, Becker surprised a lot of people by spending most of the 2011 season in AAA with the injury riddled Isotopes.  He actually filled in very nicely at 3rd and 2nd base, hitting .310 while in Albuquerque and posting a solid OPS of .803.  That being said, his stats were definitely aided by the hitter friendly park of the Isotopes as he batted .432 at home and just .202 on the road.  Heading into 2012, I’d imagine that the Dodgers will probably send Becker back to AAA, but his chances of ever making it to the show remain extremely thin.

149.  Josh Walter, RHP (6 IP in AA, 65 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 6/27/08

6’4”, 250 lbs, 27 years old

3-1, 3.55 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4.07 FIP, 8.49 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 183; Pre 2010 Rank: 99; Pre 2009 Rank: 189

Josh Walter was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 out of Texas State University where he posted a 4.71 ERA as a Senior.  He actually didn’t pitch much at all in college, as he only threw about 40 innings in his career.  Since turning pro, Walter has been on the every-other year plan as his stats were terrible in 2008 and 2010, but great in 2009 and 2011.  Looking back over his past two seasons, Walter had an ERA of 6.59 in 2010 with the 66ers and posted a win/loss record of 1 – 10.  He also allowed 13 homers in 95.2 innings, and ranked 2nd in the California League with his 64 walks.  Josh managed to turn this around in 2011, however, as he returned to the California League but managed to cut his ERA almost in half.  He also cut down his walk rate significantly and struck out almost a batter per inning.  He even spent about a month in AA toward the end of the season and only allowed 1 earned run over 6 innings.  Heading into 2012, I’m really not sure what to expect from the soon to be 27 year old.  It would make sense for him to spend the year in AA, but since he had a good year in 2011 history tells us that he should implode in 2012.  Only time will tell.  Finally, here is a video of Walter throwing in spring training last year against fellow minor leaguers (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwNZBlDe0hQ).

148.  Jason West, RHP (1.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 17.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in June 2011 as a non drafted free agent

5’11”, 185 lbs, 23.5 years old

2-0, 0.47 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 1.94 FIP, 11.37 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jason West went undrafted after spending his college days at Stephen F Austin University where he had a career ERA of 3.82 and collected 19 saves over the course of three seasons.  While his twin brother signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Mets, Jason signed with Los Angeles and joined the Arizona Dodgers in early July where he quickly became the club’s most effective reliever.  The 5’11” righty threw 17.1 innings during the season and completely shut down the opposition by allowing just 1 run while striking out 23 and recording 4 saves.  His success continued into the short Arizona League postseason as he saved both playoff games and got 5 of his 6 outs via the K.  Of course West was one of the oldest pitchers in the league, but you still can’t deny the success he had in 2011.  I don’t know much about West’s stuff on the mound, but have read that he throws side arm which I’m sure contributed to his success against the younger opposition.  Looking ahead to 2012, West will probably get a chance with the Loons given his age and the success he had this past year.

147.  Ramon Jean, OF (88 games in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.247 average, .622 OPS, 5 HR’s, 34 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 127; Pre 2010 Rank: 116; Pre 2009 Rank: 85

Signed before the 2007 season as a 19 year old out of the Dominican Republic, Ramon Jean only spent one season in the DSL before being promoted to a U.S. based rookie league.  After playing two seasons in the Dodgers rookie league, he received a surprise promotion to the California League in 2010, and also changed positions.  A middle infielder for the first three years of his career, Jean spent almost all of 2010 in center field.  In 2011 Jean returned to the California League where he continued his career as an outfielder.  Unfortunately he regressed at the plate and hit just .247 with the Quakes with an ugly .281 OB%.  His power numbers increased a bit, an OPS of .622 in the California League just isn’t going to cut it.  Heading into 2012 I’m not sure where Jean will spend the year as a promotion to AA seems unlikely.  I guess he could return to HiA for a third season, but at the end of the day I’m guessing that he’ll be an organizational player at best.

146.  Jose Capellan, C (25 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/30/09

6’0”, 190 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.270 average, .691 OPS, 1 HR, 12 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 157; Pre 2010 Rank: 135; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After spending two seasons in the DSL, Capellan got to the call to join the Arizona Dodgers in 2011 and did a decent job in limited playing time.  The young catcher didn’t show much power, collecting just 3 extra base hits for the season, but he did walk at a decent clip and struck out in just 16% of his plate appearances.  He also had a solid year defensively, throwing out 30% of would-be base-stealers and posting a .980 fielding %.  Still just 21 years old, Capellan should progress to the Pioneer League in 2012 and will probably again split playing time with other backstops.  I’m not sure if he has the skills to ever be a legitimate prospect, but at the very least he should be a decent organizational player for us.

145.  Pete Budkevics, RHP (85 IP in LoA in 2011)

Signed 6/28/10 as Non Drafted Free Agent

6’2”, 165 lbs, 24.25 years old

4-4, 3.39 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 3.60 FIP, 7.52 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 150; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers signed Pete Budkevics as a non drafted free agent in June of 2010 out of C.W. Post (aka Long Island University).  Budkevics had a solid senior season for the Pioneers, leading the team with 8 wins, posting a 2.97 ERA, and allowing just a .203 batting average against.  He also left his school as the career strikeout leader with 291 K’s over 4 years.  Shortly after signing with the Dodgers, Pete was assigned to the Ogden Raptors and probably surprised a lot of people by recording strong stats in 40 innings.  That earned Budkevics a promotion to Great Lakes in 2011 where he was an invaluable part of the Loons bullpen.  “Pistol” Pete led Great Lakes with 45 appearances, and posted a very solid ERA and FIP.  He even stepped into the closer’s role for a short time after Shawn Tolleson got promoted and did a solid job by collecting 5 saves.  In terms of his stuff, I don’t really know hard Budkevics throws or what other pitches he has, but I don’t think his fastball is all that over-powering.  Looking ahead to 2012, I believe Pete will spend next season in HiA where he’ll have a similar role for the Quakes as he did for the Loons.

144.  Anthony Jackson, OF (20 games in AA, 35 games in HiA, 3 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

PTNL in trade for Dotel

5’8”, 175 lbs, 27.75 years old, switch hitter

.315 average, .811 OPS, 4 HR’s, 32 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 118; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers acquired Anthony Jackson as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Octavio Dotel to the Rockies.  The now 27 year old was originally picked by Colorado in the 16th round of the 2006 draft out of the University of the Pacific.  In his 4 years with the Rockies, the switch hitter had a career .252 batting average and a .670 OPS in 528 games.  Jackson made his Dodger debut with the Lookouts to start the 2011 season, but there wasn’t much room for him in the lineup and after a month and a half of limited playing time and mediocre stats Jackson was demoted down to Rancho Cucamonga.  Anthony had immediate success with the Quakes, although I’m sure he was probably aided by the fact that he was one of the oldest players in the league.  A broken finger in late July cut his season short, however, as he didn’t return from the injury until the tail end of the season.  Overall, Jackson doesn’t have much value give his age and struggles in the higher levels of the minor leagues, but he’ll probably get another chance to play in either AA or AAA in 2012 as he does seem to be a decent organizational player when healthy.

143.  Jesse Bosnik, 3B (100 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 13th round

6’2”, 205 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats left handed

.232 average, .646 OPS, 8 HR’s, 42 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 87; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Jesse Bosnik in the 13th round of the 2010 draft out of St. Bonaventure University, where he hit .387 with 11 homers and collected 62 RBI’s as a junior in 2010.  In Baseball America’s pre-draft report, they called him more of a doubles hitter than a home run hitter, but they did call him a very good base runner.  Bosnik signed quickly and started his professional career in Ogden where he had a very average season for the Raptors.  He was promoted to the Midwest League in 2011, but he got off to a dismal start and ended up hitting all 8 of his homers in the second half of the season.  He actually only had one good month – July – which is when he hit .309 with 5 HR’s and a .877 OPS.  The rest of the year “Boz”, as he was called by his Loons’ teammates, was pretty bad.  A shortstop in college, Bosnik has moved to 3rd base in the professional ranks but his defense is a work in progress as his fielding % is just .918 since signing with the Dodgers.  I really don’t see many strengths with his game, and I don’t envision him having much value to the Dodgers even though they have limited options at the hot corner.  That said, I’m guessing that Bosnik will move up to HiA in 2011 because the organization doesn’t really have many 3rd base options in the system.  Maybe a move to the California League will jumpstart his bat, or maybe he’ll just continue to struggle.

142.  Robert Boothe, RHP (5 IP in LoA, 21 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 12/5/07

6’2”, 190 lbs, 26 years old

0-0, 4.15 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 5.16 FIP, 6.23 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 111; Pre 2010 Rank: 77; Pre 2009 Rank: 82

Robert Boothe has had an interesting minor league career.  He was originally signed by the Dodgers out of Japan as an international free agent, and at the time of his signing Logan White said that Boothe has “a nice delivery, good arm action, and a sound mix of breaking pitches which gives him the ability to be a future Major Leaguer.”  The half Japanese half Caucasian right hander started his career in Ogden in 2008, then had a solid season for the Loons in 2009 where he had a K/9 of almost 12.5.  At that point there was talk that Boothe and his 95 mph fastball might make the jump up to AA, but Robert was instead sent to the California League in 2010 where he struggled mightily with control.  The Dodgers demoted Boothe back to LoA to start the 2011 season with hopes that he would return to form, but he instead completely imploded and was removed from the roster in early May.  Boothe re-emerged in mid July, but this time it was all the way down in the Arizona Rookie League, which is where he finished out his season without much success.  While his ERA in Arizona was only 2.57, he walked more batter than he struck out which is not what you want to see out of a 25 year old.  I’m honestly not sure what the next step is for Boothe.  The Dodgers will probably want to hold on to him for at least one more year if he still possesses a mid 90’s fastball, but at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if he was released at some point in the near future given his inability to find the plate.  I guess only time will tell where he’ll be in 2012.

 

141.  Devin Shines, OF (1 game in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 52 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 38th round

5’9”, 185 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.319 average, .864 OPS, 4 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Devin Shines, who is the son of former Expos first baseman Razor Shines, started his college career at San Jacinto Junior College where he hit about .340 over two seasons and slugged 16 homers.  He transferred to Oklahoma State in 2010, but he redshirted that year due to injury.  He finally made his Cowboy debut in 2011 where he was one of the team’s starting outfielders, but he only hit .270 with 4 homers and 6 stolen bases.  He also had a relatively weak fielding % of .968, but he did make this diving play (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1sF3qe5kvo).  Despite his disappointing season the Dodgers selected Shines in the 38th round of the 2011 draft, and he quickly became one of the best offensive players on the Arizona Dodgers.  Devin ranked 2nd on the club in many offensive categories including OPS, average, and OB% (.398).  He also led the team with 13 steals and played a solid center field.  The only issue is that Shines was one of the older players in the league at 22 years old, so you have to take his stats with a grain of salt.  However, I’ve read scouting reports that say he has surprising pop for his frame and also has good speed, so based on those reports, his bloodlines, and his great professional debut I would venture to say that Shines does have some potential as a prospect.  I could see him getting promoted to LoA for 2012, especially since his dad is the hitting coach for the Loons, but then again there is a bit of an outfield log jam in the Dodgers lower minor leagues so he might be forced to play in Ogden.

140.  Matthew Laney, LHP (24.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in July 2011 as a non drafted free agent

6’4”, 235 lbs, 23.5 years old

2-0, 0.74 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 2.46 FIP, 8.88 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Matthew Laney was one of 8 non-drafted free agent pitchers to sign with the Dodgers during 2011.  He started his college career at Miami Dade Community College and was selected by the Phillies in the 42nd round of the 2009 draft, but he instead decided to attend Coastal Carolina.  Laney spent two years with the Chanticleers and posted decent stats as he had an ERA around 4.25 and struck out a batter per inning, but after his senior year in 2011 he didn’t get drafted.  Shortly after he signed with the Dodgers, he said “It was very stressful in wanting to continue my dream to play pro ball. After the draft, there was nothing to lose pretty much, so I signed as a free agent; and I’m going to pitch as well as I can and see if I can continue to play for a couple of years.”  Matthew joined the Arizona Dodgers in mid July and became one of their best bullpen arms.  Laney actually didn’t allow an earned run until his last appearance of the season, and overall he threw 24.1 frames while allowing just 12 hits.  The 6’4″ lefty throws in the low 90’s and while he was one of the older players in the Arizona Rookie League, his stats are hard to ignore.  Given his age and success in 2011, I would guess that Laney will get a chance to play with the Loons in 2012.  While non-drafted pitchers don’t usually have much of an impact, maybe he’ll buck the trend and turn out to be a decent find for the Dodgers.

139.  Andrew Edge, C (41 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 24th round

6’2”, 230 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.253 average, .831 OPS, 8 HR’s, 28 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 137; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Andrew Edge was selected by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2010 draft out of Jacksonville State, and he was ready to sign right away.  Upon getting drafted, he said “I was just hoping to get picked up by anybody.  I’m actually happy with the Dodgers. I like the team and hopefully I can work hard and make my way up there.  They told me to enjoy it right now.  I’m kind of on cloud nine and waiting to see what I need to do.”  While at Jacksonville State, the catcher had a very good senior season as he hit .330 with 11 homers and 64 RBI’s.  Edge made his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers, but after a hot start he slumped to end the season.  After getting promoted to Ogden in 2011, Edge followed similar path as he was killing the ball through the month of July – hitting .316 with 6 homers and an OPS over 1.000, but he again hit the skids as the season came to a close and ended the year with an average of .253.  In addition, he incredibly struck out in almost half of his plate appearances while with the Raptors (48.2%), which lead to an amazing batting average for ball in play of .464.  In terms of his defense, Andrew has done a solid job thus far as he’s thrown out 42% of would be base-stealers so far in his professional career and has a decent fielding % of .972.  Looking ahead to 2012, it’s going to be tough for Edge to play in a full season league given his terrible contact rate, but he’ll probably get the chance to hold down the backup role with the Loons given his age, power, and defensive abilities.

138.  Giordanny Chavez, RHP (47.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/29/09

6’3”, 185 lbs, 20.75 years old
3-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 3.56 FIP, 5.48 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 110; Pre 2010 Rank: 139; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After a terrible debut in the DSL in 2009 (6.38 ERA in 18.1 innings), Giordanny Chavez had quite a turnaround in 2010 as he recorded a 1.85 ERA over 68 innings.  However his peripherals didn’t really compliment his ERA because the Dominican native had a FIP of 3.73 and he only struck out 6.22 per 9 innings, so it’s no surprise that he came back down to earth in 2011.  In his 3rd season with the Dominican Dodgers Chavez had a 3.78 ERA and continued to post a low strikeout rate.  His did have a decent WHIP, however, and his FIP remained pretty steady at 3.58.  In addition, Chavez has a good pitchers’ frame at 6’3” and is still relatively young at 20 years old, so I think he’ll get promoted to the Arizona Rookie League for the 2012 season where he still could turn into a legitimate Dodger prospect.

137.  Kevin Taylor, 2B (2 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 36th round

6’0”, 200 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed

.000 average, .168 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Kevin Taylor played his college ball at Western Nevada Community College, and was in the same league as Bryce Harper in 2010 when both freshmen were named to the Scenic West Athletic Conference All-Region 18 First Team.  While Harper went on to become the #1 pick of the 2010 draft, Taylor decided to stay one more season at Western Nevada and the Dodgers picked Taylor in the 36th round of the 2011 draft.  He initially turned down a Dodger offer as Campbellsville University announced that he would attend their school in the fall.  At that point, the Campbellsville baseball coach said “We are really excited to sign Kevin…Offensively, Kevin is a pure hitter who can hit with power to all fields and defensively, he could play all nine positions. He can run the bases as well.”  It turned out that Taylor did sign with the Dodgers at the deadline, but because he inked his deal so late he only played in two games in the Arizona Rookie League last season.  In college Kevin hit for a solid average and drove in a lot of runs, but based on his stats he seemed to have more gap power rather than raw power.  Overall I think Taylor was a solid late sign for the Dodgers, and it will be interesting to see how he does in 2012.  My guess is that because he played two years of college ball – not to mention in a wood bat conference – that he’ll get an opportunity to spend next season with the Raptors in the Pioneer League.

136.  Chris Handke, RHP (25.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 41st round

6’11”, 235 lbs, 24 years old

0-1, 6.66 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, 6.36 FIP, 9.47 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 135; Pre 2010 Rank: 154; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

I’ve written about Chris Handke’s interesting background before, but I figure it’s worth mentioning again. Prior to signing with the Dodgers, the giant pitcher was actually a much better basketball player at Cornell College, averaging 9.8 points per game and setting the single season record for blocks with 45 during the 2008-2009 season.  In addition, Handke had a 3.92 GPA while majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  And by the way, his career pitching stats at Cornell looked like this: 0-1, 10.12 ERA, 25 walks, and 11 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.  So needless to say it was a bit of a surprise when he signed with the Dodgers, although he was influenced by the fact that the Dodgers allowed him to finish his degree in the offseason.  Handke only got into two games in his professional debut because an injury shut him down, and then in 2010 he threw pretty well over 22.1 innings for the Arizona Dodgers despite being extremely wild.  In 2011, Chris was promoted to the Pioneer League where he was supposed to be in Ogden’s rotation, but he continued to struggle with his control so he only made 4 starts before moving to the bullpen.  Handke walked 29 in just 25.2 innings and posted a devilish ERA.  That being said, he didn’t allow many hits and had a strong strikeout rate so his season wasn’t a complete failure.  Overall, tall pitchers are historically late bloomers, but now at 24 years old Handke is running out of time to impress.  Give his age he really needs to play in a full season league next year, so his performance in spring training will be extremely important.

135.  Pedro Guerrero, 2B/3B/SS (39 games in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06

6’3”, 185 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats right handed

.274 average, .704 OPS, 0 HR’s, 4 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 99; Pre 2010 Rank: 92; Pre 2009 Rank: 67

Pedro Guerrero was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut in 2008.  He produced average numbers in the rookie leagues during his first two years in America, and then Guerrero was promoted to LoA for the start of the 2010 season.  Unfortunately he struggled so badly with the Loons that he was sent back to extended spring training in May before finishing the year in Ogden.  In 2011 Guerrero received a surprise promotion to the Quakes, but he was used very sparingly and was actually taken off the roster several times during the season to make room for other players.  When he was on Rancho’s active roster he was used in a utility role as he split his time between shortstop, 2nd base, and 3rd base.  At the plate he had a mediocre season, but his sample size was very small and he didn’t show any speed or power.  Overall, I had considered Guerrero a fringe prospect in the past, but he’s shown very little offensive ability over the last few seasons and he now appears to be more of an organizational player.  He’ll probably reprise his role as a Quakes utility infielder in 2012.

134.  Yimy Rodriguez, RHP (44.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 27th round

6’2”, 215 lbs, 24.5 years old

3-3, 4.06 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 3.63 FIP, 8.73 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 139; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When Yimy Rodriguez was selected by the Dodgers out of Peru St. College (Nebraska) in the 27th round of the 2010 draft, he became the first player from school to make it to the professional ranks.  After the draft, PSC President Dan Hanson said, “This is a great day for Yimy and Peru State College baseball. In addition to making Peru State history, Yimy’s baseball success will undoubtedly inspire legions of young athletes from the area long into the future. I congratulate Yimy on his amazing accomplishment and the Dodgers on a great new recruit.”  At Peru, Yimy had a 3.83 ERA as a junior and a 4.52 ERA as a senior.  After spending his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League, Yimy played for the Raptors in 2011 and was the team’s token long reliever.  Rodriguez accumulated 44.1 frames in just 16 appearances and posted an ERA of 4.06.  His peripherals were slightly better, however, as he struck out almost a batter per inning and had a FIP of 3.63.  In terms of his stuff, I read somewhere that Rodriguez does have a strong fastball, but outside of that I’m not sure what his repertoire consists of.  At 24 years old Yimy will definitely move to a full season league in 2012, and it will probably be the defining year of his professional career.

133.  Bryant Hernandez, SS/2B (5 games in AAA, 58 games in LoA, 19 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 9th round

5’8”, 170 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.235 average, .658 OPS, 4 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 105; Pre 2010 Rank: 84; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers first noticed Bryant Hernandez when they were scouting his University of Oklahoma teammate J.T. Wise, who ended up getting selected four rounds earlier than Hernandez in the 2009 draft.  While Bryant is listed at just 5’8” and 170 pounds, in his junior season at Oklahoma he batted .351, hit 12 HR’s, and tied Wise for the team lead with 62 RBI’s.  He was also a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation’s top shortstop.  After the draft, Logan White said that Hernandez “is a kid that had good numbers, could hit in the middle of the night, could play short or second and he’s a sure-handed fielder with some pop in his bat.”   After a mediocre debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009, Bryant split the 2010 season between LoA and HiA but had a terrible time at the plate as he hit a combined .179 with a .524 OPS.  In 2011 Hernandez returned to the Midwest League where he was used as a backup middle infielder, but he again struggled mightily and was sent back down to the Arizona Rookie League at the end of July.  A strong month in Arizona got him a surprise promotion to AAA for 5 games, but that was more out of necessity for Albuquerque who was short on infielders as their season came to a close.  Overall, Hernandez and his .228 career batting average will probably never make it to the big leagues, but he can help the Dodgers as an organizational player over the next few years.  In 2012 I predict that Hernandez will spend the year in Rancho Cucamonga where he’ll again serve as a backup middle infielder.  Finally, here are a couple videos of Bryant; one of him taking some batting practice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdOMl_XZo-A), and one of some game action where he hit a walk off single (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9NpaNsxAiw).

132.  Moises Tamarez, RHP (18 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 195 lbs, 20 years old

0-0, 2.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4.14 FIP, 5.00 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank; 104; Pre 2010 Rank: 87; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

2011 was an odd year for Moises Tamarez.  In his 3rd season in the DSL Tamarez posted by far the best ERA of his career, but he was limited to just 18 innings after hurling a combined 75.2 frames over the previous two years.  It didn’t appear that his limited use was due to injury, however, since his 8 appearances were spread all throughout the season.  Whatever the case, Moises had more than just a solid ERA in 2011 as his batting average against was .185.  In fact, he only allowed 1 hit to left handed batters all year long.  The one negative about his game, however, is that despite his solid pitching frame Tamarez continues to record very low strikeout numbers and his career K/9 is only 4.6.  Overall, Moises is still very young as he won’t turn 20 years old until this upcoming March, but with 3 years and almost 100 innings of experience I believe he’ll get promoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012.

131.  Bret Montgomery, RHP (4.2 IP in HiA, 90 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 46th round

6’6”, 250 lbs, 26.5 years old

7-1, 2.66 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 2.29 FIP, 8.46 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 143; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Bret Montgomery is a local boy who was the Dodgers 46th round pick in 2010.  He was born in Thousand Oaks, and played his college ball at Cal State Dominguez Hills.  During his 3 seasons with the Toros, Montgomery had a cumulative 2.95 ERA in 36 appearances, amassed 191 strikeouts, and threw a no hitter against Cal State LA in February of 2010.  After getting drafted, Bret said “I am more relieved than anything that I can keep playing baseball.  Overall I am very happy that it is with the Dodgers, after idolizing their players and always watching them as a kid it is a dream come true but it was also great being a Toro for three years and I will definitely keep track of our guys.”  Upon signing, Montgomery spent most of his professional debut with the Ogden Raptors, and while his ERA was 4.99, he had a solid strikeout to walk ratio and an excellent FIP of 2.49.  Here is some footage of him throwing for Ogden (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJJ6uIcWdgo).  Montgomery was promoted to Great Lakes in 2011 and had an outstanding season for the Loons.  In 90 innings “Monty” posted a 2.60 ERA and led the club with his 1.07 WHIP and 2.09 FIP.  He worked mostly in middle relief and was probably the team’s most valuable bullpen arm since he remained in Great Lakes for almost the entire season.  At the end of August he did get moved up to HiA where he appeared in two games and allowed just 2 hits over 4.2 innings.  Overall, Montgomery is obviously quite old to be playing in class A, but he does have some value given his outstanding control and ability to keep the ball in the park.  He throws in the low 90’s and possesses a good slider, and while it is very unlikely that he’ll ever play in the big leagues he should continue to be a solid organizational guy that could make his way all the way up to AAA in the next year or two.

130.  Garrett Bolt, RHP (8.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 23rd round

6’4”, 215 lbs, 22.5 years old

0-2, 6.48 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, 4.88 FIP, 14.04 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Garrett Bolt grew up just a half hour away from where the Great Lakes Loons play.  He watched Clayton Kershaw pitch for the Loons in 2007, and shortly after he set his high school’s record with 122 strikeouts in a single season.  After graduating Bolt attended Muskegon CC where he had an outstanding season in 2010 (1.19 ERA, 35 K’s in 29.1 innings).  Upon transferring to Western Illinois, however, things didn’t go so well for Garrett as he threw 17 innings and had an 11.65 ERA with just 10 K’s.  The Dodgers didn’t mind his ugly stats because they knew he had a 95 mph fastball and a good slider, so they decided to select Bolt in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft.  After the draft, Garrett said “It would be pretty awesome (to pitch for the Loons), because everyone from around my hometown could come watch.  (Being drafted) is a step closer to what I’ve always wanted to do.”  Bolt signed quickly and threw 9 games out of the Arizona Dodgers bullpen before getting shut down for the season in mid July.  In his limited professional debut Garrett was a bit wild, but he posted great strikeout numbers.  I love Bolt’s size, and with his mid 90’s fastball it appears that he could move quickly through the system.  A move to the Loons bullpen in 2012 isn’t out of the question, although he’ll probably start the year in extended spring training since he saw such limited action last season.

129.  Jordan Roberts, LHP (71.1 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.25 years old

7-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 3.28 FIP, 7.32 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 129; Pre 2010 Rank: 152; Pre 2009 Rank: 150

Jordan Roberts was a first team All-American out of the NAIA college Embry-Riddle in Florida and was selected by the Dodgers in the 28th round of the 2008 draft.  In his senior season at Embry-Riddle, Roberts finished the year 12th in the NAIA in ERA (1.94) and ranked 24th in K/9.  His professional debut in 2008 was a little rocky, but since then Jordan has been very good.  He had a 2.70 ERA and .216 batting average against with the Ogden Raptors in 2009, then as a follow up he posted a 2.95 ERA with the Loons in 2010.  In 2011 Roberts spent the year in the California League and again had a great season with a 3.03 ERA through 71.1 innings.  He was one of the Quakes most effective relievers, and despite his unattractive strikeout rate he posted a solid FIP of 3.28.  At the end of the day I’m not sure how hard Roberts throws or what types of pitches he has, but he’s been solid so far in his professional career and he’s poised to make a move to AA.  The 26 year old lefty may never make it up to the big leagues, but he should be a solid organizational talent over the next few years.

128.  Michael Thomas, LHP (13.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 21.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 35th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 23 years old

2-3, 4.58 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 3.06 FIP, 12.23 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers drafted Michael Thomas in the 35th round of the 2011 draft, they may or may not have known that he already had a connection to the organization.  You see Mike’s grandfather, George Thomas, was a teammate of Tommy Lasorda way back in 1950 when they were both members of the Montreal Royals.  That team was managed my Walter Alston, and the team finished 2nd in the International League that season.  For his career, George Thomas played 7 minor league seasons and finished his career with a 4.45 ERA.  Getting back to Michael, the left hander spent four seasons at Rider University and he left there as their all time leader in wins and strikeouts.  He had a career 3.53 ERA in college, but really thrived as a senior when he went 9 – 3 with a 2.34 ERA and 92 K’s in 96 innings.  Thomas signed quickly with the Dodgers and made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League.  At 22 years old he may have been a little old for the league, but was pretty dominant in his 4 starts and 8 relief appearances with a 2.49 ERA, a 1.78 FIP, and a K/9 of 14.1.  That earned Thomas a promotion to Ogden for the final month of the season, but he struggled with the Raptors and posted a 7.90 ERA over 13.2 frames.  I’m not too concerned about Michael’s performance in the Pioneer League because he’d already pitched a full college season, so I’m sure he was fatigued as the year was coming to a close.  Heading into 2012 I wouldn’t be surprised if Thomas got a chance to play for the Loons given his age and experience, and based on what I’ve read and seen so far I think he could be a bit of a steal as a 35th round pick.

 

127.  Francisco Villa, RHP (15 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season

6’0”, 194 lbs, 20 years old

1-1, 7.80 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 4.33 FIP, 9.00 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers signed Francisco Villa out of Mexico as an 18 year old, giving him a bonus of $80K.  I couldn’t find any scouting reports on him, however, so he’s a bit of a mystery to me outside of what I see on his player page.  Francisco turned 19 on April 1st, and then made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League where he spent the season in the Dodgers bullpen.  He had a tough season as he recorded a 7.80 ERA over 11 appearances and had a .348 batting average against, but one positive was that he struck out a batter per inning.  In addition, he is still very young so that gives me some hope that he’ll improve as he gets older.  Heading into 2012 Villa will probably return to Arizona for another year of Rookie ball, especially since he only has 15 professional innings under his belt.

126.  Freddie Cabrera, RHP (10.2 IP in HiA, 21.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 15 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 26th round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 22 years old

2-2, 5.94 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 5.18 FIP, 6.89 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

A Puerto Rican native, Cabrera played at his college ball at NAIA school Central Methodist and as a junior he went 6 – 4 with a 3.06 ERA through 82.1 innings.  Rumor has it that he as a 95 mph fastball, so the Dodgers selected him in the 26th round of the 2011 draft.  Freddie started his professional career in the Arizona Rookie League, but then received a surprise promotion to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in July.  Cabrera had a tough time in the California League, however, and eventually ended the year in the Pioneer Rookie League.  His overall stats were relatively unimpressive, but a mid 90’s fastball and a solid pitching frame give me hope that he has future as a Dodger prospect.  In addition, he played ball in the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason and threw very well with a 2.63 ERA over 24 innings with a .220 batting average against.  My guess is that Cabrera will start the 2012 season with Great Lakes where he’ll get a shot in the Loons starting rotation.

125.  Josmar Cordero, C (42 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 3/10/10

5’10, 175 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.283 average, .779 OPS, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 156; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Josmar Cordero was signed out of Venezuela prior to the 2010 season, and had a very solid professional debut.  Cordero built upon that success in 2011 as he improved virtually all of his offensive stats, increasing his average from .255 to .283 and his OPS from .705 to .779.  For the second consecutive season he also showed strong defensive abilities behind the plate, and was praised by Baseball America for his solid “catch-and-throw skills” in their 2010 international signee roundup.  Given his age and success in the DSL over the past two seasons, I definitely expect Cordero to make the jump to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012.  A good season there could really put him on the map as a legitimate Dodger prospect.

124.  Carlos De Aza, RHP (33.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07

6’3”, 178 lbs, 22 years old

2-2, 7.02 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 4.61 FIP, 6.75 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 94; Pre 2010 Rank: 67; Pre 2009 Rank: 127

In his professional debut in 2008, De Aza was awful in the DSL as he posted a 6.53 ERA and 2.08 WHIP.  Then in 2009 Carlos completely turned things around as he recorded a 1.30 ERA through 27.2 innings and allowed batters to hit just .149 against him.  His stellar 2009 season earned De Aza a promotion to the Arizona League in 2010, but he had a rude awaking as he got dominated by the more advanced competition to the tune of a 7.13 ERA.  Despite his ugly stats, the Dodgers decided to promote De Aza again in 2011 as he found himself in the Ogden Raptor’s bullpen.  Unfortunately De Aza again struggled in his new environment as his ERA was over 7 for the second straight season.  He does have a good pitching frame and he did show some improvement year over year as he lowered his WHIP and FIP from 2010 to 2011, but overall De Aza mostly seems lost.  Heading into 2012 Carlos will be just 22 years old so he still has time to improve, and I’m sure he’ll return to the Pioneer League where he’ll try and produce some better results.

 

123.  Enlly Morales, 2B (25 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 3 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

5’11”, 168 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.264 average, .639 OPS, 0 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 91; Pre 2010 Rank: 73; Pre 2009 Rank: 91

Signed after the 2007 season as an international free agent, Enlly Morales had a strong professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and then was even better in the DSL in 2009.  That earned Morales a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, but since coming to the US he’s been quite unimpressive.  Over the past two seasons he’s accumulated 153 at bats in Arizona and 77 at bats with the Ogden Raptors, but has just 11 total extra base hits (all doubles).  That led to a combined OPS of about .630, which just isn’t going to cut it.  He also doesn’t have much defensive value as a 2nd baseman, so at this point he’s probably lost most of his value as a potential prospect.  I’m sure he’ll stick around for a few more seasons since he is still just 22 years old, but unless he really catches fire in 2012 he’ll be nothing more than an organizational player.

122.  Steve Smith, RHP (69.1 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before the 2008 season

6’2”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old

5-5, 3.63 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3.78 FIP, 7.66 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 124; Pre 2010 Rank: 141; Pre 2009 Rank: 160

Steve Smith was signed by the Dodgers in 2008 as a non drafted free agent out of the University of New Mexico, where he was a teammate of fellow Dodger minor leaguer Brian Cavazos-Galvez.  He wasn’t overly impressive during his senior season with the Lobos, posting a 5.01 ERA and 58 strikeouts in just under 74 innings, but the Dodgers decided to give Smith a chance anyways.  Smith struggled in his 2008 professional debut, but he has dramatically turned things around ever since.  He spent two seasons in Great Lakes and was one of the Loons most effective bullpen arms, posting a 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings in 2009 and a 2.69 ERA in 73.2 innings in 2010.  That earned Smith a promotion to the Quakes in 2011 where he again served as an important bullpen arm.  Smith was used mostly as a late inning reliever for Rancho Cucamonga and collected 9 saves throughout the course of the season.  His strikeout rate wasn’t great, but he had a decent ERA and FIP and was surprisingly effective against left handed hitters who batted just .203 against hin for the year.  I remember watching Smith pitch live at a Quakes game last season, but I don’t remember his velocity or types of pitches.  Heading into 2012 he could receive another promotion to AA, but at 25 years old I’m not sure that he has the stuff to ever make it to the show.

121.  Andrew Pevsner, LHP (42.1 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 16th round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 23.5 years old

1-1, 4.25 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 5.23 FIP, 7.23 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 96; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Andrew Pevsner is a southern California native, and as you’ve probably heard by now he was born on the day that Kirk Gibson hit his famous World Series home run.  Coming out of high school Pevsner didn’t get a lot of attention from Division I colleges, so he decided to go to the Division III Johns Hopkins University because it has strong academics and a respectable baseball program.  As a freshman he only threw about 80 mph, but a workout regiment increased his velocity to the upper 80’s by the time he graduated.  As a senior in 2010 Andrew had a 4.17 ERA, but struck out over a batter per inning and only allowed a .209 batting average against.  He wasn’t really sure he’d get drafted, so he was surprised to get picked relatively early in the 16th round.  After the draft he said “It was literally a dream come true. I think it took me about 48 hours for my heart to slow down and to stop shaking.”  Pevsner made his professional debut in the Pioneer League where he had a very good season in terms of ERA (1.91).  However he struggled a little with control and allowed a few homers during the season, which is why his FIP in 2010 was 4.26.  After the season Pevsner said his goal was to make a full season league out of spring training, and that’s what happened as he spent 2011 in the Loons bullpen.  Unfortunately “Pevs” struggled against the more advanced competition as his strikeout numbers dropped and his walk rate increased leading to a very high WHIP.  I’m guessing his lack of velocity also contributed to his less than stellar season.  Last year I speculated that Pevsner could eventually develop into a left handed specialist, but opposing lefties hit .281 against him last season so at least for the moment that seems unlikely.  In 2012 Andrew will almost certainly spend another season in class A, I’m just not sure if he’ll be back with the Loons or if he’ll play with the Quakes instead.

120.  Casio Grider, SS/2B (120 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 14th round

6’1”, 165 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.230 average, .670 OPS, 2 HR’s, 25 RBI’s, 31 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 114; Pre 2010 Rank: 118; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Drafted out of Newberry College in the 14th round, Logan White called Grider a tools guy who is a bit raw and very athletic.  He was named as the faster runner in the Dodgers 2009 draft by Baseball America, and runs a 6.5 second 60.  Grider spent his first two seasons as pro in the rookie leagues, and while he didn’t do a whole lot at the plate he did show off his speed with a combined 44 stolen bases.  That got Casio promoted to the Loons in 2011 where got a chance to regularly at 2nd base.  He also played some outfield and shortstop, but his fielding % at shortstop was atrocious so that’s not really an option for him going forward.  That being said I’ve heard he’s an exciting player to watch as he will make the occasional spectacular play on defense, but he simply tends to make too many errors.  In terms of his offense performance with Great Lakes, Grider had his worst year yet with a .230 average and a paltry .670 OPS, but he continued to show good speed with a team high 31 stolen bases.  It’s going to take more than stolen bases to prove that Casio has what it takes to become a true prospect, however, so the 24 year old is going to have to show some offensive spark soon or risk getting released.  He will probably get a chance to play for the Quakes in 2012 where he’ll try in improve in the hitter friendly California League.

119.  Leonel Beras, LHP (No stats in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07

5’11”, 145 lbs, 20.75 years old

Did not play in 2011

Pre 2011 Rank: 71; Pre 2010 Rank: 96; Pre 2009 Rank: 34

Leonel Beras disappeared in 2011 and I’m not sure why.  According to his player page on the milb.com website he has been on the ineligible list for all 2011, but that could mean a variety of things.  It’s a shame too because Beras was coming off of an outstanding season in 2010 as he posted a 2.26 ERA over 71.2 innings in the DSL with a minuscule .178 batting average against, so he was all but assured a promotion to a US based league in 2011.  In terms of his background, Beras made his professional debut as a 17 year old in the DSL in 2008 and was very impressive.  While he only threw 20.2 innings that year, he had a 2.18 ERA as a 17 year old.  However in 2009 he was unable to find the plate as he walked 20 batters and was limited to just 14 innings.  That led to a 7.07 ERA and a terrible WHIP.  Moving ahead to 2010, Beras rebounded nicely in his 3rd season with the DSL Dodgers.  He ranked 2nd in the league with 8 wins and also placed among the Dodger minor league leaders in several pitching categories.  That brings us up to date given that he didn’t pitch in 2011.  I’ve always been alarmed at Beras small stature, but he put up such great stats in 2010 that I couldn’t help but give him a solid ranking last year.  I’m still holding out hope that he’ll return to the Dodgers in 2012, and since he’s still just 20 years old he is still ahead of the game if he plays in the Arizona Rookie League next season.

118.  Lance Zawadzki, SS/2B/3B (91 games in AAA in 2011)

Signed as a minor league free agent in Dec 2011

5’11”, 195 lbs, 26.75 years old, switch hitter

.233 average, .671 OPS, 8 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, 15 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Originally signed by the Padres as their 4th round pick in the 2007 draft, spring training invitee Lance Zawadzki still qualifies for my prospect ranking because he is just 26 years old and has accumulated just 35 at bats in the big leagues.  After spending four seasons in the Padres organization and making his professional debut in 2010, Zawadzki was claimed off waivers by the Royals in November of 2010 and played the entire 2011 season in AAA with the Storm Chasers where he hit .233 with 8 homers, stole 15 bases, and posted a .671 OPS.  He spent most of the year at shortstop, but also played 21 games at 3rd base and 4 games at 2nd base.  That apparently wasn’t good enough for the Royals as Kansas City released him this past October, but the Dodgers though he was worth a shot so they signed him in November.  Heading into 2012, Lance doesn’t really have a chance to make the Dodgers big league roster as his OB% over the past two years has been under .300 and he doesn’t offer much speed or power.  That being said I’m sure he’ll be a big part of the AAA team in Albuquerque, and given his experience he will probably serve as an emergence insurance policy in case injuries plague Los Angeles.

 

117.  Elian Herrera, OF (116 games in AA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/14/03

5’11”, 190 lbs, 27 years old, switch hitter

.278 average, .749 OPS, 3 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 33 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 123; Pre 2010 Rank: 89; Pre 2009 Rank: 109

Signed way back in 2003, Elian Herrera is one of the longest tenured Dodger minor leaguers.  He moved slowly through the system over his 7 minor league seasons, but in 2010 he finally made into the higher levels as he split the year between AA and AAA.  Unfortunately, Herrera didn’t really have a very good showing at either level as he combined to hit just .254 with a .693 OPS.  In 2011 Herrera returned to AA and that is where he played for the entire season.  The switch hitter improved virtually all aspects of his game in his second go-around with the Lookouts and continued to show off his good speed with a team high 33 stolen bases.  He also posted a solid strikeout to walk ratio.  In the field he continued to be a super utility man, spending a significant amount of time at shortstop, 2nd base, 3rd base, and in the outfield.  That being said, Herrera was one of the Lookouts’ oldest players so his success was almost to be expected.  As we head to 2012, I’m really not even sure if Herrera will be back in the Dodgers organization because he has enough years to qualify as a minor league free agent and I’ve yet to see that he’s re-signed with the club.  He spent this past offseason in the Dominican Winter League and hit .311 over 38 games with a .799 OPS.  Here is a clip of him from November (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1UjWYtJgyI).  If he does return to the Dodgers, he should get promoted to AAA where he’ll continue to be a valuable utility man.

116.  Alexis Aguilar, SS/2B (45 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 4/8/08

5’11”, 162 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats right handed

.307 average, .789 OPS, 4 HR’s, 34 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 125; Pre 2010 Rank: 123; Pre 2009 Rank: 135

Alexis Aguilar is a young infielder from Venezuela who signed with the Dodgers in 2008.  After hitting just .211 in his debut season, Aguilar showed some improvement in the DSL in 2009.  That wasn’t enough to warrant a promotion to a US based league as he started the 2010 season back in the Dominican Summer League, but a hot start earned him a rare mid-season promotion from the DSL to the Arizona League, where he spent the rest of the season.  Aguilar continued his climb through the system in 2011 as he spent the season in the Pioneer League.  He played all over the infield for the Raptors, but got the majority of his starts and 2nd base and posted an ugly fielding % of about .900.  At the plate Alexis had his best season to date, posting career highs in every offensive category.  He was especially effective against right handed pitchers, and also had a torrid month of July where he hit .380 over 21 games with an OPS of .999.  His one downfall was his walk rate, as he took a base on balls in just 2.6% of his plate appearances.  The good news, however, is that he struck out in just 13.8% of plate appearances.  Overall Aguilar will need to improve his defense, but he seems to be on track to make it to full season league next season as a 20 year old.  I foresee him in a Loons uniform for 2012 which should provide him a true test of his offensive skills.

115.  Bladimir Franco, 3B/OF (40 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 7/6/07

6’1”, 172 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.211 average, .599 OPS, 3 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 69; Pre 2010 Rank: 36; Pre 2009 Rank: 30

 

Bladimir Franco was signed by the Dodgers in 2007 when he was just 16 years old, and made his professional debut in the DSL in 2008.  While he hit just .169 back in 2008, he lead the team with 5 homers as a 17 year old so that is what put him on the map for me.  In 2009 Franco had one of the best seasons for the Dominican Dodgers in recent memory with 9 homers, a .282 average, and an .880 OPS; and did all of that as an 18 year old.  That earned Franco a promotion for the Arizona League in 2010, but since then his career has stalled.  Over the past two seasons, both spent in Arizona, Franco has hit a combined .217 with an OPS of .600 while striking out in over one third of his plate appearances.  One positive is that he improved his 3rd base defense in 2011 and also showed some versatility by playing some right field, but overall the negatives outweigh the positives.  Still just 21 years old, Franco will probably spend 2012 with the Ogden Raptors where he’ll try and get something going in the hitter friendly Pioneer League.  To do so, however, he’ll definitely need to improve his contact rate.

 

114.  Gregory Pena, OF (61 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/1/09

6’0”, 175 lbs, 20.25 years old, switch hitter

.303 average, .830 OPS, 3 HR’s, 31 RBI’s, 23 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 132; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Gregory Pena was apparently born in New York, but must have moved out of the USA at some point because he wasn’t subject to the MLB draft.  Instead, he was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent and made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2010.  During his first season Pena severed as the Dodgers main center fielder, but he didn’t do much at the plate as he hit just .212 for the season.  He did show some positive qualities, however, which led me to write last season that “he’ll be one of the players I watch closely in the DSL next year because I believe he’s a candidate to move up to the Arizona League in 2012.”  Pena proved me right during his sophomore campaign as he led the Dominican Dodgers in almost every significant offensive category.  His 31 RBI’s were tops on the team, and he ranked 1st in average (.303), OB% (.389), SLG (.441), and OPS (.830) among players with at least 75 at bats.  He also showed off his speed with 23 stolen bases and 5 triples while demonstrating a good eye at the plate.  The switch hitter proved to be a valuable defensive player as well as he played all 3 outfield positions and made just 2 errors all year while recording a team-high 4 outfield assists.  I don’t think there’s any question that he’ll make his US debut next season, and with another good season he could really get his name on the Dodger prospect radar.

113.  Craig Stem, RHP (12.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 15th round

6’5”, 215 lbs, 22.25 years old

0-1, 3.65 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 2.39 FIP, 8.03 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 2011 draft, Craig Stem is a 6’5″ righty who had a solid season for the Traveca Nazarene University Trojans after spending two years at Western Kentucky.  He was used as a starting pitcher in 2011 and threw 5 complete games, including 1 shutout.  His ERA was 3.93 through 73.1 innings, and he struck out 75 while opposing batters hit .222 against him.  On draft day Stem said “We had been waiting, hoping to be picked earlier, but weren’t really paying attention when the Dodgers called my name because they didn’t call ahead of time. We had heard from several other teams today, but each time they picked someone else.”  But when he did get selected, Stem said “After a short pause, everyone began to hug and celebrate. It was great to have my family there and is just a special day, one I’ll never forget.”  I don’t know much about Craig’s pitches or his velocity, but he did he does seem to be a hard worker because he was quoted as saying “This wouldn’t have happened without coach Burton giving me a chance to put the innings in on the mound. Coach Brown worked with me all fall looking at video and becoming crisp with my mechanics. He has such a gift with teaching pitching mechanics.”  I’m guessing that Stem had trouble repeating his delivery due to his tall lanky frame, but it sounds like he’s improved significantly over the past year which is what got him drafted in the 15th round.  Upon signing Stem joined the Arizona Dodgers and appeared in 11 games out of the bullpen.  While he allowed he allowed way too many base runners in his professional debut, he still managed to put together a solid season with a 3.65 ERA and a 2.39 FIP. Given his age an experience Stem could be a fast mover through the system, and with a good spring training he could spend 2012 with the Loons in the Midwest League.

112.  Luis Meza, RHP (64.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 5/6/09

6’4”, 170 lbs, 21.75 years old

5-3, 4.59 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 4.16 FIP, 6.96 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 134; Pre 2010 Rank: 173; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Luis Meza is a young player from Venezuela who debuted with the Dominican Dodgers in 2009.  He struggled in his professional debut to the tune of a 6.37 ERA, but he really turned things around in 2010 which earned him a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2011.  While Meza’s overall stats with the Arizona Dodgers weren’t all that impressive, he did have a solid US debut and actually led the league in games started and innings pitched.  Luis is another guy whose pitching repertoire is a mystery to me, but I expect that he generates some decent velocity based on his great 6’4” frame.  Given that he’s still just 21 years old I expect Meza to play with another short season team in 2012, but this time I believe he’ll be with the Ogden Raptors.

111.  Jan Vazquez, C (27 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 6th round

5’10”, 165 lbs, 20.75 years old, switch hitter

.253 average, .674 OPS, 1 HR, 10 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 84; Pre 2010 Rank: 61; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jan Vasquez is a young switch hitting catcher who was selected by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2009 draft.  He is from Puerto Rico, and scouting reports prior to the draft suggested that he has a plus arm behind the plate.  According to Logan White, “This kid is a real athlete. He shifts, blocks, has perfect size for a catcher.  If we don’t need him behind the plate, he could play second base because he can really hit from both sides of the plate.”   After spending two seasons in the Arizona Rookie League with ugly offensive results, Vasquez was promoted to Ogden in 2011 where he was one of the team’s main catchers.  He continued to show solid defense by throwing out almost one third of would be base stealers, but his offensive production continued to be below average as he collected just 6 extra base hits for the season.  He also struggled significantly against left handed pitches with a .167 average, so you have to question if he is really even has value as a switch hitter.  Overall, I keep waiting for Vazquez to break out as a hitter, but it just hasn’t happened yet.  That being said, Vasquez is still just 20 years old after playing 3 minor league seasons so he is definitely young enough to turn around his career.  I actually think he’ll get promoted to the Loons in 2012 where he’ll be a part time player, and hopefully he’ll improve his offensive output as he matures.

110.  Rafael Ynoa, 2B/SS (126 games in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 7/8/05

6’0”, 180 lbs, 24.5 years old, switch hitter

.275 average, .697 OPS, 5 HR’s, 54 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 74; Pre 2010 Rank: 172; Pre 2009 Rank: 89

As expected, Rafael Ynoa came back down to earth in 2011.  After a breakout season in 2010 which saw Ynoa sock 9 home runs and steal an impressive 40 stolen bases, Rafael regressed despite a promotion to the hitter friendly California League.  An everyday player for the Quakes, Ynoa had a very pedestrian season in 2011 he posted an OPS of just .697.  He was also caught in 11 of his 24 stolen base attempts and only hit 5 homers.  His lone bright spot was his strong walk to strikeout ratio as the switch hitter struck out in just 13.1% of his plate appearances.  In terms of his defense, Rafael played 31 games at shortstop and spent the rest of the season at 2nd base.  He had a decent fielding percentage, and back in 2010 the Great Lakes Loons beat writer Hugh Bernreuter said “Ynoa is an outstanding fielder, especially at second base. He had a long string of errorless games during the season and made some spectacular plays. He is very solid, very consistent. The best fielding second baseman the Loons have had”.  Despite his great defense, I’m sticking with my stance from last year which was that I’m not sold on Ynoa as a legitimate prospect.  I don’t think he’s ready for AA, so he’ll probably return to HiA for another season in 2012.  Unless he really breaks out again next year, the 24 year old can probably kiss his chances of making the big leagues goodbye.

 

109.  Arce Rodriguez, OF (53 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/25/10

6’0”, 191 lbs, 19.25 years old, bats right handed

.288 average, .760 OPS, 4 HR’s, 25 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 130; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Arce Rodriguez made his professional debut with the Dominican Dodgers in 2010, and played that entire season as a 17 year old.  While he had a very poor year at the dish, I liked his youth and figured he’d improve with experience.  The turned out to be the case in 2011 as Rodriguez returned to the DSL and put up better stats in every offensive category.  He led the team in home runs with 4, and his .288 average ranked second.  He also increased his walk rate from 1.6% of plate appearances in 2010 to 6.2%, and only struck out 19.6% of the time.  His one drawback is that he appears to be limited defensively as he was used mostly in left field and 1st base, but hopefully he’ll hit enough as he moves up the ladder to justify his positions.  Given his success in 2011 and the fact that he’s already spent 2 seasons in the DSL, Rodriguez will probably be promoted to the Arizona Rookie League next year at the tender age of 19.  If he continues to improve, then we might have a rare Dominican born Dodger hitting prospect on our hands.

108.  Juan Noriega, RHP (4 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 13 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in August 2011 out of the Mexican League

5’7”, 145 lbs, 21.5 years old

0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 0.55 FIP, 14.29 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Juan Noriega is a bit of an enigma.  The right hander is listed at just 5’7” and 145 pounds, yet he posted dominant stats with the Dodgers after his contact was purchased from the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League.  In 17 total innings split between the Arizona Rookie League and the Pioneer League, Noriega didn’t allow a single run and walked just 2 batters while striking out 27.  And that doesn’t even include his appearance in the Arizona Rookie League Championship where he threw 4.1 shutout frames and picked up the win.  The interesting thing is that prior to joining the Dodgers, Juan threw 36.2 innings in the Mexican League and wasn’t all that impressive with a 4.42 ERA and a K/9 of about 7.  However, the level of play in the Mexican League is usually compared to AAA, so that actually makes a lot of sense as to why Noriega was a merely average in that league.  Also, it should be noted that Juan played in the Mexican Winter League this past offseason and his results were very solid as he recorded a 2.45 ERA over 33 innings, although his K/9 was again less than stellar at 5.7.  Overall I’m not really sure what to make of Noriega given his size and stats, but I’m guessing that he’ll spend 2012 with the Loons.  His results there should give us a better idea of what kind of future he has with the Dodgers.

AFTER POSTED: Noriega throws a high 80s, low 90s fastball. I think it tops out at 91. Pretty f’in amazing for a little guy. Throws a decent curve. I think a change. AND HE THROWS A KNUCKLEBALL. lol. pretty good movement.

107.  Abdiel Velasquez, RHP (46.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/09

6’3”, 184 lbs, 19 years old

1-4, 4.05 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.09 FIP, 7.33 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 73; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Abdiel Velasquez is a young right hander from Panama who had an outstanding professional debut in 2010 as a 17 year old with a 2.53 ERA and .150 batting average against through 32 innings.  Velasquez returned to the DSL in 2011 and was used mostly in the rotation as he made 9 starts.  While most of his pitching statistics appear worse in his sophomore season, his FIP actually improved from 4.39 to 4.09.  In addition, the 6’3” Velasquez has a great pitching which I’m hoping generates a good amount of velocity.  Given that Abdiel won’t even turn 19 until this upcoming March, he may return to the Dominican Republic for a 3rd season, but he’s also a solid candidate to play in the Arizona Rookie League in 2012.  He’s still a sleeper in my book and is someone I’ll continue to watch closely.

106.  Joel Lima, RHP (3 IP in AA, 34.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 2/22/08

6’0”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old

3-1, 5.26 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 5.48 FIP, 9.08 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 88; Pre 2010 Rank: 102; Pre 2009 Rank: 65

Joel Lima, the much younger half brother of the late Jose Lima, was signed by the Dodgers in 2008.  After spending two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, where he posted a combined 2.71 ERA through 69.2 innings, Joel was promoted to the Arizona League in 2010.  Although he was limited just 17.2 innings with the Arizona Dodgers, Lima had yet another excellent season with a superb ERA and a solid strikeout rate.  That brings us to 2011, which saw Lima spend a few months in extended spring training before making his season debut all the way up in AA when the Lookouts were short on relievers in early June.  After two impressive appearances Lima was spent back to extended spring training, then spent the rest of the year with the Ogden Raptors.  Unfortunately Joel struggled a bit in the Pioneer League as he allowed 9 homers in just 34.2 innings which drove his ERA to 5.71 for the season.  He did strike out a batter per inning, however, and showed pretty good control with just 12 walks for the season.  I’m guessing that Lima will move to Great Lakes in 2012, and hopefully a more pitcher friendly league will benefit Joel so we can eventually see the second coming of Lima Time.

105.  Andy Suiter, LHP (43.1 IP in HiA, 10 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 10th round

6’3”, 215 lbs, 24.75 years old

1-2, 4.56 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4.66 FIP, 7.93 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 81; Pre 2010 Rank: 94; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Coming out of high school Andy Suiter was a prize recruit by UCLA, but then due to a broken wrist and poor coaching decisions he transferred to UC Davis where he finally got an opportunity to play.  He was drafted by the Yankees in 2008 in the 32nd round, but obviously didn’t sign and returned to UC Davis in 2009.  While his 2009 college stats were rather unimpressive, he did improve his velocity and was hitting 94 mph by the end of the season.  So the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him with their 10th round pick, and after the draft Logan White said “This kid has a really good arm…He’s throwing 94-95 now and has a good change and a good curve ball. The question is getting him to command the strike zone.”  Unfortunately Logan was right because control has been Suiter’s biggest issue since turning pro as he has walked 7.2 batters per 9 innings for his career.  Outside of his terrible walk rate Suiter’s been pretty good, but you can’t keep your ERA down when you always have runners on base.  This past season Suiter spent most of the year with the Quakes (his time in Arizona was on a rehab assignment due to a minor injury), but he was used mostly in middle relief because he couldn’t be trusted in late inning situations.  Despite his control issues, Suiter remains an intriguing minor league player due to his mid 90’s fastball and his success against left handed batters (3.60 ERA vs lefties in 2011).  I don’t think he’s ready for AA, so he’ll probably return to Rancho Cucamonga in 2012.  If he is able to improve his control, however, he may eventually have value as a LOOGY at the big league level.

104.  Tae-Hyeok Nam, 1B (30 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 6/16/09

6’0”, 209 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.221 average, .649 OPS, 2 HR’s, 11 RBI, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 66; Pre 2010 Rank: 50; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers signed Nam in June of 2009, he became the first Korean high school player they had ever signed.  He was scouted throughout his high school career by the Dodgers, where he hit 22 home runs and had 43 RBIs in 65 games to go along with a .314 average.  After the signing, Logan White said that Nam had “good power and well above average speed.”  White also stated that “Nam is strong physically.  With the help of our player development staff, I’m confident that he will become a fine player.”  Unfortunately, Nam has been far from a “fine player” in his brief professional career.  After getting his feet wet in 2009, Tae spent 2010 in the Arizona Rookie League and had a decent season for a 19 year old with 3 homers and a respectable .713 OPS.  He also struck out in 23.5% of his plate appearances, which wasn’t all that bad.  Fast forward to 2011, however, and Nam regressed significantly in every offensive category.  Not only did he hit just .221, but his strikeout rate increased to 31.1%.  The only improvement he showed was his defense, but given that he plays first base he’s going to have to hit a whole lot more if he wants to progress through the system.  Despite his struggles I’ve got to think the 21 year old will move up to the Pioneer League in 2012 to give him a change of scenery.

103.  Joseph Winker, OF (4 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 43 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 28th round

6’1”, 190 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.348 average, 1.007 OPS, 5 HR’s, 47 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Joe Winker was selected by the Dodgers in the 28th round of the 2011 draft after spending four seasons at Mercer University.  In his college career Winker established himself as one of the A-Sun Conference’s best player, and in 2011 as a senior he hit .359 ranked 3rd in the conference with a .630 SLG%.  He also hit 13 homers and posted a .448 OB%.  Here’s a video of him being interviewed after a game in the A-Sun Conference tournament…go to the 4:20 mark (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2qNLC_sHKw).  Upon signing with the Dodgers Winker was sent to the Arizona Rookie League and he picked up right where he left off in college.  The 22 year old was a little old for the league, but he led the club in every offensive category except for runs and stolen bases.  His name was also scattered all over the Arizona Rookie League leader board as he led the league in OB% and also ranked 2nd in the league with his 1.068 OPS.  He finished the year with a short stint in the Pioneer League.  Despite his impressive stats, Winker doesn’t figure to be much of a prospect because of his aforementioned age and the fact that he doesn’t really have any standout skill.  If he continues to rake then I’ll be forced to change my option, but for now I think he’ll simply be a nice organizational player for the Dodgers.  Joe will probably get a chance to play for the Loons in 2012, but I given the Dodgers outfield depth in the lower minor leagues he might not get the chance to be an everyday player.

 

102.  Steve Matre, RHP (1.2 IP in LoA, 17 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 6.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 39th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 23.75 years old

0-1, 4.26 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 3.00 FIP, 9.24 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 100; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers took a late flyer on Steve Matre in the 2010 draft as they selected him in the 39th round even though he hadn’t play college ball that year due to Tommy John surgery that he had in 2009.  Prior to his surgery Matre had completed three outstanding seasons at College of Mount Saint Joseph.  As a freshman he immediately stepped into the closer role, and held it all throughout his college career.  His career ERA was 1.19 and he registered 32 saves – just 3 short of the Division III record.  His best season came in 2009 when he had a 0.41 ERA, a 13.1 K/9, and a .133 batting average against in 22 innings.  In addition, even though he missed the 2010 college season, he was cleared to play in a summer league and continued to impress by striking out 20 and walking just two in 15.2 innings of work to go along with a 1.15 ERA.  Upon getting drafted, Matre said “I was really excited to hear that I was chosen. It was like a dream come true and something that I’ve wanted to do (play professional baseball) for a long time.”  He also participated in an interesting video that was posted on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQXsCwb0lmQ).  After a very short professional debut, Steve started the 2011 season in Ogden where he threw 17 innings of middle relief for the Raptors.  Matre got hit around pretty good, however, and posted a 5.82 ERA and a .342 batting average against despite a strong FIP and K/9.  A minor injury in early August sent Matre back to Glendale, and he ended up throwing in 7 games for the Arizona Dodgers before finishing his year with a single appearance in LoA.  In terms of his stuff, according to Matre himself he throws in the low 90’s with a 4 seam fastball (cut), 2 seam fastball (sink), a slider, and a changeup.  Overall I really like Matre as a sleeper prospect, and I think he could have a breakout season for the Dodgers in 2012.  Also, everyone knows that it usually takes two full years for someone to fully recover from Tommy John, so 2012 could be his year.  I bet he spends the year in the Loons bullpen and could eventually make his way into the closer role for Great Lakes.

101.  Steve Domecus, C/LF (60 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 9th round

6’3”, 220 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.276 average, .771 OPS, 5 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 78; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Steve Domecus grew up in Northern California, and after a great high school career he decided to attend UC Santa Barbara.  After redshirting his first year (2006), Domecus only started 5 games in 2007 and was told after the season he’d be used as a part time DH the following year.  Knowing that he had what it took to be a catcher, Steve transferred to Moorpark Junior College and drew a lot of attention from college and pro scouts.  Next thing he knew, the White Sox called during the 2008 draft and asked if he’d sign if he was selected in the 7th round.  Domecus wrestled with the decision, but finally told Chicago that he wanted to transfer to Virginia Tech instead.  In 2009, his first year at VT, Domecus hit .406 but didn’t show much power and was limited to just 40 games due to a broken hand.  Therefore he didn’t get drafted, and returned for his senior season where he improved many aspects of his game.  In 2010 Domecus hit .365 for the Hokies with 27 doubles, 13 homers, 60 RBI’s, and 12 stolen bases as the team’s main catcher.  Here is some video of his offense (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApKUx55TPyU) and defense (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc-bD8xc8RI) .  The Dodgers liked what they saw and selected him in the 9th round of the 2010 draft, and Steve made his professional debut in the Pioneer League with relatively average results.  He was promoted to Great Lakes in 2011 and served as the part time catcher for the Loons.  He missed some time early in the season due to a high ankle sprain, but still got off to a hot start and was hitting .349 at the All Star Break with a .978 OPS.  Unfortunately “Doe” struggled in the 2nd half, however, and ended the year with a .276 average.  It should also be noted that after he was drafted, most scouts didn’t think he would stay behind the plate as a pro, and given that he only threw out 16% of base-stealers a move to the outfield (where he spent some time in college) might be required.  I’m not sure his bat plays as an outfielder, however, and Steve knows that.  During this past season he told Hugh Bernreuter “I’m athletic enough to play other positions … I played some games in left field last year. But my future and my value is as a catcher, and that’s what I’m working at.”  In 2012 I would guess that Steve will move up to the Quakes and again be a part time backstop.

100.  Blake Dean, 1B (96 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 8th round

6’1”, 175 lbs, 24 years old, bats left handed

.237 average, .657 OPS, 7 HR’s, 44 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 77; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Blake Dean was definitely a safe and cost effective pick for the Dodgers as the LSU Senior signed for just $35K.  The 10th round pick of the Twins in 2009, Dean chose to return to college for his senior season even though he had already led his team to the national title.  In 2010, Dean hit .341 for LSU with a .430 OBP, slugged 12 homers, and led the team with 70 RBI’s.   He signed quickly with the Dodgers and was sent to the Pioneer League where he had a solid professional debut, although he didn’t show much power.  “Deano” was promoted to Great Lakes in 2011 and was the Loons main 1st baseman, but he had a terrible year at the plate.   A .237 average and .657 OPS just don’t play at the power position of 1st base.  The only positive of Dean’s season was that kept up his strong walk to strikeout ratio, which has been one of his trademarks since turning pro.  Overall it doesn’t appear that Dean has the offensive ability to make it to the big leagues as a 1st baseman, but he’s still just 155 games into his professional career so he has time to turn it around.  In fact, I could see Blake getting promoted to the Quakes in 2012 and having a big season in the hitter friendly league, so he shouldn’t be written off just yet.  Finally, the best part about Blake Dean is this music video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My_j9aeowLQ).

99.  Justin Miller, RHP (23.2 IP in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 6th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 24.5 years old

2-0, 7.23 ERA, 2.07 WHIP, 5.31 FIP, 5.32 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 45; Pre 2010 Rank: 54; Pre 2009 Rank: 48

Justin Miller’s 2011 season is a bit of a mystery to me.  After a stellar 2010 season with the Lookouts where he posted a 2.76 ERA over 42.1 innings, the ground ball specialist got off to a very rocky start with Chattanooga in 2011 and then in early June he was then placed on the restricted list for the rest of the season.  I can’t find why Miller was put on the restricted list or why he missed the rest of the season, but one can only hope that Justin returns to the organization in 2012 and is ready to pick up where he left off in 2010.  To provide a little more background on Miller, Justin was considered to be one of the best community college pitchers available in the 2007 draft, yet he fell to the 6th round where the Dodgers gladly scooped him up.  What probably scared most teams away was the fact that Miller actually spent more time in right field than on the mound during his final college season, as he developed a tender elbow.  Nevertheless, he was hitting 94 on the radar gun before his injury, and at 6’3”, the Dodgers felt like he had a very projectable frame.  In his first three professional seasons, Miller was used strictly as a starter and had pretty disappointing results.  His career win-loss record heading into 2010 was 11 – 26, and he was much too hittable.  So the Dodgers decided to move Justin to the bullpen in 2010, and they have got to be pleased with his results.  Starting the year in LoA, Miller recorded a 1.30 ERA through 34.2 innings and had an outstanding .208 batting average against.  Given his success the Dodgers moved Miller up to AA where he wasn’t quite as dominant, but as mentioned above he continued to get the job done.  After the 2010 season Justin was invited to participate in the AFL, and prior to the start of the Fall season DeJon Watson said about Miller: “We’ll try to push the envelope with him. He has a sinking fastball. He’s a ground-ball pitcher, and we want to get him prepared for next level. He’ll probably start the season at Double-A. We want him facing better hitters here to understand the adjustments he’ll need to make. He can be deceptive, and we want him to get to where hitters are chasing his pitches.”  Again I’m not sure what put Miller’s career on hold, but if he does return in 2012 he’ll probably get another chance in AA where he’ll continue to work out of the bullpen.

98.  Jose Dominguez, RHP (10 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 43.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 21.5 years old

4-4, 6.20 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 3.87 FIP, 8.72 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 113; Pre 2010 Rank: 134; Pre 2009 Rank: 60

 

Signed for $50,000 as a 16 year old at the start of the 2007 international signing period, Jose Dominguez impressed scouts back then with a 90 mph fastball and a solid curve.  At the time, Logan White said, “It’s rare to see a kid as polished as he is.”  In his professional debut in 2008, the then 17 year old Dominguez showed potential with an 11.8 K/9 through 42 innings in the DSL.  In 2009 he also had a solid season, with a 3.64 ERA through 59 innings.  However, after the 2009 season he received a 50-game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by testing positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.  So Dominguez sat out most of the 2010 season, but when he did return to the DSL that August he had an amazing run, posting a 1.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and .191 batting average against in 24 innings.  That was good enough to earn Jose a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2011 where he ranked 2nd on the club with 43.2 innings pitched.  He actually did very well with the Dodgers as he posted a 3.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over his 10 starts.  So why was his overall season ERA so bad?  Well Dominguez got promoted to the Pioneer League at the end of July, and in 3 starts he got crushed for 20 runs in just 10 innings.  He returned to Arizona after his failed stint in Ogden and finished the season with the Dodgers.  Overall, I do like Dominguez as a potential prospect since he is still young and seems to have good stuff on the mound.  Obviously his suspension gives me some concern, but hopefully he’s learned his lesson.  For 2012 I believe that Jose will probably get another shot with the Raptors, and he may even find his way into a full season league before the year is up.

97.  Kazuki Nishijima, LHP (32.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

6’1”, 190 lbs, 23 years old
2-1, 5.51 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 3.60 FIP, 7.44 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 86; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Kazuki Nishijima was signed by the Dodgers in November of 2010 out of Meiji University in Tokyo.  To quote from the Dodger press release, “Nishijima, who spent his prep years at Yokohama High School — former home to Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka — posted a 6-5 record and a 1.91 ERA during his collegiate career. Nishijima is just the second Japanese college player the Dodgers have ever signed.”  Keiichi Kojima, the Dodgers supervisor of scouting in Japan said “Nishijima is known for his curveball and his consistent arm slot.  He locates fastballs on the lower part of the plate and induces a lot of ground balls.”  After working out in extended spring training, Kazuki made his professional debut in the Pioneer League with the Ogden Raptors and was used mostly as a long reliever.  In 14 appearances Nishijima’s ERA wasn’t all that impressive, but he did show immaculate control which helped him post a FIP of 3.60.  I’m guessing his consistent arm slot is what allowed him to issue just 2 walks for the season.  Also, as advertised, he got quite a few ground balls.  To complicate matters in his debut season, Kazuki had to adjust to life in the US for the first time, and was recently quoted as saying “I like American baseball culture, though Japanese fans and stadiums are very different from the United States.  We don’t talk much in a baseball stadium. We’re kind of quiet, just watching the game. Here, in the U.S., people sometimes make fun of (the players), are more excited.”  Overall, while Nishijima’s fastball usually only sits in the high 80’s and tops out at around 91 mph, I think this lefty could be a sleep prospect for us heading into next year given that he has great control and is a sinkerball type pitcher.  He’ll probably spend 2012 with the Loons and hopefully he’ll show improvement as he progresses through the system.

96.  Malcolm Holland, 2B (25 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 33rd round

5’11”, 165 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.159 average, .430 OPS, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers selected Malcolm Holland in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft, I figured he’d be a tough sign.  He had been recruited to play defensive back for Boise State (here are his senior season highlights) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWcsA87AtLE), and given that he was picked in such a late round I figured he’d want to either play football or try and improve his draft position by playing ball at a junior college.  As it turns out, the Dodgers were willing to give Holland a $160K contract while letting him play both for the Dodgers and for Boise State football, but the Broncos didn’t like the idea.  According to Malcolm, “That’s what I wanted to do. That’s what the plan was. I talked to the Dodgers and they were fine with it.  Boise wanted me to play one sport.”  So Holland took the money and gave up football, and made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League.  As the club’s primary 2nd baseman Holland hit just .159 and made 8 errors in 24 games, but despite his dismal stats I’m not all that worried.  Malcolm is extremely raw, having focused on multiple sports up until this point, and according to Logan White he has similar tools to Dee Gordon when he was drafted.  He also did have one bright spot in his 2011 season as he showed a good eye by walking in 11.5% of his plate appearances.  In 2012 I’m sure that Holland will spend another year in a rookie league, possibly spending the season as the Ogden Raptors 2nd baseman.

95.  Jonathan Martinez, RHP (32.1 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season

6’1”, 170 lbs, 17.75 years old

5-1, 1.67 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 2.98 FIP, 8.63 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about the youngest player in the Dodgers organization.  According to his player profile he was born in Venezuela, but that is the only thing I can find about him other than his 2011 stats.  Speaking of his 2011 season, J-Mart was absolutely dynamite in his professional debut.  He played the entire season as a 17 year old, yet posted some of the best stats of anyone in the DSL.  Outside of the numbers shown above, Martinez had a .168 batting average against and completely shut down right handed batters to the tune of a 0.99 ERA.  The only caveat is that Jonathan threw just 32.1 innings, but that is only because he was so young and therefore the Dodgers wanted to ease his arm into game action.  Given his age and limited use Martinez will almost certainly return to the DSL in 2012, but he will definitely be one of the players to watch in the Dominican next season.

94.  Kazuya Takano, RHP (38.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

6’1”, 170 lbs, 19.25 years old
3-3, 6.81 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 5.13 FIP, 7.75 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 76; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Kazuya Takano was the first Japanese high school player to sign with the Dodgers when he joined the team in November 2010.  According to the Dodger press release after he inked his deal, “Takano, a senior at Buntoko High School in Kumamoto, Japan, has been highly evaluated by the Dodgers.  [He] has a very smooth delivery and flexibility.”  After signing, Kazuya said “I’ve been working hard to make my dream to become a professional baseball player come true.  I am very thankful to the Dodgers organization and I will work even harder to become a big leaguer as soon as possible.”  As expected Takano made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2011, but unfortunately the youngster struggled through the season as he gave up 8 homers in just 38.1 innings for a 6.81 ERA.  Overall he made 13 appearances, with 5 of those coming as starts.  The good news is that Kazuya posted a relatively solid strikeout to walk ratio of 3 to 1, and of course the best thing he has going for him is his age.  According to one article I found, Takano pocesses a fastball that tops out at around 90 mph, a decent slider, a curve, and a split-finger pitch.  In 2012 I would guess that Kazuya will return to Arizona to get another year of experience under his belt, hopefully with better results.

93.  Matt Shelton, RHP (26.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 24th round

6’4”, 205 lbs, 23.25 years old

4-2, 2.05 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 3.12 FIP, 10.25 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After pitching four years at Sam Houston State, Matt Shelton was selected by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2011 draft.  In his four seasons with the Bearkats Shelton had some solid stats, including a 1.99 ERA as a reliever in 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDMGg0unqSY  see the 1:18 mark of the video) and a 2.87 ERA through 94 innings as a starter in 2011.  Matt signed quickly with the Dodgers and was assigned to the Ogden Raptors where he became one of the team’s best bullpen arms.  While he was used somewhat sparingly due to his college workload, Shelton posted a 2.05 ERA and struck out over a batter per inning.  He was especially effective against right handed batters who hit just .177 against him.  In terms of his stuff on the mound, I wasn’t able to find a velocity reading on Shelton, but I’m guessing he throws relatively hard based on his 6’4” frame.  I did find out, however, that he has a curveball and changeup in his repertoire.  I would expect Shelton to play with the Loons next season where he should be a key piece of their bullpen.  Similar to Shawn Tolleson, he could be another late round pick who moves quickly through the system.

92.  Scott Wingo, 2B (32 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 7 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 11th round

5’11”, 175 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed

.302 average, .950 OPS, 4 HR’s, 17 RBI’s, 7 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Scott Wingo left South Carolina as a baseball hero.  When you put his name into YouTube, you can find a ton of videos of him including this awesome song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B05B5zuGDMc).  He scored the winning run in the 2010 College World Series, then led the Gamecocks to another title in 2011 while being named the College World Series most outstanding player.  His overall college stats in 2011 were a .338 average, 4 homers, and an outstanding .467 OB% thanks to a 44 to 36 walk to strikeout ratio.  Upon signing with the Dodgers Wingo was sent to Arizona, but after hitting almost .500 he was promoted to the Pioneer League.  He hit just .275 with the Raptors but managed to post an OPS of .922 thanks to another ridiculously high walk rate.  He also matched his 2011 college total with 4 long balls and stole 7 bases to boot.  From a pure tools standpoint I’m not sure that Wingo is much of a prospect, especially since he wasn’t drafted out of high school or after his junior year of college.  That being said, Scott is a winner and an extremely hard worker so I wouldn’t bet against him as he moves through the Dodgers system.  He’ll most likely spend 2012 with the Loons, and I’ll bet that he becomes a fan favorite up in the Great Lakes region.

91.  Tyler Ogle, C (6 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 9th round

5’11”, 193 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.167 average, .333 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Tyler Ogle played his college ball at Oklahoma, and actually took over the catching duties from fellow Dodger farmhand JT Wise.  Like Wise, Ogle is an offensive minded catcher, and during his junior year with the Sooners Ogle hit .343 this season with 9 homers and 15 doubles in 201 at bats.  Upon getting drafted, Tyler said “Obviously, I am excited to be drafted by the Dodgers’ organization and the opportunity to play pro baseball.  However, I still have a year left to play at … Oklahoma with the chance to graduate. So, I have a tough decision to make.”  After a relatively drawn out process, Ogle finally inked a deal with the Dodgers on August 9th for a reported $100K.  Because he signed so late his professional debut lasted just 6 games, and he managed just 3 singles in 18 at bats.  According to Baseball America’s  pre-draft report, Ogle “makes consistent hard contact and has solid power from the right side of the plate, and he controls the strike zone well. He’s a decent defender with fringy arm strength.”  Based on that report it seems like Tyler could have some value, although he’ll have to work hard if he wants to make it to the big leagues.  Given his abbreviated debut I don’t think Ogle is ready for a full season league in 2012, so he’ll probably spend next year in the Pioneer League as the Raptors starting catcher.

90.  Jackson Mateo, RHP (72.1 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/09

6’0”, 193 lbs, 19.5 years old

5-1, 1.62 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 3.32 FIP, 6.47 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 75; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After an outstanding professional debut in the DSL as a 17 year old in 2010 (1.23 ERA and .169 batting average against in 22 innings), Jackson Mateo got even better in 2011 for the Dominican Dodgers.  After spending 2010 in the bullpen, Mateo transitioned into the rotation this past season and made a team high 15 starts while posting eye popping numbers.  His 1.62 ERA ranked 2nd out of all Dodger minor leaguers in 2011, and his 0.93 WHIP was the best in the entire system.  He also was among the DSL League Leaders in those two categories, and again was virtually unhittable with a .190 batting average against.  The only thing Jackson didn’t do well in 2011 was strike out batters, but that didn’t seem to matter as he found other means to get the outs he needed throughout the year.  I was unable to find any scouting reports on Jackson despite his two impressive seasons in the DSL so I have no idea how hard he throws or what type of pitches he has, but he must have something special about him to possess a career ERA of 1.53.  Now 19 years old, Mateo will almost certainly move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012 since he has nothing left to prove in the DSL.  His performance in Arizona should give us a better idea of what type of future Mateo has with the Dodgers.

89.  Andres Santiago, RHP (121.2 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 16th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.25 years old

8-5, 5.03 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 3.79 FIP, 8.36 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 107; Pre 2010 Rank: 147; Pre 2009 Rank: 133

Andres Santiago was drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2007 at the tender age of 17, and spent his first four professional seasons in the Dodgers lowest US based rookie league (2 season in the GCL, and two seasons in the Arizona League).  After posting a 2.18 ERA with the Arizona Dodgers in 2010, Santiago was promoted all the way up to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and he surprised a lot of people by logging 121.2 innings, which was 3rd most on the team.  He was in the Quakes’ rotation for the majority of the year, and while his ERA and WHIP were a little high, he had a solid K/9 of 8.36 and his FIP was 3.79 despite playing in the hitter friendly California League.  He also won the Dodgers Pride Award in June when he posted a 2.97 ERA and won 3 games.  I wasn’t able to see him pitch in 2011 and I didn’t find any good scouting reports on him so I don’t know how hard he throws or what type of pitches he has, but he has a solid pitching frame and is still just 22 years old despite having 5 years of professional experience.  Santiago seems to have turned into a sleeper prospect heading into 2012, and since he probably isn’t quite ready for AA he will most likely spend another year with the Quakes where he’ll try and improve upon his stats. Peripherals,

 

88.  Scott Woodward, 3B/OF (34 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 7th round

6’2”, 205 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats left handed

.219 average, .781 OPS, 4 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Scott Woodward was originally drafted in the 15th round by the Oakland A’s in 2010 after his junior season at Coastal Carolina, but he decided not to sign and went back to college for one more year.  During his senior season in 2011 Woodward had a very solid campaign as he hit .342 with 4 homers, posted an outstanding .480 on-base percentage, and stole 31 bases (in 35 attempts).  Upon getting drafted by the Dodgers, Woodward said “I’m very happy with the outcome.  I went back to school, got closer to getting my degree, played a lot better, got drafted higher. Everything went according to plan.”  Scott signed quickly with LA and was assigned to the Pioneer League where he played just 34 games before his season ended on August 10th for an unknown reason.  His offensive stats weren’t very impressive, but he did show a good eye at the plate which helped boost his OPS.  In the field he split his time between 3rd base and left field, but his fielding at the hot corner was terrible.  He made 10 errors in 45 chances at 3rd base for a .778 fielding %, so that makes me wonder if he’ll be able to handle that position going forward.  Overall, my first thought was to write-off Woodward because of his lackluster season in the hitter friendly Pioneer League.  However after doing more research and seeing Blake Smith rebound after his terrible professional debut, I’m going to give him another season before passing judgment.  In addition I found some scouting reports that said he has plus speed with good gap power, and someone even compared him to former Dodger prospect Joe Thurston.  Despite his struggles with the Raptors my guess is that Woodward will get promoted to the Loons for 2012 where he’ll continue to split time between the infield and outfield.

87.  Miguel Sulbaran, LHP (57.2 IP in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season

5’10”, 165 lbs, 18 years old

6-1, 2.81 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 2.89 FIP, 8.12 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Miguel Sulbaran is the third youngest player in the Dodgers organization, but that didn’t stop him from having a very impressive season in his professional debut.  Playing the entire season as a 17 year old for the Dominican Dodgers, Sulbaran was among the team leaders in several statistical categories, with his most impressive stat being his 2.89 FIP.  He also limited left handed batters to just 2 hits for the entire season, and overall had a remarkable .179 batting average against.  The highlight of his season probably came on August 3rd when he threw 6 no-hit innings and had 8 punchouts.  One other notable thing about Sulbaran is that I was actually able to find online articles about the Venezuela native.  That’s significant because most players in the DSL don’t have anything written about them, so Miguel must have something special about him.  Anyways, in one article I found a quote from Sulbaran where he said “I received much help from Ramon Martinez (former major league pitcher and Cy Young brother Pedro Martinez), and I reached 89 miles with my fastball, I improved my command with the curve and slider.”  I also read that the Dodgers wanted Sulbaran to attend their offseason instructional league in Arizona, but it didn’t sound like he was able to get a visa in time.  Overall, I’m pretty excited about this lefty and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers promoted him to Arizona in 2012 despite his youth.  My only concern with him would be his size, but he’s still so young that I’m sure he could still grow and add some MPH to his fastball.

86.  Christopher O’Brien, C (4 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 42 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 18th round

6’0”, 219 lbs, 22.5 years old, switch hitter

.292 average, .852 OPS, 4 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Chris O’Brien had a very interesting college career.  The son of 15 year MLB veteran Charlie O’Brien was very average during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Wichita State, then struggled mightily in the 2010 Cap Code League with a .197 average and just 3 extra base hits in 137 at bats.  Then something clicked for O’Brien in 2011 as he really turned things around as a junior.  In his final season with the Shockers Chris hit .410 with 10 homers, 25 doubles, and 70 RBI’s and was named as a semi-finalist for the Golden Spikes award.  What was most impressive, however, was his 40 to 18 walk to strikeout ratio.  O’Brien signed quickly after being selected in the 18th round of the 2011 draft and made his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers where he split the catching duties with a few other players.  He put up solid stats all season long in Arizona with a .855 OPS and 33 RBI’s in 42 games, and he also showed good plate disciple.  In terms of his defense, Baseball America said before the draft that “he has fringy arm strength and receiving skills, though he does earn high marks for his ability to call pitches and run a pitching staff.”  His defense was pretty strong in Arizona, however, as he threw out 34% of would be base stealers.  The switch-hitter earned a late promotion to Ogden this past season, and that is probably where he’ll spend 2012 because there are quite a few other young catchers who are waiting in line to play for the Loons next year.

85.  Michael Pericht, C (2 games in HiA, 92 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 16th round

6’5”, 235 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.277 average, .795 OPS, 11 HR’s, 38 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 68; Pre 2010 Rank: 90; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Pericht played at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, and as a junior he hit .337 with 12 HR’s to go along with a 1.046 OPS.  Going into the 2009 draft he was very excited, and was quoted as saying, “Right now, I’m trying to stay as calm as possible. It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking. I kind of feel like a duck on the pond right now.”  He was selected by the Dodgers in the 16th round, signed quickly, and was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League.  After a lackluster debut in Arizona, Pericht moved up to the Pioneer League in 2010 got off to a very hot start for the Raptors as he hit all 9 of his homers for the season before the end of July.  While he slumped to end the 2010 season, he still managed to finish the year with a .832 OPS.  That earned Michael a promotion to the Midwest League in 2011 where he spent the year as the Loons’ primary backstop.  “Big Mike”, as he was called by his teammates, didn’t have an overly impressive season at the plate, but he was solid for most of the year with 11 homers and an OPS of almost .800.  Here’s a video of one of his at bats (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcFNSK-frDs).  Probably the best news from Pericht’s season, however, was that he has continued to show improved catching skills which should allow him to remain behind the plate.  Some worried he would eventually move to 1st base, but he was strictly a catcher in 2011 and while his blocking skills behind the plate still need some work, but he threw out 32% of would be base-stealers.  Pericht actually ended the 2011 season by playing 2 games in Rancho Cucamonga, and that is where I expect him to start to the 2012 season.  Given his size and the fact that the California League is so hitter friendly, I could see him having a breakout season with the Quakes which would really put his name on the Dodgers radar.

 

84.  Will Savage, RHP (141.1 IP in AA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 2/2/10

6’4”, 215 lbs, 27.5 years old

12-6, 3.95 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 3.75 FIP, 5.54 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 119; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Will Savage was born in Southern California and attended El Camino Real High before heading to the College of the Canyons to start his college career.  After spending 2 seasons as a Cougar, Savage transferred to the University of Oklahoma and posted a 16 and 6 record between the 2005 and 2006 seasons.  His play was good enough for the Phillies, who selected Will in the 26th round of the 2006 draft.  After 3 solid seasons in the Phillies organization, Savage was promoted to AA for the 2008 season.  However he was limited to just 6 games as he hurt his elbow, and that promoted the Phillies to release him.  Savage eventually found himself with the Wichita Wingnuts of the independent Atlantic League where he spent virtually all of 2009.  With the Wingnuts, Savage had a solid 2.94 ERA and even threw a no hitter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA1YcJQ3xQ8).  This caught the attention of the Dodgers, who signed Savage before the 2010 season.  Despite being 25 years old at the time, the Dodgers assigned Savage to LoA where he thrived against the younger competition and made the mid season All Star Team.  He eventually moved up to HiA, and then finished the year in AA.  In 2011 Savage returned to the Lookouts and was a mainstay in their rotation.  His 23 starts ranked 2nd on the team, as did his 141.1 innings.  Despite a very low strikeout rate (which was right in line with his career rate) Savage posted a solid FIP for the year and actually had the 2nd best WHIP in the entire Southern League among qualifying pitchers.  In terms of his stuff, I actually haven’t found much on Savage besides an old article that said his fastball was clocked as high as 92 mph.  I don’t know much about his secondary stuff, but it must be somewhat impressive given that the Dodgers re-signed him this offseason and invited him to their big league spring training.  Given his age and experience, he seems like a perfect fit for Albuquerque’s rotation in 2012, and he could also serve as an emergency starter for the Dodgers.

83.  Bobby Coyle, OF (98 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 10th round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed

.250 average, .671 OPS, 9 HR’s 44 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 64; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Bobby Coyle is a local boy who played his high school ball at Chatsworth, but was overshadowed by 2007 first round picks Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez.  Out of high school he was drafted by the Indians in the 19th round, but decided to attend Arizona instead.  After putting up mediocre stats in his first two seasons with the Wildcats, Coyle decided to transfer to Fresno State and received a NCAA waiver which allowed him to play right away (instead of having to sit out a year).  As a junior Coyle had a great season for the Bulldogs, co-leading the team with 69 RBI’s and hitting .360 with 11 homers.  After getting drafted by the Dodgers he didn’t immediately sign, but tipped his hand a little when he told the Fresno Bee “I grew up in the L.A. area, and it’s sweet and exciting to be taken by the team I watched as a kid.”  Coyle eventually inked a deal with $95,000 and was assigned to the Pioneer League in late June.  Bobby played all three outfield positions for the Raptors, and ended hitting .316 while leading the team with 52 RBI’s.  That earned Coyle a promotion to Great Lakes in 2011, but this year he was used almost exclusively in left field.  His overall season stats for the Loons were average at best, but I watched his swing during the year and I can tell that does have the ability to generate quite a bit of power from the left side of the plate.  I also saw him hit a few deep homers this past season, and he makes good contact as he struck out in just 16.3% of plate appearances.  Probably his biggest issue is that he struggles against left handed pitching as he hit just .222 against lefties in 2011 and didn’t have a single homer against southpaws.  For 2012 I expect Coyle to join the Quakes.  There is something about him that I like, and I expect him to have a better offensive season in the hitter friendly environment of the California League.

82.  Tim Sexton, RHP (78.2 IP in AAA, 84 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 25th round

6’6”, 185 lbs, 24.75 years old

6-12, 5.48 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.30 FIP, 6.31 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 53; Pre 2010 Rank: 40; Pre 2009 Rank: 57

Tim Sexton had a strange season in 2011.  One year after splitting the year between AA and HiA, Sexton began the 2011 season with the Loons in LoA, which is a level he hadn’t played at since his professional debut in 2007.  Then in late May Tim was promoted all the way up to AAA where he spent the next 2+ months and made 14 starts for the Isotopes.  While in Albuquerque Sexton had a few good appearances, but for the most part he got knocked around including one game in which he allowed 17 hits and 16 earned runs.  He returned to the Loons in August and had a relatively strong finish to his season, but the damage he endured with the Isotopes marred his overall season ERA.  Also, left handed batters torched Sexton as they hit .355 against him. The one plus about Sexton is that he is truly a workhorse as he ranked 2nd among all Dodger minor leagues with 162.7 innings pitched in 2011, and has logged an average of 147 innings in his four full minor league season.  In addition, he is still just 24 years and has a great pitching frame, so he still may be a useful player for the Dodgers down the road if he shows some improvement in 2012, which I’m guessing he’ll spend in AA.  Finally just to provide a little background on Sexton, coming out of Miami Dade Community College he was projected as a third to fifth round pick in the 2007 draft, but many teams stayed away from him when he reportedly asked for a $500,000 signing bonus.  The Dodgers took a chance on him in the 25th round, however, and were able to sign him for $123K.

81.  Raydel Sanchez, RHP (75.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers prior to the 2011 season

6’0”, 205 lbs, 22 years old

4-5, 4.66 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.81 FIP, 9.20 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Raydel Sanchez is a Cuban pitcher who defected to the US during his Cuban team’s tournament in Edmonton, Canada.  After his defection Sanchez attended Miami Dade Junior College, then he played in a baseball league in Colombia before getting a tryout with the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  He eventually signed with the Dodgers for $125K.  Upon signing, Raydel said “It was a very hard decision, because I had to leave my family behind, but like all Cuban baseball players, I wanted to realize the dream of playing professional baseball in the United States. It was very difficult, but I did what I wanted most. I signed as a professional, and now I’m with the Dodgers.”  Sanchez’s professional debut came in the Pioneer Rookie League where he was one of the main starters in the Raptors’ rotation.  Raydel made a team high with 15 starts and led the Raptors 75.1 IP.  He had a couple of outstanding outings, including a 11 K performance in just his 2nd start as a professional, but his overall season stats weren’t all that impressive.  One area in which he did stand out, however, was his strikeout to walk ratio which was better than 4.5 to 1.  His biggest weakness came against left handed batters, who hit .372 against him compared to just .220 vs right handed batters.  In terms of his stuff, Sanchez’s best pitch is his slider, but I’m not sure how hard he throws his fastball.  He’ll probably spend 2012 with the Loons where he’ll get  his first look at a full season league.

