Archive for January, 2009

My top 200 Dodger Prospects (going into the 2009 season)

January 24, 2009

The only qualifications for a player to make the list are that they are under 28 years old, and are still considered a prospect (so no Dewitt, Kershaw, Hu, etc).  I’ve included where each prospect played in 2008, how each was acquired by the Dodgers, their height, weight, and age, and finally their 2008 combined minor league statistics.

 

200.  Christian Lara, SS (106 games in HiA in 2008)

Acquired via trade with Red Sox in April 2008 for Eric Hull

5’11, 150 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.256 average, 1 HR, 43 RBI

 

Originally signed by the Red Sox as an international free agent by Boston in 2002, Lara hasn’t done much in the minors offensively.  He plays good defense, but will never be able to do anything with the bat.  As a 23 year old in HiA, Lara hit .256 with one home run and 100 K’s.  Needless to say he has no real shot of making it to the majors, and that is why he is last one this list.

 

 

199.  Juan Cedano, LHP (32 IP w/Dodgers LoA, 61 IP w/other teams in 2008)

Signed August 2008

6’1”, 165 lbs, 25 years old

3-6, 4.27 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 4.69 K/9

 

Don’t know much about this guy, but apparently we signed him in August of this year to basically fill out our LoA roster.  Probably won’t be with the Dodgers next year as he as jumped around this season, had a mediocre ERA, and was a 25 year old in LoA.  Also, his K/9 was awful.

 

 

198.  Danny Muegge, RHP (65.3 inngs in AA in 2008)

Acquired via trade with D-backs in 2005 for Shawn Green

6’5”, 180 lbs, 27.5 years old

0-5, 4.82 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 4.82 K/9

 

He was part of the Shawn Green trade that happened forever ago, and missed all of last season with an injury.  Pitched in AA in 2006, so hasn’t really been able to move up.  Is already 27 years old, and hasn’t had very impressive numbers this year.  His 4.82 K/9 shows that his stuff isn’t very overpowering, so I don’t see him going anywhere.

 

 

197.  Brandon Taylor, 3B (52 games in LoA in 2008)

Signed July 2008

6’1”, 200 lbs, 26 years old, bats right handed

.221 average, 5 HR’s, 25 RBI’s

 

I believe we signed this guy out of an independent league this year, and since he was drafted by the Cubs in the 17th round of 2005, he has gone back and forth between pitcher and hitter.  He doesn’t seem to have a future as either, however, because he is a 26 year old in LoA who hit .221.  He also probably won’t be with the Dodgers next year.

 

 

196.  Joseph Jones, RHP (82 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 18th round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 26 years old

3-3, 5.60 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 3.40 K/9

 

Jones was drafted in 2006, but is already almost 26 years old.  His 3.40 K/9 was the worst in the Dodgers minor league system in 2008, and he allowed a .302 batting average against.  While he has a good pitcher’s frame, he’s too old to make any impact in the Dodgers system.

 

 

195.  Parker Dalton, 2B (83 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 24th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.231 average, 2 HR’s, 22 RBI

 

Dalton is another player who is too old for the level at which he is playing.  A 25 year old playing at LoA isn’t very impressive, and neither is his .231 batting average.  He doesn’t have any power, and while he was drafted just last year, he hasn’t given the Dodgers any reason to promote him.

 

 

194.  Carlos Arias, 1B (5 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 200 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.222 average, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s

 

Arias played in the Dodgers Dominican Summer League in 2008, but he only played in 5 games, all in July.  I’m not sure why he played so few games, but it doesn’t really matter because he was a 23 year old playing in a league with mostly 17 to 21 year olds.  We will probably never see his name again, but he had to be included in the list because he played with the Dodgers this year and meets the requirements.

 

 

193.  Brian Akin, RHP (41.6 innings in AA, 11.6 innings in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 14th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 27 years old

3-7, 7.43 ERA, 2.36 WHIP, 7.43 K/9

 

Akin had an awful year in 2008, and this was most evident by his 2.36 WHIP and the fact that opposing batters hit .320 against him.  While Akin made it all the way up to AAA, he is now almost 27 years old, and hasn’t impressed anyone with his stuff.  He’ll probably be back in AA next year, and that might be his last chance.