80.  Matt Kirkland, 1B/3B (39 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 12th round

6’2”, 210 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.292 average, .755 OPS, 4 HR’s, 30 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 59; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Matt Kirkland was selected by the Dodgers out of high school in the 12th round of the 2010 draft, and although he had committed to play college ball at Tennessee he signed with the Dodgers pretty quickly.  After signing he said, “It’s a thrill. My family is excited. The community is excited. I got a lot of support. I think it’s good for the community. I plan to represent my family and community as best as possible.”  In high school Kirkland hit 17 homers as a junior and 11 bombs as a senior (with a .505 average).  According to pre-draft scouting reports, Kirkland was described as having plus raw power and was also said to be an above average defender with a plus arm and good range.  You can judge for yourself in this showcase video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ih5KjV4eLKc).  After a short 16 game professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League, Kirkland spent 2011 with the Ogden Raptors.  Matt put together a relatively solid campaign in his sophomore season, and even though he only hit 4 homers Kirkland managed to bat .292 and had a torrid month of July during which his OPS was .958.  The one problem with his season, however, was that Kirkland has apparently switched positions from 3rd base to 1st base because that is where he spent the entire year.  That move causes Matt to lose a ton of value as a prospect because while his bat would have been intriguing at 3rd base, as a 1st baseman his hitting potential appears to be average at best.  I don’t think there will be room for Kirkland in a full season league in 2012, so I believe that he’ll probably return to the Pioneer League for another season.  Hopefully he’ll get another shot at the hot corner so he can regain some of his value, but if he remains at 1st base for the rest of his career then I doubt he’ll have what it takes to make it to the show.

79.  Travis Denker, 2B/3B (66 games in AA, 55 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 21st round, released, then resigned in May 2010

5’9”, 205 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats right handed

.274 average, .879 OPS, 25 HR’s, 81 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 83; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Travis Denker was originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2003, and moved slowly through the system before getting sent to the Giants in the famous Mike Sweeney trade of 2007.  At the time of the trade, Denker was with the 66ers in Inland Empire and was having a pretty good season.  Fast forward 3 years, and Denker was back with the 66ers after resigning with the Dodgers in May of 2010 as a minor league free agent.  In between his time with the Dodgers, Denker spent time with the Padres, Red Sox, and Mariners, and even made it up to the big leagues with the Giants in 2008 where he played in 24 games and can tell his kids that he hit a major league home run.  Denker finished the 2010 season in AAA with the Isotopes, but returned to the California League at the start of the 2011 season as the Quakes main 3rd baseman.  After smacking 15 homers in just 197 at bats, Travis was promoted to AA where he finished the season.  Denker did very well with the Lookouts, hitting .288 with 10 more homers to give him 25 total bombs for the year.  He also walked almost as much as he struck out and had an OPS of .862 with the Lookouts.  That being said, Denker had an ugly fielding % at 3rd base and was one of the older players in the league.  In 2012 Denker will probably serve as an insurance policy for the Dodgers while playing the infield for the Isotopes.  He has outstanding power for an infielder, but unless there are some injuries with the Dodgers I’m not sure he’ll ever make it back to the show.  Finally, here’s a batting practice video of Denker during the Dodgers 2011 spring training (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWpw87OvYQE).

78.  Matt Wallach, C/1B (76 games in AA, 3 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 22nd round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 26 years old, bats left handed

.242 average, .740 OPS, 3 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, 3 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 65; Pre 2010 Rank: 125; Pre 2009 Rank: 64

When your dad is the 3rd base coach of the big league club, you are going to get a little more leniency than most players.  Such is the case for Matt Wallach who has had a mediocre minor league career, yet continues to get the opportunities that are usually reserved for the organization’s top prospects.  You see Wallach has been invited to three straight Winter Development Programs, and thus has received more elite coaching than most minor league players receive during their entire minor league career.  This was especially evident during this past January’s Winter Development Program when Tommy Lasorda specially asked for Wallach to get some additional batting practice after all the other players were done for the day.  That being said, Wallach does have some potential as a Dodger prospect after a breakout season for the Dodgers in 2010 where he hit 11 homers and had a .773 OPS.  While his stats came back down to earth in 2011, the fact that Matt has the potential for double digit homers while displaying plus defense give him the potential to at least be a backup catcher at the big league level.  While he’s not on the Dodgers 40 man roster, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Wallach made it up to the big league club within the next two years.  Matt will probably split 2012 between AA and AAA, and I see him as a September call up in 2013.  He’ll never be as good as his dad, but I think he’ll get the chance to play in the big leagues at some point in his professional career.

77.  Tyler Henson, 3B/OF (123 games in AAA in 2011)

Obtained in a trade for Dana Eveland

6’1”, 205 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.247 average, .634 OPS, 3 HR’s, 36 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Tyler Henson was one of two players obtained by the Dodgers in the Dana Eveland trade.  He was originally drafted out of high school as a shortstop by the Orioles in the 5th round of the 2006 draft, and his pre-draft report said the he was an athlete with good pop, but also had a questionable approach at the plate.  After signing, Henson only spent 92 games at shortstop before moving to 3rd base.  After a couple of seasons at the hot corner, his position changed again as he has been exclusively an outfielder for the past few seasons.  Henson moved steadily through Baltimore’s minor league system, making all the normal stops before reaching playing a full season in AAA in 2011.  He’s never been much of an offensive force, however, as his best season came back in 2010 when he hit just .278 with 12 homers in 124 games.  Here is some footage of him from that season (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B28ppRtiM6g).  Last year, he managed a .247 average with 3 homers and a .634 OPS, which is pretty weak for an outfielder.  All that being said, Henson is still just 24 years old and already has a year of experience in AAA so it’s possible he could put together a good season now that he’s hitting his prime.  He was invited to participate in the Dodgers winter development camp so the organization must think he as some value, and during the infield drills they had him taking grounders at 3rd base.  At worst he could serve as an insurance policy for the Dodgers at AAA, although there will be several names ahead of him when the 2012 season begins.

76.  Jaime Pedroza, 2B (87 games in AA, 30 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 9th round

5’8”, 167 lbs, 25.5 years old, switch hitter

.258 average, .783 OPS, 10 HR’s, 50 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 58; Pre 2010 Rank: 59; Pre 2009 Rank: 19

Since getting drafted out of UC Riverside in 2007, Jaime Pedroza has had an interesting career path.  After an outstanding offensive season in the Pioneer League in his professional debut, Pedroza was sent to HiA in 2008, his first full season.  While his stats weren’t quite as impressive with the 66ers, he still had a solid season at the plate and was probably looking forward to playing in AA.  However, the Dodgers had other plans for Jaime in 2009 and sent him to LoA.  While he was probably disappointed with this assignment, he responded with career highs in homers (15) and stolen bases (36), and also hit this big home run during the playoffs (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYDHG-sciUY).  In 2010 Pedroza finally got that promotion to AA, and while his power and speed numbers dropped significantly, he still had a decent season for a 2nd baseman with a .280 average and .779 OPS.  Jaime returned to Chattanooga in 2011, but he didn’t show any improvement and actually regressed a bit so he was demoted to HiA for the final month of the season.  It must have been quite frustrating for Pedroza to find himself back in the California League after almost 2 seasons in AA, but he made the most of it and put up solid numbers including a .848 OPS.  Overall, even though Pedroza has been very mediocre over the past few seasons and has a very small stature, the Dodgers minor league talent at 2nd base remains thin so he’s still a relatively important player in the organization.  He plays serviceable defense and has a decent bat for a 2nd baseman, so at the very least he can serve as another insurance policy for Los Angeles.  In 2012 he’ll probably return to AA, although he could also spend the year in AAA depending upon how the spring training invitee’s shake out.

75.  Rick Anton, LHP (27 IP in LoA, 17 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 8th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 22.75 years old

1-1, 3.07 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 2.61 FIP, 6.14 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Rick Anton didn’t have to go too far to make his professional debut after he was drafted by the Dodgers.  After going 9 – 1 as a senior for the Utes in 2011 with a 2.52 ERA and 85 K’s in 100 innings, the University of Utah left hander only had to travel 30 miles up the road to Ogden where he played for the Raptors.  Anton only started 6 games in the Pioneer League, however, because his impressive 1.59 ERA and 0.94 WHIP earned him a promotion to the Loons in late July.  Rick found LoA to be a little more challenging as his ERA jumped to 4.00 over 27 frames, but I’m sure some of his decline was related to his heavy workload in 2011 (he combined for 144 innings between college and minor leagues).  In terms of his stuff, the always reliable Hugh Bernreuter (http://www.mlive.com/loons/index.ssf/2011/07/los_angeles_dodgers_prospect_r_1.html) provided some useful information in a recent article about Anton.  Apparently Rick wasn’t even a draft prospect until his senior season in college which is when he starting throwing a cutter.  According to Anton “I probably wasn’t on the radar. But I got stronger and I picked up the cutter. It made a big difference. Guys started hitting a lot more grounders. I’m not a strikeout pitcher, but I started getting a lot of ground balls.”  Baseball America’s pre-draft report said that Anton also throws a curveball and a changeup, and that his fastball can reach 92 mph (although in Hugh’s article says his fastball was only clocked as high as 88 mph).  Heading into 2012, I would guess that Anton will return to the Loons and spend the year in the rotation.  He seems to have some potential as a prospect as he seems to have enough pitches to stick in the rotation, but his ceiling doesn’t seem all that high.  I could see him maybe being another John Ely, just without all the mania.

74.  Nick Buss, CF (115 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 8th round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 25.25 years old, bats left handed

.328 average, .880 OPS, 14 HR, 55 RBI’s, 28 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 103; Pre 2010 Rank: 80; Pre 2009 Rank: 27

Nick Buss may have been the Dodger minor league comeback player of the year in 2011.  After hitting .243 for the Quakes in 2010 and posting a .612 OPS that earned him a mid-season demotion to the Loons, Buss turned things around completely in 2011 in his return to Rancho Cucamonga.  His.328 average led the team, as did his 28 stolen bases.  He also showed pop with 14 homers, struck out in just 11.9% of plate appearances, and was nearly flawless in center field.  While I’m not sure about his throwing arm, you could almost say that “Chili” showed 5 tool abilities this past season.  After the season Nick played in the Panama Winter League, and while his stats were quite as good as league MVP Blake Smith, he definitely held his own with a .302 average and a .845 OPS.  Overall, Buss has finally started to show the talent that the Dodgers saw when the drafted him for the second time back in 2008.  While his stats were probably a bit inflated because he was playing in the hitter friendly California League, there is no question that he’s shown drastic improvement.  Now 25 years old, Buss should be ready for AA in 2012 and with another good season he could really put his name back on the prospect map.  His skill set actually reminds me a bit of Jamie Hoffmann, and if he could follow the same path as Hoffmann and make it to the majors then I would say his career would be a success.

73.  Jeff Hunt, 3B (45 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 15th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.272 average, .790 OPS, 4 HR’s, 17 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 57; Pre 2010 Rank: 37; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 2009 draft, Jeff Hunt turned down a scholarship to Ohio University and signed with the Dodgers when they offered him a $125,000 bonus and up to $114,000 in education money if he enrolls in school within two years of retiring from professional baseball.  Upon signing Hunt said it was a tough decision, but also explained that he wanted to play every day instead of having to worry about school work.  Hunt’s professional career got started a little late due to delayed US visa paperwork (he’s from Canada), and his 2009 stint with the Arizona Dodgers was mostly just a learning experience as he only played in 18 games.  Hunt returned to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010 but an injury limited him to 18 games for the second season in a row.  That brings us to 2011 which saw Jeff get promoted to the Pioneer League where he was the Raptors primary 3rd baseman throughout the season.  Hunt had somewhat of a breakout season when you consider what his lack of playing time over the past two years, although he didn’t wow anyone in his first stint as a starter because struck out way too much (32.4% of plate appearances).  Even still he batted a respectable .272 while hitting 4 bombs and posting an OPS of almost .800.  His defense definitely needs work, however, as his fielding percentage was a sloppy .816.   I’ve been a fan of Hunt since he was drafted, but he’s now 3 years into his professional career and I haven’t seen a whole lot of progress.  He’s still just 21, but he’s going to need to show way more improvement in 2012 if he wants to be considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.  My guess is that he spends next year with the Loons which should give us a good look at his potential.

72.  Greg Wilborn, LHP (43.1 IP in HiA, 65 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 18th round

6’2”, 175 lbs, 24.75 years old

6-7, 4.98 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 3.92 FIP, 10.63 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 44; Pre 2010 Rank: 124; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Greg Wilborn was selected by the Dodgers out of the University of Louisiana Lafayette in the 18th round of the 2009 draft, and for his career with the Ragin Cajuns Wilborn compiled an ERA of 7.30.  However, it should be noted that he missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007.  Upon signing with the Dodgers Wilborn had a forgettable professional debut in the Pioneer League, but he put his name on the prospect map with an outstanding season in 2010.  He split his time between the Raptors and Loons and posted a 2.62 ERA, an 11.70 K/9, and a dazzling FIP of 2.13.  Thanks to his brilliant season Wilborn was promoted to HiA in 2011 and began the year in the Quakes rotation.  His first few starts with this new team went pretty well, but then in early May he got shelled in back to back appearances which was the beginning of the end of his time in Rancho.  In mid June Wilborn and his 6.85 ERA was sent back to LoA which is where he finished the year.  After the demotion, Greg said “You’re never happy about being sent down, but I knew I was going to a place I was comfortable and had success. I like the park. I was familiar with everything here, plus I played with a lot of these guys last year at Ogden.”  The good news is that Wilborn did pretty well in his return to the Midwest League as he ended up making 14 starts and recorded a 3.54 FIP.  He also stuck out batters like crazy and had a K/9 of about 12.5.   In terms of his pitching repertoire, this lefty features a slider, curveball, and changeup, and can get his fastball up to 94 mph.  He has velocity and secondary pitches to remain in the starting rotation, but at almost 25 years old he might have a better chance of making it to the Show as a left handed bullpen arm.  Wilborn will probably get another crack at the California League in 2012, but if he has early success then a move to AA isn’t out of the question given his age.

 

71.  Carlos Frias, RHP (16 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/3/07

6’4”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

1-1, 6.19 ERA, 2.13 WHIP, 7.45 FIP, 6.19 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 42; Pre 2010 Rank: 32; Pre 2009 Rank: 71

Carlos Frias’ professional career got off to a great start, but over the past two seasons his stats have gone in the wrong direction.  Signed out the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old before the 2007 season, Frias posted a 1.81 ERA in his professional debut in the DSL.  He was then promoted to the Gulf Coast League for the 2008 season and held his own despite being one of the younger players in the league.  He spent most of 2009 in the Arizona League and it was there that scouts and coaches began to notice his 96 mph fastball and his overall potential.  After jumping onto the Dodger prospect radar, however, Carlos struggled with inconsistency in 2010 and ended up with ugly stats in the Pioneer League.  His velocity was down, and he had trouble controlling his strong curveball.  That brings us to 2011 which saw Frias spend a few months in extended spring training before getting a surprise assignment to the Quakes.  Frias only appeared in 12 games out of the Rancho bullpen, but he had a rough season as he walked more than a batter per inning and posted a 6.19 ERA.  He also saw his strikeout rate drop significantly and allowed 3 homers in just 16 innings.  Overall I love Frias’ potential given his strong frame and potential for a mid 90’s fastball, but his struggles over the past two years give me some real concerns about his future.  He’s still just 22 years old so he has plenty of time to work on his secondary pitches (he also has a changeup and slider in addition to his fastball), but he needs to get results soon if he wants to be considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.  My guess is that Frias will spend 2012 with the Loons, either in their bullpen or in their rotation.

70.  Delvis Morales, SS (38 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/09

6’1”, 146 lbs, 21.5 years old, switch hitter

.277 average, .689 OPS, 0 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 176; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Delvis Morales got a little bit of a late start on his baseball career as he didn’t sign with the Dodgers until he was 19 years old.  He made his professional debut in the DSL in 2010, but hit just .220 and made 17 errors in the field.  He did steal 18 bases for the Dominican Dodgers, however, and walked more than he struck out.  Apparently that was good enough to earn a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League as that is where Delvis spent the 2011 season as the Arizona Dodgers’ main shortstop.  Even though Morales didn’t have a great season for the Dodgers, he was impressive enough to get mentioned by Baseball America in their chat about the Arizona Rookie League where they said Morales was the team’s second best prospect behind Alex Santana (in their opinion).  Baseball America also compared Delvis to Dee Gordon, saying that he is extremely athletic just without the plus-plus speed.  In the field Morales posted another ugly fielding of .927, but Baseball America said his defense has greatly improved since 2010 and I’m guessing that his errors were mostly the result of him making bad throws on acrobatic plays.  Overall Morales seems to be an intriguing player in the Dodgers system, especially since he is a switching hitting shortstop.  Questions remain about whether he’ll be able to hit as he moves up through the system, but it sounds like he’s an exciting player who could make his way to a full season league in 2012.

69.  Daniel Tamares, RHP (21.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 9/26/06

6’3”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

0-1, 2.11 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 1.65 FIP, 13.92 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 93; Pre 2010 Rank: 119; Pre 2009 Rank: 74

After 4 years in the Dominican Summer League, including a fantastic 2010 season during which he posted a 1.41 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP, and a 2.64 FIP over 57.1 innings, Daniel Tamares finally got a chance to play in a US based league.  The Dominican native spent 2011 in the Arizona Dodgers bullpen, and although he was using sparingly at the start of the season he really came into his own in the month of August when he appeared in 9 games and threw 14 innings.  In those 14 frames Daniel allowed just 3 earned runs, struck out 26 batters, and had a .143 batting average against.  He also didn’t allow a homer all year long and walked just 8 batters.  I’ll be honest in that I don’t know how hard he throws or what type of pitches he has, but Tamares is a big man at 6’3″ and just recently turned 22 so he is still young enough to make a name for himself in the Dodger minor league system.  For 2012 I wouldn’t be surprised if Tamares started the year in extended spring training and then joined the Loons after the weather warms up in Michigan.  He’s another young international signee to watch closely next season.

68.  Eric Eadington, LHP (10.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 11.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers in July 2011 as a non drafted free agent

6’2”, 220 lbs, 24 years old

2-1, 0.83 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 1.58 FIP, 12.88 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Eric Eadington spent 5 years at Harvard, so at the very least you know he’s a smart guy.  He starting his collegiate career way back in 2007, but after a decent debut he was injured after throwing just 5.1 innings in 2008.  Tommy John surgery was required, so Eric redshirted in 2009 and got back onto the field full time in 2010.  During his senior season in 2011 Eadington actually went 0 – 7 for Harvard with a 5.16 ERA, but on the plus slide he had a 9.29 K/9.  That wasn’t enough to get him drafted, however, so Eric signed with the Dodgers as a free agent shortly after the 2011 draft.  Eadington was then sent to the Arizona Rookie League where he started to blow away the competition, but I mostly ignored him because he so much older than everyone else in the league.  He was promoted to the Raptors in August and actually posted better stats as he didn’t allow any runs over 10.1 frames and struck out 13, but I still didn’t pay much attention to him.  Then in a Baseball America chat, Eadington was actually mentioned as a player to watch for the Dodgers because he’s a lefty that throws between 92 – 94 mph and also apparently has a decent curveball.  Next thing you know Baseball America ranked him as the team’s 31st best prospect.  Despite the recent praise I’m still not all that high on Eadington and will need to see more of him before putting him anywhere near a top 30 ranking.  He struggled while pitching in the Ivy League in college and was much too old for the rookie leagues he was playing in this past season, so despite his 94 mph fastball from the left side and repeatable delivery seen in this video (go to the 0:45 second mark) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmTxlTCh6vk) he’s going to have to prove himself in a full season league.  Overall I think Eadington’s ceiling could be that of a LOOGY, which is still pretty good for a non drafted free agent.  Baseball America suggested that Eadington might get the chance to advance all the way to AA in 2012, but I think he’ll actually start 2012 with the Loons where he’ll be one of the team’s main left handed relievers.

67.  Arismendy Ozoria, RHP (85 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/22/08

6’0”, 195 lbs, 21.5 years old

7-5, 5.40 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 5.98 FIP, 6.14 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 70; Pre 2010 Rank: 106; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Since signing with the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, Arismendy Ozoria has moved quickly through the minor leagues.  A solid debut season in the DSL in 2009 earned Ozoria a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, but he was only with the Arizona Dodgers through July because he got promoted to the Pioneer League for the final 5 weeks of the season.  His overall stats in 2010 were again quite impressive given that he spent most of the year as a 19 year old, and after the season DeJon Watson said that Ozoria is a guy to keep his eye on for 2011.  Despite his previous success I didn’t expect Arismendy to make the jump all the way to the California League in 2011, but that is exactly where he ended up and actually made 14 starts for Rancho Cucamonga.  He was the youngest pitcher on the Quakes staff, and his age showed a bit when you consider his final stats for the season.  He was especially susceptible to the long ball as he allowed a team high 16 homers for the season.  That being said I still am pretty high on Ozoria, especially after our own Eric Stephen provided a live scouting report from a Quakes game on June 2nd.  Eric said that Arismendy was throwing in the low 90’s while hitting 94 mph, and that he also had a really nice slow curveball at around 75 mph.  Based on this report Ozoria seems to have the pitches to be a legitimate Dodger pitching prospect, but he still has a long way to go given his low strike to walk ratio and his tendency to allow homers. Given his age and final stats in 2011 I’d guess that Ozoria isn’t ready for AA, so he’ll either return to Rancho in 2012 or get sent to the Midwest League to give him a change of scenery.

66.  Ryan Christenson, LHP (119.1 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 7th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 23.25 years old

7-8, 5.05 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 3.29 FIP, 7.39 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 51; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

2010 was actually the 3rd time that the Dodgers drafted Ryan Christenson.  He was a 35th round selection out of high school in 2007, but chose to go to Nebraska instead.  He didn’t play at all for the Cornhuskers in 2008, however, and transferred to South Mountain CC in Arizona for the 2009 season.  The Dodgers then made Christenson a 40th round selection in 2009, but again he declined to sign because he believed he could improve upon his 5.87 ERA.  He made the right decision because Ryan has a stellar season at South Mountain CC in 2010, posting a 1.09 ERA and striking out 59 batters in 58 innings.  That forced the Dodgers to use a 7th round pick on him in 2010, and Christenson signed relatively quickly for $125K.  Ryan’s debut season saw mixed results as he dominated the Arizona Rookie League for a month, but then struggled after a promotion to LoA.  Christenson returned to the Midwest League in 2011 and showed some improvement, making the midseason All Star team and ranking second on the Loons with 119.1 innings pitched.  He didn’t have a great year, however, as he posted a 5.05 ERA and only had one month during the season when opposing batters hit less than .300 against him.  He did a good job of keeping the ball in the park and showed solid control, though, which resulted in a much more favorable FIP of 3.29.  In terms of his stuff, Hugh Bernreuter of the Saginaw news caught up with Christenson and Loons pitching coach Kremlin Martinez (http://www.mlive.com/loons/index.ssf/2011/06/los_angeles_dodgers_pitching_p_1.html) during the season.  Ryan told Hugh “The big difference this year is getting ahead in the count, throwing strikes.  My two-seam fastball has become my out pitch. My fastball sits in the low 90s or high 80s, so it’s important for me to locate my pitches.”  Kremlin said “His delivery is much better this season, much cleaner. With the clean delivery, he can do a better job of locating his pitches and throwing strikes. Control is important, because he pitches to contact instead of being a true strikeout pitcher.”  In addition to his fastball, Christenson has a solid mid 70’s curveball and a sinking changeup.  Also, here is his pitching motion from back in 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0LPzzh9tgc&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL).  According to Baseball America, the continued development of changeup will be what determines if he is able to stay in the rotation.  If his changeup doesn’t improve, he may end up in the bullpen.  In 2012 Christenson will probably advance to Rancho Cucamonga, although the Quakes will have a crowded rotation so it’s possible that he’ll start the year somewhere else.

65.  Luis Vasquez, RHP (14.1 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 10/20/03

6’4”, 175 lbs, 26 years old

0-2, 3.77 ERA, 2.37 WHIP, 6.48 FIP, 6.91 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 47; Pre 2010 Rank: 174; Pre 2009 Rank: 130

The last two years of Luis Vasquez’s career have been a bit of a roller coaster.  Signed way back in 2003, Vasquez was just another no name minor leaguer all the way through 2009.  In 2010 he turned a few heads with a solid season for the Loons, but then the Dodgers surprised everyone by adding him to their 40 man roster that November.  It was at that point that most of us learned that he had a fastball that had been clocked as high as 100 mph, but even still I was skeptical that he needed to be protected from the Rule 5 draft given that he hadn’t played above class A.  I obviously bumped him up in my rankings, and Baseball America gave him a lot of respect last year by placing him as the Dodgers #30 prospect in their list.  Then 2011 came and Vasquez basically disappeared again.  He was promoted to the Quakes, but couldn’t find the plate in April, missed the entire month of May, then was quietly removed from the Dodgers 40 man roster in June.  Luis returned to game action in June, but threw just 10 innings more innings before getting shut down for good in early July due what I assume was some sort of injury.  Now almost 26 years old, Vasquez could still have an impact for the Dodgers if he returns healthy in 2012 and is able to find the plate.  As we all know his fastball is top notch, and he also throws an average curveball and changeup that keep batters off balance.  Here is a video of him from last season, and you can see from his pitching motion how he generates so much velocity (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s7ZUDExzA4).  I don’t think there is any way the Dodgers would move Vasquez up to AA next season, so I think he’ll return to the Quakes where he’ll try and regain his control.

64.  Red Patterson, RHP (92 IP in HiA, 81.1 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 29th round

6’3”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old

12-5, 3.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 3.21 FIP, 8.93 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 98; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

The Dodgers took John “Red” Patterson in the 29th round of the 2010 draft despite the fact that he had a 6.84 ERA during his senior season at Southwestern Oklahoma State.  The Dodgers must have looked past his subpar ERA because he had an impressive strikeout rate with 103 K’s in 72.1 innings.  In addition, prior to joining the SWOSU Bulldogs Patterson was a two-year starter at Grayson Junior College where he had an outstanding year in 2007 with a 10-0 record and 1.41 ERA.  Moving to his professional career, Patterson signed quickly and joined the Ogden Raptors without much fanfare.  However Red quickly put his name on the Dodger prospect radar with a solid season in the Pioneer League.  He ranked 2nd in the league with his 3.33 ERA, and placed 6th with his 1.29 WHIP; stats which earned him a selection to the post season All Star team.  In 2011 Patterson advanced to Great Lakes where he became the Loon’s workhorse for the first half of the season.  He used his experience to succeed against the younger competition and recorded a 2.94 FIP over 81.1 frames while striking out almost a batter per inning.  He did so well, in fact, that he was promoted to Rancho Cucamonga in mid June to essentially switch places with the struggling Greg Wilborn.  Once in the Quakes rotation, Patterson continued to impress in his 14 starts with the Quakes.  Red struck out over a batter per innings, led all starters with a 1.12 WHIP, and even threw a 9 inning shutout to boot.  He was also interviewed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqRHs0Uq2F4) shortly after joining the club and helped explain his nickname.  In terms of his pitching ability, Hugh Bernreuter of the Saginaw news has all that information in an interview with Patterson and Loons pitching coach Kremlin Martinez (http://www.mlive.com/loons/index.ssf/2011/06/los_angeles_dodgers_pitching_p_1.html).   Kremlin says that Patterson’s best pitch is low-90s fastball (that has been clocked as high as 95 mph), but Patterson feels his best pitch is a “spike” curveball, a combination slider-curve.  Red said “I’ve never been able to throw a real curve, so I came up with the spike, basically digging my fingernail into the ball.  It doesn’t move 12-to-6, but more 3-to-9, but even then it sometimes moves different ways.”  Kremlin also added “This year, the control on his off-speed pitches improved.  He still has a good fastball, but he’s been able to use his change-up and curve to get lefties out.”  Overall, after a successful run in 2011 Patterson is forcing scouts to take a closer look at him despite his age and limited draft pedigree.  He’ll probably return to the Quakes to start the 2012 season, but he could make his way up to AA before the year is up.

63.  J.T. Wise, C (97 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 5th round

6’0”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats right handed

.286 average, .887 OPS, 17 HR’s, 73 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 56; Pre 2010 Rank: 48; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jeremy Wise was already 23 years old when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2009 draft, which drew some ire from Dodger prospect hounds fans.  The Dodgers didn’t mind his age, however, as they liked the fact that he plays catcher and had success during his college career (2009 Big 12 player of the year, 2009 Finalist for Johnny Bench Award, and 2009 semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award).  According to Logan White, “he reminds you of AJ Ellis as a defender and the kid is really a good hitter.  He stays inside the baseball, he hits to all fields and he’s got good power.  I think he will develop into a power hitting catcher at the major league level.  He plays hard and he is a gamer.”  Wise wasted no time in proving White right because he tore up the Pioneer League in his professional debut with a .338 average and .967 OPS.  In 2010 Wise was promoted to the Midwest League, and while he got off to a very slow start he ended the season on a tear and finished the year with very solid stats.  That brings us to 2011 which Wise spent in Rancho Cucamonga.  J.T. split the season between catcher, 1st base, and DH and had yet another strong campaign with a career high 17 homers and a solid .887 OPS.  He also played solid defense behind the plate with a .990 fielding percentage and a 36% caught stealing rate.  That being said, the 25 year old was only the second best catching prospect on the Quakes and was left in HiA all season while Griff Erickson got promoted to AA.  The logical destination for Wise in 2012 will be Chattanooga where he’ll most likely have to split time again with Erickson.

62.  Gustavo Gomez, RHP (11.1 IP in LoA, 61 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/2/08

6’1”, 150 lbs, 20.75 years old

5-3, 5.85 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 4.51 FIP, 12.07 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 60; Pre 2010 Rank: 65; Pre 2009 Rank: 113

Signed by the Dodgers out of Panama as a 17 year old in 2008, Gustavo Gomez spent two seasons in the DSL before the jump to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010.  It was in Arizona that Gomez started to turn some heads as he posted a 1.23 ERA in the second half of the season, earned a promotion to the Pioneer League for the final week of the season, and was mentioned by DeJon Watson as one of the players to keep an eye on in the future.  After a stint in extended Spring Training Gomez actually made his 2011 debut with the Loons, but he got roughed up pretty badly as he allowed 14 runs in just 11.1 innings over 5 appearances (3 starts).  In early June Gomez was sent back to extended spring training then emerged back in the Pioneer League as the Raptors opening day starter.  According to Ogden Manager Damon Berryhill, “He’s earned (the Opening Day start) through the extended spring program. He was up here for a couple of starts last year and he performed well. Right now, he’s one of our better command pitchers – good power fastball, good and change-up. He’s been locating the ball well down there in extended spring training.”  Gomez was on fire in June as he allowed just 1 earned run in 17 innings, but then stumbled down the stretch and had an ERA over 6 for the rest of the season.  Overall Gustavo ended with a 4.87 ERA for Ogden, and his outstanding K/9 rate was balanced out by the fact that he gave up 9 homers in just 61 innings and walked more than 5 batters per 9 innings.  The good news is that Gomez is still just 20 years old and reportedly has a 94 mph, so he still has plenty of time to fine tune the other parts of his game.  His ability to induce so many swings and misses is very encouraging, and the fact that right handed batters hit just .201 against him with the Raptors in 2011 is also a good sign.  I expect Gustavo to get another shot with the Loons in 2012 and hopefully this time he’ll produce better results.

61.  Geison Aguasviva, LHP (8 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05

6’2”, 166 lbs, 24.5 years old

0-1, 1.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 4.83 FIP, 6.75 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 39; Pre 2010 Rank: 33; Pre 2009 Rank: 40

Signed prior to the 2006 season, Geison Aguasviva spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League.  During his 2nd season in the DSL, the then 19 year old Aguasviva dominated his competition with an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of just 0.84 through 66 innings.  Promoted all the way up to the Midwest League to start the 2008 season, Geison had trouble adjusting to life in the USA and struggled through 19 frames.  However, after he was sent down to the Pioneer League he rebounded nicely with a 2.90 ERA in 71 innings.  In 2009 Aguasviva found himself back in LoA and that is where he really had his breakout season.  Used mostly in relief, Geison led the Dodger minor league system with a 1.58 ERA (minimum 50 IP) and had a .236 batting average against.  Aguasviva was promoted to HiA in 2010, and while he struggled during a short stint in the rotation, he continued to shine in the bullpen with a 2.77 ERA.  Here are a few videos of him throwing from the front (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP5YQJOLJXs) and from the side (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs1C-myeNQo) for the 66ers that season.  Heading into 2011 I figured that Aguasviva would make the jump up to AA, but unfortunately he was sidelined for most of the season due to what must have been an injury.  I actually couldn’t find any information on why he missed so much time, but he did return to action in late August and finished the season strong by allowing just 5 hits and 1 earned run over 8 innings of work.  While I wasn’t able to get an updated scouting report on Geison due to his lack of playing time, as of last year he sat in the low 90’s and had a very strong changeup which projected as a plus offering.  Also, while Aguasviva’s career strikeout rate is relatively low at just 7.8 K’s per 9 innings, he makes up for that by allowing very few homers.  Overall, despite his lost season I believe that Aguasviva still could have some value as Dodger prospect.  If he comes to spring training healthy in 2012 he should be in line to start the year in AA, and if he has success there then he’ll really get his name on the map.  At the end of the day he still seems to have the potential to one day be a left handed reliever at the big league level.

60.  Justin Boudreaux, SS (32 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 12 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 14th round

6’1”, 190 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.253 average, .793 OPS, 3 HR’s, 25 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Justin Bourdreaux was selected by the Dodgers out of Southeastern Louisiana University in the 14th round of the 2011 draft.  He was coming off a junior season where he hit .333 with 8 homers, and in his 3 year college career he had a .307 average, 25 HR’s, and 37 stolen bases for the Lions.  In their pre-draft analysis, Baseball America had a surprisingly detailed report on Bourdreaux and predicted he’d be drafted in the 6th – 10th round range.  BA also said that Justin has good power and speed, and that on defense he is a solid shortstop (although some scouts think he’s better suited for 2nd or 3rd base).  Upon signing with the Dodgers, Bourdreaux was sent to Arizona where he got off to a rough start.  Nevertheless he was promoted to the Pioneer League at the beginning of August and he finished the year as the Raptors starting shortstop.  Despite his .265 average with the Raptors Justin was a pretty exciting player as he posted a .842 OPS and stole 16 bases without getting caught.  His fielding percentage was a little ugly, but his plate disciple and his overall offensive ability lived up to the expectations of his glowing pre-draft scouting report.  Looking to the future, if Bourdreaux can stick at shortstop then he has the chance to be a solid Dodger prospect.  He’ll probably play with the Loons in 2012, and it will be interesting to see how he performs in his first full season as a professional.

 

59.  Jarret Martin, LHP (110.2 IP in LoA in 2011)

Obtained in a trade for Dana Eveland

6’3”, 230 lbs, 22.5 years old

5-12, 4.96 ERA, 4.50 FIP, 7.9 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Baltimore Orioles selected Jarret Martin in the 19th round of the 2008 draft, but he declined to sign and instead spent a year at Bakersfield Junior College.  The Orioles tried again in 2009 by picking Martin one round earlier, and this time they got their man for a $200,000 signing bonus.  Jarret didn’t see any game action in 2009, but his professional debut in the Appalachian League in 2010 was very successful as he posted a 4.07 ERA and struck out 68 batters in 59.2 innings.  He did have an issue with his control, however, which is a problem that continued to plague him in 2011 when he was promoted to the South Atlantic League.  Strangely enough, Martin also struggled against left handed batters in 2011 as his ERA vs lefties was 6.00 compared to 4.67 vs righties.  In addition, Martin’s K rate decreased against the more advanced competition.  This past winter he was traded to the Dodgers in the Dana Eveland trade, and despite his mediocre season in 2011 he seems to be a solid pickup for the organization.  According to scouting reports he throws in the low 90’s and has decent movement on his fastball, and also has a solid curveball and changeup.  He also has a good pitching frame at 6’3”, and is still just 22 years old.  As I already mentioned his lack of control is his biggest flaw, although I’m also not a big fan of his pitching motion (http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?topic_id=4961152&content_id=4737145).  In 2012 Martin will almost certainly return to class A ball, although I’m not sure whether the Dodgers will send him to the Midwest League of the California League.  He’s a guy who could move up significantly in my rankings next year with a good season, and that’s really going to depend on his ability to throw strikes.

58.  Nick Akins, LF (85 games in LoA, 7 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 19th round

6’1”, 220 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.229 average, .737 OPS, 14 HR’s, 51 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 41; Pre 2010 Rank: 56; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

As I’ve mentioned before, Nick Akins had an interesting baseball career before even turning pro.  It started in high school when Nick and his father were involved in an ugly fight during his junior season which led to his expulsion from the team.  Nick transferred high schools for his senior year, but wasn’t allowed to play baseball despite his best appeals.  He ended up playing in a weekend adult league and the Dodgers actually drafted him in the 13th round of the 2006 draft.  Nick didn’t sign, however, and played ball at Riverside Community College for two seasons, winning the JUCO state championship in the process.  After the 2008 season Akins transferred to local NAIA college Vanguard, and after hitting .314 over 47 games with 13 home runs and 35 runs batted in, he was again was drafted by the Dodgers, this time in the 19th round. Akins absolutely crushed the ball in the rookie leagues during his first two professional seasons, but most Dodger prospect hounds wanted to see what he would do in a full season league before crowning him the next great Dodger outfield prospect.  Well we got our wish in 2011 as Akins spent last season with the Loons, but unfortunately the results were pretty ugly.  While he still hit 12 homers in Great Lakes, Akins’ OPS decreased by more than .400 points from 2010 and his average fell to an unsightly .219.  Maybe some of his struggles can be attributed to the fact that he suffered a pair of injuries, including strained quad in spring training and a broken wrist after getting hit by a pitch, but overall he simply disappointed.  However, here is one highlight from his season (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGDViOZoaL0).  In an April 2011 interview with Loons manager John Shoemaker, he said “Nick is a confident ball player with tremendous bat speed and tremendous power. What he needs to do, to continue to move up the Dodgers’ system and become a big league ballplayer, is to gain plate awareness and plate discipline.  He is going to strike out. We’re just hoping that he can limit the strikeouts. He needs to use the whole field. If he eliminates (his hits) from centerfield over to right, he can be pitched to. He just needs to let the pitcher supply his power.”  Overall, it seemed that Akins’ true colors came out this past season when he was removed from the shelter of the rookie leagues.  Given that he’s basically limited to left field, he’s going to have to hit for both power and average if he wants to continue to climb through the system.  For 2012 my guess is that Akins will to Rancho Cucamonga, but even if he has a big season with the Quakes there will still be questions about his abilities since the California League is such a hitter friendly environment.  Until I see him perform well in the upper minors I’m going to remain skeptical that he’ll ever make it to the big leagues.

 

57.  Logan Bawcom, RHP (21.2 IP in HiA, 45.1 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 17th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 23.25 years old

5-3, 3.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 2.81 FIP, 11.28 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 90; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Coming out of high school in Texas, Logan Bawcom was shortstop and had an outstanding senior season at the plate, hitting .500 with 12 homers.  He went on to play at Midland Junior College as a two way player and had a solid career both as a hitter and pitcher.  Bawcom then transferred to University of Texas-Arlington, and it was there that he became a full time pitcher.  In 2010 as a junior Logan threw 90.2 innings and had a 3.87 ERA with 87 strikeouts and a .277 batting average against.  That prompted the Dodgers to draft him in the 17th round, and the right hander signed quickly and was assigned to the Pioneer League.  Bawcom had a relatively solid season in his professional debut as he posted a good FIP and had a great strikeout to walk ratio for the Raptors.  He was promoted to the Midwest League to start the 2011 season and it was with the Loons that he really broke out.  Bawcom was initially used as Tolleson’s setup man, then took over the closer role when Shawn was promoted.  While Logan wasn’t as good as Tolleson, he was very impressive in his own right as he posted a 2.78 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, a 11.1 K/9, and picked up 14 saves.  In a piece written by Loons beat writer Hugh Bernreuter, Great Lakes Manager John Shoemaker said “He’s still learning how to pitch.  He doesn’t have much experience pitching. We’re happy with what he’s doing. For some pitchers, it’s not a big deal to pitch in the ninth inning, but for others it makes a difference knowing that this is the end of the game.  Logan has done a nice job for us in that respect.”  Logan himself talked to Hugh about pitching full time for the first time: “It’s made such a difference.  It seems like I’m learning something all the time. When I got to pitch in college, I was basically just throwing. It’s a matter of focus as far as pitching. I don’t have to worry about hitting or playing other positions. I put all my focus on pitching and learning how to pitch.”  In early July Bawcom was promoted to the Quakes where he continued his success and picked up 13 more quick saves in just 21 innings and had a K/9 of 11.9.  In the aforementioned article by Hugh, I learned that Bawcom throws a fastball that can reach 95 mph, a changeup, and a slider that is his out pitch.  For 2012, my guess is that Logan will return to Rancho Cucamonga where he’ll reprise his role as the team’s closer.  If he continues to have success, however, I could easily see him making it up to AA by the end of the year.

 

56.  Jesus Valdez, 3B/1B (23 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 19th round

6’3”, 180 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.241 average, .746 OPS, 3 HR’s, 15 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jesus Valdez is a very confusing, yet intriguing prospect.  Selected by the Angels in the 5th round of the 2010 draft out of high school as a pitcher, Valdez declined to sign with the Halos and instead decided to attend Oxnard Jr. College.  He was a two way player for Oxnard, spending a lot of time on the mound while also playing 3rd base, and according to Baseball America he was expected to be picked in a similar round in 2011 and had improved as a pitcher.  Things didn’t go as expected for Valdez, however, as he lasted all the way to the 17th round where he was scooped up by the Dodgers.  In addition, instead of selecting Valdez as a pitcher, the Dodgers announced Jesus as a 3rd baseman.  Surprisingly Valdez signed quickly and was sent straight to the Arizona Rookie League.  While Valdez actually spent most of the season at 1st base and DH, he is supposed to be a solid defender that can handle the hot corner.  At the plate he put up decent numbers, smacking 3 homers in 83 at bats and striking out in just 13.7% of his plate appearances.  That brings us to mystery number one, because he is listed as a right handed batter, but in the only video I could find of him hitting he was a lefty (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paePvnhqfP0).  The bigger mystery, however, is why the Dodgers wanted “Chewy” as an infielder.  Apparently Valdez has a 94 mph fastball along with a good slider, so you’d think the Dodgers would want him on the mound.  You have to trust the scouts, though, who must have seen something special with him as a hitter.  Heading into 2012 and beyond, the Dodgers have options with Valdez which makes him an exciting prospect.  If he struggles as a hitter he can always move back to the mound because he is still so young and possesses a good fastball.  Next season I’m guessing he’ll move up to the Pioneer League where he’ll get a chance to hit in a favorable environment.

55.  Chris Jacobs, 1B (65 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 17th round

6’5”, 257 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats right handed

.288 average, .914 OPS, 12 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 82; Pre 2010 Rank: 55; Pre 2009 Rank: 24

Don’t write off Big Chris Jacobs just yet.  After 4 minor league seasons of struggles and mediocrity, Jacobs finally had a breakout campaign in 2011 despite playing in just 65 games.  A back injury caused him to miss the first month and a half of the season, then he got off to a very slow start.  He caught fire in July, however, and finished the year with a team high .914 OPS.  He also pounded out 12 homers in just 215 at bats and had an OB% of almost .400.  Not to mention that his strikeout rate improved from 31.3% in 2010 to 24.6% this past season.  According to Loons hitting coach Lenny Harris, “[Jacobs is] so strong, maybe the strongest player in the organization.  We want him to use his hands more instead of his muscle, and he’s learning to do that.”  A three sport athlete in high school who comes from a football family, Jacobs came to the Dodgers with a ton of raw power but without refined skills.  A lot of coaching has helped him putting it all together and he is now poised for a big 2012.  As a 1st baseman he is going to have to continue to hit for both average and power if he wants to stand out, but that shouldn’t be a problem in 2012 if he spends next season in the California League and is able to stay healthy.

54.  Yimi Garcia, RHP (52.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/29/09

6’1”, 175 lbs, 21.5 years old

4-2, 3.10 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 2.80 FIP, 12.21 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 79; Pre 2010 Rank: 47; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Yimi Garcia made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2009 and immediately burst onto the Dodgers prospect scene with an outstanding first season.  The right hander had a 1.67 ERA through 54 innings with the Dominican Dodgers with a 0.96 WHIP and a .202 batting average against.  That earned him a quick promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, but things didn’t go so well for Yimi stateside as his ERA jumped to 7.04.  Despite his struggles the Dodgers had faith in Garcia and decided to promote him to the Pioneer League in 2011. Yimi didn’t let the organization down as he turned out to be one of the best pitchers for Ogden last season.  Even though he only started 1 game for the Raptors, Garcia was a workhorse and ate up 52.1 innings.  Garcia was used in various roles throughout the year, starting the season as a long reliever and then moving more into the late inning/closer role.  He posted a 3.10 ERA, but his most impressive stat was his 12.2 K/9.  He also won 4 games for his club and picked up team high 4 saves while playing most of the season as a 20 year old.  I wasn’t able to unearth any detailed scouting reports on Yimi, but I did find a good quote from Raptor manager Damon Berryhill after a July game when he said “(Garcia) was outstanding. Fastball command, he had a nice slider working and he was aggressive toward the hitters and really pounding strikes. It’s important for the fact that he pitched well enough to finish the game, good solid innings, especially when your bullpen’s a little short, been used a bunch and they need a rest. He came out and gave us that.”  Garcia seems like a lock to play with the Loons in 2012, although I’m not sure if he’ll be used as a starter or reliever.  He seems to thrive in both roles so it looks like the Dodgers have a decision on their hands.

53.  Stephen Fife, RHP (137 IP in AA in 2011; 103.1 of those IP w/the Red Sox)

Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson

6’3”, 210 lbs, 25.25 years old

14-4, 3.74 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.96 FIP, 6.24 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers obtained Stephen Fife from the Red Sox as part of the three-way Trayvon Robinson trade.  Fife wasn’t exactly the centerpiece of the deal, but as a 2008 3rd round pick he does have some pedigree and has put up some strong stats in the past.  During his junior year at the University of Utah he actually went toe to toe with Stephen Strasberg during a 2008 start.  Upon signing with the Red Sox Fife posted a 2.33 ERA in the New York-Penn League, then put up decent stats the next season in Class A.  2010 saw Fife spend his first season in AA, and while his stats regressed a bit he still held his own as a 23 year old in the Eastern League and worked a team high 136 innings.  Stephen returned to the Eastern League in 2011 and showed solid improvement before getting traded to the Dodgers.  Fife joined the Lookouts for the final month of the 2011 season and made 6 decent starts, then he was sent to the AFL.  Unfortunately Fife bombed during his stint in Arizona and recorded an 8.06 ERA over 25.2 rough frames.  He did participate in the Dodgers Winter Development this past January, however, so hopefully he worked out his issues there.  In terms of his stuff, Fife was the Red Sox #17 prospect heading into the 2010 season according to Baseball America, so I was able to get a decent scouting report.  He has a sinking fastball that sits in the low 90’s and touches 94 mph, and he also features a changeup, a curveball, and the occasional slider.  There are several videos of him on Youtube throwing in the AFL, and here is one of them (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InovokS72qI).  Back in 2010 BA thought he could be a #3 starter in the big leagues, but at this point that seems unlikely.  His strikeout rate has dropped significantly over the past few seasons, which would OK given that he is a groundball pitcher, but the fact that he allowed 6 homers in just 8 AFL starts has me worried.  That being said, with another year of experience I could see him being a useful emergency 5th starter for the Dodgers while holding down a rotation spot in AAA.  Now that’s he’s on the Dodgers 40 man roster he actually might get a ticket for Albuquerque as soon as 2012, and hopefully he’ll be able to hold his own in the difficult pitching environment of the Pacific Coast League.

52.  Tony Delmonico, C (111 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 6th round

6’0”, 194 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.268 average, .811 OPS, 12 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 37; Pre 2010 Rank: 17; Pre 2009 Rank: 13

Tony Delmonico has found yet another defense home.  Drafted as a middle infielder in 2008, Delmonico made the transition to catcher in 2009 and spent the next two injury riddled seasons behind the plate.  While he seemed to be showing some defensive improvement as a backstop, the Dodgers decided to move Tony to 3rd base in 2011 given their lack of depth at the position.  As the Quakes main 3rd baseman Delmonico’s defense at the hot corner was not all that great as his fielding percentage was .926, but that’s also not bad for someone trying to learn the position.  He talked about his defensive move in this interview (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOEBwd6j_LE), and was also quoted as saying “I like how fast the ball comes at you over there.”  At the plate Tony had a solid unspectacular season, and his stat got overshadowed a bit by some of his teammates like Songco.   Like he’s done throughout his career Tony continued to get on base at a great clip, ranking 2nd on the team with his .387 OB%, and he also connected on a career high 12 homers.  After a blistering debut in the Pioneer League to start his career Delmonico has consistently dropped in my rankings, and this year he fell even further because he lost some defensive value.  That being said he is still one of the best 3rd base prospects for the Dodgers, and should get a shot to play every day for the Lookouts in 2012.  Hitting against AA pitching will be a big test for him, but if he holds his own and continues to improve his defense then I would say he definitely has a chance to one day make it to the big leagues.

51.  Michael Antonini, LHP (148 IP in AA in 2011)

Trade with Mets for Hu

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.5 years old

10-9, 4.01 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 4.13 FIP, 7.97 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Michael Antonini was originally selected by the Mets in the 18th round of the 2007 draft out of an interesting place called Georgia College and State University.  His career got off to a great start as he posted outstanding numbers in the low minors and even made it up to AA in just his 2nd professional season.  That got Antonini noticed by Baseball America as he was named the Mets’ 15th best prospect heading into the 2009 season.  Over the next two years he held his own as he split his time between AA and AAA (here’s some footage from 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKHt-pZzeNE), and then he was traded to Los Angeles for Chin-Lung Hu in December of 2010.  In his first as a Dodgers Antonini was Chattanooga’s workhorse as he logged a team high 148 innings.  He ranked second on the Lookouts with 10 wins, and had a solid ERA of 4.01 with a K/9 of almost 8.   After the season Michael was added to the Dodgers 40 man roster, probably due to the fact that LA is short on left handed starting pitching prospects.  He was also invited to participate in the Dodgers offseason winter development program, and Ned Colletti threw out another interesting option for Antonini when asked about adding another lefty to the bullpen.  Colletti said “There’s some competition in the bullpen.  [Michael] Antonini has a chance to do it.”  In terms of his stuff, Antonini doesn’t throw real hard (high 80’s while touching 91 mph) so he doesn’t really profile well as a reliever, but he has a plus-plus changeup that could one day get him to the show.  He also has decent movement on his pitches and shows a good ability to spot his pitches.  His ceiling isn’t real high, but I could see him being a spot starter at some point a la John Ely (especially now that’s he on the 40 man roster).  Looking ahead to next year, I will guess that Antonini will join the Isotopes rotation for 2012.

50.  Russell Mitchell, 1B/3B (93 games in AAA, 25 games in Majors in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 15th round

5’10”, 210 lbs, 27 years old, bats right handed

.283 average, .875 OPS, 16 HR’s, 69 RBI’s, 1 SB (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: 34; Pre 2010 Rank: 52; Pre 2009 Rank: 32

 

Most people wouldn’t really consider Russ Mitchell a prospect at this point, but heading into 2012 he still qualifies as a rookie and has just 93 big league at bats.  He is also just 27 years old despite the fact that he was drafted way back in 2003.  Mitchell’s journey as a Dodger has a been a long one as he has played on 9 different minor league teams and has spent time at 6 different positions during his minor league career.  The organization even considered trying him out as a catcher at one point, but after a lot of hard work he has established himself as a serviceable 3rd baseman.  Russ has spent the majority of the past two seasons in Albuquerque, and has been a September big league call up both years.  His stats for the Isotopes have been very strong, and in 2011 he hit 16 homers and posted a .875 OPS while striking out in just 15.8% of his plate appearances.  The only drawback to his success is that Mitchell has been much better at home than on the road since joining the Isotopes, which obviously gives the impression that he has been aided by Albuquerque’s hitter friendly park.  For 2012 there didn’t look to be any room for Russ in Los Angeles, so he was designated for assignment and removed from the 40 man roster.  That will make it difficult for him to make it back up to the big leagues, but you never know so he’ll serve as an insurance policy while spending a 3rd season in Albuquerque.

Why #50:  While Mitchell was never going to be a big league regular, give his marginal power and ability to 3rd base I always considered him a cheap option that had the ability to fill in as a bench player for a major league team.  The fact that the Dodgers chose to take him off their 40 man roster over guys like Troncoso and Oeltjen isn’t a good sign for his future, however, and the two home runs he hit for Los Angeles in 2011 might be the highlight of his big league career.

49.  Noel Cuevas, OF (23 games in HiA, 60 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 21st round

6’2”, 187 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.267 average, .740 OPS, 8 HR’s, 43 RBI’s, 15 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 52; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Noel Cuevas in the 21st round of the 2010 draft, and after a lengthy holdout he finally inked a deal with the club for $100K.  The outfielder from Puerto Rico was just 18 years old when he signed, and according to Baseball America he had “intriguing raw power”.  Even though Cuevas only had 3 professional games under his belt heading into 2012, the Dodgers sent Noel to the California League in May.  Cuevas was mostly overmatched against the advanced competition, however, and after hitting .220 the month long experiment was over as he was sent back down to the Pioneer League.  Noel fared much better in Ogden as he saw his OPS rise from .538 with the Quakes to .814 with the Raptors, and he ranked 3rd on the team with 29 extra base hits.  He also made decent contact as he struck out in 19.9% of plate appearances for the season, and even stole 15 bases.  Here he is getting a hit during the Raptors’ playoff run (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhl104InIiQ).  Defensively Cuevas was pegged as a left fielder when he was drafted, but he held his own in center field during James Baldwin’s absence.  Left field is probably still his best position, but it’s still encouraging to know that he’s athletic enough to handing playing in the middle of the field.  In 2012 I’m guessing that Cuevas will get another shot with the Quakes, although it’s just as likely that he’ll spend the season in the Midwest League.  He’s got an interesting set of tools and is still quite young so he’ll definitely be someone worth following next season.

Why #49:  Cuevas’ power potential makes him deserving of a spot in my top 50, although he’s still quite raw and has a long ways to go before reaching Los Angeles.  I’m guessing that his defense limitations will be more apparent as he moves up through the system, although I was encouraged by his stolen base numbers and his ability to handle center this past season.  Overall Noel’s ceiling appears to be that of big league outfielder with 25 homer potential, but he obviously has a long ways to go before we can even think about him reaching that level.

48.  Jon Michael Redding, RHP (137.2 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 24.25 years old

11-7, 3.66 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 3.53 FIP, 8.50 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 72; Pre 2010 Rank: 46; Pre 2009 Rank: 37

The Dodgers 5th round pick in 2008, Jon Michael Redding played his college ball at Florida Community College where he went 8-5 with a 2.02 ERA and a .222 batting average against in 2008.  He began his professional career in the Pioneer Rookie League, but was limited to just 31 innings in his professional debut due to a heavy college workload.  Redding spent 2009 with the Loons in LoA and led the Midwest League in wins with 16 and logged 133 innings while posting a respectable FIP of 3.70.  In 2010 Redding moved up to the California League, but unfortunately the results were pretty ugly.  Despite proving to be a workhorse yet again with 144 innings pitched, Redding’s numbers declined in every category.  Probably his worst stat in 2010 was his strikeout rate, which dipped to a K/9 of just 5.38.  2011 provided Redding with a fresh start, however, and armed with a new pitch Jon Michael was able to find redemption in his second go around in the California League.  In my post season review I crowned Redding the Pitching MVP of the Quakes, and he showed massive improvement as he lowered his ERA by almost 2 runs while increasing his K/9 by more than 3.  Always considered a workhorse, Redding logged 137.2 innings along with a team high 130 punchouts, and batters hit a career low .250 against him.  He even had one game in July during which he struck out a career high 14 batters.  In a quote after that stellar game, Redding said “Tonight, I definitely spotted the fastball and used my cutter. I don’t think I threw one changeup. I used my curve ball effectively, but my cutter was definitely my out pitch. I put my pitches in spots where they couldn’t do much damage.”  Here is a video of him pitching last season (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hEr8rMdvps).  In terms of his stuff, as you can tell from his quote Redding has a plethora of pitches.  His fastball sits in the low 90’s fastball and his cutter is his new pitch which has basically replaced his slider.  Given his experience Redding will surely move up to AA in 2012 where he’ll try and build upon his 2011 success.  I still see him as a back of the rotation guy who could eventually make his way into the big leagues.

Why #48:  At one point Baseball America saw Redding as a #3 starter, but as of now I’d consider his career a success if he made it the show as a spot starter.  He has solid tools and has the ceiling of a guy who could fill out the back end of big league rotation, but at the same time he doesn’t really stand out as someone who is going to ever really break out and take it to that next level.

47.  Pedro Baez, 3B (32 games in AA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/22/07

6’2”, 195 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.210 average, .659 OPS, 2 HR’s, 15 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 23; Pre 2010 Rank: 12; Pre 2009 Rank: 11

Despite a lackluster season in 2010, the TBLA community had high hopes for Pedro Baez heading into 2011.  Most of this was fueled by our very own Phil Gurnee, who watched Baez take infield drills and batting practice during the Dodgers January 2011 winter development program and said he was the most impressive prospect he saw that day.  Unfortunately Pedro never got a chance to prove Phil right because his 2011 season ended in early May after he injured his non-throwing shoulder while diving for a ball.  In addition, up until that point Baez had done nothing to impress as he was hitting just .210 for the Lookouts at the time of his injury.  After the season I asked about Baez in a Baseball America chat, specially mentioning a possible move to the mound.   Jim Shonerd’s response was “As far as his performance goes, Baez is just a really streaky hitter. He’s got plus power and is an outstanding defender with a cannon arm, but he goes through stretches where he gets out of rhythm and swings through everything. And yes, one Dodgers exec did in fact mention the possibility of putting him on the mound. Not saying it’s going to happen soon, but it’s something to keep in mind.”  We all know that he Baez has a great arm which is why we always talk about him as a potential pitcher, with his throws across the infield being clocked at 94 mph.  His career fielding % at 3rd base is just .916, however, so I’m not sure I agree with Shonerd in that he’s a plus defender.  Also he is a great fastball hitter, but he has a lot of trouble against off-speed pitches so with his offensive struggles over the past two years it might be time to move him to the mound.  Still just 24 years old, he could probably make the conversion over the next year and be ready to help the big league club by 2013 if he catches on quickly enough.  If he stays at 3rd base, however, I think he’ll continue to be over matched against the more advanced pitchers in the upper minor leagues who will continue to exploit his weaknesses.  It will be interesting to see where he is when spring training starts.

Why #47:  Baez continues to fall in my rankings because of his injuries and lack of success, but he’s still a top 50 guy because of his power potential and his outstanding arm that could warrant a move to the mound.  He’s a true wildcard, and where he ends up in spring training will tell us a lot about his future.

 

46.  Cole St. Clair, LHP (50.1 IP in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 7th round

6’5”, 225 lbs, 25.5 years old

1-5, 3.04 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.58 FIP, 8.23 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 46; Pre 2010 Rank: 29; Pre 2009 Rank: 20

After a very successful college career at Rice University, the Dodgers selected Cole St. Clair in the 7th round of the 2008 draft.  After he was drafted, Logan White called St. Clair the “sleeper” of the draft and predicted that he would move quickly through the system.  That has proven to be true so far, especially after Cole had a very impressive season in 2011 for the Lookouts.  While he was overshadowed by several of his teammates, the big lefthander started off the year on fire allowing just 2 earned runs through the month of June for a sparkling 0.76 ERA.  Even though he tired a bit down the stretch he still finished the year with solid numbers and finished the season with the 3rd best FIP of all Dodgers minor leaguers (min 50 IP) thanks to a strong strike to walk ratio and the fact that he only allowed 1 home run in 2011.  In terms of his stuff, Cole isn’t going to intimidate anyone with his velocity, but instead uses excellent pitch placement to get outs.  His fastball sits in the high 80’s to low 90’s, and he has a solid curveball along with a changeup.  His control is solid as he has walked just 3.3 batters per 9 innings for his minor league career vs. a K/9 of 9.5.  After the season the Dodgers sent St. Clair to the Arizona Fall League, and while he struggled a bit with a 4.64 ERA it was a good experience for him to face the league’s top talent.  Here he is warming up for the Salt River Rafters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjleKyYPpE8).  Also, here is additional footage of him throwing during a 2011 spring training game (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz_B-Wq9h84).  St. Clair will almost certainly spend 2012 in Albuquerque, but given the Dodgers lack of left handed relievers he’s probably higher on the Dodgers bullpen depth chart than most people realize.  He’s not yet on the 40 man roster, but with a couple of injuries at the big league level Cole could find himself in Los Angeles at some point in 2012.

Why #46:  St. Clair had a great season in 2011, but his ranking remained constant thanks to other emerging players and 2011 draftees.  I have little doubt that he’ll eventually make it up to the big leagues, but his lack of velocity could get him exposed against top competition.  Despite his 2011 success, I’m not sure that he’ll be any better than former Dodger minor leaguers Travis Schlichting or Jon Link.

45.  Matt Magill, RHP (139.1 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 22.25 years old

11-5, 4.33 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 3.95 FIP, 8.14 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 24; Pre 2010 Rank: 44; Pre 2009 Rank: 78

 Matt Magill is from my wife’s hometown of Simi Valley and was picked by the Dodgers late in the 2008 draft due to his strong college commitment to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  At the time he only threw about 90 mph, but the Dodgers liked his plus slider and 6’3” frame.  After a solid professional debut in the GCL, and a strong sophomore campaign in the Pioneer League, Magill had a breakout season in 2010 with the Loons.  He lead all of minor league baseball with a batting average against of just .194, while his 3.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9 all ranked among the Dodgers minor league leaders.  Here he is throwing some warm-up pitches for Great Lakes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0OY-RuXM1E).  That brings up to 2011, which Matt spent in Rancho Cucamonga.  He got off to a hot start for the Quakes by allowing just 4 total runs over his first 5 starts, but from there his season was a bit up and down.  His ERA by month was 1.64 (April), 5.45 (May), 3.94 (June), 2.36 (July), 7.15 (Aug), and 9.82 (Sept), and overall saw his batting average against jump to .280.  He did throw a team high 139.1 innings, however, and had couple of high strikeout games including back to back starts during which he collected 10 and 12 K’s respectively.  In terms of his stuff, last year there were reports that he was hitting 94 mph with his fastball in the Midwest League, but when I watched him in person this year the radar gun at the Epicenter had him sitting in the mid 80’s with his fastball.  He did flash solid secondary stuff including his aforementioned slider, but overall I came away unimpressed with this stuff and can see why scouts think his stuff will get exposed against more advanced hitters.  He is still just 22, however, so he still has time to improve his game and make adjustments of his own.  In 2012 Magill should move up to AA where he’ll being his true test.

Why #45:  As mentioned above I wasn’t very impressed with Magill in person, so that caused him fall in my rankings this year.  He’s still quite young and could turn out to be a back of the rotation starter at the big league level, although he’ll need to conquer AA first.

44.  Javier Solano, RHP (32.2 IP in AA, 44 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 1/18/08

6’0”, 177 lbs, 22 years old

3-3, 3.64 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.98 FIP, 8.45 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 28; Pre 2010 Rank: 111; Pre 2009 Rank: 139

The Dodgers purchased Javier Solano’s rights from the Mexican League’s Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000.  According to Baseball America at the time of his signing, they said that “Solano’s two best pitches are an 89-93 mph fastball that sits around 91 and a plus 75-78 mph curveball. He also has some feel for a changeup and uses a slider as his fourth offering.”  Assistant GM De Jon Watson also chimed in with some comments when Solano signed, saying that he’s thrown “exceptionally well” and is “very advanced for a 17-year-old, with an above-average fastball and curveball.”  While those scouting reports are about 4 years old, I did get some updated information on Solano in 2010 from Charlie Hough who said “Javier Solano has a low 90’s fastball, and also has a cutter, a curve, and a changeup. He will remain a reliever, and actually might be shorter than the 6’0″ he is listed at.”  Anyways, Solano started his professional career with a couple of middling seasons in the Pioneer League, but in 2010 he was promoted up to HiA and broke out in a big way.  He posted a FIP of 2.39 and struck out about 10 batters per 9 innings, which earned him a promotion to AA in August despite being just 20 years old.  Here is a quick video of him while with the 66ers in 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6CzpKfuhFo).  The Dodgers sent Javier back to the California League to start the 2011 season, and even though he recorded a 4.09 over 44 frames his FIP was much more impressive at 2.65 thanks to an outstanding strikeout to walk ratio.  In July Solano earned a midseason promotion to AA for the second straight season, and just like in 2010 he got even better after reaching Chattanooga as he recording a 3.03 ERA with the Lookouts while allowing just 1 homer in 32.2 innings.  Overall, Javier aka “Javy” aka “Ivan” has good stuff and has made great progress given his age, but I still have questions about his physical makeup.  As mentioned above he is actually shorter than 6 feet tall, and there have been concerns about his ability to stay in shape.  In addition, Solano struggled a bit in the Mexican Winter League this past off-season with a 4.57 ERA and 6 homers allowed in 41.1 frames.  Given his age and pure stuff, however, I do think that Solano will eventually make it up to the big leagues as a middle reliever.  His ceiling isn’t all that high, but could still bring some value to the big league club.  In 2012 Solano will almost certainly start the season in AA, and he’ll probably remain in Chattanooga all year long.

Why #44:  My biggest concern about Solano is his stout stature, and to be honest I’m not sure how he generates his velocity.  Despite his great FIP in 2011, Javier was quite hittable and allowed a .309 batting average against while in Rancho. That said he is still so young and basically has a year of experience at AA with a lot of success, so I think he has the ceiling of a big league middle reliever

43.  Austin Gallagher, 1B (111 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 3rd round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats left handed

.292 average, .838 OPS, 13 HR’s, 62 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 35; Pre 2010 Rank: 19; Pre 2009 Rank: 7

It’s pretty rare for a minor league player to spend 4 full seasons in class A ball before their 23rd birthday, but that is exactly what we have in Austin Gallagher.  The big 6’5” first baseman made his professional debut in the Pioneer League, and since then has played 3 seasons in the California League and 1 season in the Midwest League.  In his 3 seasons in HiA Gallagher has been amazingly consistent, hitting .293 in 2008, .291 in 2010, and .292 in 2011.  2011 was definitely his best season of the bunch, however, since he finally showed some power with a career high 13 homers and also had great plate disciple as he walked almost as much as he struck out.  This video is from 2010, but it probably gives you the best look at his swing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWDl2ZkPwp8).  In addition, his defense showed improvement this past season as he posted a career best .992 fielding percentage.  At the end of the day Gallagher is definitely not the player I once thought he was when I ranked him as the Dodgers #7 prospect in 2009, but I also don’t think he should be written off just yet.  He’s still just 23 years old and is finally showing signs of breaking out, so hopefully he’s turning the corner will continue to show improvement.  In 2012 Austin should finally get his first taste of AA and despite his experience he’ll still be one of the younger players in the league.  A good season for the Lookouts could really get him back on the Dodger prospect radar.

Why #43: Gallagher had by far his best season to date, but he still hasn’t shown that breakout potential to make me believe he could turn into a big league first baseman.  His hitting splits show that he is much better against right handed pitchers (.306 average in 2011 and all 13 of him homers came against righties), which means that even if he doesn’t make it as a starter, he could possibly be a left handed bat off the bench.  He’s still young and could surprise us all in AA next season.

42.  Brian Cavazos-Galvez, 1B/OF (116 games in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 12th round

6’0”, 215 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.277 average, .781 OPS, 14 HR’s, 61 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 26; Pre 2010 Rank: 34; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

As most people know by now, Brian Cavazos-Galvez is the son of a former Dodger minor leaguer who actually conceived Brian while he was playing AAA ball in Albuquerque for the Dodger affiliate then called the Dukes.  While the two lost contact, Brian grew up in New Mexico and played his college ball there before being selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2009 draft.  BCG started his professional career with the Ogden Raptors and destroyed the Pioneer League in 2009, earning league MVP honors and leading the league in runs, hits, doubles, HR’s, and total bases.  In 2010 he got off to a slow start for the Loons, but he really turned things around in the 2nd half of the season which is when he smacked 14 of his 16 homers, recorded a 1.043 OPS, and hit .375.  The Dodgers promoted BCG up to AA in 2011, and he again got off to a slow start with just 4 homers through the month of June.  He finished with a flurry, however, and connected on 7 bombs over his final 30 games while posting a .969 OPS.  His stolen base numbers were way down from last year proving that he was simply taking advantage of the younger competition in the Midwest League, and he continued to walk at an extremely low rate.  Brian also lost some value because he moved from the outfield to 1st base during the season, although scouts don’t really see a true defensive home for him anywhere.  After the season Cavazos-Galvez was scheduled to participate in the instruction leagues, but he ended up playing in the AFL because Alex Castellanos suffered an oblique injury and needed to be replaced.  In 2012 BCG will probably return to AA, but if he ends up making it to Albuquerque it will be a big deal because that is where he grew up and went to college.  When he eventually does make it to AAA, that will probably be the highlight of his professional career because I just don’t see him making it to the big leagues given his lack of defensive abilities and relatively mediocre offensive abilities.

Why #42:  I’ve never been a big fan of BCG, and while he has a good bat I just don’t think he can be a big league player given his lack of defensive position.  Given that he’s already had a decent amount of success at AA, however, he’s closer to the big leagues then a lot of other players and could eventually get a chance in Los Angeles.

41.  Ryan Tucker, RHP (68.1 IP in AAA, 5 IP in Majors in 2011)

Signed as a minor league free agent in Dec 2011

6’1”, 200 lbs, 25.25 years old

3-5, 5.40 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 3.77 FIP, 8.43 K/9 (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

I’ve been following Ryan Tucker’s career for a long time because he played his high school ball at Temple City High School, which is in the same league as my alma mater San Marino.  I just missed playing against Tucker when I was in high school, but my younger brother actually faced him several times and said he was a very tough pitcher.  Ryan ended up getting drafted in the 1st round of the 2005 draft by the Marlins, and ranked as Florida’s #3 prospect prior to the 2008 season (according to Baseball America).  In fact, as recently as 2010 Tucker was ranked as the Marlins #6 prospect, but after a rough 2010 season he was actually placed on waivers by Florida and was picked up by Texas for 2011.  Tucker spent most of 2011 with the Texas’ AAA affiliate in Round Rock, and even though he had another subpar season he did throw 5 innings for the Rangers this past season.  Ryan was a free agent when the season ended, however, and signed with the Dodgers as a 2012 spring training invitee.  He barely qualifies for this list because he has 42 innings of big league experience, although his major league ERA is an ugly 8.14.  In terms of his stuff, Tucker was able to hit 97 mph with this fastball in the past and has a late breaking slider.  He was working on a curveball and a cutter back in 2010, but I’m not sure if those pitches are still in his repertoire.  It seems unlikely that Tucker will start the year with the Dodgers in 2012, but I do think he’ll make his way to the Los Angeles at some point next season.  He’s still just 25 years old and has a very strong fastball, so given that the bullpen rarely stays healthy for an entire season I think he’ll eventually play for the Dodgers.  Hopefully he is able to impress for his hometown fans.

Why #41:  Once a top prospect, I’ve been surprised at Tucker’s minor league struggles over the past few seasons.  He had attitude issues when he was younger, but hopefully he’s outgrown that now that he’s matured.  He still processes a strong fastball and has good secondary stuff and I really think he can help the Dodgers bullpen at some point in 2012.

40.  O’Koyea Dickson, 1B (48 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 12th round

5’11”, 215 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.333 average, 1.005 OPS, 13 HR’s, 38 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After leading Sonoma State to a Division II championship in 2011, O’Koyea Dickson was selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2012 draft.  Dickson’s 11 homers in were more than double of any college teammates in 2011, and he also hit .341 for the Seawolves.  Here is his scouting video from 2011 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e7m_fmPh4A), and here is a music video that was made about him (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqdUUVp-EsM).  Dickson signed with the Dodgers for $45,000, and after getting assigned to the Pioneer League he quickly became one of the Raptors best players.  His 13 home runs lead the club, as did his 1.005 OPS.  He struck out in 20.5% of his plate appearances and walked 8.8% of the time which lead to an OPS of .402.  Strictly a 1st baseman, Dickson is going to have to continue to be an offensive force if he wants to make it to the big leagues.  He has a wide stance and generates a lot of bat speed with his quick swing, and so far that has worked against younger competition.  His raw power only grades out as average, however, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in a less hitter friendly environment.  Dickson has definitely earned a promotion for 2012, and he’ll probably move up to LoA where he’ll be the Loons primary 1st baseman.

 

Why #40: Dickson was an offensive force for Ogden, but college draftees tearing up the Pioneer League are actually pretty common.  I’ll have to wait and see what he does in 2012 before I can really judge his prospect status.  For now O’Koyea’s ceiling is that of a starting big league 1st baseman with 20 HR to 25 HR’s annually and a .280 average, but I think his probability of realizing that potential are extremely low given the reports on his lack of true power and his small stature.  Those low odds of him reaching his potential are why he didn’t rank higher for me.

 

39.  Pratt Maynard, C (25 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 3rd round

6’0”, 215 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats left handed

.239 average, .687 OPS, 2 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Pratt Maynard never caught a game while in high school, but upon arriving at North Carolina State the Wolfpack decided to try him behind the plate.  The conversion was obviously a success, and it led to the Dodgers picking Maynard in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft.  In an interview right before the draft, Maynard said “It’s worked out great for me. I wasn’t drafted in high school as a pitcher. I came [to NC State] willing to play where the coaches needed me, but I never thought much about catching till they asked me.”  Pratt didn’t do much during his freshman year of college, but as a sophomore he socked 11 home runs and set a NC State record with 64 walks (vs just 42 strikeouts).  As a junior his power number dropped off a bit thanks to the new bats introduced by the NCAA in 2011, but he managed to hit .323 and led his team with 21 doubles.  Here he is smacking a double off Jed Bradley, the #15 overall pick of the 2011 draft (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVVYWa6KWBs).  Pratt signed relatively quickly with the Dodgers for $315,000 and was sent to the Pioneer League.  An ankle injury limited him to just 25 games with Ogden and he never really got in a groove as he hit just .239 with only 5 extra base hits.  The Dodgers weren’t too worried about his offensive struggles, however, because the sample size was very small and they know from his college days that he has good pitch recognition and the ability to hit the ball to all fields.  In addition, the Raptors were impressed with his defensive skills, and manager Damon Berryhill said “If you’re an athletic kid and you have range and flexibility and a good first step and decent hands, catching is a good spot for you. For a kid that’s only been catching for a couple years, [Maynard] is pretty polished, which is a pleasant surprise.”  Heading into 2012, Pratt will be the Dodgers best catching prospect in the lower minor leagues.  He’ll almost certainly spend the season with Great Lakes where he’ll be the Loons primary catcher.  While I don’t think he’ll ever be a star, I do believe he has what it takes to one day be a starting catcher at the big league level.

Why #39:  Pratt is obviously just starting his professional career, but he seems to have the right combination of offensive skills and defensive abilities to eventually make it to the show.  He has a nice swing from the left side with occasional power, and like AJ Ellis he really has a good eye at the plate. As I mentioned above I think he has the ceiling of an average starting catcher in the MLB.

38.  Steve Ames, RHP (32.2 IP in AA, 15.1 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 17th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 24 years old

2-2, 2.06 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 2.22 FIP, 12.94 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 38; Pre 2010 Rank: 53; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Since getting selected in the 17th round of the 2009 draft out of Gonzaga, Steve Ames has moved steadily up through the Dodgers minor league system.  He started off his professional career by carving up the Pioneer League, and although his 2010 season got off to a late start due to a hamstring injury, he dominated the Midwest League after joining the Loons and picked up 16 saves as their closer.  In 2011 Ames started off the year in HiA, but was only with the Quakes for a short time because he was so good that he forced the organization to promote him to AA.  In 15.1 innings for Rancho Steve struck out 28 (16.4 K/9), had a 1.17 ERA, a 0.78 WHIP, and walked only two batters.  Ames’ numbers with Chattanooga weren’t quite as ridiculous as they were with the Quakes, but he continued his success with a 2.48 ERA and a K/9 of 11.3.  Overall, since getting drafted Steve has a career ERA of 2.14, a career WHIP of 0.98, and a career K/9 of 13.5 in 109.1 innings.  In terms of his stuff and pitching philosophy, Ames pretty much explained it all to Great Lakes beat writer Hugh Bernreuter (http://www.mlive.com/loons/index.ssf/2010/07/new_reliever_steven_ames_bring.html) in July of 2010 when he said “My fastball is pretty much in the low 90s, so it’s not overwhelming.  I pitch to contact and let my defense do its job.  The best pitch I throw is a fastball away.  Maybe I get a lot of strikeouts because I throw strikes and go after hitters. I’m usually ahead with a 1-2 or 0-2 count and then they have to chase my pitch.  I get guys guessing. I’m able to get good movement on my pitches. I can locate my fastball and change speeds pretty well. When you do that, you get some strikeouts.”  Ames also said “I don’t know why they moved me, but I feel good pitching in relief.  When I started, I would throw fastball, slider, changeup and curveball. But in relief, I basically just stay with fastball and slider.  In relief you can stick to one or two pitches.”  So there you have it from the man himself.  He is mostly a fastball/slider pitcher who gets his strikeouts by changing speeds and using location.  After the 2011 season Ames was sent to the AFL where his numbers were completely different than his career numbers (5 HR’s allowed, 8 K’s and 5 walks in 17.1 innings), so hopefully that speed bump was just him being tired from a long season.  Here he is picking up one of his K’s with the Salt River Rafters.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP07od0XyuA).  Overall Ames doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but I love his control and can see him as a middle reliever for the Dodgers one day.  He’ll probably return to AA to start the 2012 season but he’s another pitcher who could get the call to Los Angeles at some point should injuries occur.

Why #38: The fact that Ames struggled so much in the AFL scares me a bit because it could mean that top hitters have the ability to exploit his less than stellar fastball, but as mentioned above hopefully his struggles were more due to him being tired and not having the ability to locate his pitches.  I still think Ames has the ceiling of a solid big league middle reliever, but I don’t think he has star potential.

37.  Brandon Martinez, RHP (73 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 7th round

6’4”, 160 lbs, 21.25 years old

6-3, 4.07 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 4.57 FIP, 7.15 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 32; Pre 2010 Rank: 27; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Brandon Martinez has admittedly been one of my favorite prospects to follow since the Dodgers drafted him in 2009.  He has an interesting background (www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAsJx7Evmsg), and coming out of Fowler High School Martinez had dominate stats during his senior season as he struck out 85 batters in 45 innings and allowed a .124 batting average against.  At 6’4” he also had a great pitching frame, so I really like his ceiling.  After the draft, Logan White said “This kid is skinny as rail but I’ll tell you he has an outstanding delivery, throws hard and has a fine breaking ball. We’ll have to put a little weight on him. He could turn into a really fine pitcher over time.”  After a couple of tough seasons in the Arizona League, Brandon earned a spot in the Raptors rotation in 2011 and made a team high 15 starts.  He also led the Raptors with 6 wins and opposing batters only hit .237 against him, but his ERA and FIP were a bit high because he struggled with control and averaged 5.4 walks per 9 innings.  In terms of his stuff, my most recent scouting report on Martinez is from after the 2010 season, when DeJon Watson told me that Brandon can still reach 93 and 94 mph on a good night, he sits comfortably with a slightly above average fastball at about 90 to 92 mph.  Watson also said that his breaking ball is solid average, and his changeup is developing.  Still just barely 21 years old, I’m hoping that Martinez will continue his progression through the minors and move into the Loons rotation in 2012.  If he can put together a good season in a full season league, that would really get his name on the Dodger prospect radar.

Why #37:  We all know that I like Martinez more than most, but there’s no questioning a guy with a projectable frame and a 3-pitch mix that includes a 94 mph fastball.  I still think he’ll add velocity as he fills out and could end up as a middle of the rotation starter at the big league level.

36.  Shane Lindsay, RHP (63.2 IP in AAA, 6.2 IP in AA, 6 IP in Majors in 2011)

Signed as a minor league free agent in Nov 2011

6’1”, 205 lbs, 27 years old

3-3, 2.18 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 3.95 FIP, 11.50 K/9 (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Shane Lindsay was born in Australia and was signed by the Rockies as an international free agent back in 2003.  He burst onto the prospect scene two years later after posting a 1.89 ERA and a 14.4 K/9 over 13 starts in the Northwest League, and then continued his early success with another outstanding season in 2006.  Unfortunately a torn labrum caused him to miss the entire 2007 season, but by 2009 he was again tearing it up and had a 2.60 ERA in AA.  In 2010 the wheels fell off a bit, however, and he started the year by walking 17 batters in just 13.2 innings.  At that point the Rockies placed Lindsay on waivers, and he was scooped up by the Yankees.  He never threw a pitch in the Yankees’ organization, however, and was instead claimed by the Indians when New York put Lindsay back on waivers a few weeks later.  He finished 2010 with Cleveland, but signed with the White Sox as a minor league free agent before the 2011 season.  With Chicago Lindsay had another interesting year in the minors as opposing batters hit just .137 against him, yet he walked 7.5 batters per 9 innings which bumped up his WHIP and FIP.  He also made his big league debut in 2011, and while his ERA was 12.00 in four appearances, that was mostly skewed one outing during which he allowed 7 runs.  Now to the exciting stuff.  Lindsay has a mid to upper 90’s fastball along with a strong curveball that both generate a ton of swing and misses.  He obviously has trouble with his control, however, which is why he’s only thrown 6 innings in the big leagues.  He’s also injury prone and apparently has a bit of a temper, and has apparently allowed 7 homers in 29 innings this offseason in the Australian Winter League after giving up just 9 homers in his entire minor league career of 366 innings.  Overall it doesn’t appear that Lindsay has a shot to make the Dodgers out of spring training, so he’ll probably start the season in Albuquerque where he’ll be a fun one to watch.  If he has success with the Isotopes, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got to the call to Los Angeles as some point in 2012.

Why #36:  I know he’s older and is now with his 5th organization, but he’s thrown just 6 big league innings so he still ranks as a prospect in my book.  He obviously has the pure stuff to be a lights out reliever, but to do so he needs to learn to put it all together and maintain control of his pitches.  It’s his upside that allows me to rank him this high, but the question marks that don’t allow me to rank him any higher.

35.  Derek Cone, RHP (25.1 IP in LoA, 48.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 18 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 31st round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 21.75 years old

4-8, 5.11 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 4.50 FIP, 9.43 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 36; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Derek Cone in the 31st round of the 2010 draft after he had a great year for Mesa Community College in Arizona.  Cone was the team’s ace all year and had a 1.93 ERA in 84 innings to go along with 105 strikeouts.  After much deliberation, Derek gave up his BYU commitment and signed with the Dodgers at the deadline for $150K.  He explained “I was all moved in and signed a 12 month lease for an apartment in Provo when a couple days before the signing deadline I received a call saying the Dodgers would come up to my asking price.”  Because Cone signed late he only pitched 4.1 innings in his professional debut with the Ogden Raptors.  The Dodgers were aggressive with Derek in 2011 and put him on the Loons opening day roster, but he was relatively ineffective in his 8 appearances and was sent back to extended spring training in late May.  Cone re-emerged with the Arizona Dodgers in late June, then came full circle and was sent to Ogden in mid July which is where he finished the season.  Cone stepped right into the rotation and was one of the main starters for the Raptors, and while he struck out about 10.6 batters per inning he ended the season with a 5.03 ERA and a 4.34 FIP.  Despite his mediocre season in 2011, the lanky right hander should still be considered a decent prospect thanks to his projectable frame and a promising curveball.  As of last year his fastball was only clocked in the low 90’s, but the Dodgers believe he’ll gain velocity as he adds muscle.  He also continues to work on throwing a changeup.  Cone is someone who has the chance to take a big step forward in 2012 now that he has a year of experience under his belt.  Still just 21 years old, he’ll probably return to Midwest League where he’ll try and improve upon his performance from 2011.

Why #35:  Cone is a very projectable pitcher who is still quite young, and as mentioned he is still expected to gain some velocity on his fastball.  Despite his mediocre season in 2011, I like his strikeout rate and think he has the ceiling of a middle of the rotation starter.  He’s still a long way off from reaching his potential, however, but I think he could have a breakout season in 2012.

34.  Justin Sellers, SS (89 games in AAA, 36 games in Majors in 2011)

Acquired via trade with Cubs in April 2009

5’10”, 160 lbs, 26 years old, bats right handed

.304 average, .937 OPS, 14 HR’s, 49 RBI’s, 3 SB’s (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: 48; Pre 2010 Rank: 75; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Originally selected by Oakland in the 2005 draft, Justin Sellers was traded to the Cubs in February of 2009 for Michael Wuertz.  He was then sent to Los Angeles for an undisclosed amount of cash and spent his first season as a Dodger in Chattanooga where he held his own went mostly unnoticed.  In 2010, however, Sellers surprised a lot of people with a breakout campaign, hitting a career high 14 homers while posting a .867 OPS for the Isotopes in AAA.  That got Justin invited to the Dodgers 2011 big league spring training where he was given a hard look, but eventually he was sent down to Albuquerque for the season.   Sellers continued to impress with the Isotopes in 2011 as he crushed 14 more homers in 89 games, posted a .400 OB%, and had a .937 OPS.  This of course earned Justin a promotion to the Dodgers when Dee Gordon went down with an injury, and he remained with the big league club for the rest of the season.  While Sellers didn’t exactly impress during his time in Los Angeles with a .203 average and a .583 OPS, he became a bit of a fan favorite and showed off some of the defensive skills that originally got him drafted in the 6th round.  He also demonstrated versatility as he spent time at 2nd base, 3rd base, and shortstop.  While there doesn’t appear to be room for Sellers on the big league roster to start the 2012 season, you never know when injuries will occur and it seems like Justin will be one of the first players up from AAA should an infielder go down.  As I mentioned last year his ceiling isn’t all that high, but he’s definitely a cheap insurance option with strong defensive skills who is worth keeping around.

Why #34:  Sellers has already made it to the show, and while I think his best days are still ahead of him I don’t think he’ll really ever be more than a backup infielder without much pop.  His defense should allow him to stay around the league for a while, but he might be someone who bounces around with quite a few teams before his career is done.

33.  Scott McGough, RHP (20.1 IP in LoA, 5.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 5th round

6’0”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

1-5, 2.77 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 1.97 FIP, 11.42 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Scott McGough was rated as one of the country’s best relievers heading into 2011 college season, but he didn’t quite live up to expectations during his junior season at Oregon.  While he led the Ducks with a team high 31 appearances, he was a little wild and his 3.59 ERA was actually the fourth worst on the entire pitching staff.  That didn’t bother the Dodgers, however, and they selected McGough in the 5th round of this past draft.  Scott signed quickly for $150,000 and was initially assigned to the Raptors, but after just two weeks he was promoted to LoA.  With the Loons McGough was very effective, and even finished the season as the team’s closer.  He posted an outstanding FIP had a very impressive strikeout rate.  In terms of his stuff, Loons pitching coach Kremlin Martinez told Hugh Bernreuter that “(McGough) throws hard, plus his slider is nasty.  He’s been working on a changeup and it’s been really good. He’s used it a few times in games and it’s been effective. It gives him a third quality pitch.”  To get a little more specific, Scott’s fastball sits in the mid 90’s and touches 97 mph, while his slider is more of a wipeout pitch that is usually clocked in the low 80’s.  Here is a video of him throwing in college (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-1ppbGz7ew).  Overall, McGough is not a very big guy but he has a big arm that should move him quickly through the minor leagues.  He also has good bloodlines because his dad was a minor league pitcher for the Indians for several years.  In 2012 McGough will probably start off in Rancho Cucamonga, but a move to AA at some point during the season isn’t out of the question.  Hard throwing relievers with 3 quality pitches don’t come around every day, so the Dodgers will want to watch Scott carefully.

Why #33:  McGough’s stats in 2011 were pretty ridiculous, and as mentioned above you’ve got to love a 3 pitcher reliever who throws 97 mph.  He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he sounds like he has the ceiling of a set-up man at the big league level.  Young pitchers with just 27 innings of professional experience are never sure bets, but I really like his potential.

 

32.  Ralston Cash, RHP (Did not play in 2011 due to injury)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 2nd round

6’1”, 197 lbs, 20.5 years old

No stats in 2011

Pre 2011 Rank: 16; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Ralston Cash was probably a bit of an overdraft when the Dodgers selected him in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft, but you can’t blame the team since they spent $5.25M on their 1st round pick on Zach Lee.  The Georgia prep eventually signed for $463K, and joined the Arizona Dodgers in July of 2010.  Cash, the cousin of 2008 first round pick Ethan Martin, had an interesting upbringing because he was raised by his grandparents after his mother passed away in a freak car accident.  Sadly Cash faced even more heartbreak this past offseason as his grandfather/adoptive father also passed away.  Ralston himself actually had some trouble of his own in 2011 as he missed the entire season due to a hip injury, splitting the season between his home in Georgia and rehab in Arizona.  He plans to come back at full strength in 2012, but he’ll be a year behind in his development.  In terms of his stuff, Cash throws a fastball from 88-92 mph with good sink, and he has touched 94 mph.  Some scouts describe his secondary stuff as fringy, while others believe his changeup and slider can one day become plus pitches.  In 2012 Cash will still be just 20 years old, and given that he missed the entire 2011 season I’m guessing that he won’t be ready for a full season league.  He’ll probably spend an ample amount of time in extended spring training, and then will play for the Raptors.  Despite his missed season he still has a decent amount of potential, but obviously I’m not quite as high on him as I was a year ago.

Why #32:  Cash is a great person with a great attitude toward life, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a great baseball player.  He has the upside of a starting pitcher at the major league level (ceiling of a #4 starter), but he’ll need to make up for lost time in 2012.

31.  Ivan DeJesus, 2B (100 games in AAA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

5’11”, 200 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.310 average, .820 OPS, 8 HR’s, 59 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 25; Pre 2010 Rank: 13; Pre 2009 Rank: 5

Is there a more controversial Dodger prospect than Ivan DeJesus?  The 2005 2nd round pick was well on his way to Los Angeles after an outstanding 2008 season in AA as a 21 year old, but as we all know a broken leg during spring training in 2009 cost him the season and has never really allowed DeJesus to return to his full potential.  Ivan has spent the last two seasons in AAA, and while he’s posted very good stats for the Isotopes the reality is that he’s done most of his offensive damage at home in Albuquerque’s hitter friendly park.  He is also mostly limited to 2nd base now, although he did spent some time at 3rd last season (but posted a .818 fielding %) and can play his former position of shortstop in a pinch.  He did make his major league debut last season for the Dodgers when Furcal went down for an injury in April, but he was used very sparingly and managed just 6 singles in 32 at bats.  He was also excluded from the September call ups, and there have been questions about his attitude and work ethic throughout his career.  Overall DeJesus projects to be a gap hitter at the big league level with the potential to hit for a solid average, but he doesn’t have any speed and his defense abilities are more limited than your typical big league utility player.  Unless injuries plague the rest of the roster Ivan will return to AAA in 2012 where he’ll again wait for a chance to return to Los Angeles.  Given that he seems to have been passed on the depth chart Justin Sellers, however, he might have to wait for while.

Why #31:  I never know where to rank DeJesus.  He’s put up strong numbers at AAA but I don’t think he’ll be more than a .260 hitter at the big league level with limited power potential.  Combine that with his defensive limitations and a historically poor attitude and I’m not sure how much value has to a big league team.

30.  Juan Rodriguez, RHP (76 IP in LoA in 2011, including 59 IP with Red Sox)

Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson

6’5”, 195 lbs, 23.25 years old

3-5, 4.38 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 2.92 FIP, 12.79 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

There’s something about Juan Rodriguez that I like.  The hard throwing right hander was acquired by the Dodgers as part of the Trayvon Robinson trade, and what he lacks in control he makes up for with velocity.  Signed by the Red Sox as a 19 year old out of the Dominican Republic, Juan dominated the DSL for two seasons before getting promoted to the Red Sox Gulf Coast team in 2010.  After a solid US debut Rodriguez was sent to the Sally League in 2011 and had a 5.19 ERA prior to be shipped to the Dodgers.  Upon joining the Loons, however, Juan posted a 1.59 ERA over 17 frames and allowed just 6 hits for a .105 batting average against.  At the time of the trade, Ned Colletti said “Rodriguez has power stuff and is still very young. He has potential to develop into a solid late-inning reliever.”  Here is video of him throwing for the Loons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fELvgmbS9a0).  In addition to an upper 90’s fastball, Rodriguez throws a slider and a changeup, but by all accounts his secondary pitches are fringy at best.  He has good movement on his fastball, however, which is what allows him to strike out so many batters.  Overall I love Rodriguez’s projectable frame, and because he is still just 23 I feel that he’ll be able to improve upon his control and slider with good coaching.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers challenged Rodriguez with an assignment to AA in 2012, and like Ned Coletti I think Juan could eventually be a late inning reliever for the Dodgers.

Why #30:  Rodriguez’s performance with the Loons showed that he could be something special, and I especially love his projectable frame.  If he can fine tune just one of his secondary pitches then I think he could reach his potential of a late inning reliever.  If his secondary pitches remain fringy, however, then it’s unlikely that he’ll succeed at the higher levels of the minor leagues.

29.  Josh Wall, RHP (68.2 IP in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

6’6”, 220 lbs, 25 years old

4-5, 3.93 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 3.99 FIP, 7.47 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 61; Pre 2010 Rank: 57; Pre 2009 Rank: 49

Josh Wall signed with the Dodgers out of high school in 2005 as a 2nd round pick for $500,000 and spent the first 6 professional seasons as a middling starting pitcher.  2011 brought about quite a few changes for Josh, however, because after four years in Class A the Dodgers finally decided to move him to AA, and they also changed his role from starter to reliever.  Wall responded with his best season to date, posting an ERA below 4 for the first time since 2005 while providing the Lookouts with a solid bullpen arm.  While his overall stats weren’t all that impressive, he did add a few ticks to his fastball and was rumored to be hitting 100 mph in some outings.  After the season Wall was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he had even more success as he posted a 2.16 ERA over 8.1 frames against baseball’s best prospects.  Here he is throwing for the Salt River Rafters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLIh4tMHuQo).  In addition to his strong fastball, Josh throws a hard slider along with a decent curveball and a fringy changeup.  His overall potential as a reliever was too much for the Dodgers to ignore as they added him to the 40 man roster this past November.  He was also invited to the Winter Development camp this past January along with several of the organizations other prospects.  While there is currently no room for Josh in the big league bullpen, Wall is definitely an option to join the Dodgers at some point during the 2012 season.  Given his age and experience the Dodgers probably won’t be afraid to send him to AAA despite the tough pitching conditions.

Why #29:  After 7 minor league seasons, Wall has finally become relevant as a prospect thanks to his newfound success as a reliever and a fastball that apparently can reach triple digits.  I’ve always liked Wall’s size and draft pedigree, and I’m glad that he’s found a home in the bullpen because that should allow him to eventually make it to the big leagues.  He doesn’t seem to the stuff of a closer but I think his ceiling is that of a big league middle reliever.

28.  Scott Barlow, RHP (1.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 6th round

6’4”, 170 lbs, 19.25 years old

0-1, 27.00 ERA, 4.20 WHIP, 13.40 FIP, 5.40 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

I’m usually a big fan when the Dodgers draft high school arms, but when I heard that the Dodgers picked Scott Barlow in the 6th round of this past draft I wasn’t overly excited.  High school players picked in the top 10 rounds of the draft are usually dominant in the prep career, but Barlow didn’t have eye popping stats as he went 7-4 with a 3.17 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 64 innings as a senior at Golden Valley High in Santa Clarita.  In addition, reports were that his fastball maxed out in the high 80’s, and that he had some attitude problems during his high school career.  However I partially changed my mind about Barlow’s potential after reading that he had added significant muscle after the draft and was hitting 94 mph in the Dodgers offseason instructional league.  Besides his newly improved fastball, Scott also has a strong curveball, a slider, and a changeup, so he apparently has enough offerings to remain in the rotation.  According to a Baseball America offseason chat with Jim Shonerd, Barlow should be considered one of the Dodgers best sleeper prospects, and I also learned in that chat that the Dodgers were also encouraged by his clean mechanics and feel for pitching.  Barlow will be just 19 years old during the 2012 season so I’m guessing the Dodgers will take it slow with Scott and keep him in the Arizona Rookie League for a full season.  As mentioned above I’m encouraged by the recent reports on his stuff so I definitely think that he should be considered a legitimate prospect going forward.

Why #28:  Before reading about Barlow’s improved fastball I was ready to rank him in the 40 to 50 range, but obviously he’s now moved up a few spots.  I still don’t have him as high as some other publications, however, because I’ve yet to see how his different pitches will work against professional hitters.  I’m also worried a bit about reports about his attitude problems.  If everything goes according to plan I believe his ceiling is that of a #3 starter, but that potential is a long ways off.

27.  Leon Landry, CF (125 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 3rd round

5’11”, 185 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.250 average, .667 OPS, 4 HR’s, 41 RBI’s, 28 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 21; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Leon Landry played his college ball at LSU, and although he helped the Tigers win the 2009 College World Series he was overshadowed by several players on that team.  That changed in 2010 as he established himself as a more elite player by hitting .338 with 6 homers and 16 stolen bases, striking out just 25 times in 240 at bats, and making just one error in center field.  The Dodgers selected him in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft and Landry signed quickly for about $285K.  Leon made his professional debut in the Pioneer League and had an outstanding season for the Ogden Raptors, ranking among the league leaders in several offensive categories and hitting very well both at home and on the road.  He also showed that he was an outstanding defender, and according to Raptor radio man Brandon Hart “Landry should be defined by his defense.  It is what got him drafted in the 3rd round.  He has a second gear in the field.”  In 2011 Landry moved up to the Midwest League, but unfortunately like a lot of his Loons’ teammates his numbers fell dramatically in LoA.  He was only able to match his 2010 home run total despite aggregating more than double the at bats, and his OPS fell more than 240 points.  On the plus side he stole 28 bases, continued to play solid defense in center field, and struck out in just 12.1% of his plate appearances.  In addition, he was incredibly consistent as he not only hit .250 for the season, but batted exactly .250 in April, May, and July.  Overall Neon Leon’s potential probably falls somewhere in between the outstanding athlete we saw in 2010 and the disappointing player we saw in 2011.  His defense definitely has big league potential so he just needs to learn a more consistent approach at the plate.  Still just 22, I think Landry will move up to HiA in 2012 where he’ll roam center field for the Quakes.

Why #27:  Similar to last year, I think Landry has the ceiling as a solid defensive outfielder at the big league level who can play either left or center and hit .280 with about 10 homers and 25 stolen bases per year.  While he fell off the map for some, I still like his potential and think he just needed to adjust to playing baseball over an entire 140 game schedule.

26.  Scott Schebler, OF (70 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 26th round

6’1”, 208 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed

.285 average, .853 OPS, 13 HR’s, 58 RBI, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 27; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Scott Schebler in the 26th round of the 2010 draft after a huge season at Des Moines Area CC where he hit .446 with 20 jacks and 82 RBI’s.  However his asking price to sign was $300K – $500K and he had a strong commitment Wichita State, so both Scott and the Dodgers played the waiting game.  After getting drafted Schebler participated in the Northwoods League, a wood bat college summer league, to boost his stock.  He did just that as he smacked 10 more homers in just 218 at bats.  While negotiations went down the wire, the Dodgers eventually signed Schebler for $300K and a commitment to pay for his college.  Scott played in just 5 games for the Dodgers in 2010 because he signed so late, so 2011 was really our first real look at Schebler.  He spent the year in the Pioneer League and quietly had a very good season for Ogden, tying for the team lead with 13 homers while posting a .853 OPS.  Check out one of his at bats here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OLOCD_tHy4).  He was outstanding with runners on base, and ended the season on a hot streak.  He also answered some questions about his defense as he spent almost all his time in right field and posted the best fielding percentage of all the outfielders.  The one surprise about his season was the fact that he only stole one base, especially because Baseball America described him as having plus speed in their pre-draft report.  In addition Schebler posted a very low walk rate and ended up K’ing in 30.8% of his plate appearances, which isn’t a good combination.  Despite those negatives, I still see Schebler as a very exciting athlete that has a lot of potential.  He’ll definitely move up to a full season league next season and hopefully he’ll show improvement in the various aspects of his game now that he has a full season of experience under his belt.  I expect him to spend 2012 with the Loons where he’ll be an intriguing guy to follow.

Why #26: While Schebler got lost in the mix of good Raptor team and seems to have fallen off the prospect radar despite a strong season, I am holding fast on my ranking of the outfielder.  His lack of stolen bases concerns me because I thought that would be a big part of his game at the next level, but I still think he could mature into a power and speed guy who can handle any of the outfield positions.  His ceiling would be that of a major league player with 20 – 20 potential, but that’s obviously a long way off and he’s definitely going to need to improve his contact rate next season.

25.  Scott Van Slyke, RF (130 games in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 14th round

6’5”, 220 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.348 average, 1.022 OPS, 20 HR’s, 92 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 55; Pre 2010 Rank: 28; Pre 2009 Rank: 123

For Scott Van Slyke, things just seem to take a little longer.  Drafted way back in 2005, Scott muddled through several seasons including a very average performance in the California League in 2008.  When he returned to HiA in 2009, however, Van Slyke had a breakout season that included 23 homers, 100 RBI’s, and a .907 OPS.  That earned him a promotion to AA in 2010, but he got off to a slow start in his new environment and was sent back down to HiA where he again found success.  Van Slyke got another shot at the Southern League in 2011, and just like with HiA he broke out in his second go-around.  This time Scott really set the world on fire as he led the Lookouts in every significant offensive category except for runs and stolen bases, and even won the league batting title with a .348 average.  As Ken Gurnick pointed out in a recent article, the change for Van Slyke came when he started taking baseball seriously.  You can read all about it here (http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120130&content_id=26513908&vkey=news_la&c_id=la), but overall he says he is now more committed to the game.  Defensively Scott can play both outfield and 1st base, although he’s merely average at both positions and probably can’t handle center or right field at the big league level.  I got a good look at Van Slyke during the Winter Development Program last month, and I was impressed with how big he was and how much he looked like a ball player.  I’ll admit that his appearance helped bump him up a few spots in my rankings, although I’m still not one of his biggest fans so I still probably have him lower than most.  Now that he’s on the 40 man roster, Van Slyke will have a bigger spotlight on him in 2012 so we’ll see how he responds to that.  He’ll most likely play in the hitter’s paradise known as Albuquerque, so I do expect him to continue to put up big numbers.  I’m not sure how his success in the minors will translate in the big leagues, however, so for now I think he’ll be a bench player at best.

Why #25:  Van Slyke has definitely improved over the past few seasons, but I just don’t see him as a big league starter.  He’ll probably make his MLB debut in 2012 and could eventually be a bench player, but given his struggles with new environments (another example was this past winter when he hit .194 in the Venezuelan Winter League) he could have a lot of trouble getting enough playing time at the big league to get comfortable enough to have success.

24.  Alex Castellanos, OF (125 games in AA in 2011, although 93 of those games were with the Cardinals organization)

Trade with Cardinals for Rafael Furcal

5’11”, 180 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.320 average, .958 OPS, 23 HR’s, 85 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers obtained Alex Castellanos from the Cardinals in exchange for Rafael Furcal.  Most fans didn’t expect Los Angeles to get anything more than salary relief for Furcal, so the fact that the Dodgers also got a decent prospect was icing on the cake.  Since joining the organization, Castellanons has been a controversial prospect because he is loved by some, but ignored by others.  He hit .322 after joining the Lookouts with a 1.009 OPS over 121 at bats, but he was one of the older players in the Southern League and didn’t have a whole lot of success in previous years.  After the season he was sent to the AFL and started off on fire, but an oblique injury sent him home after just 8 games.  I personally think Castellanos’ value lies in his ability to play the infield because as a 25 year old outfielder he is just another big league bench player.  That being said, I don’t think he has what it takes to play 2nd base or 3rd base because if he had that ability he would have been playing there already.  I got a chance to watch Alex practice in person during the Dodgers winter development program, and physically he did not impress me at all.  He actually reminded me a bit of another Alex, Alex Cora, albeit with more power.  While I was there Tommy Lasorda did specially ask that he get some extra reps in the batting cage and he did hit the ball pretty well, but I just don’t see him as being a power threat at the big league level.  He’ll almost certainly spend 2012 in AAA, but now that he’s on the Dodgers’ 40 man roster he’ll probably see Los Angeles at some point next season.

Why #24:  As mentioned above I was not impressed with Castellanos physical appearance, and although there is no denying his impressive stats in 2011 you do have to remember that he was already 25 years old when the season ended.  He may eventually be a useful big league player and he has the ceiling of a starting outfielder, but I don’t think he’ll ever show significant power and he doesn’t really have any other plus skills.  Unless he can truly transition to the infield then I’m going to keep him out of my top 20.

23.  Ryan O’Sullivan, RHP (8.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 4th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 21.5 years old

0-1, 6.48 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 5.72 FIP, 5.40 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After declining to sign with the Giants out of high school as a 10th round pick, Ryan O’Sullivan decided to attend San Diego State and as a freshman in 2009 he was in the same rotation as Stephen Strasburg.  While he struggled during that first season to the tune of a 6.79 ERA, the Aztecs believed he would eventually take over as the staff ace.  Unfortunately he injured his elbow in his first appearance of 2010, however, which caused him to miss the entire season.  Struggles with grades forced him to transferred to Oklahoma City College, but upon arriving it was discovered he couldn’t get an academic release to play in 2011.  Despite another missed season, O’Sullivan was eligible for the 2011 draft and threw bullpen sessions for several teams.  The Dodgers were among the teams scouting Ryan, and took a flyer on him with their 4th round pick.  Per Baseball America he apparently had issues with his post draft physical, but instead of going through another year of college he decided to sign for a below slot deal of $100,000.  O’Sullivan made his professional debut in the Pioneer League, but he only threw 8.1 innings over 3 appearances so the sample size is too small to analyze.  There are solid scouting reports about his stuff, however, and per Baseball America he has a quality 4 pitch mix.  His fastball sits in the low 90’s and peaks and 95 mph, while his slider is his best secondary offering.  He also throws a show-me curveball and a circle change.  Ryan, whose brother Sean O’Sullivan has thrown 193 big league innings with the Angeles and Royals, will almost certainly start 2012 in the Loons rotation, but they will probably limit his innings give that he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2009.  Given his lack of experience and injury history he is a bit of a wildcard, but if he reaches his full potential then he seems to have the stuff to be a middle of the rotation starter.

Why #23:  When a guy has better pure stuff than his brother who has already made it to the big leagues, you have to like his changes.  That being said Ryan’s injury history make him a bit of a question mark and caused him to fall a bit in my rankings.  At his best he could be a middle of the rotation starter, but he is still a long way off from that ceiling.

22.  Griff Erickson, C (41 games in AA, 63 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 15th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 24 years old, switch hitter

.293 average, .866 OPS, 13 HR’s, 66 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 62; Pre 2010 Rank: 45; Pre 2009 Rank: 103

Ever since he was selected in the 15th round of the 2006 draft, I’ve always had high aspirations for Gorman “Griff” Erickson.  After hitting just .215 with 2 homers and a .619 OPS for the Loons in 2010, however, it was tough to consider Erickson a legitimate prospect.  That all changed in 2011 after Griff was sent to the California League and had by far his best season to date.  The big backstop only played 63 games for the Quakes because he was promoted to AA in early July, but he made the most of his time in Rancho with a .305 average and a .899 OPS.  Griff also had a knack for getting on base with an OB% over .400, and showed a great eye as he walked almost as much as he struck out.  After joining the Lookouts, Erickson smacked 7 homers in just 41 games and posted a .808 OPS in his first taste of the Southern League.  He also continued to show improved defense while in AA and threw out 32% of would be base-stealers.  After the season the switch hitter was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he struggled through 19 games, but the exposure to advanced pitching will be beneficial to him in the long run.  Here he is batting right handed for the Salt River Rafters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJEsvRNWIkQ), here he is hitting left handed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUQV6b2ICww&feature=related), and here’s a look at his receiving skills (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZboPf6dWqg0&feature=related).  Griff will be 24 years old when the 2012 season begins, so he is still quite young.  He’ll probably return to AA where he’ll be the Lookouts’ main catcher, and other strong campaign should get him added to the 40 man roster next offseason.  He’ll get a chance to show off in front of Dodgers management before then, however, because he was invited to the 2012 big league spring training.  Overall Griff has more upside than fellow minor league catcher Tim Federowicz, but he’s less polished and has a lower chance of reaching his full potential.

Why #22:  What’s not to love about a big switching hitting catcher coming off his best season?  Especially when he held his own during his first taste of AA as a 23 year old?  The only thing keeping him out of my top 20 is the fact that he hadn’t shown much potential prior to this season, so I’m a bit worried that he’ll return to his career averages in the future.

21.  Alex Santana, 3B (50 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 2nd round

6’4”, 200 lbs, 18.5 years old, bats right handed

.238 average, .636 OPS, 1 HR, 19 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After making Ralston Cash a surprise 2nd round pick in 2010, the Dodgers made another interesting decision in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft when they selected Alex Santana. Despite being picked #73 overall, Santana wasn’t ranked among the top 200 draft prospects by Baseball America.  In fact, in BA’s state by state rankings, Santana was only the 72nd best draft prospect in the state of Florida.  The Dodgers love bloodlines, however, so they made the son of form big league shortstop Rafael Santana their pick.  Don’t get me wrong Santana is an intriguing player.  He is extremely young and very raw, and he has some very interesting tools.  Scouts say that he has strong wrists, is a good line drive hitter, and has good speed.  He also projects to have above average power thanks to plus bat speed.  Santana struggled during a 50 game debut in the Arizona Rookie League, posting a lowly .636 OPS and striking out in 31.2% of his plate appearances.  He played almost the entire season as a 17 year old though so getting off to a slow start was expected, and he did have some bright spots as he stole 8 bases and ranked 3rd on the team with 30 runs scored.  In terms of his defense, Alex was a shortstop in high school but has obviously outgrown the position.  Now a 3rd baseman, Santana was still trying to learn the position during his debut season as he posted an ugly fielding percentage of .832 and made 17 errors in just 38 games.  The good news is that he is expected to have the athleticism and arm to stick at the hot corner.  Looking ahead to 2012, I can’t see Santana being ready for a full season league.  Therefore I expect him to stay in extended spring training before playing the year in Ogden with the Raptors.
Why #21:  I really like Santana’s potential and think he could be a solid major leaguer one day, but he could just as easily turn into just another organizational player.  It’s tough to rank such a young player, but his bloodlines and power potential caused me to rank him in the top 20.  His uncertainly and youth won’t allow me to rank him any higher, however.  It’s very early in his career, but I currently see his ceiling as a big league 3rd baseman with 20 homer potential and a .280 average.

 

20.  Kyle Russell, RF (11 games in AAA, 120 games in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 3rd round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats left handed

.255 average, .831 OPS, 20 HR’s, 72 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 17; Pre 2010 Rank: 14; Pre 2009 Rank: 14

Kyle Russell was the Dodgers 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft out of Texas, and after setting home runs records in college he has continued to put on a power display as a pro.  He has also struck out at a pretty alarming rate (31.8% for his career), but really that just comes with the territory for Kyle.  After earning co-MVP honors in the Midwest League in 2009, Russell made a joke out of the California League in 2010 by hitting .354 in 53 games with 16 homers and a ridiculous 1.140 OPS.  That earned Kyle a promotion to AA in June, and while his stats dropped across the board in the Southern League, he still managed to collect 36 extra base hits in just 273 at bats.  In 2011 Kyle returned to AA and he continued his trend of hitting for a lot of power while striking out a ton.  He ranked 2nd on the team with 19 homers, but K’ed in 32.2% of his plate appearances.  The good news is that the everyday right fielder also continues to walk at a good rate which helped him post a .840 OPS despite a .259 average.  He finished 2011 with an 11 game stint in AAA (which is where he where he will be in 2012), and after the season he spent some time in the AFL and had decent results (check out his long swing here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgabucHEuCU&feature=related).  At the end of the day you know what you’ll get out of Russell.  He’s been extremely consistent with his strikeouts, posting a K rate of between 31.2% and 32.4% in each of his four minor league seasons, and has hit at least 20 home runs for the past three years.  If given the chance to play every day at the big league level I think his stats would probably be pretty similar to his final line of 2011 (with a lower OPS).  As mentioned above he’ll start 2012 in AAA and could quickly become a fan favorite in Albuquerque with his power potential.

Why #20:  While I doubt that Russell will ever get the chance to play every day in the big leagues, I do think he could be a valuable left handed bench player with good power against right handed pitchers.  He also plays a serviceable right field so he wouldn’t be a defensive liability if given the occasional start.  For that reason I think he deserves to be ranked as a top 20 Dodger prospect.   I expect big numbers out of him in Albuquerque this season, and I could see him helping out the Dodgers at some point in 2013 while possibly filling the void left by Jamie Hoffmann (but with more power potential).

19.  Angel Sanchez, RHP (99 IP in LoA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 7/12/10

6’3”, 177 lbs, 22.25 years old

8-4, 2.82 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.46 FIP, 7.64 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #12

Angel Sanchez literally came out of nowhere.  Even though he was technically signed by the Dodgers in July of 2010, I would bet that nobody had heard of Sanchez coming into the 2011 season.  Even the Dodgers were confused because in their 2011 media guide, they showed that Sanchez had played in the DSL last season which wasn’t true.  In reality Sanchez was a rare Dominican player to sign after attending college, and made his professional debut all the way up in the Midwest League.  Upon joining the Loons in May he created a lot of buzz, and rightly so because the right hander had a very successful campaign.  For the season Angel posted a 2.82 ERA over 99 innings with a WHIP of 1.12.  His most impressive stat, however, was that opposing batters hit just .198 against him.  In terms of his stuff, Sanchez was equally impressive with a mid 90’s fastball, a sinking 2-seamer, a good changeup, and a developing curveball.  His frame is also projectable, and he is still quite young at 22 years old.  All that being said, I’m being a little cautious when ranking Sanchez and am not as high on him as most.  His less than impressive strikeout rate worries me a bit, and his FIP of 3.46 is pretty average.  He was also playing in a very pitcher friendly league and because he burst onto the scene there were no scouting reports on him which helped his cause.  I’ll be curious to see how Sanchez performs in 2012, especially since his most likely destination will be HiA.  If he continues to post outstanding stats then I’ll be forced to jump onboard the Sanchez bandwagon, but for now I’ll watch and hopefully even catch him pitching in person next season.

Why #19:  I’m just not sold on Sanchez, which is why I have him ranked lower than most.  I’ve seen him pitch online and he does have quality stuff and a good motion, but again I just don’t see him as a top prospect just yet.  He probably does have the ceiling of a #3 starter in the big leagues, but I think obviously a long ways off from reaching that potential and a lot can change over the next 12 months.

18.  Jake Lemmerman, SS (21 games in AA, 103 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 5th round

6’1”, 192 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.283 average, .785 OPS, 10 HR’s, 65 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 19; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #16

Jake Lemmerman is a local kid who grew up in Corona Del Mar, yet he decided to play his college ball at Duke.  While he was a Blue Devil, Lemmerman built up quite a reputation for himself both on and off the field (http://bcclist.com/2010/10/07/download-duke-athlete-thesis-karen-owens/).  The Dodgers selected “Late Night” in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, and upon signing he was assigned to the Raptors in the Pioneer League.  After joining Ogden, Lemmerman had pretty much the best season possible for a first year shortstop.  Jake was named the MVP for the entire league, and definitely deserved it with the offensive stats he put up as a middle infielder.  Jake hit .363 over 259 at bats and finished the season with 12 homers.  He also ranked 1st in the league in runs (69), 1st in doubles (24), 7th in RBI’s (47), 2nd in total bases (158), 3rd in OBP (.434), 3rd in SLG (.610), and 4th in OPS (1.044).  That prompted the Dodgers to promoted Lemmerman to the California League in 2011, and while he didn’t tear it up with the Quakes he had a decent season.  He batted a respectable .293, but he only hit 8 long balls and had an OPS under .800.  I guess that’s pretty good for a 22 year old player’s first full pro season, and the Dodgers were impressed enough to promote him to AA late in the year and also send him to the AFL.  While Late Night was unimpressive in 21 games with the Lookouts and really struggled in the AFL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7thHrJre0) (.156 average over 20 games), I’m going to cut him some slack because this was his first full season of professional baseball so I’m sure there was a fatigue factor.  He won’t have that excuse next year, however, so he’ll need to learn to cope with a long season.  I’m still surprised the Dodgers haven’t tried Lemmerman at either 2nd or 3rd base since his path to the big leagues seems to be blocked by Dee Gordon, and it couldn’t hurt to have some defensive versatility, but so far he’s spent every inning as a pro at shortstop.  In 2012 he’ll almost certainly be the Lookouts everyday shortstop and it will be interesting to see how he handles a full year of AA pitching.

Why #18:  Overall Lemmerman seems like the type of player who is going to give you a great effort day in and day out, and will post consistent yet unspectacular stats no matter where he plays.  I believe his MVP season in 2010 was a bit of a fluke, as was his terrible performance in the AFL.  His ceiling is that of a big league shortstop, and his overall 2011 season stats probably provide a good guide of what he’d post if he played every day in the MLB.

 

17.  Shawn Tolleson, RHP (44.1 IP in AA, 9.2 IP in HiA, 15 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 30th round

6’2”, 215 lbs, 24 years old

7-2, 1.17 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 1.59 FIP, 13.70 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 54; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #8

By now, most of us know the story of Shawn Tolleson.  The former travel ball teammate of Clayton Kershaw was actually considered a better prospect than the Cy Young winner at one point, but a blown out elbow derailed his career and Tolleson went undrafted coming out of high school.  He instead headed to Baylor, but he never really returned to form and as a redshirt junior in 2010 he posted a 5.17 ERA.  The Dodgers took a chance on Tolleson as they selected him in the 30th round of the 2010 draft, and ever since then he’s been virtually unhittable.  He started his career by carving up the Pioneer League in his professional debut, then started the 2011 season in LoA with Great Lakes.  Shawn only threw 15 innings for the Loons before his promotion, but those were probably the best 15 innings anyone has ever thrown in the Midwest League as Tolleson got 33 of his 45 outs via a strikeout, picked up 10 saves, didn’t allow an earned run, and had a FIP of negative 0.40.  He continued his dominance in HiA with the Quakes, and after just 5 appearances he was promoted again up to AA which is where he finished the season.  After joining the Lookouts Tolleson finally found a league where he couldn’t strike everyone out as his K/9 was “only” 11.2, but in all seriousness he continued to dominate with a 1.62 ERA and a 2.18 FIP in 44.1 innings.  In terms of his stuff, Tolleson’s cutter has become famous this year and is definitely his out pitch, but Shawn also added some velocity over the past 12 months and can now dial it up to 96 mph.  He also throws a slider and is working on a changeup to keep hitters off balance.  Tolleson will almost certainly return to AA to start the 2012 season, but he’s not far away from a big league debut.  There isn’t room for him in the current big league bullpen, but at the very least I think we’ll see Tolleson in Los Angeles in September.

Why #17:  After an outstanding season in 2010, Tolleson proved he was the real deal as he tore through the minor leagues in 2011.  While major league hitters will probably adjust to his cutter, he has enough other quality pitches to succeed.  He has the ceiling of a late inning reliever and could be a useful bullpen arm for years to come.

16.  Angelo Songco, 1B/OF (131 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 4th round

6’0”, 195 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats left handed

.313 average, .948 OPS, 29 HR’s, 114 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 31; Pre 2010 Rank: 39; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #15

Angelo Songco was born in Granda Hills and played his college ball locally at Loyola Marymount.  During his junior season he led the Lions with a .360 average, 15 home runs, and 63 RBI’s in just 59 games to go along with a sizzling OPS of 1.159.  Selected by the Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2009 draft, Songco signed quickly for $225,000 and continued his torrid hitting in the Pioneer League, whacking 7 home runs in his first 19 games.  In 2010 Songco spent the entire season in LoA with the Loons, and while he showed some pop with 15 homers, including one bomb that reportedly traveled an estimated 508 feet, his overall season stats weren’t all that impressive.  That changed completely in 2011 as Angelo put together one of the organization’s best minor league offensive seasons in recent memory.  Songco led the Quakes in several offensive categories (runs, HR’s, 2B’s, SLG%, OPS), and also paced the entire California League with 310 total bases.  Songco also ranked 2nd in the league with his 29 HR’s and 114 RBI’s, while his .948 OPS placed 4th.  In addition, the lefty wasn’t a big swing and miss guy as he struck out in a respectable 20.6% of his plate appearances. Angelo’s only struggles came again left handed pitchers, but even then he showed significant improvement from 2010 as he hit 8 of his homers against southpaws and still had a respectable OPS of .769.  Stats aside, the big news for Songco in 2011 was his shift from left field to 1st base.  Songco had never been a strong outfielder, and given the Dodgers depth at the position they decided to move Songco to the infield.  From a defensive perspective his transition has been relatively smooth, but at the same time it’s going to put more pressure on Angelo since 1st base requires big time power numbers.  If he continues to hit like he did this past season that won’t be an issue, but given that his big season came in the hitter friendly California League there are going to be questions surrounding his power until he proves he can hit in AA.  He’ll get that chance sooner rather than later because he’s ticketed for Chattanooga in 2012.

Why #16:  Like most people I want to see how Songco performs outside the friendly confines of the California League before getting too excited about him.  While I do like his potential, the fact that he’s now limited to 1st base caused me to rank him a little lower than I would have if he had stayed in left field.  Some scouts believe that his home run power will turn into gap power as he faces tougher pitching, but based on what I’ve seen (and the reports of the 500+ feet homers) I think he truly has big time power potential.  For now I believe his ceiling is that of a big league starting 1st baseman with 25 homer potential, although I don’t see him as a high average guy and I think his defensive will always be limited.

15.  Blake Smith, OF (74 games in HiA, 6 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’2”, 225 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats left handed

.304 average, .948 OPS, 20 HR, 73 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 20; Pre 2010 Rank: 20; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #18

Blake Smith was selected in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft out of Cal where he was a two way player for the Golden Bears.  During his 3 year college career Smith had a .312 average with 28 homers in 158 games, and a 4.63 ERA in 62.2 innings with a 12.2 K/9.  The Dodgers signed Smith as an outfielder, and after the draft Logan White said, “He was highly touted as a hitter and a pitcher.  Just like Loney, he has a really nice left-handed swing and he’s a power guy with incredible raw power. When he worked out, he almost hit one out of Dodger Stadium — way up in the seats. Obviously he can throw and if we can work with him to utilize that raw power, he’ll be a front-line corner outfielder.”  After a terrible professional debut in 2009, many wrote off Smith as a wasted pick.  I, on the other hand, expected a rebound season for Smith in LoA in 2010 and that is exactly what happened.  Blake led the Loons with 19 home runs and posted a very solid .852 OPS.  In 2011 the Dodgers moved Smith up to HiA, and despite missing a significant chunk of the season due to sports hernia surgery Smith ranked 3rd on the team with 16 homers and recorded a ridiculous 13 outfield assists with his cannon arm in right field.  Smith also posted an OPS just under .900 for Rancho, and his overall season stats were a bit inflated thanks to a 6 game rehab stint in Arizona where he crushed 4 additional homers.  Here’s an interesting video that shows all of Smith’s first half homers from 2011 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HB275wp1gA).  After the season Smith made up for lost time in the Panama Winter League and continued to tear the cover off the ball as he led his team in virtually every offensive category and was named the league MVP.  Heading into 2012 Blake will move up to AA and will be the Lookouts everyday right fielder.  If he continues to hit for power and posts a solid average against the advanced pitching of the Southern League, then I think Smith will be a legitimate candidate to be added to the 40 man roster after the season.

Why #15: Blake Smith has a lot of value because he has the potential to be a powerful outfielder, yet also has options because he throws 94 mph on the mound.  If I had to guess right now, I’d say Smith’s ceiling is a big league right fielder who could hit 25 homers annually with an adequate batting average.  This upcoming season will give us a much clearer picture as to whether or not he’ll reach that ceiling.

14.  Aaron Miller, LHP (34 IP in HiA, 2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 1st round

6’3”, 200 lbs, 24.5 years old

4-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 3.76 FIP, 8.25 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 14; Pre 2010 Rank: 9; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Aaron Miller was the Dodgers 1st round pick in 2009 out of Baylor where he was a two way player for the Bears.  As a hitter Miller batter .312 during his junior season with 12 homers, and on the mound he posted a 5.12 ERA with a K/9 of almost 11.5.  The Dodgers wanted Miller as a pitcher, and after signing him for almost $900,000 he paid immediate dividends with a stellar professional debut.  Promoted to HiA for his first full season in 2010, Miller was the easily the best pitcher for the 66ers.  He was extremely consistent all season and stuck out almost a batter per inning.  During that season, Inland Empire pitching coach Charlie Hough had this to say about Miller: “Sneaky fastball…Easy, easy delivery and the ball kinda sneaks up on the hitters. He has a ways to go throwing some breaking balls. He has good feel with the changeup.”  Despite his overall strong season in 2010, there were some warning signs that worried me a bit including a dip in velocity and struggles during a short lived promotion to AA.  That brings us to 2011, which was mostly a lost year for Aaron.  A groin injury and a sports hernia caused him to miss quite a bit of the season, and when he was on the mound he wasn’t all that effective.  His velocity fell into the high 80’s and his secondary pitches were not as sharp.  To make matters worse Miller opted for surgery late in the season, and because he waited so long to go under the knife he may not even be at full strength headed into spring training.  When at his best Miller can throw in the low 90’s and has a plus slider with a developing changeup.  He also has great control and is a smart player.  When he does finally heal from his injuries I have no doubt that he’ll be able to return to the pitcher that the Dodgers saw when they drafted.  Now 24 years old, Miller will definitely head to AA in 2012 and will try to prove that he’s still in the Dodgers future pitching plans.

Why #14:  Miller has the ceiling of a middle of the rotation starter, and also has the added bonus of being left handed.  While he doesn’t seem to have quite the upside of some of the players ranked around him, I think he is a safe bet to reach his potential if he can stay healthy.

13.  Tim Federowicz, C (25 games in AAA, 90 games in AA – although the AA games were with the Red Sox organization, 7 games in Majors in 2011)

Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson

5’11”, 200 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.287 average, .808 OPS, 14 HR’s, 69 RBI’s, 1 SB (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #9

A lot has been a made about Tim Federowicz’s prospect ranking this offseason.  Some feel he deserves to be among the Dodgers top 10 Dodger prospects, and Baseball America agrees with those individuals as was #10 on their list.  Others don’t see how a strong defensive catcher with a questionable bat can possibly be among to the top prospects.  I fall somewhere in the middle because I do think FedEx has the chance to be a starting catcher at the big league level, but I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a #7 or #8 hitter with plus defensive skills.  Sure FedEx has more offensive abilities than a guy like AJ Ellis, but I don’t see him hitting more than 5 to 10 homers at the big league level with a .250 average.  He’s shown some power in the minor leagues, including hitting 6 homers in just 25 games after joining the Isotopes, but against big league pitching he projects more as a gap hitter.  As previously mentioned there is no doubt that he has great defensive skills, however, and for his minor league career he has thrown out 33% of would be base-stealers.  In 2012 FedEx is slotted to be Albuquerque’s starting catcher, but with just Ellis and Matt Treanor ahead of him on the depth chart he could see quite a bit of time in Los Angeles before the season is up.

Why #13:  The fact that Federowicz has already made his big league debut and could be in the mix to be the Dodgers starting catcher as soon as 2013 means he deserves to be ranked in the top 15, but I just don’t think he’ll ever be good enough to warrant a top 10 ranking.  I expect more out of the players I ranked ahead of him, but even still FedEx could be a solid player for the Dodgers for years to come.

12.  Alfredo Silverio, LF (132 games in AA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/03

6’0”, 205 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.306 average, .883 OPS, 16 HR’s, 85 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 40; Pre 2010 Rank: 38; Pre 2009 Rank: 28; TBLA Prospect #13

Signed way back in 2003, Alfredo Silverio always showed potential but never really had a breakout season until 2011.  Sure he hit .373 in the Gulf Coast League in 2007, but that was only over 193 at bats and he was playing in a rookie league.  He did show some additional signs of life in 2010 with the 66ers, but that was nothing compared to the monster season he had in 2011 with the Lookouts.  Silverio’s name was scattered all over the Southern League’s leader board last season, with his most impressive feat being that the lead the league with 289 total bases.  He also ranked 1st in the league with a surprising 18 triples despite failing in 12 of his 23 stolen base attempts, and he socked a career high 16 homers.  He even showed some improvement in his ability to take a walk, although that is still a work in progress as he only walked in 5.2% of his plate appearances (compared to 4.4% in 2010 and 1.8% in 2008).  In terms of his defense, Alfredo has played all three outfield positions throughout his career and was the Lookouts’ main center fielder in 2011, but his below average range will probably limit him to a corner as he moves up.  The good news is that he does have a strong arm, so he should be able to handle right field at least on a part time basis.  Now 24 years old, Silverio will probably spend 2012 in AAA and could have another big season given the friendly confines of Albuquerque’s stadium.  Now that he’s on the 40 man roster he will probably see Los Angeles at some point in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how he handles big league pitching.

Why #12:  Silverio definitely put himself on the Dodgers’ radar with a big season in 2011, but I’m not sold on him being a top 10 prospect for Los Angeles.  While he does show some potential for all 5 tools, he doesn’t seem to have any skill that stands out.  He has the ceiling of a starting big league outfielder and seems likely to make it to the majors as soon as this season, but I personally don’t think he’ll be more than a .260 hitter with 10 to 15 homer potential.

                                                                                                                   

11.  Jonathan Garcia, OF (130 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 8th round

5’11”, 175 lbs, 20.25 years old, bats right handed

.228 average, .710 OPS, 19 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 12; Pre 2010 Rank: 10; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #11

The Dodgers selected Jonathan Garcia in the 8th round of the 2009 draft out of Puerto Rico, and so far the pick has looked like a steal.  In his professional debut Garcia did very well in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .305 with a .862 OPS as a 17 year old.  Sent to the Pioneer League in 2010, Jonathan was a full two years younger than any other position player on the Raptors yet ranked 3rd on the club with his 10 homers and .527 slugging percentage.  In 2011 Garcia was promoted to LoA and he started the season with a bang despite playing in the cold Michigan weather. Jonathan tore out of the gate with 7 April homers while posting a .945 OPS, and was atop the Midwest League leader boards as the month came to a close.  Garcia couldn’t keep up his sizzling pace, however, and as the weather warmed up he actually cooled off considerably.  Overall Garcia had a very hot and cold season, leading the club by a sizable margin with 19 big flies but also finishing the year with a .228 average and an OPS of just .710 while striking out in 25.9% of his plate appearances.  It should also be noted that he wore down as the season progressed, and ended the year in a terrible slump as he posted an OPS of just .380 over his final 10 games.  The good news, however, is that Garcia played the entire 2011 season as a teenager, and outside of Joc Pederson’s 16 game cameo he was the youngest player on the Loons.  In addition, after the season Jonathan was sent to the instructs in Arizona and was actually named the Dodgers most improved player in camp.  In terms of a scouting report, Garcia is not a big player at 5’11” but he has above average raw power.  He struggles with offspeed stuff which leads to his inconsistent stats, but hopefully he’ll learn to make adjustments with age and experience.  Here’s an old video of him from back in 2010, but it’s the best footage of him that I could find (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbma-29kP80).  When it comes to defense his speed is average at best, but he has a great arm and profiles well as a right fielder (his 12 outfield assists in 2011 were more than double anyone else on the Loons).  Heading into 2012 Garcia will most likely move up to HiA where he’ll again be one of the youngest players in the league.

 

Why #11: I’ve always been a fan of Garcia, and I do look at his 2011 season as a success despite his ugly average and OPS.  He showed his power potential with 19 homers and played great defense in right field.  After playing in just 102 combine games from 2009 to 2010, Garcia participated in a team high 130 contests in 2011 so obviously he wore down in his first full season.  He’s also just 20 years old, and if he continues to move up one level at a time he’ll reach AAA by the time he is 22.  My only concern is the fact that he struggles with offspeed stuff because even if he makes adjustments, he’s going to be facing more advanced pitchers as he moves up through the system.  Overall I think Garcia has the ceiling of a solid big league right fielder with 25 homer potential and the ability to hit for a decent average, so even though he’s a long way off from reaching the big league I think he ranks as one of the Dodgers top offensive prospects.

10.  Josh Lindblom, RHP (42.1 IP in AA, 29.2 IP in Majors in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 2nd round

6’5”, 240 lbs, 24.75 years old

1-3, 2.13 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 11.48 K/9 (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: 18; Pre 2010 Rank: 8; Pre 2009 Rank: 6

Josh Lindblom won’t qualify as a rookie in 2012, but he qualifies for my ranking (just barely) because I look at all Dodger minor league players with less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, less than 30 big league appearances, or less than 130 at bats in the majors.  Because Lindblom has already spent so much time in the big leagues I won’t go into as much detail about his scouting reports since most of us have already seen him pitch, so instead I’ll write more about his background.  Josh was the Dodgers 2nd round pick in 2008 out of Purdue where he was used mainly in relief for the Boilermakers.  The Dodgers drafted Lindblom as a starter, however, and then spent the next few years moving him in and out of the rotation.  The flip-flopping culminated in 2010 with Lindblom getting shelled in AAA as a starter, so management finally decided he was best suited as a bullpen arm.  While Josh continued to get hit hard in the Isotopes bullpen, he rediscovered his fastball velocity after the season in the Arizona Instructs and carried over that success into 2011.  Josh started the season in the more pitcher friendly Southern League, then as we all know got the call to Los Angeles in June 1st.  While Lindblom put up solid numbers in Los Angeles (including a 2.73 ERA and a .212 batting average against), his role heading into 2012 is a bit uncertain.  The Dodgers have an abundance of bullpen arms, and while Lindblom has an advantage over NRI’s because he’s on the 40 man roster, the fact that he has minor league options works against him.

Why #10:  Lindblom’s major league success in 2011 made him an automatic to make my top 10, but I’m a little concerned that Josh has already hit his ceiling in terms of the stats he put up in Los Angeles.  He’ll eventually settle into a more stable role and may even have the stuff to become a major league setup man, but I’m just not sure his stuff is dominant enough to continue posting a sub-3 ERA. That being said there is nothing wrong with a big league reliever giving you a 3 something ERA, and I think he’ll be a solid bullpen arm for years to come.

9.  Joc Pederson, OF (16 games in LoA, 68 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 11th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats left handed

.323 average, .910 OPS, 11 HR’s, 65 RBI’s, 26 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 22; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #7

Joc Pederson grew up in Northern California and was an all around great athlete for Palo Alto high school.  On the football team he was a First-Team All League wide-out, and on the baseball field he hit .515 with 8 homers during his senior season to lead his team to the Central Coast Section championship game.  He had a strong commitment to play baseball at UCS in college, and even talked about walking onto the USC football team.  His college commitment and big bonus demands caused Pederson to fall to the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 draft.  Had he been drafted on talent alone, he was projected to go around the 3rd or 4th round, and Baseball America had him ranked as the 154th best prospect in the draft.  After a long summer of going back and forth, Pederson finally signed with the Dodgers right around the deadline for $600,000.  Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 Arizona League games, so 2011 was Joc’s first real taste of professional baseball.  The Dodgers were extremely aggressive with Pederson as they sent him to LoA in late May during a roster shakeup, and while he probably benefited from the experience Joc was completely overmatched as he managed just 8 singles over 16 games for a .160 average.  The Dodgers sent Pederson down to Ogden when the Pioneer League started in mid June, and after getting off to an average start for the Raptors Joc caught fire once the calendar turned to July.  When the season was over Pederson had showed an outstanding combination of speed and power while demonstrating amazing patience at the plate for a 19 year old.  Pederson led the Pioneer League with 64 RBI’s, while his .997 OPS and 24 SB’s ranked 3rd in the circuit.  He also crushed 11 HR’s and posted a great walk to strikeout ratio while playing almost every day.  Defensively “Yung Joc” spent time in all 3 outfield positions, although the vast majority of his starts came as a corner outfielder (mostly in left) where he recorded a team high 9 assists.  I had originally pegged Pederson as a center fielder given his speed, but Baseball America seems to think that he’s destined for a corner spot.  In 2012 Pederson will return to the Midwest League where he’ll try and improve upon his .160 average from 2011.

Why #9:  When he was drafted Pederson seemed to be a complete package, and his success in 2011 solidified that perception.  As I mentioned last year I’m not sure that he has any one plus skill, but Joc’s a hard worker and he does a lot of things well.  Speaking of last year, in my 2011 ranking I said that Pederson’s ceiling is that of a major league center fielder who plays solid defense and hits .290 with 15 homers per year.  I still think that ceiling holds true, although he’s now one step closer to reaching that potential and as I mentioned above his likely destination is now either left or right field.

8.  Ethan Martin, RHP (40.1 IP in AA, 55 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 1st round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 22.75 years old

9-7, 5.95 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 4.75 FIP, 9.82 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 7; Pre 2010 Rank: 3; Pre 2009 Rank: 3; TBLA Prospect #20

For the past few seasons, Ethan Martin has been the topic for much debate.  The first high school pitcher selected in 2008, Martin’s career got off to a rough start as a knee injury didn’t allow his to make his professional debut until 2009.  After a solid season with the Loons, Martin was promoted to HiA in 2010 and that is where his troubles began.  Plagued by bouts of wildness, Ethan posted a 6.35 ERA over 113 innings and lost 14 games for the 66ers that season.  Despite his struggles his stuff earned praise from both Charlie Hough and DeJon Watson, and there was hope that Martin would turn the corner in 2011.  Unfortunately the young right hander had even more trouble finding the plate in his return to the California League this past season.  In early June Dodger management decided it was best to move Martin to the bullpen, then made an even more dramatic decision when they promoted him to AA despite a 7.36 ERA over 55 frames.  The move paid off as Martin showed improvement with the Lookouts, limiting opposing hitters to a .215 batting average and lowering his ERA to 4.02.  His still struggled with control as he walked 29 batters in just 40 innings, but was able to bear down and limit the damage against him.  Martin also struck out over a batter per inning in both leagues and has a career K/9 of 9.6.  After the season DeJon Watson had another conversation about Martin (this time with Jon Weisman) (http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7555302/los-angeles-dodgers-farm-system-bumper-crop-pitchers-rise) and again had good things to say about him.  Per Watson “Martin was a high school pitcher who hadn’t pitched much. Going into the draft, a lot of people actually saw him as a third baseman. I still think he’s going to be really good. If you look back at Roy Halladay’s career, or at Cliff Lee, you’ll see similar things; they struggled and got sent down. I think that sometimes we can be too quick to judge and end up thinking, ‘This guy’s not going to make it.’  If Ethan was throwing 88 mph, or something like that, I might say that he doesn’t have a chance, but he has one of the best arms in our system. He’s strong, but he has to learn how to pitch. That’s part of his process. It’s not mechanical, because he runs it up there and his mechanics are good. I still think he’s going to be a good player.”  To be more specific about his stuff, Martin still has a mid 90’s fastball with good movement that touches 98 mph.  He also throws a curveball, a slider, and a changeup all with varying degrees of success.  Reports are that Martin will return to the rotation in 2012 as a member of the Lookouts, and he used a stint this offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League to get back into starter shape.  His stats this winter were pretty ridiculous (1.33 ERA in 20 innings despite 16 walks and just 10 K’s), but the sample size was small.  Hopefully he can put it all together in 2012.

Why #8:  I’ve seen Martin ranked all over the place this offseason, but I have him in my top 10 because of his pure stuff and the fact that he is still so young.  At 22 years old Martin will still be young for AA, so even if he doesn’t fully get on track in 2012 I would bet the Dodgers will add him to the 40 man roster this next offseason (he just missed the cutoff of needing to be added this past November).  I still have his ceiling as a #2 starter in the big leagues, although if he truly can’t improve his control then I could also see him as a power reliever.

 

7.  James Baldwin, OF (50 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 4th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed

.250 average, .828 OPS, 10 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 22 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 13; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #10

James Baldwin might just be the most intriguing players in the Dodgers minor league system.  The son of the former major leaguer by the same name, Baldwin is an extremely athletic player who is still relatively raw as an outfielder because he played three sports in high school and also spent time on the mound.  A 4th round pick in 2010 James signed relatively quickly for $180,000, and while he got off to a very slow start in his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers he rebounded in the second half of the season and finished 2010 on the upswing.  Baldwin took that momentum into 2011 as he started off his time in Ogden on fire.  In the month of June (11 games) James hit .378 with 3 homers, 8 stolen bases, and 17 RBI’s.  Here he is hitting a triple for Ogden last season (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbPohJD1Srg).  Things went sour in July, however, starting with 20 missed games due to personal issues.  When he returned to the field he struggled to get in a groove, and although he continued to show a good combination of speed and power his average suffered and he struck out at an alarming rate.  James also had a lot of trouble against left handed pitchers as he hit just .183 against southpaws.  His swing is long at times, and he tends to struggle against quality pitching.  He’s still so young and raw, however, that I think he’ll be able to overcome this as he games experience.  To get back to the positives, James is a great defender in center field.  His plus speed allows him to get to a lot of balls, and he has a strong arm.  Heading into 2012 Baldwin will be the Loons center fielder and I look forward to seeing what he can do over a full season.

Why #7:  I’ve mentioned this before, but Baldwin really reminds me of Matt Kemp.  Kemp’s minor league numbers were more impressive and he didn’t strike out quite as much as James, but their raw tools are similar.  Due to his athleticism his ceiling could be through the roof, and I see him as a 20 homer/30 SB center fielder at the big league level.  Of course it’s possible that he never figures it out and continues to fail against tough pitching, but I’m hoping his 5 tool potential allows him to make the necessary adjustments.

6.  Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (103 IP in AA, 34.2 IP in Majors in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 11th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 22 years old

6-5, 2.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3.05 FIP, 8.65 K/9 (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: 15; Pre 2010 Rank: 7; Pre 2009 Rank: 12; TBLA Prospect #3

It’s been fun watching Nathan Eovaldi come up through the Dodgers minor league system.  A bit of a sleeper pick in the 2008 draft because he was coming off of Tommy John surgery, the 11th rounder signed for a surprising $250K and had a dominating professional debut.  After putting up solid numbers with the Loons in 2009, Nathan hit a bit of a stumbling block in 2010 after getting promoted to HiA thanks to mediocre stats and an injury.  Eovaldi made 14 starts with the 66ers and despite showing flashes of brilliance at times he was mostly unimpressive as opposing batters hit .302 against him and his K/9 was just 6.1.  A strained oblique in July essentially ended his season, but Eovaldi came back with a vengeance in 2011.  An aggressive move by the Dodgers sent Nathan to AA and he looked like an entirely new pitcher with the Lookouts.  Eovaldi dominated the Southern League from the start despite being just 21 years old, posting a 3.06 ERA in April, a 2.70 ERA in May, a 2.90 ERA in June, and a 1.99 ERA in July.  That earned Nathan a surprise promotion to the major leagues in early August, and the rest is history.  He won his big league debut on August 6th by allowing just 4 hits and striking out 7 over 5 innings, then he went on to post a 3.63 ERA over 5 more starts and 4 relief appearances.  His stats were a little puzzling, however, as his big league FIP was 4.35 and he K/9 was below 6 (including 0 K’s over his 4 relief appearances).  That being said Nathan has good stuff, with a mid 90’s fastball that can potentially touch 100 mph when he’s used in relief.  As we all saw he also throws a good slider, and his 3rd pitch is a developing changeup.  At the end of the day Eovaldi’s future role is yet to be determined, although for now the Dodgers will keep him in the rotation.  There doesn’t seem to be room for him on the big league roster, so given his age the Dodgers will probably send him back to AA to start 2012.

Why #6:  Eovaldi is mostly a two pitch guy as he threw his fastball or slider 92.2% of the time (according to Fangraphs), which leads me to believe he may eventually end up in the bullpen.  If he does turn into a reliever then I believe he has the ceiling as a solid late inning guy or even a closer because both his fastball and slider are plus pitches.  If he stays in the rotation I see him mostly as a #3 or possibly even a #4, mostly due to the fact that I’m concerned by his lack of strikeouts.  He’s still young enough to develop another pitch, however, so hopefully that turns out to be the case.

5.  Garrett Gould, RHP (123.2 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’4”, 190 lbs, 20.5 years old

11-6, 2.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.31 FIP, 7.57 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 10; Pre 2010 Rank: 5; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #4

The Dodgers selected Garrett Gould in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft, and were able to lure him away from his college commitment to Wichita State for $900,000.  Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 games in 2009, so his 2010 season in Ogden was really his first real taste of pro ball.  While Gould showed flashes of brilliance in the Pioneer League, he also battled through a few minor injuries which left him with a relatively mediocre season.  In 2011, however, Gould took a big step forward.  Promoted to LoA, Garrett was spectacular in his first full season league was the Loons best pitcher.   “Gouldy Locks” lead Great Lakes in several categories and ranked 2nd in the entire league with his 2.40 ERA.  He also paced the club with 123.2 frames and collected 11 wins despite being limited to just 16 innings in his final 6 appearances in an effort to save his young arm.  After the season, DeJon Watson told John Weisman (http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7555302/los-angeles-dodgers-farm-system-bumper-crop-pitchers-rise) “I think [Gould] and Zach will both be pushing the envelope and challenging those guys who are ahead of them. They both have good stuff. I mean, Gouldy’s 90-94 with a very good breaking ball and an evolving changeup.  I think the biggest thing for him was trusting his secondary pitches. When he was behind in counts and he was able to do that last year, and he was starting to see the results.”  To put a little more emphasis on Gould curveball, it should be noted that it was ranked as the best in the Dodgers minor league system, and in fact most evaluators felt that it was the best among high school pitchers in the 2009 draft.  It is thrown in the low 80’s and to me looks like a right handed version of Kershaw’s curveball.  As mentioned above Gould also has a serviceable changeup which gives him a solid three pitch mix.  Early in his career there were times when Gould struggled with emotions on the mound, but hopefully he’ll continue to mature with age and he already took a step in that direction by getting engaged to his high school sweetheart less than a month ago.  In 2012 Gould is expected to head to HiA where he’ll get challenged by the hitter friendly California League.  It will be interesting to see how he responds to the change in environment, and I look forward to watching him throw in Rancho this season.

Why #5:  Gould has a very solid 3 pitch mix that should get him to the major leagues as a starting pitcher.  His ceiling is probably that of a borderline #2 starter, although a strong #3 starter is more likely.  While he’s still a ways off from reaching the show, he is still so young that he should be given plenty of time to develop.  He’s got a great pitcher’s frame and I could see him adding more strength and possibly even velocity now that he’s into his 20’s.

4.  Chris Reed, LHP (7 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 1st round

6’4”, 195 lbs, 21.75 years old

0-1, 7.71 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 4.63 FIP, 11.57 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #5

Chris Reed was a point of controversy when the Dodgers made him the #16 overall pick this past June.  Reed wasn’t considered a 1st round pick by anyone coming into the draft, and Baseball America had him rated as the #60 draft prospect.  Up until the day of the draft nobody had really even considered him an option for the Dodgers, then news broke that the Dodgers were interested in him at #16.  When the selection was made official a lot of people were upset because they believed the cash strapped organization was simply looking for a player that would sign for slot.  The Dodgers, on the other hand, stuck to their guns and said that he was the one they wanted based on his talent.  In an interview with Fangraphs Logan White had a lot to say about the pick.  You can read the whole story here (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-logan-white-drafting-dodger/), but in short he said “Not to be disrespectful to the other teams, or to those players, but Chris Reed was absolutely who we considered the best guy. When we picked, there were a number of good players we passed on, and it was because we really liked Chris Reed. I think we found a diamond in the rough out of Stanford.  He didn’t pitch a lot as a freshman or as a sophomore. He pitched really well after his sophomore year, in a summer league. We followed him and were really on him going into his junior year. I like to think that we were on his bandwagon long before most people realized he was on the map.  We saw him pitch a lot. A lot of people had trouble seeing him, because he was a closer and might not have pitched when they were there. I saw him four times myself, which is tough when it’s a reliever. We felt pretty comfortable when we took him.”  Reed ended up signing close to the deadline for slightly above slot, and made 4 starts for the Quakes late in the season (including one playoff start).  The sample size was too small to analyze, but in terms of his stuff he has a mid 90’s fastball with good movement, a very good slider, and a solid changeup.  Here he is throwing at Stanford (http://vimeo.com/20156374).  He’s a big bodied guy who should be able to handle the workload of a starter, although the Dodgers will be careful with him in 2012 and will limit him to 150 innings according to White.  He’s also a smart kid who finished his degree at Stanford this past winter, so he has a lot of intelligence on the mound.  He’ll return to Rancho in 2012 and will be part of what should be a very good Quakes rotation.

Why #4:  Maybe I’m buying into the Dodgers’ hype a bit since I have Reed slightly higher than most prospect lists, but my gut instinct tells me that Chris will successfully transition to starter and will be a solid major league pitcher one day.  I see his ceiling as a #2 starter, and he also seems less risky than some of the other players in the top 10 because he also seems like a safe bet to be a solid big league late-inning reliever if for some reason he fails in the rotation.  He should move quickly and could be in the Dodgers plans as early as 2013.

3.  Chris Withrow, RHP (128.2 IP in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 23 years old

6-6, 4.20 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 3.85 FIP, 9.09 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 4; Pre 2010 Rank: 2; Pre 2009 Rank: 8; TBLA Prospect #6

Chris Withrow didn’t get a lot of attention in 2011, but the 2007 1st round pick quietly had a very good season despite walking too many batters.  In his second season with the Lookouts Chris lowered his ERA from 5.97 to 4.20, and he also led the entire Southern League with his 9.1 K/9 rate (among qualifying pitchers).  Like I said the 22 year old issued too many walks which didn’t allow him to work deep into games, but besides that he did everything else well.  In a recent article that Jon Weisman posted (http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7555302/los-angeles-dodgers-farm-system-bumper-crop-pitchers-rise), Dejon Watson said “This past year was a really good year for him because he didn’t miss a start, he was durable, he repeated [his delivery] and he’s added a slider to his mix that gave him something that stayed on the plate. It seems like he’s been here a long time, but he’s right where he should be, and we’re excited about where he’s going.”  In terms of his stuff, Withrow has a fastball that can reach 98 mph, and he also has the makings of a plus curveball.  He also throws a fading changeup and as mentioned by Watson he’s added a slider to his repertoire.  His lack of control is a bit troubling, but the fact that opposing batters hit just .239 against him in 2011 is a good sign.  Still just 22 (he turns 23 on April 1st), Withrow is well ahead of the curve with 2+ years of experience at AA.  In 2012 he’ll most likely return to the Southern League where he should be able to improve his stats even further.  Now that he’s on the 40 man roster he has moved up a bit on the starting pitching depth chart, although I don’t think we’ll see Withrow in LA until September at the earliest.

Why #3:  I continue to love Withrow’s pure stuff and I think that he’ll eventually bring down his pitch counts as he matures and learns to pitch more to contact.  He has time on his side, and I still think he could be a #2 starter in the big leagues.  Even if he continues to struggle with control I think that at the very least he can be an electric reliever.

2.  Allen Webster, RHP (91 IP in AA, 54 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 18th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 22 years old

11-5, 4.03 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 3.57 FIP, 8.38 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 9; Pre 2010 Rank: 11; Pre 2009 Rank: 100; TBLA Prospect #2

Allen Webster was pretty much an unknown when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2008 draft.  He played mostly shortstop in high school, and when he was first used as a pitcher he could barely hit 90 mph.  Just a few years short years later and Webster has blossomed into one of the Dodgers best pitching prospects.  After putting his name on the map with a 2.36 ERA in 2009, Webster had an All Star season for the Loons in 2010.  He got even better in 2011 despite moving to the hitter friendly California League as he dominated in 9 starts for the Quakes, posting a 2.33 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, and a 10.3 K/9.  That prompted the Dodgers to challenge Webster with another promotion, and while his final AA stat line was a little ugly, he  was actually very good until the month of August when his workload caught up to him.  But even in his worst month of the season he still struck out over a batter per inning.  Here he is throwing in a game for the Lookouts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoq88CcXXQU&feature=related).  The most exciting part of Webster is his potential for four very good pitches.  His fastball can reach 97 mph and has good sinking action, and his slider was recently described as above-average by DeJon Watson.  He also throws a curveball, but his bread and butter is his changeup which is plus-plus.  It sits around 80 mph and features both sink and fade which at times will dumbfound hitters.  Allen will return to AA to start the 2012 season, but he seems to be the next prospect in line to Los Angeles should injuries occur.  If he does spend a full season in the minors I would call him the favorite to be the 2012 Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year.

Why #2:  With four legitimate pitches and a young arm, I think Webster’s ceiling has risen since last year as I now think he can be #2 starter.  He doesn’t have the same polish as #1 prospect Zach Lee, but he’s already had some success in the upper minor leagues and is on track to reach Los Angeles very soon.

1.  Zach Lee, RHP (109 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 1st round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 20.5 years old

9-6, 3.47 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.68 FIP, 7.51 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 1; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #1

We all know the Zach Lee story by now.  Considered by some to be the 2nd best pitcher in the entire 2010 draft, Lee fell to the Dodgers at the #28 pick thanks to extraordinary bonus demands and a strong commitment to play quarterback at LSU.  To the surprise of everyone Lee signed with the Dodgers at the deadline, and while he didn’t throw a pitch for the Dodgers in 2010 I immediately put Zach as our #1 prospect.  Lee made his professional debut with the Loons in 2011, and while he didn’t blow away the competition he did have a very solid season for a 19 year old.  He ended up winning 9 games for Great Lakes and opposing batter hit just .242 against him.  There were times when I wished he strike out more batters or issue less walks, but overall I was very impressed when watching his starts online.  Often it appeared that he was toying with hitters, although he also seemed to pitch to contact a times which caused his K rate to be a bit low.  The Dodgers got a scare in May when he missed a few weeks due to some elbow tightness, but luckily that turned out to be nothing and Zach ended up throwing over 100 innings.  In terms of his stuff, Lee is very advanced for his age and has a great feel for pitching.  He has an outstanding pitching frame, and according to a recent Baseball America article he recently gained 30 pounds of muscle which has him up to a solid 220 pounds.  According to DeJon Watson in a recent Baseball America article, “He’s got good fastball command at both sides of the plate. The slider is still developing, [and] the changeup is another pitch we’re trying to finish off for him. And he also has a curve. So he’s got four pitches, [and] the key is being able to master three of the four. If we can get those mastered, I think you’ll see him ascending as well and pushing us to make some tougher decisions”  To be a little more specific, Lee’s fastball can reach 98 mph on a good day, but he usually sits in the low 90’s and has great movement.  His slider showed a lot of promise late in the season, and his changeup is advanced for his age.  After spending the season in LoA Zach will definitely move up in 2012, and while his most likely destination is HiA I still think there is an outside chance he could break came with the Lookouts in AA.  Even if he doesn’t start the year in AA, I think he could get there at some point during next season.

Why #1:  There is probably no surprise here that I have Lee as #1.  I tabbed his as the Dodgers #1 prospect from the moment he signed, and I haven’t waivered in my opinion yet.  I still think he has the ceiling of a #1 starter, although if he’s in the same rotation as Kershaw he’ll have to settle for #2.  With 4 strong pitches, good control, and clean mechanics, he has a realistic chance of reaching his full potential.

My top 200 Dodger Prospects heading into the 2011 Season

February 12, 2011

Welcome again to the most comprehensive analysis of the Dodgers minor league system.  For the 3rd straight year, I am going to provide a summary of virtually every player in the Dodgers minor league system as of November 30th who meets the following qualifications:  (1) played in the Dodgers minor league system during 2010, or was injured during the entire 2010 season; (2) is still within the Dodgers organization as of season end; (3) is under 28 years old as of Opening Day 2011; and (4) the player is still considered a prospect by Baseball America standards, which means that pitchers must have less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, and hitters must have less than 130 at bats in the majors.  Like Baseball America, I do not take into account service time, and therefore it is possible that I have included prospects who will not technically be rookies in 2011.

I know that writing up 200 players seems a little excessive, especially since the majority of these players are obviously not prospects.  However, I really look at this as a “get to know your Dodger minor league system”.  My goal is for Dodger fans to know at least a little something about all players in the Dodgers system because it makes looking at the minor league box scores more fun.  There won’t just be a bunch of names, but instead players that fans have at least heard of. 

Even still, the 1st half of this list still might seem a little bit mundane, but the way you have to look at it is that you never know when a player will have a breakout season.  For example, I ranked Rafael Ynoa #172 last year because he had been terrible, but after a solid 2010 he has moved up the prospect charts significantly.  Similarly, Allen Webster was #100 on my 2009 list, and now he is a top prospect, so you never know.

What also makes this fun is that because this is the 3rd year I am doing this, you can track where each player has ranked over the past few seasons.  So you can see whether a player has made moved up or down my list over the years.  I’ve included where each prospect played in 2010, how each was acquired by the Dodgers, their height, weight, and age as of opening day 2011, and finally their 2010 combined minor league statistics.  I will generally post 10 players at a time, and will be posting 1 to 2 times a week.  My goal is to finish my posting before 2011 Spring Training starts. 

Welcome again to the most comprehensive analysis of the Dodgers minor league system.  For the 3rd straight year, I am going to provide a summary of virtually every player in the Dodgers minor league system as of November 30th who meets the following qualifications:  (1) played in the Dodgers minor league system during 2010, or was injured during the entire 2010 season; (2) is still within the Dodgers organization as of season end; (3) is under 28 years old as of Opening Day 2011; and (4) the player is still considered a prospect by Baseball America standards, which means that pitchers must have less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, and hitters must have less than 130 at bats in the majors.  Like Baseball America, I do not take into account service time, and therefore it is possible that I have included prospects who will not technically be rookies in 2011.

 

I know that writing up 200 players seems a little excessive, especially since the majority of these players are obviously not prospects.  However, I really look at this as a “get to know your Dodger minor league system”.  My goal is for Dodger fans to know at least a little something about all players in the Dodgers system because it makes looking at the minor league box scores more fun.  There won’t just be a bunch of names, but instead players that fans have at least heard of. 

 

Even still, the 1st half of this list still might seem a little bit mundane, but the way you have to look at it is that you never know when a player will have a breakout season.  For example, I ranked Rafael Ynoa #172 last year because he had been terrible, but after a solid 2010 he has moved up the prospect charts significantly.  Similarly, Allen Webster was #100 on my 2009 list, and now he is a top prospect, so you never know.

 

What also makes this fun is that because this is the 3rd year I am doing this, you can track where each player has ranked over the past few seasons.  So you can see whether a player has made moved up or down my list over the years.  I’ve included where each prospect played in 2010, how each was acquired by the Dodgers, their height, weight, and age as of opening day 2011, and finally their 2010 combined minor league statistics.  I will generally post 10 players at a time, and will be posting 1 to 2 times a week.  My goal is to finish my posting before 2011 Spring Training starts.

 

200.  Ricardo Rivas, RHP (21 IP in the Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by the Dodgers out of an open tryout in March of 2010

6’1”, 180 lbs, 27 years old

2-1, 10.29 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 4.82 FIP, 7.29 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers held an open tryout in March of 2010, 85 athletes showed up hoping to make their baseball dream come true.  At the end of the day, only one player was signed by the Dodgers, and it was Ricardo “Ricky” Rivas.  When I initially heard about this signing, I really didn’t understand it because Rivas was already 26 years old, so unless he was flashing a 98 mph fastball it seemed like a waste of time.  Well at the end of the day it probably was a waste because the Dodgers ended up assigning Rivas to the Pioneer Rookie League where he was terrible despite playing against much younger competition.  In case you are interested in his background, Rivas was a 48th round pick out of El Paso Community College in 2004, however he did not sign and played two years at Oklahoma State.  Prior to getting a job with the Dodgers, Ricky was playing independent baseball for his hometown El Paso Diablos.  I doubt that Rivas will be in the Dodgers organization in 2011.

 

199.  Frank De Jesus, C (17 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’1”, 192 lbs, 22.75 years old, switch hitter

.205 average, .590 OPS, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

 

It’s really a mystery as to why the Dodgers signed Frank De Jesus in 2010.  He was a 22 year old international free agent without any baseball experience, and the DSL Dodgers were already stocked with 6 other guys capable of playing catcher.  The only thing he has going for him is that he is a switch hitter, but that doesn’t matter when you only hit .162 against right handed pitchers.  If he were 18 that would have been one thing, but why sign a 22 year old?  Maybe he is a relative of Ivan De Jesus, and they were doing him a favor.  Anyways, to nobody’s surprise he had a terrible season, and it’s almost a given that he will not be back in the organization next year.

 

198.  Jose Lugo, C (25 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 200 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats right handed

.176 average, .479 OPS, 0 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 176;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jose Lugo was terrible for the Dominican Dodgers in 2009, and even worse in 2010.  One of 7 catchers on the team, Lugo actually caught the 2nd most games for the Dodgers this past year, but did absolutely nothing at the plate.  The young Venezuelan recorded just 1 extra base hit on the year, and had a dismal slugging percentage of .196.  While he may find his way back on to the DSL Dodgers again next season, the 20 year old will clearly never play baseball in the United States.

197.  J.J. Whetsel, RHP (33.2 IP in the Pioneer League in 2010)

Non Drafted Free Agent signed by the Dodgers on 3/29/10

6’1”, 190 lbs, 26.25 years old

0-0, 7.75 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 5.90 FIP, 7.22 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

J.J. Whetsel was signed by the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent just a few days before the 2010 season.  In 2009, he had played for the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association Independent League, and before that played his college ball at Troy University.  Even though he was already 25 years old when he signed, the Dodgers assigned Whetsel to the Pioneer Rookie League where he struggled mightily.  He had awful stats, but the one that stood out was that he allowed 7 homers in just 33.2 innings.  I’m going to venture a guess that Whetsel will not be in the Dodgers organization next season. 

 

196.  Aris Angeles, RHP (13.1 innings in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 179 lbs, 21.5 years old

1-0, 6.08 ERA, 2.70 WHIP, 5.60 FIP, 10.80 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Aris was signed by the Dodgers prior to the 2010 season even though he was already 20 years old.  He was used sparingly throughout the season, appearing in only 10 games and throwing just 13.1 innings.  As you can see from his terrible WHIP, Angeles allowed way too many base runners in his limited time on the mound and is much too old to ever make an impact with the Dodgers.  It’s too bad because his name would have fit perfectly in Los Angeles.

 

195.  Angelo Ponte, C (11 games in Arizona Rookie League in 2010)

Non Drafted Free Agent signed by the Dodgers on 6/15/10

5’11”, 215 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.152 average, .415 OPS, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Angelo Ponte wasn’t drafted in 2010 after playing his college ball at Fordham University, but was signed by the Dodgers shortly after draft day by the Dodgers.  As most people know, Fordham was the college that Vin Scully graduated from, so there are some ties between the school and the Dodgers.  In his 4 years at Fordham, Ponte had a career .283 average and only hit 4 home runs, so he obviously doesn’t have much upside.  He is also already 24 years old and had a terrible time in the Arizona Rookie League, although he only played in 11 games.  I’m not sure if Ponte is worth keeping around, although like other light hitting catchers he does give the Dodgers some extra bodies who can catch the ball in spring training.

194.  Railing Feliz, C (14 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

5’11”, 184 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.182 average, .482 OPS, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Railing Feliz has a great name, but that’s about the only thing that he has going for him.  The young man from the Dominican Republic was with the Dominican Dodgers all year, as his appearances were spread throughout the season, but he only got into 14 games.  And when he did play, his stats were awful as you can see from his .182 average.  While he did play most of the year as an 18 year old, that isn’t an excuse in the Dominican Summer League as the league is full of teenagers.  The Dodgers may bring back Feliz for one more season if they need depth at catcher, but even that seems unlikely at this point.

193.  David Iden, 2B (30 games in Arizona Rookie League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 35th round

5’9”, 160 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.267 average, .663 OPS, 1 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 175;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

A late round pick for the Dodgers in 2009 out of Cal Lutheran University, David Iden is the type of player who just wanted a chance to prove himself.  Upon being drafted by the Dodgers, Iden was “ecstatic… relieved…and anxious”.  At Cal Lutheran, the Thousand Oaks native was a career .343 hitter, and ranked in the school’s top 10 for career RBI’s (100), runs scored (121), and stolen bases (63).  Unfortunately, Iden has done nothing to prove himself in his two years as a professional.  In 2009, he was sent to the Pioneer League and struggled to produce.  He was then demoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010 despite being already 23 years old, and hit only .267 in 30 games, with 1 HR and 5 SB’s.  At 5’9” Iden is undersized, which is another thing working against him, and with two bad seasons under his belt he’s a candidate to be released.

192.  Gabriel Gutierrez, C (5 games in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2002

5’11”, 190 lbs, 27.25 years old, bats right handed

.368 average, .850 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s, bats right handed

Pre 2010 Rank: 187;     Pre 2009 Rank: 161

The Mexican born Gutierrez was on loan to the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League for almost the entire season, where he hit .283 in 106 at bats with just 8 RBI’s.  I’m not exactly sure how the loaning of players works, but he was one a few players in the Dodgers organization to play in the Mexican League in 2010.  Gutierrez returned to the USA and played with the 66ers for the final week of the season where he hit pretty well in limited at bats.  An interesting thing about Gutierrez is that he has been in the Dodgers organization since 2002, making one of the longest tenured players in the organization.  By my count, only a few players like James Loney, Jonathan Broxton, and minor leaguer Eduardo Perez have been around longer.  Since Gutierrez is a catcher, he continues to provide value to the team during times such as spring training, so he’ll probably stick around for at least another year.  However he is a minor league free agent and an organizational player at best, so he might just play full time in Mexico.

191.  Ricardo De La Rosa, OF (35 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 184 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.163 average, .517 OPS, 0 HR’s, 4 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Even though he was born in the same city as Rubby De La Rosa (Santo Domingo, DR), I’m pretty sure that Ricardo is not the brother of Rubby.  It is possible they are related, but I couldn’t find any mention of it on the internet.  Even if they are related, I don’t think that it would matter because Ricardo is going nowhere fast.  The light hitting outfielder got into 35 games, but only accumulated 49 at bats for the entire season.  His only hits were 8 singles, so his OPS was a measly .517 for the year.  The only positive stat for the 19 year old was his walk to strikeout ratio, as he walked 14 times and stuck out in just 11 plate appearances.  He is another player who may or may not be back next year.

190.  Ronny Lugo, RF (46 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 170 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.231 average, .654 OPS, 2 HR’s, 18 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 157;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Ronny Lugo was signed out of Venezuela prior to the 2009 season, but ever since his debut he has posted pretty dismal stats.  In fact, the only damage that Lugo did in 2010 came against left handed pitchers, as righties limited him to a .203 average.  The one good thing about Ronny is that he is versatile as an outfielder, but that will only get you so far.  Overall because his offensive numbers this year did not show any improvement from 2009, and because he is almost 21 years old, I’m guessing that Lugo’s baseball career is probably done. 

189.  Johan Garcia, 3B (78 games in HiA, 16 games in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 4/19/05

6’0”, 170 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.243 average, .610 OPS, 3 HR’s 33 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 186;     Pre 2009 Rank: 155

Johan Garcia has been in the Dodgers organization for quite some time now, but he has never really done much of anything.  His career batting average is below .240, he only six total homers his six seasons, and he doesn’t really have a whole lot of speed.  In fact, he has had such a dismal career that his 2010 season was actually one of his best years yet.  His .243 average was the 2nd highest of his career, and his 33 RBI’s almost doubled his previous season high.  I guess the one thing that Garcia has going for him is that he is a versatile infielder, as he can play 3B, 2B, and SS.  At 24 years old, Johan doesn’t seem to have much of a future in baseball, but the Dodgers might just keep him around as a utility player for another season.     

188.  Victor Araujo, RHP (14.2 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

5’11”, 171 lbs, 21.25 years old

2-0, 2.45 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 2.25 FIP, 11.66 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Victor Araujo had outstanding stats in 2010, but he still has many flaws as a potential prospect.  First, 2010 was his first taste of professional baseball even though he was already 20 years old during the season.  Second, Araujo is very small for a pitcher as he stands at just 5’11”.  Third, Victor only threw 14.2 innings in 2010 so while his stats were good, the sample size is much too small to pass any judgment on him as a player.  Overall, the negatives outweigh the positives for Araujo, so unless he has another great season in 2011 while throwing a lot more innings, this will probably be the last time you read about him.

187.  Steve Cilladi, C (11 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 33rd round

5’9”, 182 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.292 average, .796 OPS, 1 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 193;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Despite being 23 years old, Cilladi only participated in 11 games in the Arizona Rookie League in 2010.  In fact, even though he was drafted in 2009, Cilladi has only played in 26 professional games.  To provide a little background on Cilladi, his dad was a former athletic trainer for the Rockies and Cubs, so I’m sure he knows something about conditioning.  He played college ball in the NAIA with the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes, and during his four seasons there Steve hit .267 with 76 hits, so he wasn’t exactly a masher in college.  In addition, he wasn’t even the full time starting catcher during his Senior year.  Since he’s a catcher, Cilladi proves some value to the Dodgers since he can help out in spring training, but besides that I’m not sure how much use the Dodgers have for a 24 year old without much experience.

186.  Jorky Infante, 3B (57 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 155 lbs, 20 years old, switch hitter

.270 average, .697 OPS, 2 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 167;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Born in the Dominican Republic, Jorky Infante has a great name.  He made his professional debut in 2009, but had terrible stats in limited appearances as an 18 year old.  In 2010, Infante was the DSL Dodgers everyday 3rd baseman, and made 13 errors at the hot corner in 49 games.  At the plate, however, Infante proved to be a pretty good all around player, hitting .270 with a couple of homers and stealing 13 bases.  A switch hitter, Infante also showed good plate disciple as he walked 28 times against just 27 strikeouts.  Jorky will be 20 years old when the 2011 season starts, and since his stats don’t warrant a move to a US based league, the Dodgers will have to decide if he is worth keeping around in the DSL for another year.

 

185.  Ariel Botello, RHP (32 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’2”, 217 lbs, 21.25 years old

2-1, 3.66 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 4.39 FIP, 6.75 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The 2010 Dominican Dodgers pitching staff was full pitchers who were too old for the DSL, and Ariel Botello is another perfect example. 2010 was Botello’s first season even though he played the entire season as a 20 year old, and the Dominican native put up decent stats.  He didn’t strike out a ton of batters, but his ERA was respectable and batters hit just .237 against him.  He has a decent pitcher’s frame at 6’2”, but I really don’t see anything too special about Ariel.  At the end of the day, he is really just a body used to fill the Dominican Dodgers roster.

184.  Miguel Sanfler, LHP (70 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 10/2/02

5’11”, 165 lbs, 26.5 years old

0-3, 5.40 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 4.27 FIP, 6.17 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 162;     Pre 2009 Rank: 102

The highlight of Sanfler’s career was probably in 2005, when he was rated by Baseball America as the 19th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League.  In their write up, BA said that Miguel boasted a 95 mph fastball and a devastating curveball.  Five years later, Sanfler’s stuff seems to have faded.  He has spent the last 4 years in A-ball (two in LoA and 2 in HiA), and has not performed well in any of those seasons.  In fact, his 2010 stats were almost identical to his 2009 stats when he had a 5.48 ERA, a 1.64 WHIP, and a 6.13 K/9.  Similar to years past, Sanfler’s poor control and lack of a strikeout pitch were his biggest problems in 2010 as his strikeout to walk ratio was just 1.41 for the year.  The one positive for Sanfler is that he has been a workhorse through his career, and continued that trend in 2010 with 70 innings out of the bullpen.  Currently a minor league free agent, my guess would be that the 26 year old will not be back with the Dodgers in 2011.

183.  Josh Walter, RHP (95.2 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 6/27/08

6’4”, 250 lbs, 26 years old

1-10, 6.59 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 5.45 FIP, 8.00 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 99;     Pre 2009 Rank: 189

After a good season in 2009, there was some buzz about Josh Walter as a potential prospect.  I didn’t buy into the hype, however, and now I think you can forget about him forever.  The 25 year old had an ERA of 6.59 and – get this – he posted a win/loss record of 1 – 10 for the 66ers in 2010.  He also allowed 13 homers in 95.2 innings, and ranked 2nd in the California league with his 64 walks.  Signed as a non drafted free agent during the 2008 season out of Texas State, 2010 might just have been the last season as a Dodger for the big guy.

182.  Andres Perez, OF (41 games in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 8/9/09 out of independent ball

6’0”, 200 lbs, 26.75 years old, bats right handed

.285 average, .768 OPS, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 150;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

As I mentioned last year, Andres Perez played his college ball at Stony Brook University, and during 2006, his Senior season, he hit .327 and led the team with 7 HR’s.  Undrafted out of college, Perez signed with the Yankees as a non drafted free agent in September of 2006.  In 2007, his first professional season, he played at 4 different levels ranging from the Gulf Coast League to HiA.  After an uninspiring season, however, he was cut from the Yankees, so he signed with Tampa Bay before the 2008 season.  After a mediocre season in the Florida State League, he was again let go again.  Unable to find a team to sign with at the beginning of 2009, Perez kept his baseball hopes alive by playing ball with the Newark Bears.  After tearing up the independent league, he signed with the Dodgers midseason in 2009 and played in the California League where he put up very strong numbers in 26 games.  He returned to the 66ers in 2010, but was hurt for most of the season and was very unimpressive for a 26 year old.  A minor league free agent, I am pretty sure that Perez will not be in the Dodgers organization in 2011. 

181.  Luis Rosano, RHP (29.2 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 190 lbs, 19.75 years old

1-4, 6.37 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, 6.40 FIP, 4.55 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 145;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

While Rosano wasn’t great in 2009, he was slightly intriguing because at the time he was just 18 year old and had a solid pitchers frame.  I think all expectations of him ever becoming a prospect are gone, however, as Rosano had a terrible season in 2010.  The young man from Venezuela had an ERA of 6.37, and walked as many batters as he struck out (15).  He also allowed 5 homers in his short season, and opposing battings hit .352 against him.  Luis will be 20 years old by the time the 2011 DSL season starts, so if the Dodgers do decide to bring him back he’ll be one of the older players in the league.

180.  Leandro De Dios, RHP (40.2 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

5’11”, 184 lbs, 21.75 years old

2-3, 2.66 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 3.64 FIP, 7.97 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Leandro De Dios was born in the Dominican Republic, and signed with the Dodgers prior to the 2010 season.  I’m not sure why he waited to sign until he turned 20 years old, but it definitely hurt him in prospect status.  His 5’11” height also isn’t helping him in terms of his ranking.  When you look past his age and height, however, De Dios actually had a very solid season for the Dominican Dodgers.  He was especially effective in the first half of the season, when his 1.71 ERA earned him a spot on the DSL Mid-Season All Star Team.  While he struggled a bit in the final month, opposing batters ended up hitting just .212 against him for the year.  While the Dodgers will probably keep him around for another year, his great stats do not offset his age and stature enough for me to believe that he’ll ever make it to a US based league.

179.  Webster Rivas, 1B/C (59 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 195 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.246 average, .662 OPS, 1 HR, 34 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Webster Rivas, a Dominican native, was signed in 2010 and played his 1st professional season as a 19 year old.  While he’s listed as a catcher and did make a few starts behind the plate, Webster was actually the Dominican Dodgers’ primary 1st baseman in 2010.  Despite a .246 average for the season, I would say that he had a relatively strong offensive year given that the DSL is a pitcher friendly league.  Rivas lead the Dodgers in both doubles and RBI’s, and was extremely tough to strikeout (just 12 K’s in 239 plate appearances).  Nevertheless, he isn’t much of a prospect and will most likely repeat in the DSL in 2011.

 

178.  Florencio Bustillos, RHP (Did not play in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 209 lbs, 21.75 years old

No stats in 2010

Pre 2010 Rank: 121;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Florencio Bustillos didn’t play at all for the Dodgers in 2010, however per the Dodgers he is still in the organization as of the end of this past season.  The Mexican born pitcher spent several seasons in the Mexican League before signing with the Dodgers, and played in the Dominican Summer League in 2009.  As mentioned, he didn’t play in 2010 for an unknown reason, but is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League so he is healthy.  Unfortunately, his current stats in Mexico are pretty ugly, as he has a 12.00 ERA in 5 appearances.  I gave Bustillos a relatively favorable ranking after the 2009 season because he had an outstanding strikeout to walk ratio, however since the 21 years old has yet to play in a leaguer higher than the DSL, I think it’s safe to say that Bustillos won’t even made an impact with the Dodgers.

177.  Adam Dedeaux, LHP (10.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed 7/1/10 as Non Drafted Free Agent

6’0”, 200 lbs, 24.75 years old

0-0, 4.22 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 1.98 FIP, 14.3 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

The Dodgers signed Adam Dedeaux as a non drafted free agent out of the University of Southern California.  Given that Dedeaux was used sparingly at USC and had a college career ERA above 6, it is possible that Dodgers signed Adam as a favor to his grandfather.  You see, Dedeaux’s grandfather and long-time USC baseball coach Rod Dedeaux was great friends with Tommy Lasorda before Rod passed away in 2006, so you can see the connection.  Whether or not he was signed as a favor doesn’t change the fact that Adam is extremely old to be starting his professional career.  In addition, the 24 year old pitched just 10.2 innings in the Arizona Rookie League.  The only good news is that Dedeaux had solid peripherals in his limited appearances, and would have posted a much better ERA for the season had he not allowed 4 earned runs in his final appearance of 2010.  Since he didn’t get much of a chance to pitch in 2010, I’m sure the Dodgers will give the lefty another look in 2011.  His most likely destination next season would be with the Great Lakes Loons.

176.  Delvis Morales, SS (65 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’1”, 146 lbs, 20.5 years old, switch hitter

.220 average, .583 OPS, 0 HR’s, 15 RBI’s, 18 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 196;     Pre 2009 Rank: 175  

Delvis Morales got a little bit of a late start on his baseball career as he didn’t play his first professional game until he was 19 and a half years old.  After seeing his stats in 2010, he is slightly intriguing because he is a switch hitting shortstop with good speed and a great eye (37 walks against 33 strikeouts), but the positives end there.  He only hit .220 for the year and made 17 errors in the field.  He also weighs less than Dee Gordon, which I thought was impossible.  I think Morales will return to the DSL for 2011, but due to his age he doesn’t have any real value at this point.

175.  Faustino Oguisten, SS/2B/3B (31 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 165 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.253 average, .693 OPS, 0 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 163;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After a terrible offensive season in 2009, in which he did not have an extra base hit in 79 at bats, Faustino Oguisten showed a little bit of improvement this past season.  Every one of his offensive stats progressed in 2010, and he even managed to record 6 doubles.  Even still, I was definitely hoping for a lot more out of Oguisten as I thought that he’d be able to add some muscle to his wiry frame.  Really the only thing he has going for him now is the fact that he can play all over the infield, although his defense at shortstop has been pretty shaky over the past 2 seasons.  Because he is still relatively young (he turns 20 this coming January) and has a solid frame, the Dodgers will probably keep the Dominican native around for at least one more season to see if he shows any more development as he matures.

174.  Keyter Collado, C (1 game in AAA, 9 games in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/04

5’9”, 182 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.314 average, .676 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 190;     Pre 2009 Rank: 154

I really don’t know what to make of Keyter Collado’s minor league career thus far.  From 2004 through 2009, Collado was stuck playing in various rookie ball leagues, putting up average stats and showing absolutely no power.  Then, all of sudden in 2010, the Dodgers started Collado off in AAA for one game, then dropped him back to AA for the rest of the season.  Granted he only played in 10 total games for 2010, but still, that is a little strange.  In addition, speaking of limited playing time, Collado has only played in 42 games combined over the past 3 seasons.  I know that during 2010 he went on and came off the DL a few times, but it was a little suspicious because he always came off the DL right when the team was short a catcher, and he had to fill in.  It’s almost like he is being used as a player/coach and maybe even as a translator, although he’s a little young to be a mentor in the upper minor leagues.  Whatever Collado is doing, the Dodgers must be pleased because he was re-signed after the season as a minor league free agent.

173.  Joseph Becker, 2B/SS (16 games LoA, 6 games Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 1/11/07

5’11, 175 lbs, 25.25 years old, bats right handed

.314 average, .772 OPS, 0 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 169;     Pre 2009 Rank: 190

Becker was originally signed by the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent in 2007 out of Antelope Valley College, where he hit .350 for his career.  Since signing, Becker has played at every Dodger minor league level except for the Dominican Summer League.  That includes AAA, which is where he spent 2 games in his very first professional season.  In 2010, however, Becker only played 20 total games due to an arm injury.  After a short rehab assignment in Arizona in August, he spent the final month of the season with the Great Lakes Loons where he hit .255 in 16 games.  Given his well-travel past, it is anyone’s guess as to where he will spend the 2011 season.  Where ever he ends up, however, it’s going to be tough for this 25 year old light hitting middle infielder to make any impact with the Dodgers in the future.

172.  Ivan Eugenia, RHP (1 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 185 lbs, 19.5 years old

0-0, 9.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 9.20 FIP, 0.00 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 153;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

I have no idea what happened to Ivan Eugenia in 2010.  After pitching 14 innings as an 18 year old in 2009, Eugenia only threw 1 inning this past season.  That one inning occurred right in the middle of the season, so I’m guessing he was injured to start the season, and then re-aggravated the injury in his one appearance.  Since you can’t really look at his limited stats this year, we can go back to his 2009 season where he had a 5.79 ERA to go along with a 9.64 K/9.  Still one of the younger pitchers in the organization, I’m hoping that Ivan will reemerge in 2011 and get in a full season of work.

171.  Stetson Banks, CF (20 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 22nd round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.283 average, .646 OPS, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 143;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Stetson Banks was drafted out of BYU in the 22nd round of the 2009 draft.  He only played two years in college, however, because he served his Mormon mission in 2007 and 2008.  During his 2009 college season, Banks hit .348 and stole 23 bases in 29 attempts.  He is a great athlete, which he demonstrated in high school by being named second team all-state in football as a wide receiver.  Furthermore, his uncle Brian Banks made it to the major leagues earlier in the decade, so he does have some decent bloodlines. Since turning pro, however, Banks hasn’t done much at all.  After hitting .231 in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009, Banks was limited to just 20 games in 2010.  He spent his abbreviated season with the Loons, and recorded just two extra base hits.  In addition, with zero stolen bases in 2010, Banks seemed to have lost his speed, which had previously been his biggest asset.  He is still relatively young at 23 and plays a solid center field, but unfortunately I don’t think Stetson will ever be a legitimate prospect.