 

 

192.  Rob Zimmermann, RHP (31 IP w/Dodgers LoA, 28 IP w/other teams in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in July 2008

6’5”, 245 lbs, 27 years old

4-5, 4.76 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 7.42 K/9

 

Zimmermann was signed mid-season, and was probably just another journeyman used to fill out the roster.  Originally drafted in the 14th round by Colorado in 2000, he’s now almost 27 years old and in playing in LoA.  Batters hit .300 against him last year, and I don’t expect him to be back with the Dodgers in 2009.

 

 

191.  Johancy Guzman, SS (30 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/14/04

5’10”, 155 lbs, 21.5 years old, switch hitter

.192 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s

 

Guzman played in 30 games and had 52 at bats, but only had 2 RBI’s.  He started his career with the Dodgers Dominican summer league in 2004, but since he’s come to play in the states last year, he’s been awful.  The only good thing about Garcia is that he’s 21 years old, but unless he dramatically turns things around, he’ll be buried in this system.

 

 

190.  Joseph Becker, 2B (41 games in LoA, 30 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/11/07

5’11, 175 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.222 average, 0 HR’s, 10 RBI’s

 

I believe Becker was signed by the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent before the 2007 season.  He actually had a pretty solid season in 2007, but took a big step back this year.  It’s pretty tough to collect only 10 RBI’s in 71 games, but the light hitting Becker was able to accomplish that feat this year.  He’s already 23 years old, and doesn’t have great speed.  Overall, I don’t see Becker making any impact in the Dodgers system.

 

 

189.  Josh Walter, RHP (17 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 6/27/08

6’4”, 250 lbs, 23.5 years old

0-0, 10.06 ERA, 2.06 WHIP, 9.53 K/9

 

Josh Walter was signed as a non drafted free agent this year, and appears to be a roster filler.  He has good makeup at 6’4” and 250 lbs, but is already 23 and half years old, and had very ugly numbers this season.  His only upside is the fact that he can strike batters out.  He’ll probably be back next season for our LoA club, but won’t get too far in this system.

 

 

188.  Anthony Tomey, RHP (29 innings in AA Dodgers, 6 innings in LoA Dodgers, 35 innings with other teams in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/13/08

6’4”, 245 lbs, 27 years old

5-6, 4.91 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 10.72 K/9

 

Tomey was originally a 30th round pick of the Tigers in the 2003 draft, but was released during this pas year.  The Dodgers signed him in July, and he started out in LoA, but quickly moved up to AA.  He strikes out a lot of guys, as evinced by his 10.72 K/9, but his other numbers are less impressive.  Plus, he is 27 years old, so I can’t imagine him having any impact with the Dodgers. 

 

 

187.  Shan Sullivan, 3B (18 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 32nd round

6’1”, 210, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.065 average, 1 HR, 3 RBI’s

 

Sullivan was drafted out of a little know college called Angelo State in 2008, where he hit an impressive .402 as a senior.  In his pro debut for GCL Dodgers, he hit .065.  Quite a difference.  I’ll give him a little break since he only has 18 professional games under his belt, but at 22 and half years old, he’ll have to really impress next year to get anywhere in Dodgers minor league system.

 

 

186.  B.J. LaMura, RHP (52 innings in AAA, 35 innings in AA in 2008)

Acquired via trade with White Sox in 2006 for Sandy Alomar Jr.

6’1”, 200 lbs, 27.5 years old

4-4, 5.87 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 7.52 K/9

 

LaMura was acquired in that very famous 2006 trade with the White Sox for Sandy Alomar Jr.  Oh wait, that trade had so little impact that 99% of people probably forgot that it happened.  Nevertheless, LaMura played most of last year in AAA, but did little to impress.  He’s 27 and half years old, so the Dodgers will probably have to re-sign him to a minor league contract if they want to keep him.  If they do resign him, he might start next year in AAA, but will probably be used to simply fill a roster spot.

 

 

185.  Dwayne Pollok, RPH (101 innings in AAA in 2008)

Acquired via trade with White Sox in 2007 for Tomas Perez

6’3”, 195 lbs, almost 27.5 years old

10-5, 4.70 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 5.38 K/9

 

If you thought being traded for Sandy Alomar Jr. was pretty funny, then being traded for Tomas Perez must be hilarious.  I had totally forgotten that the Dodgers had Tomas Perez at one point.  That guy was so irrelevant.  Anyways, Pollok is very similar to LaMura (#186) in that he’s 27 and a half, and had an average season last year in AAA.  His fate will also be very similar to LaMura’s, so we’ll have to wait and see if he’s with the Dodgers next year.

 

 

184.  Albie Goulder, 1B (34 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 15th round

6’2”, 205 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.229 average, 1 HR, 6 RBI’s

 

Goulder was drafted this year out of Louisiana Tech in the 15th round, where he led his team with 14 home runs.  Another guy who has barely started his professional career, I’m sure he was adjusting to his new surrounds throughout the season.  His numbers were not very impressive, and he was a 22 year old playing in a rookie league, so like Sullivan (#187), he’ll have to really turn it on in 2009.

 

 

183.  Pedro Tavarez, C (58 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 198 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.220 average, 1 HR, 27 RBI’s

 

This year was Tavarez’s second season in the Dominican Summer League, and his numbers actually got worse.  After hitting .247 with 3 HR’s last year, he was only able to manage a .220 average and 1 HR in 2008.  He’s still fairly young, and while he’s a little undersized, his body type fits his position.  I don’t see him going anywhere, but he’s still young enough to possibly break out next year.

 

 

182.  Zachary Hammes, RHP (59 innings in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2002, 2nd round

6’6”, 240 lbs, 24.5 years old

2-5, 5.31 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 6.83 K/9

 

The Dodgers had high hopes for Hammes back in the day when they drafted him in the 2nd round way back in 2002.  He’s never really panned out, however, posting ERA’s over 5 in each of the past 2 years.  The Dodgers still had hope for him after last season, sending him to the Arizona Fall League, but he continued to struggle and had a 6.43 ERA.  At 6’6” he has the size, and at 24 and a half he’s still young enough to turn things around, so next year will really make or break Zachary Hammes’s career.

 

 

181.  Garett Green, 3B (37 games in GCL Rookie League, 1 game in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 30th round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 23.5 years old

.242 average, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s

 

Green is another Dodger prospect who was drafted in a late round this year.  Coming out of San Diego State, Green signed quickly and played 37 games for the GCL Dodgers.  His stats were just average, but apparently the Dodgers felt he was good enough to promote him to AAA for the final day of 2008.  While he has no chance to play there on a regular basis next year, he’ll probably move up to LoA because he is already 23 and half years old.

 

 

180.  Shane Justis, 2B (117 games in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 21st round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.266 average, 2 HR’s 37 RBI’s

 

The Dodgers never expected much out of Justis when they drafted him in the 21st round of 2005, but from 2005 through 2007, he had posted some pretty respectable numbers.   In 2008, however, he was promoted to AA, and he finally appeared overmatched.  While he was one of the older players in the league, he was only able to hit 2 HR’s with a .266 average.  Also, he is undersized, so he has probably already reached his potential.  He’ll probably stick around for another year or two, but there isn’t really anywhere for him to go.

 

 

179.  Gabriel Casanova, 2B (30 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 37th round

6’1”, 190 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.240 average, 1 HR, 5 RBI’s

 

It’s always tough to prove yourself when you are a 37th round pick, and Gabriel Casanova is demonstrating how difficult that can be.  As a 24 year old in a rookie league, Casanova had unimpressive numbers, and didn’t really show much potential.  His only upside comes from his athletic build, but that will only get him so far.

 

 

178.  Amauri Guzman, RHP (14 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/24/04

6’3”, 200 lbs, 22 years old

1-0, 9.64 ERA, 2.50 WHIP, 8.36 K/9

 

Amauri Guzman was actually an outfield in the Dodgers system for the past three years, before being converted to a pitcher for the 2008 season.  In fact, he played in the GCL last year where he hit a respectable .310.  I’m not sure why he was converted to a pitcher, unless they felt his size was better suited for the mound, but whatever the reason, the results were probably not what management had hoped.  It’s true he only pitched 14 innings this year, so he’s still probably just getting the hang of things, but as a 22 year old who is still in the Dominican Summer League, he’ll have to improve in a hurry.

 

 

177.  Yennifree Hanson, RHP (22 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 180 lbs, 21.5 years old

2-1, 5.24 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 5.64 K/9

 

2008 was Hanson’s first season with the Dodgers, but that doesn’t hide the fact that his numbers were below average.  He did have 3 saves for the Dominican Dodgers and didn’t allow a home run, but he walked too many batters.  He is also still fairly young, so hopefully he’ll get the opportunity to improve next year.