170.  Carlos Mercedes, 1B (33 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 190 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.253 average, .779 OPS, 2 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 159;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Carlos Mercedes is a young Dominican player who made his professional debut in 2009.  He was only 17 when he played his first professional game, and his lack of experience showed.  He hit just .133 during the 2009 season, and had an OPS of .486.  In 2010, however, Mercedes showed some improvement in the DSL as he almost doubled both this average and his OPS.  Even still, Mercedes didn’t have a great season as he only collected 9 extra base hits for the year, and amazingly struck out in 40.4% of plate appearances.  That number makes Kyle Russell look like a contact hitter.  In addition, the fact that he plays 1st base doesn’t help his cause because you generally expect big offensive numbers out of a corner infielder.  Because he’s still just 19 years old he still has a chance to make a name for himself, but it’s going to take a big season in 2011 for that to happen.

 

169.  Joseph Lincoln, C (15 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 34th round

6’4”, 210 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.179 average, .484 OPS, 0 HR’s, 4 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Joseph Lincoln is a big catcher that was drafted out of Missouri Southern in the 34th round of the 2010 draft.  In his one year with the MSSU Lions (he had previously played one year each a Maple Woods CC and Kansas University), Lincoln hit .434 with a team high 53 RBI’s and 11 homers.  Going back to his high school days, Lincoln had an incredible senior season as he hit .629 with eight homers, 51 RBI’s, and 16 stolen bases.  Unfortunately, Lincoln’s previous success didn’t translate to his professional debut.  Joseph only got into 15 games, and in his limited at bats Lincoln hit just .179 and did not record an extra base hit.  In addition to his size, the good news is that Lincoln will play the entire 2011 season as a 22 year old, so he is still relatively young.  There is even a chance he’ll get promoted to LoA next season, although he’ll surely be a backup no matter where he plays. 

168.  Jose Ramirez, OF (62 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.279 average, .763 OPS, 5 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 180;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After a terrible debut season in 2009, Jose Ramirez turned things around in 2010.  While his stats weren’t amazing, he was good enough to be named as the DSL offensive MVP by yours truly.  The 22 year old isn’t a prospect by any means, but did rank among the DSL Dodgers leaders in several offense categories.  His 5 homers were tops on the team, as was his .763 OPS (minimum 80 at bats).  He also ranked 2nd on the Dodgers with 33 RBI’s and 14 SB’s, and did not make an error all season while playing all over the outfield.  Because of his solid 2010 season, the Dodgers may decide to bring Ramirez to a US based rookie league in 2011 despite the fact that he is a little older than most players promoted from the DSL.

167.  Cody White, LHP (23.1 IP in AAA, 27.1 IP in HiA, 6 IP in Arizona League)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 12th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 26 years old

3-4, 7.31 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 5.32 FIP, 5.32 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 130;     Pre 2009 Rank: 125

Not too long ago, Cody White was considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.  He was ranked #24 in the 2007 Baseball America prospect handbook, and in the 2008 version of the handbook he was listed as having the system’s best changeup.  Even after missing the 2009 season, White was including in the 2010 BA handbook in the LHP depth chart.  All of these accolades did not come without just cause, as his ERA was 2.68 and 3.14 in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  However, White’s troubles started in 2008.  His ERA jumped to 4.94, and his strikeout rate dropped to 5.81 per 9 innings.  In addition, his heavy workload of just about 146 innings in 2008 probably attributed to the fact that he missed the 2009 season.  White returned to the mound in 2010 and started the year in HiA.  After just a few games, however, he promoted all the way up to AAA to replenish the Isotopes injury depleted pitching staff.  Unfortunately, White was terrible in both the California League and the PCL which led to his combined 7.31 ERA.  His WHIP was also awful, and batters hit .322 against him for the season.  Currently a minor league free agent, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cody was with a different organization in 2011.

166.  Jesus Rodriguez, RHP (38.2 IP AAA, 23.1 IP AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 1/20/05

6’0”, 180 lbs, 25.5 years old

4-2, 5.52 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 5.10 FIP, 5.08 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 128;     Pre 2009 Rank: 141

Jesus Rodriguez has made steady progress through the Dodgers minor league system since signing with the organization in 2005 out of Mexico.  From Pioneer Rookie League to AAA, Rodriguez has spent time at every level.  He first reached AA in 2008, and then spent all of 2009 there as well.  In 2010 he again found himself in Chattanooga to start the season, but was promoted to Albuquerque in May despite 5.01 ERA with the Lookouts.  With the Isotopes, Jesus continued to be mediocre, recording a 5.82 ERA and just 18 strikeouts in 38.2 innings.  Speaking of strikeouts, getting guys to swing and miss has always been Rodriguez’s biggest problem as he has only struck out 5.5 batters per 9 for his career.  And when you are not sinker ball pitcher, the more balls that are put in play, the higher your ERA is going to be.  Also, at 6’0” and 180 pounds, Rodriguez isn’t an imposing presence on the mound by any means.  In regards to his future, the 25 year old will definitely be around next season to provide middle relief because he is a valuable organizational player.  However, it doesn’t seem like he has what it takes to make it as a reliever at the next level.  To further that point, he is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League and has an 11.28 ERA through 22.1 innings.

165.  Charlie Mirabal, SS (36 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07

5’11”, 164 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.295 average, .716 OPS, 0 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 161;     Pre 2009 Rank: 79

As I’ve written before, Charlie Mirabal is an interesting story.  He was signed by the Dodgers after he performed well during an open tryout before the 2007 season.  Originally a middle infielder, Mirabal struggled during the 2007 season in the Dominican Summer League.  So the Dodgers decided to try him out as a pitcher during 2008, and he put up some great numbers.  He had a 1.99 ERA in 32 innings and had an outstanding strikeout rate.  Based on those facts, one would think that Mirabal would continue to pitch in 2009 in one of the U.S. based rookie leagues right?  Well, that was not the case as the Dodgers had different plans for Miarbal, and decided to move him back to shortstop in 2009 while keeping him in the DSL.  I don’t really understand this decision at all given Charlie’s success on the mound in 2008, and I decided that the only reasonable explanation would be that he had some sort of a minor injury to his pitching arm.  Whatever the case, Mirabal had another lackluster season as a position player in 2009, and I thought that the Dodgers might try Mirabal on the mound again in 2010.  However, while the Dodgers did promote Charlie to the Arizona League in 2010, they continued to play him at shortstop.  He did have a decent season, as he led all Arizona Dodgers with a .295 average (minimum 80 at bats), but he didn’t really show any other plus skills.  He has never hit a professional home run, and has average speed at best.  In addition, playing as a 23 year old, he was quite old for the Arizona Rookie League.  Since he is now probably too old be to be converted back to pitcher, I can see Mirabal playing the role of a backup infielder for the Loons in 2011.

164.  Chris Gutierrez, SS (121 games in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers on 3/1/2010

5’9”, 185 lbs, 27 years old, bats right handed

.312 average, .806 OPS, 1 HR, 35 RBI’s, 16 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Gutierrez actually had a pretty good season for the 66ers, hitting .312 and holding down the most difficult defensive position on the field all season long.  However, the 26 years old Gutierrez was much older than his competition, so he was really just doing his best to keep the team competitive in an organization that is a little bit thin in quality shortstops.  Originally signed by the Blue Jays as a non drafted free agent in 2005, Gutierrez was with Toronto until midway through 2009.  He then spent a little bit of time with the Angeles in 2009, making it all the way to AAA, before signing with the Dodgers in 2010.  At his age, I highly doubt he’ll be back in the Dodgers organization next year; especially since he is a minor league free agent.

163.  Pedro Tavarez, C (12 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.222 average, .465 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 104;     Pre 2009 Rank: 183

You’ll notice that Pedro Tavarez has jumped around in my rankings in the past few years.  Prior to the 2009 season, he was coming off of two terrible seasons in the DSL so I ranked him #183.  In 2009, however, he was promoted to the Arizona League and had a solid year with a .325 average and was named to the post season all star team.  That prompted me to rank him #104 last year, although I wrote that I still wasn’t sold on him and that he would really need to prove himself in 2010.  Well that didn’t happen at all as Tavarez played in only 12 games with the Ogden Raptors this past season, and didn’t collect an extra base hit all year. In addition, it should be noted that it wasn’t injuries that limited his playing time in 2010 because his 12 games were spread all throughout the season.  Instead, the Raptors simply didn’t have enough starts to go around at catcher, and Tavarez was the odd man out.  Given his lack of playing time, I doubt that Tavarez would be promoted in 2011, so it looks like he’ll stay in Ogden for another year.  Now 23 years old, he is losing value fast.

162.  Gari Tavarez, RHP (23.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’0”, 170 lbs, 23.25 years old

1-0, 4.94 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 3.37 FIP, 6.84 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 184;     Pre 2009 Rank: 149

After getting promoted from the DSL a US based league in 2008, Gari Tavarez’s career has stalled.  He has spent 2008 in the Gulf Coast League, and then the last two seasons in the Arizona Rookie League.  His combined stats in the US based rookie leagues over the past 3 seasons are a 5.42 ERA, a 1.61 WHIP, and a 6.5 K/9, so he hasn’t really deserved a promotion.  However, his 2010 stats were slightly better than the previous two seasons, and he is still just 23 years old, so it is possible that he’ll finally get promoted beyond Arizona 2011.  While his frame appears to be best suited for a career in the bullpen, the Dodgers are hoping that Tavarez will at some point recapture the form he had back in 2007 when he dominated the Dominican Summer League as a 19 year old with a 1.49 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 66.2 innings.

161.  Roman Pena, OF (21 games in HiA in 2010 – Indians Organization)

Trade with Indians for Preston Mattingly

6’0”, 190 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats left handed

.148 average, .602 OPS, 2 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Roman Pena was acquired by the Dodgers from the Indians after Don Mattingly requested that his son be traded in order for him to get a fresh start.  When you look at the trade, it was really an exchange of struggling players as both Preston Mattingly and Pena have been terrible in the minor league careers.  We all know how bad Preston was, so let’s look at how Roman has done since getting drafted by the Indians in the 9th round of the 2005 draft.  His debut season was in 2006, and he actually did pretty well with a .302 average and 7 homers in 56 games.  Since then, however, he’s been dreadful.  In 2009, Pena hit .204 over a full season in the Carolina League.  Then in 2010, while repeating in HiA, Roman batted just .148 through 21 games before his season ended due to an injury.  Now 24 years old, I can’t see Pena being more than organizational depth for the Dodgers in either HiA or AA next season.  He doesn’t seem to have any tool that stands out, so I don’t really see him going anywhere.

160.  Eric Thompson, RHP (3.2 IP in AAA, 3 IP in AA, 20 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 23rd round

6’6”, 210 lbs, 23 years old

0-1, 9.79 ERA, 2.10 WHIP, 6.20 FIP, 7.76 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 156;     Pre 2009 Rank: 121

Eric Thompson was drafted out of high school in 2006, and even though he was a 23rd round pick, the Dodgers had to pay him a fairly large signing bonus to convince him put his basketball career aside.  The thought was that the 6’6” pitcher would have the ideal frame and size to be a power pitcher.  After three years of struggling through Rookie ball, Thompson finally got the chance to play against tougher competition in 2010.  The results were very ugly, however, as Thompson amassed a combined 9.79 ERA through stops in Inland Empire, Chattanooga, and Albuquerque.  Like a few other Dodger minor leaguers, Thompson served as an emergency fill in when injuries struck the upper minor leagues.  Probably the biggest surprise to his season was that after spending all of 2009 in the Pioneer League, Thompson actually made his 2010 debut in AAA.  He only lasted for two appearances before moving down to AA for a single spot start.  He finally settled in with the 66ers as he spent the final 2 months of the season in Inland Empire, but had an 8.10 ERA through 20 innings.  Playing the entire 2010 season as a 22 year old, Thomason was simply unable to find a groove and it showed in his stats.  I’m guessing that Eric would have been better off spending the entire season in either LoA or HiA, but the Dodgers had other plans.  Despite his ugly stats, Thompson still seemed to have potential, and I was hoping he’d get the chance to prove that with a full season in Rancho Cucamonga next season.  However, he has been released per Baseball America, so he won’t be around next year.  Since I had already finalized my ranking by the time he was released, this is basically where he would have ranked had he stayed in the Dodgers system for 2011.

 

159.  Adner Ruiz, LHP (39.1 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’1”, 180 lbs, 22 years old

1-2, 2.06 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.53 FIP, 7.55 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Adner Ruiz isn’t your typical Dominican Summer League because the Dodgers are actually his 2nd organization.  He started is professional career with the Cubs in 2008, and actually had outstanding stats in both 2008 and 2009.  In 2008, he had a 1.91 ERA in 47 innings and batters hit .177 against him, and in 2009 he had a 2.37 ERA in 38 innings and batters hit .171 against him.  Nevertheless, the Cubs released Ruiz at the end of the 2009 season probably because he was already 20 years old.   The Dodgers didn’t let his age scare them however, as they decided to take a chance on him in 2010.  Ruiz had yet another solid season, albeit against much younger competition, as he posted a 2.06 ERA.  He did walk too many batters, which is why his WHIP was a little high, but that was really the only negative to his season.  At the end of the year, the Dodgers must have seen something they liked because he has already been re-signed for 2011 (according to Baseball America).  I highly doubt the Dodgers would re-sign Ruiz to send him back to the DSL, so I expect him to make an appearance in Arizona next season.

158.  Raul Burgos, RHP (24.2 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Acquired in 2009 minor league portion of Rule 5 draft

6’1”, 210 lbs, 23.5 years old

1-1, 4.74 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 2.92 FIP, 9.12 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Raul Burgos was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2005 season.  After spending two seasons as a position player in the DSL, Burgos was moved to the mound because he was unable to get his average above .190 in either season.  He spent 2007 pitching in the DSL, and then was moved to the Arizona League where he spent all of 2008 and 2009 and had a combined ERA over 5 over 26 innings.  After the 2009 season, Raul was selected by the Dodgers in the AA portion of the Rule 5 draft and was sent to the Pioneer League for 2010.  With the Raptors, Burgos had a 4.74 ERA and batters hit .330 against him, but his FIP was a more impressive 2.92 due to his solid strikeout to walk ratio and the fact that he only allowed 1 homer all year.  Now 23 years old, Burgos will probably play in either LoA or HiA in 2011 and will try to hold his own against older competition.

157.  Jose Capellan, C (16 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 190 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.326 average, .828 OPS, 1 HR, 8 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 135;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A 

Jose Capellan is a 2nd year catcher of out the Dominican Republic who didn’t join the Dominican Dodgers until the end of July due to an undisclosed injury.  He did his best to make up for lost time, however, hitting .323 in 46 at bats to go along with a .828 OPS.  Capellan also posted a solid walk to strikeout ratio in the 16 games that he played, and is the perfect size for a catcher.  Despite his lack of playing time in 2010, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jose in the Arizona Rookie League for the 2011 season.

156.  Josmar Cordero, C (51 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

5’10, 175 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats right handed

.255 average, .705 OPS, 4 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Josmar Cordero was signed out of Venezuela prior to the 2010 season, and led the Dominican Dodger in innings behind the plate.  He also had by far had the best season among Dominican Dodger catchers as Cordero threw out 48% of potential base stealers, and also had a very strong showing with the bat.  He finished 2nd on the team with 4 homers, and posted a .705 OPS.  In addition, he played the entire season as an 18 year old, so he is still very young.  While Cordero will most likely require another season in the DSL, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the Arizona Rookie League in 2012.

155.  Marlon Urriola, RHP (28.1 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 5/25/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 22.75 years old

2-4, 3.18 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4.01 FIP, 7.31 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 181;     Pre 2009 Rank: 117

 Marlon Urriola has been in the Dodgers organization since 2006, when he debuted as a 17 year old.  After spending three seasons in the DSL, the Dodgers promoted Urriola to the Arizona Rookie league in 2009.  Unfortunately, he only appeared in 2 games that season due to what I can only assume was some sort of an injury.  In 2010, Marlon was able to get in a more work as he appeared in 14 games and threw 28.1 innings while posting a solid 3.18 ERA.  However, Urriola’s peripherals were not quite as good as his FIP was 4.01, his strikeout rate was on the low side, and batters hit .261 against him.  That prompted the Dodgers to release the 22 year old in December.  I think that’s a little unfortunate because Urriloa is still pretty young yet already has 5 years of minor league experience under his belt, but I can see where the Dodgers are coming from.  Since I had already finalized my ranking by the time he was released, this is basically where he would have ranked had he stayed in the Dodgers system for 2011.

154.  Leo Rodriguez, 2B (49 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010           

5’11”, 160 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.277 average, .682 OPS, 0 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Leo Rodriguez was signed out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2010 season, and made his professional debut with the DSL Dodgers.  He was the Dodgers main 2nd baseman, although he also spent time at 3rd base and shortstop.  He played the entire season as an 18 year old, and held his own at the plate with a .277 average and a .682 OPS.  The 5’11” infielder also demonstrated great plate discipline and made good contact as he walked almost as much as he struck out in 2010.  While Rodriguez didn’t really show any power or speed, the one thing he has going for him is his youth.  If he can have a solid season in the DSL in 2011, he should be on track to make the jump to a US based rookie league in 2012.  That’s a big IF, but I always hope for the best.

153.  B.J. Larosa, C (10 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 23rd round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.280 average, .791 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

B.J. Larosa was selected in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft out of Bucknell University.  The chemical engineering major was coming off a senior season in which he hit a team-high .371 and only struck out 19 times in 202 at bats as the team’s starting catcher.  Larosa signed quickly with the Dodgers, and while he probably should have gone to the Pioneer League because of his age, he was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League because the Ogden Raptors already had too many catchers.  He played every couple of days through the month of July, but then sat out the rest of the season for an unknown reason.  Overall Larosa played in just 10 games, and through 25 at bats the only skill he was able to show off was his ability to walk.  B.J. took a base on balls in over 25% of his plate appearances which led to an impressive .471 on base percentage.  Despite being 22 years old, I highly doubt Larosa will make it to a full season league in 2011 due to the aforementioned logjam of young catchers.  Hopefully that won’t stunt his career before he really even gets a chance to play.

152.  Irvit Mendez, RHP (32.2 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008           

6’6”, 225 lbs, 20.75 years old

1-1, 3.31 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 9.92 K/9, 3.97 FIP

Pre 2010 Rank: 196;     Pre 2009 Rank: 175  

After making just 4 appearances in his first two professional seasons (1 game in 2008 and 3 games in 2009), Irvit Mendez finally got a chance to play a full season in 2010.  In 32.2 innings, Mendez had a solid ERA and strikeout rate, but his WHIP was very high due to his extreme lack of control.  Mendez averaged almost a walk per inning, which is actually an improvement over the previous two seasons when he had 12 walks in just 1.1 innings (yes you read that correctly).  Still just 20 years and entering his 4th professional season, the Dodgers will probably keep Mendez around because he has a great pitcher’s frame and apparently has good stuff when he can find the plate.  He might even make it to a US based league in 2011 since I’m not sure the Dodgers keep any player in the DSL for 4 seasons. 

151.  Mike Drowne, OF (4 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 28th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.143 average, .393 OPS, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Mike Drowne is a leadoff type hitter who the Dodgers selected in the 28th round of the 2010 draft out of Sacred Heart University (Connecticut).  In his senior season at Sacred Heart, Drowne hit .313 with 33 stolen bases and set a school record with 65 runs scored.  Upon getting drafted, Drowne said “It feels great. It’s everything I’ve worked for my whole life and to achieve that goal is amazing.”  Drowne signed quickly, and got into a few games in late June with the Arizona Dodgers before getting shut down until late August.  Overall, Mike got into just 4 games in his first professional season.  There isn’t a lot of upside with Drowne, but as a 28th round selection there wasn’t much risk with the pick either.  The 22 year old will probably spend 2011 in the Pioneer League in order to get some additional experience before playing in a full season league. 

150.  Pete Budkevics, RHP (40 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed 6/28/10 as Non Drafted Free Agent        

6’2”, 165 lbs, 23.25 years old

4-1, 3.38 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 3.85 FIP, 9.90 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

The Dodgers signed Pete Budkevics as a non drafted free agent this past June out of C.W. Post (aka Long Island University).  Budkevics had a solid senior season for the Pioneers, leading the team with 8 wins, posting a 2.97 ERA, and allowing just a .203 batting average against.  He also left his school as the career strikeout leader with 291 K’s over 4 years.  Shortly after signing with the Dodgers, Pete was assigned to the Ogden Raptors and probably surprised a lot of people by recording strong stats in 40 innings.  Playing as a 23 year old, Budkevics had a 3.38 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning.  He also proved to be very versatile as he made five starts towards the end of the season.  However he was much more effective as a reliever as his ERA was 1.06 out of the bullpen compared to 5.09 as a starter.  Budkevics is a prime candidate to move to a full season league in 2011, and I’m guessing he’ll find himself in the Loons bullpen next season.

149.  Chance Gilmore, OF (14 games in Pioneer League, 27 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 25th round

5’11”, 187 lbs, 24 years old, bats left handed

.257 average, .792 OPS, 3 HR’s 21 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jeremy “Chance” Gilmore was drafted in 2010 out of Coastal Carolina, where his dad Gary was the head coach.  Chance had a solid season as a junior in 2009, and then really made his dad proud in 2010 as he hit .341 with 12 homers and 54 RBI’s and helped his team reach the super regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament.  Gilmore signed with the Dodgers quickly, and was initially sent to the Pioneer League.  He struggled through 14 games with the Raptors, and as more 2010 draftees signed, he was demoted to the Arizona League because the Ogden roster got crowded.  Gilmore posted better stats in Arizona, including a .837 OPS, but that is probably a function of him playing against much younger competition.  A center fielder in college, Chance played almost exclusively in left and right field in his professional debut because James Baldwin and Leon Landry were the main center fielders for their respective teams.  Since he will already be 24 years old when the 2011 season starts, the future for Gilmore doesn’t look especially bright.  Nevertheless, I’m rooting for him to succeed wherever he plays next season.

148.  Jessie Mier, C (46 games in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 12th round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 26 years old, bats right handed

.269 average, .686 OPS, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 151;     Pre 2009 Rank: 115

Jessie Mier was selected by the Rangers in the minor league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 draft, so he is no longer in the Dodgers organization.  Had he remained with the Dodgers, this is where he would have ranked.  The reason he is included in my rankings because I compiled my list prior to the Rule 5 this year.  Anyways, Jessie is the less talented, older brother of Jiovanni Mier, who was drafted by the Astros with the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft.  Drafted out of Lewis-Clark College in 2007, Jessie spent the 2010 season in Chattanooga and was actually relatively decent with the bat.  But the sample size of his stats was still very small since he only accumulated 145 at bats for the season.  While he is known as one of the better defensive catchers in the Dodgers system, Mier’s career offensive stats suggest that he doesn’t have what it takes to ever make it to the major leagues.

147.  Jake McCarter, RHP (37.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.5 years old

0-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 11.09 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 120;     Pre 2009 Rank: 158

As I mentioned last year, McCarter, has a very interesting back story.  Believe it or not, McCarter was drafted four different times, yet never signed with any of the teams that drafted him.  His draft year, round, and team were as follows: 2003 40th round Reds, 2004 28th round Yankees, 2005 39th round Nationals, and 2006 45th Red Sox.  Obviously, based on the round numbers that he was drafted in, teams were not amazed by his talent by any means.  Anyways, in regards to his college career, McCarter played in junior college for two years before transferring to Alabama.  In 2006, Jake was very successful with the Crimson Tide (2.32 ERA in 62 innings), but he decided to transfer to Oklahoma after the season.  After being forced to sit out the 2007 season due to NCAA rules, McCarter was handed the closer role for the Sooners in 2008.  While he did pick up 9 saves throughout the season, he had a very ugly ERA of 7.11, which is why he was not drafted for a 5th time in 2008.  Instead, he signed as a non drafted free agent with the Dodgers after the 2008 college season, and got his first taste of professional ball in the Gulf Coast League.  After a great 2009 season with Inland Empire, in which McCarter lead all 2009 Dodger minor leaguers with a .193 batting average against, I would have guessed that McCarter would take the logical next step to AA in 2010.  However, Jake was injured at the beginning of the season, and when he healed the Dodgers decided to send him to the Pioneer League.  It really makes no sense for a 25 year old with two years of professional experience to play in a rookie league, so I don’t know why the Dodgers sent him there, but I guess the good news is that McCarter did have a great season.  Batters hit just .217 against him, and he struck out over 11 batters per 9 innings.  In addition, his WHIP was one of the best in the Dodgers system.  Now 26 years old, it’s a crapshoot as to where McCarter will play in 2011.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on any roster from LoA to AAA.  I do hope that he gets a chance to prove himself against real competition because while I don’t know how hard he throws or what his pitches are, I do know that he has posted great stats in each of the last two seasons while playing in two hitter friendly leagues.

146.  Bobby Blevins, RHP (17.1 IP in AAA, 20.1 IP in AA, 68 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 13th round

6’0”, 200 lbs, 26 years old

4-10, 5.62 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 4.87 FIP, 5.03 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 108;     Pre 2009 Rank: 80

After progressing slowly through the Dodgers system during his first 3 professional seasons, Blevins saw a lot of movement in 2010.  The right hander started and ended the season with the 66ers in HiA, but from June 8th through July 24th Blevins split his time between AA and AAA because the Dodgers had a shortage of arms in their upper minors during that time period.  The interesting thing about his season is that Bobby’s ERA actually got better against the tougher competition.  His ERA with the 66ers was 6.09, with the Lookouts it was 5.31, and with the Isotopes it was 4.15.  However, his FIP of 7.47 and his remarkably low K/9 of 2.6 while in Albuquerque suggests that he was getting extremely lucky in AAA.  Also, when you combine his stats for all of 2010, batters hit .326 against him.  In terms of his stuff, Blevin’s doesn’t throw extremely hard, but has a lot of different pitches, including 4 types of fastballs (4-seamer, 2-seamer, cutter, and sidearm).  Judging from his career strikeout rate of 6.5 batters per 9 innings, he doesn’t really have a solid put away pitch.  At 26 years old, Blevins will probably spend 2011 doing what he did best in 2010: filling in when needed on various rosters.  

145.  Thomas Melgarejo, LHP (3.1 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 12/1/05

6’1”, 216 lbs, 24 years old

0-0, 8.10 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 4.10 FIP, 13.50 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 158;     Pre 2009 Rank: 91

A native of Mexico who was signed by the Dodgers before the 2006 season, Thomas Melgarejo was actually on loan to his home country for almost all of 2010.  Melgarejo played on the Saraperos de Saltillo, and did very well out of their bullpen.  In 52 appearances, spanning 44.2 innings, Melgarejo posted a 2.01 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and a .214 batting average against.  That was a huge improvement from 2009 when he had a 5.70 ERA with the 66ers.  Even though he stuck out 5 batters in 3.1 innings after rejoining the Dodgers, the one thing about Thomas is that his strikeout rate has historically been relatively low.   Nevertheless, given his experience, success in 2010, and the fact that he’ll be 24 years old next season, I expect Melgarejo to move up to AA in 2011.  He is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League and has an ERA of 7.00 through 9 innings.

 

144.  Christian Lara, SS (108 games in LoA, 2 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Acquired via trade with Red Sox in April 2008 for Eric Hull

5’11, 185 lbs, 25.75 years old, switch hitter

.288 average, .810 OPS, 10 HR’s, 50 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 183;     Pre 2009 Rank: 200

Christian Lara had a bit of a resurgence with the Loons in 2010, but I’m going to attribute that to the fact that he was much older than the rest of the league, and had already played 3 seasons of HiA heading into the season.  He stunned a lot of people with 10 homers and a .290 average, but at 25 years old that is basically expected out of him.  The one thing that surprised me about Lara was that while browsing through the old Baseball America archives, I discovered that he was once a legitimate prospect.  In 2003, Lara was the Red Sox player of the year for their Dominican Summer League.  In 2004, Lara was actually ranked the 9th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League after hitting .433 in 60 at bats.  During that season, Lara apparently had “good on-base ability and speed and focuses on getting the most out of those tools”.   Heading back to present times, Lara is no longer a legitimate prospect despite his solid 2010 season.  He is much too old to ever make it to the big leagues, although the Dodgers did already re-sign him this offseason (he was a minor league free agent).  In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a shot in AA in 2011, but I expect him to struggle against the older competition.

143.  Bret Montgomery, RHP (1 IP in Arizona League, 52.1 IP in Pioneer League)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 46th round

6’6”, 250 lbs, 25.5 years old

4-3, 4.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.49 FIP, 9.28 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Bret Montgomery is a local boy who was the Dodgers 46th round pick in 2010.  He was born in Thousand Oaks, and played his college ball at Cal State Dominguez Hills.  In his 3 seasons with the Toros, Montgomery had a cumulative 2.95 ERA in 36 appearances, amassed 191 strikeouts, and threw a no hitter against Cal State LA in February of 2010.  After getting drafted, Bret said “I am more relieved than anything that I can keep playing baseball.  Overall I am very happy that it is with the Dodgers, after idolizing their players and always watching them as a kid it is a dream come true but it was also great being a Toro for three years and I will definitely keep track of our guys.”  After signing, Montgomery was sent to the Arizona Rookie League for one game, and then joined the Raptors.  In Ogden, his ERA wasn’t very good, but he had a solid FIP and a strong strikeout to walk ratio.  In fact, his combined FIP of 2.49 ranked as the 2nd best the entire Dodgers minor league system (minimum 50 IP).  He’s a big guy at 6’6” and 250 lbs, but the bad news about Montgomery is that he is already 25 years old.  Therefore he was playing against much younger competition, and is really going to have to move up the ladder at light speed if he wants to have any chance of making it to the big leagues.  Due to his age, I would expect him to start in HiA to see what he can do against more advanced batters.

142.  Vladimir Martinez, SS (16 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010           

6’2”, 173 lbs, 18.75 years old, switch hitter

.241 average, .529 OPS, 0 HR, 10 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Vladimir Martinez is a shortstop from the Dominican Republic who made his professional debut in 2010.  He didn’t play his first game with the DSL Dodgers until late July, however, and only played in 16 total games for the season.  After getting off to a hot start, with 8 hits and 7 RBI’s in his first 24 at bats, Martinez cooled significantly to finish the season.  In addition to the fact that he’s a switch hitter, another thing that Vladimir has going for him is his age, as he’ll be just 18 years old to start the 2011 season.  It is his youth that gives me hope that he can still turn into a decent player in the future.  He’ll definitely return to the DSL next season, although he may be playing a different position because if keeps adding height to his 6’2” frame, he may outgrow shortstop.   

141.  Eduardo Perez, 1B (130 games in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/4/02

6’1”, 175 lbs, 26.5 years old, switch hitter

.271 average, .702 OPS, 4 HR’s, 58 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 79;     Pre 2009 Rank: 110

Eduardo Perez seems to be on the every-other year plan.  Since 2005, Perez had been good in the odd years, and mediocre or worse in the even years. The best example is his OPS, which has been .876, .821, and .886, in odd years since 2005, and .714, .766, and .702 in even years since 2005.  Even at his best, Perez isn’t much of a prospect since he is already 26 years old, isn’t very big, and only has mediocre pop despite playing the power position of 1st base.  Really the only thing he has going for him is the fact that he’s a switch hitter.  Even though he is one of the longest tenured players in the Dodgers organization since he has been with the club since 2002, he might not be around in 2011 since he became a minor league free agent after the 2010 season and has yet to re-sign.  He is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League and has a .187 average in 32 games.

140.  Ariel Pena, RHP (17 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010           

6’4”, 208 lbs, 19 years old

0-1, 5.29 ERA, 2.53 WHIP, 7.14 FIP, 4.24 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

Ariel Pena did not have a great statistical season in 2010, but his size and youth give him an advantage over several other players in the Dodgers organization.  The 6’4” 19 year old has a perfect pitchers’ frame, and still has plenty of time to improve.  One interesting thing about Pena’s 2010 season is that he did not allow an earned run against left handed batters through 5 innings.  He will obviously return to the DSL in 2011 after posting a 2.53 WHIP in 2010, but a solid performance could land him a spot in a US based rookie league in 2012.

139.  Yimy Rodriguez, RHP (20.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 27th round

6’2”, 215 lbs, 23.5 years old

3.92 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 4.12 FIP, 4.79 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Yimy Queipo-Rodriguez was selected by the Dodgers out of Peru St. College (Nebraska) in the 27th round of the 2010 draft.  Rodriguez was the 1st player from Peru St. College to get drafted, and he made his school proud.  After the draft, PSC President Dan Hanson said, “This is a great day for Yimy and Peru State College baseball. In addition to making Peru State history, Yimy’s baseball success will undoubtedly inspire legions of young athletes from the area long into the future. I congratulate Yimy on his amazing accomplishment and the Dodgers on a great new recruit.”  At Peru, Yimy had a 3.83 ERA as a junior and a 4.52 ERA as a senior.  In his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers, the 23 year old Rodriguez had a great WHIP of 1.11, but his ERA and FIP were less impressive.  Besides his stats, the only thing I know about Rodriguez is that he throws pretty hard, although his strikeout rate in college and in his professional debut wasn’t very impressive.  Rodriguez might move to LoA in 2011, but unless he improves his secondary stuff it seems doubtful that he’ll ever be a relevant Dodger prospect.

138.  Antonio Castillo, LHP (48.2 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

5’11”, 180 lbs, 23 years old

3-6, 8.32 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 3.20 FIP, 7.77 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 93;     Pre 2009 Rank: 45

Antonio Castillo appears to be homesick.  A Dominican native, Castillo absolutely dominated the DSL in 2008 and 2009, posting a combined 1.41 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 9.2 K/9 through 115 innings.  After getting promoted to the Pioneer year in 2009, however, Castillo has been terrible.  When you combine his 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Raptors, Antonio has a 7.19 ERA, a 1.87 WHIP, and a 7.6 K/9 through 96.1 innings. What a difference a country makes.  I watched him pitch this past season online, and he has a 3 quarter delivery with a decent sized leg kick.  In addition, he appeared to be extremely undersized for a pitcher.  Overall, given his lack of success over the past two seasons and his small stature, it appears that Castillo is no longer a legitimate Dodger prospect.  However, Castillo is still just 23 years old and did have a two year stretch when he dominated batters, so he shouldn’t be completely written off just yet.

137.  Andrew Edge, C (21 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 24th round

6’2”, 230 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats right handed

.259 average, .824 OPS, 4 HR’s, 15 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Andrew Edge was selected by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2010 draft out of Jacksonville State, and he was ready to sign right away.  Upon getting drafted, he said “I was just hoping to get picked up by anybody.  I’m actually happy with the Dodgers. I like the team and hopefully I can work hard and make my way up there.  They told me to enjoy it right now.  I’m kind of on cloud nine and waiting to see what I need to do.”  While at Jacksonville State, the catcher had a very good senior season, hitting .330 with 11 homers and 64 RBI’s.  Edge made his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers, and got off to a hot start.  Through July, Andrew had an average above .315 and already had 4 homers through just 56 at bats.  He hit the skids in August, however, which is what dropped his average to .259 for the season.  In addition, he struck out in 30.7% of his plate appearances in 2010.  One of the older players in the league, Edge did play solid defense and threw out 8 of 12 potential base stealers behind the plate.  Because the Dodgers have a crowded catching situation in their lower minors, it is difficult to project where Edge will play in 2011.  But given his age, it’s not out of the question for him to play in a full season league next year.

136.  Austin King, OF (35 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 31st round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats right handed

.241 average, .682 OPS, 3 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, 15 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 149;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Austin King was drafted out of high school by the White Sox in the 40th round of the 2007 draft, but obviously didn’t sign.  He went on to play at a JC, and in 2009 the Dodgers selected him 9 rounds earlier than in 2007.  Upon signing, King made his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers and got off to a slow start before catching fire in August.  That earned him a promotion in 2010 as he spent the season in Ogden.  Unfortunately for Austin the Raptor outfield was pretty crowded, so King only accumulated 108 at bats in the Pioneer League.  When he did play he spent most of his time in center field, and only made one error all year.  In addition, King showed off his speed by stealing 15 bases in 17 attempts, which was good for 9th in the league despite his limited playing time.  Since he just turned 22 years old, King is still pretty young, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he’s a sleeper prospect for me because I like his speed and his size.  He’ll probably have to fight again for playing time in 2011 in the Midwest League, but I’m hoping that he’ll surprise some people and jump up the prospect rankings by this time next year.

135.  Chris Handke, RHP (22.1 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 41st round

6’11”, 235 lbs, 23 years old

1-0, 4.03 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 4.81 FIP, 8.06 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 154;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

As I mentioned last year, Chris Handke is an interesting prospect with an even more interesting background.  The giant pitcher was actually a much better basketball player at Cornell College, averaging 9.8 points per game and setting the single season record for blocks with 45 during the 2008-2009 season.  In addition, Handke had a 3.92 GPA while majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  And by the way, his career pitching stats at Cornell looked like this: 0-1, 10.12 ERA, 25 walks, and 11 strikeouts in 21.1 innings.  Based on the above information, who would have guessed that he’d be playing in the Dodgers minor league system?  Well, Chris didn’t even believe it after he was drafted.  He was quoted as saying “I told the Dodgers that I want to finish my degree at Cornell and complete my basketball career.”  Handke ended up signing with the Dodgers because they allowed him to finish his degree last winter.  He only got into two games in his professional debut because an injury shut him down, however, and after the 2009 season he was quoted as saying “After my first two outings in the Arizona Rookie League, it was clear that I needed more work on my mechanics to be able to throw strikes and quality pitches consistently. Luckily though the Dodgers have some great pitching coaches who were all more than willing to work with me and I spent about a month just working on refining and repeating my delivery with them.”  He was sent back to the Arizona League in 2010, and this time he got a little more work in.  Besides being very wild, Handke was actually pretty good through 22.1 innings.  Because taller pitchers are historically late bloomers and need to grow into his body, I’m not overly concerned about his control or his age.  I do know that he has hit 93 mph in the past, so I’m sure the Dodgers will continue to spend time on him to see if they can maximize his potential.  I’m hoping he’ll get a chance to play in LoA next season so we can see what he does in a full season league against older competition.

134.  Luis Mesa, RHP (56.2 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’4”, 170 lbs, 20.75 years old

4-4, 3.02 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.18 FIP, 7.31 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 173;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Luis Mesa is a young player from Venezuela who debuted with the Dominican Dodgers in 2009.  He struggled in 2009 to the tune of a 6.37 ERA, but really turned things around in 2010.  The 6’4” righty had a 3.02 ERA this past season, and batters only hit .227 against him in 56.2 innings.  He also only allowed 1 homer all year, and he was especially effective in the month of August when he threw 18 innings without allowing an earned run.  With a solid pitching frame and two years of professional experience under his belt, Mesa is a prime candidate to move up to the Arizona League in 2011. 

133.  Clay Calfee, 1B/OF (36 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 14th round

6’6”, 220 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats left handed

.233 average, .636 OPS, 2 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 86;     Pre 2009 Rank: 69

Clay Calfee was drafted out of Angelo State in Texas in 2008, and left the school as their all time leader in home runs (28), RBI’s (171), and hits (239).  He made his professional debut in the Pioneer League, and while he struggled with a .232 average, he did manage to hit 8 HR’s and drive in 35.  In 2009 Calfee actually played at three different levels (Arizona League, Pioneer League, and LoA), but only got into 44 games and was pretty mediocre overall.  Calfee was promoted to HiA for the 2010 season, but he was plagued by injuries and was limited to 36 games, hitting just .233 in the process.  In addition, he continued to strike out at an alarming rate.  Despite his size and power potential, the Dodgers decided to release Calfee in December, so he won’t be around next season.  Since I had already finalized my ranking by the time he was released, this is basically where he would have ranked had he stayed in the Dodgers system for 2011.

132.  Gregory Pena, OF (58 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 175 lbs, 19 years old, switch hitter

.212 average, .575 OPS, 0 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Gregory Pena was apparently born in New York, but must have moved out of the USA at some point because he wasn’t subject to the MLB draft.  Instead, he was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent and made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2010.  The 18 year old severed as the Dodgers main center fielder, but he didn’t do much at the plate as he hit just .212 for the season.  He also didn’t show any power, and had an OPS of only .575.  Nevertheless, Greg does have a few things going for him heading into 2011.  First, Pena is a switch hitter.  Second, he stole 14 bases in 19 attempts, so he does have good speed.  Finally, he demonstrated a very good eye at the plate as he walked in 11.5% of his plate appearances.  Given his age, I’m sure Pena will return to the DSL in 2011, and he’ll be one of the players I watch closely in the DSL next year because I believe he’s a candidate to move up to the Arizona League in 2012.

131.  Alex Garabedian, C (19 games in AA, 23 games in HiA)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 8th round

6’2”, 210 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.292 average, .789 OPS, 3 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 144;     Pre 2009 Rank: 98

Coming out of high school, Alex Garabedian was considered to be one of the better catching prospects.  He was a 2003 AFLAC All-American, was named as the top catcher in Florida by TeamOne Baseball, and was ranked by Baseball America as the second-best catching prospect and the 33rd-best overall prospect nationally going into the 2004 draft.  However, he fell to the Yankees in the 7th round of that 2004 draft, and decided to attend the University of Miami rather than turning pro.  After hitting .255 with the Hurricanes during his freshman season, he actually decided to transfer to the College of Charleston.  At Charleston, Garabedian did much better, and as a Junior, he hit .353 with 13 homers, and also threw out over 40 percent of attempted base stealers.  That led to him being drafted by the Dodgers in the 8th round of the 2007 draft.  Unfortunately, even though his biggest asset is his bat, he has struggled at the plate since his professional debut.  His career minor league average is .248, and he only has 16 homers in 818 minor league at bats.  In 2010, he started and ended the year in AA, but spent a good part of the season in Inland Empire.  While he put up solid stats during his 2010 campaign, he only participated in 42 games and struggled against the older competition (.239 average in AA vs. a .321 average in HiA).  Now 25 years old, Garabedian will probably spend the majority of the 2011 season in AA, and how he performs will definitely dictate the remainder of his career. 

130.  Arce Rodriguez, OF (45 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 191 lbs, 18 years old, bats right handed

.222 average, .514 OPS, 0 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Arce Rodriguez made his professional debut with the Dominican Dodgers in 2010, and played the entire season as a 17 year old.  He was the team’s main left fielder and made just two errors all season, but had a very poor year at the dish and didn’t show any speed, power, or patience.  In fact, A-Rod walked in just 1.9% of his plate appearances, which is a worse walk rate than what Brian Cavazos-Galvez posted in 2010.  Really, the only thing Rodriguez has going for him is his age, as he is youngest position player in the Dodgers minor league system.  I’m hoping his youth, combined with the experience he gained in 2010, will turn him into a legitimate prospect down the road.  I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL in 2011 for another year of seasoning, and I’ll be rooting for the 18 year old to put up better numbers despite again playing against older competition.

129.  Jordan Roberts, LHP (64 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 25.25 years old

6-4, 2.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 3.43 FIP, 6.61 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 152;     Pre 2009 Rank: 150

Jordan Roberts was a first team All-American out of the NAIA college Embry-Riddle in Florida and was selected by the Dodgers in the 28th round of the 2008 draft.  In his senior season at Embry-Riddle, Roberts finished the year 12th in the NAIA in ERA (1.94) and was 24th in K/9 (over 10).  His professional debut in 2008 was a little rocky, but since then Jordan has been very good.  He had a 2.70 ERA and .216 batting average against with the Ogden Raptors in 2009, then as a follow up he posted a 2.95 ERA with a .232 batting average against with the Loons in 2010.  In addition, his 1.08 WHIP this past season ranked 3rd among all Dodger minor leaguers (minimum 50 IP).  The one caveat is that Roberts has been one of the oldest pitchers on his team for the past two seasons, so he is playing against younger competition.  Despite his age, the left hander is valuable because he might prove to be a useful bullpen arm for the Dodgers at some point down the road.  However might is the key word here, especially since he is not a strikeout pitcher.  Nevertheless there is a good chance he’ll play in AA next season, and if he does well in the Southern League, he’ll be one step closer to his ultimate goal. 

128.  Abdul Nieto, LF/1B (27 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 180 lbs, 19.25 years old, bats right handed

.176 average, .534 OPS, 1 HR, 8 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 103;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

I know that Abdul Nieto has been terrible since putting on a professional uniform in 2009, hitting just .165 with a .490 OPS through 176 at bats, but I still have hope for this young player.  You see, Abdul Nieto was one of the best prospects coming out of Panama when he was signed by the Dodgers in the Summer of 2008, so he isn’t just another random player from the DSL.  He played 2009 as a 17 year old and 2010 as an 18 year old, so he is has been playing against older competition and may have been overmatched.  In addition to his age, the thing I like about Nieto is his size as he already has a major league body.   His biggest downfall is his defense, and because he was a butcher in the outfield in 2009 he was moved to 1st base.  However, I’m hoping that he can move back to the outfield in the future as he matures and gets more coaching.  In looking to the future, Abdul now has two years of experience under his belt, so he should be more prepared in 2011.  He’ll probably return to the DSL for a 3rd season, but since he’ll be just 19 years old I’m not writing him off yet.  In fact, I think he’s a good bet to get promoted to the Arizona League in 2012.

127.  Ramon Jean, 2B (80 games in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.271 average, .646 OPS, 1 HR’s, 30 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 116;     Pre 2009 Rank: 85

Signed before the 2007 season as a 19 year old out of the Dominican Republic, Ramon Jean only spent one season in the DSL before being promoted to a U.S. based rookie league.  After playing two seasons in the Dodgers rookie league, he received a surprise promotion to the California League in 2010, and also changed positions.  A middle infielder for the first three years of his career, Jean spent almost all of 2010 in center field.  He held his own as the captain of the outfield, and also got off to a hot start at the plate as he hit over .300 for most of the year before tailing off toward the end of the season.  He didn’t show any power, but made good contact and showed a little speed.  Overall, when you look at Jean’s career stats, there is nothing that jumps out at you, which means that he doesn’t really have any plus tools.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers invited Jean to participate in their offseason instructional league, so they must believe he has at least some potential.  Since I don’t see Jean moving up to AA in 2011, I’m guessing he’ll return to the 66ers for another season.

126.  Luis Ferreras, RHP (24.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

5’9”, 150 lbs, 21.25 years old

1-1, 5.55 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 3.49 FIP, 6.66 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 63;     Pre 2009 Rank: 46

Luis Ferreras was signed as a 17 year before the 2007 season, and put together a remarkable debut season in the Dominican Summer League by allowing just 3 runs in 27.1 third innings for a 0.99 ERA.  Seeing this success, the Dodgers brought Luis to the U.S.A. in 2008 and he played in the GCL, the Midwest League, and even AA for a few games.  Things were a little more consistent for Ferreras in 2009 as he spent the entire year in the Pioneer league and posted a 2.50 ERA.  So heading into 2010, I had pretty high hopes for Ferreras.  However Ferreras was forced to repeat with the Raptors, and he saw his ERA more than double from 2009.  In addition, he only struck out 6.7 batters per 9 innings.  At the end of the season, the Dodgers were not impressed with the 5’9” pitcher (he had previously been listed at 6’0”) and decided to release him in December.  Since I had already finalized my ranking by the time he was released, this is basically where he would have ranked had he stayed in the Dodgers system for 2011.

 

125.  Alexis Aguilar, SS/2B (25 games in Arizona League, 21 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 162 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.272 average, .658 OPS, 1 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 123;     Pre 2009 Rank: 135

Alexis Aguilar is a young infielder from Venezuela who signed with the Dodgers in 2008.  After hitting just .211 in his debut season, Aguilar showed some improvement in the DSL in 2009.  Unfortunately for him, that wasn’t enough to warrant a promotion to a US based league as he started the 2010 season back in the Dominican Summer League.  However, a hot start in 2010 earned him a rare mid-season promotion from the DSL to the Arizona League, where he spent the rest of the season.  Even though Aguilar struggled in Arizona with a .253 average in 83 at bats and just 3 extra base hits, the fact that he was promoted was a significant step in the development of his career.  In addition, after spending the most of the 2009 season at 2nd base, Alexis played the majority of his games at shortstop in 2010, which improves his defensive value.  He also spent time at 3rd base and in the outfield, and showed good speed with 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts.  Still just 19 years old, Aguilar is on track to play in the Pioneer League next season and is one good season away from turning into a legitimate prospect.

124.  Steve Smith, RHP (73.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old

4-5, 2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 3.27 FIP, 8.06 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 141;     Pre 2009 Rank: 160

Steve Smith was signed by the Dodgers in 2008 as a non drafted free agent out of the University of New Mexico, where he was a teammate of fellow Dodger minor leaguer Brian Cavazos-Galvez.  He wasn’t overly impressive during his senior season with the Lobos, posting a 5.01 ERA and 58 strikeouts in just under 74 innings, but the Dodgers decided to give Smith a chance anyways.  Smith struggled in his 2008 professional debut, but he has dramatically turned things around ever since.  For two straight years he has been one of the Loons most effective bullpen arms, posting a 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings in 2009 and a 2.69 ERA in 73.2 innings in 2010.  In addition, his 17 holds in 2010 ranked 1st in the Midwest League, and his 1.07 WHIP was the best of any Dodger minor leaguer in a US based league (minimum 50 IP).  He was also effective against both righties (.218 batting average against) and lefties (.230 batting average against).  After the season, he was invited to participate in the Arizona Instructional League after the season with several top prospects, so he is at least on the Dodgers radar.  I’m not exactly sure why the 24 year old Smith was kept in LoA for two straight seasons, but I can guarantee that he’ll get promoted in 2011, possibly even to AA.

123.  Elian Herrera, OF (25 games in AAA, 97 games in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 5/14/03

5’11”, 190 lbs, 26 years old, switch hitter

.254 average, .693 OPS, 2 HR’s, 46 RBI’s, 32 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 89;     Pre 2009 Rank: 109

Prior to 2010, Elian Herrera had moved slowly through the Dodgers system.  In 7 minor league seasons, the Dominican native had never played above HiA, and was constantly one of the older players on his team’s roster.  In 2010, however, Herrera got the chance to play in AA, and even spent about a month in AAA when injuries struck the Isotopes roster.  Unfortunately, Herrera didn’t really have a very good showing at either level as he combined to hit just .254 with a .693 OPS.  He does have a few positive traits, though, as he is a switch hitter, has good speed, and posted a solid walk rate in 2010.  In addition, he can play all over the field as he spent time at all 3 outfield positions, 3rd base, 2nd base, and shortstop in 2010.  At the end of the season, the Dodgers saw enough potential in Herrera that they decided to resign the minor league free agent for another year.  I’m guessing he’ll spend most of 2011 in AAA where he’ll continue to fill a utility role.  He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League, but continues to be mediocre as he is hitting.279 in 44 games. 

122.  Jimmy Marshall, RHP (14 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 23rd r/und

6’6”, 195 lbs, 24 years old

2-1, 1.93 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4.13 FIP, 7.71 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 100;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Before`getting selected by the Dodgers in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft, Jimmy Marshall was a four year player for Florida State.  He was a middle reliever and spot starter for the Seminoles in 2006 and 2007, then shared the closer role during 2008 with some guy named Buster Posey.  In 2009 Marshall inherited the team captain patch and the full time closers role for FSU, and while he had his least successful season in terms of ERA (4.85), he was able pick up 10 saves and posted a strikeout rate of 13.5 K’s per 9 innings.  His biggest problem during his senior season was his control, which is an issue that has followed him into his professional career.  After throwing 11 innings for the Arizona Dodgers in 2009, I was convinced that Marshall would move up to a full season league in 2010 due to his age and college experience.  The Dodgers decided to keep Jimmy in the Arizona League for another season, however, and while his ERA and batting average against (.200) were great, he continued to struggle with control and was limited to just 14 innings.  In addition, his strikeout rate dropped to 7.71 K/9.  From what I’ve read Marshall has a low 90’s fastball and a decent slider, and given his size I was hoping he’d turn into a power reliever.  Instead his career has seemed to have stalled, and since he’ll be 24 years old when the 2011 season starts, I beginning to doubt his ability to ever make it to the big leagues.  Nevertheless, I still like Marshall as a potential prospect, and I’m hoping he’ll thrive in either LoA or HiA in 2011.

121.  Nick Gaudi, RHP (11.1 IP in LoA, 18 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 30th round

6’5”, 215 lbs, 24.5 years old

1-1, 4.91 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 2.89 FIP, 10.74 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 88;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Nick Gaudi was barely recruited heading into college, and had to walk-on to the Pepperdine baseball team.  After making the team, he didn’t get any playing time in 2005 as a freshman and decided to redshirt.  So he actually spent 5 years in college, which is why he is a little older than most 2nd year players and also a reason why clubs stayed away from him in the 2009 draft despite his strong college stats.  In an interview after he was drafted, Gaudi described the windup as “deceiving”, as he twists and the ball comes from behind his back.  I’ve actually seen video of his windup, and it is interesting as he turns his back slightly to the batter and has an extreme over the top delivery.  In that same interview, Gaudi calls himself “a strike thrower and a pitcher’s pitcher” and says he “can locate his fastball and try to outthink hitters rather than overpower them with raw power or talent.”  In addition to his unique delivery and his ability to throw strikes, scouts credit his success to the development of a slider and split-finger fastball.  In terms of his professional career thus far, Gaudi dominated the Pioneer League in 2010 with a 2.96 ERA and 12.84 K/9 in 27 innings as one of the oldest players in the league.  Given his success, the Dodgers started Nick with the Great Lakes Loons in 2010, but he was shut down with an injury after just 3 appearances.  When he recovered in mid June, Gaudi was sent back to the Pioneer League where he spent two months before returning to the Loons in August.  Overall, Gaudi’s stats were relatively disappointing, although he did post a strong FIP and K/9.  Given his age, the big 24 year old will have to move quickly next year if he wants to have an impact with the Dodgers.  I’m guessing the Dodgers will be aggressive with him and let him start 2011 in either HiA or AA to see what he does against older competition.

120.  Brian Ruggiano, 3B (108 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 23rd round

6’0”, 180, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.255 average, .718 OPS, 6 HR’s, 48 RBI’s, 15 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 62;     Pre 2009 Rank: 116

Brian was the second Ruggiano drafted by the Dodgers out of Texas A&M in the past few years because they drafted his brother, Justin Ruggiano, in the 25th round of the 2004 draft.  Justin is obviously no longer with the Dodgers, as he was part of the Mark Hendrickson/Toby Hall trade in 2006.  Last year, I couldn’t help but rank Ruggiano #62 last year after his outstanding season in 2009.  He hit .371 with the Ogden Raptors, including 9 homers and a 1.031 OPS.  Brian fell back down to earth in 2010 with the Great Lakes, however, as he had a very mediocre season.  The Loons everyday 3rd baseman hit just .255 with a .718 OPS, and made 22 errors in the field.  That just goes to show how different the Pioneer League is from the Midwest League.  Without a standout tool, Ruggiano is going to have a tough time climbing through the Dodgers minor league system.  Also, as a 24 year old who has yet to play above LoA, Dodgers will probably have to decide this offseason if Ruggiano is worth keeping around for another year.

119.  Will Savage, RHP (83.2 IP in LoA, 51.2 IP in HiA, 16.2 IP in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in February 2010

6’4”, 215 lbs, 26.5 years old

10-5, 4.32 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 3.67 FIP, 6.04 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Will Savage was born in Southern California and attended El Camino Real High before heading to the College of the Canyons to start his college career.  After spending 2 seasons as a Cougar, Savage transferred to the University of Oklahoma and posted a 16 and 6 record between the 2005 and 2006 seasons.  His play was good enough for the Phillies, who selected Will in the 26th round of the 2006 draft.  After 3 solid seasons in the Phillies organization, Savage was promoted to AA for the 2008 season.  However he was limited to just 6 games as he hurt his elbow, and that promoted the Phillies to release him.  Savage eventually found himself with the Wichita Wingnuts of the independent Atlantic League where he spent virtually all of 2009.  With the Wingnuts, Savage had a solid 2.94 ERA and even threw a no hitter.  This caught the attention of the Dodgers, who signed Savage before the 2010 season.  Despite being 25 years old, the Dodgers assigned Savage to LoA where he thrived against the younger competition and made the mid season All Star Team.  He eventually moved up to HiA, and then finished the year in AA.  Even though Savage was pretty bad during his 16 innings with the Lookouts, the Dodgers have already re-signed Will for the 2011 season.  According to Savage, his change-up and sinker are his best pitches, and he also has a fastball that sits in the low 90’s.  Now 26 years old, Savage will continue to provide the Dodgers with organizational depth while trying to prove that he still has what it takes to one day make it to the show.  He is trying to stay sharp this offseason by participating in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he has a 2.65 ERA through 17 innings.

118.  Anthony Jackson, RHP (122 games in AA in 2010 – Rockies Organization)

PTNL in trade for Dotel                 

5’8”, 175 lbs, 26.75 years old, switch hitter

.251 average, .676 OPS, 2 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, 33 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A  

The Dodgers acquired Anthony Jackson as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Octavio Dotel to the Rockies.  The now 26 year old was originally picked by Colorado in the 16th round of the 2006 draft out of the University of the Pacific.  In his 4 years with the Rockies, Jackson had a career .252 batting average and a .670 OPS in 528 games.  A switch hitter, Anthony had almost the exact same average from each side of the plate last year.  His only real asset is his speed as he’s accumulated 151 career stolen bases, including 33 in AA in 2010.  Jackson has been a center fielder for most of his minor league career, although he also spent a decent amount of time at 2nd base last season.  My guess is that Jackson will spend 2011 in AAA, and while I don’t expect him to ever be in a Dodger uniform, at his very best he could be an emergency outfielder should something go terribly wrong in Los Angeles.

117.  Jesus Castillo, RHP (103.1 IP in AA, 23.2 IP in AAA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 27th round

6’0”, 195 lbs, 26.75 years old

5-15, 5.03 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 4.66 FIP, 5.60 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 95;     Pre 2009 Rank: 43

I’m getting pretty tired of writing about Jesus Castillo.  He’s had some good years in the past, and even posted a 3.83 ERA in AA this past season, but at the end of the day he is simply the epitome of mediocrity.  His career WHIP is 1.41, his career K/9 rate is 6.2, and his career win loss record is 28 – 44.  In addition, he failed miserably in his 2010 AAA stint, and has always been an undersized pitcher.  If you remember, he was actually on the Dodgers 40 man roster at one point, which is one of the reasons I mistakenly ranked him so high in the past.  Castillo is currently a minor league free agent, and at almost 27 years old I really don’t see a point in the Dodgers bringing him back next season.  He is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League and has a 4.71 ERA though 36.1 innings.

116.  Francisco Felix, RHP (12.2 IP in AAA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 2/19/03

5’11”, 191 lbs, 27.75 years old

2-0, 4.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 5.49 FIP, 7.82 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 58;     Pre 2009 Rank: 62

Prior to the 2010 season, Francisco Felix seemed poised to make a run at being a legitimate Dodger prospect despite his small stature.  He had just posted a 3.05 ERA and 9.16 K/9 in 2009 which he split between AA and AAA, and had even earned an invitation to the Dodgers 2010 big league camp in Spring Training.  However, the 2010 season was not kind to Felix as he did not have good stats.  His 4.26 ERA in AAA does not really tell the true story because he actually spent most of the season on loan to the Mexican League where he recorded an ugly 6.28 ERA through 61.2 innings.  In addition, his K/9 in the Mexican League was only 6.3, and batters hit .339 against him.  I’m guessing that one of the reasons for Felix’s struggles in 2010 was the fact that he was used mostly as a starter, even though he had resided in the bullpen for the majority of his minor league career.  Given his frame, he doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher who should be used in the rotation.  Now 27 years old, a return to the bullpen seems like the best bet for Felix, and hopefully he’ll return to form with the Isotopes in 2011.

 

115.  Mario Alvarez, RHP (120.1 IP in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 1/16/03

6’0”, 205 lbs, 27 years old

6-6, 4.94 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 4.35 FIP, 5.91 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 97;     Pre 2009 Rank: 83

Ever since the Dodgers added Mario Alvarez to their 40 man roster in 2007, I’ve always given Alvarez the benefit of the doubt despite mediocre stats.  I figured that the Dodgers must have seen something in him that caused them to add him to the roster, so wanted to give him some respect.  It’s not that I’ve ranked him that high, but for the past 2 years I did at least rank him in the top 100 of my ranking.  That will not happen this year, however, because the soon to be 27 year old had another below average year and has basically struggled since 2005.  Although he was resigned this offseason by the Dodgers, I can’t image that he’ll ever have an impact with the Dodgers.  In addition, he has always been an undersized right hander who has been injury prone, so those are also points against him.  He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League and has a 4.86 ERA through 37 innings.

114.  Casio Grider, SS/2B (62 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 14th round

6’1”, 165 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.281 average, .728 OPS, 4 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 22 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 118;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Drafted out of Newberry College in the 14th round draft, Logan White called Grider a tools guy who is a bit raw and very athletic.  He was named as the faster runner in the Dodgers 2009 draft by Baseball America, and runs a 6.5 second 60.  Upon turning pro Grider was sent to the Arizona Rookie League and had a mediocre season at the plate, but he thrived on the base paths by stealing 22 bases in 24 attempts.  In 2010, Grider was promoted to the Pioneer League and got the majority of starts and 2nd base for Ogden.  While he didn’t have the big power numbers like other Raptor players, Grider hit a respectable .281 and managed to slug 4 homers.  He also led the team with 22 stolen bases for the 2nd year in a row.  Not everything was positive for Grider in 2010, however, as he committed a team high 23 errors, and had a terrible walk to strikeout ratio.  In addition, now that he is spending most of his time at 2nd base instead of shortstop, he has lost a lot of his defensive value.  At 23 years old, the speedy Grider will probably play for the Loons in 2011 and still has the potential to turn into a legitimate prospect.  However, it’s going to take more than stolen bases to prove that he’s got a shot to make it with the Dodgers.

113.  Jose Dominguez, RHP (24 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’0”, 180 lbs, 20.5 years old

1-1, 1.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 2.99 FIP, 7.88 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 134;     Pre 2009 Rank: 60

Signed for $50,000 as a 16 year old at the start of the 2007 international signing period, Jose Dominguez impressed scouts back then with a 90 mph fastball and a solid curve.  At the time, Logan White said, “It’s rare to see a kid as polished as he is.”  In his professional debut in 2008, the then 17 year old Dominguez showed potential with an 11.8 K per 9 through 42 innings in the DSL.  In 2009 he also had a solid season, with a 3.64 ERA through 59 innings.  However, after the 2009 season I found an article on MILB.com that said “Jose Dominguez of the Dodgers’ organization and Waldo Rosario of the Rays’ organization each received 50-game suspensions on Monday for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  Both players, part of their respective clubs’ Dominican Summer League team, tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.  Their suspensions will be effective at the start of next season.”  So Dominguez sat out most of the 2010 season, but when he did return to the DSL in August he had an amazing run, posting a 1.13 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and .191 batting average against in 24 innings.  Heading into 2011, Jose will only be 20 years old despite having 3 seasons under his belt.  Since the Dodgers kept him around even after he was suspended, there must be something they like about him so I’m guessing he’ll move to the Arizona Rookie League next year.  He’s a bit of a wildcard and seems to have the potential to move up the prospect charts, but that’s only if he stays away from the steroids because another suspension could cost Dominguez his career.

 

112.  Chris Henderson, 1B/3B (47 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 21st round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.341 average, .867 OPS, 1 HR, 24 RBI’s, 1 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 129;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Chris Henderson was an amazing college player at George Mason University.  In 2009, his final season with the Patriots, Henderson hit.413 with 14 homers, 58 RBI and 70 runs scored.  He also had a ridiculous .487 on-base percentage and a .702 slugging percentage.  In addition, he did all this as a catcher and was named one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher.  The other two finalists were the 2009 #4 overall pick Tony Sanchez, and the Dodgers own Jeremy Wise.  Since signing with the Dodgers, however, Henderson has put his catching equipment in storage as he has split his time between 1st and 3rd base.  After an uninspiring debut in the Arizona Rookie League last year, Henderson had a huge season for the Ogden Raptors in 2010.  He didn’t show any speed or power, but he had an outstanding average of .341 (7th best in the Pioneer League) and a remarkable on base percentage of .429 (4th in the league).  It’s difficult to completely buy into Henderson’s breakout season because he did most of his damage at home (.417 average and 1.032 OPS vs. .272 average and .717 OPS on the road), but it is still a step in the right direction for his career.  Also, I watched video on Henderson and his swing looks a little long to me, but he only struck out in 10.7% of his plate appearances in 2010 so I’m not too worried.  In looking at Henderson’s future, the fact that he might be limited to 1st base (his fielding % at 3rd base over the past two seasons is .842) is going to really hurt his chances of making his way onto the Dodger prospect radar, especially since he has not shown any power.  Nevertheless, I expect Henderson to get a chance to play in LoA next year, and at just 22 years old he still has time to prove his worth in the full season league.

111.  Robert Boothe, RHP (48.1 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 12/5/07

6’2”, 190 lbs, 25 years old

1-2, 6.89 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, 5.85 FIP, 8.38 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 77;     Pre 2009 Rank: 82

Robert Boothe was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent after the 2007 season.  He is half Japanese, attended Asia University, doesn’t speak much English, and was actually eligible for the Japanese draft before signing with the Dodgers.  At the time of his signing, Logan White said that Boothe has “a nice delivery, good arm action, and a sound mix of breaking pitches which gives him the ability to be a future Major Leaguer.”  After a rough debut season in 2008, Boothe turned things around in the Midwest League in 2009.  He posted an excellent FIP of 2.65 and led all Dodger minor leaguers with his 12.46 K/9.  2010, however, was another down year as Boothe had a difficult time in the California League.  The right hander had an ERA of almost 7.00 and a WHIP of almost 2.00, and his strikeout rate dropped significantly.  Batters also hit almost .300 against him.  Even still, I haven’t completely lost hope in the soon to be 25 year old because he has a live arm that can reach the mid 90’s and is still relatively young as a professional player.  If he has a good spring in 2011, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boothe in AA where he’ll play in a friendlier pitching environment. 

 

110.  Giordanny Chavez, RHP (68 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 185 lbs, 19.75 years old
4-2, 1.85 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 3.73 FIP, 6.22 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 139;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After a terrible debut in the DSL in 2009 (6.38 ERA in 18.1 innings), Giordanny Chavez had quite a turnaround this past season.  The 19 year not only pitched a full season, but also recorded the 2nd lowest ERA of all minor league players in the Dodgers organization (minimum 50 IP).  In addition, he got better as the year progressed and allowed just two earned runs in his final 27 innings of the year.  However, his peripherals don’t really compliment his ERA because the Dominican native had a FIP of 3.73, and he only struck out 6.22 per 9 innings.  Nevertheless, Chavez has a good pitchers frame at 6’3” and could potentially turn into a prospect next season if he continues to put up good numbers.  I’m almost certain he’ll get promoted to the Arizona League for 2011 and that is where the true test will begin.

109.  Bolivar Medina, LHP (4 IP in Pioneer League, 33.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2007

6’2”, 175 lbs, 22.75 years old

1-3, 6.45 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 3.84 FIP, 9.32 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 82;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Prior to the 2007 season, the Dodgers signed a group of young Dominican players.  According to Logan White in a 2007 interview, the two most impressive players in that group were Pedro Baez and Bolivar Medina.  So even though the Dodgers haven’t been big international spenders in recent years, White’s assessment of Media tells me that he is better than your average Dominican signee.  After posting a 2.75 ERA through 36 innings in the Dominican Summer League in 2007, Medina missed the entire 2008 season due to injury.  He returned to action in 2009 and was promoted to the Arizona League where he had another strong showing with a 2.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and .235 batting average against in 46.2 innings.  In 2010, Medina started the season in the Pioneer League, but got rocked in his first two games and was quickly demoted back to the Arizona League.  He continued to struggle in Arizona although he finished the season strong and had a pretty solid strikeout rate.  While Medina has divided his career between starting and relieving, his split stats in 2010 while in Arizona suggest that he best suited in the rotation (2.57 ERA as a starter in 21 innings vs. 11.37 ERA in 12.2 innings).  Still just 22 years old, this 6’2” lefty still has potential in my opinion and will hopefully spend 2011 in a full season league. 

108.  Ji-Mo Lee, RHP (7 IP in LoA, 13.1 IP in Pioneer League, 1 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 5/24/09

6’1”, 188 lbs, 24.25 years old

3-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 4.09 FIP, 3.80 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 85;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers signed Ji-Mo Lee out of Korea in May of 2009.  He was originally drafted by a Korean baseball team in 2005, but was then required to serve two years of military duty.  He played for the Korean team in 2008, but was released after posting a 9.64 ERA.  While he performed poorly in 2008, after being signed by the Dodgers Logan White said “Ji-Mo has a feel for two types of pitches that are already at a Major League level and he should develop into a good pitcher.”  In addition, Byung-Hwan An, the Dodgers’ scouting supervisor in Korea said “I have been watching him since high school and always liked his fastball and aggressiveness on the mound.  He is a very talented pitcher with a high ceiling. It is great that we can give him a chance to play in the States, which has been his dream.”  Lee appeared in just 4 games for the Dodgers in 2009, and then made his 2010 debut in the Pioneer League.  He spent 13 innings with the Raptors, and I got this perspective from Brandon Hart, Ogden’s radio broadcaster “He should be just a solid middle reliever in the minors but I just don’t see him making the big-league club.  [However] he does have a plus slider and that could ride that to the show.  Fastball is at 93 and he has a good [pitch] combo.  Just doesn’t have the K numbers you would like.”  Hart is right about the strikeout numbers at Lee’s K per 9 in 2010 was unbelievably low at 3.80.  However, that is slightly skewed by the fact that he only threw 24 innings due to an undisclosed injury.  Besides his K rate, Lee’s numbers in 2010 were very good, and because he is already 24 years old he’ll most likely play in a full season league next year.  He already got a taste of LoA in 2010, so maybe he’ll spend 2011 in the California League.  He’ll have to move quickly if he wants any chance to make it to the big leagues.

107.  Andres Santiago, RHP (20.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 16th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 21.25 years old

2-0, 2.18 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 2.76 FIP, 7.40 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 147;     Pre 2009 Rank: 133

Andres Santiago was drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2007 at the tender age of 17, and has spent his first four professional seasons in the Dodgers lowest US based rookie league (2 season in the GCL, and two seasons in the Arizona League).  I’m guessing that he’ll finally get a change of scenery in 2011 since he put together a solid season in 2010 with the Arizona Dodgers.  While his season didn’t start until August 1st due to an apparent injury, he made the most of his 6 appearances by allowing just 5 earned runs in 20.2 innings, good for a 2.18 ERA.  Santiago has been trying to make up for some lost time by playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, although the results have been disastrous in his limited appearances.   Overall, Santiago has a solid pitchers frame and is still pretty young.  Therefore I think that he has some potential as a prospect, and I really hope the Dodgers decide to challenge him in 2011 with an assignment to a full season league.

 

106.  Beau Brett, 1B (28 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 35th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats left handed

.239 average, .617 OPS, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The fact that Beau Brett signed with the Dodgers as their 35th round pick in the 2010 draft was very odd to me.  He was a draft eligible sophomore who was rarely used at USC and only had 44 at bats over two seasons with the Trojans.  In addition, Brett never had an extra base hit in those 44 at bats.  The only reason the Dodgers even drafted him was because he has baseball bloodlines, with his most famous relative being his uncle George Brett.  Upon signing, Beau was sent the Arizona Rookie League and got a decent amount of playing time at 1st base.  Unfortunately his offensive stats were pretty dismal for the Dodgers and he struck out in 26.7% of his plate appearances.  In addition, I watched Brett’s scouting video and his swing simply wasn’t very impressive.  Looking to the future, I can’t see Brett ever becoming a legitimate prospect because he plays 1st base and hasn’t done anything impressive since high school.  Hopefully he proves me wrong, but I unfortunately see him taking the place the now released Austin Yount, who was another Dodger draftee with good bloodlines that didn’t do anything as a professional.

105.  Bryant Hernandez, SS (15 games in HiA, 50 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 9th round

5’8”, 170 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.179 average, .524 OPS, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 84;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers first noticed Bryant Hernandez when they were scouting his University of Oklahoma teammate J.T. Wise, who ended up getting selected four rounds earlier than Hernandez in the 2009 draft.  While Bryant is listed at just 5’8” and 170 pounds, in his junior season at Oklahoma he batted .351, hit 12 HR’s, and tied Wise for the team lead with 62 RBI’s.  He was also a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation’s top shortstop.  After the draft, Logan White said that Hernandez “is a kid that had good numbers, could hit in the middle of the night, could play short or second and he’s a sure-handed fielder with some pop in his bat. We could also turn him into a catcher down the road, if needed. He’s a grinder and knows how to play the game.”  Hernandez hasn’t played any catcher yet, and has instead spent the majority of his playing time at his natural position at shortstop.  After a mediocre debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009, Bryant was promoted to the Great Lakes Loons for 2010.  However, he had a terrible time in the Midwest League as he hit just.164 in 146 at bats and stuck out in 33.1% of his plate appearances.  He also didn’t show any power or speed.  Nevertheless, the 22 year old was promoted to the California League in August, and I’m guessing the move was made only because the 66ers needed depth at the shortstop position.  But he continued to struggle there as well and hit just .224 over 15 games.  Hernandez will be 23 when the 2011 season starts, so while he still has time to turn things around and become a legitimate prospect, he can’t afford to have another lost season offensively.  He’ll probably return to HiA and hopefully this time he’ll have better results. 

104.  Moises Tamarez, RHP (44.1 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 195 lbs, 19 years old

3-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.58 FIP, 5.68 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 87;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The first thing I want to point out about Moises Tamarez is that his correct birth date is 3/6/92 and not 3/6/93 as is listed at various websites, so he is a little older than what most people realize.  This was confirmed with both the Dodgers media guide and Matt Eddy of Baseball America.  Either way, Tamarez is still a very young Dominican player who will not turn 19 years old until the start of the 2011 season.  The good news is that he already has a lot of experience under his belt (75.2 innings), and has posted a pretty solid ERA in his each of his first two professional seasons.  The bad news is that despite his solid pitching frame, Moises hasn’t been able to strike out many batters as his career K/9 stands at just 4.5.  Given his aforementioned experience, the Dodgers may opt to promote Tamarez to the Arizona Rookie League in 2011 to get him some additional coaching while he is still young.  I hope that is the case because with his size and youth, he could have what it takes to turn into a legitimate Dodger prospect in the future.

103.  Nick Buss, CF (65 games in HiA, 61 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 8th round

6’0”, 180 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats left handed

.264 average, .661 OPS, 1 HR, 48 RBI’s, 26 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 80;     Pre 2009 Rank: 27

After failing to sign Nick Buss out of high school in 2006, the Dodger got their man two years later in the 8th round of the 2008 draft.  During the two years between being drafted by the Dodgers, Buss spent time as the starting center fielder for the USC Trojans.  While his stats at USC weren’t amazing, he did post a solid .415 OBP in 2008 and placed 2nd on the team with 8 HR’s.  He also played in the Alaskan Baseball League in the summer of 2007, and was named the League’s top prospect by Baseball America after hitting .369 and stealing 29 bases.  Since being drafted, however, Nick “Chili” Buss has been pretty average, and I’ll admit that I had him totally overrated when I did my ranking two years ago.  I had based that ranking on a strong 2008 season in the Pioneer League and his ability to get on base, but it seems that his skills have diminished over the past two seasons.  His on base percentage was only .298 in 2009, and in 2010 he struggled so badly in the hitter friendly California League that he was sent back to LoA at the end of June for the remainder of the season.  While he improved slightly with the Loons, his 2010 combined OPS was only .661 and he only managed a single homer for the entire year.  Really when I look at Buss, his only assets are his above average speed, his ability to make contact (he has a career strikeout percentage of just 13.6%), and the fact that he can play center field.  He was selected to participate in the Arizona Instructional League after the season, however, so the Dodgers haven’t completely lost hope in him.  Buss will be 24 years old heading into 2011, so he is going to need a big comeback season if he wants any chance to ever make an impact with the Dodgers.

102.  Alberto Bastardo, LHP (56.2 IP in AAA, 82.2 IP in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 1/13/06

6’0”, 160 lbs, 27 years old

12-8, 5.68 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 3.93 FIP, 7.43 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 105;     Pre 2009 Rank: 142

Alberto Bastardo was originally signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 2002, but left as a minor league free agent before the 2006 season.  Upon joining the Dodgers, Bastardo was been pretty average until 2009, when he put his name on the Dodgers radar with a solid season split between HiA and AA.  In 2010, Bastardo, bookended his season in Chattanooga while also spending some time with the Isotopes.  With the Lookouts, one could argue that Bastardo was the team’s most effective starter as he went 7 and 4 with a 3.20 FIP.  However his ERA was 4.79 and he was 26 years old so he was playing against younger competition.  During his 2 month stint in AAA, Alberto made 12 starts and the results were ugly.  With the Isotopes Alberto recorded an ERA of 6.99 through 56.2 innings, and his WHIP was 1.76.  When it was all said and done, Bastardo’s stats for his 2010 season were not very good.  In addition, things have not gone well for Bastardo in the Venezuelan Winter League as he has a 5.85 ERA through 32.1 innings.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers re-signed the minor league free agent after the season, probably because he provides a cheap and experienced option as an emergency fill in starter at the big league level.  However, I’d venture to guess that if we ever see the left handed Bastardo in a Dodger uniform, then the team is probably in real trouble and will not in contention. 

101.  Eric Krebs, RHP (39.1 IP in AA, 17.1 IP in HiA)

Acquired via trade with Pirates in April 2009 for Delwyn Young

6’3”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old

0-4, 4.76 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 4.12 FIP, 10.96 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 68;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Eric Krebs was originally a 16th round pick in the 2005 draft by the Pirates out of a small community college in Texas.  After four mediocre seasons with the Pirates, Eric was sent to the Dodgers as the player to be named later in the Delwyn Young trade.  Upon joining the 66ers midway through the 2009 season, Krebs put up solid numbers, including a .182 batting average against through 25 innings.  The earned him a spot on the Dodgers 2009 AFL roster, and a promotion to AA to start the 2010 season.  In 39.1 innings with the Lookouts, Krebs had a 3.89 ERA and a K per 9 of 9.67.  Nevertheless, he was sent back to HiA in late July and finished the year with a terrible ERA in Inland Empire (6.75) but an outstanding strikeout rate (14.2 K/9).  Eric’s biggest problem has always been his command, an issue that continued to plague him during the 2010 season which is why his WHIP was so high.  On the plus side, however, Krebs does flash a fastball that can hit 96 MPH, and he obviously has the ability to strike guys out, so he does have some upside.  Now 25 years old with 56 innings of AA experience, it seems reasonable that Krebs could make it all the way up to AAA in 2011 as long as he is able to show at least some control.  In fact, it’s still not out of the question that he could one day make the big leagues give his strong fastball and ability to rack up the K’s. 

100.  Steve Matre, RHP (2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 39th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 22.75 years old

0-0, 4.50 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 5.20 FIP, 4.50 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers took a late flyer on Steve Matre in the 2010 draft as they selected him in the 39th round even though he didn’t play college ball last season.  He was recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in 2009 after three outstanding seasons at College of Mount Saint Joseph.  As a freshman he immediately stepped into the closer role, and held it all throughout his college career.  His career ERA was 1.19 and he registered 32 saves – just 3 short of the Division III record.  His best season came in 2009 when he had a 0.41 ERA, a 13.1 K/9, and a .133 batting average against in 22 innings.  In addition, even though he missed the 2010 college season, he was cleared to play in a summer league and continued to impress by striking out 20 and walking just two in 15.2 innings of work to go along with a 1.15 ERA.  Upon getting drafted, Matre said “I was really excited to hear that I was chosen. It was like a dream come true and something that I’ve wanted to do (play professional baseball) for a long time.”  While he didn’t sign right away, he eventually joined the Dodgers in July and worked out in Arizona before getting into two games in August.  His professional sample size was too small to evaluate, but based on his college stats I’d say that he does have some pretty good stuff.  I know he wasn’t playing against the premier competition because he was in DIII, but it does take some type of talent to put up the ridiculous college stats that he did.  For 2011, I don’t think Matre will play in a full season league because his arm probably isn’t ready for a full workload given his Tommy John surgery in 2009.  Therefore, my guess would be that he spends the year in the Pioneer League, and might even serve as the Raptors closer.

 

99.  Pedro Guerrero, SS (2 games in AAA, 13 games in LoA, 31 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06

6’3”, 181 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats right handed

.217 average, .614 OPS, 3 HR’s, 25 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 92;     Pre 2009 Rank: 67

Pedro Guerrero was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut in 2008.  He produced average numbers in the Gulf Coast League in 2008, and had similar stats in Pioneer League in 2009.  Guerrero was promoted to LoA for the start of the 2010 season, but struggled so badly with the Loons that he was sent back to extended spring training in May.  He reemerged with the Raptors in June and served as the team’s backup second baseman where he hit .230 with 3 homers through 113 at bats.  He continued to struggle with his walk to strikeout ratio, as he struck out 5 times as much as he walked in 2010.  The one interesting thing about Pedro’s 2010 season was that he was actually promoted to AAA for three days in August where he picked up 1 hit in 2 at bats as an emergency infield fill-in.  At the end of the season, even with his terrible offensive display in 2010, he remained on the Dodgers’ radar as he was invited to participate in the Arizona instructional league.  Despite his lackluster career stats (.243 career batting average), I’ve always been a fan of Guerrero due to his youth, experience, and wiry frame.  He’ll be entering his 6th professional season in 2011, and I’m hoping that the 22 year old will have a better showing in one of the full season leagues. 

98.  Red Patterson, RHP (67.2 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 29th round

6’3”, 210 lbs, 23.75 years old

6-1, 3.33 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 3.42 FIP, 8.78 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A               

The Dodgers took John “Red” Patterson in the 29th round of the 2010 draft despite the fact that he had a 6.84 ERA during his senior season at Southwestern Oklahoma State.  The Dodgers must have looked past his subpar ERA because he had an impressive strikeout rate, with 103 K’s in 72.1 innings.  In addition, prior to joining the SWOSU Bulldogs, Patterson was a two-year starter at Grayson Junior College where he had an outstanding year in 2007 with a 10-0 record and 1.41 ERA.  Moving to his professional career, Patterson signed quickly and joined the Ogden Raptors without much fanfare.  However, Red quickly put his name on the Dodger prospect radar with a solid season in the Pioneer League.  He ranked 2nd in the league with his 3.33 ERA, and placed 6th with his 1.29 WHIP; stats which earned him a selection to the post season All Star team.  It should be also be noted that Patterson was much better against right handed batters (1.86 ERA vs. a 5.28 ERA against lefties), and also threw better on the road (1.97 ERA vs. a 4.54 ERA at home).  I had a chance to watch Patterson pitch one game online this season, and out of the windup he has a very high leg kick and takes a long stride.  From the stretch he obviously lowers the leg kick and shortens the stride.  Overall, Patterson’s strong season should be enough to give him a look in a full season league in 2011.  While time is against him due to his age, he’ll try to defy the odds and continue to make a name for himself next season.

97.  Matthew Sartor, RHP (18 IP in AA, 40.2 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 7/24/07

6’6”, 250 lbs, 26.5 years old

4-9, 4.30 ERA, 1.57 WHP, 2.59 FIP, 10.89 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 51;     Pre 2009 Rank: 33

Matt Sartor was selected by the Giants in the minor league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 draft, so he is no longer in the Dodgers organization.  Had he remained with the Dodgers, this is where he would have ranked.  The reason he is included in my rankings because I compiled my list prior to the Rule 5 this year.  Originally signed as a non drafted free agent, Sartor is a big pitcher that has shown some promise as a reliever over the past few years.  When you look at his FIP in 2010, you’ll see why I think he has some potential.  I’m not saying he’ll ever make it to the big leagues with the Giants, but his size and ability to strike guys out do cause him to stand out.  At 26 years old, however, Matt would have to move quickly.  He could be the one player we regret losing in the 2010 Rule 5 draft.

96.  Andrew Pevsner, LHP (28.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 16th round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 22.5 years old

3-0, 1.91 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4.26 FIP, 9.54 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Andrew Pevsner is a southern California native who was born on the day that Kirk Gibson hit his famous World Series home run, and Eric posted a story about it shortly after he was drafted (http://www.truebluela.com/2010/6/9/1509821/kershaw-wainwright-rematch-hits).  Coming out of high school Pevsner didn’t get a lot of attention from Division I colleges, so he decided to go to the Division III Johns Hopkins University because it has strong academics and a respectable baseball program.  As a freshman, he only threw about 80 mph, but a workout regiment increased his velocity to the upper 80’s by the time he graduated.  As a senior in 2010 Andrew had a 4.17 ERA, but struck out over a batter per inning and only allowed a .209 batting average against.  He wasn’t really sure he’d get drafted, but when he finally heard the Dodgers picked him he was shocked and said “It was literally a dream come true. I think it took me about 48 hours for my heart to slow down and to stop shaking.”  After signing, Pevsner was sent to the Pioneer League where he had a very good season in terms of ERA.  His 1.91 earned run average ranked 5th in the organization (minimum 25 IP), and he continued to post a strong strikeout rate.  However he struggled a little with control and allowed a few homers during the season, which is why his FIP was much higher than his ERA.  I watched him pitch online this past season, and he has a low leg kick, but straightens his leg before delivering the ball to the point where it slightly resembles Tim Lincecum.  He has pretty good break on his curveball, and also throws a changeup on occasion.  After the season Pevsner said his goal was to make a full season league out of spring training, and I think that is a realistic possibility as I project he’ll be with the Loons in 2011.  Even though I wish he threw a little harder, I do like Pevsner as a potential prospect because of his frame and because he throws left handed.  He seems to fit the mold of a left handed specialist, but only time will tell if he has what it takes to make it to the big leagues.

95.  Edwin Contreras, RHP (6.1 IP in HiA, 50.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 11/28/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old

3-3, 5.56 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, 4.91 FIP, 5.56 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 83;     Pre 2009 Rank: 53

Signed out of Mexico in late 2006, Edwin Contreras made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and had a solid season with a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings.  He returned to the GCL in 2008 and was even better as he posted a 2.30 ERA and a .219 batting average against through 54.2 innings.  That earned him a promotion to the Pioneer League in 2009 where Contreras was a mainstay in the Raptors rotation, making 15 starts and recording a respectable 4.06 ERA and 4.19 FIP.  Moving ahead to 2010, Edwin made his first appearance in a full season league as he started the year with Inland Empire in HiA.  Unfortunately, he was terrible in his first 4 appearances and was sent back to extended spring training in early May.  Then in early June, Contreras was assigned to the Great Lake Loons where he finished out the 2010 season, spending time both as a starter and reliever and posting a 4.83 ERA in about 50 innings.  Called the “The Magician” by his Loons teammates (probably because he did a good job of getting out of jams), Contreras was better out of the bullpen than has a starter while in LoA (3.95 ERA vs. 5.87 ERA).  The one thing that has always concerned me about Contreras is his low K/9 rate, which was just 5.4 while in the Midwest League and is only slightly better at 6.0 for his career.  Despite his disappointing 2010 season, Edwin is still just 22 years old and has a decent pitchers frame, so he has plenty of time to improve his game.  He’ll most likely return to HiA in 2011 and will hope for better results this time around in the California League.

94.  Carlos De Aza, RHP (24 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07

6’3”, 178 lbs, 20.75 years old

3-4, 7.13 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 4.49 FIP, 6.38 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 67;     Pre 2009 Rank: 127

Since signing with the Dodgers at the end of 2007, Carlos De Aza has had two terrible seasons and one outstanding season.  In his professional debut in 2008, De Aza was awful in the DSL, posting a 6.53 ERA and 2.08 WHIP.  Then in 2009, Carlos completely turned things around as he recorded a 1.30 ERA through 27.2 innings and allowed batters to hit just .149 against him.  His stellar 2009 season earned De Aza a promotion to the Arizona League in 2010, but he had a rude awaking as he got dominated by the more advanced competition.  He allowed 22 runs (19 earned) through 24 innings and had a .337 batting average against.  Despite his poor season, De Aza has a few things going for him as he looks to 2011.  First, he is still just 20 year so he has time to improve and mature.  Second, De Aza has a great pitching frame at 6’3”, so because he is young he still has projectability.  Finally, Carlos got better as the season progressed, improving his ERA as the months passed (12.00 ERA in June, 6.00 ERA in July, 4.50 ERA in August).  In 2011, I’m sure De Aza will either return to Arizona or play with the Ogden Raptors because he is not quite ready for a full season league.

 

93.  Daniel Tamares, RHP (57.1 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 9/26/06

6’3”, 170 lbs, 21.25 years old

5-3, 1.41 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 2.64 FIP, 7.22 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 119;     Pre 2009 Rank: 74

2010 was Daniel Tamares’ 4th season in the Dominican Summer League, and his experience showed because he absolutely dominated the league.  Even though he fell just short of qualifying for the league leaders in ERA and WHIP because he was shut down in early August for an unknown reason, his season was still incredible.  In addition to his 1.41 ERA and his 0.77 WHIP through 57.1 innings, batters hit just .141 against him and he ranked 2nd on the DSL Dodgers with 5 wins.  Another remarkable thing about his season is that over his final 4 starts, which spanned 25 innings, Tamares allowed just 6 hits.  It should also be noted that this wasn’t the first time that Daniel tore up the DSL.  In 2008, Tamares had a 2.37 ERA through 49.1 innings as an 18 year old.  If it wasn’t for the hiccup he had in 2009, when he had a 7.11 ERA though 38 innings, his career ERA would be remarkable.  Looking ahead to 2011, I’m sure the Dodgers will promote Tamares to the Arizona League give his age and experience.  Because he has a great size for a pitcher at 6’3” and has proven he can have success on the mound, a good season next year could really move him up the Dodger prospect rankings.

92.  J.B. Paxson, RHP (53.2 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 13th round

6’3”, 240 lbs, 24.5 years old

5-2, 3.02 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.14 FIP, 9.06 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 98;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After being drafted in the 33rd round by the Dbacks in 2005 and the 18th round by the Braves in 2006, J.B. Paxson finally signed with the Dodgers in 2009 as a 13th round pick.  In looking at Paxson’s past, it also makes sense why Joseph was drafted so many times.  He hit a school record 29 home runs during his high school career, and then hit .455 with 13 HR’s in his only season at Walters State Community College.  Up until this point, you’ll notice that Paxson was actually known for his offense, as he was a full time catcher.  In 2007, however, Paxson joined Western Kentucky and proceeded to have three solid seasons as a two way player.  In his senior season with the Hilltoppers, Paxson hit .345 with a great 1.076 OPS, but had a 6.82 ERA through 31 innings.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers wanted him for his pitching arm because the Dodgers really liked his fastball.  According to reports, his fastball can get up to the mid 90’s, which makes sense given his massive frame.  Upon signing with the Dodgers, J.B. was sent to the Pioneer League where he compiled a 5.52 ERA in 29 innings, although his FIP was much better 2.89.  In 2010, Paxson was promoted to the Great Lakes Loons where he put together a very solid season.  His FIP and ERA were great, he struck out more than a batter per innings, he didn’t allow a homer all season, and opposing batters hit just .232 against him.  His only issue was his control, which is what cause his WHIP to be higher than expected.  At 24 years old, Paxson might get a chance to prove himself against older competition next year as he is a prime candidate to play in AA in 2011.   Hopefully that is the case because Paxson will have to move quickly if he ever wants to make it to the show.