 

 

176.  Ryan Arp, C (13 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 45th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.278 average, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI

 

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.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers took a chance on him because he plays good defense, which can be tough to find in a catcher.  In short, Arp has no chance to make it to the majors, but may help out a few young pitchers along the way by playing solid defense behind the plate.

 

 

175.  Irvit Mendez, RHP (0 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 206 lbs, 18.5 years old

0-0, infinite ERA & WHIP, N/A K/9

 

I know absolutely nothing about Irvit Mendez, except for the fact that he pitched in exactly one Dominican Summer League game this season, walked 5 batters, allowed 4 earned runs, and failed to get an out.  Why he only pitched in one game I will never know, but I do like his potential as an 18 year old with a solid build.  I’m assuming we’ll see more of Mendez next year, and hopefully he’ll get some better results.

 

 

174.  Jean Eusebio, C (15 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

6’1”, 195 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.138 average, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI

 

Jean Eusebio only played 15 games in 2008 and had disappointing numbers, but we shouldn’t write him off just yet.  He is only 19 years old and has an ideal catcher’s body, so his best days are still to come.  He’ll probably repeat in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, and I’m looking for him to put up much better numbers next year. 

 

 

173.  Lyndon Poole, CF (20 games in GCL, 17 games in Pioneer League, 1 game at AAA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/5/06

6’1”, 190 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.198 average, 2 HR’s, 8 RBI’s

 

Poole was signed as a non-drafted free agent in July of 2006, but has struggled to find his swing since turning pro.  He has hit .238, .205, and .198 since his signing, and has only hit 2 total home runs.  Nevertheless, Poole still has a chance to do something in the Dodgers system as he an athletic build, has some speed (4 SB’s without being caught) and is still only 22 years old.  He should start the year in Lo-A ball next year where he’ll get a chance to prove himself.

 

 

172.  Jhan Lopez, RHP (14 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 2/9/07

6’2”, 180 lbs, 22 years old

1-1, 8.79 ERA, 2.16 WHIP, 10.68 K/9

 

Jhan Lopez followed up an ugly 2007 (7.88 ERA) with an even worse 2008.  His 2.16 WHIP ranked as one of the worst in the Dodgers system, and Lopez is already 22 years old.  On the plus side, however, Jhan struck out more than a batter per inning for the second consecutive year, and still only has less than 30 professional innings under his belt.  Next year will make or break Lopez, and hopefully he’ll be able to make it out of the DSL.

 

 

171.  Marlon Arias, LHP (68 innings in AA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/11/03

6’3”, 155 lbs, 24 years old

7-3, 5.03 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 6.49 K/9

 

Marlon Arias is probably best known for the no-hitter he threw in 2007 while in Hi-A.  While he’s never been a dominate pitcher, he’s shown flashes of brilliance throughout his minor league career (as demonstrated by that no-hitter).  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 2008 he’s consistently had an ERA in the 5’s, which isn’t great, but isn’t awful either.  Overall, he still has some work to do, but has already made it up to AA at 24 years old, and should be there again next year.

 

 

170.  Jake New, LF (35 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 36th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.236 average, 0 HR’s, 8 RBI’s

 

Jake New was drafted out of Tennessee Tech where he hit .354 as a senior.  He struggled to adjust to wood bats in his pro ball debut, however, as he hit just .236 in the GCL.  A left handed hitter without much pop, New doesn’t project to get very far in the Dodgers’ system.  He does have some speed, however, and will get another chance to prove himself next year, possibly in Lo-A.

 

 

169.  Esteban Lopez, C (43 games in HiA, 3 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 25th round

6’1”, 210 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.243 average, 1 HR, 13 RBI’s

 

Lopez is just another catcher in the Dodgers system, and spent most of last season at Hi-A.  He was drafted out of the University of Hawaii in 2006, and has done little to impress since his debut.  He has consistently hit for a low average, and at 24 years old, hasn’t shown any power.  Nevertheless, he does have a great build for a catcher, and will probably get another chance next year to prove himself in Hi-A.

 

 

168.  Joris Bert, CF (28 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 19th round

5’10”, 165 lbs, 21 years old, bats left handed

.250 average, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s

 

Bert was the first French player ever drafted in the MLB.  So far, however, that has been his biggest accomplishment.  One of the smaller players on this list, Bert was supposed to be a speedy outfielder.  He was caught in 4 of his 7 stolen base attempts, though, which doesn’t bode well for his overall ability.  At 21, he still has a chance to improve his game, but he is still a long-shot to make an impact in the Dodgers minor league system.

 

 

167.  Cal Stanke, RHP (23 innings in Pioneer Rookie League, 15 innings in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 15th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 23.5 years old

4-2, 5.50 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 7.41 K/9

 

Stanke was drafted out of the Division III school Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2007 where he posted a 1.32 ERA as a senior.   That success hasn’t translated to a prosperous professional career, however, as Stanke has recorded ERA’s around 5.50 over the past two seasons, which have mostly been in the Pioneer Rookie League.  Another under-sized player at 5’10”, Stanke probably doesn’t have much of a future, but there still is some potential in this 15th round pick if he is able to move up to a higher level in 2009.

 

 

166.  Andrick Villalobos, C (25 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/18/03

6’0”, 165 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.229 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s

 

Villalobos has been with the Dodgers since 2003, and finally made his U.S. debut in 2008.  Unfortunately, his stats were not at all impressive in the Gulf Coast League, and he is already 22 years old.  That being said, he is able to play a solid catcher (only 1 error in 2008), and will hopefully improve his offensive numbers in 2009.

 

 

165.  Luis Matos, 3B (2 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 190 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats right handed

.000 average, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s

 

Luis Matos was signed by the Dodgers in 2008, and played in only 2 games, but still has potential as a 6’0” 3rd baseman because he is only 19.  I don’t know much else about him as a player, but hopefully he’ll be around in 2009 and will play more than 2 games.

 

 

164.  Yosanddy Garcia, LF (25 games in LoA, 1 game in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/7/04

6’0”, 170 lbs, almost 21 years old, bats right handed

.141 average, 1 HR, 2 RBI’s

 

Yosanddy Garcia finally moved up in the Dodgers minor league system in 2008 after spending 3 seasons in the Gulf Coast Rookie League.  He struggled mightily throughout 2008, but is only 21 years old, and does have some power (he had 8 HR’s in 2007 in only 127 at bats).  2009 will have to be a rebound year for Garcia if he wants to make a name for himself in this deep Dodger system, and it is yet to be determined if he will start next year in Lo-A or Hi-A.

 

 

163.  Miguel Ramirez, RHP (50 innings in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 8/22/02

5’11”, 180 lbs, 25 years old

2-9, 4.29 ERA, 1.75 WHIP, 8.40 K/9

 

Ramirez has already been with the Dodgers for a long time, yet has never made it past the level of HiA.  After dominating at LoA for most of 2007, he was sent up for a brief 8 innings of HiA at the end of the 2007 season.  He posted an ERA of over 7 during that time, though, and was banished back to LoA for all of 2008.  He wasn’t able to repeat his great 2007 performance in LoA, however, even though he was one of the oldest players in the league.  His worst stat was his 1.75 WHIP, and at 5’11”, he isn’t going to intimidate anyone.  His only plus is his ability to strike out hitters, but even that is probably only a function of him having so much experience in the lower levels of minor league baseball.

 

 

162.  Francisco Lizarraga, SS (51 games in LoA, 16 games in AAA, 13 games in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/02

6’1”, 170 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.206 average, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI’s

 

Lizarraga is another player who has been with the team since 2002, yet hasn’t really progressed as much as the Dodgers would have liked.  Overall, he had a tough 2008, but was promoted all the way up to AAA for 16 games at one point where he actually hit .310.   At 6’1” he has good size for a shortstop, and is still only 23, so a full season next year at either HiA or AA should be a good test for him to see how he responds.  In addition, he is playing this winter for the Venados de Mazatlan in the Mexican Winter League, so hopefully that will help his game.

 

 

161.  Gabriel Gutierrez, C (35 games in AA, 19 games in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2002

5’11”, 175 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.233 average, 1 HR, 16 RBI’s

 

Gutierrez started his professional career as a first baseman, but switched to catcher before the 2004 season.  Since then, he has posted below average numbers, but has been able to work his way all the way up to AA.  Seen as a backup catcher at best, Gutierrez has never had much power.  Also, the fact that he is already 24 and a half years old doesn’t help his chances of making it to the show.  However, if he can turn it around next year, he may have a chance to make it up to AAA.