91.  Enlly Morales, 2B (35 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

5’11”, 168 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.273 average, .623 OPS, 0 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 73;     Pre 2009 Rank: 91

Signed after the 2007 season as an international free agent, Enlly Morales had a strong professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and then was even better in the DSL in 2009.  That earned Morales a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, but he had a disappointing season.  As the team’s primary 2nd baseman, he only had 6 extra base hits all season (all doubles), and the result was an ugly .623 OPS for the 21 year old.  The only good news for him is that he finished the year with a .371 average over his last 10 games to boost his season average to a respectable .273.  While I might have overrated Morales a bit last year, I don’t think he should be written off just yet.  I realize he doesn’t have much power or speed, but he has proven he can hit for average in the past and plays a middle infield position.  In addition, I’m sure that moving to a new country was a big transition which could have lead to his slump at the beginning of the year, so it’s encouraging that he improved as the season progressed.  That being said, Morales is going to have to show improvement next year if he wants stay on the Dodgers radar.  I don’t see him making a full season league next year, so he’ll probably spend 2011 in the Pioneer League.

90.  Logan Bawcom, RHP (27.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 17th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.25 years old

3-1, 4.28 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, 9.55 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Coming out of high school in Texas, Logan Bawcom was shortstop and had an outstanding senior season at the plate, hitting .500 with 12 homers.  He went on to play at Midland Junior College as a two way player and had a solid career both as a hitter and pitcher.  Bawcom then transferred to University of Texas-Arlington, and it was there that he became a full time pitcher.  In 2010 as a junior, Logan threw 90.2 innings and had a 3.87 ERA with 87 strikeouts and a .277 batting average against.  That prompted the Dodgers to draft him in the 17th round, and the right hander signed quickly with the team.  He was assigned to the Pioneer League where he got off to a hot start with the Raptors.  He hit a rough patch in August, but overall finished the year with a solid FIP and had a great strikeout to walk ratio.  According to the reports out of Ogden, Bawcom throws in the low 90’s, has a hard 83 mph slider, and also throws a changeup.  The 22 year old will definitely play in a full season league in 2011, with the Midwest League as his most likely destination.  He’s the type of player who is a bit of a wildcard because he has the stuff to become a legitimate prospect, but he could just as easily toil in the lower minor leagues for his entire baseball career.

89.  Jaime Ortiz, 1B (85 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 7th round

6’1”, 220 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats left handed

.270 average, .742 OPS, 8 HR’s, 41 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 69;     Pre 2009 Rank: 21

Jamie Ortiz was selected by the Marlins in the minor league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 draft, so he is no longer in the Dodgers organization.  Had he remained with the Dodgers, this is where he would have ranked.  The reason he is included in my rankings because I compiled my list prior to the Rule 5 this year.  The loss of Ortiz isn’t too significant because Jamie’s career had really stalled over the past few years.  After showing some promise after the 2008 season, he had a terrible season in the California League in 2009 and then was demoted back to LoA in 2010 where he was mediocre at best.  The one thing he has going for him is his youth, but at this point I really doubt he’ll ever make it to the big leagues.

 

88.  Joel Lima, RHP (17.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 165 lbs, 21.5 years old

2-1, 2.04 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 3.09 FIP, 8.15 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 102;     Pre 2009 Rank: 65

Joel Lima, the much younger half brother of the late Jose Lima, was signed by the Dodgers in 2008.  After spending two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, where he posted a combined 2.71 ERA through 69.2 innings, Joel was promoted to the Arizona League in 2010.  Although he was limited just 17.2 innings with the Arizona Dodgers, Lima had yet another solid season with a superb ERA and recorded 3 saves.  His strikeout rate also showed improvement from the previous two seasons, and he absolutely dominated right handed batters (0.69 ERA and a .167 batting average against through 13 innings).  Unfortunately, I don’t have any information on his velocity or his pitch types.  The only negative for Lima is his size, although it’s possible that he is actually bigger than his listed height and weight.  Now 21 years old, Lima might be ready for a full season league in 2011, although I can also see the Dodgers sending him to the Pioneer League to get more experience. 

87.  Jesse Bosnik, 3B (55 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 13th round

6’2”, 205 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats left handed

.253 average, .734 OPS, 4 HR’s, 31 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Jesse Bosnik in the 13th round of the 2010 draft out of St. Bonaventure University, where he hit .387 with 11 homers and collected 62 RBI’s as a junior in 2010.  On draft day, Bosnik wasn’t at his computer waiting to see where he’d be drafted, but was instead at the ballpark taking batting practice before his game as a member of the Wilmington Sharks in the Coastal Plain Summer League.  Jesse signed quickly, and joined the Ogden Raptors as their everyday 3rd baseman.  Even though he was a shortstop in college, his defense at that position wasn’t good enough for the professional ranks.  As it turns out, his defense at the hot corner isn’t much better as he had a .887 fielding percentage for the Raptors, but I’ll give him a break since he was learning a new position.  At the plate, Bosnik got a bit lost in the powerful Raptor lineup, and was pretty average overall. In Baseball America’s draft report, they called him more of a doubles hitter than a home run hitter, which isn’t good for his future as a 3rd baseman.  His one strength was his plate disciple, as he walked in 11.8% of his plate appearances.  In addition, while he doesn’t have great speed, scouts call him a very good base runner.  In 2011, Bosnik will probably be the Loons regular 3rd baseman and hopefully he’ll improve his defense and become a bigger offensive threat.  In a Dodgers system that is pretty thin at 3rd base, a big season could definitely get his name onto the prospect radar.

86.  Kazuki Nishijima, LHP (No stats in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

Height & Weight Unknown, 21 years old
No stats in 2010

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Kazuki Nishijima was signed by the Dodgers in November of 2010 out of Meiji University in Tokyo.  Since there isn’t a ton of information about him, I’m going to mostly quote the Dodgers press release.  “Nishijima, who spent his prep years at Yokohama High School — former home to Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka — posted a 6-5 record and a 1.91 ERA during his collegiate career. Nishijima is just the second Japanese college player the Dodgers have ever signed.”  Keiichi Kojima, the Dodgers supervisor of scouting in Japan said “Nishijima is known for his curveball and his consistent arm slot.  He locates fastballs on the lower part of the plate and induces a lot of ground balls.”  After signing, Nishijima said “American baseball has been my dream since I was a kid.  I will do my best to become a successful pitcher in the Major Leagues.”  I was able to find a little more information from the website http://marinerds.blogspot.com.  The author, in response to a question from our very own Julio Nievas, says that “when Nishijima is on, he is really good. When he’s not on, it’s really hard to watch him. His inconsistency is probably the worst thing about him, but some people have thought that it might be a mental thing, since he’s never been valued where he thinks he should be, and maybe given the Dodgers contract, he might put out his “A” game every time, rather than just when he feels like it. I really thought there was a chance he’d get drafted this year in the NPB, just based on his size and leftiness. Like, the potential is really there for him to become something pretty great, if a team can coach it out of him. I mean, I’ve been watching him for years now, and he struck me as being a lefty version of Hosei’s Hisashi Takeuchi, just without the 96 mph fastball…(apparently Nishijima throws in the high 80’s, and up to 91)”.  For 2011, I’m guessing that Kazuki will start the year in extended spring training and then maybe make his way onto the Loons roster by mid-season.  The Dodgers wouldn’t have signed Nishijima if they didn’t think he had potential, but we’ll have to wait until next season to see how he fares against competition in America.

85.  Devon Ethier, OF (2 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 32nd round

6’0”, 165 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats right handed

.200 average, .400 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

If Devon Either wasn’t related to Andre, he’d probably rank much lower for me, but due to the his bloodlines I have to give him some respect.  The much younger Devon is almost the complete opposite of Andre, except for the fact the he plays outfield.  Devon hits and throws right handed, and is a light hitting yet speedy offensive player.  In his sophomore season at Gateway Community College in Arizona, Ethier hit .315 with 34 runs scored in 50 games, and stole 21 games in 24 attempts.  He also threw 23 innings and posted a 4.70 ERA.  After the draft, Devon said “I don’t believe in any way or form that I’m in his (Andre’s) shadow.  I’m a completely different person and player. I’m on my own path. For me, it’s amazing he’s in The Show (big leagues) and with the Dodgers. It’s a big ‘Wow’ for me. You don’t find many people who have older brothers playing in the major leagues.”  Devon’s negotiations with the Dodgers went down to the wire as he finally signed with the team in mid August.  Therefore, he didn’t see much professional action in 2010 as he only played in two Arizona League games.  Overall, I really don’t see much of a future for Devon because he doesn’t seem to have any standout tools.  He is just 20 years old, however, so maybe he’ll make the adjustments to professional baseball and prove me wrong.  I’m guessing he’ll spend 2011 in the Pioneer League.

84.  Jan Vazquez, C (28 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 6th round

5’10”, 165 lbs, 19.75 years old, switch hitter

.226 average, .648 OPS, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 61;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jan Vasquez is a young switch hitting catcher who was selected by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2009 draft.  He is from Puerto Rico, and scouting reports prior to the draft suggested that he has a plus arm behind the plate.  According to Logan White, “This kid is a real athlete. He shifts, blocks, has perfect size for a catcher.  If we don’t need him behind the plate, he could play second base because he can really hit from both sides of the plate.”  After signing with the Dodgers, Vazquez was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League where he played just enough to get his feet wet.  He only appeared in 25 games but had very poor stats.  As expected Vazquez returned to the Arizona League in 2010, but unfortunately he had another down season.  While he showed some improvement, he still only hit .226 and was again limited to fewer than 100 at bats.  Nevertheless, it’s too early to give up on the 19 year old Vazquez because he is still so young and only has 167 career at bats.  Hopefully he’ll play in the Pioneer League next season where he’ll be in a more hitter friendly environment.

83.  Travis Denker, 2B (20 games in AAA, 16 games in AA, 74 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 21st round, released, then resigned in May 2010

5’9”, 205 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.304 average, .830 OPS, 8 HR’s, 52 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Travis Denker was originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2003, and moved slowly through the system before getting sent to the Giants in the famous Mike Sweeney trade of 2007.  At the time of the trade, Denker was with the 66ers in Inland Empire and was having a pretty good season.  Fast forward 3 years, and Denker was back with the 66ers after resigning with the Dodgers in May as a minor league free agent.  In between his time with the Dodgers, Denker spent time with the Padres, Red Sox, and Mariners, and even made it up to the big leagues with the Giants in 2008 where he played in 24 games and can tell his kids that he hit a major league home run.  Getting back to 2010, Denker was the 66ers second baseman for the most of the year and had a very good season in his return to the California League as he hit .332 with 7 homers in 74 games before getting promoted on July 30th.  He spent the remainder of the season split between AA and AAA, but unfortunately his stats were much worse in the more advanced leagues.  Despite his end of the season slump, the Dodgers resigned Denker after the season so he will provide the organization with infield depth in 2011.  In addition to 2nd base, Denker can play an adequate 3rd base and is probably considered an emergency option in case injuries hit the big league team hard.  If the big league club stays healthy, however, Denker will probably spend next season in Albuquerque.

82.  Chris Jacobs, 1B (42 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 17th round

6’5”, 257 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats right handed

.215 average, .672 OPS, 7 HR’s, 25 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 55;     Pre 2009 Rank: 24

Every year I have high hopes for Chris Jacobs, and every year he disappoints me.  After spending three mediocre seasons in the Dodger rookie leagues, the massive 1st baseman finally got his first taste of full season ball in 2010.  While he did manage to hit 7 homers in just 149 at bats, his average dropped from .277 in 2009 to .215, and his OPS was only .672 for the year.  In addition, Jacobs was overmatched by the more advanced pitching as he struck out in a career high 31.3% of his plate appearances.  I was hoping that Jacobs would get more like 300 or 400 at bats in 2010 to get gain as much experience as possible, but he missed some time due to injury and had to share time at 1st base with both Jerry Sands and Jaime Ortiz.  If he had gotten at least 300 at bats, Jacobs probably would have smacked at least 15 homers and we’d probably be looking at him in a different light even with his low average.  But because he only had limited plate appearances, he was pretty much an afterthought on the Loons team.  Still just 22 years old, I remain optimistic about Jacobs because of his plus power.  He also ended the season on a hot streak, hitting .314 with an OPS of almost 1.000 over his final 10 games, so maybe he can take that momentum into 2011.  He’ll probably return to the Loons next year and it will be interesting to see what he does over a full season.  He’s a true athlete who is still adjusting to his size and more advanced pitching, so hopefully he can still make something out of his baseball career.

 

81.  Andy Suiter, LHP (53 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 10th round

6’3”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old

4-2, 3.91 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 3.95 FIP, 12.91 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 94;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Coming out of high school Andy Suiter was a prize recruit by UCLA, but then due to a broken wrist and poor coaching decisions he transferred to UC Davis where he finally got an opportunity to play.  He was drafted by the Yankees in 2008 in the 32nd round, but obviously didn’t sign and returned to UC Davis in 2009.  While his 2009 college stats were rather unimpressive, he did improve his velocity and was hitting 94 mph by the end of the season.  So the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him with their 10th round pick, and after the draft Logan White said “This kid has a really good arm…He’s throwing 94-95 now and has a good change and a good curve ball. The question is getting him to command the strike zone.  When he was a starter he wasn’t very successful but when they moved him into the bullpen he had good success.  We’re going to start him and if he has trouble we’ll move him into relief and we feel he will be very good.  We think we have a great find this late in the process.  We can see no reason he can’t throw strikes, maybe he just likes relief better.  If we get another Brent Leach, that will be great.”  Based on White’s quote, apparently the Dodgers hope to someday sell Suiter to a team Japan?  In all seriousness, White was exactly right when it came to questioning Suiter’s control, because that is the only thing holding him back at this point.  Batters hit just .200 against him in 2009 and .202 against him in 2010; however his career WHIP is 1.66 due to his extremely high walk rate.  Besides his lack of control, Suiter was very good for the Loons and provided solid relief all season.  In addition, he led all Dodger minor leaguers with his outstanding 12.91 K/9 (minimum 50 IP), and after the season he took a road trip by driving all the way from Michigan to California.  At 6’3” Andy has good size, and given his pitching repertoire, velocity, and strikeout rate, I think this lefty could become a successful relief pitcher if he learns better control.  At 23 years old, he’s a candidate to move up to AA in 2011.

80.  David Pfeiffer, LHP (82 IP in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 14th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 25.5 years old

7-5, 4.06 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4.41 FIP, 6.80 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 81;     Pre 2009 Rank: 76

David Pfeiffer was born in Vero Beach, FL, so he was destined to be a Dodger.  After signing with the team in 2003, however, he didn’t show much potential as a prospect until the 2008 offseason when he played for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaii Winter League.  It was there that he finally broke out by posting a 1.59 ERA, a 0.65 WHIP, and an amazing .127 batting average against in 17 innings.  Pfeiffer carried his success into the 2009 season where he performed very well in HiA despite playing in the hitter friendly California League.  After 6 minor league seasons, David finally made his way up to AA and played a surprisingly big role for the Lookouts in 2010.  He was an inning eater as his 82 frames lead all relievers, and he even made 3 spot starts when the team needed him.  For the year, he posted a respectable 4.06 ERA and had a solid WHIP of 1.29.  Another interesting fact about Pfeiffer is that he actually had some big hits at the plate, batting .278 in 18 at bats and picking up an unexpected 5 RBI’s.  The 25 year old lefty was a free agent after the season, but the Dodgers liked what they saw out of him and resigned him for 2011.  Given his and experience he should spend next season in AAA, and since the Dodgers are a little short on left handed relievers he could even be an option for the Dodgers big league bullpen down the road if he continues to have success and the Dodgers run into injuries.  Pfeiffer played in the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason (he was on the same team as Dee Gordon) and dominated the competition through 11.2 innings with a 0.77 ERA and a .128 batting average against.

79.  Yimi Garcia, RHP (30.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 175 lbs, 20.5 years old

1-2, 7.04 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 3.17 FIP, 6.46 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 47;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Yimi Garcia had a terrific season in the Dominican Summer League in 2009.  Making his professional debut, the right hander had a 1.67 ERA through 54 innings with a 0.96 WHIP and a .202 batting average against.  After getting promoted to the Arizona League in 2010, however, Garcia crashed back down to earth.  Playing the season as 19 year old, Yimi gave up 26 runs in 30.2 innings while allowing a .356 batting average against.  The only good news is that Garcia gave up just 8 walks and 1 homer for the season, which led to his respectable FIP of 3.17.  It should also be noted that Garcia performed much better as a starter than as a reliever, posting a 3.71 ERA while in the rotation (17 innings) compared to an 11.20 ERA out of the bullpen (13.2 innings).  While he’s “only” 6’1”, he does have a solid pitching frame and definitely has room for growth.  Given his age and lack of experience, I’m guessing that Garcia will play in the Pioneer League in 2011, which will present another challenge since it is a hitter friendly league.  Hopefully he will have a better season to put himself in a position to pitch in a full season league in 2012.

78.  Steve Domecus, C/LF (34 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 9th round

6’3”, 220 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.252 average, .748 OPS, 4 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Steve Domecus grew up in Northern California, and after a great high school career he decided to attend UC Santa Barbara.  After redshirting his first year (2006), Domecus only started 5 games in 2007 and was told after the season he’d be used as a part time DH the following year.  Knowing that he had what it took to be a catcher, Steve transferred to Moorpark Junior College and drew a lot of attention from college and pro scouts.  Next thing he knew, the White Sox called during the 2008 draft and asked if he’d sign if he was selected in the 7th round.  Domecus wrestled with the decision, but finally told Chicago that he wanted to transfer to Virginia Tech instead.  In 2009, his first year at VT, Domecus hit .406 but didn’t show much power and was limited to just 40 games due to a broken hand.  Therefore he didn’t get drafted, and returned for his senior season where he improved many aspects of his game.  In 2010 Domecus hit .365 for the Hokies with 27 doubles, 13 homers, 60 RBI’s, and 12 stolen bases.  He was the team’s main catcher, although he also spent a little time in left field.  In their draft report, Baseball America said that it would be unlikely for Steve to stay behind the plate, and that a move to left field in professional ball was probable.  However, after the Dodgers drafted him in the 9th round this past season and sent him to the Pioneer League, he played almost exclusively behind the plate, with just 5 appearances in LF.  It makes sense for the Dodgers to keep him at catcher because that is where his value lies.  In addition, the system is very short on catching prospects.  At the plate, Domecus held his own in his professional debut but will look to improve next season in a full season league.  I got to watch Domecus play online this season, and he holds his hands pretty high above his head.  He also moves his hands quite a bit, especially right when the pitch is being thrown so it appears to be a timing mechanism that works for him.  Finally, he looks like an old school player with the high socks and seems to play with a lot of grit.

77.  Blake Dean, 1B (59 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 8th round

6’1”, 175 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed

.302 average, .819 OPS, 5 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Blake Dean was definitely a safe and cost effective pick for the Dodgers as the LSU Senior signed for just $35K.  The 10th round pick of the Twins in 2009, Dean chose to return to college for his senior season even though he had already led his team to the national title.  In 2010, Dean hit .341 for LSU with a .430 OBP, slugged 12 homers, and led the team with 70 RBI’s.   He signed quickly with the Dodgers and was sent to the Pioneer League where he got off to a sluggish start.  But once the calendar turned to July, Dean caught fire as he hit well over .300 for the remainder of the season.  In addition, his most impressive stat with the Raptors was his 1.87 walk to strikeout ratio.  That’s one of the highest ratio’s I’ve ever seen, and it means that he struck out in just 5.7% of his plate appearances while walking in 10.7% of plate appearances.  The bad news, however, is that while Dean had over 50 home runs during his 4 seasons with LSU, he only knocked 5 out of the park for the Raptors and doesn’t really possess plus power.  Yet he plays 1st base which is a position that is going to require a significant amount of pop (unless you are James Loney).  Also, in watching his scouting video, he has an unconventional first step toward the ball which almost looks like it causes a hitch in his swing process.  Blake will undoubtedly play in a full season league next year, and the 23 year old will have to show more power if he wants to be considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.

76.  Kazuya Takano, RHP (No stats in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

Height & Weight Unknown, 18 years old
No stats in 2010

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Kazuya Takano was the first Japanese high school player to sign with the Dodgers when he joined the team in November 2010.  Similar to Nishijima, I don’t have much information on Takano so I’m going to defer to the press release.  “Takano, a senior at Buntoko High School in Kumamoto, Japan, has been highly evaluated by the Dodgers.  [He] has a very smooth delivery and flexibility.”  After signing, Kazuya said “I’ve been working hard to make my dream to become a professional baseball player come true.  I am very thankful to the Dodgers organization and I will work even harder to become a big leaguer as soon as possible.”  Being just 18 years old, Takano will probably spend at least a few months in extended spring training, and then I’m sure he’ll get into some game action in the Arizona League.  Since there are really no scouting reports on him, we’ll have to wait and see how he performs in 2011.

75.  Jackson Mateo, RHP (22 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by the Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 193 lbs, 18.5 years old

2-1, 1.23 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 3.06 FIP, 7.36 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

I know he only threw 22 innings in 2010, but Jackson Mateo really had outstanding stats in the DSL.  Making his professional debut and playing as a 17 year old for the entire season, Mateo was actually the main closer for the Dodgers as he led the team with 7 saves.  He posted a 1.23 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP to go along with a .169 batting average against.  He also didn’t allow an earned run over the final 14.1 innings of the season, and gave up only 7 hits during that span.  In addition, if you look at what he did in just the month of July, Mateo allowed just 1 hit over 9 innings.  The only thing that wasn’t impressive about his season was his strikeout rate.  Listed at 6’0”, it is still possible for him to grow a few inches since he is still so young.  Given his age I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL in 2011, but another solid season could put him in the Arizona League in 2012 as a 19 year old.

74.  Rafael Ynoa, 2B (124 games in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’0”, 180 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.286 average, .735 OPS, 9 HR’s, 51 RBI’s, 40 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 172;     Pre 2009 Rank: 89

Rafael Ynoa had one of the most surprising seasons of all Dodger minor leaguers in 2010.  After hitting just .054 with a .240 OPS through 147 at bats in a 2009 season split between HiA and two rookie leagues, Ynoa put together a very solid season with the Loons in 2010.  His nine homers were nine times his previous career total, and his 40 stolen bases more than quadrupled his previous season high.  He also had a respectable batting average and only struck out in 11.1% of his plate appearances.  In addition, Rafael is an excellent defensive 2nd baseman with soft hands, and he’s even spent some time at shortstop.  During the Loons playoffs, Loon beat writer Hugh Bernreuter said “Ynoa is an outstanding fielder, especially at second base. He had a long string of errorless games during the season and made some spectacular plays. He is very solid, very consistent. The best fielding second baseman the Loons have had…. I believe the Dodgers want to see if he can handle shortstop because his future could be as a utility infielder, similar to an Omar Infante or Ramon Santiago. He has shown he can handle shortstop.”  Nevertheless, I’m still skeptical about Ynoa’s future as a prospect and am not as high on him as most people are.  While there weren’t many negatives to his season, he was caught stealing 14 times and his .735 OPS wasn’t really that impressive.  Overall, given his career stats prior to 2010 it’s going to take more than one good season to convince me of his worth, and he’ll have that chance in 2011 because he’s going to play in either HiA or AA. 

73.  Abdiel Velasquez, RHP (32 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by the Dodgers in 2010

6’3”, 184 lbs, 18 years old

2-1, 2.53 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 4.39 FIP, 7.88 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Abdiel Velasquez is the youngest player in the Dodgers minor league system, yet still managed to have a very successful professional debut in the DSL.  The young right-hander from Panama won’t even turn 18 until this upcoming March, but had a 2.53 ERA and a .150 batting average against in 32 impressive innings.  In addition he is already 6’3”, so he has the makings of a great pitcher’s frame.  Probably his most impressive outing was on 7/25/10 when he threw the final 3 innings of a no-hitter.  The only negative to Velasquez’s season was his control, as he walked 20 batters and hit 7 others.  However, I’m not too concerned about his wildness because he is so young and I’m sure is adjusting to his height.  For 2011 I’m sure Abdiel will return to the DSL for another year of seasoning, and he is definitely somebody to watch next year.

72.  Jon Michael Redding, RHP (144 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 23.25 years old

4-10, 5.56 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 4.35 FIP, 5.38 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 46;     Pre 2009 Rank: 37

The Dodgers 5th round pick in 2008, Jon Michael Redding played his college ball at Florida Community College where he went 8-5 with a 2.02 ERA and a .222 batting average against in 2008.  He began his professional career in the Pioneer Rookie League, but was limited to just 31 innings in his professional debut due to a heavy college workload.  Redding spent 2009 with the Loons in LoA and led the Midwest League in wins with 16.  In addition, he proved to be very durable by logging 133 innings and had a respectable FIP of 3.70.  However, in 2009 Redding was also awful when pitching on the road (6.34 ERA in 71 innings), allowed an overall .281 batting average against, and saw his strikeout rate drop from 10.3 K’s per 9 in 2008 to just 6.5 in 2009.  So really it was a season of mixed results.  That brings us to 2010, which Redding spent with the Inland Empire 66ers.  Despite proving to be a workhorse yet again with 144 innings pitched, Redding’s numbers declined in every category.  Probably his worst stat in 2010 was his strikeout rate, which dipped to just 5.38 K/9.  In addition, instead of winning double digit games like in 2009, Jon Michael’s loss total amounted to double figures.  In terms of his future, Redding’s stock has dropped since being drafted back in 2008, when Baseball America said the he had a ceiling of a #3 starter in the big league rotation.  While he still possesses a low 90’s fastball, which is complimented by a good slider and a hard curveball, the fact that he seems to be so hittable concerns me.  For now it seems at best he can be a back of the rotation guy, although even that seems unlikely after his 2010 season.  Hopefully he can turn things around in 2011, whether he repeats in HiA or he plays in a more pitcher friendly league like the Southern League.

71.  Leonel Beras, LHP (71.2 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07

5’11”, 143 lbs, 19.75 years old

8-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 2.99 FIP, 8.92 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 96;     Pre 2009 Rank: 34

Leonel Beras made his professional debut as a 17 year old in the DSL in 2008 and was very impressive.  While he only threw 20.2 innings that year, he had a 2.18 ERA and a .235 batting average against and again was just 17.  However in 2009 he was unable to find the plate as he walked 20 batters and was limited to just 14 innings.  That led to a 7.07 ERA and a terrible WHIP.  Moving ahead to 2010, Beras rebounded nicely in his 3rd season with the DSL Dodgers.  He ranked 2nd in the league with 8 wins and also placed among the Dodger minor league leaders in several pitching categories.  One of his more impressive stats was his .178 batting average against through 71.2 innings.  While the left hander is listed at just 5’11” and 143 pounds, those measurements haven’t changed since he was 17 so I’m guessing he’s bigger now.  With over 100 professional innings under his belt, I’m sure Leonel will move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2011 so he can face some tougher competition.  Hopefully he’ll continue to be difficult to hit in the more advanced league.

70.  Arismendy Ozoria, RHP (31.2 IP in Pioneer League, 35.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 195 lbs, 20.5 years old

8-2, 3.61 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 4.15 FIP, 8.15 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 106;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Arismendy Ozoria put together a very solid debut season in the DSL in 2009.  His 2.53 ERA and .216 batting average against ranked among the Dodger minor league leaders, and it was enough to get promoted to the Arizona League in 2010.  He was only with the Arizona Dodgers through July, however, because he got promoted to the Pioneer League for the final 5 weeks of the 2010 season.  While he was in Arizona, he ended up with the 2nd most innings pitched on the team and a 2.78 ERA.  He also led the team with 4 wins, had a great FIP of 2.86, and he struck out an impressive 9.46 batters per 9 innings.  While in Ogden his stats weren’t quite as impressive, he still had a very successful season considering it was his first year in America.  In fact, his success got him noticed as Baseball America mentioned that several Arizona League managers liked his stuff.  In addition, during my interview with DeJon Watson last season he said that Ozoria is a guy to keep his eye on for 2011.  I’ve heard that Ozoria throws his fastball between 89 – 93 mph, although I have to confirm this information.  Because he’s still just 20 year old Ozoria probably won’t be ready for a full season league in 2011, so I’m guessing he’ll be a mainstay in the Raptors rotation instead.  Hopefully he continues to blossom as a pitcher and moves up the prospect rankings over the next 12 months. 

69.  Bladimir Franco, 3B (35 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 7/6/07

6’1”, 172 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.224 average, .600 OPS, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 36;     Pre 2009 Rank: 30

Bladimir Franco was signed by the Dodgers in 2007 when he was just 16 years old, and made his professional debut in the DSL in 2008.  While he hit just .169 back in 2008, he lead the team with 5 homers as a 17 year old so that is what put him on the map for me.  In 2009 Franco had one of the best seasons for the Dominican Dodgers in recent memory with 9 homers, a .282 average, and an .880 OPS; and did all of that as an 18 year old.  That earned Franco a promotion for the Arizona League in 2010 where he started the most games at the hot corner for the Dodgers.  However the results were ugly as Franco had a .272 OBP, a .224 average, and a .600 OPS in 125 at bats.  He also struck out in 35.8% of his plate appearances and made 11 errors.  Despite his down season, I’m going to give Franco a bit of a break since the transition from the DSL to the Arizona League is a big one.  He obviously has some power, and while his defense at 3rd base is suspect (.881 career fielding percentage at 3rd base) he is still young enough to improve his footwork with some better coaching.  He’ll be 20 years old to start the 2011 season, and he’ll probably play in the Pioneer League.

 

68.  Michael Pericht, C (54 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 16th round

6’5”, 235 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.278 average, .832 OPS, 9 HR’s, 38 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 90;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Pericht played at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, and as a junior he hit .337 with 12 HR’s to go along with a 1.046 OPS.  Going into the 2009 draft, he was very excited, and was quoted as saying, “Right now, I’m trying to stay as calm as possible. It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking. I kind of feel like a duck on the pond right now.”  He was selected by the Dodgers in the 16th round, signed quickly, and was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League.  While he only hit .211 in Arizona, he posted a .345 on base percentage and smacked 4 HR’s in just 109 at bats.  Pericht was promoted to the Pioneer League in 2010 where started off the season on fire.  He had a .378 average in the month of June and hit all 9 of his homers before the end of July.  He came back down to earth as the season progressed, however, and ended the year with a .278 average.  Raptors announcer Brandon Hart said this about Michael, “Pitchers have kinda figured him out.  He seems to be a sucker for the low and away slider.  You throw him something straight or middle-in and it will go a long way.”  Despite his 2nd half struggles, the 6’5” Pericht was able to establish himself as a power hitting catcher who has some potential.  In addition, it should be noted that 7 of his 9 homers in 2010 came on the road, so he wasn’t aided by the Raptors’ hitter friendly ballpark.  I watched a few games online in which Pericht was playing, and he has a pretty long swing.  However, he is extremely powerful and on one of his home runs it looked like he barely even swung at the pitch.  In terms of his defense, I’ll defer again to Mr. Hart who said, “I would rate his defense a bit below average as far as receiving the ball and blocking pitches in the dirt.  His arm is good.  He split time between catcher and 1B in college.  He might have a better shot at 1B but his value is at catcher.”  It will be interesting to see what the 22 year old does in a full season league in 2011.  I’m guessing he’ll play with the Loons, and a strong year could vault him up the rankings since the Dodgers have very few legitimate catching prospects.

67.  Steven Caseres, 1B (87 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 9th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 24 years old, bats left handed

.256 average, .723 OPS, 9 HR’s, 57 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 43;     Pre 2009 Rank: 61

Steven Caseres was selected by the Dodgers in the 9th round of the 2008 draft out of James Madison University, where he had a great 2008 season with a .342 average, 21 HR’s, and 70 RBI’s.  Because he was just a redshirt sophomore when he was drafted, Caseres was set on going back to school until the Dodgers convinced him to sign with $250,000.   He had a good debut in the Pioneer League in 2008, and then really put his name on the Dodgers prospect radar with a strong 2009 season in the California League.  With the 66ers in 2009 Caseres only hit .260, but had 15 homers and an .828 OPS.  In 2010, many thought that Caseres was a candidate to move up to AA.  However, the Dodgers instead decided to keep Caseres in HiA for another season and it turned out to be the right decision.  Steven regressed and ended the 2010 season with a .256 average and a .723 OPS while striking out in 25% of his plate appearances.  He was also limited to just 87 games and really struggled at home with a .204 average.  Nevertheless, Caseres still has a ton of power so I wouldn’t write him off just yet as a prospect.  The 24 year old will probably move up to AA in 2011 and will look to rebound.  Finally, I found an interesting interview that Caseres did with a website called “All Things Valley League” (http://allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com), and when asked what the Dodgers organization stresses about hitting Steven said “In all honesty, the Dodgers do not really have a set philosophy when it comes to hitting like some other organizations do.  The one thing I can say is that the Dodgers really want you to stay within your role as a hitter. If you are an RBI guy they want you to drive in runs, whereas if you are an on-base guy they want you getting on base any way possible.”  He also shared: “My funniest story so far had to be when we were playing at Great Falls, Montana and the power box exploded right over our dugout. It sounded like a gun blast and when I looked out onto the field, I saw our SS Dee Gordon running towards the outfield wall like someone was shooting up the place.”

 

66.  Tae-Hyeok Nam, 1B (40 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 6/16/09

6’2”, 215 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.243 average, .713 OPS, 3 HR’s, 24 RBI, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 50;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers signed Nam in June of 2009, he became the first Korean high school player they had ever signed.  He was scouted throughout his high school career by the Dodgers, where he hit 22 home runs and had 43 RBIs in 65 games to go along with a .314 average.  After the signing, Logan White said that Nam had “good power and well above average speed.”  White also stated that “Nam is strong physically.  With the help of our player development staff, I’m confident that he will become a fine player.”  After signing, Nam only got into 3 games in 2009 so his first real season was in 2010.  With the Arizona Dodgers Tae-Hyeok got the majority of starts at 1st base, and despite ending the season in a slump he was one of the better offensive players on the team in terms of homers and RBI’s.  After the season, DeJon Watson said that Nam has grown since signing with the team and is a big strong kid.  Watson also mentioned that he has a solid approach at the plate, and is a line drive/gap hitter with occasional pull power.  The bad news, however, is that Nam is now considered strictly a first baseman so the question going forward is if he’ll be able to hit enough in the higher levels to succeed at a position that require a lot of offense.  Now 20 years old, it will be interesting to see where Nam plays in 2011 because I’m not sure he’s ready for a full season league.  He may end up in the Pioneer League as the Raptors main 1st baseman.

 

65.  Matt Wallach, C/1B (24 games in AA, 67 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 22nd round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 25 years old, bats left handed

.264 average, .773 OPS, 11 HR’s, 42 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 125;     Pre 2009 Rank: 64

After a subpar season with the Loons in 2009, Matt Wallach probably didn’t expect to lead the 66ers in catching appearances in 2010, but that is exactly what happened due to an injury to Tony Delmonico.  Wallach made good use out of his additional playing time, having an all around solid season and even jumping onto the Dodger prospect discussions.  Wallach has always been a very strong defensive catcher, and even won Baseball America’s best defensive catcher award for the California League.  In 2010, however, he also showed some offensive ability for the first time in a full season league.  Wallach hit 8 homers with the 66ers and posted a.758 OPS, which is pretty good for a catcher.  That earned him a promotion to AA where he continued to hit as he recorded 3 homers and an .822 OPS in 68 at bats.  He also showed extreme patience against the more advanced pitchers, walking in 15.5% of his plate appearances.  His success earned him a spot in the AFL, and although he struggled with the Desert Dogs, DeJon Watson had this to say about him after the AFL season: “He keeps getting better. He had a strong year defensively. He finished at Double-A. His swing continues to improve. He’s changed his swing approach to be flatter. He had been a little hooky. Overall, his catching improved. We see him as a backup down the road. He has great makeup. His game-calling is getting better.”  Since he only spent a month in AA in 2010 I expect him start the season there in 2011, however I won’t be surprised if he moved up to AAA at some point if there is room for him.  Another good season could move him closer to his goal of one day joining his dad in Los Angeles.

64.  Bobby Coyle, OF (54 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 10th round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 22 years old, bats left handed

.316 average, .788 OPS, 4 HR’s 52 RBI’s, 7 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Bobby Coyle is a local boy who played his high school ball at Chatsworth, but was overshadowed by 2007 first round picks Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez.  Out of high school he was drafted by the Indians in the 19th round, but decided to attend Arizona instead.  After putting up mediocre stats in his first two seasons with the Wildcats, Coyle decided to transfer to Fresno State and received a NCAA waiver which allowed him to play right away (instead of having to sit out a year).  As a junior Coyle had a great season for the Bulldogs, co-leading the team with 69 RBI’s and hitting .360 with 11 homers.  After getting drafted by the Dodgers he didn’t immediately sign, but tipped his hand a little when he told the Fresno Bee “I grew up in the L.A. area, and it’s sweet and exciting to be taken by the team I watched as a kid.”  Coyle eventually inked a deal with $95,000 and was assigned to the Pioneer League in late June.  Bobby played all three outfield positions for the Raptors, and ended up leading the team with 52 RBI’s.  He also hit for a nice average, although like most players on the team he did much better at home (.900 OPS at home, .689 OPS on the road).  In Baseball America’s pre-draft analysis, they said that Coyle only has average power, but has good pitch recognition skills which could lead to him getting on base a lot.  They also said he while he is an above average runner, he projects as a left fielder.  Coyle will most likely get a chance to play in a full season league in 2011, and is a wild card for next year because it wouldn’t surprise me either way if he burst onto the prospect radar with another strong season or got lost in the organization with an average year.

63.  Beyker Fructuoso, RHP (3.2 IP in Pioneer League, 26.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 7/9/07

6’4”, 205 lbs, 20.75 years old

0-0, 4.45 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 2.97 FIP, 10.09 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 60;     Pre 2009 Rank: 26

Signed by the Dodgers in 2007, Beyker Fructuoso made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2008 as an 18 year old and had a very successful season (2.37 ERA and .229 batting average against in 38 innings).  In 2009, however, Fructuoso had a sophomore slump as he got lit up for 8 homers in just 28.2 innings in the Arizona League.  Despite his poor stats in 2009, the Dodger promoted Beyker to the Pioneer League to start the 2010 season because he already had two rookie league seasons under his belt.  Two appearances and 8 runs later, Fructuoso found himself back in Arizona where he finished out the 2010 season.  The good news is that he did very well in his return to Arizona, posting a 3.04 ERA, a 2.82 FIP, and a .202 batting average against in 26.2 innings.  In addition, he struck out over 10 batters per 9 innings and is still just 20 years old.  At 6’4” Fructuoso has a great pitching frame, and while I don’t know how hard the throws, I’d guess he could at least hit the low 90’s.  Now that he has three seasons and 97 professional innings to his credit, I’d guess that Fructuoso will spend 2011 in a full season league like LoA.  He is definitely someone to keep your eye one because I have the feeling he could be one of the Dodgers breakout prospects next season.  

62.  Gorman Erickson, C (82 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 15th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 23 years old, switch hitter

.215 average, .619 OPS, 2 HR’s, 27 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 45;     Pre 2009 Rank: 103

Gorman Erickson is a switch hitting catcher who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2006 draft and signed with the Dodgers for $35,000 in May of 2007 as a draft and follow player.  Better known as Griff, he didn’t do much of anything in his first two professional seasons, nor did he get much playing time.  In 2009, however, Erickson made his way onto the Dodgers prospect radar with a .305 batting average and .860 OPS for the Ogden Raptors.  He was also named to the Pioneer League post season all star team and was ranked by Baseball America as the 30th best prospect in the system.  Unfortunately his success did not carry over into 2010 as Griff struggled at the plate in the Midwest League.  While splitting the catching duties with J.T. Wise, Erickson batted just .215 with only 2 homers.  He also really struggled against right handed pitching.  Nevertheless, the 6’4” catcher did have a few positives in his season as he had a very good walk to strikeout ratio, and had another strong defensive season behind the plate.  Overall, while I was hoping for a lot more out of Erickson in 2010, he is still young enough to turn his career around.  The Dodgers are very thin in terms of catching prospects, so the organization is going to give him every chance to improve.  They showed their commitment to Erickson by inviting him to participate in the 2011 Winter Development Program.  Griff will probably spend 2011 in Rancho Cucamonga, and hopefully playing in the California League will jumpstart his bat.

61.  Josh Wall, RHP (153 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

6’6”, 218 lbs, 24 years old

9-7, 4.24 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.77 FIP, 8.88 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 57;     Pre 2009 Rank: 49

Josh Wall signed with the Dodgers out of high school in 2005 as a 2nd round pick for $500,000, but has not lived up to expectations thus far.  He made decent progress in his first three seasons, including a solid performance with the Loons in 2007, but literally hit a wall in the California League in 2008 and 2009.  His combined ERA of 6.14 in 240.1 innings with the 66ers prompted the Dodgers to send Wall back to the Midwest League in 2010 despite the fact that he was 23 years old.   While he was disappointed with the demotion, Josh responded nicely in his return to the Loons.  While his stats weren’t amazing, for the most part Wall was able to regain his form against the younger competition as he posted a 4.24 ERA and 3.77 FIP while leading the league with 151 strikeouts.  At the very least, his season proved that the 6’6” right hander deserves another chance in a more advanced league, especially since taller pitchers take longer to develop and because he has the raw talent to be really good.  While his velocity has fluctuated over the years, Wall has hit 96 mph in the past and generally sits in the low 90’s.  He also has a pretty good curveball and a solid changeup.  In addition, the Dodgers could even move Wall the bullpen down the road so he still has plenty of value to the organization.  After the season Josh participated in Arizona instructional league, and given his age (and history in the California League) I would move him to AA in 2011 to see how he does. 

60.  Gustavo Gomez, RHP (7.2 IP in Pioneer League, 44 games in Arizona league in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 150 lbs, 19.75 years old

4-3, 3.66 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 2.74 FIP, 8.19 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 65;     Pre 2009 Rank: 113

Signed by the Dodgers out of Panama as a 17 year old in 2008, Gustavo Gomez had a great season in the DSL in 2009 which earned him a promotion in 2010.  As a 19 year old with the Arizona Dodgers, Gomez had a rough transition and recorded a 6.14 ERA through his first 22 innings.  However, he regained his footing in the second half of the season and posted a 1.23 ERA through his next 22 innings, earning the Dodgers pride award for August and a promotion to the Pioneer League for the final week of the season.  Used as both a starter and reliever, Gomez showed good control in 2010 and also allowed just one home run all season.  He was also mentioned by DeJon Watson as one of the players to keep an eye on for 2011.  In addition, it should be noted that his height and weight haven’t been updated since 2008, so I’m guessing he is now bigger than his listed measurements.  Still just 19 years old, Gomez has made good progress in his three years as a professional and will try to maintain his momentum in 2011.  If the Dodgers want to be aggressive with Gustavo they’ll assign him to the Great Lakes Loons next season.  However, my best guess would that he’ll start 2011 in the Pioneer League with the Raptors.

59.  Matt Kirkland, 3B (16 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 12th round

6’2”, 210 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.239 average, .655 OPS, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Matt Kirkland was selected by the Dodgers out of high school in the 12th round of the 2010 draft, and although he had committed to play college ball at Tennessee, he signed with the Dodgers pretty quickly.  After signing he said, “It’s a thrill. My family is excited. The community is excited. I got a lot of support. I think it’s good for the community. I plan to represent my family and community as best as possible.”  He also gave us some insight into his high school job by saying, “Let’s just say, the deal I got, it beats selling goats and chickens for a living.  That was my business. It beats selling livestock.”  In high school, Kirkland hit 17 homers as a junior in high school and 11 HR’s as a senior (with a .505 average).  According to scouting reports, he has plus raw power and has good pitch recognition.  However, like most players coming out of high school, he has holes in his swing that he’ll have to fine tune as he gets older.  Probably the most exciting part about Kirkland is that he’s been described as an above average defender with a plus arm and good range.  That means he won’t have to be moved off the hot corner any time soon, which increases his value as a prospect.  In the draft video I watched of him, he showed good technique both on defense and at the plate, and his swing looks like it does indeed generate a good amount of power and loft.  While he was a little older than most players coming out of high school, Matt will still be just 20 years old when the 2011 season starts so he has a lot of time to improve his game.  Because his professional debut was relatively limited, I’m guessing he’ll play in the Pioneer League next year and get a good amount of playing time at 3rd base with the Raptors.

58.  Jaime Pedroza, 2B (130 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 9th round

5’8”, 167 lbs, 24.5 years old, switch hitter

.280 average, .779 OPS, 7 HR’s, 37 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 59;     Pre 2009 Rank: 19

Since getting drafted out of UC Riverside in 2007, Jaime Pedroza has had an interesting career path.  After an outstanding offensive season in the Pioneer League in his professional debut, Pedroza was sent to HiA in 2008, his first full season.  While his stats weren’t quite as impressive with the 66ers, he still had a solid season at the plate and was probably looking forward to playing in AA.  However, the Dodgers had other plans for Jaime in 2009 and sent him to LoA.  While he was probably disappointed with this assignment, he responded with career highs in homers (15) and stolen bases (36).  That brings us to 2010, when Pedroza finally made it to Chattanooga.  While he didn’t have eye popping stats with the Lookouts in 2010, Pedroza again had solid numbers and has now accumulated a .287 average and an .810 OPS over 4 professional seasons.  Going forward, his biggest challenge will be his height because it is rare to find a major league player at 5’8”.  However, the fact that he plays 2nd base helps his cause since most MLB players shorter than 5’10” are middle infielders.  With Ivan De Jesus most likely staying in AAA for another season, I’m guessing that Pedroza will return to Chattanooga in 2011.  Now 24 years old, my feeling is that Jaime is definitely worth keeping around, but unfortunately I doubt that he’ll ever make it up the show.

57.  Jeff Hunt, 3B (18 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 15th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.240 average, .666 OPS, 2 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 37;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Selected by the Dodgers in the 15th round of the 2009 draft, Jeff Hunt turned down a scholarship to Ohio University and signed with the Dodgers when they offered him $125,000 and up to $114,000 in education money if he enrolls in school within two years of retiring from professional baseball.  Upon signing Hunt said it was a tough decision, but also explained that he wanted to play every day instead of having to worry about school work.  Hunt’s professional career got started a little late due to delayed US visa paperwork (he’s from Canada), and his 2009 stint with the Arizona Dodgers was mostly just a learning experience.  Before heading to spring training in 2010, he told his local newspaper “You can find someone off the street and they’ll tell you I didn’t have a great season. But more than just putting up stats, it was a learning process for me. I got to get my feet a little wet.  Coming out of high school, a lot of players still have problems with their swings and it’s a maturity issue, so those are some of things I had to go through. I worked hard in instructs (instructional league) to clean up my swing and build a mental approach on how to coach myself and feel my swing, and how to get myself out of ruts. Going into this year, knowing more about myself personally and my swing, is something that I picked up last year in only nine weeks in Arizona.”  Unfortunately Hunt’s 2010 season also started due to some sort of injury because he didn’t get into a game until late July.  While he never really got it going in the 18 games he played, Jeff did have a couple of good games and ended up with 2 homers in just 50 at bats.  Despite two lost seasons, what makes Hunt the most valuable in my option is that he is a legitimate power hitter and plays 3rd base.  According to scouting reports, Hunt plays solid defense and “uses his long arms to his advantage from the left side, displaying legitimate power potential.”  He is also a former hockey player, and got a lot of good experience by playing with the Canadian Junior National Baseball Team for a few years before being drafted.  He’s a wildcard right now, especially in terms of power, and 2011 will be a big season for him.  If he comes to camp healthy and has a good spring, the 20 year old could potentially play in a full season league and make a name for himself.  Otherwise, he’ll probably stay in extended spring training until the Pioneer League starts up in June.

56.  Jeremy Wise, C (86 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 5th round

6’0”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.309 average, .868 OPS, 12 HR’s, 62 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 48;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jeremy Wise was already 23 years old when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2009 draft, which drew criticism from some fans.  However, the Dodgers liked the fact that he plays catcher and had success during his college career (2009 Big 12 player of the year, 2009 Finalist for Johnny Bench Award, and 2009 semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award).  According to Logan White, “he reminds you of AJ Ellis as a defender and the kid is really a good hitter.  He stays inside the baseball, he hits to all fields and he’s got good power.  I think he will develop into a power hitting catcher at the major league level.  He plays hard and he is a gamer.”  Wise wasted no time in proving White right because he tore up the Pioneer League in his professional debut with a .338 average and .967 OPS.  In 2010 Wise was promoted to the Midwest League but got off to a very slow start.  Through the first 45 games of the season, Jeremy was hitting just .235 despite being one of the older players in the league.  However, Wise was able to flip the switch at some point in July and ended up hitting .309 for the season by posting a .400 average after the All-Star break along with a 1.089 OPS.  He also ended the year with 12 homers and 62 RBI’s, and had a .990 fielding percentage behind the plate.  While I’m still not sold on Wise due the fact that he has being playing against younger competition for the past two years, his 2nd half performance bought him at least another year of evaluation.  In addition, he crushed left handed pitching and is probably the best hitting catching prospect in the organization, so the Dodgers will want to see what he can do against tougher opposition.  Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if he saw AA at some point in 2011.

55.  Scott Van Slyke, RF (12 games in AAA, 65 games in AA, 48 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 14th round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.270 average, .768 OPS, 14 HR’s, 69 RBI’s, 7 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 28;     Pre 2009 Rank: 123

Scott Van Slyke had a huge year in 2009, but I never really bought into his season because his success came in the hitter friendly California League and he had never shown me anything in his previous 4 seasons.  The 6’5” son of former major leaguer Andy Van Slyke did his best to prove me right in 2010 because he struggled mightily in AA before getting demoted back to Inland Empire in June.  Scott again found his stroke with the 66ers, smacking 9 homers in 189 at bats, and was then sent to AAA to close out the final two weeks of the 2010 season. What’s interesting is that Van Slyke’s has demonstrated that the California League is the only place he can have success.  When you looks at Van Slyke’s split stats for his minor league career, he has an OPS of .883 with Inland Empire, and an OPS of .722 with all other teams.  Overall, while he definitely has the size and bloodlines to succeed, and also has a strong arm and plays solid defense, I’m going to continue to doubt his ability to make it as a big leaguer until he hits somewhere other than HiA.  The 24 year old’s 2011 destination will probably depend on how many outfielders the Dodgers end up inviting to spring training this offseason because most of them will probably end up in AAA.  If the AAA outfield is too crowded Van Slyke will probably end up in AA, but if not he’ll probably be with the Isotopes next year.

54.  Shawn Tolleson, RHP (28.2 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 30th round

6’2”, 215 lbs, 23 years old

1-1, 0.63 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 1.46 FIP, 12.24 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Shawn Tolleson, who was a travel ball teammate of Clayton Kershaw back in high school, had probably the best and most surprising season of any Dodger minor league player in 2010.  Selected in the 30th round of the 2010 draft out of Baylor, nobody thought much about him when he signed because he was coming off of an unimpressive college season.  As a redshirt junior, Tolleson went 2-7 for the Bears with a 5.17 ERA, although he did strikeout more than a batter per inning.  Mainly a starter in college, Tolleson was moved to the bullpen in his professional debut with the Ogden Raptors and something must have clicked because he was filthy all season.  In addition to his stats posted above, his absolutely ridiculous numbers include a .175 batting average against and 17 saves, which lead the league by a significant margin.  He also only walked five batters all season and allowed just two total runs.  A lot of his success can be attributed to his plus cutter, which is his out-pitch.  According to Ogden broadcaster Brandon Hart, “He loves to throw (the cutter) with two strikes and hitters can rarely make contact.  He is definitely a guy to look out for.  He is not only getting the guys out in the bottom of the order and getting the easy three-run lead saves.  He is also getting the close-game, get-out-of-a-jam saves.”  After the season, Tolleson himself said “I was drafted in the 30th round, but maybe I’m not a 30th-rounder.  So yeah, I came in here not even just trying to prove that but just to prove that I’m good enough to make it.”  A Tommy John surgery survivor, Tolleson was a little old for the Pioneer League and only has 28.2 professional innings under his belt, so before we get too excited about him we should probably wait to see what he does in a full season league in 2011.  However, he really did have a dream season for the Raptors so he definitely deserves some respect in my rankings despite being such a late round pick.

53.  Timothy Sexton, RHP (101.1 IP in AA, 28 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 25th round

6’6”, 185 lbs, 23.75 years old

3-13, 5.50 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 4.02 FIP, 7.65 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 40;     Pre 2009 Rank: 57

Coming out of Miami Dade Community College, Timothy Sexton was projected as a third to fifth round pick in the 2007 draft, but many teams stayed away from him when he reportedly asked for a $500,000 signing bonus.  The Dodgers took a chance on him in the 25th round, however, and were able to sign him for $123K.  Because of his college experience, the Dodgers sent him directly to Lo-A where he had a very successful debut.  Since 2007, however, Sexton has had a tough time, especially in terms of his win-loss record.  From 2008 through 2010, Tim has won 16 games and lost 39 games in his time split between HiA and AA.  I know that win-loss records don’t mean much, but that is a pretty bad winning percentage.  In 2010, Sexton was promoted to the Southern League to start the season after throwing almost 300 innings in the California League over the previous two seasons.  He was a starter and reliever for the Lookouts, and accumulated a 3 and 12 win – loss record before getting demoted to HiA.  While his ERA was 5.06, you could say that Sexton was a little unlucky in AA as his FIP was a respectable 3.73.  Upon rejoining the 66ers in August, Tim was really roughed up for a 7.07 ERA through 28 innings.  When you look at the season as a whole, Sexton did show some improvement because he held his own in AA and improved his strikeout rate significantly when compared to the last few seasons.  However he was also hit hard throughout the season (.306 batting average against), and again fell victim to the long ball as he allowed 14 homers (after giving up 17 bombs in 2009).   The good news is that he is still just 23 years old, so the 6’6” righty still has time to improve his game.  He was invited to participate in one of the Arizona Instructional Leagues after the season, and he’ll probably return to AA in 2011.

52.  Noel Cuevas, OF (3 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 21st round

6’2”, 187 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats right handed

.333 average, .833 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

2010 21st round pick Noel Cuevas inked a deal with the Dodgers right around the deadline for $100K, but his signing went unnoticed by most because he was overshadowed by Zach Lee.  The outfielder from Puerto Rico was just 18 years old when he signed, and has intriguing raw power according to Baseball America.  He can put on a show in batting practice, however he has holes in his swing and his power doesn’t always translate into home runs during games.  He’s apparently destined for left field because of his below average arm, but he is strong runner with good makeup.  I actually watched a video of him and his outfield defense does indeed looked suspect, but I liked his swing which does seem to generate a lot of power.  Still raw as a baseball player, Cuevas will likely benefit from playing every day in the minor leagues and could have some success once he adjusts to more advanced pitching.  After playing just 3 games in the Arizona League in 2010, he’ll probably spend the 2011 season with the Ogden Raptors where he could have a big season in the hitter friendly Pioneer League.

51.  Ryan Christenson, LHP (36 IP in LoA, 14.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 7th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 22.25 years old

3-1, 4.97 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 2.86 FIP, 7.46 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

2010 was actually the 3rd time that the Dodgers drafted Ryan Christenson.  He was a 35th round selection out of high school in 2007, but chose to go to Nebraska instead.  He didn’t play at all for the Cornhuskers in 2008, however, and transferred to South Mountain CC in Arizona for the 2009 season.  The Dodgers then made Christenson a 40th round selection in 2009, but again he declined to sign because he believed he could improve upon his 5.87 ERA.  He made the right decision because Ryan has a stellar season at South Mountain CC in 2010, posting a 1.09 ERA and striking out 59 batters in 58 innings.  That forced the Dodgers to use a 7th round pick on him in 2010, and Christenson signed relatively quickly for $125K.  Ryan was initially assigned to the Arizona Dodgers, but he dominated the league over a 3 week period (1 earned run in 14.2 innings with a .192 batting average against).  Therefore, he was promoted to the Loons in late July and remained in the Midwest League for the remainder of the season.  While most of his stats weren’t very good in LoA, he did have a solid FIP because he showed good control and only allowed 1 homer all season.  Described as having a loose arm, it should be noted that Christenson’s dad Gary pitched in the major leagues with the Royals in 1979 and 1980.  In addition, after the season Baseball America said that Christenson “doesn’t have top shelf stuff, but he’s one to watch.”  Now 22 years old, the left hander will probably return to Great Lakes in 2011 and work as one of the team’s 5 starters.  I’m going to keep a close eye on him and try to learn more about his pitching repertoire because I think he is a potential breakout candidate for next season.

50.  James Adkins, LHP (4 IP in AAA, 45.1 IP in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’6”, 230 lbs, 25.25 years old

3-2, 5.84 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 4.29 FIP, 9.85 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 41;     Pre 2009 Rank: 18

For a supplemental first round pick, James Adkins has definitely been a disappointment.  The all time strikeout leader at Tennessee with 380 K’s now has a career minor league ERA of 4.77 and a career WHIP of 1.58.  However there is good news because Adkins was finally converted to a reliever in 2010 (a move that I recommended last year) and while his overall stats weren’t amazing, he did have a couple of streaks during which he was very effective.  While in AA, James had a combined ERA of 1.08 in the months of May and June, and then didn’t allow a run in 11 August appearances.  AA batters also hit just .238 against him for the season, and he struck out almost 10 batters per 9 innings.  Even though Adkins struggled during his two week stint with the Isotopes, which inflated his 2010 ERA, I still believe that he has value to the organization.  Lookouts announcer Larry Ward said that Adkins’ fastball was up to 93 mph in 2010, which is definitely faster than when he was a starter.  When you combine his fastball with his good slider, that could be a recipe for success as a reliever.  After spending three seasons in the Southern League, the 25 year old Adkins will most likely start the 2011 season in the Albuquerque bullpen.  If he has some success in AAA, there is a definitely the possibility that he could help the Dodgers at some point in the future, especially since the Dodgers are currently lacking in left handed relievers.

Why #50: Despite poor stats over his minor league career, he was a 1st round pick and hopefully will thrive now that he’s a full time reliever.  I’m not overly optimistic about his future, but believe he deserves to be in the top 50 give his size and move to the bullpen.  He could eventually spend time with the Dodgers in middle relief.

49.  Brent Leach, LHP (39.2 IP in AAA, 65 IP in AA)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 6th round

6’5”, 215 lbs, 28.25 years old

10-5, 5.25 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 4.00 FIP, 7.62 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 31;     Pre 2009 Rank: 17

Brent Leach had an interesting year in 2010.  He started the season in AAA as a reliever, but then was sent to Chattanooga to work as a starter.  During his stint in the Southern League he actually had a pretty smooth transition, going 7 and 3 with a 4.57 ERA and a 3.98 FIP.  After the season, however, Leach was designated for assignment and his rights were sold to the Yokohoma Baystars in Japan.  Because I put together my rankings at the beginning of November, Leach is included in my list, and this is where he would have ranked had he stayed in the organization.  Personally, I wasn’t very upset when I heard that Leach leaving because I didn’t feel like he provided much value anymore.  He is already 28 years old, and the Dodgers were trying to convert him to a starting pitcher, which is a role I think he would have failed in.  In my opinion, even if Leach had stayed in the bullpen he would have continued to be a marginal left handed specialist at best, and while he probably would have given the Dodgers a few more good innings out of the bullpen in the future, there is no way he would have been anything special. Good luck to him in the Far East.

Why #49: He already played in the major leagues so he has what it takes to pitch in the big leagues, but even if he didn’t go to Japan I simply didn’t see much upside and wasn’t sure how he fit into the Dodgers future plans now that he is 28 year old.

48.  Justin Sellers, SS (90 games in AAA, 24 games in HiA in 2010)

Acquired via trade with Cubs in April 2009

5’10”, 160 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.279 average, .815 OPS, 14 HR’s, 68 RBI’s, 7 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 75;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Originally selected by Oakland in the 6th round of the 2005 draft, Justin Sellers was traded to the Cubs in February of 2009 for Michael Wuertz.  He was then traded to the Dodgers for an undisclosed amount of cash.  Sellers ended up hitting a solid .280 for the Lookouts in 2009, but didn’t show any power as he had just two homers.  He was then demoted to HiA for the beginning of the 2010 season, and only hit .260 for the 66ers in 24 games.  Nevertheless, when Chin-lung Hu got injured Sellers was the one to replace him at shortstop in AAA and that is where the magic began.  Despite coming into the 2010 season with just 17 career homers in 5 minor leagues seasons, Sellers managed to slug 14 jacks with the Isotopes and posted a .867 OPS.  In addition, he hit .285 and walked nearly as much as he struck out.  Like many other Albuquerque players Justin was aided by the hitter friendly home ballpark, but even still he had a very impressive season.  When you look a little deeper into his background, however, you’ll realize that Sellers big season wasn’t as big of a surprise as first thought.  Sellers was named by Baseball America as currently having the best strike zone discipline in the Dodgers organization, and was in their top 30 from 2006 through 2008, peaking at #9 in the 2006 version of the book.  He is also the son of former big league pitcher Jeff Sellers, so he has the great bloodlines.  In addition, before he was drafted some scouts thought that Sellers would have been a late first round pick if he had been just a few inches taller.  Always known for his strong defense up the middle, Justin’s bat was what was keeping him from the big leagues.  Now that he’s shown he can hit advanced pitching, the Dodgers seem to have placed more confidence in Sellers heading into 2011.  Not only did the Dodgers trade Hu, but they also invited Justin to big league spring training.  Since Dee Gordon isn’t quite ready to play in the big leagues, my guess would be that Sellers would be next in line for the Dodgers shortstop position in 2011 should injuries hit the big league club.  I still don’t think Sellers has a very high ceiling nor do I believe he’ll ever be the Dodgers starting shortstop for a long period of time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually gets added to the 40 man roster and fills the Chin-lung Hu role for a season or two.

Why #48: I expect Sellers to make it to the big leagues one day as a backup infielder, but that is really his ceiling as he has limited upside at the big league level.  He could be the Dodgers next Chin-Lung Hu.

47.  Luis Vasquez, RHP (40.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 10/20/03

6’4”, 192 lbs, 25 years old

3-2, 2.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 4.14 FIP, 8.70 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 174;     Pre 2009 Rank: 130

When I did my rankings last year, I had no idea Vasquez could throw 99 mph.  If I had known that, I definitely would have ranked him higher.  That being said, the fact that Luis Vasquez was added to the 40 man roster in November was still one of the most surprising Dodger moments of 2010.  I know that he posted a strong ERA and batting average against with the Loons in 2010, but he was also one of the older players in the Midwest League, did not have good peripheral stats in 2010, and has terrible career stats.  Vasquez is extremely wild, and has a career walk rate of 6.1 walks per 9 innings.  He also gives up a lot of home runs, and has a career K/9 of just 6.60.  Stats aside, Vasquez does have a fastball can reach into the upper 90’s and has an ideal pitcher’s frame, so obviously that is what the Dodgers were looking at when they added him to their 40 man roster.  But even still, there is no way that another team would have selected Vasquez in the Rule 5 draft had he been left unprotected.  One good thing about him being on the 40 man roster, however, is that now he will get more of a chance to work with major league coaches.  Hopefully these coaches will be able to teach him better control of his 99 mph, which could turn the soon to be 25 year old into a legitimate prospect in 2011.  With a full season of LoA under his belt, combined with stops in HiA in previous seasons, I’m guessing that Vasquez will be ready for AA next year. 

Why #47: His 99 mph fastball earned him a spot in my top 50, but he’s already 25 years old and going to have to do something in the upper minor leagues before he moves up any further in my rankings.  He has the ceiling of a power late inning reliever a la Ronald Belisario, but the chances are slim that he reaches that potential.

46.  Cole St. Clair, LHP (60.2 IP in AA, 12 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 7th round

6’5”, 225 lbs, 24.5 years old

1-3, 4.21 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 3.31 FIP, 9.17 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 29;     Pre 2009 Rank: 20

Cole St. Clair had a very impressive high school and college resume, and it’s amazing that he fell all the way to the 7th round of the 2008 draft.  While I’ve written these stats before, they are worth mentioning again: (1) as sophomore at Rice, he went 7-2 in 74 innings with a 1.82 ERA, struck out 100 batters, and allowed only a .151 batting average; (2) in the summer of 2006 he played for Team USA and posted a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings and struck out 43; (3) during his junior season at Rice he recorded a 1.91 ERA and picked up 9 saves; (4) finally as a college senior he went 10-3 with a 3.03 ERA.  After St. Clair was drafted, Logan White called St. Clair the “sleeper” of the draft and predicted that he would move quickly through the system; and so far White’s assessment appears to have been accurate.  After two strong seasons in the Pioneer League and Midwest League, Cole started the 2010 season in HiA with the 66ers.  He got off to a great start in the California League, and before the calendar turned to May he was already promoted to AA.   Once in Chattanooga, St. Clair was pretty consistent throughout the season, posting ERA’s in the 4’s for every month from May through August.  Despite his mediocre ERA, his overall FIP for the year was 3.31, and he only allowed 3 homers in 70+ innings.  In addition, he struck out more than a batter per inning.  At 6’5”, Cole doesn’t throw real hard, and according to Lookouts announcer Larry Ward his velocity in AA was around 88-92 mph.  However, he has enough quality pitches and solid pitch placement which may get him to the show at some point in the future.  After the season St. Clair was invited to participate in the Arizona instructional league, and for 2011 I’m guessing he’ll get to play in AAA.

Why #46: He didn’t really have a bad year, but the emergence of other prospects caused him to drop in my rankings.  He is already 24 years old, and I see his ceiling as that of a middle reliever at the big league level.

45.  Justin Miller, RHP (42.1 IP in AA, 34.2 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 6th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 23.5 years old

6-2, 2.10 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 4.20 FIP, 5.49 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 54;     Pre 2009 Rank: 48

Justin Miller was considered to be one of the best community college pitchers available in the 2007 draft, yet he fell to the 6th round where the Dodgers gladly scooped him up.  What probably scared most teams away was the fact that Miller actually spent more time in right field than on the mound during his final college season, as he developed a tender elbow.  Nevertheless, he was hitting 94 on the radar gun before his injury, and at 6’3”, the Dodgers felt like he had a very projectable frame.  In his first three professional seasons, Miller was used strictly as a starter and had pretty disappointing results.  His career win-loss record heading into 2010 was 11 – 26, and he was much too hittable.  So the Dodgers decided to move Justin to the bullpen in 2010, and they have got to be pleased with his results.  Starting the year in LoA, Miller recorded a 1.30 ERA through 34.2 innings and had an outstanding .208 batting average against.  Given his success the Dodgers moved Miller up to AA where he wasn’t quite as dominant, but continued to get the job done.  After the season he was invited to participate in the AFL, and prior to the start of the Fall season DeJon Watson said about Miller: “We’ll try to push the envelope with him. He has a sinking fastball. He’s a ground-ball pitcher, and we want to get him prepared for next level. He’ll probably start the season at Double-A. We want him facing better hitters here to understand the adjustments he’ll need to make. He can be deceptive, and we want him to get to where hitters are chasing his pitches.”  Miller didn’t fare too well in the AFL, but he did get experience against advanced competition which will hopefully help him down the road.  As Watson alluded to, Miller is a sinkerball pitcher who pitches to contact when possible.  That is why his strikeout rate is so low, and it also affects his FIP.  In November I was sure the Dodgers would add Miller to their 40 man roster since he was eligible for the Rule 5 draft and would be easy to hide in the back of a big league bullpen, but the Dodgers decided against it and luckily he is still in the organization.  Justin will return to the Southern League in 2011, although a mid-season promotion to AAA is very possible.  I like Miller as a pitcher because of his sinker ball, and I predict that at some point down the road he’ll be good enough to help out the Dodgers bullpen in middle relief a la Ramon Troncoso. 

Why #45: Had a great year after moving to the bullpen, although his K/9 is pretty scary.  Looks to me like he could be a middle reliever at the big league level, and since he has a good sinkerball he could be the pitcher that gets called on to get out of a jam by inducing a double play ball.

 

44.  Greg Wilborn, LHP (38.2 IP in LoA, 43.2 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 18th round

6’2”, 175 lbs, 23.75 years old

8-2, 2.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 2.13 FIP, 11.70 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 124;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

As you can see, Greg Wilborn has moved up quite a bit in my rankings since last year and has definitely turned into a legitimate pitching prospect.  He was drafted out of the University of Louisiana Lafayette in the 18th round of the 2009 draft, and for his career with the Ragin Cajuns Wilborn compiled an ERA of 7.30.  However, it should be noted that he missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007.  Upon signing with the Dodgers Wilborn had a forgettable professional debut in the Pioneer League, recording a 7.45 ERA.  He returned to Ogden to start the 2010 season, but this time the results were very different.  In 8 starts with the Raptors Wilborn posted a 2.06 ERA, and stuck out over 12 batters per inning.  He was also undefeated in 4 decisions, and had a phenomenal FIP of 1.81.  That led to a promotion to the Midwest League in August where Wilborn continued to have success.  With the Loons, Greg recorded a 3.26 ERA in 7 starts and continued to rake up the K’s by striking out over 11 batters per 9 innings.  For the season as a whole, batters hit just .239 against Wilborn, and his FIP of 2.13 ranked as the best among Dodger farmhands (minimum 50 IP).  In addition, he has begun to get some recognition from the Dodgers because during my interview with DeJon Watson, he mentioned Wilborn as a breakout candidate and said “isn’t it something what he’s doing this year?”  In terms of his pitching repertoire, this lefty features a slider, curveball, and changeup, and can get his fastball up to 94 mph.  Therefore it definitely sounds like he has the velocity and secondary pitches to remain in the starting rotation.  Wilborn will be 24 this upcoming June, so the Dodgers will probably want to be relatively aggressive with him in 2011.  I’m guessing he’ll start the year in HiA, but might even get a shot to play in AA if he pitches well in the California League.  Finally, Greg got engaged this past offseason, so that is exciting news for him.

 

Why #44: Wilborn had great stats in 2010 which caused him to jump onto the prospect radar this past season, and I like his potential because he throws left handed.  That being said, Wilborn is 23 years old and I believe his ceiling is that of a #5 starter or a lefty middle reliever.

 

43.  Jamie Hoffmann, RF (139 games in AAA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 9/2/03

6’3”, 235 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats right handed

.310 average, .800 OPS, 8 HR’s, 74 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 30;     Pre 2009 Rank: 29

Jamie Hoffmann is an ex-hockey player who signed with the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent way back in 2003.  He worked his way through the organization and was added to the 40 man roster prior to the 2009 season.  Injuries to other players allowed Hoffmann to make his major league debut in May 2009, but he was sent down after 14 games and was removed from the 40 man roster later that season.  Taken by the Yankees with the 1st pick of the 2009 Rule 5 draft, he battled with new Dodger Marcus Thames for a spot in the Yankees outfield, but was eventually sent back to Los Angeles and spent the entire season in Albuquerque.  Jamie had a very solid season for the Isotopes, leading the PCL with 169 hits, stealing 17 bases, and recording an .800 OPS.  Always known as a strong defensive outfielder, Hoffmann maintained his reputation by making only 1 error and posting a .996 fielding percentage for the season.  He also led the team with 5 outfield assists.  After the season the Dodgers continued to confuse casual fans by adding Hoffmann to their 40 man roster once again.  Now 26 years old, I still don’t see Hoffmann as more than a late inning defensive replacement and backup outfielder at the big league level, and given the Dodgers outfield current outfield situation he won’t see LA in 2011 unless there are a few injuries on the big league roster and Xavier Paul gets moved.  He is definitely worth keeping around, but his ceiling just isn’t very high.  Look for Hoffmann to again put up strong numbers in AAA again next season while he awaits another call to Los Angeles.

Why #43: Hoffmann has already made his major league debut and is on the 40 man roster, so that earns him some respect in my ranking.  However he is already 26 years old and has the ceiling of a backup outfielder, so that is why he didn’t rank higher on my list.

42.  Carlos Frias, RHP (39.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 1/3/07

6’4”, 170 lbs, 21.25 years old

2-6, 7.78 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 5.39 FIP, 9.84 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 32;     Pre 2009 Rank: 71

Signed out the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old before the 2007 season, Frias posted a 1.81 ERA in his professional debut in the DSL.  He was then promoted to the Gulf Coast League for the 2008 season and held his own despite being one of the younger players in the league.  He spent most of 2009 in the Arizona League and it was there that scouts and coaches began to notice his 96 mph fastball and his overall potential.  After jumping onto the Dodger prospect radar, however, Carlos Frias struggled with inconsistency in 2010 and ended up with ugly stats in the Pioneer League.  When I asked Ogden announcer Brandon Hart about his struggles, he said “Lately the velocity has been down but it is a mystery as to why.  The fastball is 91-93 but was probably in the high 80s in his last start.  Inconsistent is the word though.  His curveball is top notch but he has trouble controlling it.  When he knows where his pitches are going, he is nearly unhittable.   Also has a change-up that is coming along.”  Baseball America basically echoed what Hart said, and also added “Frias has all kinds of projection and runs his fastball up to 96 mph while sitting at 90-92. The problem is that his command completely deserts him frequently, and he walked 21 over 39 innings. Frias will snap off a quality low-80s slider now and then, but like the overall picture, it’s all projection at this point. Check back after next season.”  I agree that Frias has a ton of projection, especially since he has a great pitching frame at 6’4”.  He also maintained a great strikeout rate in 2010, so he definitely still has great stuff at times.  Even though he struggled last year, I’m guessing that Carlos will play in LoA next season with the Loons.  He was placed on the Restricted List for an undisclosed reason in October, however, so I’m not sure how that will affect his status for next season.

Why #42: Frias has a great pitching frame and is still just 21 years old, so I’m pretty much overlooking his stats in 2010.  I like his potential since he has the ability to throw 96 mph, and I see his ceiling as a middle of the rotation guy or a late inning reliever.  The fact that he was placed on the restricted list scares me, however, so that is one reason why he dropped a hit in my rankings from last year.

41.  Nick Akins, LF (47 games in Pioneer League, 20 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 19th round

6’1”, 220 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats right handed

.341 average, 1.125 OPS, 21 HR’s, 70 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 56;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

As I mentioned last year, Nick Akins had an interesting baseball career before even turning pro.  It started in high school when Nick and his father were involved in an ugly fight during his junior season which led to his expulsion from the team.  Nick transferred high schools for his senior year, but wasn’t allowed to play baseball despite his best appeals.  He ended up playing in a weekend adult league and the Dodgers actually drafted him in the 13th round of the 2006 draft.  Nick didn’t sign, however, and played ball at Riverside Community College for two seasons, winning the JUCO state championship in the process.  After the 2008 season Akins transferred to the local NAIA college Vanguard, and after hitting .314 over 47 games with 13 home runs and 35 runs batted in, he was again was drafted by the Dodgers, this time in the 19th round.  He ended up signing with this time and was placed in the Arizona Rookie League where he absolutely dominated.  In just 120 at bats, Akins hit 7 HR’s and had an outstanding 1.055 OPS before getting promoted to the Pioneer League to end the season.  For whatever reason the Dodgers sent Akins back to the Arizona League to start 2010 and he again put up amazing numbers.  In 75 at bats Akins smacked 6 homers, collected 24 RBI’s, hit .400, and had an OPS of 1.277 before moving up to the Ogden Raptors.  Back in the Pioneer League Akins didn’t miss a beat and led the league him homers despite playing in just 47 games.  His Isolated Power (ISOP) of .334 was also extremely impressive.  So with these stats, why isn’t he ranked in the top 10?  For one, the 23 year old Akins has yet to play in a full season league, so that diminished his numbers a bit.  Second,  he has been compared to Manny Ramirez in terms of defense and attitude, so he won’t be able to play anywhere but left field because he doesn’t have the arm or speed to play any other outfield position.  Finally, according to Baseball America his pitch recognition remains spotty so he will probably be exploited in the upper levels of the minor leagues.  Nevertheless, it’s fun to root for a player with such plus power, and it will be interesting to see what he does in a full season league in 2011. 

Why #41: Nick Akins has done nothing wrong since turning pro, but he hasn’t played above rookie ball which discredits his stats a bit.  I see his ceiling as a powerful starting left fielder at the big league level, but Akins is still a long ways off from making it to the show.

40.  Alfredo Silverio, LF (4 games in AA, 95 games in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/03

6’0”, 205 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.283 average, .783 OPS, 12 HR’s, 43 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 38;     Pre 2009 Rank: 28

Signed way back in 2003, Alfredo Silverio has been in the Dodgers organization for 7 seasons.  After spending his first three professional seasons in the DSL, Silverio was sent to the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and put his name on Dodger prospect radar by hitting .373 in 51 games.  That earned him a promotion to Lo-A in 2008, and he returned to the Midwest League in 2009.  In 2010 Silverio moved up to HiA and overall had a pretty decent season; but you would have never guessed that if you had looked at his stats in April, May, June, or even July.  Silverio was hitting just .245 with a .698 OPS through July, but ended the year on fire to finish with a .292 average and an .809 OPS for the 66ers.  Silverio also stole 17 bases and only struck out in only 15.1% of his plate appearances before getting promoted to AA for the final week of the season.  However, Alfredo continued to demonstrate poor patience at the plate, which has been a problem throughout his career (since 2006, he only has 80 walks in 1,813 plate appearances).  During the off-season Silverio participated in the Arizona instructional league and then spent time in the Dominican Winter League where he hit .355 in 15 games.  In terms of his defense, Alfredo has played all three outfield positions throughout his career and has a strong arm, but his below average range will probably limit him to left field as he moves up.  Silverio will almost certainly play in AA in 2011, and he remains a notch below the top prospects for me because I don’t see him having any of the plus skills to get him to the big leagues, especially if he is limited to left field.

 

Why #40: Silverio saved his season with a strong second half, but I still don’t think he has a lot of potential.  The 23 year old doesn’t seem to have any skill that stands out, which leads me to believe that his ceiling is that of a bench player at the big league level.

39.  Geison Aguasviva, LHP (72 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05

6’2”, 166 lbs, 23.5 years old

4-4, 3.75 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 3.48 FIP, 7.13 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 33;     Pre 2009 Rank: 40

Signed prior to the 2006 season, Geison Aguasviva spent two seasons in the Dominican Summer League.  During his 2nd season in the DSL, the then 19 year old Aguasviva dominated his competition with an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of just 0.84 through 66 innings.  Promoted all the way up to the Midwest League to start the 2008 season, Geison had trouble adjusting to life in the USA and struggled through 19 innings.  However, after he was sent down to the Pioneer League he rebounded nicely with a 2.90 ERA in 71 innings.  In 2009 Aguaviva found himself back in LoA and that is where he really had his breakout season.  Used mostly in relief, Geison led the Dodger minor league system with a 1.58 ERA (minimum 50 IP) and had a .236 batting average against.  That brings us to 2010 which Aguasviva spent in HiA.  He was actually used as a starter to begin the season, but a 6.30 ERA through 5 starts prompted the Dodgers to move him back to relief.  In the bullpen, Aguasviva found his groove and posted a 2.77 ERA for the remainder of the season.  The southpaw was especially effective against left handed batters as he held them to a .157 average for the season.  As a tall, skinny player, Aguasviva still has plenty of projection left in his frame.  He currently pitches in the low 90’s, but the Dodgers expect that to jump even higher once he adds muscle.  His best pitch, however, is his changeup which projects as a plus offering.  While Aguasviva’s career strikeout rate is just 7.8 K’s per 9 innings, he makes up for that by allowing very few homers.  Looking to his future, Aguasviva should be used exclusively in relief for the rest of his career and a move to AA in 2011 is likely.  If he continues to have success, he should eventually get a look as a left handed specialist at the big league level.

Why #39: Aguasviva is definitely a reliever, and has the ceiling of a left handed bullpen arm at the big league level.  Really his drop in ranking is only due to the emergence of other prospects.

38.  Steven Ames, RHP (28.1 IP in LoA, 3 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 17th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 23 years old

0-2, 2.30 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 0.42 FIP, 13.79 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 53;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Since getting selected in the 17th round of the 2009 draft out of Gonzaga, Steven Ames has been nothing short of incredible.  In his debut season in 2009, Ames had a 14.10 K/9 and he only walked 6 batters through 30 innings with the Raptors.  In addition, opposing players hit just .192 against him, and his FIP was an incredible 1.53.  His 2010 season got off to a late start because he partially tore his hamstring in spring training, but when joined the Loons at the end of June he stole the closer role from Vasquez and again had an unbelievable season.  In 28.1 innings Ames struck out 44 batters (13.98 K/9), walked only 3, picked up 16 saves, and had a WHIP of 0.85.  In addition, his FIP of 0.41 was one of the lowest I’ve seen for somebody with at least 25 innings.  After the season, Ames was sent to the Arizona Fall League but got roughed up in two outings and was sent home early with a minor injury.  DeJon Watson had this to say about his AFL appearance, “His numbers weren’t good, but he threw the ball good. He had a couple bad breaks or he could have been out of innings.”  Steven was also invited to participate in the Dodgers Winter Development Minicamp this past January.  I’m not 100% sure what his arsenal consists of, but I’ve heard he hits at least 94 mph with this fastball and has three solid pitches with a good overall feel for pitching. Ames will have just turned 23 years old when the 2011 season starts, and I really hope that he finds his way up to AA next year given his dominant pitching performances over the past two seasons.

Why #38: Ames obviously has good stuff because he has posted ridiculous numbers over the past two years.  He needs to continue to have success against more advanced competition, but if he can keep it up, I believe he has the potential to one day be a set-up man in the big leagues.

37.  Tony Delmonico, C (60 games in HiA, 7 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 6th round

6’0”, 194 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.280 average, .763 OPS, 3 HR’s, 18 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 17;     Pre 2009 Rank: 13

After signing with the Dodgers as a 6th round pick in 2008, Tony Delmonico had an outstanding professional debut in the Pioneer League as a 2nd baseman.  He was then converted to catcher in 2009, and despite the tough transition he continued to hit with the Loons and was widely considered to be the best all around catcher in the Midwest League.  Moving ahead to 2010, Tony was supposed to be the everyday catcher for the 66ers, but unfortunately injuries cost him about half of his season.  When he was healthy for Inland Empire, Delmonico didn’t show much power, but he did demonstrate extreme patience at the plate.  He walked more than he struck out, and had an on base percentage of .418 for the season.  He also threw out 31% of potential base stealers and continued to improve defensively.   Still just 23 years old, and only two years into his catching career, I think that Delmonico remains the Dodgers top catching prospect heading into 2011 because he has the most upside.  If he can stay healthy, my guess is that he’ll spend 2011 in AA as the team’s main catcher.  At the very least, I believe that Delmonico will one day make it to the big leagues as a backup catcher.

Why #37: If Delmonico can stay healthy, I believe he has the potential to be a starting catcher at the big league level.  Injuries have definitely slowed him down, however, and his lost year caused him to drop in my rankings.  He’s going to have to stay on the field in 2011 to prove his worth since he’s not getting any younger.

 

36.  Derek Cone, RHP (4.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 31st round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 20.75 years old

0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 3.43 FIP, 2.08 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Derek Cone in the 31st round of the 2010 draft after he had a great year for Mesa Community College in Arizona.  Cone was the team’s ace all year and had a 1.93 ERA in 84 innings to go along with 105 strikeouts.  His most impressive performance in college came when he threw 11.1 innings in a playoff game, no hitting the other team for 9.2 of those innings.  After much deliberation, Derek gave up his BYU commitment and signed with the Dodgers at the deadline for $150K.  He explained “I was all moved in and signed a 12 month lease for an apartment in Provo when a couple days before the signing deadline I received a call saying the Dodgers would come up to my asking price.”  Because Cone signed late he only pitched 4.1 innings in his professional debut with the Ogden Raptors.  At 6’5”, Cone is an intimidating presence on the mound and has a great pitching frame.  He currently throws in the low 90’s, although the Dodgers believe he’ll gain velocity as he adds muscle.  He also has a solid curveball, which is currently his best pitch, and like many other young pitchers he is developing his changeup.  He’ll still be just 20 years old when the 2011 season begins, so I’m not sure if the Dodgers will send the young right hander to a full season league.  No matter where he plays he’ll definitely be used as a starter because there is no point stunting his growth by putting him in the bullpen this early in his career.

Why #36: Cone is a bit of a sleeper since he was a 31st round pick and didn’t get much attention when he signed, but he has the potential to be a middle of the rotation starter in the big leagues.  Of course he is a long ways off from that potential, but he is still young and has a great pitching frame. 

35.  Austin Gallagher, 1B (111 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 3rd round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats left handed

.291 average, .755 OPS, 6 HR’s, 64 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 19;     Pre 2009 Rank: 7

If you didn’t know anything about Austin Gallagher, when you looked at stats for 2010 you’d say he had a pretty good year.  I mean he spent the season as a 21 year old in HiA and posted a solid average with a little bit of power, so what isn’t there to like?  Well the problem is that Gallagher put up almost identical stats in the same league two year ago as a 19 year old, so he has actually regressed since getting drafted in 2007.  In addition, while Gallagher used to spend most of his time at the hot corner, he is now strictly a first baseman.  Despite the fact that Gallagher’s prospect shine has lost quite a bit of luster over the past two years, he isn’t a lost cause yet.  Still just 22 years old, he is a 6’5” giant who already has 4 years of professional experience.  The power still isn’t there, as demonstrated by his 6 homers and .755 OPS, but he did hit .291 and led the 66ers with 64 RBI’s.  He also makes good contact and had a solid 16.7% strikeout rate in 2010.  In addition, he was invited to participate in the Arizona Instructional League after the season, so he is definitely still on the Dodgers radar.  Given that he has already spent two year in Class A, I’m guessing that Gallagher will move up to AA in 2011.  If he does make it to the Southern League he will be one of the younger players in the league, so if he continues to hit for a decent average and is able to show even a little bit of power, Gallagher will continue to be considered a legitimate prospect in my book. 
Why #35: Gallagher dropped in my ranking because he is now limited to 1st base and still hasn’t tapped into his power potential.  However he is still just 22 years old and has the size to one day be a legitimate power threat at the plate.  I still see his ceiling as a big league 1st baseman if he can show some more power, although a more realistic goal for him would be to make it to the show as a bench player.

34.  Russell Mitchell, 1B/3B (127 games in AAA)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 15th round

5’11”, 205 lbs, 26 years old, bats right handed

.315 average, .898 OPS, 23 HR’s, 87 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 52;     Pre 2009 Rank: 32

Russell Mitchell has been with the Dodgers since 2003, and played with 12 different minor league teams before finally realizing his goal of making it to the big leagues this past season.  He had some good seasons in the past, but it wasn’t until he reached the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League that he really had a breakout year.  Mitchell ranked among to the top 10 in many of the league’s offensive category, and led the Isotopes with 97 runs scored.  He also held his own at 3rd base, and showed versatility by playing four other positions, which really boosted his value as a prospect.  Upon getting called up to the Dodgers in September, Mitchell continued to show off his power with two homers in 15 games.  The only worrisome thing about his season was that Russ did much of his offensive damage at home in the friendly confines of “The Lab”, while posting an OPS of just .770 on the road.  In addition, Mitchell has a pretty low ceiling as a big league player and is already 26 years old, so that is why he didn’t place higher in my rankings.  Known as a grinder in the mold of Kevin Millar, Mitchell is now on the 40 man roster at the very least will return to Los Angeles when rosters expand next September.  For most of the 2011 season, however, I’m sure he’ll continue to wreak havoc against AAA pitching.

Why #34: Mitchell has the ability to play 3rd base and has already made his major league debut, which are two reasons why he moved up in my rankings.  The reason he isn’t in my top 30, however, is because he is 26 years old and I don’t see much upside as his ceiling is a utility player at the big league level.

 

33.  Travis Schlichting, RHP (47.1 IP in AAA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 10/6/07

6’4”, 190 lbs, 26.25 years old

3-0, 4.75 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 4.36 FIP, 5.51 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 26;     Pre 2009 Rank: 38

Travis Schlichting was originally selected as a 3rd baseman in the 4th round of the 2003 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but he never really succeeded with his bat.  He was traded to the Angels after the 2005 season, and during 2006 he played both in the field and on the mound.  Released by the Angles, Schlichting wound up playing with an independent league for all of 2007.  The Dodgers decided to take a chance on him in October of 2007, and after an extended stay in Spring Training at the beginning of 2008, he debuted at AA for the Dodgers and pitched very well throughout the entire season.  That winter he was added to the 40 man roster, and in 2009 he battled injuries but put up great stats when healthy.  He actually made his major league debut on 6/7/09 in Texas and allowed one run in 1.2 innings.  He pitched in just one more MLB game before getting sent down to Albuquerque in mid June, and was eventually placed on the 60 day DL to end his season.  That brings us to Schlichting’s unique 2010 season in which he performed better in the big leagues than he did in the minors.  In 47.1 AAA innings, Schlichting had a 4.75 ERA and a .294 batting average against, but in his 22.2 innings with the Dodgers he recorded a 3.57 ERA and a .233 batting average against.  I guess some of the discrepancy can be linked to the PCL being such a hitter friendly league, but even still it is pretty rare for a player to do better in the majors than in the minors.  Schlichting’s fastball generally sits in the low 90’s, although he gets up to 94 mph on occasion, and he has several other pitches he can throw for strikes.  While Schlichting has never had a high strikeout rate and lacks a true strikeout pitch, his composure in the Dodgers bullpen over the past two seasons demonstrates to me that he can be a valuable option out of the Dodgers bullpen.  He won’t make the Dodgers out of spring training this year due to their crowded bullpen, but I’m pretty sure he’ll be in Los Angeles at some point in 2011.

Why #33: Schlichting has already proven that he can have success at the big league level, but his ceiling seems to be that of a middle reliever.  Now 26 years old, he’s basically an insurance policy for the Dodgers. 

32.  Brandon Martinez, RHP (36 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 7th round

6’4”, 160 lbs, 20.25 years old

3-2, 5.25 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 2.89 FIP, 8.00 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 27;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Brandon Martinez was drafted in 2009, and when I saw that he had signed with the Dodgers I was very excited.  Drafted out of Fowler High School (near Fresno), Martinez had dominate stats during his senior season as he struck out 85 batters in 45 innings and allowed a .124 batting average against.  At 6’4” he also had a great pitching frame, so I really like his ceiling.  After the draft, Logan White said “This kid is skinny as rail but I’ll tell you he has an outstanding delivery, throws hard and has a fine breaking ball. We’ll have to put a little weight on him. He could turn into a really fine pitcher over time.”  Upon signing with the Dodgers, Martinez was sent to the Arizona Rookie League and struggled mightily.  I didn’t read too much into those stats, however, because he was simply adjusting to professional hitters and more importantly did show flashes of dominance with this strikeout rate.  In 2010 he returned to the Arizona League and had an up and down season.  When he started games (5 starts and 24.1 innings), he had a 2.22 ERA with a .266 batting average against.  When he pitched in relief (7 games and 11.2 innings), he had an 11.57 ERA and a .383 batting average against.  In addition, while his overall season ERA was 5.25, his FIP was a much more impressive 2.89.  Given these stats and the upside he brings, it appears that the Dodgers should strictly use him as a starter going forward.  After the season, I talked to DeJon Watson about Martinez and he said that he has gained about 10 pounds since last year, but he still needs some more added strength.  Watson also stated that while he can still touch 93 and 94 mph on a good night, he sits comfortably with a slightly above average fastball at about 90 to 92 mph.  Finally, DeJon said his breaking ball is solid average, and his changeup is developing.  In 2011, Brandon, who struggles with Tourette Syndrome, will probably only move up to the Pioneer League since I don’t believe he is ready for a full season league.  He is definitely someone to watch, however, because I believe he has the tools to become a top 20 prospect by next year.