 

 

160.  Steve Smith, RHP (28 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 2 games in GCL in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 215 lbs, 22 years old

1-0, 5.04 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 6.53 K/9

 

Steve Smith was signed by the Dodgers during 2008, but didn’t have great success in his first professional season.  He pitched in the Pioneer League, and posted an ERA over 5.00 with about 6.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.  Nevertheless, he has good size for a pitcher at 6’2”, and is still young in his professional career.  He should get a chance to pitch in A ball next year, so we’ll see what he can do then.

 

 

159.  Angel Chavez, 3B (117 games in AAA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in January of 2008

6’1”, 180 lbs, 27 years old, bats right handed

.292 average, 10 HR’s, 68 RBI’s

 

Chavez actually began the 2008 season on the Dodgers major league roster, but never played in a game before being sent back to the minors.  For the remainder of the 2008 season Chavez played in AAA, and actually had a pretty good year.  At 27 years old, Chavez is basically a journeyman, and it is unknown if he will return to the Dodgers next year.  If he does, he’ll have to return to AAA, and will basically be an insurance policy in an emergency situation.

 

 

158.  Jacob McCarter, RHP (14 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 185 lbs, 24 years old

2-0, 4.40 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 10.68 K/9

 

McCarter was signed by the Dodgers as a minor league free agent in 2008 and pitched out of the bullpen for their Gulf Coast Rookie League team.  Because he was signed mid-season, he only logged 14 innings, and in that time posted average stats.  He is already 24 years old, which doesn’t bode well for his long term potential.  In fact, the only reason that McCarter is ranked at #158 instead of in the 180’s is because his strikeout numbers were pretty impressive, as he was able to strike out over a guy per inning.

 

 

157.  Justin Fuller, 2B (55 games in HiA, 16 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 11th round

6’1”, 175 lbs, 25 years old, bats left handed

.248 average, 0 HR’s, 13 RBI’s

 

Fuller was drafted in 2006 out of NAIA baseball powerhouse Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho.  Since his pro debut, he has proved to be a light hitting middle infielder with only 1 total HR to his credit over the past 3 years.  He doesn’t have much speed either, as he has never had more than 7 SB’s in a season.  At 25 years old, this left handed hitter is running out of time to impress, and unless he improves his hitting over the off-season, he will probably be out of baseball within the next few years.

 

 

156.  Geraldo Martinez, LHP (17 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/23/07

6’0”, 162 lbs, 20.5 years old

0-1, 5.40 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 4.32 K/9

 

2008 was the first professional season for Geraldo Martinez, and while his overall stats don’t really show it, he had a solid year.  A skinny lefthander, Martinez is only 20 and half years old and is still learning to pitch.  While his ERA was 5.40, the batting average against him for the entire year was only .230.  He also improved throughout the year, and only allowed a 2.45 ERA and a .143 batting average against during the month of August.  He’ll probably repeat next year in the Dominican Summer League, and will hopefully improve enough to make his U.S debut in 2010.

 

 

155.  Johan Garcia, 3B (38 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 4/19/05

6’0”, 175 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.242 average, 0 HR’s 13 RBI’s

 

Johan Garcia repeated in the GCL during 2008 season, but unfortunately the results were worse than in 2007.  After posting a .295 average in the GCL in 2007, his average slipped to .242.  He also didn’t hit a home run either year, so Garcia really has no power potential, which is never good for a third baseman.  However, he does have some speed (7 SB’s without being caught), and is only 22 years old.  He should finally move up to Lo-A next year, so we’ll see what he does there.

 

 

154.  Keyter Collado, C (19 games in GCL, 4 games in Pioneer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/04

5’11”, 178 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.254 average, 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s

 

Collado took a step back in 2008 after hitting .314 and .305 in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  One reason for this decline can be attributed to the fact that he only got to play in 23 games, and never really had a chance to get in a groove.  He ended the season in the Pioneer League, and at 22 years old, is still maturing as a player.  Next year he should get a better opportunity to play, but unless he develops some power, this young catcher won’t make it very far.