Why #32: Brandon Martinez is still very young, and is my opinion has the upside of a #3 starter at the big league level.  It’s always tough to judge high school talent, but I love players with potential and I think that Martinez has tons of it. 

 

31.  Angelo Songco, LF (135 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 4th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.274 average, .790 OPS, 15 HR’s, 71 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 39;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Angelo Songco was born in Granda Hills and played his college ball locally at Loyola Marymount.  During his junior season he led the Lions with a .360 average, 15 home runs, and 63 RBI’s in just 59 games to go along with a sizzling OPS of 1.159.  Selected by the Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2009 draft, Songco signed quickly for $225,000 and continued his torrid hitting in the Pioneer League, whacking 7 home runs in his first 19 games.  In spring training 2010, Songco got to play in a few games with the big league club and even hit a no doubt about it homer against the Angels on 3/15/10.  For the 2010 season Songco was promoted to LoA, and was the Loons everyday left fielder.  Despite being one of the younger offensive players on the club, Songco hit 15 homers in a team high 507 at bats.  In addition, if it wasn’t for a terrible slump to end the season, Angelo’s OPS would have been well over .800 for the year.  Songco also made good contact, striking out in just 16% of his plate appearances, and held his own against left handed pitchers with a .250 average.  Stats aside, the one thing that stands out for Songco is his huge power.  While he is not a big or imposing player by any stretch of the imagination, he can knock the cover off the ball with his extremely quick swing.  In fact, one of Songco’s homers last season reportedly traveled an estimated 508 feet at Dow Diamond.  While he gets pull happy at times, he does have power to all fields.  The only drawback to Songco is that he is limited to playing left field, but he hasn’t made many errors at all since turning pro and has an adequate arm.  If he can adjust to the more advanced competition and continue to hit homers, Songco will shoot up the prospect charts.  He’ll probably play in the California League next season and will hopefully have a field day in the hitter friendly environment.

Why #31: Songco has a ton of raw power, which is something that you simply can’t teach.  That being said, his defense limits him to left field which generally requires a ton of offensive output.  Therefore, while his ceiling is that of a left fielder at the big league level, he’s going to have to continue to put up big numbers if he ever wants to make it to the show.

30.  Jon Link, RHP (60.2 IP in AAA in 2010)

Acquired in trade with White Sox for Juan Pierre

6’1”, 190 lbs, 27 years old

3-2, 3.71 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.55 FIP, 8.16 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jon Link, who was acquired from the White Sox when the Dodgers sent Juan Pierre to Chicago, was originally a 26th round pick of the Padres back in 2005.  In his 5 professional seasons prior to joining the Dodgers, Link had put up solid career numbers as he had struck out over a batter per inning and had an ERA of around 3.90.  After joining the Dodgers, he spent most of the 2010 season in AAA and in my opinion was the pitching MVP of the team.  The workhorse of the Isotopes bullpen, Link threw 60.2 innings and recorded a 3.71 ERA.  His FIP for the year was 3.55 and he picked up 4 saves and 3 wins.  In addition, Link made his major league debut in 2010 as he was called up by the Dodgers 6 different times during the season.  However he was used sparingly during his callups and his MLB sample size is too small to analyze.  After the season Link was sent to the Arizona Fall League, and despite being a reliever his entire career DeJon Watson said “We’ll use him here in a starting role to get him stretched out. We know he can pitch in the middle of the bullpen at the big league level. We want to get him stretched out here to create more value going into Spring Training.”  Jon was pretty mediocre in the AFL, but during the Dodgers “Young Guns” pitching minicamp in January 2011 Rick Honeycutt re-emphasized that Link will continue to work as a starter since he “can always go back (to relief).”  In terms of his stuff, Link has a 3 pitch mix that starts his with low 90’s fastball.  His best pitch, however, is his slider which is a legitimate strikeout pitch.  Give the Dodgers pitching depth, Link will definitely start the 2011 season in AAA, but I’m guessing he’ll find his way back to LA at some point again next season.  Whether he is a starter or reliever, Link is a solid arm for this organization and gives the team depth.

Why #30: Even though Link is going to train as a starter in 2010, I think his ceiling is that of a middle reliever at the big league level.  If the Dodgers were short on arms I think Link would be able to provide adequate middle relief at the big league level for this upcoming season, but since the Dodgers bullpen appears to already be full for 2011 he’s going to have to continue to perform in AAA if he wants to see time in the MLB again.

29.  Javy Guerra, RHP (27 IP in AA, 2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 4th round

6’0”, 205 lbs, 25.25 years old

2-1, 2.48 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 4.51 FIP, 9.31 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 25;     Pre 2009 Rank: 47

Drafted as a 4th round pick back in 2004, Javy Guerra had a solid debut in the Gulf Coast League but was then sidelined for portions of the 2005 and 2006 seasons due to Tommy John surgery.  He returned to full time action in 2007 and was used as a starter, but the results were disastrous as he had a 6.27 ERA in HiA.  2008 saw the beginning of Guerra’s conversion to reliever, and he has been in the bullpen ever since.  In 2009 Guerra split the year between LoA and AA and had a strong season, prompting the Dodgers to add Javy to their 40 man roster.  Guerra spent the 2010 season in Chattanooga, but injuries limited him to just 29 total innings.  He was sent to the AFL after the season to get in addition work, and DeJon Watson said “He was off-and-on with his health this year [shoulder tendinitis]. He has a chance to be a legitimate bullpen piece. He has a 94-mph fastball and a tight slider with a change. He needs innings. And he’s more than likely going to Mazatlan to play in the Mexican Winter League and carry that into Spring Training to make up for the innings he missed while he was out.”  Unfortunately Guerra suffered a deep cut on his hand while washing dishes toward the end of the AFL season so he didn’t end up throwing again until the Dodgers Winter Development Minicamp in January.  Since Guerra already has a strong fastball and a hard slider, the one thing holding him back from being a big league reliever is his sporadic control.  His career walk rate is 5.3 free passes per 9 innings, and he was even worse at 7.3 walks per 9 during his 2010 season in AA.  He wasn’t any better during his AFL stint, walking 6 batters in 10 innings.  Since he’s on the 40 man roster Guerra will be training with the big league club in spring training, but he has no chance of making the team out of camp.  He’ll probably spend the 2011 season in AAA and hopefully will improve his control. 

Why #29: In short, Guerra is a power reliever with control problems.  He has already shown that he can have success in the upper minor leagues, and if can ever learn to find the plate then he has the ceiling of a solid late inning reliever. 

28.  Javier Solano, RHP (19.2 IP in AA, 44.2 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 177 lbs, 21 years old

3-1, 2.94 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.56 FIP, 10.07 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 111;     Pre 2009 Rank: 139

The Dodgers purchased Solano’s rights from the Mexican League’s Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000.  According to Baseball America at the time of his signing, they said that “Solano’s two best pitches are an 89-93 mph fastball that sits around 91 and a plus 75-78 mph curveball. He also has some feel for a changeup and uses a slider as his fourth offering.”  Assistant GM De Jon Watson also chimed in with some comments when Solano signed, saying that he’s thrown “exceptionally well” and is “very advanced for a 17-year-old, with an above-average fastball and curveball.”  Javier spent his first two professional seasons in the Pioneer League, but his stats were uninspiring and he didn’t get much attention from Dodger prospect junkies.  However that changed in 2010 as Solano made a big splash in his first year playing in full season leagues.  He started the year in HiA, and despite being the youngest player on the team he was by far the best relief pitcher on the 66ers.  While his stats weren’t eye popping, he was very consistent and had great peripherals.  He finished his Inland Empire season with a 3.22 ERA, but his FIP was even better at 2.39.  He also struck out about 10 batters per 9 innings.  That earned him a promotion to AA in August and Solano actually posted even better stats with the Lookouts through 19.1 innings.  When you combine his stats for the season, Solano had the best strikeout to walk ratio of any Dodger minor leaguer, the 3rd best FIP, the 5th best K/9, and the 5th best WHIP (all minimum 50 IP).  And to emphasize his youth again, he did all this as a 20 year old playing in HiA and AA.  So what isn’t there to like about Solano?  The only real downside I can think of his height, as he is actually shorter than his listed measurement of 6’0”.  The reason I know he is shorter than 6 feet is because I found a picture of him standing next to Manny Ramirez (who is 6’0” on a good day), and Solano is a good two inches shorter than Manny.  Also, Charlie Hough specially mentioned to me that listing Javier at 6’0” is very generous.  In addition, in searching through other pictures of Solano, I’d also say that he’s a little heavier than his listed weight of 177, and that’s not because he has put on extra muscle if you know what I mean.  Anyways, despite my concerns about his physical makeup, Solano clearly has the tools to succeed against advanced competition.  At just 21 years old, he is well ahead of the game and seems to be on the fast track for the big leagues.  Nevertheless, he is going to have to continue to put up good numbers or else he’ll be forgotten just like numerous prospects before him.  He’ll probably return to AA in 2011 and will most likely remain there for the entire season since the Dodgers have no reason to rush him.

Why #28: Solano obviously moved up quite a bit in my rankings this year, but before I get too excited about him I’m going to wait and see what he does in 2011.  He had great stats in 2010, but his physical makeup really does scare me.  His ceiling seems to be that of a middle to late inning reliever at the big league level.

27.  Scott Schebler, OF (5 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 26th round

6’1”, 208 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed

.294 average, .863 OPS, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Scott Schebler in the 26th round of the 2010 draft after a huge season at Des Moines Area CC where he hit .446 with 20 jacks and 82 RBI’s.  However his asking price to sign was $300K – $500K and he had a strong commitment Wichita State, so both Scott and the Dodgers played the waiting game.  After getting drafted Schebler participated in the Northwoods League, a wood bat college summer league, to boost his stock.  He did just that as he smacked 10 more homers in just 218 at bats.  While negotiations went down the wire, the Dodgers eventually signed Schebler for $300K and a commitment to pay for his college.  After inking the deal, Schebler said “It was an extremely hard decision. A lot of thought got put into it.  It was an opportunity I didn’t think would come around again. It was a combination of me having leverage, being as young as I am, and the money I got. For the money I got out of this draft, I would have to be a very high draft as a junior.”  An outstanding athlete, the Dodgers got a very solid player in Schebler.  According to Baseball America, he has plus-plus speed and plus-plus raw power to his pull side.  The only question is his defense, which is fringy at this point.  He definitely has the speed to play center, but doesn’t have an accurate arm or the best instincts so he may end up in left.  If he continues to hit like he did in 2010, where he plays doesn’t really matter because his value lies in his offensive abilities.  At 20 years old, the Dodgers might push Schebler to Midwest League since he does have a decent amount of experience under his belt.  He is definitely a prospect to watch, especially given his combination of speed and power, and I have the feeling he’ll move pretty quickly through the Dodgers minor league system.

Why #27: Schebler might be my biggest sleeper in this ranking since he hasn’t really been mentioned much yet as a prospect.  However, I love his combination of speed and power and can see him developing into a legitimate outfield prospect that can play both left and center field at the big league level.  He could move up or down quite a bit in my rankings for next season depending on how he does in 2011.

26.  Brian Cavazos-Galvez, OF (121 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 12th round

6’0”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.318 average, .863 OPS, 16 HR’s, 77 RBI’s, 43 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 34;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

As most people know by now, Brian Cavazos-Galvez is the son of a former Dodger minor leaguer who actually conceived Brian while he was playing AAA ball in Albuquerque for the Dodger affiliate then called the Dukes.  While the two lost contact, Brian grew up in New Mexico and played his college ball there before being selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2009 draft.  BCG started his professional career with the Ogden Raptors and destroyed the Pioneer League in 2009, earning league MVP honors and leading the league in runs, hits, doubles, HR’s, and total bases.  In 2010 Brian was promoted to the Midwest League and got off to a tough start with Great Lakes as he posted a.256 average and .669 OPS prior to the All Star Break.  However he really turned things around in the 2nd half of the season which is when he smacked 14 of his 16 homers, recorded a 1.043 OPS, and hit .375.  In fact, his strong 2nd half was good enough for Galvez to claim the Loons RBI title with 77, and also win the Midwest league’s batting title.  In addition, Brian paced the Loon’s with a surprising 43 stolen bases, and was very versatile in the outfield as he played 23 games in left field, 43 games in center, and 24 games in right.  Overall, Brian Cavazos-Galvez is probably one of the more interesting prospects in the Dodgers minor league system, which also causes him to be a wildcard in terms of where people rank him in prospect lists.  Some people have BCG in their top 10, while others don’t even include in their top 30.  During the TBLA voting, he seemed to be the one player that people argued about most, as many felt strongly that he should be ranker higher than 20, yet he simply didn’t get the votes.  Me personally, I haven’t completely bought into Brian Cavazos-Galvez yet so that’s why he didn’t break into my top 20.  I realize that he’s has two outstanding season’s under his belt, but I simply want to see what he does against more advanced competition since he is already 23 years old.  His extremely low walk rate (2.3% in 2010) has also always scared me because I’m worried he’ll get exploited at the higher levels.  Furthermore, I believe Brian is destined to be a left fielder because he isn’t a great defender, and even admitted during his time in the Dominican Winter League “Who would have ever believed that I would be a defensive replacement? Not me…. I have always been the one getting replaced.”  I’m guessing that BCG will start 2011 in the California League, but will make it up to AA at some point during the year.  It’s what he does in the Southern League that will help me decide if he should be considered one of the top Dodger prospects, because right now I’m still skeptical that he will ever make it up to the big leagues.

Why #26: BCG showed a rare combination of speed and power in LoA, but he is already 23 years old and has yet to face more advanced competition.  I really don’t think he has what it takes to be a center fielder in the big leagues, so his ceiling is that of a major league left fielder.  Given the offensive requisites that come with left field, BCG is going to have to continue hitting if he wants to make it up to the show. 

25.  Ivan DeJesus, SS (130 games in AAA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.296 average, .740 OPS, 7 HR’s, 70 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 13;     Pre 2009 Rank: 5

Sometimes I sit and wonder what life would be like if Ivan De Jesus hadn’t broken his leg back in 2009.  The McCourts probably wouldn’t be divorced, California probably wouldn’t be bankrupt, and there definitely would be world peace.  In all seriousness, while the world would not be different, the Dodgers might actually have a different team right now had DeJesus not gotten hurt.  Ivan was coming off a great season in AA in 2008, and he probably would have spent the next two years getting seasoning in AAA before taking over 2nd base for the Dodgers in 2011.  If that had been a reality, we probably wouldn’t have Juan Uribe right now, and we possibly could have allocated that money to a bigger name free agent.  Instead, DeJesus is still a step slow due to his prolonged recovery which is limiting his potential.  While he had a decent season in AAA for the Isotopes and posted a .321 average in the Arizona Fall League, he is still at least a year away from making an impact on a major league roster.  In addition, DeJesus has always had a poor work ethic and has had issues with authority, which definitely scares me a bit.  After the 2010 season, DeJon Watson said, “With Ivan, we want to keep him playing, keep him moving. He’s coming off a broken leg and missed all of 2009. He’ll play second base, and we’ll mix him in at third, just to get his bat in lineup, not because that’s where we see him as a player. And after the Fall League, he’ll continue working at Camelback.”  Another thing to point out is that Ivan’s father was a major league shortstop for 15 seasons, so Ivan has a great baseball background and is a very intelligent player.  Overall, I see Ivan’s future as a major league backup infielder without much pop.  Since he is now strictly a 2nd baseman, his value has dropped significantly.  DeJesus will spend 2011 in AAA and will probably make his Dodger debut in September as an expanded roster call up.

Why #25: As you can see, Ivan De Jesus Jr. has dropped in my rankings since he broke his leg in 2009.  While I still believe that he has the ceiling of a starting major league 2nd baseman, I think he’ll realistically be a major league backup player at best. 

24.  Matthew Magill, RHP (126.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 21.25 years old

7-4, 3.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 3.75 FIP, 9.62 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 44;     Pre 2009 Rank: 78

Matt Magill is from my wife’s hometown of Simi Valley and was picked by the Dodgers late in the 2008 draft due to his strong college commitment to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  At the time he only threw about 90 mph, but the Dodgers liked his plus slider and 6’3” frame.  After a solid professional debut in the GCL, Magill spent 2009 in the Pioneer League and was a mainstay in the Raptors rotation.  While he had a good ERA of 4.00 while with Ogden, his batting average against of .224 was even better.  That earned Magill a promotion to LoA in 2010 where he had his best season yet.  While I’m sure many thought that he’d do well in the Midwest League, I’m sure nobody expected that he’d lead all of minor league baseball with a batting average against of just .194 as a 20 year old.  In addition, his 3.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9 all ranked among the Dodgers minor league leaders, and his 135 strikeouts were 2nd most in the organization.  However, there should probably be an asterisk next to Magill’s 2010 stats because he had two very bad outings erased by rain, which earned him the nickname the Rain Man.  In terms of his overall pitching ability, fans and scouts seem to disagree on his potential.  I see a young kid with a big frame who has already put up strong stats and has a nice four pitch mix, including a 94 mph fastball and an above average slider (both which I saw during a game I watched online last year).  Multiple scouts, however, have described his stuff as fringy and think that his slider, which is getting him outs now, will be exploited by more advanced hitters.  Even DeJon Watson hinted that Magill wasn’t sexy, which earned him another nickname during last season (Mr. Unsexy).  Given his age, I’m going to ignore the scouts for now and continue to believe that he has what it takes to one day be a back of the rotation starter in the major leagues.  He’ll probably spend 2011 in HiA, and hopefully he’ll continue to limit the number of hits against him despite the hitter friendly environment.  Finally, it should be noted that at least one young lady finds Magill sexy because he is currently engaged to be married.

 

Why #24: Magill profiles as a #3 or #4 starter at the big league level, and at 21 years old he has plenty of time to reach his potential.  While I am a bit worried by what scouts say about his stuff, I think he deserves to be in the top 25 given his youth, pitching frame, and solid stats in 2010.

 

23.  Pedro Baez, 3B (7 games in AA, 75 games in HiA, 2 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 1/22/07

6’2”, 195 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.263 average, .661 OPS, 6 HR’s, 45 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 12;     Pre 2009 Rank: 11

Pedro Baez was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200K before the 2007 season.  Because he was already 19 years old, the Dodgers sent Baez straight to the Gulf Coast League in 2007, and he has steadily moved up through the system ever since.  After a couple of mediocre campaigns, Pedro had a solid season in 2009 as he hit .286 for Inland Empire with 10 homers in just 79 games and was selected to participate in the Futures Game.  Unfortunately that season was cut short due to a knee injury in mid July.  In 2010 Baez returned to the 66ers, but this time he had a pretty disappointing year.  Even though he played in the Futures Game for the second straight season, Baez hit just 6 homers and had a dismal OPS of just .656.  I know he was injured a bit during the season, but that is no excuse for his below average stats.  Baez also made 21 errors in the field, which led to his .903 fielding percentage at 3rd base.  His only saving grace was the he did pretty well when he was promoted to AA for the final week of the season.  Despite his down season, Baez still has a few plus tools that may one day get him to the show.  Pedro has outstanding raw power and will crush fastballs that are left out over the plate.  Baez also has an outstanding infield arm, and has been clocked as high as 94 mph on throws across the infield.  Because he has a great arm and poor plate disciple, some have suggested that Baez should move to the mound a la Kenley Jansen.  If he has another poor year at the plate in 2011, which he’ll most likely spend in AA, that could become a reality.  Overall, you can see that Baez has dropped a bit in my rankings since last year, but I am still hopeful that he’ll make an impact with the Dodgers  at some point in his career, whether as a hitter or as a pitcher.

Why #23: Pedro Baez is really the Dodgers only 3rd base prospect to play above rookie ball, so despite his poor stats in 2010 I still have high hopes for him.  I still believe he can be the Dodgers starting 3rd baseman of the future, although that reality gets further and further away with every passing season.  In addition, with his ability to throw 94 mph he can always be moved to the mound, so that increases his value as a prospect.

22.  Joc Pederson, OF (3 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 11th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats left handed

.000 average, .417 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Joc Pederson grew up in Northern California, and was a very solid athlete for Palo Alto high school.  On the football team he was a First-Team All League wide-out, and on the baseball field he hit .515 with 8 homers during his senior season to lead his team to the Central Coast Section championship game.  He had a strong commitment to play baseball at UCS in college, and even talked about walking onto the USC football team.  His college commitment and big bonus demands caused Pederson to fall to the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 draft.  Had he been drafted on talent alone, he was projected to go around the 3rd or 4th round, and Baseball America had him ranked as the 154th best prospect in the draft.  After the draft, Pederson said “I have all summer to think about it, so I’ll take my time and see what happens.  I was surprised it was the Dodgers. A lot of teams were calling to see what my (salary) number was, so that may have affected where I was picked.”  After a long summer of going back and forth, Pederson finally signed with the Dodgers right around the deadline for $600,000.  Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 Arizona League games, and basically either walked or struck out in his limited plate appearances.  In terms of a scouting report, scouts say that has the potential to be a 5 tool player, although none of his 5 tools have a particularly high ceiling.  He has above average range on defense and good speed, which means he has a good chance of staying in center field.  He also shows good bat speed and has projectable raw power, and has solid bloodlines as his father actually played for the Dodgers briefly in 1985.  In short, Joc has ability to one day be a big league regular, but he’ll probably never be a major league star.  A comparable player that comes to mind is Ryan Spilborghs, although his frame reminds scouts of Jim Edmonds.  Because he’s just 18 years old, I expect Pederson to play a full season in a rookie league in 2011, with the Pioneer League as his most likely destination. 

Why #22: Joc Pederson is extremely young so it is difficult to project his future right now.  If I had to guess his ceiling, I’d say he could be a major league center fielder who plays solid defense and hits .290 with 15 homers per year. 

21.  Leon Landry, CF (57 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 3rd round

5’11”, 185 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed

.349 average, .909 OPS, 4 HR’s, 38 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Leon Landry played his college ball at LSU, and helped the Tigers win the 2009 College World Series although he was overshadowed by several players on that team.  That changed in 2010 as he established himself as a more elite player by hitting .338 with 6 homers and 16 stolen bases, striking out just 25 times in 240 at bats, and making just one error in center field.  The Dodgers selected him in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft and Landry signed quickly for about $285K.  Leon made his professional debut in the Pioneer League and had an outstanding season for the Ogden Raptors, ranking among the league leaders in several offensive categories and hitting very well both at home and on the road.  He’s also an outstanding defender, and according to Raptor radio man Brandon Hart “Landry should be defined by his defense.  It is what got him drafted in the 3rd round.  He has a second gear in the field.  The comparison to Pierre with less speed and more power I would feel is fair but (and I hate to compare him to someone on the Giants) he is a lot like Andres Torres.  Landry is better than Pierre.  Pierre got on base because of his speed.  Landry will drive the ball to get on base.  Great defense and good speed.  Has a bit of pop but he should not be described as a power hitter.  Gap hitter.”  I watched a few Landry play a few times myself last year and he holds the bat low during the windup and wiggles it around, then bring hands up slightly as the pitch is thrown.  He has a quick swing that is relatively short, but you can tell that he is able to generate at least decent power when he makes solid contact with his quick wrists.  The only negative about his game is his below average arm, although at this point most people believe he’ll be able to stay in center field because of his other defensive tools.  At the end of the day, Landry is a four tool talent who doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the world, but seems like he could be a regular one day in the majors.  He’ll most likely spend 2011 in class A as the everyday center fielder for either the Loons or the Quakes.

Why #21: I think Landry profiles as a solid defensive outfielder at the big league level who can play either left or center and hit .280 with about 10 homers per year.  Still just 21 years old, 2011 will be an interesting year for Landry and will really let us know what his potential is.

20.  Blake Smith, OF (115 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’2”, 220 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats left handed

.281 average, .852 OPS, 19 HR, 76 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 20;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Blake Smith was selected in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft out of Cal where he was a two way player for the Golden Bears.  During his 3 year college career, Smith had a .312 average with 28 homers in 158 games, and a 4.63 ERA in 62.2 innings with a 12.2 K/9.  The Dodgers signed Smith as an outfielder, and after the draft Logan White said, “He was highly touted as a hitter and a pitcher.  Just like Loney, he has a really nice left-handed swing and he’s a power guy with incredible raw power. When he worked out, he almost hit one out of Dodger Stadium — way up in the seats. Obviously he can throw and if we can work with him to utilize that raw power, he’ll be a front-line corner outfielder.”  After a terrible professional debut in 2009, many wrote off Smith as a wasted pick.  I, on the other hand, expected a rebound season for Smith in LoA in 2010 and that is exactly what happened.  Blake led the Loons with 19 home runs and posted a very solid .852 OPS.  He also hit .303 against left handers despite being a lefty himself, and played very strong defense in right field while recording 11 assists.  However, Smith has a career strikeout rate of 28.4%, and some expect him to struggle against more advanced pitching.  Therefore, despite his improvements in 2010, the Dodgers are apparently still considering moving him to the mound at some point down the road.  Smith has a very strong arm and as previously mentioned had very good strikeout numbers in college, so making him a pitcher is definitely an option.  That move won’t be made anytime soon, though, as the Dodgers are probably going to promote Smith the HiA and make him the Quakes starting right fielder in 2011.  Given the hitter friendly environment of the California League, Blake could have a very big season next year.

Why #20: Blake Smith has a lot of value because he has the potential to be a powerful outfielder, yet also could end up as a power reliever on the mound.  If I had to guess right now, I’d say Smith’s ceiling is a big league right fielder who could hit 25 homers annually with an adequate batting average.

19.  Jake Lemmerman, SS (66 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 5th round

6’1”, 192 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.363 average, 1.044 OPS, 12 HR’s, 47 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jake Lemmerman is a local kid who grew up in Corona Del Mar, yet he decided to play his college ball at Duke.  While he was a Blue Devil, Lemmerman built up quite a reputation for himself both on and off the field.  I’ll stick to talking about what he did on the field, however, as Late Night lead the team in virtually every offensive category, including batting average (.335), homers (11), slugging (.569), and RBI’s (45).  He also had a solid .987 fielding percentage as the team’s shortstop.  That prompted the Dodgers to select Lemmerman in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, and they were able to sign him very quickly.  Assigned to the Pioneer League, Lemmerman had pretty much the best season possible for a first year shortstop.  Jake was named the MVP for the entire league, and definitely deserved it with the offensive stats he put up as a middle infielder.  Jake hit .363 over 259 at bats and finished the season with 12 homers.  He also ranked 1st in the league in runs (69), 1st in doubles (24), 7th in RBI’s (47), 2nd in total bases (158), 3rd in OBP (.434), 3rd in SLG (.610), and 4th in OPS (1.044).  His season reminds me a lot of what Brian Cavazos-Galvez did in the Pioneer League in 2009, but I’m much more impressed with Lemmerman because he is a full year younger than BCG was at this stage, and also because he plays the premium position of shortstop.  After the season, Baseball America ended up ranking Lemmerman as the 6th best prospect in the league, and compared him Mark Grudzielanek and Mark Loretta.  The only caveat to his big season was that Lemmerman hit 10 of his 12 home runs at home, but his overall numbers on the road were still very good as he hit .360 with a .937 OPS as the away team.  Probably the biggest question for Lemmerman is if he’ll be able to stay at shortstop as he moves up through the system.  Most of the reports I’ve read say that he is a great defender at shortstop, yet Baseball America mentioned in their pre-draft report that they saw him moving to 2nd or 3rd base in the future.  Since his ability to play shortstop is what really boosts his value, let’s hope he can continue to stick at that position.  I see Lemmerman spending 2011 as the Loons everyday shortstop, and it will be interesting to see how he performs over a full season in the Midwest League.

Why #19: Anyone that has the ability to play shortstop and puts up great offensive stats deserves to be included in my top 20.  However, Lemmerman’s sample size is limited to one season in a hitter friendly league, so that is why I don’t have him ranked higher than #19.  While he is still a long way off from reaching his potential, I see his ceiling as an everyday shortstop at the big league level with the ability to smack 15 homers and hit .280 over a full season.

18.  Josh Lindblom, RHP (95 IP in AAA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 2nd round

6’5”, 240 lbs, 23.75 years old

3-2, 6.54 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 4.31 FIP, 7.96 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 8;     Pre 2009 Rank: 6

After getting selected in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft out of Purdue, Lindblom appeared to be on the fact track to the big leagues.  He made it up to AA in his first professional season, and then found himself in the Dodgers big league spring training camp less than 10 months after getting drafted.  After a solid 2009 season, he again earned himself an invite to the Dodgers 2010 big league spring training.  Since then, however, things have gone downhill for Josh.  He started the 2010 season in the Isotopes rotation, but had a 7.06 ERA through 10 games and moved to the bullpen.  While the move helped him some, he still had a 5.93 ERA over the final 3+ months of the season.  Despite the down year, fans shouldn’t lose faith in Lindblom as a prospect, especially since he is still just 23 years old.  When asked about Josh after the season, DeJon Watson said that AAA is a very difficult place to pitch, so you have to take his stats with a grain of salt.  Watson also mentioned that Lindblom will definitely remain in the bullpen, and that it has taken him a while to get readjusted to his role as a reliever.  The fact that Josh can now focus on being a full time reliever should help him in the future since back and forth between starter and reliever is very difficult for any pitcher.  Also, reports out of the Arizona Instructional League were that Lindblom’s fastball was back up to 95 mph, so that is good news heading into 2011.  When you combine his fastball with a hard curve, a developing changeup, and solid command, that should lead to higher K/9 numbers and better overall stats in the future.  I expect Lindblom to spend 2011 in AAA, and could even serve as the Isotopes closer.  I still project him to be a solid reliever at the big league level in the future, and will most likely be added to the Dodgers 40 man roster before the end of this year.

Why #18: Lindblom is still very young and has the ceiling of a big league closer.  While he hasn’t yet demonstrated that he can handle major league hitting, he could end up being a significant piece in the Dodgers bullpen for years to come.  However, his poor year in 2010 has caused him to drop in my rankings.

17.  Kyle Russell, RF (76 games in AA, 53 games in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 3rd round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats left handed

.291 average, .934 OPS, 26 HR’s, 81 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 14;     Pre 2009 Rank: 14

Kyle Russell was the Dodgers 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft out of Texas, and after setting home runs records in college he has continued to put on a power display as a pro.  He has also struck out at a pretty alarming rate (32% for his career), but really that just comes with the territory for Kyle.  After earning co-MVP honors in the Midwest League in 2009, Russell made a joke out of the California League in 2010 by hitting .354 in 53 games with 16 homers and a ridiculous 1.140 OPS.  That earned Kyle a promotion to AA in June, and while his stats dropped across the board in the Southern League, he still managed to rank 3rd on the Lookouts with 10 home runs.  In addition, when you dig a little deeper into his AA stats, you’ll notice that after getting off to a terrible start in Chattanooga, he was able to turn things around in August as he recorded an OPS of 1.018 during that month.  In terms of his defense, Russell is a strong defensive outfielder with a good arm and profiles best in right field.  When you watch video of Kyle in college, you’ll notice how skinny he was back then.  Luckily he has added a little muscle since turning pro and now looks more solid on the field.  Overall, Russell has the power to make it to the big leagues, but you can almost guarantee that he would never hit for a high average.  He has a long swing and definitely struggles with breaking balls.  The obvious comparison to Russell is Mark Reynolds, but I don’t think that Kyle would be quite as extreme as Reynolds as a big league player since I doubt he’d hit 40 homers over a full season and I also doubt he’d hit below .200.  A more realistic expectation would be 20 – 30 homers over a full season with an average around .240.  Now 24 years old, Russell will probably return to AA to start 2011 and is going to have to continue to impress if he wants to make it to the show.  A promotion to AAA isn’t out of the question, and if he has a solid year I would expect the Dodgers to add Russell to their 40 man roster next offseason.

 

Why #17: Russell has a ton of power and is a solid defender in right field, so his ceiling is that of a starting right fielder in the major leagues.  He has a career OPS of .920, but is already 24 years old so he is going to have to move quickly if he wants to have an impact in the big leagues.  At the very least, I do expect Russell to make it up the Dodgers as a bench player at some point in his career.

16.  Ralston Cash, RHP (6 IP in Pioneer League, 30 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 2nd round

6’1”, 197 lbs, 19.5 years old

2-2, 5.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 3.59 FIP, 7.50 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Ralston Cash was probably a bit of an overdraft when the Dodgers selected him in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft, but you can’t blame the team since they spent $5.25M on their 1st round pick on Zach Lee.  The Georgia prep eventually signed for $463K, and joined the Arizona Dodgers in July of 2010.  Cash, the cousin of 2008 first round pick Ethan Martin, had an interesting upbringing because he was raised by his grandparents after his mother passed away in a freak car accident.  He was committed to play at Georgia, but he couldn’t bypass the Dodgers generous offer.  Upon joining the Arizona League, Ralston put up solid stats.  He played almost the entire season as an 18 year old, yet recorded a 2.83 FIP and did not allow a homer in his 30 innings pitched.  He was also rated as the 20th best prospect in the Arizona League by Baseball America, and he earned a promotion to the Pioneer League at the end of the Arizona season.  In terms of his stuff, Cash throws a fastball from 88-92 mph with good sink, and he has touched 94 mph.  Some scouts describe his secondary stuff as fringy, while others believe his changeup and slider can one day become plus pitches.  One interesting thing about Cash is that while he is listed at 6’1” on MILB.com, other scouting reports have his height at 6’3” or 6’4”.  He’ll probably spend 2011 in the Pioneer League where he’ll continue to work on his game as a starting pitcher. 

Why #16: Ralston Cash has three pitches that project to be at solid to above average, which leads me to believe that his ceiling is that of a #3 starter at the big league level.  While there are several pitchers in the Dodgers system ahead of Cash at this point, he seems to be a solid prospect with good command of his game.

15.  Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (85 IP in HiA, 5 IP in Pioneer League, 8.1 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 11th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 21 years old

4-6, 4.30 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 3.44 FIP, 6.59 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 7;     Pre 2009 Rank: 12

Nathan Eovaldi was the Dodgers 11th rounded pick in the 2008 draft, and surprised many people by signing for $250,000 instead of going to college.  In his professional debut he dominated the Gulf Coast League, and then put up solid numbers with the Loons in 2009.  Promoted to HiA in 2010, Nathan made 14 starts with the 66ers in 2010 before straining his oblique in July.  During his time in Inland Empire, Eovaldi showed flashes of brilliance including two complete game shutouts, but overall he didn’t really have the dominant season that I was hoping for.  His ERA was 4.45 and his WHIP was 1.55, and he only struck out 6.14 batters per 9 innings despite a very strong fastball that was clocked as high as 97 mph.  Eovaldi also has an above average curveball and occasionally throws a changeup, but he continues to struggle with the command of his pitches which has led to his less than stellar strikeout numbers.  Some scouts believe that Nathan would be better suited as a power relief pitcher, but for now the Dodgers want to keep him in the rotation since he is just 21 years old and has a lot of potential.  Nathan finished up the 2010 season by rehabbing the rookie leagues, and for 2011 I expect him to return to HiA for more seasoning.  The other thing to remember about Eovaldi is that he had Tommy John back in 2007 and has not yet gone over the 100 inning mark in any of his professional seasons, so he’s going to have to continue to increase his workload as he gets older if he wants to remain a starter.

Why #15: Eovaldi is one of my favorite Dodger prospects, but his mediocre stats and low strikeout rate in 2010 caused him to drop a little in my rankings.  I still think he’ll make it to the big leagues one day, however, and he has the ceiling of a middle of the rotation starter or a power reliever.

14.  Aaron Miller, LHP (23 IP in AA, 101.2 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 1st round

6’3”, 200 lbs, 23.5 years old

7-8, 3.68 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3.91 FIP, 8.74 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 9;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Aaron Miller was the Dodgers 1st round pick in 2009 out of Baylor where he was a two way player for the Bears.  As a hitter Miller batter .312 during his junior season with 12 homers, and on the mound he posted a 5.12 ERA with a K/9 of almost 11.5.  The Dodgers wanted Miller as a pitcher, and after signing him for almost $900,000 he paid immediate dividends with a stellar professional debut.  Promoted to HiA for his first full season, Miller was the easily the best pitcher for the 66ers.  He was extremely consistent all season, and stuck out almost a batter per inning.  Inland Empire pitching coach Charlie Hough had this to say about Miller, “Sneaky fastball…Easy, easy delivery and the ball kinda sneaks up on the hitters. He has a ways to go throwing some breaking balls. He has good feel with the changeup. Again, he’s another guy that hasn’t pitched an awful lot. He probably got 30 innings last year coming out of college, where he didn’t pitch all that much anyway. He was a regular player. So he’s gotta spend some time on the mound and develop a better feel of all of his pitches and for the game. He’s getting them pretty good though.”  While Miller got lit up during his month long mid-season promotion to AA, he had an overall productive season.  That being said, what worries me that most about Miller was his dip in velocity.  While he apparently had the ability to dial it up to about 95 mph in the past, Miller sat in the high 80’s to low 90’s for most of 2010.  I realize that the 124 innings he pitched were by far the most he’s threw in any calendar year, but I still have some doubts that he’ll ever be able to get his velocity back up to where it once.  Hopefully he won’t need those extra miles per hour, however, since he has great control and also shows potential for a slider, which could be his 2nd plus pitch.  Miller will spend 2011 in AA, and I’m sure he’s eager to prove that his previous stint in the Southern league was a fluke.  At 23 years old, Aaron has already moved very quickly and could be knocking on the door of Los Angeles at some point in 2012 season if he has another strong campaign in 2011.

Why #14: I know that my ranking of Miller looks a little low, but there simply isn’t room for him any higher on my list since I feel the players I ranked ahead of him are better prospects and have even more upside.  That being said, Aaron has the ceiling of a middle of the rotation starter, and I think he has a pretty good chance of reaching that goal if he stays healthy.

13.  James Baldwin, OF (46 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 4th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats left handed

.274 average, .676 OPS, 2 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

James Baldwin is one of the more intriguing players drafted by the Dodgers in 2010.  The son of the former major leaguer by the same name, Baldwin is an extremely athletic player who is still relatively raw as an outfielder because he played three sports in high school also spent time on the mound.  James signed relatively quickly for $180,000, but got off to a very slow start in his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers.  Through July, Baldwin was hitting below .220 with an OPS of less than .525.  However, things clicked for Baldwin in August as he hit .357 in the month to go along with 15 RBI’s, 9 SB’s, and an .890 OPS.  For the season as a whole, he led the Arizona Dodgers with 17 SB’s and was among the top 3 on the club in runs, RBI, and doubles.  In terms of his prospect status, Baldwin has the potential to be a five tool player, although currently his only plus tool is his outstanding speed.  I’ve read mixed reports on his future power potential, but at 6’3” I’ve got to think that he’ll be able to hit at least 20 homers per year in his prime.  He also plays a very smooth center field, and uses his speed to get to balls quickly.  After the season, DeJon Watson had this to say about his new prospect, “James Baldwin is a guy to keep your eye on.  He’s a guy who’s going to pop up quickly…He’s going to stay in center field.”  Like most young players Baldwin needs to improve his pitch recognition at the plate, and hopefully that will improve the 30.8% strikeout rate he had in 2010.  The left handed batter also needs to get more reps against lefty pitchers because he hit just .057 against southpaws last year.  Since he’s just 19 years old, James will probably spend the first few months of 2011 in extended spring training before playing in the Pioneer League later in the year.  He still has a long way to go in the Dodgers minor league system, but he will be a very exciting player to follow over the next few years.

Why #13: I really like James Baldwin as a prospect, and although I haven’t seen him play I really like his potential.  Due to his athleticism his ceiling could be through the roof; possibly even as high as a Matt Kemp type player.  It’s for that reason that I have him ranked this high on my list.

12.  Jonathan Garcia, RF (61 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 8th round

5’11”, 175 lbs, 19.25 years old, bats right handed

.305 average, .892 OPS, 10 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 10;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Jonathan Garcia in the 8th round of the 2009 draft out of Puerto Rico, and so far the pick looks like a steal.  In his professional debut Garcia did very well in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .305 with a .862 OPS as a 17 year old.  Promoted to the Pioneer League in 2010, Jonathan was a full two years younger than any other position player on the Raptors yet ranked 3rd on the club with his 10 homers and .527 slugging percentage.  He also showed above average bat speed throughout the season.  In addition to his strong hitting, Garcia is a very good defensive right fielder and tied for the league lead with 12 outfield assists.  Baseball America said he had a hose for an arm, and Raptors announcer Brandon Hart told me that “His arm is top notch and the best of the outfielders I have seen this season.”  Brandon also went on to mention that “His defense as far as catching the ball and range is average, not great but not bad either.  He has average speed.  He is not slow by any means but isn’t a speed demon either.”  With the good of course come the bad, and for Garcia he still needs to work on pitch selectivity.  In addition, at just 5’11” his size gives some people doubts, but I don’t think his height will hinder him as he moves up through the system.  Overall, the fact is that you couldn’t have asked for a better offensive season out of Garcia in 2010.  Sure he had pretty drastic home vs road splits, but can you honestly expect any more out of an 18 year old facing pitchers who are all 2 to 4 years older than him?  2011 will be a real test because Garcia will definitely move up to LoA for his first taste of full season ball.  He’ll still be one of the youngest players in the league, so he’s going to have to continue to work hard if he wants to maintain his solid stats. 

Why #12: Last year I compared to Garcia to Raul Mondesi with less speed, although the more I think about it Jonathan’s ceiling probably isn’t quite that high.  I still believe Garcia could be a solid right fielder at the big league level with solid power and a decent average, but that is still a long ways off.  Also, the only reason he dropped a couple spots in my ranking was because other prospects emerged and pushed him out of my top 10.

11.  Scott Elbert, LHP (43.1 IP in AAA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 1st round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 25.5 years old

1-1, 4.98 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 4.82 FIP, 9.35 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 6;     Pre 2009 Rank: 4

Scott Elbert was the Dodgers first round pick back in 2004, and it seems like he’s been around forever.  He’s been ranked as a top 10 Dodger prospect basically since he was drafted, and made Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list from 2006 to 2008, peaking at #31 in 2007.  However, 2010 was season to forget for Elbert as he left the organization for personal reasons in June, and didn’t return until after the season.  He was back in time for the Arizona Fall League, however, and at the start of the AFL Elbert told Tony Jackson “It was just some personal issues I had to attend to.  I can tell you right now, it had nothing to do with baseball. It was just a lot of personal stuff I had to take care of, and that’s about it.”  Although he had been a starter for pretty much his entire minor league career, in the AFL the Dodgers told Elbert to concentrate on his new role, which would be out of the bullpen.  Elbert took the news in stride, and said “To be honest, I would like to be a reliever. If that is going to be my job, then that is what I will prepare for. … I don’t ever think [starting] is out of the question, but I have always been known as a high pitch-count guy, and if I’m able to bring that down and go deeper into games, maybe I can be a starter again. Nothing is ever out of the question in this game.”  With the Desert Dogs in the Fall league Scott posted very good stats, striking out 15 batters in 11.2 innings and allowing a .195 batting average against.  His stuff was also described as “nasty” by several AFL scouts, which is definitely encouraging news.  His fastball is still in the mid 90’s, and his slider and a solid strikeout pitch and ranks as the best in the Dodgers organization.  He also throws a good changeup, although he doesn’t use it much out of the bullpen.  Don Mattingly got a chance to watch Elbert in the AFL, and said “He was tremendous for me. His stuff plays. I’ve talked to him. He’s been up and down, up and down. He’s got a power arm and can get lefties or righties out. He seems durable. He’s not afraid. I like him.”  With the Dodgers lack of left handed bullpen arms, Elbert still has a shot to make the Dodgers 2011 opening day roster if he has a good showing in spring training.  If he doesn’t make the club, he’ll continue to work in the Isotopes’ bullpen and will almost certainly get called up to the Dodgers at some point in 2011 as long as he stays healthy.

Why #11: Elbert lost some value now that he is no longer a starter, which is why he dropped a little in my ranking.  However he still has very good stuff, so he if can stay healthy and doesn’t have any more personal issues, he will probably be a solid late inning bullpen arm for years to come. 

10.  Garrett Gould, RHP (57.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’4”, 190 lbs, 19.5 years old

1-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 3.39 FIP, 8.12 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 5;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Garrett Gould in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft, and were able to lure him away from his college commitment to Wichita State for $900,000.  Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 games in 2009, so last year was really his first professional season.  Playing in the Pioneer League in 2010 Gould wasn’t overly impressive, but he did post a 3.39 FIP to go along with 8.1 strikeouts per 9 innings.  He also allowed 15 unearned runs, which is a surprisingly high number given that he only threw 57 innings.  The one thing that people talked about was his drop in velocity during the season, but I’m not too concerned about that because he battled a couple of minor injuries throughout the year and was simply adjusting to the rigors of being a professional pitcher that throws every fifth day.  He is also still just 19 years old and has a lot of projection left in his frame, so I expect him to get back into the mid 90’s by next year.  In addition, Baseball America said that “even at reduced velocity, his fastball worked well because he commands it to both sides of the plate and it features plus sink and armside life.”  Now that we’ve covered his fastball, it’s time to mention that he has one of the best curveballs in the Dodgers minor league system.  It’s a plus pitch that was rated as one of the best among high school pitchers in the 2009 draft.  It is thrown at around 82 mph and to me looks like a right handed version of Kershaw’s curveball.  Gould also has a serviceable changeup which gives him a solid three pitch mix.  In 2011 Gould should be ready for a full season league, with the Great Lakes Loons as his most likely destination.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers piggybacked him with another starter to keep his innings down given that he is just 19 years old.  He still has a ways go to, but I think there is a good chance that Gould will one day help the Dodgers at the big league level.

Why #10: Gould did drop a bit in my rankings, but that is mostly due to the emergence of other players.  Even still I have him ranked higher than most, and that is because he is still so young which puts his potential through the roof.  I’m sure he’ll regain the velocity on his fastball, and his great curveball gives him a very solid out pitch.  I believe his ceiling is that of a #2 starter in the big leagues, which is enough to rank him in my top 10.

 

9.  Allen Webster, RHP (131.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 18th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 21 years old

12-9, 2.88 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.50 FIP, 7.81 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 11;     Pre 2009 Rank: 100

Allen Webster was pretty much an unknown when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2008 draft.  He played mostly shortstop in high school, and when he was first used as a pitcher he could barely hit 90 mph.  Just a few years later, Webster has bloomed into one of the Dodgers best pitching prospects and had an All Star season for the Great Lakes Loons in 2010.  He led the Midwest League with 12 wins, and had an outstanding 2.88 ERA for the season.  He was also very consistent, posting a 2.88 ERA against both lefties and righties, and recording a 2.90 ERA at home vs. a 2.85 ERA on the road.  In addition, while his strikeout numbers weren’t overpowering, batters still only hit .239 against him.  Stats aside, the best part about Webster is that he has the potential for three plus pitches.  His fastball sits in the low 90’s with good sink, and during one start I watched online last season the announcer had him topping out at 97 mph.  He also has a solid curveball, which is improving with every start.  His best pitch, however, is his changeup which was rated by Baseball America as the best in the Dodgers organization.  Since Webster is still just 21 years old, the Dodgers probably won’t rush him so he’ll most likely start the 2011 season in Rancho Cucamonga.  In terms of his more distant future, one scout was quoted as saying “He could end up being a stud.  He has a couple of plus pitches and will be a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy.”

Why #9: Webster has three very good pitches and is still very young, which definitely gives him a good chance of making it to the big leagues one day.  I believe that he “only” has the ceiling of a #3 starter, but I have him higher on the list than Gould because he has already had success in a full season league.  That being said, I just don’t think he has the upside of the other pitchers ranked above him, and that is why I don’t have him higher on my list.

 

8.  Trayvon Robinson, CF (120 games in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 10th round

5’11”, 195 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.300 average, .842 OPS, 9 HR’s, 57 RBI’s, 38 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 15;     Pre 2009 Rank: 44

Drafted in 2005 out of Crenshaw High School, Trayvon Robinson’s career got off to a slow start.  In his first three professional seasons he was very ordinary and wasn’t mentioned in any of the Dodger top prospect discussions.  In 2008 he showed some signs of life while in Inland Empire, then really broke out in 2009 with 17 homers and 47 stolen bases.  That brings us to the 2010 season, which Robinson spent in AA.  While his stats weren’t eye popping with the Lookouts, the switch hitter had a solid all around year.  He led the team with a .300 average, hit 9 homers, stole 38 bases, and only made 4 errors in center field.  He also had an impressive .404 on base percentage which ranked 3rd in the entire Southern League, and recorded 12 outfield assists despite having a below average arm.  After the season, Robinson played in the AFL and DeJon Watson has this to say about him: “He had a big year. Look at his numbers over the last three years, the trend is up. His on-base percentage has gone up 150 points in a three-year window. We’re trying to expand his overall game, to get him to be more aggressive defensively. He’s still pushing the envelope with his baserunning. We want him a little more aggressive going first to third. He gets good reads and jumps. He’s relatively close to finishing off the skill set. This will be a really good test for him.”  After watching him play in the AFL, Don Mattingly also had some praise for Robinson and said “He’s coming. I’ve had the chance to see him play with my son in Michigan, saw him in the spring and fall, and every time I see him, I love to see the progression. Each time he’s gotten better. He’s getting there. If he continues to progress, he’s got a chance to be an impact guy.”  Besides his arm, which worries some scouts enough to say that he might not be able to handle center field at the big league level, Trayvon has solid 4 tools and a knack for getting on base.  None of his tools are really outstanding, however, which limits his ceiling.  Robinson also strikeouts out a little too much, so he’s going to try and polish his game in AAA next season.  That being said, I’m almost positive that Robinson will make his major league debut at some point in 2011, even if it is just as a September call up. 

Why #8: I like Robinson’s athleticism and the fact that he is a switch hitter, but I’m not as high on him as most other people.  I think his ceiling is that of a solid defensive center fielder who has a weak arm and hits around .270 with 10 homers and 20 steals annually.  While that’s still pretty good, I just think the prospects I’ve ranked above him have brighter futures.

 

7.  Ethan Martin, RHP (113.1 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 1st round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 21.75 years old

9-14, 6.35 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 4.82 FIP, 8.34 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 3;     Pre 2009 Rank: 3

Ethan Martin was the Dodgers 1st round pick in 2008, and he ended up being the first high school pitcher selected in that draft.  Prior to the draft he had been named as the Baseball America High School Player of the Year as a two way player.  His overall pitching stats as a senior were 11-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 141 K’s in 79 innings, but he was also a great power hitting 3rd baseman.  Due to a knee injury Martin didn’t make his professional debut until 2009 when he threw an even 100 innings in the Midwest League.  He did very well for the Loons, as he had a FIP of 3.45 and a K/9 of 10.8 for the season.  In 2010 he was promoted to HiA but the results were ugly.  While he got off to a decent start and showed flashes of brilliance throughout the season, Martin ended up with a 6.35 ERA and 14 losses.  When I asked DeJon Watson about Martin’s struggles in 2010, he said that the biggest challenge for Ethan is the mental game.  Watson went on to say that he needs to make mental adjustments in order to succeed, and will most likely repeat the California League next year and will stay there until he can prove he can dominate that level.  I also heard from another scout that Martin’s fastball was much too straight last season and lacked the movement he had during 2009.  However, even though Martin had a poor season and needs to make some adjustments to his game, there is still reason to be excited about him as a prospect.  Both Watson and Charlie Hough told me that he still has great stuff and that he continues to get his fastball up to 98 mph.  Martin also has a big breaking curveball and a developing changeup, and is still just 21 years old.  Overall, I think it is much too early to give up on Martin after just one poor season.  He was invited to participate in the Dodgers Winter Development Minicamp, and hopefully he’ll continue to get good coaching during spring training.  I do expect to see Martin back in the California League to start the 2011 season, but if he does well he might make it up to AA at some point next year.

Why #7: Ethan Martin still has a ton of potential in my book and has the ceiling of a #2 starter in the big leagues.  Therefore I decided that he deserved to stay in my top 10 although he did drop a few spots due to the emergence of other Dodger prospects.

6.  Kenley Jansen, RHP (27 games in AA, 18 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 11/17/04

6’6”, 220 lbs, 23.5 years old

5-1, 1.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 1.27 FIP, 15.60 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 16;     Pre 2009 Rank: 36

Since Kenley Jansen burst onto the scene in Los Angeles last season and dominated major league batters, almost everyone already knows his story.  Nevertheless, I’ll give a little background on the Dodgers rookie phenom.  The former catcher was signed by the Dodgers out of Curacao as a 17 year old, and made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League.  After showing some offensive potential in his first season, things went downhill for Jansen at the plate over the next 2 and a half years.  But then something amazing happened as Jansen found new life on the pitching mound.  He started throwing blazing fastballs and was striking batters out at an astonishing rate.  Even though he had immediate success on the mound, nobody could have imagined how well he would do in 2010.  Jansen dominated the minor leagues for a few months, and then went on to record the 4th lowest major league rookie ERA in major league history with the Dodgers (minimum 25 innings) at 0.67.  Armed with a mid 90’s fastball that can get up to 100 mph and a developing slider, Kenley is the perfect late inning relief pitcher and definitely has closer potential.  He also throws a changeup on occasion, although it is a work in progress and he basically hasn’t needed to use it yet.  Despite his outstanding big league debut, however, there are a few things keeping from ranking in my top 5.  His walk rate last season was much too high, and he currently only has one plus pitch.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Jansen as a prospect and Dodger, but if he doesn’t improve his secondary stuff I’m sure major league hitters will eventually figure him out.  When the 2010 season ended it appeared the Jansen was a lock for the Dodgers 2011 bullpen, but now things seem more uncertain given that the team has signed or acquired several relievers this offseason.  Even if he doesn’t start the season with the Dodgers, there is no question that he will still be a big part of the Dodgers’ plans next year.

Why #6: Jansen has already dominated big league hitters, and has a very bright future as a late inning reliever and/or closer.  As I mentioned above, his lack of a plus second pitch keeps him from being ranked any higher, but he still should be a very good bullpen arm for a long time.

5.  Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (51 IP in AA, 59.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’1”, 170 lbs, 22 years old

7-2, 2.37 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.16 FIP, 7.67 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 35;     Pre 2009 Rank: 51

Rubby De La Rosa was signed out of the Dominican Republic on the first day of international signing period in 2007.  After throwing just 6 innings in 2007, De La Rosa played a full season in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and put up some very impressive numbers.  His stellar season prompted the Dodgers to bring De La Rosa to Camelback Ranch for spring training in 2009, and it was there that Rubby began to get noticed.  Keith Law was the first to report on his strong fastball and overall great stuff, and that was enough to get me interested.  However, after appearing in just 5 games with the Arizona Dodgers in 2009 and recording a 6.06 ERA, De La Rosa sat out the rest of the season for what some have called disciplinary reasons.  That caused many to forget about Rubby as a prospect, but I saw his potential last season and ranked him favorably at #35 last year.  That brings us to 2010, which is when RDLA truly had a breakout season.  Rubby joined the Loons in late April, and was initially in the Loons bullpen where he picked up 6 saves.  After he was stretched out a bit, RDLA joined the Great Lakes rotation and continued to show plus stuff.  He reached 100 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions, and showed a lot of potential with both his slider and changeup.  Loons manager Juan Bustabad said that Rubby reminded him of Pedro Martinez, although Rubby throws harder.  De La Rosa was promoted to AA in late July and spent the remainder of the season in Chattanooga.  He got off to a great start by not allowing an earned run in his first three starts, and after posting a 3.19 ERA in LoA RDLA actually lowered his ERA to 1.41 with the Lookouts.  After the season, Lookout manager Carlos Subero raved about Rubby’s ability to add extra velocity late in games, and compared De La Rosa to Edinson Volquez.  The one thing that worried me about Rubby’s season was that he jumped from 16 innings in 2009 to over 100 in 2010.  However, DeJon Watson put my worries to rest when he told me “The Dodgers are not concerned with his workload this year because he threw way more than the listed 16 innings in 2009…the 16 innings are just what you have listed in your book.”  Watson also said that “Rubby’s skill set is what caused the Dodgers to promote him to AA.  In particular, his poise, his demeanor, his fastball command, and his ability to make adjustments inning to inning and batter to batter.  He has come a long way in a short period of time.”  De La Rosa’s season culminated with him winning the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year award and an invitation to the Dodgers major league spring training.  In 2011, Rubby will return to AA to continue refining his game.  His strikeout rate dipped quite a bit in 2010 despite his outstanding fastball, so getting more swings and misses is something he’ll probably work on.  If he continues to put up solid stats, however, a call up to Los Angeles towards the end of the 2011 season isn’t out of the question.

Why #5: Rubby De La Rosa moved up quite a bit in my rankings, and at just 22 years old his youth is just one of his many valuable assets.  With three potential plus pitches Rubby’s ceiling could be as high as a #2 starter in the big leagues, although I still have this feeling that could end up in the bullpen where he would also be very good, just not quite as valuable. 

 

4.  Chris Withrow, RHP (129.2 IP in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 22 years old

4-9, 5.97 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 4.50 FIP, 8.33 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 2;     Pre 2009 Rank: 8

After getting selected by the Dodgers in the 1st round of the 2007 draft, Chris Withrow’s professional career got off to a rocky start.  A freak accident involving a snorkeling mask and a case of tired arm limited Withrow to just 13 innings in his first two seasons, and some people were starting to get worried about the top prospect.  However, in 2009 Withrow silenced most of his critics by staying healthy and putting together a very solid season as a 20 year old.  He split the year between HiA and AA, and his most impressive stats that season were his K/9 rate of 10.4 and his 3.13 FIP.  2010 started off with a bang for Withrow as he wowed fans in Spring Training with two near perfect innings while striking out 5 of the 7 batters he faced.  He then returned to Chattanooga for the 2010 minor league season, but as most people already know things didn’t go so well.  He had a couple of good streaks, including a solid month of June when he had a 2.89 ERA and a .226 batting average against, but overall he had very ugly stats.  For the season as a whole Withrow had a 5.97 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP, although his FIP was a little more favorable at 4.51.  One of his biggest problems was his ability to keep the ball in the park as he allowed 13 homers, compared to just 5 allowed in 2009.  Despite his dreadful statistical season in 2010, Chris continued to show good stuff off the mound.  His mid 90’s fastball shows good movement and has been clocked as high as 99 mph, and according to Baseball America he has the best curveball in the Dodgers minor league system.  After the season I talked to DeJon Watson about Withrow, and he said Withrow has made big strides in the past one and a half years.  He also said that Withrow was only the age of a college junior during the 2010 season, so he was still way ahead of most 21 year olds.  In terms of Withrow’s struggles, DeJon said that his mental composure needs to improve for him to pitch more effectively.  After the season Withrow participated in the Dodgers instructional league, but unfortunately he suffered a herniated disk in his lower back which limited his throwing until the Winter Development Program.  When I saw him throwing during the Winter Development Program he luckily looked fine, so he should have no trouble being ready for spring training.  Chris will almost certainly spend 2011 back in AA and hopefully this time he’ll have better results.  At just 22 years old there is no need to rush him, so at this point Withrow’s MLB debut will be in 2012 at the earliest.

Why #4: While he struggled in 2010, I still believe Withrow has great stuff and can be a top of the rotation starter in the big leagues.  I see him as the second best pitching prospect in the organization behind Zach Lee, and think he will have a solid rebound season in 2011.

3.  Dee Gordon, SS (133 games in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 4th round

5’11”, 150 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats left handed

.277 average, .687 OPS, 2 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 53 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 1;     Pre 2009 Rank: 9

Dee Gordon was a bit of a surprise as the Dodgers 4th round pick in 2008 because he had been ruled ineligible as a college sophomore due to transcripts problems and didn’t even play baseball in the spring of before the draft.  Nevertheless he had a great professional debut in the Pioneer League in 2008 and has been a top Dodger prospect ever since.  His 2009 season in the Midwest League was one to remember since he was named league MVP with 73 stolen bases and a .301 average, and that earned him a promotion AA in 2010.  While Gordon was caught stealing 20 times and posted an on base percentage of just .332 while in Chattanooga, he showed a ton of raw talent and was voted as the most exciting player in the Southern League.  He was also rated as the Dodgers best defensive infielder by Baseball America despite making 37 errors for the Lookouts.  He already has a plus arm, and his athleticism leads scouts to believe that he’ll be able to make spectacular plays at the big league level.  In addition, several scouts ranked his speed as an 80 and the 20-80 scouting scale, which is a rating rarely given out.  Gordon has improved his bunting skills over the past few years, but he does need to be more patient at the plate and learn to take more walks.  He also needs to put on more muscle, which is something he struggled with since turning pro.  After the season Dee played in the Puerto Rican Winter League and led the league with a .361 average with a career high .889 OPS.  He then participated in the Dodgers Winter Development program, and was invited to the Dodgers big league spring training even though he isn’t on the 40 man roster.  Gordon will turn 23 years old this upcoming April, and will most likely spend 2011 in AAA.  He is the Dodgers heir apparent at shortstop, and if Furcal’s option doesn’t vest he could be the team’s starter as early as 2012. 

Why #3: Dee Gordon has the potential to one day be the Dodgers everyday shortstop, and could steal 50+ bases on a regular basis in the big leagues.  He’ll never have any power, but he could be a plus defender one day and is a very exciting player.  I almost put him #2, but I like Sands’ power more than Gordon’s speed. 

2.  Jerry Sands, RF (68 games in AA, 69 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 25th round

6’4”, 225 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.301 average, .981 OPS, 35 HR’s, 93 RBI’s, 18 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 23;     Pre 2009 Rank: 81

To say Jerry Sands came out of nowhere in 2010 is a bit of an exaggeration since he’s shown tremendous power dating back to his college days.  During his 3 years at Catawba College in North Carolina, Sands had a .381 career batting average and hit 61 home runs.  His power numbers continued during his debut season with the Dodgers as he hit 10 HR’s in just 46 games, and he then smacked 19 bombs in 2009 despite logging just 267 at bats.  Even still, nobody could have predicted Sands’ meteoric rise through the Dodgers minor league system in 2010, although I came pretty close in my write-up last season when I said: “Sands is a very intriguing prospect with a very high ceiling.  With 29 home runs in 119 games over the past two years, that projects out to almost 40 HR’s over a 162 game schedule.  I’m not saying that Sands is ever going to hit 40 HR’s in the big leagues, but I think that if he continues to improve, he has the chance to be a solid MLB regular.  That’s pretty good for a former 25th round pick.  2010 should see Sands return to LoA to start the season, but by the end of the year he may find himself in AA.”  In 2010 Jerry didn’t quite hit 40 jacks, but he did have a monster season as his 35 homers were just one shy of the minor league HR title.  Sands also hit .301 with 18 stolen bases and a .981 OPS despite playing in two pitching friendly leagues, and ended up winning the Dodgers minor league player of the year award.  Scout say that he has power to all fields, above average bat speed, and very strong wrists.  When you look at Sands’ splits between LoA and AA, his batting average, slugging %, and on base % all dropped a bit in Chattanooga, but he had no trouble maintaining his power numbers as he hit 17 homers in just 68 games.  In addition, Sands was able to make decent contact throughout the entire season, and his strikeout rate actually decreased from 21.3% in LoA to 20.5% in AA.  After the season Sands played in the AFL where he continued to put up very solid stats against the advanced competition.  The big question that people have about Sands relates to his defense.  Is he an outfielder?  1st baseman?  DeJon Watson answered that question by saying that he can play both and that the Dodgers don’t have to limit him.  Watson thinks that Sands’ versatility will help Ned Colletti down the road when he is building his team, and went on to say “His defense is fine, his base running is fine, and his arm is above average.  Also his approach at the plate has been consistent all year.  However, you can’t put a time table on when he’ll make the big leagues, and it is going to come down to how he continues to progress and when the Dodgers have a need for him.”  Personally, I believe that Sands is a good enough fielder to play 1st base, left field, or right field at the big league level.  He might not ever earn a gold glove, but I’ve seen him play enough to know he can handle each of those positions.  3rd base, however, seems very unlikely.  My gut tells me that he’ll probably start his career as a left fielder while getting occasional starts in right, but that he’ll end up at 1st later on down the road.  2011 should see Sands start back in AA, and as Watson said his major league debut will really depend on when he’s needed.  No matter where he plays, I expect another big season out of the 23 year old.  Finally, Sands got engaged this offseason and is set to be married on November 19, 2011.  Sorry ladies.

Why #2: I really like Sands as a prospect, and I believe he has what it takes to be a big league regular for years to come with the potential for a .300 average and 30 homers annually.  The only reason I have him behind Zach Lee is because I think Lee is going to be a stud pitcher.  See below.

1.  Zach Lee, RHP (Did not pitch in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 1st round

6’4”, 210 lbs, 19.5 years old

No Stats in 2010

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers drafted Zach Lee last June, I immediately had mixed emotions.  Since I knew Lee was going to be one of the toughest players to sign in the draft, my initial reaction was that we had wasted a pick due to high bonus demands, and I was very upset.  However I did have a small glimmer of hope that we’d somehow find a way to sign him, and that made me excited because I knew how good of a player Lee could be.  Well we all know what happened next, as the negotiations with Lee went down to the wire before the Dodgers miraculously lured him away from LSU baseball and football for $5.25M.  When the news broke of his signing, that was probably the best Dodger news I’d heard all season given the team’s poor performance.  Considered by some to be the 2nd best pitcher in the entire 2010 draft behind #2 pick Jameson Taillon, Lee is very advanced for his age and has a great feel for pitching.  He has an outstanding pitching frame with lots of projection, and has the potential for three plus pitches.  His fastball sits around 93 mph and hit 95 mph as recently as the Fall Instructional League, and it has good movement.  His changeup is very advanced for a high school pitcher and will only get better as he gains experience.  Finally he has a power curveball/slider that again has the potential to be a very good pitch.  When you combine those pitches with his plus control and clean mechanics, you have the makings for a very successful pitcher.  Zach will start his professional career in LoA, and he’ll probably remain with the Loons all season given that he is just 19 years old and there is no reason to rush him.  For 2012, however, I can see him making the jump up to AA, and while he probably won’t reach the major leagues as fast as Kershaw did, I think he can move quickly through the system.  He should be a very fun minor leaguer to follow over the next few years.

Why #1: From the moment Zach Lee signed with the Dodgers I knew he’d be my #1 Dodger prospect in this ranking.  I know Lee hasn’t thrown a professional pitch yet, but I rank players on their big league potential instead of basing it on their stats.  Of course it all still comes down one’s own opinion, but I personally think that Zach Lee will have a much more successful career in the big leagues than anyone else in the Dodgers minor system.  It’s really all about ceilings and the likelihood that a player will reach the ceiling, and I think Zach Lee has a strong possibly of being a #1 starter.

My top 200 (and 1) Dodger Prospects heading into the 2010 Season

March 17, 2010

Welcome to the most comprehensive analysis of the Dodgers minor league system.  For the next few months, I am going to provide a summary of every player in the Dodgers minor league system who meets the following qualifications:  (1) played in the Dodgers minor league system during 2009, or was injured during the entire 2009 season; (2) is still within the Dodgers organization as of season end; (3) is under 28 years old as of Opening Day 2010; and (4) the player is still considered a prospect by Baseball America Standards, which means that pitchers must have less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, and hitters must have less than 130 at bats in the majors.  Like Baseball America, I do not take into account service time, and therefore it is possible that I have included prospects who will not technically be rookies in 2010 (i.e. Brent Leach). 

The players are going to be listed by how I rank them as a prospect.  Just like last year, the list is almost exactly 200 players, and I will start from #200 (actually, #201 this year), and work my way to who I think is the #1 prospect in the Dodgers system.  I’ve included where each prospect played in 2009, how each was acquired by the Dodgers, their height, weight, and age as of the start of the 2010 season, and finally their 2009 combined minor league statistics.  Also, since this is my second year completing these rankings, I’ll include my prior year ranking, my review of how accurate I was during my prior year ranking, and obviously a current year discussion about the player.  I will generally post 10 players at a time, and will try to post at least once a week.  The first 100 players will probably be unknown to most people, but look at it as a way to get to know the Dodgers minor league system even better.  Feel free to discuss, comment, and let me know what you think. 

 

201.  Taiwan Perry, LF (18 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 185 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.050 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

There are two questions that surround Taiwan Perry: where did he come from, and how can anyone be that bad?  While I can’t provide too much insight on either of these questions, I can tell you that based on his myspace and twitter accounts, he likes Kim Kardashian, was a Reds fan growing up, and fell in love for the first time at age 16.  In regards to baseball, I really don’t know where he came from, and I’m assuming the Dodgers saw him play somewhere and decided to sign him to fill out their rookie league roster.  The only thing that was somewhat interesting about him during last season was that I wanted to see how low his average could go.  He didn’t get his first hit until August 10th, and by August 25th I believe his average was at.031.  But then, he unfortunately got a hit in his 2nd to last game of the season, and ended the year batting .050.  Needless to say he has no future with the Dodgers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t return in 2010. 

200.  Parker Dalton, 3B (55 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 24th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 26.75 years old, bats right handed

.169 average, 1 HR’s, 14 RBI, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 195

I ranked Parker Dalton #195 last season, and I think my assessment of his baseball skills was right on.  Dalton had a bad 2008, and an even worse 2009.  He has no power, can’t hit for average, and strikes out way too much (27.3% of plate appearances in 2009).  However, I can’t help but like Dalton as a person.  His teammates call him Pops because they say he is wise beyond his years.  In addition, he has overcome melanoma, a very serious type of skin cancer, which is why he started his professional baseball career at such an advanced age.  I think that Dalton was more of a player/coach for the Loons during 2009, and I believe that he may have that same role in the future. 

199.  Esteban Lopez, C (49 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 25th round

6’1”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats right handed

.203 average, 3 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 169

Esteban Lopez has always had the reputation as a strong defensive catcher who can’t hit.  During his two years at the University of Hawaii, he only made four errors, yet hit .260 as a senior.  Unfortunately this trend has continued into his professional career.  He hit .243 in 2008, and just .203 in 2009.  His horrid average can partially be attributed to his extremely low batting average for balls in play (.245), but I think the bigger problem is that he just can’t hit.  Last year I said he had a good build for a catcher, and would probably get a chance to prove himself in HiA.  Well, he still has a good catchers body, but he played in LoA instead of HiA, and obviously did nothing to prove himself.  Even my #169 ranking last year was probably a little too high, which is why I dropped him to the very bottom this year.  At 25 years old, the only reason the Dodgers may keep him in their system is to help out with all the pitchers during Spring Training.

198.  Geraldo Martinez, LHP (6 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/23/07

6’0”, 162 lbs, 22 years old

0-2, 9.00 ERA, 2.17 WHIP, 4.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 156

Last year, I talked about how Martinez had a good second half in 2008, and how if he had a good 2009, he’d have a chance to play in the U.S. in 2010.  Well, he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain.  I’m not sure why Geraldo Martinez was only limited to 6 innings in 2009, but whatever the reason, it really hurt Geraldo’s progress and basically killed any chance he had to make it with the Dodgers.  When the 2010 season starts, Geraldo will be a 22 year old with 23 innings of professional experience (all in the DSL).  That being said, he may not even warrant another look, so he may not even be back with the team next season.

197.  Ryan Arp, C (17 games in Arizona League, 1 game in AAA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 45th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.167 average, 1 HR’s, 8 RBI, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 176

Not much has changed for Ryan Arp from 2008 to 2009, so I’m going to repeat some of the information from last year.  Arp was the Dodgers very last draft pick in the 2008 draft, and he ended up signing with the team because he had already graduated from Upper Iowa University.  It’s actually surprising that he was even drafted at all because he only hit .208 during his senior year, but apparently he is a pretty good defensive catcher.  After a respectable showing in the Pioneer Rookie League in 2008, the Dodgers demoted Arp to the Arizona Rookie League for the majority of 2009 where he was awful.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers picked Arp when they needed a backup catcher in AAA after AJ Ellis was promoted to the majors.  He played in one game in September, and then was probably a reserve on the Isotopes playoff roster.  Overall, despite his cameo in AAA,  Arp has no chance to make it to the majors, but may continue to help out a few young pitchers along the way by playing solid defense behind the plate.

196.  Irvit Mendez, RHP (1.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’6”, 225 lbs, 19.75 years old

0-0, 27.00 ERA, 8.25 WHIP, 13.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 175

In 2008, Irvit Mendez made one appearance in the DSL and allowing 4 runs without getting an out.  In 2009, Mendez made three appearances, and again allowed 4 runs, although this time he was able to also get 4 outs.  Is that considered that an improvement?  I’m not sure, but either way, the biggest problem for Mendez is his control.  He walked 5 batters in his one appearance last year, and 7 batters in his 1.3 innings this year.  That’s just ridiculous.  The two positives about Mendez are his age and his size.  He’ll still be 19 years old when the 2010 season starts, and I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL (if he returns at all).  As for his size, Mendez amazingly grew from 6’0” to 6’6” in the past year.  That growth spurt could have contributed to this control problems, but in the long run, if he learns to use that size to his advantage, he could eventually move up through the system.

195.  Tommy Perez, RHP (2 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 9/7/03

6’4”, 167 lbs, 23.5 years old

0-0, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 0.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I didn’t rank Tommy Perez in my top 200 last year because he missed all of 2007 and 2008, so I had thought that he had been released.  But alas, he resurfaced in 2009, even though it was only for two brief one inning appearances.  Looking back at Tommy’s career, it seems that injuries have been a consistent theme.  After pitching 44 innings in his debut in 2004, Perez has only pitched 22 innings since.  Not a great track record.  However, Perez will be just 23 and a half years old at the start of the 2010 season, and has a good pitching frame at 6’4”.  Therefore, if he can somehow find a way to get healthy, Perez may still have a chance to make a splash in the Dodgers minor league system.

194.  Garett Green, 3B (49 games in HiA, 17 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 30th round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 25 years old

.235 average, 4 HR, 32 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 181

Garett Green had a subpar and injury riddled season in 2009 while playing most of the season at HiA (his time in Arizona was spent rehabbing his injury).  As I mentioned last year, he has no chance to make it to the big leagues.  Drafted out of San Diego State in 2008, the highlight of his baseball career will probably be that he got to play college ball with Stephen Strasburg.  At the end of the day, age is the biggest factor for Garett Green, as he’ll be 25 years old at the start of the 2010 season.  If he’s back with the club in 2010, he’ll most likely return to Hi-A.

193.  Steve Cilladi, C (14 games in Arizona League, 1 game in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 33rd round

5’9”, 182 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.119 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Besides the great Taiwan Perry and 18 year old Jorky Infante, Steve Cilladi had the lowest OPS of any Dodger minor leaguer at .379.  It is true that he only played in 15 games, but still, that is just awful.  The only reason that he isn’t ranked last is that he will be 23 years old when the 2010 season starts, instead of 24 or 25 like some of the other players.  Anyways, to provide a little background on Cilladi, his dad was a former athletic trainer for the Rockies and Cubs, so I’m sure he knows something about conditioning.  He played college ball in the NAIA with the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes, and during his four seasons there, Steve hit .267 with 76 hits, so he wasn’t exactly a masher in college either.  In fact, he wasn’t even the full time starting catcher during his Senior year.  I’m not sure why the Dodgers spent a pick on draft pick on Cilladi, even if it was a 33rd rounder, but I wish him the best of luck, and I guess he’ll be one of the backup catchers for the Dodgers in the Pioneer League next year.

192.  Jose Sanchez, LF (1 game in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/9/07

6’2”, 175 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.200 average, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 151

After playing in 5 DSL games during the 2008 season, Sanchez decided to take even more time off during 2009, and played in only 1 game.  Apparently he had some kind of an injury because he was on the DL from mid June until the end of the season, but I have no idea what that injury was.  Last year, I actually had some high hopes for Sanchez given his young age, his experience (2009 was actually his 3rd professional season), and his ideal size for an outfielder.  After another injury shortened season, however, I don’t see how Jose will be able to make up for so much lost time.  He’ll still be just 19 years old to start the 2010 season, but there is no doubt that he’ll be in the DSL yet again, that is if he comes back at all.

191.  Nick DeBarr, RHP (29.3 innings in AAA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/30/08

6’3”, 245 lbs, 26.5 years old

2-0, 7.36 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 7.67 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Nick Debarr is an injury prone 26 year old who struggled mightily in his first season in the Dodgers system.  Originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 14th round of the 2002 draft, DeBarr started his professional career with three mediocre seasons, posting ERA’s of 4.59, 4.15, and 4.91.  Unfortunately, he then underwent Tommy John surgery before the 2005 season, and missed the entire year.  However, he came back even stronger in 2006 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in HiA, and then continued to move up the ladder in the Ray’s system in 2007 and 2008.  Eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, the Dodgers picked up DeBarr as a long shot to help out in the bullpen.  Although he put up fairly solid stats in spring training (3.86 ERA in 7 innings), the Dodgers didn’t have enough room on their 25 man roster for him, and he was sent to AAA.  There he was pretty horrible, and apparently got hurt in mid July as he didn’t pitch after July 12th.  I doubt the Dodgers will re-sign Debarr for 2010, but if they do, he’ll definitely be in AAA again to trying to prove his worth.

190.  Keyter Collado, C (9 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/04

5’11”, 178 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.273 average, 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 154

Collado is another young catcher in the Dodgers system who hasn’t amounted to much.  After back to back successful seasons in 2006 and 2007, in which he was even named to the GCL post season all star team (in 2007), Collado has only played in 32 games over the past two years.  I’m not sure what has limited Collado over that time, but the 23 year old is running out of time to impress.  The one thing I noticed about Collado in 2009 was that he had a ridiculous ground ball percentage of 79%.  Granted it was only through 9 games, but still, I’ve never seen a ground ball percentage that high.  Overall, Collado has yet to play above rookie ball, so if he does return in 2010, he be a 24 year old either returning to rookie ball, or playing at Lo-A for the first time.

189.  Noel Acevedo, LHP (4 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

5’11”, 160 lbs, 19.75 years old

0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2.25 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When players debut for the Dodgers in the Dominican Summer League, they are generally 18 years old or younger.  Noel Acevedo, however, was 19 when he threw his first pitch for the Dominican Dodgers, and then went on to appear in only three games, probably due to injury.  In those three games, Noel didn’t have very good stats, as he walked 4 and only had one strikeout.  In addition, Acevedo is only 5’11” and 160 pounds, so I can’t imagine that he will ever develop into a significant prospect, even though he is a lefty.  So basically my ranking of Acevedo is based on his inexperience going into his 20 year old season, and his lack of impressive makeup.

188.  Rafael Aybar, 2B (Did not play in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 4/9/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 19.75 years old, switch hitter

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 148

First of all to clarify, Rafael Aybar is not related to former Dodgers infielder Willy Aybar or Angels infielder Erick Aybar.  That being said, last year I thought that Aybar had some potential as a 2nd baseman because he had some speed, and had shown an improvement to his overall game when compared to the prior year.  However, before the 2009 season, Aybar was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for the steroid boldenone.  In fact, even though the DSL season is longer than 50 games, Aybar ended up missing the entire year.  This will not only hurt his development, but also has put him in the doghouse with Dodger management.  You can’t blame the guy for trying to get ahead in such a competitive environment, but steroids are obviously not the way to go.  When the 2010 season begins, he’ll already be almost 20 years old, so he’ll have to make up for lost time quickly.  My guess is that his career is pretty much finished.

187.  Gabriel Gutierrez, C (33 games in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2002

5’11”, 190 lbs, 26.25 years old, bats right handed

.267 average, 0 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 161

Gabriel Gutierrez is an interesting case.  One of the few Mexican born players in the Dodgers minor league system, Gabriel returns to Mexico to play baseball any chance he gets.  In addition to playing in the Mexican Winter League for the past three seasons (where he has struggled, especially in 2008), Gutierrez was actually loaned to the Mexican League by the Dodgers during the 2009 regular season.  No matter where he has played, however, Gutierrez hasn’t had very good results.  While he holds his own as a catcher, Gabriel doesn’t project to be a starter in the minor leagues, let alone in the majors.  He has never shown any power whatsoever, and obviously has no speed.  He will be 26 years old next season, and while he has worked his way up to AA, I don’t see him being promoted beyond that. 

186.  Johan Garcia, 3B (40 games in HiA, 12 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 4/19/05

6’0”, 170 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.189 average, 0 HR’s 10 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 155

After spending two season in the Dominican Summer League, and then two more seasons in the Dodgers U.S. based rookie leagues, Johan Garcia finally got a chance to prove himself in Hi-A after he was promoted to the California League in July of 2009.  Unfortunately, his promotion was far from memorable.  In 111 at bats, Garcia hit. 162 with only 4 RBI’s.  While he may have been a little unlucky with his .205 batting average for balls in play, that is no excuse.  His only asset is his speed, but even that isn’t overly impressive.  At 23 and a half years old, Garcia is running out of time to impress.  I’m sure he’ll return to Hi-A again next year, but I doubt he’ll ever have the chance to play every day.

185.  Edward Bens, 1B (41 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/9/07

6’1”, 189 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.266 average, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 132

Even though I thought Edward Bens would move to a U.S. based rookie league in 2009, the Dodgers decided to keep him the Dominican Summer League for a third straight year.  And I guess the Dodgers were right to keep him there, as Bens only had a mediocre season in 2009, even though he was one of the oldest and most experienced players in the league.  In addition, Bens saw his stock drop significant because he no longer appears to be a true catcher.  Last season he played 35 of his 41 games behind the plate.  In 2009, however, he only caught 18 games, while playing 23 at 1st base or DH.  The one thing that Bens has going for him is that he doesn’t strike out very much.  He K’d in less than 10% of his plate appearances in 2009, which was one of the best rates in the Dodgers minor league system.  Looking to the future, I can’t image that Bens will stay in the Dominican League for a 4th year, so I suspect he’ll finally make it the U.S.

 

184.  Gari Tavarez, RHP (18.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’0”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 9.64 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 149

While Tavarez didn’t exactly dominate in 2008, I still thought that the Dodgers would give him a chance in the Pioneer League in 2009.  However, the Dodgers decided to put Gari in the Arizona League, and it looks like they made the right decision.  While Tavarez wasn’t quite as bad as his stats may lead one to believe (his FIP was a respectable 3.75 and he struck more than one batter per inning), he was far from impressive.  In fact, his 6.75 ERA was a far cry from the 1.49 ERA he posted in 2007 in the Dominican Summer League.  I’m not sure why he was limited to just over 18 innings, but this undersized pitcher is running out of time as he is a 22 year old who has yet to play above rookie ball.

183.  Christian Lara, SS (115 games in HiA in 2009)

Acquired via trade with Red Sox in April 2008 for Eric Hull

5’11, 150 lbs, 24.75 years old, switch hitter

.256 average, 6 HR’s, 46 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 200

I should apologize to Christian Lara.  Last year, I ranked Lara dead last in my top 200 ranking.  After further review, however, I realized that Lara wasn’t quite as bad as I had originally thought, and I also realized that there were other players who were more deserving of last place on my list.  In fact, while browsing through the old Baseball America archives, I discovered that Lara was once a legitimate prospect.  In 2003, Lara was the Red Sox player of the year for their Dominican Summer League.  In 2004, Lara was actually ranked the 9th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League after hitting .433 in 60 at bats.  During that season, Lara apparently had “good on-base ability and speed and focuses on getting the most out of those tools”.   Now that I got my apology out of the way, I will say that Lara still isn’t a very good player.  He made the third most errors of any Dodger minor leaguer with 25, and struck out 4 times for every walk.  He did show a little more speed and power in 2009, but those are both functions of him repeating in the California League, as he has much more experience in the league than the other players.  I can’t see Lara as anything more than a bench player for Hi-A or AA in 2010.

182.  Jean Eusebio, RHP (21.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

6’1”, 195 lbs, 20.75 years old

0-0, 4.15 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 7.48 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 174

After playing catcher in 2008, Jean Eusebio took the Kenly Jansen route and made the transition to the mound during the 2009 season.  For a guy with no pitching experience, Eusebio was relatively successful.  Playing in the Dominican Summer League, his 3.91 FIP was even better than his 4.15 ERA, and his strikeout rate was respectable.  His only ugly stat was his WHIP, which was a function of his 15 walks in less than 22 innings.  I’m not sure what 2010 will bring for Jean Eusebio.  He will be 21 years old during most of next season, and will probably return to the DSL to continue his growth as a pitcher.  He has the size to succeed, but he’s going to have to make great strides in the next 12 months to get his name on the Dodger prospect map.

181.  Marlon Urriola, RHP (2 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/25/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 21.75 years old

0-1, 13.50 ERA, 4.00 WHIP, 13.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 117

After pitching 3 seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the Dodgers fulfilled my prediction and decided to give Marlon Urriola a chance to play in a U.S. based league in 2009.  Unfortunately, his 2009 U.S. debut lasted only 2 innings, which was spread over two days in late June.  I can honestly say that I have no idea why Marlon only pitched in two games in 2009, but I can only assume it was due to injury.  The good news, however, is that Marlon will only be 21 years old at the start of the 2010 season, so he has plenty of time to make up for his lost time.  At 6’2”, Marlon has a solid right handed frame, and hopefully he can stay healthy in 2010 and put together a solid season (while mostly likely repeating in the Arizona Rookie League).

180.  Jose Ramirez, RF (51 Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 200 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.213 average, 2 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m guessing that Jose Ramirez won’t be replacing Andre Ethier as the Dodgers right fielder anytime soon, as Ramirez hit just .213 in his first professional season.  In addition, Ramirez is already 21 years old and only has 51 games under his belt, so his inexperience could be a problem as he moves up.  His one strong point, however, seems to be his speed.  He stole 10 bases on the year, with 8 of them coming in the month of June.  Those 8 stolen bases in June were good for 3rd place among all Dodger minor leaguers for that month.  In addition, at 6’2” and 200 lbs, Ramirez seems to have good size.  He is also pretty versatile in the outfield, playing in both right and center field during the 2009 season.  As for his future, I’m pretty sure the Dodgers will keep Jose in the Dominican Summer League for another year, even though he’ll be one of the oldest player in the league. 

179.  Adam Godwin, CF (95 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 11th round

5’11”, 170 lbs, 27.25 years old, bats right handed

.254 average, 1 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 145

Adam Godwin is definitely fast.  How fast you may ask?  Try 84 stolen bases in 93 attempts during his senior season at Troy State.  That same season, Godwin hit .367 with 5 HR’s.  Ever since his professional debut, however, Adam success has seemed to fade away.  After hitting .310 in 2005 with the Ogden Raptors, Godwin has seen his game steadily decline.  While he continued to steal bases from 2006 through 2008, even that tailed off in 2009 as he was limited to 95 games due to a crowded Lookout outfield.  Besides his lack of playing time, Godwin’s biggest disadvantage is his age, as he will turn 27 before the start of the 2010 season.  As Godwin looks toward his 6th professional season, he has to wonder if he will ever get the chance to play full time again.  I see him as a part time player in AAA at best, but I think that he’ll start the 2010 season in AA for yet another season.

178.  Jose Garcia, LHP (7.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

5’11”, 185 lbs, 18.75 years old

0-0, 13.50 ERA, 2.86 WHIP, 8.59 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jose Garcia is a young lefty from the Dominican Republic who has a lot to learn before he’ll be a successful professional pitcher.  In 2009, he was ridiculously wild, walking 14 batters in just over 7 innings, allowed way too many runs, and only pitched in 10 games.  Despite these negative, however, Garcia showed flashes of success during 2009.  He struck out almost one batter per inning, and allowed only a .259 batting average.  In addition, Garcia was even able to pick up two saves in his limited appearances.  Jose is only 5’11”, but given the fact that he is only 18 years old, maybe he’ll still grow an inch or two.  He’ll return to the Dominican Summer League next year, and I’m assuming the Dodgers will try to get him some more innings than during 2009.

177.  Kyle Wilson, RHP (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 22nd round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.75 years old

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 128

Does anyone know what happened to Kyle Wilson during 2009?  I had originally excluded him from my list because I thought he had been released, but then I saw on Baseball America that he had been reinstated from the DL at the end of the season, so I put him back in.  Last year, I ranked Wilson a respectable #128 because the UCLA alum was actually extremely dominate in 2007 (1.09 ERA in 33 innings at Inland Empire), and then did pretty well in limited innings in 2008.  However, as he has pitched just 22.2 innings over the past two season, and is now pushing 27 years old, I felt that I had to drop his ranking a little.  His stats demonstrate that he has good stuff when healthy, but I have no idea how hard he throws or what kind of pitches he has.  In 2004 at UCLA, he led the team with 12.5 strikeouts per 9 innings, so he most likely has a good “out pitch”.  Wilson topped out in AA in 2008, and if healthy, will look to return to that level in 2010. 

176.  Jose Lugo, 1B (41 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 200 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.223 average, 0 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jose Lugo is a young player from Venezuela who made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2009.  While his stats weren’t pretty, I’ll give the 19 year old Lugo a break because he was getting himself used to the life as a professional baseball player.  In addition, I like the fact that Lugo improved as the season progressed, as he hit .206 in June, .238 in July, and .250 in August.  However, the biggest negative about Lugo is that he didn’t show any speed or power in his game.  Listed as a first baseman, Jose also played 12 games at catcher, which could potentially boost his value if he can continue to improve behind the plate. 

175.  David Iden, 2B (32 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 35th round

5’9”, 160 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.239 average, 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

A late round pick for the Dodgers in 2009 out of Cal Lutheran University, David Iden is the type of player who just wants to be given a chance.  Upon being drafted by the Dodgers, Iden was “ecstatic… relieved…and anxious”.  At Cal Lutheran, the Thousand Oaks native was a career .343 hitter, and ranked in the school’s top 10 for career RBI’s (100), runs scored (121), and stolen bases (63).  However, upon arriving in professional baseball, Iden struggled to produce.  He hit only .239 in 32 games, and only had 5 RBI’s.  In addition, Iden proved that he wasn’t really a stolen base threat, as he was caught stealing 6 times in 11 attempts.  At 5’9”, Iden is the perfect size for a 2nd baseman, but must step up his game if he wants to make an impact with the Dodgers.  Also, at 23 years old, time is against David, so I’m going to guess that he’ll play at Lo-A or Hi-A in 2010.

174.  Luis Vasquez, RHP (58.3 innings in Pioneer League, 12.7 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/20/03

6’4”, 155 lbs, 24 years old

3-5, 5.96 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 6.46 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 130

I’m actually a little confused about Luis Vasquez, because when I look him up on the minor league baseball website, it now shows that his parent club is the Colorado Rockies.  It does make some sense, since he has been with the Dodgers for over 6 years and was probably a minor league free agent (although he wasn’t listed as one at Baseball America).  However, it seems strange that he signed so quickly with another club.  Whatever the case, Vasquez wasn’t the greatest player anyways, so he wouldn’t be a big loss.  After putting up respectable numbers in 2008, albeit with a low strikeout rate, Vasquez was rocked in Hi-A before getting demoted to the Pioneer League.  He continued to struggle with Ogden, allowing 8 HR’s to lead the team, and posting a 5.09 ERA.  Stats aside, Vasquez is a tall and skinny ball player who has yet to fill out his lanky frame.  He’ll be 24 years old at the start of the 2010 season, and I have no idea where his future lies.