 

 

153.  Given Kutz, RHP (106 innings in LoA, 20 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 18th round

6’3”, 215 lbs, 24 years old

5-7, 4.14 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.93 K/9

 

Given Kutz probably has the strangest name in the Dodgers minor league system, but unfortunately his stats don’t stand out as much as his name.  Given pitched a lot of innings in 2008, and spent the majority of his time in Lo-A.  His numbers we not bad, but they weren’t great either.  He held hitters to a combined .269 average, but didn’t strike out many.  His biggest advantages are his size and the fact that he is a physical player.  His biggest disadvantage is his age because he will be 24 years old going into 2009, and only has 20 innings of experience above Lo-A.

 

 

152.  Alexis Crispin, SS (37 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 172 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.236 average, 1 HR, 10 RBI’s

 

2008 was the first professional season for Alexis Crispin, and he struggled in his debut.  Nevertheless, he is only 19 years old, and has good size for a shortstop at 6’1”.  I don’t know too much more about Crispin, but hopefully he’ll continue to grow and mature for next season, whether he is back in the Dominican Summer League, or promoted up to the Dodgers new rookie affiliate in Arizona. 

 

 

151.  Jose Sanchez, LF (5 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 2/9/07

6’2”, 175 lbs, 18.5 years old, bats right handed

.182 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s

 

Jose Sanchez is another young player who struggled during 2008, but I really like his potential as an outfielder.  I am basing this on the fact that he has good size at 6’2”, and because he is an 18 year old who already has two years of experience (even though he only played 5 games during 2008, probably because of injury).  If he continues to work hard, and possibly even grow a little, he could have a big year in 2009 and become a legitimate prospect.

 

 

150.  Jordan Roberts, LHP (17 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round

6’1”, 180 lbs, 22.5 years old

1-1, 5.82 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, 9.53 K/9

 

Drafted in the 28th round of 2008 out of Embry-Riddle in Florida, Jordan Roberts made his professional debut in the Pioneer Rookie League.  While he had an ugly ERA, WHIP, and batting average against (.333), he is a strong lefthander who will definitely get better next year.  He showed his strength with more than a strikeout per inning.  Also, in looking at his college stats for 2008, he had an ERA of 1.94 in 120 innings with 135 K’s.  While Embry-Riddle isn’t facing very tough competition, those are still some pretty good numbers.  So overall, Roberts is a promising lefty who could turn some heads next year.

 

 

149.  Gari Tavarez, RHP (34 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’0”, 170 lbs, 21 years old

2-5, 5.03 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 4.50 K/9

 

Gari Tavarez absolutely dominated the Dominican Summer League last year as a 19 year old (1.49 ERA, 9.5 K/9), but that success didn’t carry over this year in the U.S.  The difference in success shows us that Tavarez still has a lot of learning to do.  It also shows us the difference in competition between the Dominican Summer League and the GCL.  For someone who just turned 21 years old this month, Tavarez is still in pretty good shape within this Dodgers system.  While he’s a little undersized for a pitcher, he’ll probably get a chance to prove himself in the Pioneer League next year, and hopefully he’ll be able to make some adjustments and return to his 2007 form.

 

 

148.  Rafael Aybar, 2B (44 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 4/9/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 18.5 years old, switch hitter

.224 average, 1 HR, 7 RBI’s

 

Aybar is another young Dominican player in the Dodgers system, and 2008 was his second season as a professional.  While his .224 average this year isn’t very impressive, it is actually an improvement over 2007, when he hit .152 over 38 games.  A second basemen without much size, Aybar does have some speed (16 SB’s over the past two years while being caught only 4 times).  At only 18 and half years old, Aybar has plenty of time to improve, and because he is a switch hitter the Dodgers will give him many opportunities to prove himself.

 

 

147.  Brandon Tuten, RHP (18 innings in HiA, 9 innings in Pioneer League, 2 innings in AAA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/10/07

6’2”, 185 lbs, 23 years old

1-3, 5.83 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 8.90 K/9

 

Tuten made three stops during 2008, including AAA where he finished up the season.  While his time there wasn’t very memorable, the fact that the Dodgers even brought him up to that level shows they have at least some confidence in him.  Tuten’s stats for 2008 were actually not as bad as they look.  While an overall 2.08 WHIP is very ugly, he did post a 3.44 ERA in the California league, where he spent the majority of the season (18 innings).  His 8.90 K/9 rate also demonstrates his ability to strike players out.  Hopefully he’ll be able to accumulate more innings next season, and at 23, he still has a chance to make a name for himself.