173.  Luis Mesa, RHP (29.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’4”, 170 lbs, 19.75 years old

0-3, 6.37 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 5.16 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Luis Mesa is another young player from Venezuela who debuted with the Dominican Dodgers in 2009.  While his ERA and WHIP weren’t great, a closer look at his numbers show that he actually had a fairly successful first professional season.  His FIP was actually a respectable 4.26, and his ground ball percentage of 64% was tops on the Dominican Dodgers.  That ground ball percentage demonstrates that he probably pitches with sink, and has the ability to induce quite a few ground balls, which generally make a pitcher successful.  A lanky right handed pitcher, Mesa has a great pitchers frame, and will hopefully gain some weight over the next few years.  I expect the Dodgers to hang onto Mesa, and I’m sure he’ll return to the Dominican Summer League next season.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made an appearance in a U.S. based rookie league at some point in 2011.

172.  Rafael Ynoa, 2B (35 games in Pioneer League, 14 games in HiA, 2 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

5’10”, 162 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.163 average, 0 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 89

I may have whiffed on my ranking of Ynoa last year.  I had ranked him 89th last year because he was coming off a season where he hit .306, which led the GCL Dodgers.  However, I should have taken a look at his prior year numbers more closely and realized that his 2008 season was a fluke, and not a breakout season.  Ynoa hit .259 in 2006 and just .206 in 2007, and hadn’t shown any previous power.  So really, his struggles in 2009 are nothing new.  He started the 2009 season in Hi-A, but was absolutely awful through 37 at bats, hitting just .054.  So the Dodgers demoted him to the Pioneer League in June, but he wasn’t much better.  Also, he must have gotten injured at some point during his stay in Ogden because he finished up the season on a rehab assignment back in the Arizona Rookie League.  Overall, Ynoa had a very forgettable season in 2009, and at 22 and a half, this prototypical 2nd baseman is going to have to do something special in 2010 to make a name for himself.

171.  Amauri Guzman, RHP (13.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/05

6’3”, 200 lbs, 23.5 years old

0-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 8.78 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 178

Even though Amauri Guzman is just 23 years old, he has already seen his baseball career take quite a few twists and turns.  After signing with the Dodgers as an outfielder in March of 2005 out of the Dominican Republic, Amauri actually played his first few professional games in the Gulf Coast League before finishing the season in the Dominican Summer League.  In 2006, Guzman spent the entire season in the DSL.  In 2007, Guzman was promoted up to the Gulf Coast League, still as an outfielder, where he hit a respectable .310.  Then, for whatever reason, Guzman was converted to a pitcher, and spent all of 2008 back in the DSL, posting a horrid 9.64 ERA.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to bring Amauri back to the U.S. again in 2009, and let him pitch in the Arizona Rookie League.  I’ve never heard of any other prospect going back and forth between the U.S. based and foreign rookie leagues so many different times.  Anyways, Guzman performed surprising well in 2009, although he was limited to just 13 and one third innings.  With less than 28 innings of professional pitching experience, however, I’m not sure how the 23 year old will ever be able to move fast enough to make an impact in the Dodgers system, but the one thing he does have going for him is that he does have a good pitching frame.  If healthy, he’ll probably move up to Lo-A in 2010.

170.  Matthew Smith, RHP (7 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 22nd round

6’6”, 195 lbs, 23.25 years old

0-1, 12.86 ERA, 3.57 WHIP, 3.86 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 120

As I mentioned last year, Smith was drafted by the Dodgers in 2008 because of his size, not because of his college stats at Wichita State.  He recorded a 6.11 ERA during his 2008 season with the Shockers, and a 7.41 ERA during his 2007 season.  Nevertheless, Smith was able to use his size to his advantage during his professional debut as he posted some pretty respectable stats in the Pioneer Rookie League in 2008.  2009, however, was a totally different story, as Smith had probably the worst stats out of any Dodger minor leaguer.  While he only pitched 7 innings, he was absolutely horrendous.  Besides his 12.86 ERA and 3.57 WHIP, it should also be noted that batters hit an astonishing .541 against Smith.  Also, while he must have been injured most of the season, it should be noted that he was healthy at the end of the year, because he pitched on September 5th of 2009, which was one of the 66ers last games.  Overall, even though Matt has had really bad stats in 3 of his last for collegiate/professional pitching seasons, I have some faith that he’ll rebound at some point based on his great pitching frame, and I’m guessing that he’ll be back in the California League in 2010.

169.  Joseph Becker, SS (20 games in AA, 17 games in LoA, 11 games in HiA, 3 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/11/07

5’11, 175 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.299 average, 1 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 190

Joseph Becker did quite a bit of traveling in 2009.  He played at four different levels, ranging from the Arizona Rookie League, all the way up to AA.  When it was all said and done, his stats were actually pretty respectable for the year, especially when compared to what he did in 2008.  He finished the season in LoA, and was part of the Great Lakes playoff roster.  Unfortunately, he only hit .211 in 19 at bats during the Midwest League playoffs.  Becker was originally signed by the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent in 2007.  His college experience consisted of two years at Antelope Valley College, where he hit .350 for his career.  As a middle infielder, Becker is mediocre at best, and even though he’s listed as a shortstop, he also plays 2nd base.  He also has no power or speed to speak of.  At this point, while he had a solid average during the 2009 season, he appears to be more of an organizational player for the Dodgers.  In 2010, the 24 year old will probably bounce around again to different levels that need a middle infielder.

168.  Travis Vetters, OF (36 games in LoA, 4 games in Arizona league in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/28/06

6’2”, 190 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats right handed

.237 average, 1 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 73

Too bad Travis Vetters can’t just make a career out of playing in baseball’s Rookie Leagues.  For his career, Vetters is hitting .332 in 398 Rookie League at bats (in the Gulf Coast League, Arizona Rookie League, and Pioneer Rookie League), and .223 in 220 LoA at bats.  The difference is amazing as he goes through some sort of transformation when he plays in the Rookie Leagues.  One reason for his success in the Rookie Leagues has to be attributed to his age.  Most guys are between 18 and 20 when they play in the Rookie Leagues, but not Travis.  He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in June 2006 when he was almost 23 years old, and managed to stay in the Rookie Leagues for the better part of 3 years.  When he did get a chance to play in Lo-A in at the beginning of 2008, he struggled so bad that the Dodgers sent him to the Pioneer League for the rest of the season.  They let him try Lo-A again at the beginning of 2009, but his results were similar.  He struggled at the beginning of the season, got injured and rehabbed in the Arizona League (where he of course hit .333 in 4 games), and returned to Lo-A in July where he struggled some more.  So needless to say, the 26 year old Vetters is not much of a prospect.  The one thing he’ll always be able to tell his kids, however, is that during the 2008 season, he hit .404 in the Pioneer League in over 150 AB’s, and hey, I’ll give him props for that, because hitting over .400 in that many at bats is a major accomplishment.

 

 

167.  Jorky Infante, 2B (26 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 155 lbs, 19 years old, switch hitter

.143 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Let’s start with the positives for Jorky Infante.  First, he has a great name.  Second, he is a switch hitter.  Third, Infante played the entire 2009 season as just an 18 year old.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any other good things to say about Jorky.  His .368 OPS looked more like a batting average, and he didn’t show any power or speed.  He also plays 2nd base, which limits his value on the field.  In addition, from the looks of his stats, Infante appeared to be limited to a pinch hitting role during the 2009 season as he only had 35 at bats in 26 games.  Nevertheless, I expect improvement out of Infante in 2010.  He is obviously still young, and he still has the chance to develop into an average player next season.  If he does progress enough during 2010, he might be in line for a move to a U.S. based rookie league in 2011.

 

 

166.  Justin Dignelli, RHP (14 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 34th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 23 years old

1-1, 7.71 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 11.57 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Dignelli was a low risk, high reward draft pick for the Dodgers in 2009.  The 6’4” pitcher out of George Washington University allowed more than a run per inning in his college career.  In addition, Justin walked a ridiculous number of batters in college, a stat that followed him into his professional career.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to take a chance on Dignelli because they felt his size might lead to a promising future.  Sure enough, in his limited time with the Dodgers during his professional debut, the Dodgers got a glimpse of what they were hoping for as Dignelli struck out 18 batters in 14 innings, and allowed just a .216 batting average against.  They also saw his lack of experience, however, as demonstrated by his 7.71 ERA.  While the Dodgers will want to be aggressive with Dignelli, they also have to be careful with his right arm as he was constantly injured throughout his college career.  I expect Dignelli to play in the Pioneer League next year, and hopefully he’ll be able to show significant improvement.

 

 

165.  Jose Mateo, RHP (14.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’8”, 190 lbs, 21 years old

1-2, 8.16 ERA, 2.16 WHIP, 7.54 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The most interesting thing about Mateo is his extreme size.  The 6’8” Dominican towers over his Dodger teammates, and I would guess that he was the tallest player in the entire Dominican Summer League.  With his size comes wildness, however, as Jose walked as many batters as he struck out, which almost came out to one walk per inning.  It is for that reason that you don’t find many pitchers taller than 6’6” in the major leagues, because it is very difficult for extremely tall pitchers to harness their stuff.  In addition to his wildness, Jose must have also left too many hittable balls over the plate, as opposing batters hit .322 against him.  Even though Mateo was 20 years old in his debut season, the Dodgers used him sparingly, spreading out his 13 appearances evenly from June through August.  Overall, I don’t see too many positives in regards to Mateo besides the fact that he had a strikeout rate that was just a tick above average.  Nevertheless, his height makes him such a wildcard that I can’t help but have some hope that he’ll have a dramatic turnaround next year and burst on to the prospect scene, setting himself up for a U.S. debut in 2011.

164.  Adolfo Gonzalez, 2B (59 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/8/02

5’11”, 160 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.271 average, 4 HR, 24 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 104

Adolfo Gonzalez regressed significantly in 2009.  After spending all of 2008 in AA and hitting .298, the Dodgers demoted Gonzalez to Hi-A in 2009.  At Inland Empire he got off to a hot start, but then steadily declined before his season early on June 30 due to some sort of injury.  A smaller player who is pretty much limited to 2nd base, I’m not sure why I ranked Adolfo all the way at #104 last year because I really don’t like him as a player.  He just really isn’t that good.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers already re-signed this Venezuelan native after the 2009 season to a minor league contract, and I suppose he’ll return to Hi-A in 2010.

163.  Faustino Oguisten, SS (24 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 165 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.190 average, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Faustino Oguisten’s stats were obviously pretty ugly in 2009.  Not only was his batting average only .190, but so was his slugging percentage.  That’s right, all of Oguisten’s hits in 2009 were singles.  Nevertheless, this Dominican deserves some recognition in my ranking due to his youth and his position.  Oguisten was just 18 years old during his first professional season, and played the premium position of shortstop (even though he made 11 errors in just 24 games).  In addition, Faustino has good size, and if he is able to put on some muscle in the future, he could be a pretty scary offensive threat.  That potential still a long way off, however, and I’m positive that Oguisten will return to the Dominican Summer League in 2010.

162.  Miguel Sanfler, LHP (89 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/2/02

5’11”, 165 lbs, 25.5 years old

1-0, 5.48 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 6.13 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 102

Back in 2005, Sanfler was rated by Baseball America as the 19th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League.  This was only four spots ahead of one of the Dodgers top prospects Ivan DeJesus Jr.  At that time, Miguel boasted a 95 mph fastball and a devastating curveball.  Four years later, Sanfler’s stuff seems to have faded.  While the California League has been historically tough on pitchers, it is no excuse for the control problems that plagued Sanfler in 2009.  He walked almost as many batters as he struck out, which inflated Miguel’s WHIP to 1.64.  Sanfler also tends to leave the ball up when he misses, and allowed 7 HR’s in 2009, a remarkably high number for a reliever. At 5’11”, 165 lbs, and 25 and half years old, Sanfler doesn’t appear to have what it takes to make it to the show, and I’d be surprised if he was promoted to AA next year.  Lastly, Sanfler is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League, and has a 10.80 ERA in 1.7 innings, which doesn’t bode well for his assignment next year.

161.  Charlie Mirabal, SS (61 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07

5’11”, 164 lbs, 23 years old

.254 average, 0 HR’s, 26 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 79

As I said last year, Charlie Mirabal is an interesting story.  He was signed by the Dodgers after he performed well during an open tryout before the 2007 season.  Originally a middle infielder, Mirabal struggled during the 2007 season in the Dominican Summer League.  So the Dodgers decided to try him out as a pitcher during 2008, and he put up some great numbers.  He had a 1.99 ERA in 32 innings and had an outstanding strikeout rate.  Based on those facts, one would think that Mirabal would continue to pitch in 2009 in one of the U.S. based rookie leagues right?  Wrong.  The Dodgers had different plans for Miarbal, and decided to move him back to shortstop in 2009.  I don’t really understand this decision at all given Charlie’s success on the mound in 2008, and the only reasonable explanation would be that he had some sort of a minor injury to his pitching arm.  Whatever the case, Mirabal had another lackluster season as a position player in 2009.  He did rank 3rd on the Dominican Dodgers in RBI’s and stolen bases, but he was also one of the oldest players in the league.  It is for this reason that I dropped Charlie significantly in my ranking from last year.  When the 2010 season starts, the 5’11” Mirabal will be 23 years old.  I can’t see him making any sort of an impact as a shortstop, but maybe the Dodgers will give him yet another chance on the mound to see if he can repeat his 2008 performance in a more advanced league.

160.  Marlon Arias, LHP (18.6 innings in HiA, 6.3 innings in AAA, 1 inning in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/11/03

6’3”, 150 lbs, 25.5 years old

1-1, 6.23 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 9.35 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 171

Marlon Arias’ claim to fame will always be the no-hitter he threw in 2007 while with Inland Empire.  Given the reputation of the California league, that is no small feat.  Going back to the beginning of his career, Arias was signed at the beginning of 2003 out the Dominican Republic.  He dominated the Dominican Summer League in 2003 and 2004 before coming to the U.S. in 2005.  From 2005 through 2009, however, he has continually struggled, and has never posted an ERA below 5.00 during that time period.  In addition, he regressed significant in 2009 as his ERA rose to an ugly 6.23.  Nevertheless, there were two positives for Marlon in 2009.  First, he made it all the way to AAA, and ended the season there.  Second, he struck out more than one batter per inning.  A current minor league free agent, it remains to be seen if the Dodgers will resign this tall lefty to another minor league contract, or if they’ll let him join another organization.  While he has shown flashes of brilliance over his career, I don’t see any major league potential in him as a player, so unless the Dodgers need organizational depth at pitcher, I’d prefer that they left him walk. 

 

 

159.  Carlos Mercedes, 1B (42 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 190 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats right handed

.133 average, 2 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Carlos Mercedes is a young Dominican player who made his professional debut in 2009.  He was only 17 when he played his first professional game, and his lack of experience showed.  He hit just .133 for the season, and struck out in almost one-third of his plate appearances.  However, he did hit 2 home runs, which is pretty good for the Dominican Summer League.  In addition, Mercedes was extremely unlucky in 2009, as his batting average for balls in play was only .192, which is one of the lowest in the Dodgers minor league system.  Primarily a 1st baseman in 2009, Mercedes also played in the outfield throughout the course of the season, which shows that he has some versatility.  Overall, while his 2009 stats were awful, I believe that his youth and size give him the potential to turn things around next season. 

 

 

158.  Thomas Melgarejo, LHP (36.3 innings in HiA, 4.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/1/05

6’1”, 216 lbs, 23 years old

2-3, 6.15 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 8.78 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 91

A native of Mexico who was signed by the Dodgers before the 2006 season, Melgarejo is another player who I ranked as a top 100 Dodger prospect last year, yet disappointed in 2009.  After spending back to back seasons in Lo-A, Melgarejo was promoted to the hitters’ paradise known as the California League, and the results were not pretty.   He posted a 5.70 ERA and allowed 7 HR’s in just over 36 innings.  He also walked too many batters, and based on his results, didn’t appear to have overpowering stuff.  However, when you combine his Hi-A stats with the stats he accumulated in the Arizona Rookie League while rehabbing an injury, he did end up striking out almost a batter per inning, and also had a respectable 5.00 FIP and a .272 batting average against.  In 2010, I anticipate that the 23 year old Melgarejo will return to Hi-A, and hopefully he’ll have better results.  Finally, it is worth noting that Thomas is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League, and is doing fairly well with 13 K’s and 4.82 ERA in just over 9 innings.

157.  Ronny Lugo, RF (63 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 170 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.246 average, 0 HR’s, 24 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Ronny Lugo was signed out of Venezuela prior to the 2009 season, and debuted with the Dominican Dodgers in May.  While his offensive stats were just average, it should be noted that Lugo played all three outfield positions, and only made 3 errors in 63 games.  He played the most games in right field, so one can only assume that he has an above average arm.  Getting back to his offense, he really didn’t do too badly for a first year player.  He had a very solid month of June by hitting .293, and his 24 RBI’s for the year ranked forth on the team.  In addition, he showed some speed with 5 triples throughout the course of the season, which led the Dominican Dodgers by far.  Nevertheless, at 20 years old, Lugo is going to have to show something special next year to get a chance at playing in a U.S. based league in 2011.

156.  Eric Thompson, RHP (28 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 23rd round

6’6”, 210 lbs, 22 years old

1-1, 5.79 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 121

Eric Thompson was drafted out of high school in 2006, and even though he was a 23rd round pick, the Dodgers had to pay him a fairly large signing bonus to convince him put his basketball career aside.  The thought was that the 6’6” pitcher would have the ideal frame and size to be a power pitcher.  However, more than three years have passed since he was drafted, and Thompson is still struggling in Rookie ball.  While he did make it up to LoA in 2008, he found himself back at Ogden for the entire 2009 season.  I don’t know anything about his pitches, command, or his velocity, but the fact that he struck out less than 5 batters per 9 innings in 2009 seems to suggest that his doesn’t have overpowering stuff.  But on the plus side, he did have a respectable 4.34 FIP in 2009, and opposing batters only hit .241 against him.  At 22 years old, Thompson is running out of time to prove himself to Dodger management.  Nevertheless, I have a soft spot for pitchers who were drafted out of high school, so I hope that he puts together a solid campaign in 2010.  He’ll probably start next season at Lo-A, and there is a chance that he’ll move up to Inland Empire by mid-season.

155.  Bridger Hunt, OF (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 9th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

No stats in 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 97

After a mediocre 2008 season in Hi-A, Bridger Hunt was on track to make the jump to AA in 2009 as a part time player.  The 9th round pick out of Central Missouri State had something to prove after being relegated to an organization player who was just there to fill out a roster. Unfortunately, Hunt never got that chance in 2009 as he was injured the entire season.  I’m not sure what Bridger’s injury was, but I did see his name on the Inland Empire DL list for the entire season.  My analysis of Hunt as a player is that he has the ability to hit for a decent batting average, but has no power.  He is also a scrappy player who has the potential to be a solid leadoff hitter, but unfortunately he lacks the speed to ever be great.  Overall, this injury has really put Hunt’s career on hold, and now I’m not sure if he’ll ever be able to get back on track.  If healthy in 2010, he’ll probably stay in extended spring training for a while to get back into game action, and then depending on his results, will play in HiA or AA.

 

154.  Chris Handke, RHP (1.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 41st round

6’10”, 235 lbs, 22 years old

0-0, 13.50 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 0.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Chris Handke is an interesting prospect with an even more interesting story.  The 6’10” pitcher (or 6’11” pitcher, depending upon where you look) was actually a much better basketball player at Cornell College, averaging 9.8 points per game and setting the single season record for blocks with 45 during the 2008-2009 season.  In addition, Handke had a 3.92 GPA while majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  And by the way, his career pitching stats at Cornell looked like this: 0-1, 10.12 ERA, 25 walks, and 11 strikeouts in 21 and one third innings.  Based on the above information, who would have guessed that he’d be playing in the Dodgers minor league system?  Well, Chris didn’t even believe it after he was drafted.  He was quoted as saying “I told the Dodgers that I want to finish my degree at Cornell and complete my basketball career.”  His dad Jim also told the local paper “Chris was up front with them. He told them academics are a big priority for him, and he wants to go back to play basketball this winter. They were fine with that.”  So what changed his mind?  I’m not too sure, but I bet it had something to do with the Dodgers agreeing to pay for his education during the offseason, or when he is done playing baseball.  I also know that the Dodgers drafted Chris after watching him hit 93 mph at the Perfect Game’s National Pre-Draft Showcase.  In regards to his professional debut, Chris only pitched in 2 games, and was hit very hard.  Nevertheless, a 6’10” pitcher who can hit 93 mph is always intriguing, so I’m sure the Dodgers will continue to spend time on him to see if they can maximize his potential.  He’ll probably start next season in the Pioneer League as a 22 year old.

 

 

153.  Ivan Eugenia, RHP (14 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 185 lbs, 18.5 years old

1-1, 5.79 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 9.64 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Ivan Eugenia is a young Dominican player who made his debut in 2009.  In fact, not only is Eugenia young, but he is the fourth youngest player in the entire Dodgers minor league system.  Because Ivan is so young, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt despite his mediocre ERA and WHIP in 2009.  His 5.79 ERA was supplemented by the fact that his FIP was a respectable 3.41.  In addition, another positive feature about Eugenia is his ability to strike batters out.  While he was limited to 14 innings in the DSL in 2009, his 9.64 K/9 ranked as one of the best for the Dominican Dodgers.  If Ivan can learn to limit the amount of walks he allows, he will no doubt turn into a legitimate prospect.  I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL in 2010, and hopefully he’ll get a chance to exhibit his potential by pitching more innings.

152.  Jordan Roberts, LHP (26.7 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round

6’1”, 180 lbs, 24.25 years old

1-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4.05 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 150

While he only pitched 26 innings all year, the 2009 season was a tail of two halves for Jordan Roberts.  After making 6 appearances in June and July and posting an ERA of 8.00, Jordan found his groove in August, and never looked back.  From August 4th through the end of the season, Jordan made 7 appearances, pitched just under 18 innings, and did not allow an earned run.  His WHIP during that streak was a ridiculous 0.68, and opposing players hit less than .150 against him.  The strange thing was that he only struck out 12 batters the entire season, so you have to wonder if he was a little bit lucky.  His 2009 FIP of 3.70 also seems to suggest that he was pretty fortunate throughout the season.  Going back to his college career, Roberts was a first team All-American out of the NAIA college Embry-Riddle in Florida.  Drafted in the 28th round of 2008, he finished his that season 12th in the NAIA in ERA a 1.94 and, and was 24th in strikeouts per game with 10.10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  So obviously Roberts does have some good stuff.  Looking to the future, however, Roberts will be 24 years old when the 2010 season starts, so he’s getting too old for the rookie leagues.  He’ll probably move up to Hi-A next year, and hopefully this lefty will continue his scoreless streak in the California League.

151.  Jessie Mier, C (35 games in HiA, 1 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 12th round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.217 average, 3 HR, 7 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 115

From now on, I’m guessing that Jessie Mier will simply be known as the older brother of Jiovanni Mier.  For those of you who don’t know, Jessie’s brother Jiovanni was drafted by the Astros with the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft.  Jiovanni is a promising young shortstop, and I’m pretty sure we’ll see him in an Astro uniform sometime in the next five years.  Jessie, on the other hand, is a struggling backup catcher.  Drafted out of Lewis-Clark College in 2007 he played in 8 games with the Ogden Raptors in his debut season before breaking his hand.  He made a full recovery, however, and split time between Ogden and Great Lakes in 2008, posting a respectable .270 average.  In 2009, Mier’s season got off to a late start as he didn’t make his debut until May 30 with Inland Empire.  With the 66ers, Mier served as the backup catcher for the remainder of the season and struggled in pretty much every offensive category.  Despite his struggles, the Dodgers decided to send Mier to the Arizona Fall League for some additional work.  Generally, I consider all players sent to the Arizona Fall League as at least a marginal prospect.  In Mier’s case, however, I don’t consider that to be the case.  In fact, I think the Dodgers wasted an AFL spot by sending Mier.  He proved my point by hitting just .167 in the AFL in 36 at bats.  Overall, while he is known as one of the better defensive catchers in the Dodgers system, Mier’s offensive skills have just not developed enough to compliment his abilities behind the plate.  He will probably play in AA next season, but will definitely be the backup catcher as I don’t him ever being a starting catcher at any level.

150.  Andres Perez, INF (26 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 8/9/09 out of independent ball

6’0”, 200 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats right handed

.340 average, 5 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Andres Perez played his college ball at Stony Brook University, and during 2006, his Senior season, he hit .327 and led the team with 7 HR’s.  Undrafted out of college, Perez signed with the Yankees as a non drafted free agent in September of 2006.  In 2007, his first professional season, he played at 4 different levels ranging from the Gulf Coast League to HiA.  After an uninspiring season, however, he was cut from the Yankees, so he signed with Tampa Bay before the 2008 season.  After a mediocre season in the Florida State League, he was again let go again.  Unable to find a team to sign with at the beginning of 2009, Perez kept his baseball hopes alive by playing independent ball with the Newark Bears.  According to the Newark website at the time of his signing, “Perez was batting .306 with 11 doubles, 4 triples, and 17 home runs, and he collected 54 runs batted in just 64 games.  Perez was a versatile player who appeared at first base, second base, third base, and the outfield.”  Because he signed so late in season, Perez only got into 26 games in the California League, but he made each game count.  He averaged almost an RBI a game, and hit a sizzling .340.  He also had a great OPS of .966.  On the downside, he didn’t walk a whole lot, and his batting average for balls in play of .400 shows that he was probably getting a little lucky.  A minor league free agent after the season, Perez will have to wait and see if his performance was enough to earn him another job in 2010.  However, at 25 years old, he also may be tempted to give up the dream and pursue another realistic occupation.

149.  Austin King, OF (28 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 31st round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats right handed

.244 average, 3 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I had the toughest time finding Austin King’s college stats.  He played at Jackson State Community College, but their website really sucks and it doesn’t have stats.  In addition, he apparently didn’t even play college ball in 2009 based on the Junior College Athletic Association website, which complicated things even further.  When I did finally find his stats, they didn’t agree with what I had previously read.  So contrary to previously published report about him on Scout.com, he did not hit .452 with 15 HR’s and 110 RBI’s in college.  Instead, in 2008 he hit .328 with 4 HR’s 25 RBI’s.  He also stole 17 bases in 18 attempts.  Going back even further into King’s past, he was drafted out of high school by the White Sox in the 40th round of the 2007 draft, but obviously didn’t sign.  Turning to his professional debut, Austin really struggled in his first few months of professional ball.  Luckily for him, however, he turned things around in August as he hit .302 for the month, slugged 3 HR’s, and had a very respectable .879 OPS.  Overall, I believe that King has some potential as a prospect because he has good size and is still reasonably young.  I’m sure he earned a spot in the Pioneer League with his hot streak at the end of last season, so I’m guessing he’ll play there in 2010.

148.  Graham Miller, LHP (14.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 32nd round

6’2”, 205 lbs, 23.25 years old

1-0, 4.30 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 8.59 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Graham Miller was a late round pick out of The Master’s College, a tiny NAIA school located in Santa Clarita.  While his Senior season was less than impressive (he had a 6.63 ERA in 55 2/3 innings), after the draft his college head coach said that “He can hit 90 with his fastball.  He has really good movement.  He has a really good changeup.  A pretty good split.  There’s an upside to him.  He struggled throwing strikes here a little bit, but he’s a left-hander.  He’s a big kid.  Getting in pro ball, they have more of a daily routine.  Maybe he can be more consistent, more effective.”  Well, Miller’s coach may have been right, because while the level of competition in the Pioneer League was significant better than in the NAIA, Graham’s numbers actually improved from college.  He had an overall solid professional debut, and while he only appeared in 9 games, he made his time count, especially when he faced lefties.  For the season, left handed batters only hit .077 against Miller.  While his future role is still uncertain, I’m sure his only chance to make it to the big leagues will be as a left handed specialist.  Since he is already 23 years old, he will probably assume that role for the Great Lake Loons in 2010.

147.  Andres Santiago, RHP (42.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 16th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 20.25 years old

3-4, 7.17 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 8.02 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 133

Andres Santiago was drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2007 at the tender age of 17.  After spending his first two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, I thought the Dodgers would challenge him with a promotion to the Pioneer League in 2009.  Instead, the Dodgers sent Santiago to the Arizona Rookie League for some more work.  Upon further review, I guess his assignment makes sense since he only had 30 innings of professional experience prior to the 2009 season and was still only 19 years old.  Anyways, before you write him off due to his 7.17 ERA, it should be noted that his 2009 FIP was actually 3.36.  As a pitcher’s FIP is a much better indicator as to what kind of season a player had, it looks like Andres didn’t do so bad after all.  In addition, his strikeout rate of 8 batters per nine innings is a major improvement over the last two seasons.  Overall, Santiago has a solid pitchers frame, and is still very young.  Therefore I think that he has some potential as a prospect, and I really hope the Dodgers decide to challenge him in 2010 with an assignment in the Pioneer League or LoA.

 

146.  Kevin Childs, RHP (14.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 36th round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 22.75 years old

0-0, 6.14 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 7.98 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Kevin Childs was drafted out of Culver-Stockton College where he pitched only 8.1 innings in 2009.  A transfer out of Delta Junior College, the Culver-Stockton Wildcats were excited to get a player like Childs, who would have been already drafted in 2008 if it hadn’t been for his inability to find the strike zone.  Unfortunately, Childs came down with elbow stiffness during Fall ball, and while he was lucky to escape Tommy John surgery, it did limit his innings during the season.  He made the best out of his limited appearances, however, as he posted a 2.16 ERA while striking out 10 batters.  What impressed the scouts the most, though, was his .194 battering average against, and his ability to consistently hit 90-91 mph.  What also showed was his wildness, however, as he walked 6 batters and hit another 5.  Nevertheless, most people think that if he had pitched an entire season in 2009, he would have been drafted much higher.  In addition, it has been said that his fastball used to top out at 97 mph.  Once Childs hit the professional ranks in the Arizona League, he initially struggled.  However, he calmed down in August by posting an ERA of 1.69 and striking out 5 in 5.1 innings.  In addition, his FIP for the season was 4.19, which was much more impressive than his 6.14 ERA.  Overall, the Dodgers must believe that Childs is a project worth investing in, especially with his solid frame, and I think he’ll start next year in the Pioneer League.

 

 

145.  Luis Rosano, RHP (43.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 190 lbs, 18.75 years old

3-5, 4.98 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 5.40 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I know three things about Luis Rosano: he is young, he has a good pitching frame, and he is from Venezuela.  In looking at his stats, he did pretty well for his professional debut.   While his ERA was close 5.00 and he didn’t strike out many batters, his FIP was a respectable 4.15.  In addition, he was surprising successful against lefties, who hit just .184 against him.  In regards to the future, I have pretty high hopes for Rosano.  He was used strictly as a starting pitcher in 2009, and I assume that trend will continue in 2010.  I’m sure he’ll be back in the Dominican Summer League next year since he’ll be just 19 years old, but if he continues to improve, I can see him playing in a U.S. based league in 2011.

144.  Alex Garabedian, C (84 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 8th round

6’2”, 210 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.236 average, 6 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 98

Coming out of high school, Alex Garabedian was considered to be one of the better catching prospects.  He was a 2003 AFLAC All-American, was named as the top catcher in Florida by TeamOne Baseball, and was ranked by Baseball America as the second-best catching prospect and the 33rd-best overall prospect nationally going into the 2004 draft.  However, he fell to the Yankees in the 7th round of that 2004 draft, and decided to attend the University of Miami rather than turning pro.  After hitting .255 with the Hurricanes during his freshman season, he actually decided to transfer to the College of Charleston.  At Charleston, Garabedian did much better, and as a Junior, he hit .353 with 13 homers, and also threw out over 40 percent of attempted base stealers.  That led to him being drafted by the Dodgers in the 8th round of the 2007 draft.  Unfortunately, even though his biggest asset is his bat, he has struggled at the plate since his professional debut.  He ended the 2008 regular season hitting .095 in 13 games at Inland Empire, and then continued to struggle in the Hawaii Winter League (.154 average in 52 AB’s).  2009 wasn’t much better as he struggled to the tune of a .236 average in 280 at bats.  While he did show a little bit of power, I’m sure it wasn’t enough to impress Dodgers management.  At 24 years old, Garabedian will probably have to spend a third season at Hi-A to prove his worth.  While he seems to have a lot of potential, another lackluster season could put his career in jeopardy. 

143.  Stetson Banks, CF (44 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 22nd round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.231 average, 2 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Stetson Banks was drafted out of BYU in the 22nd round of the 2009 draft.  He only played two years in college, however, because he served his Mormon mission in 2007 and 2008.  During his 2009 college season, Banks hit .348 and stole 23 bases in 29 attempts.  He is extremely fast, and that speed carried over into his professional debut as he stole 11 more bases in the Arizona Rookie League.  Unfortunately, his ability to hit for average did not carry over to his professional debut as he batted only .231 in 169 at bats.  In addition, he showed very little power, and his on base percentage of .309 was very poor.  Nevertheless, Stetson is a great athlete, which he demonstrated in high school by being named second team all-state in football as a wide receiver.  Further his uncle, Brian Banks, made it to the major leagues earlier in the decade, so he does have some decent bloodlines.  While he played at 2nd base and shortstop in college, he was primarily a center fielder for the Dodgers.  He’ll most likely play in the Pioneer League next season, and hopefully his athleticism will lead to better stats.

142.  Freudys Perez, C (38 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

5’10”, 160 lbs, 18.5 years old, bats right handed

.198 average, 2 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Freudys Perez is the Dodgers youngest catching prospect, and was just 17 years old for the majority of the Dominican Summer League season.  While his stats were pretty ugly, I’m sure his youth and the difficultly of his position played into his lack of offensive.  I also noticed that Perez had a very solid start, hitting .293 in the month of June, and then struggled the rest of the way, including the month of August where he went just 2 for 19.  In addition, Freudys did show some power with 2 HR’s, and has a pretty good eye at the plate as he walked in 12.8% of his plate appearances, which ranked as third best for the Dominican Dodgers.  I’m 100% certain that Perez will return to the DSL next season, and hopefully this Dominican native can improve offensively as he continues to learn his position.

 

141.  Steve Smith, RHP (67.3 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old

4-1, 2.67 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.22 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 160

Steve Smith was signed by the Dodgers in 2008 as a non drafted free agent out of the University of New Mexico, where he was a teammate of fellow Dodger minor leaguer Brian Cavazos-Galvez.  He wasn’t overly impressive during his senior season with the Lobos, posting a 5.01 ERA and 58 strikeouts in just under 74 innings, but the Dodgers decided to give Smith a chance anyways.  In his professional debut, he struggled to adapt to more experienced hitters, but he dramatically turned things around in 2009.  His 2.67 ERA with the Loons actually ranked as the 7th best ERA of all Dodger minor leaguers with at least 50 innings pitched.  In addition, his ERA for the 2nd half of the 2009 season was an amazing 1.98.  Despite his 2009 success, however, I’m skeptical that Smith has what it takes to be a legitimate prospect.  His strikeout rate was just average, and his performance came in the pitcher friendly Midwest League.  He also struggled against left handed batters, who hit .309 against him.  Overall, while I was very impressed with Smith in 2009, I don’t think his success will continue in the future, especially if he plays in the California League next season.

140.  John Hernandez, RHP (14.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 28th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 22.75 years old

2-1. 1.88 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 7.54 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

John Hernandez, who was drafted out of Barry University in the 28th round of the 2009 draft, is also called Bobby by his teammates (because his middle name is Robert).  At Barry, Hernandez was a 4 year player, and while his Senior year was decent (5-3, 4.14 ERA, 60 K’s in 67 innings), his most successful season came in 2008 as a Junior.  During that season, John went 7-0, had a 1.58 ERA, and struck out 51 batters in 51 innings.  Also, according to his college website, he was “One of the most dominant pitchers on the Bucs staff … Great fastball and slider … Solid change up and curve … Has good command of pitches … Hard worker and athletic.”  Upon turning pro, Hernandez had immediate success in the Arizona Rookie League.  His 1.88 ERA was one of the best on the Arizona Dodgers pitching staff, and his 0.90 ERA against righties demonstrates that he knows what he’s doing.  However, upon further review, it appeared that he was getting pretty lucky.  While his ERA was great, his FIP was actually 5.26.  In addition, his WHIP of 1.67 and his .293 batting average against were pretty ugly.  In 2010, Hernandez will be 22 years old, and I expect him to play in Lo-A.  The righty will have to prove himself against tougher competition in order to be considered a legitimate prospect.

139.  Giordanny Chavez, RHP (18.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 185 lbs, 18.75 years old
0-1, 6.38 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 5.89 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

How can you go wrong with a 6’3” 18 year old?  In my opinion, you can’t.  Giordanny Chavez is a Dominican native who made his debut with the Dodgers in 2009.  While his stats were less than impressive, his physical stature screams potential.  Limited to just 18 innings in 2009, Chavez was actually fairly effective against right handed batters, who hit just .246 against him.  What he’ll have to improve is his performance against lefties.  I really don’t know much about Chavez at all besides the fact that he has a very projectable frame.  I think that he’ll improve with experience, and while I’m sure that he’ll return to the DSL in 2010, I expect much better results. 

 

138.  Melvin Ray, CF (29 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 33rd round

6’4”, 205 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats right handed

.130 average, 2 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 143

So far in his professional career, Melvin Ray has put up atrocious stats.  He had a .162 average in 2008, and then followed up that season by hitting .130 in 2009.  He also struck out at an incredible rate in 2009, going down on strikes in over 56% of his plate appearances.  Nevertheless, I can’t help but like his potential.  Out of all the players in the Dodgers minor league system, I would say that Ray has the best size for an offensive player, as 6’4” and 205 lbs is exactly what you want in an outfielder.  And I’m sure that he is athletic, because as I mentioned last year, he claims to be related to Jackie Robinson.  He also showed some power and speed during his 29 games this season.  In addition, he is just 20 years old, so he has plenty of time to get his act together.  If he can learn to make contact on a more consistent basis, I really do think that Melvin can make a name for himself within the Dodgers minor league system.  I think the Pioneer League is the right place for Ray to play in 2010, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he matured into a legitimate prospect in the years to come. 

137.  James Tomlin, LF (108 games in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/2/2006

6’0”, 183 lbs, 27.5 years old, bats right handed

.315 average, 2 HR’s, 34 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 138

When you compare Tomlin’s stats between 2008 and 2009, they are almost identical.  Literally, the only difference was that he had a higher walk rate and strikeout rate in 2009.  Everything else was pretty much the same.  Originally drafted in the 7th round by the Twins in 2000, he played 6 seasons with them before moving to the Royals organization in 2006.  He stayed there for only one season, before moving on to the Dodgers in 2007.  In his three seasons with the Dodgers, he has shown very little power, but has demonstrated a little speed, along with the ability to hit for a decent average.  Overall, Tomlin has played 10 minor league seasons and has a career .283 average.  He may never make it up the majors, and was actually selected by the Rangers in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft this past December, so he won’t be back with the Dodgers.  He has decent tools, but I doubt that he has what it takes to make it to the show.

136.  Clayton Allison, RHP (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 27th round

6’5”, 235 lbs, 24.5 years old

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 96

Allison was part of the 2008 College World Series championship team while playing for Fresno State, and even picked up a big win against North Carolina in the Semi Finals.  He also posted a 3.91 ERA throughout his final college season.  While he wasn’t drafted until the 27th round, the Dodgers gave him a chance because they liked Allison’s size and ability to win.  In his first professional season, he moved all the way up to AA, but only pitched 8 professional innings.  Then, Clayton disappeared in 2009.  While I was pretty sure it was due to an injury, it wasn’t until after the 2009 season that I learned that it was indeed shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the season.  Luckily, he is expected to be back at full strength by the start of spring training.  At 6’5” and 235 lbs, Allison has an ideal pitchers body, and in the future will probably work out of the bullpen.  Given that he missed the entire 2009 season, the Dodgers will probably take it easy with Allison, but he may return to AA since he is already 24 years old.  I’m hoping he’ll have a successful return as I think he has the potential to one day make an impact with the Dodgers.

135.  Jose Capellan, C (50 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 190 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats right handed

.248 average, 1 HR, 11 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jose Capellan made his professional debut in 2009 and was the starting catcher for the DSL Dodgers.  While his overall stats make it seem like he did not have a good season, the reality is that Jose had two great months, and one really bad one.  Capellan started the season by hitting .303 in June, but then dropped off considerably in July as he managed just a .125 average.  He finished the season by catching fire in August, however, as he posted a batting average of .326 and an OPS of .827 in 43 at bats.  Throughout the entire season, Capellan showed that he had the ability to make pretty good contact, as he struck out in just 15.4% of his plate appearance.  In addition, he only made 8 errors behind the plate, which is pretty good for a first year catcher.  Capellan played the entire 2009 season as an 18 year old, so he is still very young.  He also is the perfect size for a catcher.  I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL next year, and hopefully he’ll continue to improve and become a more consistent hitter.

134.  Jose Dominguez, RHP (59.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’0”, 180 lbs, 19.5 years old

4-5, 3.64 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.65 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 60

Signed for $50,000 as a 16 year old at the start of the 2007 international signing period, Jose Dominguez impressed scouts back then with a 90 mph fastball and a solid curve.  At the time, Logan White said, “It’s rare to see a kid as polished as he is.”  Last year, I ranked Jose Dominguez 60 overall because I thought that he had a lot of potential.  He posted a 11.79 K/9 rate in 2008, even though he was just 17 years old for most of the season.  In 2009, Dominguez had a lower strikeout rate, but improved his overall performance with an impressive ERA and WHIP.  So why did I rank him so low?  Well, after the minor league season was over, I found this little piece of information on milb.com: “Jose Dominguez of the Dodgers’ organization and Waldo Rosario of the Rays’ organization each received 50-game suspensions on Monday for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  Both players, part of their respective clubs’ Dominican Summer League team, tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.  Their suspensions will be effective at the start of next season.”  A 50 game suspension will have a detrimental effect on Jose’s career, both in terms of experience and his reputation.  He could have been one of the youngest players in one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010, but now will have to sit until at least July.  Without the suspension, I probably would have ranked Dominguez in a similar spot as I did last year.  But unfortunately, he is now a huge question mark for me. 

 

133.  Christian Gonzalez, RHP (12 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/1/04

6’1”, 169 lbs, 21.75 years old

0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 5.25 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 129

After spending four seasons in the Dominican Summer League (one at 3rd base, two in the outfield, and one as a pitcher), Gonzalez made his U.S. debut in 2009.  While he only made nine appearances throughout the season, his results were quite good.  Not only did he have an impressive ERA, but he showed great control by walking only one batter during his 12 innings.  He did have his weaknesses however, as demonstrated by his low strikeout rate and the fact that opposing batters hit .333 against them.  Overall, Gonzalez is not a big player, and I see him staying in the bullpen throughout his career.  At 21 years old, he’ll probably climb the later up to the Pioneer League in 2010, and hopefully the Dodgers will give him a longer look next year by allowing him to pitch more innings.

132.  Jovanny Rosario, CF (55 games in AAA, 18 games in HiA, 12 games in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/2/03

5’9”, 160 lbs, 25 years old, switch hitter

.258 average, 1 HR, 11 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 99

Rosario played at three different levels for the Dodgers in 2009.  He started in AA, and while he didn’t perform particularly well there, he was promoted up to AAA in May during the Dodgers outfield shuffle, in which both Xavier Paul and Jamie Hoffmann were promoted to LA.  Rosario wasn’t a full time player in AAA, but he did get into 51 games and had average results.  Once August hit, the Dodgers decided that they should give Rosario some more playing time, so he was sent to Inland Empire and played almost every day for the rest of the season.  All in all, Rosario ended the season with a mediocre average, an awful slugging percentage, and an even worse walk rate (he walked just 4 times all season).  In addition, Jovanny didn’t really utilize his speed, which is his biggest asset.  Sure he ended the season with 14 steals, but 9 of those steals came at Hi-A against easier competition, and only one steal came during his time in AAA.  To make matters worse, Rosario is currently hitting just .214 in the Dominican Winter League through 56 at bats.  A minor league free agent at the end of this past season, the Dodgers already re-signed Rosario for 2010.  Now almost 25 years old, I predict he’ll play a similar role in 2010 as he did in 2009, and while he reminds me of a switching hitting version of Juan Pierre, I don’t think he has what it takes to make it to the next level.

131.  Joe Torres, LHP (18.3 inning in HiA, 22 innings with other organization in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/20/09

6’2”, 195 lbs, 27.5 years old

0-0, 0.98 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 8.35 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Once upon a time, Joe Torres was a great prospect.  He was the #10 overall pick in the 2000 draft (by the Angels), and signed for $2.08 million.  In 2001, he was ranked by Baseball America as the Angels’ #1 prospect, and at the time he drew very high praise.  He consistently hit 93 and was clocked as high as 95.  His curveball was the best in the organization, and he had a promising changeup.  Baseball America also predicted he would be in the major leagues by the age of 23.  Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.  He pitched a few mediocre seasons, and had trouble with his delivery, which ultimately led to his Tommy John surgery in 2004.  He was back pitching for the Angles in 2005, but then left as a minor league free agent to sign with the White Sox in 2007.  He stayed with the White Sox until 2008, and then signed with Texas in 2009.  He only lasted a few months with the Rangers before signing on with the Dodgers.  He was placed on the Inland Empire roster and proceeded to record an ERA under 1.00.  However, his other stats were not quite as impressive, especially his 1.53 WHIP and his 3.86 FIP.  While he had a limited sample size, I will venture to say that Torres isn’t the prospect that he once was.  He’s 27 and a half years old and was playing in A ball.  While he still shows flashes of brilliance, he is much too old to make it to the big leagues.  He was obviously a minor league free agent at the end of the 2009 season, and I highly doubt he’ll return to the Dodgers system next season.

130.  Cody White, LHP (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 12th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 25 years old

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 125

Not too long ago, Cody White was considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.  He was ranked #24 in the 2007 Baseball America prospect handbook, and in the 2008 version of the handbook he was listed as having the system’s best changeup.  Those accolades did not come without just cause, as his ERA was 2.68 and 3.14 in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  However, White’s troubles started in 2008.  His ERA jumped to 4.94, and his strikeout rate dropped to 5.81 per 9 innings.  In addition, his heavy workload of just about 146 innings in 2008 probably attributed to the fact that he missed the 2009 season.  While I’m not sure what his injury was, I’m guessing that it was pretty serious.  Whatever the case, the missed year is going to definitely hurt his development as White will be 25 years old when the 2010 season starts.  A draft and follow player who wasn’t actually signed until 2004, White will be a minor league free agent after the 2010 season, so his performance next year will determine if the Dodgers decide to resign him.  I’m betting that he’ll return to AA in 2010 if he’s healthy.

129.  Chris Henderson, 3B (47 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 21st round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.255 average, 0 HR’s, 18 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

 

Chris Henderson was an amazing college player at George Mason University.  In 2009, Henderson hit.413 with 14 homers, 58 RBI and 70 runs scored.  He also had a ridiculous .487 on-base percentage and a .702 slugging percentage.  But the kicker is that he did all this as a catcher.  That’s right, Henderson was a catcher in college, and was in fact named one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher.  The other two finalists were the #4 overall pick Tony Sanchez, and the Dodgers own Jeremy Wise.  So my first question is how did Henderson last all the way until the 21st round?  The simple answer is that scouts don’t think his college game will translate well into professional success.  The other question is why did the Dodgers convert Henderson to a 3rd baseman?  I actually have no answer to that question, but I can say that it wasn’t because he was a defensive liability, as he had a career fielding percentage of .990 in college.  Whatever the case, learning the new position seemed to limit Henderson’s hitting ability once he turned pro.  His batting average was less than impressive, and he showed no power.  In addition, he made 16 errors at 3rd base.  My guess is that the Dodgers will return Henderson back to catcher next year.  He has much more value at that position, especially since he has proven that he can be an offensive force.  I bet that they just wanted to save his knees in 2009 after he had already caught an entire college season.  I can see him having a much better offensive season in 2010 if he does return to catcher, and I would guess that this 21 year old will play in either the Pioneer League or in Lo-A.

128.  Jesus Rodriguez, RHP (80.3 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/20/05

6’0”, 180 lbs, 24.5 years old

6-5, 3.47 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 4.71 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 141

Jesus Rodriguez is from Mexico, and while he only signed with the Dodgers in 2005, he actually already had three years of baseball experience before signing as he had played in the Mexican League from 2003 through 2005.  Since joining the Dodgers, Rodriguez has made a steady ascent through their system.  He started in the Pioneer League in 2006, and after a great year in 2007 split between LoA and HiA (3.05 ERA, 1.22 WHIP in 91 innings), Jesus made it all the way up to AA in 2008, just his third professional season.  He continued his career in AA in 2009, and upon first glance it looks like he put up pretty good numbers.  His 3.47 ERA was definitely better than average, and his WHIP was solid.  However, his extremely low strikeout rate is worrisome, as is his FIP of 4.67.  Rodriguez also allowed 10 HR’s throughout the year, which ranked as 9th worst in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, at 6’0”, Jesus isn’t very big for a pitcher, and his aforementioned strikeout and HR rate seem to suggest that he doesn’t throw very hard.  As for 2010, Jesus is still just 24 years old, so he’ll probably return to AA again next season.  With a good first half, he may even be able to make it up to AAA.  Overall, Rodriguez’ future is definitely in middle relief, and while he is a good minor league inning eater, I’m not sure that he has what it takes to make as a reliever at the next level.

127.  Anthony Hatch, 3B (130 games in LoA in 2009)

Acquired by Dodgers in Minor League portion of Rule 5 Draft in December of 2008

6’3”, 200 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats left handed

.294 average, 11 HR’s, 73 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The Dodgers acquired Anthony Hatch in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft in December of 2008.  Originally, he was a 13th round pick of the Blue Jays in the 2005 draft.  At the start of 2009, was coming off of a 2008 season where he had spent the majority of his time in AA, and when he was reassigned to HiA in July of 2008, he hit .329.  When I first saw that we had drafted Hatch, I automatically assumed that he would play in AA given his age and experience.  However, the Dodgers decided to send Hatch to LoA where he spent the entire season, and I really think it was a selfish move on the Dodgers part.  I believe the Dodgers sent Hatch to LoA because they wanted an older player on the Great Lakes team to be a mentor to the other players.  The Dodgers knew that almost every player on the Loons would be under 23 years old, so they wanted a veteran presence.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it was genius of the Dodgers to do that, I just think that it was selfish in the sense that it probably hurt Hatch’s overall development.  Instead of being challenged by AA pitchers, Hatch got to face undeveloped 22 year olds, and he took full advantage.  While he didn’t have any eye popping numbers, he was very consistent throughout the entire season, and ranked 6th in the entire Midwest League with 141 hits.  Hatch also ranked 4th in the Midwest League in doubles (36), 10th in RBI’s (73), and 9th in OPS (.827).  In addition, I would say that Hatch was a key ingredient in the Loons first playoff berth given his consistency all season.  If Hatch were 22 years old instead of 26, he would probably rank in my top 25.  But unfortunately, that is not the case, so I think my ranking is appropriate.  He’ll probably move up to AA next season where he’ll face players closer to his own age, and even if he doesn’t make it to the show, I hope that he continues to be a good influence on his Dodger teammates.

126.  Zach Schreiber, RHP (26 innings in AA, 11.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 4/15/09

6’1”, 220 lbs, 27.75 years old

2-0, 2.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.68 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Zach Schreiber played his college ball at Duke, and was originally a 16th round pick by the Braves in the 2004 draft.  He performed exceptionally well in the minor leagues with the Braves, and from 2005 through 2008, he never had an ERA above 2.97 at any level.  After the 2007 season, he was placed on the Braves 40 man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.  However, after completing a full year in AAA in 2008, he was released in March of 2009 due to roster limitations.  After he cleared waivers, he was signed by the Dodgers and was placed on their Inland Empire roster.  He performed well through 11 innings, and was quickly promoted to AA where he performed even better.  His 2.42 ERA and 10 K/9 at Chattanooga ranked among the team leaders, and he even picked up a couple of saves.  Nevertheless, I’m not sure that Schreiber has any potential as a prospect with the Dodgers.  He is 27 years old, and is also a minor league free agent who is unlikely to resign with LA.  My guess is that he’ll be with another organization in 2010.

125.  Matthew Wallach, C/1B (107 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 22nd round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 24 years old, bats left handed

.251 average, 4 HR’s, 48 RBI’s

Prior Year Ranking: 64

Matthew Wallach dropped significantly in my ranking this year despite his great bloodlines.  The son of former Dodger and current AAA manager Tim Wallach and brother of 2009 draftee Brett Wallach, Matthew had a disappointing season in 2009 with the Great Lake Loons.  After a solid 2008 campaign where he was the starting catcher for Ogden and hit .283 with 10 HR’s, Wallach moved to 1st base for a portion of the 2009 season and saw his numbers deteriorate.  Due to the emergence of Tony Delmonico, Wallach only played 53 games at catcher, and spent the rest of his time at first base.  If he moves away from full time catching, that definitely hurts his overall value as a prospect.  Wallach also batted just .251 for the season and only hit 4 HR’s.  In addition, he made 18 errors in 2009, which ranked as 8th most among all Dodger minor leaguers.  At the end of the day, we shouldn’t expect too much out of Wallach as he was a 22nd round pick.  Still, I was hoping that he’d continue to improve and become a viable option for a backup catcher with the Dodgers.  Matthew will be 24 years old at the start of the 2010 season, and my guess is that he’ll move up to Hi-A.  Maybe one day he’ll be able to play for his dad at AAA, but that day is still at least a few years away.

124.  Greg Wilborn, LHP (19.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 18th round

6’2”, 175 lbs, 22.75 years old

2-1, 7.45 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, 10.71 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Greg Wilborn was drafted out of the University of Louisiana Lafayette in the 18th round of the 2009 draft.  For the Ragin Cajuns in 2009, Wilborn compiled a 3-4 record with a 7.83 ERA, and struck out 46 batters in 46 innings.  His career ERA of 7.30 wasn’t much better.  Keep in mind, however, that Wilborn missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007, so even now he is not fully recovered.  Nevertheless, since the surgery he has already gotten his fastball up to 92-93 miles per hours, and has topped out at 94.  Upon being drafted, his college coach said “The thing they like about him is that he has a loose arm that will throw very hard…Once you hit that velocity range and have a loose arm, they will look past everything else.”  After making his professional debut with the Ogden Raptors in June, Wilborn was used sparing throughout the rest of the season due to his past history of injuries.  Overall, he pitched just over 19 innings.  While his ERA and WHIP were pretty ugly (mostly due to allowing too many walks), one thing that stands out is his strikeout rate.  His 10.7 strikeouts per 9 innings is impressive, especially for a young lefty, and his ability to strike guys out shows that he has at least one dominate pitch.  2010 will probably bring an assignment to LoA, I’m sure the Dodgers are hoping that Wilborn will follow in the footsteps of the 2008 18th round pick and take off in his second professional season.

123.  Alexis Aguilar, 2B (45 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 162 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats right handed

.275 average, 1 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 135

Alexis Aguilar is a young middle infielder from Venezuela in his second season with the Dodgers.  After hitting just .211 with 8 RBI’s in 2008, Aguilar showed significant improvement in 2009 with his .275 average.  He also demonstrated that he was patient at the plate, as he walked almost as much as he struck out.  In August, he was named the Dodgers DSL Pride Award winner with a .333 average, 5 SB’s, and an .834 OPS.  While he moved to 2nd base for most of the year (from shortstop), I believe that he still has value to the Dodgers if he can continue to improve.  He’ll never be a great hitter, but I think he can still play shortstop full time if given the chance.  He is only 18 years old, yet may very well be promoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010 since he already has 86 professional games under his belt.

122.  Jonathan Dutton, LHP (20 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 24th round

6’1”, 155 lbs, 22.5 years old

0-3, 3.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 10.35 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 105

After splitting 112 innings in 2008 between the Pioneer League and LoA, I thought that Dutton might be ready to take on the challenge of the California League.  After all, 2009 was Dutton’s 5th professional season (counting 2005 when he was drafted, but didn’t play in any games).  The Dodgers had other plans, however, and decided to limit Dutton to just 20 innings while repeating him in LoA.  The good news is that his limited role was not due to injury, because his appearances were spread pretty evenly between May and September.  The bad news is that the Dodgers must not have him that high on their prospect radar because they didn’t get him into very many games.  Either way, Dutton performed well in his abbreviated season, especially against lefties.  In addition, he finished the season with a hot streak, allowing just 3 earned runs in August and September combined (over 13 and two-third innings).  I see potential for the left hander, though I think his future role will be more as a left handed specialist.  He’ll still be just 22 years old when the 2010 season starts, and I’m hoping he’ll get some more innings next year in the California League.  

121.  Florencio Bustillos, RHP (48.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 209 lbs, 20.75 years old

4-2, 3.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 10.36 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I don’t know as much about Florencio as I would like.  Originally, I thought that he was just another teenager signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager.  Then I realized that he had previously played in the Mexican League for the past three seasons, starting as a 17 year old.  So the Dodgers must have purchased his contract from the Mexican League.  In his three seasons in the Mexican League, he never had an ERA better than 5.49, and he had a ridiculously low strikeout rate (50 K’s in 125 innings).  In the Dominican Summer League, however, Bustillos suddenly turned it around (which shows that the level of competition in the Mexican League is much higher than in the DSL).  In the DSL, Florencio had a good ERA, and an even better FIP (3.30).  He also had a ridiculous strikeout to walk ratio.  In just under 49 innings, Florencio struck out 56 batters, and only walked 10.  In fact, his K/BB ratio of 5.60 ranked 2nd in the entire Dodgers minor league system, behind only Danny Danielson (minimum 40 innings).  His one downfall, however, is that he allows too many home runs.  The 6 long balls that he gave up in 2009 ranked 4th in the entire Dominican Summer League.  Overall, I think that Bustillos has some real potential.  While he’s not real big, he is still relatively young and will most likely play in a U.S. based league next year.  He is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League, and while his ERA is a mediocre 4.62, batters are only hitting .240 against him.

120.  Jake McCarter, RHP (46 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 200 lbs, 25.5 years old

3-3, 3.33 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.98 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 158

McCarter, like many of the players on my list, has a very interesting back story.  Believe it or not, McCarter was drafted four different times, yet never signed with any of the teams that drafted him.  His draft year, round, and team were as follows: 2003 40th round Reds, 2004 28th round Yankees, 2005 39th round Nationals, and 2006 45th Red Sox.  Obviously, based on the round numbers that he was drafted in, teams were not amazed by his talent by any means.  Anyways, in regards to his college career, McCarter played in junior college for two years before transferring to Alabama.  In 2006, Jake was very successful with the Crimson Tide (2.32 ERA in 62 innings), but he decided to transfer to Oklahoma after the season.  After being forced to sit out the 2007 season due to NCAA rules, McCarter was handed the closer role for the Sooners in 2008.  While he did pick up 9 saves throughout the season, he had a very ugly ERA of 7.11, which is why he was not drafted for a 5th time in 2008.  Instead, he signed as a non drafted free agent with the Dodgers after the 2008 college season, and got his first taste of professional ball in the Gulf Coast League.  Due to his age, I basically wrote McCarter off last season, but his performance in 2009 may have changed my mind.  Jake performed very well in the Dodgers extended Spring Training, and because of that performance he was able to start the year in HiA.  During his first month in the California League, he was absolutely lights out, and only allowed 1 hit in his first 11 innings.  In June and July he hit a speed bump and struggled quite a bit, but once August hit he again found his groove and did not allow a run in his final 10 appearance of the season.  When it was all said and done, McCarter lead all 2009 Dodger minor leaguers with a .193 batting average against, and also recorded a 3.33 ERA (and 3.31 FIP).  In addition, he shared the Inland Empire closing duties with Marcel Prado, and converted 7 saves during the season.  While I don’t know much about his pitching repertoire, his stats seem to strangely suggest that he does very well against lefties, and struggles somewhat against right handed batters.  Overall, I’m not sure what to make of Jake because he is already 25 years old, yet proved in 2009 that he can get the job done out of the bullpen.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers pushed him in AA and AAA next season to see how he responds. 

119.  Daniel Tamares, RHP (38 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 9/26/06

6’3”, 170 lbs, 20.25 years old

1-5, 7.11 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 9.95 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 74

I probably over-estimated Tamares in my rankings last year.  I don’t blame myself, however, because Daniel had a 2.37 ERA through 49 innings in the DSL as 18 year old in 2008.  Because of his good size and solid stats, I thought he was destined for bigger and better things in a U.S. based rookie league in 2009.  But the Dodgers had other plans and kept Tamares in the DSL for another year, which appears to have been the right decision because he struggled mightily in 2009.  He tripled his ERA from the previous year and batters hit .314 against him.  Nevertheless, I think Tamares has a bright future.  As I mentioned before, he has a great size for a pitcher at 6’3”.  He also significantly improved his strikeout rate from the prior year, and his FIP was actually pretty good at 4.15.  In addition, he is still very young and has yet to fully mature.  Even though his stats weren’t great this past year, with 3 DSL seasons under his belt, I think it is time for Tamaras to move to a U.S. based rookie league, so I predict that we’ll see Tamares in Arizona in 2010.

118.  Casio Grider, SS (47 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 14th round

6’1”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.263 average, 2 HR’s, 15 RBI’s, 22 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Casio Grider has a great name, and is extremely fast.  He was named as the faster runner in the Dodgers 2009 draft by Baseball America, and runs a 6.5 second 60.  Drafted out of Newberry College in the 14th round draft, Logan White calls Grider a tools guy who is a bit raw and very athletic.  Upon turning pro, Grider was sent to the Arizona Rookie League and had immediate success, as he was named as one of the Dodger Pride Award winners for the month of July.  For the season as a whole, however, he was pretty mediocre in most aspects of his game, although he did continue to show his speed by stealing 22 bases in 24 attempts (which ranked 3rd in the Arizona League).  Also, while he models his game after Ozzie Smith, Grider made 18 errors in 47 games.  Overall, with his speed, raw ability, and error prone defense, this slender shortstop actually reminds me of a taller version of Dee Gordon.  Unfortunately, he is a year older than Gordon and two levels behind, so he has come catching up to do.  If the Dodgers want to be aggressive with Grider, they may send him to Lo-A next season to see how he responds, but his more likely destination is the Pioneer League in 2010.

117.  Marlon Sucre, LF (47 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/07

6’2”, 160 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.255 average, 3 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 66

After the 2008 season, I was pretty high on Sucre.  He had a successful year in the DSL as an 18 year old in 2008, so I thought that he was on the verge of breaking out.  This led me to rank Marlon all the way at 66 in my pre-2009 rankings.  Unfortunately, Sucre had a lackluster season in 2009 which caused his ranking to drop quite a bit.  While he showed a little more speed and power, his average, OBP, and SLG% all decreased from 2008.  He also did not demonstrate any patience in 2009, as he walked in only 4% of his plate appearances.  Even still, this young man from Panama does have some potential.  He has a solid frame, still has room to fill out, and won’t even be 20 years old until the start of next season.  After spending three seasons in the DSL, I think Sucre’s ready to move up to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010. 

116.  Ramon Jean, 2B (44 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.280 average, 0 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 85

Signed before the 2007 season out of the Dominican Republic, Jean only spent one season in the DSL before being promoted to a U.S. based rookie league.  In 2008 as a 20 year old in the Gulf Coast League, Ramon hit 4 HR’s in 111 AB’s with a .279 average, and also stole 10 bases.  After his successful season, I thought that Jean was ready for the Pioneer League in 2009.  The Dodgers, however, decided to place him in the Arizona Rookie League, and while his average and stolen base numbers were pretty good, Jean did not display any power or patience.  He was also atrocious in the field, as Jean made 21 errors in 44 games while splitting time between 2nd base and shortstop.  Heading into 2010, I believe that Jean will be promoted to Lo-A where he’ll continue to split time between 2B and SS.  He is still just 22 years old, so if he can learn to cut down on his errors, he may one day be a useful middle infielder.

115.  Lenell McGee, CF (45 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 13th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.268 average, 2 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 101

Lenell McGee was drafted out of Oakton Community College in the 13th round of the 2008 draft.  Upon being drafted, the Dodgers immediately placed McGee in the Gulf Coast Rookie League, but his stats were rather uninspiring during his debut season.  Nevertheless, the Dodger promoted Lenell to the Pioneer League in 2009 to get him some experience against older competition.  McGee again struggled through the season, however, as he batted just .268 and showed little speed or power.  He also didn’t show any patience at the plate as he walked in less than 5% of his plate appearances.  Despite these struggles, I think that McGee has the size and athleticism to potentially be a legitimate prospect.  In addition, McGee plays a solid centerfield and made just 3 errors during the 2009 season.  Finally, Lenell seems to be a hard worker because in a video I watched about the Dodgers new Venezuelan facility, DeJon Watson was talking about some of the Dodger players who were down there working out, and he specifically mentioned McGee (as well as Melvin Ray).  In regards to 2010, I expect McGee to be in LoA where he’ll split the centerfield duties with the Dodgers other young outfield prospects.

114.  Gabriel Martinez, 1B (72 games in AA, 4 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/2/09

6’2”, 180 lbs, 26.75 years old, bats left handed

.296 average, 10 HR’s, 47 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Gabriel Martinez was originally selected by the Rays in the 27th round of the 2001 draft when he was just a teenager in Puerto Rico, but did not sign until 2002.  In his first three professional seasons (2002 – 2004), he hit a combined .315 in 896 at bats, but didn’t show much power as he shifted between 1B, 3B, and the OF.  Starting in 2005, however, Gabriel’s average started to decline, but his power numbers steadily increased.  In 2008, his last season with Tampa Bay before leaving as a minor league free agent, Martinez hit .276, but had 20 HR’s.  Seeing that he had some power potential, the Dodgers decided to give Martinez a chance and signed him before the 2009 season.  They placed him in AA where he was primarily a first baseman, but also played 3B and RF.  Before getting injured in late May, Martinez was doing quite well as he had a .998 OPS and 7 HR’s at the time of his injury.  After missing all of June, he returned to the AA lineup in July and continued to hit for a decent average, but his power pretty much disappeared.  When it was all said and done, Martinez put together a pretty solid season, but it’s hard to get too excited about a 26 year old in AA who is pretty much limited to 1st base.  After the 2009 season, he again became a minor league free agent, so he probably won’t even be back with the Dodgers next season.  If he does return, he’ll probably play in AAA as a backup infielder, and because of his age and position, I doubt that he’ll ever make it to the big leagues.

113.  Wilner Charles, CF (51 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 160 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.268 average, 1 HR’s, 8 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 90

After spending the entire 2008 season as a second baseman, Wilner moved to centerfield for the majority of 2009 in the DSL.  The move in defensive position had very little effect on his offensive performance, however, because Charles’ stats in 2009 were almost identical to his stats in 2008.  For me, that was a little disappointing because I was hoping that Charles would be able to provide a little more production in his second professional season.  Still, it is hard to be too disappointed because Charles played the entire 2009 season as an 18 year old, and is still one of the youngest players in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, Wilner was named as the July Pride Award Winner in the DSL, so he is on the Dodgers radar.  In 2010, the Dodgers will have to decide if Charles needs a third season in the DSL, or if he’s ready for the Arizona Rookie League.  My decision would be to bring him to Arizona to challenge his game, but the Dodgers may decide to wait.  At just 5’11”, he may still have some room to grow, but even if he doesn’t grow he is still a good size for a speedy centerfielder.

112.  Marcel Prado, RHP (44.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/04

6’4”, 226 lbs, 22.25 years old

2-2, 4.06 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 4.06 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 77

After doing some research, I’m pretty sure that Marcel Prado was part of the 2000 Venezuelan team that won the Little League World Series.  Anyways, I’m not really sure what to make of Marcel Prado as a professional pitcher.  He has a great pitching frame, is still pretty young, and based on his ERA, he had a pretty successful season in the California League in 2009.  In addition, he was coming of a 2008 season in which he struck out more than a batter per inning.  Yet in 2009, Prado walked more batters than he struck out, had a K/9 of just over 4, and had a FIP of 5.20.  In addition, Prado pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League this past offseason, and batters hit .409 against him.  I ranked him 77th last year because of his youth and size, but I’m becoming more skeptical of what he’ll be able to do as he moves up in the Dodgers system.  Overall, while Prado has a lot of potential, I’m not sure if he has the stuff to really succeed.  My guess is that he’ll return to Hi-A in 2010 as the Inland Empire closer, and hopefully he’ll post some better numbers.

111.  Javier Solano, RHP (33 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 177 lbs, 20 years old

2-0, 4.64 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 8.45 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 139

The Dodgers purchased Solano’s rights from the Mexican League’s Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000.  Given the Dodgers lack of recent spending in the international markets, this was a pretty big signing for them.  According to Baseball America, Solano has a mature body, and he’s more athletic than that build might indicate.  Baseball America also says that the Dodgers love his mechanics, pitchability and confidence.  As for his stuff, BA says that that is promising too. “Solano’s two best pitches are an 89-93 mph fastball that sits around 91 and a plus 75-78 mph curveball. He also has some feel for a changeup and uses a slider as his fourth offering.”  Upon his signing, Assistant general manager De Jon Watson said he’s thrown “exceptionally well” and is “very advanced” for a 17-year-old, with an above-average fastball and curveball.  Solano has pitched the past two seasons in the Pioneer League, and in 2009 he put up some pretty good numbers.  While his overall ERA was an uninspiring 4.64, Solano has been quoted as saying his ERA was bloated because of the way the league was structured – pitchers are instructed to go out and throw just a fastball for a particular game, or just breaking pitches for another.  Overall, I believe Solano has some pretty good potential as a relief pitcher.  He’ll most likely play in either Lo or Hi A next season to get a full workload.

110.  Blake Brannon, RHP (35.7 innings in HiA, 25.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/10/07

6’2”, 225 lbs, 25 years old

1-3, 3.82 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.07 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 70

Blake Brannon was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2007 out of the University of Texas at San Antonio.  It was no wonder he wasn’t drafted, because in his Senior season with San Antonio, Brannon posted a 6.33 ERA in 58 innings of work with just 44 strikeouts.  Still, the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him, after struggling in his debut season, Brannon has turned things around ever since.  In 2008 he was outstanding (3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 10.43 K/9), and while his 2009 numbers weren’t quite as good, he continued to show why he was worth signing.  He had a 2.81 ERA with the Great Lakes Loons before earning a promotion to Inland Empire in June, and after joining HiA he held his own despite in the hitter friendly California League.  At 6’2” and 225 pounds, Brannon is a big kid and has the body type to pitch out of the bullpen.  He’ll be 25 years old when the 2010 season starts, so he’ll have to move quickly if he ever wants to make it to the show.  Brannon will probably start the 2010 season with Inland Empire, but a midseason promotion to AA wouldn’t be surprising.

109.  Harvey Garcia, RHP (13.3 innings in AA, 1.7 innings in AAA, 15 innings with other organization in 2009)

Acquired via trade with Pirates

6’2”, 220 lbs, 26 years old

0-2, 3.60 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.60 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The Dodgers acquired Harvey Garcia from the Pirates in the Delwyn Young trade.  The strange thing is that even though Young was traded in April, Garcia didn’t join the Dodgers until August, so the Dodgers must have taken a while to pick him as their player to be named later.  Some other interesting facts about Garcia are that he was one of the players included in the Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett trade, and also that he actually made his major league debut in September of 2007 with the Marlins (and posted a 4.38 ERA in 12 innings).  In regards to his time with the Dodgers, Harvey was initially placed on the AAA roster, but was quickly reassigned to AA after just two rough appearances.  Garcia found much more success at Chattanooga as he posted a 3.05 FIP and 0.90 WHIP through 13 innings.  When you combine his entire 2009 season, including his time with Pittsburgh, batters only hit .179 against him, and he struck out over a batter per inning.  Sure it was only through 30 total innings, but those are some pretty good numbers.  At the end of the day, it is expected that Garcia put up good numbers in the minors since he is already 26 years old, and does have major league experience.  He was a minor league free agent after the season, but if the Dodgers do end up resigning him, he is someone to keep an eye on as a potential fill in middle reliever (if the Dodgers bullpen suffers some injuries during the 2010 season).  While he’ll never be a great professional pitcher in my opinion, he may be useful as an inning eater.  NOTE AFTER POSTED: Turns out he wasn’t part of the Delwyn Young trade, but was instead part of a separate transaction.

108.  Robert Blevins, RHP (153.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 13th round

6’0”, 200 lbs, 25 years old

11-10, 4.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 5.68 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 80

Last year after a very successful season in LoA, I said that because of his age, Blevins needed to move quickly through the Dodgers system if he wanted to make an impact.  I also thought that he’d start in HiA, and then move up to AA if he was successful.  Instead, the Dodgers decided to keep Blevins in LoA for another year, so even though he had another successful season in 2009, I think that Blevins is behind in his development.  To look at things in a positive light, however, it should be noted that Bobby was very durable in 2009 and was 2nd in the Midwest League and in the entire Dodgers minor league system in innings pitched.  He also ranked 7th in the Midwest League with his 1.24 WHIP, which was mainly attributed to the fact that he had a remarkable walk rate, as Blevins walked less than 5% of the batters he faced.  In addition, Bobby’s 4.16 ERA was complimented by his 3.57 FIP.  Going back to the negatives, besides his age, the other thing that worries me about Blevins is his low strikeout rate in 2009.  Overall, if Blevins were either a couple of years younger or playing in a higher level, I’d consider him a much better prospect.  But until Blevins is able to succeed at a higher level, I’m going to have to rank him in the lower half of the Dodger minor league players.  I really hope he gets a chance to play at AA next season so he can prove himself.

107.  Austin Yount, 3B (38 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 12th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats left handed

.257 average, 3 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 59

I was really hoping for a lot more out of Austin Yount in 2009.  After spending the 2008 season in the Pioneer League and hitting .301, I guessed that Yount would move up to LoA and spend time as a utility player while getting used to a full season league.  The Dodgers instead decided to keep Austin in the Pioneer League for another year, however, and because the Ogden Raptors were so stacked with good players, he found himself sitting on the bench for about half the season.  When he did get into games, he was mediocre at best with his .257 average and .745 OPS.  The nephew of hall of famer Robin Yount, Austin was actually more of a pitcher while at Stanford, but after the Dodgers selected him with their 12th round pick in the 2008 draft, they decided he’d be a hitter.  So he’s played mostly at 3rd base since professional debut, and while there was talk that the Dodgers may try to convert him to a catcher, he only spent one game behind the plate in 2009.  Overall, Yount is a fairly small player without much power or speed, and at 23 years old he is running out of time to impress.  His bloodline suggest that he has the ability to one day succeed at the big league level, but he’s going to have to play above rookie ball before that can happen.  Hopefully he’ll play in LoA or HiA in 2010.

106.  Arismendy Ozoria, RHP (57 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 195 lbs, 19.5 years old

3-2, 2.53 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.53 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Ozoria put together a very solid debut season in the DSL in 2009.  To put it into perspective, when compared to all Dodger minor league pitchers in 2009 with a minimum of 45 innings pitched, Ozoria ranked 5th in ERA, 4th in WHIP, and 3rd in batting average against.  Of course he was facing easier competition in the DSL, but you’ve got to give him some credit as he had no prior professional experience, and was only 18 for most of the season.  In addition, while his FIP was 3.57 and his walk rate was a little high, the fact that opposing batters hit just .216 shows that he has some good stuff.  At 6’0” and 195 pounds Arismendy is not that big, but his stats demonstrate that he obviously has some potential.  At 19 years old and with 57 innings under his belt, he may be ready to move up to the Arizona League even though he’s only pitched one professional season.  It will be interesting to see how he evolves as a player at higher levels.

105.  Alberto Bastardo, LHP (75 innings in HiA, 72.3 innings in AA, 1 inning in AAA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/13/06

6’0”, 160 lbs, 26 years old

12-5, 4.00 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.89 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 142

Alberto Bastardo, who obviously has a great name, was originally signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 2002.  He had successful seasons with the Orioles, but left as a minor league free agent before the 2006 season.  Upon joining the Dodgers, Bastardo was been pretty average until 2009, when he seemingly broke out with a solid season.  He spent time in three different levels, and posted decent stats in each.  His first half in the California League was especially good, and he was named as a mid season All-Star.  Overall, he ended the season with a 4.00 ERA and had an even better 3.67 FIP.  He also had a great strikeout to walk ratio, and actually had the third most strikeouts in the entire Dodger minor league system with 130.  A relatively small lefty, Bastardo is still just 26 years old, even though 2009 was his 8th professional season.  Since he made his AAA debut at the end of last season, I see him returning there in 2010.  Strictly a starter the past two years, the Dodgers may try him as a lefty reliever at some point in the future.  He’s currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, and is performing well with a 2.77 ERA in 52 innings.  Lastly, even though he was a minor league free agent after the season, the Dodgers already resigned him for next year.

104.  Pedro Tavarez, C (43 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 198 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.325 average, 1 HR, 26 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 183

After hitting .220 in the in the Dominican Summer League in 2008, I ranked Tavarez 183rd last year, but I also mentioned that he was still young enough to possibly break out in 2009.  Well, after the Dodgers promoted Pedro to the Arizona Rookie League, he actually did have a breakout season.  He improved his average by over 100 points, and his OPS increased from .587 to .765.  He also showed good plate discipline as he walked almost as much as he struck out during 2009.  In addition, he was named to the Arizona League post season all start team as the catcher.  Even with this breakout season, however, I’m not completely sold on Tavarez.  He has never shown any power, and his career average is still just .259.  While he has good size for a catcher and is still just 22 years old, he’ll have to prove himself again in 2010 to really put himself on the Dodgers prospect radar.  He’ll probably play in the Pioneer League next season.

103.  Abdul Nieto, LF (30 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 180 lbs, 18.25 years old, bats right handed

.153 average, 1 HR, 6 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Abdul Nieto was one of the best prospects coming out of Panama when he was signed by the Dodgers in the Summer of 2008.  At the time, he was 16 years old, yet already had a solid build.  While I don’t know how much the Dodgers signed him for (although I’m betting it was for less than $100,000), I do know that they got a young player who has a lot of potential.  After training with the Dodgers in second half of 2008, Nieto made his professional debut in the DSL in June of 2009.  Unfortunately, his overall season stats were pretty dismal.  He only had 13 hits throughout the entire season, and only two of them were for extra bases.  He also only appeared in only 30 games over three months.  Nevertheless, I believe that Nieto gained some valuable experience as a 17 year old.  As mentioned earlier, he has an ideal build for baseball, and will only get stronger as he matures.  I wouldn’t be surprised if people started talking about him next year as a potential legitimate prospect.  He’ll definitely return to the Dominican Summer League next season, and I’m sure that he’ll get more at bats, most likely as a starting outfielder.  If he had a good season in 2010, he may be one of the youngest players in the Arizona Rookie League in 2011. 

102.  Joel Lima, RHP (30.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 165 lbs, 20.5 years old

2-1, 2.97 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.12 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 65

As I mentioned last year, Joel Lima is in fact the brother of former Dodger Jose Lima.  They are 17 years apart, but the bloodlines are obviously there.  Joel is a little smaller than Jose, but they are both right handed.  After posting a 2.52 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and a .243 batting average against in 2008, Lima recorded similar numbers in 2009.  The downside is that while the numbers were similar, he actually slightly regressed in all aspects of his game.  In addition, Lima has only pitched 70 total innings over his two professional seasons, so he still lacks experience.  Overall, while Joel’s 2009 season wasn’t quite as impressive as his 2008 campaign, you really can’t really complain about a 2.97 ERA.  After spending two seasons in the DSL, this 20 year old is probably ready for tougher competition in the U.S.  I think he’ll play in the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, and hopefully he’ll continue to post good numbers.

101.  Travis Chick, RHP (113 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/3/08

6’2”, 220 lbs, 25.75 years old

8-7, 4.22 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7.81 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m not going to spend too much time on Travis Chick because he was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season and has signed with Angels.  So obviously he is no longer in the Dodgers system.  I wish he was still with the Dodgers, however, because Chick is a pretty solid pitcher.  In fact, I considered him to be one of the better non roster invitees that the Dodgers signed in the 2008-2009 offseason.  Obviously he didn’t make the team out of spring training, but he put up pretty good numbers last season in AA.  Originally drafted by the Marlins in 2002, Chick actually made his major league debut with the Mariners in September of 2006.  Overall, while he’s never going to be a big league star, he seems to be a decent back up plan to keep in the minors in case of injuries.  It will be interesting to see if he has any impact with the Angels during the 2010 season.

100.  Jimmy Marshall, RHP (11 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 23rd round

6’6”, 195 lbs, 23 years old

0-1, 4.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 9.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jimmy Marshall was a four year player for Florida State, and overall had a very successful career for the Seminoles.  He was a middle reliever and spot starter for FSU in 2006 and 2007, then shared the closer role during 2008 with Giant top prospect Buster Posey, who was actually a pretty dominate pitcher in college in his limited opportunities.  In 2009 Marshall inherited the team captain patch and the full time closers role for FSU, and while he had his least successful season in terms of ERA (4.85), he was able pick up 10 saves, post a strikeout rate of 13.5 K’s per 9 innings, and hold batters to a .238 average.  His biggest problem during his senior season was his control as he walked 24 batters in 26 innings, which is probably attributable to his height.  Because of his age and college experience, the Dodgers moved Marshall directly into the closer role for the Arizona Dodgers, although they limited him to just 11 innings spread over two months.  While his ERA of 4.09 and FIP of 4.38 were just mediocre, he continued to show a good strikeout rate and also allowed batters to his just .211 against him.  From what I’ve heard, he has a low 90’s fastball and a decent slider, but I don’t know much else about his pitching repertoire.  Overall, I really like Marshall’s size and potential, even though he is already 23 years old and was drafted in the 23rd round.  I’m almost positive that he’ll start in Lo-A next season, and I’m hoping that he develops into a useful power reliever.   

99.  Josh Walter, RHP (110 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/27/08

6’4”, 250 lbs, 25 years old

10-4, 3.27 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.25 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 189

If Josh Walter were three years younger, he would easily be a top 30 prospect for the Dodgers.  He has pretty good stuff, and he is big…like Jonathan Broxton big.  He also had a great season with Great Lakes in 2009 while splitting time between starter and reliever.  He was named as a mid season All Star in the Midwest League after having a phenomenal first half, and ultimately finished the season with 113 K’s and a .228 batting average against, both stats which ranked among Dodger minor league leaders for 2009.  But unfortunately, Josh Walter is not three years younger.  Instead, he is almost 25 years old, and has yet to play above Lo-A.  He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 out of Texas State University where he posted a 4.71 ERA as a Senior.  He actually didn’t pitch much at all in college, as he only pitched about 40 innings at Texas State.  Going back to his professional career, even if Walter is promoted to AA in 2010, he is still going to be behind schedule.  While he has the potential to thrive as a middle reliever, he may be too old to ever make it in the major leagues.  It’s going to take another outstanding season in 2010 for him to make any sort of an impact with the Dodgers.

98.  Joseph Paxson, RHP (29.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 13th round

6’3”, 250 lbs, 23.5 years old

1-3, 5.52 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 8.90 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The third time was the charm for Joseph (J.B.) Paxson.  After being drafted in the 33rd round by the Dbacks in 2005 and the 18th round by the Braves in 2006, Paxson signed with the Dodgers in 2009 as a 13th round pick.  He actually didn’t really have a choice this time, because he was a Senior in college and didn’t have the option of going back to school.  In looking at Paxson’s past, it also makes sense why Joseph was drafted so many times.  He hit a school record 29 home runs during his high school career, and then hit .455 with 13 HR’s in his only season at Walters State Community College.  Up until this point, you’ll notice that Paxson was actually known for his offense, as he was a full time catcher.  In 2007, however, Paxson joined Western Kentucky and proceeded to have three solid seasons as a two way player.  In his three years with the Hilltoppers, Paxson was the starting catcher for the majority the games, and as a Senior actually hit .345 with a great 1.076 OPS.  However, the Dodgers wanted him for his pitching arm.  While his ERA wasn’t great during the 2009 season (6.82), he struck out 41 batters in 31 innings and Dodgers really liked his fastball.  According to reports, his fastball can get up to the mid 90’s, which makes sense given that he is 6’3” and weights 250 lbs.  Upon signing with the Dodgers, J.B. was sent to the Pioneer League where he compiled a 5.52 ERA in 29 innings.  However, his 2009 FIP was 2.89, so he actually did a lot better than most people would initially think.  Used strictly in relief, Paxson picked up 3 saves during the season, and he also had 3 holds, which ranked 6th in the Pioneer League.  Even though Paxson is already 23 years old, I think that he has a bright future as a reliever.  I’m sure that he’ll head to LoA next year, and hopefully a full season of concentrating on pitching will result in even better stats for 2010.

97.  Mario Alvarez, RHP (85 innings in HiA, 3 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/16/03

6’0”, 205 lbs, 26 years old

5-7, 4.60 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.06 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 83

While I discussed Mario’s background last year, it is worth repeating.  Alvarez was signed as a 3rd baseman in 2003, and hit very poorly in his debut.  So the Dodgers converted him to a pitcher in 2004, and he was an immediate success, posting a 1.24 ERA in 65 innings.  From 2005 to 2007, however, Alvarez had three mediocre seasons as he never finished with an ERA below 5.60 during that time period.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to add him to their 40 man roster after the 2007 season to protect him in the Rule 5 draft.  He went on to have arm surgery during the 2008 season which caused him to miss most of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.  During that time, he was removed from the Dodgers 40 man roster, and is now just another Dodger minor leaguer.  Upon his return in 2009, Alvarez actually had pretty solid stats even though he played the majority of the season the California League.  His 1.18 WHIP with Inland Empire ranked as best on the team for players with at least 20 innings pitched, and his overall season WHIP of 1.22 ranked as 9th best in the entire Dodgers minor league system (minimum 45 innings).  In addition, his FIP for 2009 was 3.76, and batters hit just .249 against him.  To add to his recent success, Mario currently has a 1.17 ERA through 15 innings in the Dominican Winter League.  While he’s not very big, Alvarez does have something special about him, which is why the Dodgers put him on the 40 man roster back in 2007.  At 26 years old, he is running out of time to make it to the big leagues, but he is worth keeping an eye on.  He was already resigned by the Dodgers this offseason to a minor league contract, so I expect Mario to play a full season of AA in 2010, with a good chance of making it up to AAA at some point.

96.  Leonel Beras, LHP (14 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07

5’11”, 143 lbs, 18.75 years old

0-3, 7.07 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 9.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 34

Leonel Beras was definitely one of my biggest ranking mistakes last year.  I’m not saying that we should give up all hope in Beras because of his 2009 ERA, but obviously he is not one of our top 40 prospects as I thought last year.  What plagued Beras in 2009 was his lack of control.  In 14 innings, Leonel walked 20 batters, which calculated out to him walking more than 25% of the batters he faced.  When he did find the plate, however, he showed decent stuff as opposing batters hit just .200 against him for the season.  He also struck out a batter per inning, and absolutely dominated left handed batters in his limited exposure to them.  In addition, Beras is obviously very young, so he has still has plenty of time to improve.  Besides his lack of control, the two biggest negatives about Leonel are his size and his lack of experience.  Over his two professional seasons, he has pitched just 34 total innings.  I expect that to change next year as I believe the Dodgers will give Beras a bigger role in his third season in the DSL during 2010.  He’ll play most of the 2010 season as a 19 year old, so hopefully the Dodgers will feel he is finally mature enough to pitch an entire season.  While he’s not currently a top 50 prospect, I would continue to keep an eye on Beras as he has shown flashes of brilliance and is still developing as a player.

95.  Jesus Castillo, RHP (150.3 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 27th round

6’0”, 195 lbs, 25.75 years old

7-9, 4.31 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 5.33 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 43

I’m not really sure what to think of Jesus Castillo.  Drafted by the Dodgers as a late round pick in 2003, he had three straight excellent seasons from 2004 through 2006, and never finished with an ERA above 2.96 during any of those years.  In 2007, Castillo received a bigger challenge as he played the entire year in Hi-A, but even then he did relatively well with a 4.78 ERA in the California League.  Then in 2008, Castillo probably had his best year as a professional, and based on those numbers the Dodgers decided to add Castillo to their 40 man roster after the season.  Even though I thought Castillo would play in AAA in 2009, he was a victim of numbers and was forced back to AA for a second season.  In Chattanooga, Castillo posted average stats, but wasn’t as successful as in prior years.  So when the Dodgers 40 man roster got too full in August of 2009, Castillo again was a victim of numbers and was designated for assignment.  He cleared through waivers, however, and luckily the Dodgers were able to outright him back to the minors.  In regards to Castillo’s future, as mentioned earlier I’m not sure what to think.  His career ERA is a respectable 3.91, but his strikeout numbers have always been very low.  He is also already 25 years old, and isn’t very big for a pitcher.  Nevertheless, he should finally be ticketed for AAA in 2010.  It’ll be tough for the Dodgers to add him back to their 40 man roster after he has already been removed from it, so he’ll have to convince them with his play on the field.  So far this offseason he is doing his part, as he is currently doing very well in the Mexican Winter League with a 1.67 ERA through 32 innings.

94.  Andrew Suiter, LHP (15.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 10th round

6’3”, 210 lbs, 22.75 years old

2-0, 4.02 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 8.62 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I read an interesting interview with Suiter that took place in 2008, shortly after he was drafted by the Yankees in the 32nd round.  At the time, we has looking for 3rd or 4th round bonus money, so it is no wonder he didn’t sign.  In the interview, Suiter discussed a variety of topics.  He started with a discussion about his pitches, and at the time of the interview, said that he had a 4 seam fastball that ranged from 90 – 92 mph, a 74 mph 11-to-5 curveball, and a “fosh,” which is held like a split-finger, but where the thumb is off to the side of the ball.  Next, Andrew talked about his college career, and how he was originally a prize recruit by UCLA, but then due to a broken wrist and poor coaching decisions, transferred to UC Davis where he finally got an opportunity to play.  Finally, Suiter described how he wanted to be a starter rather than a reliever, how he was a really good water polo player, and how he definitely needed to improved upon his control.  Anyways, enough with the interview.  Suiter obviously didn’t sign with the Yankees, and returned to UC Davis in 2009.  While his 2009 college stats were rather unimpressive, he did improve his velocity and was hitting 94 mph by the end of the season.  So the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him with their 10th round pick, and immediately placed him in the Pioneer League.  After the draft, Logan White said “This kid has a really good arm…He’s throwing 94-95 now and has a good change and a good curve ball. The question is getting him to command the strike zone.  When he was a starter he wasn’t very successful but when they moved him into the bullpen he had good success.  We’re going to start him and if he has trouble we’ll move him into relief and we feel he will be very good.  We think we have a great find this late in the process.  We can see no reason he can’t throw strikes, maybe he just likes relief better.  If we get another Brent Leach, that will be great.”  In the Pioneer League, Suiter continued to have major problems with his control, as he walked 18 batters in just under 16 innings.  When he did throw strikes, however, Suiter showed good stuff because batters only hit .200 against him, and he struck out almost a batter per inning.  At 6’3”, Andrew has good size, and I think this lefty could become a successful relief pitcher if he learns better control.  He’ll most likely play in LoA in 2010.

93.  Antonio Castillo, LHP (47.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

5’11”, 180 lbs, 22 years old

4-3, 6.04 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 7.36 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 45

Even though Castillo had an awful season in 2009, I’m not going to give him a break because he was so dominant in 2007 and 2008.  I know those two seasons came while he was in the DSL, but come on, his combined ERA’s during those seasons was 1.41 through 115 innings, and  his combined WHIP was 0.80.  Those are some unbelievable stats, especially for a 5’11” lefty.  Turning back to 2009, Castillo obviously experienced some sort of transformation upon being brought to the U.S. for the Pioneer League.  His 2008 ERA more than quintupled, and his 2008 WHIP more than doubled.  His biggest problem by far was his walk rate, as he walked almost 15% of batters he faced.  Even still, Castillo still showed flashes of brilliance as he actually performed very well during the month of July, which is when he pitched the majority of his innings.  In just over 27 innings during that month, his ERA was a more respectable 3.62, and batters only hit .243 against him.  So it was the other two months (June and August) that really doomed his season.  Overall, Castillo is still pretty young, and was making a pretty big jump from the DSL to the hitter friendly Pioneer League.  Even though he isn’t very big, I think he can be an effective left handed reliever.  Look for him to play in the Midwest League next year in a rebound season.

92.  Pedro Guerrero, SS (62 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06

6’3”, 181 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats right handed

.259 average, 4 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 67

Pedro Guerrero (no relation to the former Dodger great) was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut in 2008.  He produced average numbers in the Gulf Coast League in 2008, and had similar numbers in 2009.  While he spent the majority of his time with Ogden at shortstop, at 6’3” he may be better suited for 2nd or 3rd base, which have been his secondary positions throughout his career.  His offensive numbers probably won’t support any other position, however, so Guerrero needs to step it up at the plate.  His biggest problems are his walk and strikeout rates.  In 247 plate appearances in 2009, Pedro struck out 65 times, and walked just 9 times for a dismal walk to strikeout ratio of 0.14, which ranks as one of the worst in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, Guerrero’s 23 errors ranked in the top 5 among Dodger minor leaguers in 2009.  The good thing about Pedro, however, is that he is still young, and played all of last season as a 20 year old.  So he has plenty of time to improve his game, as well as add muscle to his lanky frame.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Guerrero spent 2010 repeating the Pioneer League given his age, and hopefully he’ll show some more patience and consistency at the plate.

91.  Kyle Smit, RHP (47 innings in LoA, 20.7 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 5th round

6’3”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old

1-7, 6.12 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 8.11 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 88

Coming out of high school, Smit was one of the best pitchers in Nevada.  He didn’t really have many college options however (he had committed to Western Nevada Community College), so he was an easy sign for the Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2006 draft.  Unfortunately, he has not performed well so far as a professional, and has a 5.83 career ERA.   Last year I gave him a break because he was only 21 years old at the time, but after back to back horrible seasons, I’m starting to think that he simply may not have great stuff.  While he still has a lot of projection left in his frame and supposedly already hits 93 on the radar gun, he’s going to have to start producing some better stats if he wants to make any kind of impact with the Dodgers.  Going back to his 2009 season, Smit started the year in LoA, and even though he was struggling to the tune of a 5.36 ERA, the Dodgers actually promoted him to HiA in July.  It was in the California League that Kyle really tanked as he allowed 18 earned runs in 20.2 innings.  Overall, Smit still has time to prove his worth.  He is still young, and he has always posted good strikeout rates.  Also, as mentioned before, he has a good frame and has yet to fill out.  He’ll most likely return to the California League in 2010, and let’s hope that he can somehow find a way to record an ERA under 6.00 for the first time in a few years.

90.  Michael Pericht, C (35 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 16th round

6’5”, 225 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.211 average, 4 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

You’ve got to love Michael Pericht’s size, especially for a catcher.  In fact, he is exactly the same size as the Orioles young catching star Matt Wieters.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t possess the same skill set as Wieters yet, but you never know what he may develop into.  In fact, I’ve heard him compared to David Ross with a 20+ homer potential.  Going back to his college days, Pericht played at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, and as a Junior he hit .337 with 12 HR’s and had a spectacular 1.046 OPS.  Going into the 2009 draft, he was very excited, and was quoted as saying “Right now, I’m trying to stay as calm as possible. It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking. I kind of feel like a duck on the pond right now.”  He was selected by the Dodgers in the 16th round, signed quickly, and was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League.  Before you look at his .211 average and dismiss Pericht as a prospect, it should be noted that he posted a .345 on base percentage, and his 4 HR’s ranked 2nd on the team and came in just 109 at bats.  While his strikeout rate was pretty high at 29.5%, I think that as Michael gets older he’ll be able to shorten his swing and make better contact.  If Pericht can find a way to stay behind the plate as he moves up through the system, he may become a very valuable prospect.  If he moves to first base, however, his significance will diminish, although he’d still be worth watching given his size and potential power.  My guess is that he’ll spend 2010 in the Pioneer League and continue to get reps behind the plate.

89.  Elian Herrera, OF (99 games in HiA, 13 games in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/14/03

5’11”, 190 lbs, 25 years old, switch hitter

.287 average, 4 HR’s, 37 RBI’s, 43 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 109

After being limited to less than 250 at bats in every season of his six year minor league career, Elian Herrera finally got a full season under his belt in 2009…and he made it count by wreaking havoc on the base paths.  He spent the majority of the season in HiA, and stole 42 bases there in 47 attempts.  Compare that to Trayvon Robinson, who stole 43 bases at Inland Empire and was caught 18 times, and you’ll realize that Herrera is actually the better base stealer of the two players.  However, Elian is two years older than Robinson, so Robinson is obviously the better prospect.  Anyways, besides being very fast, Herrera is a very versatile player as he spent time all over the field in 2009.  He played all three outfield positions, played a lot of 2nd base, spent time at 3rd base, and even made an appearance at shortstop.  He also hit for a good average in 2009, and scored 70 runs during the season (ranking in the top 10 among Dodger minor league players).  Unfortunately, the positives for Herrera stop there.  At 25 years old, Elian is fairly old to have not played above A ball.  In addition, he has never shown any power, and only stands at 5’11”.  Nevertheless, 2010 will give Herrera a chance prove that he is a legitimate Dodger prospect.  While he was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season, the Dodgers showed confidence in Elian and re-signed him to a minor league deal.  I’m sure he’ll finally get a chance to play in at least AA, and hopefully he’ll continue to thrive both at the plate and on the base paths. 

88.  Nick Gaudi, RHP (27.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 30th round

6’5”, 215 lbs, 23.5 years old

2-4, 2.96 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 12.84 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Even though he was the Dodgers 30th round pick, Gaudi is used to going up against big odds to make it in baseball.  He was barely recruited heading into college, and had to walk-on to the Pepperdine baseball team.  After making the team, he didn’t get any playing time in 2005 as a freshman, so decided to redshirt.  So he actually spent 5 years in college, which is another reason why clubs probably stayed away from him.  Anyways, as a sophomore Gaudi started to contribute, and then as a junior he earned Pepperdine’s closer role, led the West Coast Conference with 15 saves, and was named first team All-WCC.  As a senior he again was named first team All-WCC.  He contributes his college success to two things.  First, he mastered a new pitching windup that he developed with the Pepperdine assistant baseball.  Gaudi described the windup as “deceiving”, as he twists and the ball comes from behind his back.  Second, he calls himself “a strike thrower and a pitcher’s pitcher.”  He also says he “can locate his fastball and try to outthink hitters rather than overpower them with raw power or talent.”  Getting into his professional career, it should first be noted that Gaudi was one of the oldest players in the Pioneer League, so his stats should be taken with a grain of salt.  Nevertheless, he was pretty dynamite on the mound.  He had a rough first couple of outings, but after that he was lights out.  His most impressive stat was his strikeout to walk rate, which was an amazing 7.80 and ranked only behind fellow 2009 draftee Stephen Ames in the Dodger minor league system.  Scouts credit his success to the development of a slider and split-finger fastball, and he’ll definitely need that offspeed stuff because his fastball is just average.  2010 will bring a much bigger challenge for Nick as I’m sure the Dodgers will challenge him with at least an assignment to HiA given his age.  I can even see him playing in AA at some point next season if he continues to thrive.

87.  Moises Tamarez, RHP (31.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 195 lbs, 17 years old

1-0, 4.31 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 2.87 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Moises Tamarez is by far the youngest player in the Dodgers minor league system.  He didn’t turn 16 until March of 2009, so he must not have signed with the Dodgers until after that date.  Usually when players sign when they are that young, they spend most of their time at the training facility and barely get into any games, if any at all.  Tamarez, however, didn’t waste any time and pitched in his first professional game right when the DSL season started.  He went on to make 13 appearances from June to August, and even made three starts.  Not only did he pitch quite a bit as a 16 year old, but he also posted pretty good numbers (besides his unbelievably low strikeout rate).  In addition, Tamarez already has the perfect pitchers body, and is only going to get bigger as he matures.  Moises will be just 17 during the 2010 season, so I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL for at least one more year.  Since he is getting so much experience at such a young age, he really has the potential to be a legitimate Dodger prospect in a year or two.

86.  Clay Calfee, 1B (17 games in Pioneer League, 16 games in Arizona League, 11 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 14th round

6’6”, 220 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats left handed

.268 average, 5 HR’s, 27 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 69

Clay Calfee was drafted out of Angelo State in Texas in 2008.  Clay left Angelo State as their all time leader in home runs (28), RBI’s (171), and hits (239).  In addition, during his final season at Angelo State, he hit an amazing .404 with 13 HR’s.  After being drafted, he made his professional debut in the Pioneer League.  While he struggled with a .232 average, he did manage to hit 8 HR’s and drive in 35.  In 2009 the Dodgers decided to transition Calfee from left field to first base, and throughout the season he actually played at three different levels.  He started the season in the Arizona Rookie League, and after posting mediocre stats he was promoted to LoA in late July.  During his 11 games in the Midwest League, Clay looked very lost and was never able to get things going.  He only got 5 hits in 40 at bats and was quickly demoted to the Pioneer League where he finished the season.  The good news is that he turned things around with the Ogden Raptors by recording a .354 average and 3 HR’s in 17 games.  Overall, Calfee is a big guy with a lot of power, but is very prone to the strikeout.  He has a career strikeout rate of 33%, which is even worse than fellow Dodger minor leaguer Kyle Russell.  Calfee is also almost 24 years old, which is fairly old for a player who only has 11 games of experience beyond rookie ball.  While I’d like to think that Clay has a future with the Dodgers because of his power potential, his age and lack of experience really limit him.  I’m sure he’ll start with a full season club in 2010 and hopefully he’ll contribute early and move up quickly through the system.

85.  Ji-Mo Lee, RHP (3 innings in Pioneer League, 0 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/24/09

6’1”, 188 lbs, 23.25 years old

0-0, 18.00 ERA, 4.33 WHIP, 3.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The Dodgers signed Ji-Mo Lee out of Korea in May of 2009.  He was originally drafted by a Korean baseball team in 2005, but was then required to serve two years of military duty.  He played for the Korean team in 2008, but was released after posting a 9.64 ERA.  While he performed poorly in 2008, after being signed by the Dodgers, Logan White said “Ji-Mo has a feel for two types of pitches that are already at a Major League level and he should develop into a good pitcher.”  In addition, Byung-Hwan An, the Dodgers’ scouting supervisor in Korea said “I have been watching him since high school and always liked his fastball and aggressiveness on the mound.  He is a very talented pitcher with a high ceiling. It is great that we can give him a chance to play in the States, which has been his dream.”  Even though he signed in May, Lee didn’t appear in a minor league game until the very end of August.  He appeared in 4 games total, and he basically had no success.  Nevertheless, based on the information provided, it seems like the Dodgers consider Lee a legitimate prospect.  He is 23 years old and apparently has two really good pitches, so I’m sure that he’ll be playing in either LoA or HiA during the 2010 season. 

84.  Bryant Hernandez, SS (44 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 9th round

5’8”, 170 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.276 average, 2 HR’s, 16 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Bryant Hernandez is not very big at all, but he has some pop and is a good offensive player.  In 2009 as a junior at the University of Oklahoma, Hernandez batted .351, hit 12 HR’s, and tied future Dodger teammate J.T. Wise for the team lead with 62 RBI’s.  He was also a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation’s top shortstop.  Speaking of Wise, the Dodgers actually noticed Hernandez when they were scouting Wise during the 2009 college season.  After the draft, Logan White said that Hernandez “is a kid that had good numbers, could hit in the middle of the night, could play short or second and he’s a sure-handed fielder with some pop in his bat. We could also turn him into a catcher down the road, if needed. He’s a grinder and knows how to play the game.”  The part about turning him into a catcher is interesting, so we’ll have to see if that develops down the road.  Also, while White mentioned his good defense, in college Hernandez seemed to make the difficult plays, but struggled with the routine grounders, leading to team high 21 errors.  Unfortunately that trend followed Bryant into professional ball, as Hernandez made 17 more errors in just 44 games.  In addition, Bryant’s offense abilities took a hit once he turned pro, although you can’t really complain too much about a .276 for a 21 year old in his first professional season.  The Dodgers will probably want to be fairly aggressive with Hernandez in 2010 given his experience at a big time college program, so he’ll probably spend next season in LoA.  In the Midwest League, hopefully he can put together a more complete season offensively and defensively to put his name on the Dodgers prospect radar. 

83.  Edwin Contreras, RHP (75.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/28/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 21.5 years old

5-1, 4.06 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.73 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 53

Signed out of Mexico in late 2006, Edwin Contreras made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and did very well.  Because he was still just 19 to start the 2008 season, the Dodgers returned Contreras to the GCL where he improved upon the previous year.  He had a perfect 5-0 record, posted a 2.30 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, and allowed only a .219 batting average.  With two rookie league seasons under his belt before the 2009 season, I thought Contreras was ready for LoA, but the Dodgers instead placed Edwin in the Pioneer League.  While playing with the Ogden Raptors, Contreras got off to a hot start with a 2.27 ERA through July, and for the season ranked among the league leaders in games started and innings pitched.  However, while he had a respectable FIP of 4.19 for the season, his 1.50 WHIP and 5.73 K/9 scare me.  His career K/9 of 6.2 isn’t much better, which tells me that Contreras is somewhat hittable and has probably been getting pretty lucky throughout his short career.  The good news is that at just 21 years old, Contreras has plenty of time to improve his pitches and put some muscle on his 165 pound frame.  Nevertheless, 2010 will be a big year in Edwin’s career as it will probably be his first year in a full season league, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.

82.  Bolivar Medina, LHP (46.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2007

6’2”, 175 lbs, 21.75 years old

3-2, 2.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.10 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Prior to the 2007 season, the Dodgers signed a group of young Dominican players.  According to Logan White in a 2007 interview, the two most impressive players in that group were Pedro Baez (one of the Dodgers top prospects) and Bolivar Medina.  So that right there tells you that Medina has some potential.  After posting a 2.75 ERA through 36 innings in the Dominican Summer League in 2007, Bolivar must have injured himself in some way because he missed the entire 2008 season.  It is for that reason that I didn’t include him in my rankings last season, because I thought that he had been released or something since he didn’t show up in any 2008 games.  Whatever the case, Medina made his return in 2009, and was placed in the Arizona Rookie League where he performed exceptionally well.  His 2.89 ERA ranked 5th in the League for qualifying pitchers, and his 1.20 WHIP ranked 10th.  His stats also ranked favorably among the Dodger minor league pitching leaders, especially his 3.23 strikeout to walk ratio and his .235 batting average against.  Besides his impressive numbers, Media also had good size for a pitcher at 6’2”.  Overall, I think this lefty has some potential to make an impact with the Dodgers if he can stay healthy.  As he is still pretty young, he just needs more experience, which he’ll probably get in Lo-A next season.

81.  David Pfeiffer, LHP (48 innings in HiA, 4 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 14th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 24.5 years old

3-3, 3.29 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 6.92 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 76

David Pfeiffer was born in Vero Beach, FL, so he was destined to one day be a Dodger.  After signing with the team in 2003, however, he didn’t show much potential as a prospect until the 2008 offseason when he played for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaii Winter League.  It was there that he finally broke out by posting a 1.59 ERA, a 0.65 WHIP, and an amazing .127 batting average against in 17 innings.  Pfeiffer carried his success into the 2009 season where he performed very well in HiA despite playing in the hitter friendly California League.  In 48 innings he had a 3.33 FIP and only allowed one home run.  He also had an especially good August, and was named the Dodgers Pride Award Winner for the month because he earned two saves and allowed just one run in 14.2 innings (0.61 ERA) in 11 August games.  David will be just 24 years old when the 2010 season starts, but with six years of minor league experience and parts of three seasons spent in HiA, it is definitely time for a promotion to AA.  Therefore, he’ll most likely spend the 2010 season in Chattanooga, and if he continues to improve, he has the potential to one day possibly help the Dodgers as a lefty reliever out of the bullpen. 

80.  Nick Buss, CF (110 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 8th round

6’0”, 180 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats left handed

.260 average, 10 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 27

2008 was the second time that Nick Buss was drafted by the Dodgers.  After failing to sign him as a 35th round pick in 2006, the Dodgers finally got their man in the 8th round two years later.  During the two years between being drafted by the Dodgers, Buss spent time as the starting center fielder for the USC Trojans.  While his stats at USC weren’t amazing, he did post a solid .415 OBP in 2008 and placed 2nd on the team with 8 HR’s.  He also played in the Alaskan Baseball League in the summer of 2007, and was named the League’s top prospect by Baseball America after hitting .369 and stealing 29 bases.  Since being drafted, however, Nick “Chili” Buss has been pretty average, and I’ll admit that I ranked Buss much too high last year.  I based my prior year ranking on his defensive skills and his ability to get on base, but both of those skills seemed less impressive in 2009.  His .298 on base percentage in 2009 was pretty bad, and I also read that his throwing arm is average at best.  In addition, Buss struggles mightily against left handed pitchers, and he hit just .165 against them in 2009.  Really when I look at him more closely, his only assets are his above average speed and his ability to make contact (he has a career strikeout percentage of just 15.4%).  Nevertheless Buss will probably move up to HiA in 2010, and maybe he’ll be able to rejuvenate his career in the friendly confines of the California League.  He’s just 23 years old so he’s still young enough to have a big season and upgrade his prospect status.

79.  Eduardo Perez, 1B (90 games in AA, 38 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/4/02

6’1”, 175 lbs, 25.5 years old, switch hitter

.305 average, 14 HR’s, 69 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 110

Last year, I said that Eduardo Perez would have to “tear it up next year in order get any recognition in this Dodgers system”.  Well Perez did just that.  He killed the California League for the first month and a half of the 2009 season by hitting .353 with a .981 OPS through 150 at bats.  That earned him a promotion to AA, where Perez finally faced players that were closer to his own age.  While his hot streak dropped off a bit in Chattanooga, Perez did hit .281 with 11 HR’s against the tougher competition.  In addition, when you look at his combined stats for the season, he ranked among the Dodger minor league leaders in average, RBI’s, doubles, and hits.  His overall performance earned Perez another season with the Dodgers, as he was resigned to a minor league contract during this past offseason.  Despite his good performance, I’m worried that Perez will not be able to produce enough offensively to support his position of first base.  He’s also not very big, so I question his ability to produce at the big league level.  Best case scenario for Perez is that he ends up as a bench player on a major league team.  I don’t really think the Dodgers are a team that he’ll ever end up playing for (I think a team like the Nationals or Pirates are more likely destination), but with another good season in 2010, you never know.  He’ll probably start in AA again next season, but he could move up to AAA at some point in 2010. 

78.  Greg Miller, LHP (11.7 innings in HiA, 5.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2002, 1st round

6’6”, 215 lbs, 25.25 years old

0-1, 6.35 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.94 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 35

There honestly isn’t anything left to say about Greg Miller, so I’ll just summarize his career in a few short sentences.  He was once a phantom… a can’t miss prospect who was going to be the next great Dodger starter (just look at his 2003 minor league stats).  Then injury hit.  Then loss of control.  Then loss of confidence.  And things spiraled out of control from there.  He was removed from the 40 man roster this past Spring, and after peaking in AAA in previous years, the Dodgers tried to reinvent Miller back in HiA with a new arm angle.  They hoped that working with Charlie Hough would turn things around.  But things didn’t change for Greg, and while he held opposing batters to a .179 average in the California League, he still managed to record a 9.26 ERA before injury struck once again in late June.  Miller tried to work himself back into pitching shape before the end of the season by rehabbing in the Arizona Rookie League, but the season ended before he got a change to return to real action.  And in reality, that could be the last we see of Miller.  He is currently a minor league free agent and could very well sign with another club prior to the 2010 season.  If he’s healthy, I hope the Dodgers do resign Miller to give him one last chance because the potential is still there, and I would hate to see him sign with someone else and then succeed.  If he does return, I think another lesson with Charlie Hough would be good for him.

77.  Robert Boothe, RHP (56.3 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/5/07

6’2”, 190 lbs, 24 years old

2-3, 4.95 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 12.46 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 82

Robert Boothe was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent after the 2007 season.  He is half Japanese, attended Asia University, doesn’t speak much English, and was actually eligible for the Japanese draft before signing with the Dodgers.  At the time of his signing, Logan White said that Boothe has “a nice delivery, good arm action, and a sound mix of breaking pitches which gives him the ability to be a future Major Leaguer.”  After a rough debut season, Boothe turned things around in the Midwest League in 2009.  I know his ERA wasn’t great and he struggled with his control, but in my opinion he had a very good season.  He posted an excellent FIP of 2.65, so the fact is that Boothe was getting a little unlucky during this season.  He also allowed just two home runs in 56 innings.  His most impressive stat, however, was his strikeout rate.  Boothe led all Dodger minor leaguers with his 12.46 K/9, and through the month of June his K/9 actually stood at a remarkable 14.05.  His ability to strike batters out demonstrates that he has some nasty stuff on the mound.  He’s been described as a power arm who can throw into the mid 90’s and has closer potential.  The one negative about Boothe is his age.  He’s already 24 years old, so he’ll need to move quickly through the system while continuing to improve.  A promotion to AA isn’t out the question for the start of 2010, but he’ll have to really impress in Spring Training to end up there.  If all goes well over the next few years, Boothe has the upside to become a big league middle reliever at some point in his career.

76.  Thomas Giles, RF (82 games in AA, 16 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 8th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats left handed

.276 average, 15 HR’s, 48 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 41

Thomas Giles had a great season in 2008.  He led all Dodger minor leaguers in HR’s and RBI’s while playing 126 games in the California League.  Despite his excellent season and the fact that he was already 25 years old, the Dodgers still placed Giles back in HiA at the beginning of the 2009 season.  Deciding that he needed to prove them wrong, Giles got off to a hot start, and through 16 games with Inland Empire he was hitting .344 with 4 HR’s and an OPS of .983.  Seeing that Thomas was clearly not being challenged in HiA, he was finally promoted to AA in May.  The problem was that Chattanooga has a crowded outfield, so for the remainder of the season Giles had to occasionally rotate out of the starting lineup.  Even still, Giles was able to mash 11 more HR’s and finished the season with a combined slugging percentage of .523, which ranked in the top 10 for Dodger minor leaguers (min 175 AB’s).  Physically Giles is not very big, so he has to rely on his baseball knowledge and his sweet left handed swing to generate his power.  He has a good college background as he was drafted out of the University of Miami.  Despite several good qualities, Giles has two big factors working against him.  First, at 26 years old, Giles is already older than several Dodgers already on the major league roster, so time is not on his side.  Second, he strikes out too much, and during his time in AA Giles struck out in 27% of his plate appearances.  Overall Giles is a solid player, but he will probably never get the opportunity to play in the big leagues.  He’ll most likely head back to AA next season, and hopefully he’ll continue to show the Dodgers that he has good power and deserves the opportunity to play in AAA at some point during 2010.

 

 

75.  Justin Sellers, SS (116 games in AA in 2009)

Acquired via trade with Cubs in April 2009 for Cash

5’10”, 160 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.280 average, 2 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m still not 100% sure how the Dodgers acquired Sellers, although I read somewhere that he was traded to the Dodgers by the Cubs for cash last April.  Originally selected by Oakland in the 6th round of the 2005 draft, he was traded to the Cubs in February of 2009 for Michael Wuertz.  At the time of the trade, Cubs fans were pretty excited to get Sellers because he was ranked in Baseball America’s top 30 from 2006 through 2008, peaking at #9 in the 2006 version of the book.  That’s why I’m still a little confused why the Cubs would give up Sellers to the Dodgers for an undisclosed amount of cash.  Anyways, in regards to Sellers baseball abilities, he is the son of former big league pitcher Jeff Sellers, so he has the bloodlines to compete at the major league level.  In addition, before he was drafted, some scouts thought that Sellers would have been a late first round pick if he had been just a few inches taller.  Known for his strong defense up the middle, Justin’s bat has always been in question as he has very little power and is prone to hitting weak pop ups.  However, he has always been projected to hit for a decent average, and showed some of that skill while batting .280 with the Lookouts this past season.  Sellers is still relatively young for his level of competition, and the Dodgers decided to challenge him by sending him to the Arizona Fall League this offseason.  While he struggled there in limited playing time, the fact that he was sent to Arizona shows that the Dodgers have some confidence in his ability.  After back to back mediocre seasons in AA, the Dodgers have to decide whether Sellers is ready to handle AAA in 2010.  I’m guessing that part of that decision will be based upon how the major league roster shakes out (such as where Hu ends up playing).  Overall, Sellers seems to be a player in the mold of Juan Castro, and if he can continue to play solid defense and put up average offensive numbers, he may one day make it to the big leagues as a backup infielder.

74.  Preston Mattingly, LF (115 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 1st round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.238 average, 8 HR’s, 36 RBI’s, 24 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 52

I wrote this last year, but it’s worth mentioning again.  Coming out of high school, Preston Mattingly wasn’t projected as a 1st round pick.  He was supposed to go within the first 10 rounds, but being picked 31st overall was almost out of the question.  The Dodgers, however, felt otherwise, and decided to spend their supplemental first round pick on the son of the Yankee legend.  Keep in mind this pick was made before Don Mattingly was even part of the Dodger organization.  So far, that pick has looked like a major mistake as players like Joba Chamberlin, Chris Tillman, and Brett Anderson were all still available at that time that Mattingly was selected.  Since we can’t go back and change the past, however, we might as well look to the future for Preston.  Despite poor stats during his two seasons in LoA, the Dodgers moved Mattingly to HiA in 2009 hoping that a change of scenery would jumpstart his offense.  The Dodgers also changed Preston’s position going into 2009, moving him from 2nd base to left field.  Unfortunately, the promotion didn’t help as Mattingly failed to show much improvement with Inland Empire.  Even though the majority of his offensive numbers did progress slightly when compared to 2008, that can probably be attributed to the fact that the California League is much more hitter friendly when compared to the Midwest League.  In addition, Mattingly’s strikeout rate continued to be a big problem.  He ranked 3rd in the California League with 150 strikeouts, and he struck out in almost 30% of his plate appearances.  The one bright spot it may seem are his stolen base totals, but even that is tainted by the fact that he was caught 13 times.  Scouts say that he has a hard time recognizing pitches, and that he also has a tendency to get out on his front foot and committed too soon.  Despite all these shortcomings, I haven’t completely given up hope on Mattingly.  He obviously has great bloodlines, and is still just 22 years old.  To rebound, he needs to look to another Dodger minor leaguer with a major league father, Scott Van Slyke.  Van Slyke struggled in his first season at HiA in 2008, but then completely broke out with a huge season when he returned there in 2009.  So you never know what can happen.  Overall, while Mattingly is a long shot to play in the majors (especially now that he is a left fielder), I’m still optimistic that he’ll turn things around at some point.

73.  Enlly Morales, 2B (64 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

5’11”, 168 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.317 average, 3 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 91

After a very solid professional debut in 2008, Enlly Morales showed the Dodgers that he is indeed for real with a great sophomore campaign.  His .317 average led the DSL Dodgers and ranked 5th in the entire Dodgers minor league system (minimum of 175 at bats).  Even more impressive was his .406 on base percentage, which stemmed from his amazing ability to make contact.  Morales struck out in just 8% of his plate appearances, which led all Dodger minor leaguers.  To add to his 2009 resume, Enlly ranked 3rd in the entire Dominican Summer League with 19 doubles.  Needless to say, Morales had a great season, and will no doubt be promoted to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010.  At 20 years old, he should be old enough to handle the transition to a new country, and hopefully he’ll continue to be an offensive force once he arrives.  Finally, at 5’11”, Enlly is actually the perfect size for a second baseman so I’m not worried about his lack of height, but I would expect him to fill out his 168 pound frame as he gets older. 

72.  Elisaul Pimentel, RHP (59 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/12/06

6’2”, 170 lbs, 21.75 years old

4-4, 4.73 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 7.32 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 58

Elisaul Pimentel has moved quickly through the Dodgers system since being signed as an 18 year old in 2006.  He made his professional debut in 2007 in the Dominican Summer and had a mediocre season, yet the Dodgers promoted him to the Gulf Coast League at the beginning of 2008.  The move paid off as Pimentel put together a very solid season during his time in the GCL, and was even promoted to the Pioneer League toward the end of the 2008 season.  As expected Elisaul returned to the Pioneer League in 2009, and while his numbers weren’t great, they were still somewhat respectable.  Although he was very hittable (as demonstrated by his .300 batting average against), he allowed very few walks and actually had a FIP of 3.47.  In addition, his strikeout to walk ratio ranked 8th among all Dodger minor league pitchers (minimum of 45 innings pitched).  Unfortunately I don’t know anything about his velocity or what types of pitches he throws, but the fact that he has been able to hold his own as a 21 year old tells me that he has some decent stuff.  While the Great Lakes pitching staff will be fairly crowded in 2010, I think there is room for Pimentel to earn a spot somewhere on the Loons pitching staff if he has a good spring training.  

71.  Paul Koss, RHP (18 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 11th round

6’4”, 215 lbs, 24.75 years old

0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 9.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 56

Paul Koss is a former closer at USC who had a great career for the Trojans.  He had 36 career saves, and posted a 2.79 ERA during his senior season.  Koss started his professional career in the Pioneer League, and then moved up to Hi-A in 2008 where finished the season with 14 saves and a 3.50 ERA.  In my analysis last year, I predicted that Koss would play in AA in 2009, just his second full professional season.  Well Koss did end up playing in Chattanooga, but unfortunately it was only for 18 innings because he got injured not once, but twice during the 2009 season.  After pitching 6 games in April with excellent results, Paul sat out all of May with some sort of an injury.  Then after returning for 9 games in June, Koss ended up missing the rest of the season.  I was unable to find out what Koss’ injury was, but hopefully it wasn’t too serious because I think Koss has a lot of potential.  He has great size for a pitcher, and already has the mentality of a closer because he’s been quoted as saying that he loves pressure situations.  He also has a nasty slider that he uses as his out pitch, and has put up good numbers over the past two seasons (including a .169 batting average against in 2009).  With 2009 basically being a lost season for Koss, I’m guessing he’ll return to AA in 2010 for another year.  Even though I think Koss fits more into a middle relief role at the big league level, being the Lookouts closer will give him valuable experience in pressure situations. 

70.  Fredy Quintero, RHP (32.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 180 lbs, 22.25 years old

0-2, 1.93 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 8.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 111

Like they did with Javier Solano, the Dodgers purchased Quintero’s rights from the Mexican League’s Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000.  He started his career in the Gulf Coast League and posted a 4.03 ERA in 29 innings, which was pretty solid for a 20 year old in his first pro season.  This earned Quintero a spot on the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League where he improved dramatically.  His 1.93 ERA ranked as best on the team and his batting average against was just .246.  In addition, Fredy had good strikeout numbers and showed pretty good control.  According to Baseball America, at the time of his signing Quintero had an 89-92 mph fastball and a hard slider, so I’m assuming that he’s only gotten better as he’s matured.  He has a good frame at 6’3”, so he can probably had a mph or two to his velocity.  Heading into the 2010 season, Quintero will be 22 years old so he’ll most likely start in LoA.   Another good season will firmly place his name on the Dodgers prospect radar.

69.  Jaime Ortiz, 1B (56 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 7th round

6’1”, 220 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats left handed

.245 average, 5 HR’s, 24 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 21

Jaime Ortiz was one of the biggest disappointments for me last season, and I admit that my evaluation of him last year was way off.  After he hit 13 HR’s in the Midwest League in 2008, I predicted that Ortiz would hit 20 out in the California League in 2009 to go along with a .280 average.  As it turns out, the only thing that I correctly predicted was the league that he played in.  To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why Ortiz never really got going offensively, but my best guess is that he simply never got into a rhythm during the season because he had to share his first base duties with Steven Caseres throughout the entire season and didn’t really get consistent playing time.  Still that’s no excuse for Ortiz, especially since he was playing in the hitter friendly California League.  The good news is that Jaime is still just 21 years old and already has a lot of professional experience.  Drafted out of Puerto Rico as a 17 year old, Ortiz has made a steady progression through the Dodgers system.  So far in his four year professional career, he has been promoted after each season (going from the GCL to the Pioneer League to LoA to HiA).  I’m pretty sure that trend will stop heading into 2010 as there is no way that Ortiz will move up to AA.  In fact, even if Caseres does get promoted (which he probably will), Ortiz will probably still end up splitting time at 1st base again next season in California League because the Dodgers have quite a few solid first base prospects.  Overall, while I still think that Jaime has a lot of potential, he is going to have to show us something next year because his career .240 batting average isn’t going to impress anyone. 

 

68.  Eric Krebs, RHP (25 innings in HiA, 16.2 innings with other organization in 2009)

Acquired via trade with Pirates in April 2009 for Delwyn Young

6’3”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old

0-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 11.16 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Eric Krebs was originally a 16th round pick in the 2005 draft by the Pirates out of a small community college in Texas.  After 4 mediocre seasons with the Pirates, Eric was sent to the Dodgers as part of the Delwyn Young trade.  Krebs has a lot of upside, but he also has some problems on the mound, with his biggest issue being his command.  During his 2009 season split between AA (with the Pirates) and HiA (with the Dodgers), Krebs walked more than a batter per inning.  That led to an inflated WHIP, as well as a FIP of 4.24 during his time with the Dodgers.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided that Krebs was worth a roster spot in the AFL.  They based their decision on Krebs’ potential as he has a fastball that can hit 96 miles per hour.  In the AFL, Krebs faired very well in most aspects of his game, but unfortunately his lack of control continued.  He walked 11 batters in just under 14 AFL innings, which again caused him to have a very ugly WHIP (1.76) when compared to his ERA (2.63).  The number that really sticks out, however, is his strikeout rates.  In the AFL he posted a K/9 of 12.5, and his career rate stands at just over a strikeout per inning.  So he obviously has something going for him.  His fastball is complimented by a late breaking slider and a changeup that sits in the low 80’s.  Krebs will definitely start in AA next year, and a promotion to AAA at some point isn’t out of the question.  In fact, if he can learn to harness his pitches and limit his walks, he may be able to make it as a reliever at the big league level.  He’ll be almost 25 years old when the 2010 season starts, however, so he’ll have to turn things around quickly.

67.  Carlos De Aza, RHP (27.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07

6’3”, 178 lbs, 19.75 years old

4-2, 1.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.81 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 127

What a difference a year made for Carlos De Aza.  After posting a 6.53 ERA and 2.08 WHIP in 2008, De Aza completely turned things around in 2009 with a 1.30 ERA and a ridiculous .149 batting average against.  Now I know that a lot of people will point the fact that Carlos only pitched 27 innings in 2009 and say that his FIP was 3.86, but come on, the guy was basically unhittable.  He gave up just 4.6 hits per 9 innings for the season, which is ridiculous.  The only negative thing about his is that he has control issues, but even that drastically improved when compared to 2008.  He walked 11.3 batters per 9 innings in 2008 (which is one of the highest walk rates I’ve ever seen), but he brought that number all the way down to 6.5 walks per 9 innings in 2009.  At 6’3” and just 19 years old, De Aza definitely has some potential.  I’m sure he’ll get promoted to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010 based on his numbers and makeup.  While he’s still got a long ways to go in terms of development, he is an interesting name keep track of as he progresses through the Dodgers system.

 

 

66.  Jordan Pratt, RHP (57 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 5th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 24.75 years old

3-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 10.26 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 54

Jordan Pratt had a lot of good things going for him heading into the 2009 season.  He was coming off a decent season in HiA, and an even better winter league.  In the 2008 Hawaii Winter League, he posted an ERA of 2.53 and had an amazing strikeout rate of 14.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.  He also generated some buzz prior to the 2008 Rule 5 draft as his name was thrown around as a potential target for several clubs.  In addition, he was named as the Dodgers 30th best prospect by Baseball America after the 2008 season, and was predicted to begin 2009 in AA.  So I’m sure he felt some disappointment when he learned that he’d be spending the 2009 season in LoA where he was one of the oldest players on the team.  He didn’t let his disappointment show, however, as he put together a solid season for the Great Lakes Loons.  His ERA and WHIP weren’t great, but his FIP was 3.74 and batters his just .222 against him.  He also struck out over a batter per inning, and was surprisingly effective against lefties.  In regards to his stuff, Pratt has a fastball that can hit 94 MPH, a power curveball with good movement, and a slider.  His biggest problem is his control.  Pratt walked 16.4% of batters he faced in 2009, which was the highest percentage for any Loons pitcher, and for his career he walks almost 7 batters per nine innings.  Basically if he can improve his command, then he pretty much has what it takes to be an effective arm out of the bullpen.  I’m not sure what the future holds for Pratt.  He was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season, but luckily re-signed with the Dodgers this past January.  For the 2010 season, I’m almost certain that he’ll be promoted to AA to face some stiffer competition because at almost 25 years old, 2010 is a make or break season for Jordan.

65.  Gustavo Gomez, RHP (60 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 150 lbs, 18.75 years old

2-3, 2.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.45 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 113

2009 was Gustavo’s second professional season, and he showed drastic improvement from 2008.  He led the 2009 Dominican Dodgers in strikeouts and innings pitched, and posted a great ERA and FIP (2.63).  Gomez also only walked 19 batters during the season, and his strikeout to walk ratio of 3.32 ranked 6th in the Dodgers minor league system for 2009.  The best part about Gomez, however, is that he is still just 18 years old, and already has 88 innings of professional experience.  Based on this experience, and the fact that Gustavo had a great 2009 season, I expect Gomez to move up to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010.  While his build needs some more muscle, he should be ready for tougher competition. 

64.  Kyle Orr, 1B (40 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 4th round

6’5”, 205 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed

.223 average, 3 HR’s, 27 RBI’s

Prior Year Ranking: 42

Since being drafted in 2006, Kyle Orr has done nothing to deserve a top 100 ranking.  He has yet to hit better than .230 in any of his minor league seasons, only has 11 HR’s in 479 career at bats, and has struck out in 30% of his career plate appearance.  Yet I continue to see Orr’s potential and I can’t help but rank him in the top half of Dodger minor league players.  Drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 draft, the Dodgers were able to sign Orr away from a strong commitment to play at the University of Kentucky for a $435K signing bonus and an additional $100K going toward a college education if he ever chooses to get one.  Upon signing, Orr was said to have a ton of power even though he was just 17 years old at the time.  Unfortunately, that power hasn’t translated into any professional success as mentioned above.  After spending three years in Rookie ball, I think that Orr just needs to be thrown into a full season league like LoA and see what happens from there.  He’s been limited to less than 500 professional at bats even though he was drafted way back in 2006, so I think that has hurt his development.  He’s still just 21 years old, so he has plenty of time to turn things around and use his 6’5” frame to his advantage.  While I don’t think he’ll cut down on his strikeouts anytime soon, I do believe he can turn into a Kyle Russell type and hit 20 HR’s annually at some point in the near future.

63.  Luis Ferreras, RHP (18 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

6’0”, 150 lbs, 20.25 years old

2-1, 2.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 5.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 46

Luis Ferreras has had an interesting journey so far with the Dodgers.  Signed as a 17 year on before the 2007 season, Ferreras put together a remarkable debut season in the Dominican Summer League, allowing just 3 runs in 27 and one third innings for a 0.99 ERA.  Seeing this success, the Dodgers brought Luis to the U.S.A. in 2008 and started him in the Gulf Coast League.  Through 7 games in the GCL, Ferreras again showed dominating stuff as he allowed just 1 run over 12 innings.  That prompted the Dodgers to actually promote the 18 year old Ferreras all the way to AA for a couple of weeks to fill in for some injured players, during which time Luis threw 3 hitless innings.  When the AA bullpen was back to full strength, Ferreras was sent to LoA where he finally showed that he was human by posting 8.53 ERA through 12 innings.  When it was all said and done, Ferreras had a 4.23 ERA in 2008.  So that brings us to 2009.  After playing all over the place in 2008, I thought that Luis would have a little more consistency in 2009 by spending the season with LoA.  The Dodgers, however, decided that the Pioneer League was a better place for Luis, so he spent the year there.  While it might seem like Ferreras was injured at some point during the season because he was limited to 18 innings, when you look at his game log you’ll notice that all of his appearances were spread pretty evenly from June to September.  So basically, the Dodgers just wanted to limit his innings in order to protect his 19 year old arm.  While his ERA with Ogden was pretty good, his WHIP or 1.44 and FIP of 4.31 tell another story.  In addition, Ferreras has a low career K/9 of 6.3, and actually walked more batter than he struck out in 2009.  Nevertheless, since he’ll be just 20 years old when 2010 starts, I’m pretty confident that Luis will continue to grow, mature, and improve over the next few years.  While I have no idea what his velocity is or what his secondary pitches are, I think that Ferreras has the potential to one day be a big league reliever.  My guess is that he’ll spend 2010 in LoA.

 

 

62.  Brian Ruggiano, 3B (54 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 7 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 23rd round

6’0”, 175, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.346 average, 9 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 22 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 116

Brian was the second Ruggiano drafted by the Dodgers out of Texas A&M in the past few years because they drafted his brother, Justin Ruggiano, in the 25th round of the 2004 draft.  Justin is no longer with the Dodgers, as he was part of the Mark Hendrickson/Toby Hall trade in 2006, but he has made a name for himself by making it up to the Rays during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.  Even though Brian struggled in his debut season, last year I wrote that “based on his brother’s success after being drafted in the 25th round, I wouldn’t count out Brian as being an impact player just yet, even though he was a 23rd round pick.”  Well, Brian Ruggiano tried to prove me right and had a huge year for the Dodgers in 2009.  He ranked among the Dodger Minor League Leaders in several categories, including on base percentage (.413), slugging percentage (.547), OPS (.961), average (.346), and stolen bases (22).  He also ranked very favorably among the Pioneer League Leaders, and actually lost the Pioneer League batting title on the last game of the season (he ended up finishing second with his .371 batting average while with Ogden).  He did all this while learning to play 3rd base, a position that he has never played regularly (he was basically a catcher and outfielder in college, and played 2nd base last season).  Despite all of his success, there is still the fact that Ruggiano was a 23 year old playing in rookie ball.  He was one of the older hitters on the Raptors, so his accomplishments have to be discounted a little.  At the end of the day, however, it’s not Brian’s fault that he was placed in the Pioneer League, and he did everything in his power to show that he didn’t belong there.  He even stole 22 bases and hit 9 home runs, which were the most surprising numbers to me because he isn’t really known as a power or speed player.  In 2010 Ruggiano will probably get the respect he deserves, and I’m guessing that he’ll play in the California League.  If he can put together another season similar to 2009 in HiA, then he’ll really put his name on the Dodger prospect radar. 

61.  Jan Vazquez, C (25 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 6th round

5’10”, 165 lbs, 18.75 years old, switch hitter

.216 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jan Vasquez is a young switch hitting catcher who was drafted by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2009 draft.  He is from Puerto Rico and was taken Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School.  Prior to the draft Vazquez ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash, which is great for a catcher.  Also, scouting reports suggest that he has a plus arm behind the plate, and also has some experience as a middle infielder.  According to Logan White, “This kid is a real athlete. He shifts, blocks, has perfect size for a catcher.  If we don’t need him behind the plate, he could play second base because he can really hit from both sides of the plate.”  After signing with the Dodgers, Vazquez was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League where he played just enough to get his feet wet.  He only appeared in 25 games as he split time with Michael Pericht and Pedro Tavarez, and while he struggled to the tune of a .216 average, he did show life at the end of the season and finished the year by hitting .333 in the month of August.  At just 18 years old, Vazquez is still learning the game and developing as a player.  Despite being just 5’10” and 165 pounds, his body shows potential to add muscle as he matures.  In 2010, I expect Vazquez to repeat the Arizona Rookie League, but this time I’m sure that he’ll get more at bats.  In fact he’ll probably be the primary catcher for the club to get him ready for a full season league in 2011.

 

 

60.  Beyker Fructuoso, RHP (28.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/9/07

6’3”, 195 lbs, 20 years old

1-5, 6.28 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 9.10 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 26

While I may have been a little off in my ranking of Fructuoso last season, I haven’t given up hope on this young Dominican player.  He’s got a ton of potential and simply hit a speed bump in his young career.  Signed as a 17 year old in the summer of 2007, Beyker spent his first professional season in the Gulf Coast League and went on to have a very successful debut.  As an 18 year old he posted a 2.37 ERA, allowed just a .229 batting average against, and struck out 37 batters in 38 innings.  In 2009, Fructuoso was placed in the Arizona Rookie League and played the entire season as a 19 year old, so he was still one of the youngest players league.  It’s no excuse for his 6.28 ERA, but I will give him a little bit of a break because he showed good control, struck out more than a batter per inning, and was victimized by the long ball (he gave up a team 8 HR’s despite pitching just over 28 innings).  Despite his sophomore slump, it’s easy to see why I am so excited about Beyker as a player.  He has already shown flashes of brilliance, and has a great pitcher’s frame at 6’3”.  I have no idea how hard he throws, but judging by his stats and his build my guess is that he’ll be able to one day sit in the low to mid 90’s (if he’s not there already).  With 66 professional innings under his belt, Fructuoso is ready to move up to at least the Pioneer League in 2010.  While he’s been under the radar so far, he’s definitely someone to keep your eye on.

59.  Jaime Pedroza, 2B (136 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 9th round

5’8”, 167 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.260 average, 15 HR’s, 78 RBI’s, 36 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 19

In 2007, Pedroza was drafted out of UC Riverside in the 9th round after leading the Highlanders to a NCAA tournament berth during his junior year.  In his professional debut, he dominated the Pioneer Rookie League with a .360 average, a .413 on base percentage, 8 HR’s, and 40 RBI’s.  That earned him a promotion to Hi-A at the end of the 2007 season, and he returned there in 2008 where he had a great season with the 66ers.  He hit .290, showed off his power with 9 HR’s, and also added a new element to his game as he stole 25 bases.  So most people would have assumed that Pedroza would have either stayed in HiA or been promoted to AA.  However, the Dodgers sent Jaime to LoA in 2009.  My guess as to why the Dodgers sent him to the Midwest League was because they promised the Loons that they would field a good team in 2009, and Pedroza was one piece of the puzzle.  The moved paid off for the Dodgers because Pedroza had an all around solid season and was one of the players that led the Loons to the playoffs for the first time in 2009.  While his average wasn’t great, he ranked second on the team with 15 HR’s and 36 SB’s, and also led all Dodger minor leaguers with 100 runs scored.  In addition, Pedroza was money in the Midwest League playoffs and hit two game changing home runs during the Loons playoff run.  In terms of his overall prospect status, Pedroza’s ranking has dropped since last year, but he is still a pretty good player.  Although he is just 5’8”, he is the perfect size for a middle infielder and has more offensive force than most players at that position.  The problem is that he isn’t very good defensively as he made 27 errors in 2009; second most in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, his strikeouts scare me as he struck out in 26.6% of his plate appearances in 2009.  According to someone who covered the Loons during the 2009 season, “this is an important off-season for Pedroza…the Dodgers have to decide whether to push him up to Double A or cut him.”  I can’t imagine that he’ll be cut due to his offensive performance, so my guess is that the Dodgers do in fact give him a chance in AA in 2010 to see how he responds.  In addition, he’ll be reunited with his brother Sergio who originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2005 was traded to Tampa Bay for Julio Lugo, and was re-signed by the Dodgers this past off-season.  Hopefully Jaime will have another good season in 2010 and prove that he is a legitimate Dodger prospect. 

58.  Francisco Felix, RHP (55.3 innings in AA, 21.3 innings in AAA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/19/03

5’11”, 191 lbs, 26.75 years old

4-2, 3.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.16 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 62

After spending seven minor league seasons with the Dodgers, Francisco Felix will finally get the opportunity to spend some time in the Dodgers big league camp.  You see Felix was re-signed by the Dodgers after the 2009 season and was surprisingly invited to the major league spring training as a non roster player.  While his odds of actually making the 25 man roster out of spring training are slim to none, I’m sure it will be a good experience for Francisco.  In addition, it will give him a chance to pitch in front of big league coaches and hopefully show them that he deserves to be an option in the major league bullpen if injuries should occur.  Management should actually already be familiar with Felix due to his success last season.  He recorded a 2.93 ERA in the first half of the season at AA, then upon his promotion to Albuquerque he continued his success with a FIP of 2.54 through 21 innings.  After the season, Felix returned home to Mexico to play in the Mexican Winter League and appeared in 33 games more games, accumulating a 2.40 ERA and a .228 batting average against.  Overall, Felix has put up some pretty good numbers over the past year.  Despite being just 5’11”, he obviously has good stuff and can definitely be a relief option for the Dodgers in the future if he continues to succeed. 

 

57.  Josh Wall, RHP (111.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

6’6”, 190 lbs, 23 years old

5-8, 5.98 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 6.22 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 49

Since being drafted in 2005, Josh Wall has not pitched like a 2nd round pick.  Though he signed for $500,000, Wall has a career ERA of 5.46, a career WHIP of 1.60, and a career K/9 of just 6.5 K/9 through 5 professional seasons.  Things are getting any better either, because he has spent the last two seasons in HiA and has actually performed worse than his career averages.  Part of his struggles can be blamed on the fact that the California League is never kind to pitchers, and part of it can be blamed on the fact that he is still adjusting to his 6’6” frame, but at the end of the day he still needs to do a better job of executing.  The thing is, he has the raw talent to be really good.  While his velocity has fluctuated over the years, Wall has hit 96 mph in the past and generally sits in the low 90’s.  He also has a pretty good curveball and a solid changeup.  He just needs to learn to put everything together while on the mound.  The good thing about Wall is that he just turned 23 years old, so he still has time to turn things around.  While some people might disagree, I really think that Wall should move up to AA in 2010 to put him in a new environment.  He obviously hasn’t had a good experience in the California League, so maybe a promotion to Chattanooga will change his luck.  Plus, as much as I hate to say it, it’s not like Charlie Hough has been able to do anything for him over the past two years.  Overall, I haven’t given up on Josh Wall just yet, and I still think he has it in him to put together a solid season in the near future. 

 

 

56.  Nick Akins, LF (32 games in Arizona League, 27 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 19th round

6’1”, 180 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats right handed

.300 average, 11 HR’s, 50 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Nick Akins is only 22 years old, yet has already had an interesting baseball career.  It started in high school when he transferred from Los Angeles High School to El Camino Real High during his junior season, which required him to take a two hour bus ride each way.  Because Los Angeles High School wasn’t in the best neighborhood, Nick’s dad thought that getting Nick to a better school would help him in life.  Well, to make a long story short there was an ugly fight involving Nick and his father during his junior year at El Camino Real which led to his expulsion from the team.  Even though the fight wasn’t started by Nick, the administrators didn’t care.  Nick transferred back to Los Angeles High School for his senior year, but wasn’t allowed to play baseball despite his best appeals.  He ended up playing in weekend adult league and the Dodgers actually drafted him in the 13th round of the 2006 draft.  Nick didn’t sign, however, and played ball at Riverside Community College for two seasons, winning the JUCO state championship in the process.  After the 2008 season Akins transferred to the local NAIA college Vanguard, and after hitting .314 with 13 home runs, 35 runs batted in and a .633 slugging average over 47 games he was again was drafted by the Dodgers, this time in the 19th round.  He ended up signing with the Dodgers and was placed in the Arizona Rookie League where he absolutely dominated.  In just 120 at bats, Akins hit 7 HR’s and had an outstanding 1.055 OPS.  He was rewarded for his efforts by being named a post season All Star for the League.  In the middle of August he was promoted to the Pioneer League and while his stats dropped off a little, he still continued to show good power potential.  Despite all these good qualities, Akins does have a few drawbacks to his game.  First, he is pretty much limited to left field, which hurts his value on the field.  Second, while Akins can mash fastballs, he has a lot of trouble with off-speed pitches, which is something that will most likely be exploited as he moves up in the minors.  Finally, so far in his minor league career Nick has posted a poor walk to strikeout ratio, demonstrating that he strikes out too much.  Nevertheless, I see Akins as a legitimate Dodger prospect who has a lot of potential.  While he’ll probably never become a big league regular, I can see Akins as a solid big league backup someday.  He’ll definitely spend 2010 in either LoA or HiA.

55.  Chris Jacobs, 1B (42 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 17th round

6’5”, 260 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats right handed

.277 average, 4 HR’s, 17 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 24

When you look at the 6’5” and 260 pound Chris Jacobs, you see an athlete.  Growing up, there was no doubt that he would play a professional sport, it was just a matter of him deciding which one he would play.  Football was an obvious option, but Chris made the decision early during his high school career to put all his time and energy into baseball.  Even though wasn’t drafted until the 17th round in 2007, he feels that he made the right decision by choosing baseball.  Jacobs spent his first two professional seasons in the Gulf Coast League and posted mediocre stats.  He moved up to the Pioneer League in 2009, and while his overall stats point to another average year, he actually showed improvement over his first two professional seasons.  His slugging percentage rose by 68 points, and his OPS increased to a respectable .810.  However, his 4 home runs are a disappointing total and show that he hasn’t come close to tapping into his power potential, which is what the Dodgers were looking for when they drafted him.  In addition, he struck out in 28.7% of his 2009 plate appearances, which is not a good sign because that percentage was substantially worse than his 2008 percentage of 20.4%.  Despite these disappointing figures and the fact that Jacobs has spent three seasons in rookie leagues without much success, I’m still optimistic about his future.   He is still just 21 years old and obviously has huge power potential.  He also has not yet been given the opportunity to play a full season, so in 2010 it will be interesting to see what he can do with 400 or 500 at bats.  I’m guessing he’ll play in LoA and while he’ll probably still have to split time with other young first basemen, I’m sure he’ll get plenty of time at DH.

                       

 

54.  Justin Miller, RHP (115 innings in LoA, 34.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 6th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 22.5 years old

5-14, 5.48 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 4.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 48

Even though Justin Miller was considered to be one of the best community college pitchers available in the 2007 draft, he fell to the 6th round where the Dodgers gladly scooped him up.  What probably scared most teams away was the fact that Miller actually spent more time in right field than on the mound during his final college season, as he developed a tender elbow.  Nevertheless, he was hitting 94 on the radar gun before his injury, and at 6’3”, the Dodgers felt like he had a very projectable frame.  After being drafted, Miller was assigned to the Gulf Coast League where he ended the season by pitching 7 innings of scoreless relief in the GCL playoffs.  That success allowed Miller to start the 2008 season in LoA where he played all year end posted a 3.99 ERA despite a 4-11 record.  In 2009, Miller returned to LoA and even though he didn’t quite find the same success as in 2008, he was promoted to HiA in August.  Unfortunately, Miller wasn’t up to the challenge as he posted an 8.13 ERA in the California League and somehow managed to be the losing pitcher in each of his 7 starts.  He also posted a career low by striking out just 4.8 batters per 9 innings.  Luckily, Miller doesn’t need to strikeout a whole lot of batters because he is a sinkerball pitcher, but I would still like to see a rate higher than what he had in 2009.  According to Baseball America, Miller currently hits 92 mph and has a good slider, but they see him more as a bullpen arm than a starting pitcher.  I’m not sure I agree with that assessment because sinkerball pitchers are generally more useful in the rotation, especially if they don’t strike a lot of guys out.  However, Miller is going to have to step up his game when he returns to HiA next season if he wants any kind of shot with the Dodgers because there are plenty of young arms in the Dodgers system that are ahead of him at this point.

 

53.  Steven Ames, RHP (30 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 17th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 22 years old

1-1, 2.10 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 14.10 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Steven Ames had an unbelievable debut season, especially when you consider that he was a 17th round pick.  Even though he only pitched 30 innings in 2009, his numbers were off the charts.  His 14.10 K/9 was ridiculous, and he only walked 6 batters all season.  In addition, batters only hit .192 against him, and his FIP was an incredible 1.53.  The best part about Ames, however, is that he did all this as a 21 year old.  This type of performance would be expected from a college player who was 22 or 23 years old, but as a 21 year old I am every impressed.  Going back to his college days, Ames played for three years at Gonzaga and posted an ERA under 2.00 in his first two seasons.  In 2009 with the Bulldogs he struggled a little bit and posted a 3.91 ERA through 96 innings, but the Dodgers realized his potential and drafted him in the 17th round of the 2009 draft.  Luckily he signed with the Dodgers, and as mentioned above, he thrived in the Pioneer League.  While he was mostly a starting pitcher in college, the Dodgers used Ames exclusively as a reliever and I’m guessing that’s where he’ll stay as he continues his professional career.  While I’m not very familiar with Ames pitching arsenal, according to Baseball America he has been able to hit 94 mph on the radar gun.  In addition, I’ve read that he has three good pitches and has a good feel for pitching.  Based on his 2009 performance, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers promoted Ames to Hi-A in 2010.  He is certainly ready for the challenge of the California League, and has the stuff to succeed there.  The long term projection for Ames is a middle reliever in a big league bullpen, although he’ll have to continue to dominate to reach big leagues as a 17th round pick. 

52.  Russell Mitchell, 1B (131 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 15th round

6’1”, 182 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.241 average, 13 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 32

By now, most people know that Russell Mitchell is a grinder who is a player in the mold of Kevin Millar.  He can play all over the field and in 2009 he spent significant amounts of time at 3B, 2B, 1B, and in the outfield.  Over the past seven years, he has steadily progressed through the Dodgers minor league system and even though his career batting average and on base percentage aren’t great, he does have 85 career HR’s and 412 RBI’s.  After a mediocre season in Chattanooga, the Dodgers sent Mitchell to the AFL where he really blossomed.  He hit .319 and had 5 HR’s and 25 RBI’s in less than 100 at bats.  He was also named to the AFL All-Prospect team and even won the league’s Sportsmanship Award.  After winning the award, Mitchell said “This is a big honor. Words cannot express how much it means to me.  It’s nice to know the coaches think so highly of you, and that they feel you represent someone who was a great man.”  Based on his AFL performance, the Dodgers re-signed Mitchell to a minor league contract this off-season (he was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season), and he recently participated in the Dodgers January minor league mini camp.  In addition, he was given a surprise invitation to the Dodgers major league spring training.  While he has no chance to make the big league club out of spring training, it will be a good opportunity for Mitchell to play in front of the big league coaches and with superior talent.  He’ll most likely spend 2010 as a utility player in AAA and at 25 years old, he will have to do something really special to ever make it to the show. 

 

51.  Matthew Sartor, RHP (71.7 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/24/07

6’6”, 250 lbs, 25.5 years old

4-6, 4.27 ERA, 1.30 WHP, 9.54 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 33

Matthew Sartor started his college career at North Central College, but ended up transferring to the University of Texas at Arlington.  During his two seasons with the University of Texas at Arlington, Sartor was used sparingly and he went undrafted after posting a combined 7.91 ERA in just 31 innings.  After the 2007 college season, however, Sartor was not ready to give up baseball so he joined an independent league.  The move paid off as the Dodgers signed Sartor shortly thereafter and was placed in the Pioneer League.  I’m not sure if Sartor showed better stuff in the independent league or if the Dodgers signed him purely due to his size and projection, but either way the signing has looked great based on his professional success.  Since he was already 23 at the time of his signing, he made his professional debut in the Pioneer League posted great numbers.  He struck out 25 batters in just 18 innings, picked up 2 saves, and only allowed a .161 batting average.  2008 was split between LoA and HiA, and Sartor again thrived with a combined 3.12 ERA and a strikeout rate of 10.7.  As predicted, Matt played in AA in 2009 he got off to a very hot start.  Through the month of June, Sartor lead all Dodger minor leaguers with a 0.94 WHIP (minimum 30 innings) and had a FIP of 2.53.  He was also selected to the Southern League midseason All Star team.  Unfortunately the 2nd half of the season was not kind to Sartor has he had an ERA of 6.29 after the All Star game, but even still Matthew had an overall successful season.  He ended the year with a respectable 3.57 FIP and batters only hit .236 against him.  He also had great strikeout numbers and fanned over a batter per inning.  He’s a massive player, and while I’m not exactly sure about how hard he throws, I’m assuming that it’s at least in the low 90’s.  Because of his age, 2010 is an important year for Sartor to demonstrate that the second half of 2009 was a fluke.  At 25 and a half years old he is definitely old enough to handle AAA, and as I mentioned last year he is a wildcard to one day make the Dodgers major league roster.     

50.  Tae-Hyeok Nam, 1B/3B (2 games in Pioneer League, 1 game in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/16/09

6’0”, 209 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.250 average, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When the Dodgers signed Nam in June of 2009, he became the first Korean high school player they had ever signed.  He was scouted throughout his high school career by Byung-Hwan An, the Dodgers’ scouting supervisor in Korea, where he hit 22 home runs and had 43 RBIs in 65 games to go along with a .314 average.  After the signing, Logan White said that Nam had “good power and well above average speed.”  White also stated that “Nam is strong physically.  With the help of our player development staff, I’m confident that he will become a fine player.”  The signing seemed to be very exciting for Nam as well as he said “I grew up watching Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers are my favorite team.  I am very excited to be a Dodger and I can’t wait to play in a Dodger uniform.”  After his signing in June, I kept waiting to see Nam’s name appear in a minor league game.  By the time mid August came, I gave up hope for 2009 and just figured that Tae-Hyeok would start his professional career in 2010.  Then, in the very last game of the season for the Arizona Dodgers, Nam made his professional debut and went 0 for 3.  Because the Pioneer League season lasts longer than the Arizona League, Nam then moved up to the Ogden Raptors and played in two more games, picking up a couple of hits in the process.  Nam won’t even be 19 years old until the 2010 season starts, so the Dodgers will continue to take it easy with him.  He’ll probably return to the Pioneer League, and the most interesting question I have is whether Nam will play 1st base or 3rd base in the future.  He is listed as a first baseman on the minor league baseball website, but in his only on field appearance in 2009 he played 3rd base.  He’s obviously more valuable as a 3rd baseman, so hopefully his glove is good enough to play there.  We will find out more next season when we get a longer look at him. 

 

 

49.  Daigoro Rondon, RHP (20.3 innings in Pioneer League, 13 innings in HiA, 4 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/9/04

6’2”, 163 lbs, 23.25 years old

4-6, 4.82 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 9.40 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 106

Daigoro Rondon was signed by the Dodgers as a 17 year old out of the Dominican Republic.  After a shaky debut in 2004, Rondon had great seasons in the DSL in 2005 and 2006.  He was promoted to the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and continued to shine with a 2.77 ERA.  In 2008, however, Rondon finally found out what it was like to face tougher competition.  He played most of the year in LoA and ended the season with a 6.42 ERA.  Despite his 2008 struggles, the Dodgers pushed Rondon to HiA at the start of the 2009 season, but the results were disastrous.  Through 13 innings, Daigoro had a 7.62 ERA and a WHIP of almost 2.00.  So the Dodgers sent Rondon back to extended spring training in May and he worked there until the Pioneer League started at the end of June.  Rondon played well with the Ogden Raptors (2.50 FIP) and earned a promotion to LoA for the final week of the season, where he pitched 4 scoreless innings and made the Loons playoff roster.  In terms of Rondon’s stuff, the one thing that nobody will ever question is Rondon’s fastball.  In the 2010 edition of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, they say that he tops out at 95 and sits around 92-93.  BA also says that his secondary pitches are a work in progress, which is why he is strictly a reliever.  Another important thing to point out is that Daigoro has been said to have a poor attitude and a less than ideal work ethic.  So obviously that’s a little disappointing to hear.  Overall, while I’m not as high on him as Baseball America is (they have him ranked as the Dodgers #27 prospect), I do think Rondon has the potential to be a serviceable big league middle reliever one day.  He’ll probably return to HiA in 2010 with a chance to make it up to AA if he has early success with the 66ers.

48.  Jeremy Wise, C (39 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 5th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.338 average, 8 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When Wise was drafted, it seemed like there were two schools of thought.  Some loved the pick, especially after watching him tear up the Pioneer League.  Others thought it was a waste of a pick because Wise was already 23 years old when he was drafted and doesn’t have much upside.  I’m definitely part of the latter group and am not a big fan of Wise.  While I’m not disputing that he was a great college player and had an outstanding professional debut, you have to put everything into context.  He was the oldest position player on the Ogden Raptors and had four years of college experience at a major program.  Therefore, I would expect him to do well in his first professional season and that is why I’m not ranking him somewhere in my top 30.  Even with all those negatives, however, I do still think that Wise is a top 50 player in the Dodgers minor league system.  The fact that he is a catcher does increase his value, as do his college awards (2009 Big 12 player of the year, 2009 Finalist for Johnny Bench Award, and 2009 semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award).  He is also a fine defensive player and has a good arm.  According to Logan White, “he reminds you of AJ Ellis as a defender and the kid is really a good hitter.  He stays inside the baseball, he hits to all fields and he’s got good power.  I think he will develop into a power hitting catcher at the major league level.  He plays hard and he is a gamer.”  In addition, Wise did give the Dodgers some depth at the catching position, which is something they lacked after the trade of Carlos Santana and the move of Kenley Jansen to pitcher.  Given his age, I can see Wise playing in HiA in 2010 with the potential to move up to AA if need be.  While I don’t think he’ll continue his offensive pace, he should be able to hold his own against more advanced pitching.  My guess is that he’ll be a major league backup catcher at best, but only time will truly tell his story.

47.  Yimi Garcia, RHP (54 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 175 lbs, 19.5 years old

3-2, 1.67 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 8.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I really don’t know much about Yimi Garcia, so I’m basing his relatively good ranking on his stats and a gut feeling.  Signed by the Dodgers before the 2009 season, Garcia put together the most impressive pitching season of all Dodger minor leaguers.  He led Dodger pitchers (with a minimum of 45 innings pitched) in WHIP, ranked 2nd in ERA and batting average against (.202), and had the 5th best strikeout to walk ratio (3.40).  He was also named as the Dodgers Pride Award winner for the DSL for the months of June and July.  Of course he did all this while playing in the Dominican Summer League, which is the lowest level of professional baseball, but even still he played almost the entire season as an 18 year old and had no previous experience.  In addition, while he’s only 6’1”, he does have a solid pitching frame and definitely has room for growth.  I know nothing about his velocity or his pitching repertoire, but I’m sure that we’ll begin to get some scouting reports on him soon if he has another stellar season.  The Dodgers have an interesting decision to make with Garcia in 2010.  While he did falter a little bit during the final month of the DSL season (he had a mere pedestrian 4.50 ERA in his final 8 innings of the season) and is still just 19 years old, he did get quite a few innings under his belt and should be ready for the slightly more challenging Arizona Rookie League.  He has nothing left to prove in the DSL so I think the right decision would be to bring him over to the U.S. 

46.  Jon Michael Redding, RHP (133 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 22.25 years old

16-3, 4.60 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 6.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 37

The Dodgers made Jon Michael Redding a surprise 5th round in the 2008 draft.  He played college ball Florida Community College, and during his college 2008 season Redding went 8-5 with a 2.02 ERA and a .222 batting average against.  He was also a workhorse as he pitched 5 complete games, and struck out almost a batter per innings.  He began his professional career in the Pioneer Rookie League, but was limited to just 31 innings in his professional debut due to his heavy college workload.  That brings us to 2009, which was an interesting year for Redding because it was filled with mixed results.  The good news is that Redding led the Midwest League in wins with 16, proved to be very durable by logging 133 innings, was a midseason All Star for the Loons, and had a respectable FIP of 3.70.  The bad news, however, is that Redding was awful when pitching on the road (6.34 ERA in 71 innings), allowed an overall .281 batting average against, and saw his strikeout rate drop from 10.3 K’s per 9 in 2008 to just 6.5 in 2009.  So what do we make of Redding after his inconsistent season?  Well I personally still like his long term potential, but I’m not as high on him as I once was.  He still possesses a low 90’s fastball, which is complimented by a good slider and a hard curveball, but the fact that he seems to be so hittable concerns me.  Also, his 16 wins mean nothing to me since they are mostly a function of luck (he went 7-2 on the road this season despite the 6.34 road ERA I mentioned earlier).  Before the 2009 season, Baseball America said that Redding has the ceiling of a #3 starter in a big league rotation, but at this point my guess is that he’ll be a #4 or #5 starter at best.  Redding is still just 22 years old, so he’s got time to improve his game, although having a better year in 2010 is going to be difficult since he’ll probably be playing in the hitter friendly California League.

45.  Gorman Erickson, C (55 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 15th round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 22 years old, switch hitter

.305 average, 5 HR’s, 36 RBI’s

Prior Year Ranking: 103

Gorman Erickson is a switch hitting catcher who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2006 draft and finally signed with the Dodgers in May of 2007 as a draft and follow player.  Better known as Griff, he didn’t do much of anything in his first two professional seasons, nor did he get much playing time.  In 2009, however, Erickson made huge strides offensively and hit very well from both sides of the plate.  He finished the season with a .378 on base percentage, a .860 OPS, and a .305 batting average (which ranked 10th among Dodger minor leagues with a minimum of 175 at bats).  In addition, Erickson only struck out in 16% of his plate appearances, and was named to the Pioneer League post season all star team.  According to Baseball America, Griff is also a solid defensive catcher who has a “fair amount of power.”  Since Carlos Santana has been traded and Kenley Jansen is now a pitcher, there are not many catching prospects ahead of Erickson on the prospect depth chart.  2010 will bring a significant challenge to Erickson since he will most likely play in LoA, yet has never played more than 55 games in a season.  He’ll have to adjust to catching a full season, and hopefully he’ll be able to do so without losing much offensive ability. 

44.  Matthew Magill, RHP (72 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round

6’3”, 175 lbs, 20.25 years old

6-3, 4.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 6.88 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 78

Matt Magill was picked late in the 2008 draft due to his strong college commitment to Cal Poly.  The Dodgers were able to sign him by early July, however, and he paid immediate dividends by having a good debut in the Gulf Coast League.  In 2009 Magill moved up to the Pioneer League and had another successful season.  He proved to be very durable and ranked among the Pioneer League Leaders in several categories including wins, WHIP, ERA, and innings pitched.  His most impressive stat, however, was that he allowed just a .224 batting average against.  After the season, Magill was invited back the Arizona to take part in instructional ball.  He also did an interview a Venture County local paper where he talked about how he enjoyed being a starting pitcher “because you know when you are pitching instead of sitting in the bullpen waiting until they call on you.  Sometimes relievers don’t pitch for seven or eight days, but starting you know you are going to pitch every fifth day.”  He also said that “I used to be really jerky and all over the place with my mechanics, but pitching coach Chuck has helped make it smoother this year. It looks better and feels better and I am able to throw more strikes and keep my walks down.”  At 6’3”, Magill has a very projectable frame that is ideal for a pitcher.  In high school he only hit around 90 mph, but scouts projected that he’d throw a little harder when he fills out.  He also has a great slider, which is currently his best pitch.  2010 will most likely bring an assignment to LoA where he’ll probably be one of the 5 starting pitchers for the Loons.  Even though he is just 20 years old, Magill is moving quickly through the system and hopefully he’ll continue to put up good numbers as he faces tougher competition.

 

 

43.  Steven Caseres, 1B (113 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 9th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed

.260 average, 15 HR’s, 55 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 61

Steven Caseres was selected by the Dodgers in the 9th round of the 2008 drafted, and so far he has proven to be a very solid pick.  Even though he hasn’t posted any eye popping numbers since turning pro, he has shown that he does have a lot of power, which is something the Dodgers seem to lack in their minor league system.  Back in college at James Madison University, he had a great 2008 season where he hit .342 with 21 HR’s and 70 RBI’s.  He also finished his college career in the top 10 of James Madison’s career home run list with 32 long balls, despite playing just two seasons.  Steven made his professional debut in the Pioneer League and hit relatively well.  Because of his previous success and the fact that he was already 22 years old, the Dodgers skipped Caseres up to HiA in 2009.  After a mediocre April and an average May, Caseres really broke out during the month of June.  He batted .418 with six homers and 15 RBI in 21 June games, and was named as the Dodgers HiA Pride award winner.  Unfortunately, things went downhill after June and Caseres hit just .232 after the all star break with just 4 HR’s over his final 181 at bats.  In addition, Caseres failed to hit left handed pitchers throughout the entire season, batting just .155 against them in 103 at bats.  When it was all said and done, Caseres ended the 2009 season with a .260 average, but he also had 15 HR’s in just 113 games, so the power is obviously there.  However, at 6’4”, another thing Steven has to worry about is his strikeout numbers as he struck out in 25.2% of his plate appearance in 2009.  Ideally, Caseres would return to HiA in 2010 to work on his weaknesses in a more hitter friendly environment, but the Dodgers seem to have a log jam of young first basemen in the lower minors.  Therefore, he’ll probably spend 2010 in AA, so hopefully he is up to the challenge. 

42.  Roberto Feliciano, LHP (24 innings in Arizona League, 6.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 24th round

6’0”, 214 lbs, 19.5 years old

1-2, 1.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 9.39 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 50

Even after Roberto Feliciano posted solid numbers in 2008, most people didn’t pay much attention to him due to his size and the fact he was drafted in the 24th round.  However, this teenager out of Puerto Rico continued to shine in the Arizona and Midwest leagues and showed that 2008 was not a fluke by putting up even better numbers in 2009.  He was absolutely lights out in the Arizona League as demonstrated by his 1.50 ERA, 1.83 FIP, and .195 batting average against.  He was named as a post season Arizona League All Star and earned a promotion to LoA in mid August.  He went on to post an ERA of 2.70 during his time with the Loons, although his FIP during that time was 4.01, so he was actually hit pretty hard.  That isn’t something to be concerned with, however, because he was limited to less than 7 innings in LoA, so the sample size is too small.  A stocky lefty, Feliciano is best suited for the bullpen and will ascend through the Dodgers system quickly as long as he continues to put up good numbers.  He strikes guys out, has good control, and is still very young.  He should return to LoA in 2010 as a 19 year old, and will hopefully be up to the challenge of taking on a bigger workload.  As I mentioned last year, I expect that he will continue to grow into a legitimate prospect.

41.  James Adkins, LHP (138.7 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’6”, 230 lbs, 24.25 years old

6-10, 4.48 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 5.26 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 18

For a supplemental first round pick, James Adkins has definitely struggled.  However, he put together a fairly decent season in 2009 while playing in AA, and even though his stats were not overpowering by any means, I still think he has potential.  He’s a big kid and comes from an athletic family, so Logan White must have seen something in Adkins that caused him to draft James 39th overall in the 2007 draft.  In college at Tennessee, Adkins left the school as their all time strikeout leader with 380 K’s, and as a junior in 2007, he went 7-7 with a 2.80 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 122 innings.  So while his strikeout rates as a professional have been pretty bad so far, the ability is there.  Going back to his 2009 season with the Lookouts, Adkins continued to struggle with his control as he walked almost as many batters as he struck out.  That caused him to have an inflated ERA and WHIP.  Adkins was also surprisingly ineffective against left handed hitters as five of the eight HR’s he allowed during 2009 were to lefties.  In terms of his stuff, James has a good slider, but his fastball generally only sits at around 89 to 90 mph.  The one good thing about Adkins is that he has proven to be durable by pitching a lot of innings each year, but I don’t think that will help him at the next level as it is unlikely he’ll ever make it as a starter in the big leagues.  He’ll be 24 next year, and while I still think that Adkins has a chance to make the big leagues, he’s going to have to improve dramatically and reinvent his game, most likely as a bullpen arm.

40.  Timothy Sexton, RHP (157 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 25th round

6’6”, 185 lbs, 22.75 years old

8-14, 3.96 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 5.73 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 57

Coming out of Miami Dade Community College, Timothy Sexton was projected as a third to fifth round pick in the 2007 draft, but many teams stayed away from him when he reportedly asked for a $500,000 signing bonus.  The Dodgers took a chance on him in the 25th round, however, and were able to sign him for $123K.  Because of his college experience, the Dodgers sent him directly to Lo-A where he had a very successful debut.  In 2008, the Dodgers moved him up to Hi-A, but the results were not quite as good.  He struggled through 26 starts, posting an ERA of over 6 and allowing a .317 batting average against.  That brings us to 2009, where Sexton returned to the California League and had a horrendous win/loss record (due to the fact that he was charged with a team high 23 unearned runs), but actually had an overall solid season.  The 6’6″ 22 year old had a sub 4 ERA (FIP of 4.04), was named as a California League mid season All Star, and proved to be very durable as he led all Dodger minor leaguers with 157 innings pitched.  He paid a price for pitching so many innings, however, because Sexton tired down the stretch.  Through the month of July, Sexton had thrown 120 innings and had a superb ERA of 3.15.  In the months of August and September, however, Sexton’s ERA was 6.57.  In terms of his pitching repertoire, Sexton reportedly sits around 91 mph with his fastball and throws four different pitches, but he mainly relies on his sinker and good control.  Speaking of his control, Sexton only walked 34 batters over the entire season, which calculated out to him walking just 5% of the batters he faced.  Unfortunately, he also strikes out very few batters as demonstrated by his low K/9.  In addition, allows too many home runs for my liking, although part of that could be a function of pitching in the California League.  After spending two seasons in HiA, I’m sure the Dodgers will push Sexton to AA in 2010.  I think that he is ready for the challenge of tougher competition, although I’m still undecided about his long term future.  Hopefully he’ll put together another solid season and prove that he deserves consideration as a legitimate Dodger prospect. 

39.  Mario Songco, LF (36 games in Pioneer League, 33 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 4th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.235 average, 10 HR’s, 45 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When I look at Mario Songco, I don’t see a power hitter.  In fact, I don’t even see a baseball player.  But man can this guy hit.  He played his college ball locally at Loyola Marymount and in 2009 he led the Lions with a .360 average, 15 home runs, and 63 RBI’s in just 59 games. He also posted a stunning OPS of 1.159.  According to scouting reports “he uses a distinctive stance, starting deep in the box, standing tall with his bat held high.  He lifts his front right leg straight up and then drops it straight down before lashing at the ball with a quick bat.  Scouts are not that excited about his new leg kick but agree he has power to all fields.”  Selected by the Dodgers in the 4th round, Songco signed quickly for $225,000 and continued his torrid hitting in the Pioneer League, whacking 7 home runs in his first 19 games.  That earned him a promotion to LoA, but Mario was finally overmatched as he hit just .150 in 120 at bats.  He was demoted back to Ogden at the end of August and finished the season there on a cold streak, ending the season with a combined .235 average.  In addition, Songco struggled throughout the season with strikeouts, and had a poor walk to strikeout ratio.  In terms of his defense, Songco has a weak arm and very little range, so he is limited to left field.  He also has no speed to speak up.  Nevertheless, at just 21 years old, Songco will hopefully use his experience from 2009 and apply that when he takes a second crack at the Midwest League in 2010.  Overall, he seems to have power to make it to the big leagues as a reserve/pinch hitter type.

38.  Alfredo Silverio, LF (132 games in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/03

6’1”, 185 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.284 average, 13 HR’s, 61 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 28

Alfredo Silverio has been with the Dodgers for a long time already.  Signed as a 17 year old out of Dominican Republic in 2003, Silverio has already spent 6 seasons in the Dodgers organization.  After spending his first three professional seasons in the DSL, Silverio was sent to the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and put his name on Dodger prospect radar by hitting .373 in 51 games with 6 HR’s and 46 RBI’s.  That stellar season earned him a promotion to Lo-A in 2008, and while his numbers dropped a little, he still had a very solid season in the Midwest League.  Silverio repeated LoA in 2009 and improved in virtually all aspects of his game.  While his overall numbers weren’t amazing, his .284 average and 13 home runs are pretty good for a 22 year old in the pitcher friendly Midwest league.  In addition, Silverio is a very athletic player and has the look of a ball player.  He has decent arm strength from the outfield, and while he is best suited for left field, he does have the ability to play all three outfield positions.  As I mentioned last year, his biggest downfall is his lack of plate discipline.  In 2008, he walked only 7 times in 376 at bats.  He improved somewhat in 2009 but he still only walked in 5% of his plate appearances, which was a team low for the Loons.  In 2010, I can see Silverio potentially having a big season if he plays in HiA.  Or because he has already spent two seasons in class A, the Dodgers may challenge him with an assignment to AA.  Either way, things seem to be looking up for Silverio as he tries to make his way to the major leagues.

37.  Jeff Hunt, 3B (18 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 15th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.172 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m a big fan of Jeff Hunt, and was very excited when I found out the Dodgers were able to sign him.  He turned down a scholarship to Ohio University when the Dodgers offered Hunt $125,000 and up to $114,000 in education money if he enrolls in school within two years of retiring from professional baseball.  After signing, Hunt said “It was a tough decision.  I think I made the right decision.  I made the decision that I want and I’m happy.”  Hunt also explained his decision by saying “In college, you don’t get to play every day.  You’re limited on how much you can practice and work with a coach.  In pro, you play and practice every day.  Everything is just baseball.  I don’t have anything else to worry about like homework, papers or exams.”  What makes Hunt the most valuable in my option is that he is a legitimate power hitter and plays 3rd base.  As the Dodgers minor league system is fairly weak in regards to the hot corner, Hunt is a great addition to the organization.  According to scouting reports, Hunt plays solid defense and “uses his long arms to his advantage from the left side, displaying legitimate power potential.”  He is also a former hockey player, and got a lot of good experience by playing with the Canadian Junior National Baseball Team for a few years before being drafted.  While his professional debut was pretty ugly, he was playing as an 18 year old and is adjusting to professional ball.  In addition, he wasn’t given much of a chance in the Arizona League as he signed late and was limited to just 64 at bats.  He’s a wildcard right now, especially in terms of power, but could surprise a lot of people in the future.  The Dodgers will probably take their time with him, so he’ll probably play in the Pioneer League next season.

 

36.  Bladimir Franco, 3B (60 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/6/07

6’1”, 172 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.282 average, 9 HR’s, 32 RBI’s, 7 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 30

I had Franco ranked #30 last year after he hit .169, so there is no way I could drop him too far in my ranking after he had a such a solid year as a 18 year.  His 9 HR’s ranked 4th in the Dominican Summer League, and he posted an OBP of .401.  He also led the Dominican Dodgers by walking in 15.1% of his plate appearances, and even stole 7 bases.  Despite all this success, however, Bladimir does still have a long way to go in terms of his baseball development.  His defense has proven to be his biggest liability as he made 24 errors in 55 games during the 2009 season at third base.  The Dodgers are going to give him every opportunity to stay at third base, however, since that boosts his value as a prospect.  Other potential positions include 1st base and left field.   In addition, Franco has trouble making contact at times as demonstrated by the fact that he struck out in 29.1% of his plate appearances.  I’m pretty sure that this is due to his youth, inexperience, and his pursuit of home runs.  At 6’1” and about 175 lbs, his size and position remind me of fellow Dominican Pedro Baez, who was signed just one year before Franco.  When the 2010 season starts, Bladimir will be just 19 years old I’m sure that he will be moved to a US based Rookie league.  I’m guessing that he will make big strides in 2010 and will finally earn the recognition he deserves since he’ll be playing against tougher opposition. 

 

 

35.  Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (16.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’1”, 170 lbs, 21 years old

0-1, 6.06 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 12.12 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 51

Rubby De La Rosa was signed out of the Dominican Republic on the first day of international signing period in 2007, and only pitched 6 innings during the 2007 season.  In 2008, De La Rosa pitched a full season in the Dominican Summer League, and put up some amazing numbers.  In his 12 starts, he had a 1.71 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and allowed only a .197 batting average against.  In addition, he did not allow any home runs, and struck out 51 batters in 47 innings.  His stellar season prompted the Dodgers to bring De La Rosa to Camelback Ranch for spring training in 2009, and while there he continued to earn rave reviews.  Keith Law stopped by the Dodgers camp last March and claimed that Rubby had great stuff, staying that “De la Rosa sat at 91-95 mph with a solid changeup from 84-86 that he turns over hard.  His breaking ball was a slow curve in the mid-70s, although the harder he threw it the sharper the break became. He clearly has the arm speed to throw a good breaking ball and the laxity in his wrist to throw a curve, so it might just be a matter of development with better coaches as he moves up.”  When the 2009 season started, De La Rosa found himself in the Arizona League, but after just five appearances he was sent home to the Dominican Republic for “some undisclosed disciplinary issue”.  I haven’t heard any detail behind what happened, but let’s hope that these issues are behind him and don’t resurface in 2010.  While it’s hard to get much insight from a season that lasted just 16 innings, I will say that he was reportedly hitting 98 mph before he got sent home, and actually had a very good FIP of 2.89.  Combine that with his strikeout rate of 12.1 K’s per 9 innings and you’ve got yourself a legitimate prospect.  Like most players, he does need to work on is his control, but I’m sure that will come with more experience.  De La Rosa just turned 21, and hopefully the Dodgers feel that he’s ready for LoA in 2010 to get the full season experience he needs after a shortened 2009.

 

34.  Brian Cavazos-Galvez, LF (71 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 12th round

6’0”, 215 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.322 average, 18 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Brian Cavazos-Galvez truly had an amazing offensive year in 2009.  Despite playing a short season league, Galvez ranked among the Dodger minor league leaders in home runs, doubles, batting average, slugging percentage, and even stolen bases.  He also straight up killed the Pioneer League, earning league MVP honors and leading the league in runs, hits, doubles, HR’s, and total bases (while ranking second in RBI’s and slugging percentage).  Now that I got that out of the way, there are a few things that need to be said about his 2009 performance.  First, Galvez was playing in the Pioneer League, which is one of the most hitter friendly leagues in all of the minors.  Second, at 22 years old, Brian was one of the older players in the league and had more experience than most of his colleagues since he played four years of college baseball.  However, even if these factors diminish his performance a bit, those are some pretty impressive numbers.  It is at this point in the write-up that I should probably mention that Galvez was born to be a Dodger.  His father, who he now doesn’t speak to, played briefly for the Dodgers in 1986 and actually conceived Brian while he was playing AAA ball in Albuquerque for the Dodger affiliate then called the Dukes.  While there is a lot more to the story, I’ll let you read up on the subject at Baseball America if you feel so inclined.  Anyways, Brian ended up staying in New Mexico and even played his college ball there before being drafted by the Dodgers this past June.  Going back to Galvez’s baseball abilities, he played all three outfield positions for the Raptors, although most scouts feel that he’ll end up in left field as he gets promoted though the system.  Another interesting stat about Galvez is that while he doesn’t strike out much (he K’d in just 13.3% of plate appearances), he doesn’t walk a whole lot either.  Brian managed just 10 walks in 323 plate appearances, which calculates out to one of the lowest walk rates I’ve ever seen for a full time player.  Overall, Galvez obviously has a lot of potential, but I’m not quite ranking him in my top 30 yet because I still have some questions about his raw ability, his defense, and his ability to adapt to tougher competition.  There is no way that he’ll be able to keep up the same offensive pace in 2010 against more advanced pitching, so it will be interesting to see how things turn out for him next year.  He’ll definitely play in a full season league, but I’m just not sure if it will be in LoA or HiA.

33.  Geison Aguasviva, LHP (62.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05

6’2”, 166 lbs, 22.5 years old

4-2, 1.58 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 6.61 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 40

2009 was a great year for Geison Aguasviva.  His 1.58 ERA led all Dodger minor leaguers with a minimum of 50 IP, and his pitching played a big role in the Great Lakes Loons success.  He was also absolutely dominate against left handed hitters, and filled in as both a starter and reliever throughout the season.  In addition, opposing batters hit just .236 against him, and through almost 63 innings he allowed just one home run.  The best part about Aguasviva, however, is that this isn’t the first season in which he has had a great deal of success.  Back in the DSL in 2007, through 66 innings Geison posted an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of just 0.84.  So really at this point we can consider him a legitimate prospect.  As a tall, skinny player, Aguasviva still has plenty of projection left in his frame.  He currently pitches in the low 90’s, but the Dodgers expect that to jump even higher once he adds muscle.  His best pitch, however, is his changeup which projects as a plus pitch.  While Aguasviva’s strikeout rate was just 6.6 K’s per 9 innings in 2009, he has a career K/9 rate of 8.0, so I’m not too concerned about his lack of strikeouts in 2009.  While there is some debate whether he’ll end up as a starter or reliever, my guess is that he’ll probably stay in the bullpen for this whole career.  In 2010, Aguasviva will be 22 years old and I’m thinking he’ll play in HiA.  If he can continue to succeed, I think he’ll make the loss of Victor Garate a lot whole easier for Dodger fans as he has the potential to someday be a lefty reliever at the big league level.

32.  Carlos Frias, RHP (61 innings in Arizona League, 7.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/3/07

6’4”, 170 lbs, 20.25 years old

5-6, 4.19 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 9.57 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 71

Last year I wrote that “I had high hopes for Frias, and I can see him one day being a legitimate Dodger prospect.”  That day came quicker than I imagined.  Carlos Frias was signed out the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old before the 2007 season.  After a posting a 1.81 ERA in his professional debut in the DSL, he was promoted to the Gulf Coast League for the 2008 season.  Even though he was one of the youngest players in the GCL and was playing in the USA for the first time, Frias held his own in a limited role and posted a 3.82 ERA.  In 2009 the Dodgers decided to keep Carlos in Rookie ball, but wanted to get him more innings.  So they basically made him a full time starter, and even though his ERA increase to 4.19, his overall numbers improved (as did his prospect status).  In the Arizona League, Frias finished 5th in strikeouts with 67 strikeouts, with calculated out to almost 10 strikeouts per 9 innings.  In addition, his FIP was a sparkling 2.59.  His success earned him a late season promotion to the Pioneer League where he made two appearances and continued to thrive.  In regards to his stuff, I relied on Baseball America and found that he “has a live fastball that he can get up to 96 mph but usually works in the 92-93 range.  His changeup is a plus pitch that batters miss a lot, although he sometimes throws it too hard.  The key for Frias will be developing better command of his breaking ball.”  In addition, Dodger pitching instructor George Culver said that Frias is “a young kid with a very good arm who still doesn’t have the nuances of the game.”  Overall, Carlos sounds like very promising player.  From what I can tell, the main statistical flaw for Frias is his walk rate as he issues far too many free passes, but that is something that I’m sure will improve as he gets older gets more accustomed to his 6’4” frame.  The Dodgers will have to make a decision with Frias at the start of the 2010 season.  I can see him either staying in extended spring training and joining Ogden in June, or being placed in LoA to start the season.  Either way, Carlos is definitely someone to keep an eye on because he has a great pitchers’ body, and is just now tapping into his potential.

31.  Brent Leach, LHP (18.7 innings in AAA, 13 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 6th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 27.25 years old

2-1, 4.26 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 10.52 K/9

Prior Year