 

 

146.  Alexis De La Cruz, C (20 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’10”, 185 lbs, 18 years old, bats right handed

.231 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s

 

Alexis De La Cruz just turned 18 on October 15th, so he was only 17 years old during the entire 2008 season.  That being said, this young catcher has a long way to go in his baseball development.  In 26 at bats this season in the Dominican Summer League, De La Cruz had 6 hits, but they were all singles.  I’m not familiar with his development behind the plate, but I’m sure he is extremely raw.  Since young catchers are hard to find, it’ll be interesting to follow his development, but I’m sure it will be a year of two before he does anything significant in the Dodgers system.

 

 

145.  Adam Godwin, CF (132 games in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 11th round

5’11”, 170 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.264 average, 2 HR’s, 37 RBI’s

 

Adam Godwin is one of the fastest Dodger minor leagues, and finished 2008 with 31 stolen bases, (the 3rd most in the Dodger system).  That is nothing compared to three years ago, however, when he led all Division I college players with 81 stolen bases in 89 attempts.  As fast as Godwin is, his problem is that he doesn’t hit for a high enough average to be effective on the base paths.  In addition, he has no power to speak of.  Nevertheless, he does have some experience because he spent all of last season in AA, and may even make it up to AAA next year a speedy center fielder.

 

 

144.  Wilfredo Diaz, LHP (13 innings in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 15th round

5’11”, 180 lbs, 21.5 years old

0-1, 6.39 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 10.66 K/9

 

I was a little perplexed by Wilfredo Diaz this season because he didn’t after the 4th of July.  I didn’t hear anything about an injury, and then I thought I read somewhere that he had been released.  I don’t why he would have been released, however, because he is still a young player and had more than a strike out per inning for the second straight year.  Of course he did also have a dismal ERA and WHIP, but that was only through 13 innings.  Overall, as an undersized lefty, Diaz has some work to do next season (that is if he even returns).

 

 

143.  Melvin Ray, RF (15 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 33rd round

6’4”, 205 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats right handed

.162 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s

           

Melvin Ray was one of the most interesting stories in the Dodgers 2008 draft class.  Shortly after being drafted, Ray claimed to be an ancestor of Jackie Robinson.  Whether he is or not, I don’t really care, but the fact that he even made such a claim moved him up a few spots on my list.  Also, while his stats weren’t great through his first 15 games, he does have the athletic size to one day become a great player.  Any 19 year old who is 6’4” and 205 lbs has a lot of potential in my book.

 

 

142.  Alberto Bastardo, LHP (132 innings in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/13/06

6’0”, 160 lbs, 24.5 years old

5-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 7.45 K/9

 

Alberto Bastardo is a lefthander with a strange name.  He isn’t very big, is 24 and a half years old, and hasn’t played above Hi-A.  Also, he wasn’t even originally with by the Dodgers, as he was first signed by the Orioles in 2002.  Since joining the Dodgers in 2006, he’s been pretty average, posting ERA’s ranging from 4.53 to 5.19.  He has had some pretty good strike out rates, however.  In addition, he’s currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League with the Caribes de Anzoategui, and so far hasn’t allowed a run in 3 innings.  Bastardo’s biggest advantage is the fact that he is a left hander, but he’s probably better suited as a relief pitcher.  He’ll probably make it up to AA next year, and it should be interesting to see how he does in a more pitcher friendly environment. 

 

 

141.  Jesus Rodriguez, RHP (67 innings in AA, 30 innings in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/20/05

6’0”, 180 lbs, 23 years old

7-6, 4.66 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 6.15 K/9

 

Jesus Rodriquez has posted some solid stats over the past two years while moving fairly quickly in the Dodgers system.  His first big stumbling block came this year in AA, but he is still only 23 and has some time to adjust.  He might be doing that adjusting right now in the Mexican Winter League, as he has already started 4 games for the Yaquis de Obregon.  He does have a 5.85 ERA in that time, but I still have confidence that these extra games are helping him.  He’ll probably return to AA next year, and hopefully he’ll be ready this time.

 

 

140.  Brian Mathews, 3B (64 games in LoA, 10 games in HiA, 9 games in GCL in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 45th round

6’0”, 230 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.203 average, 4 HR’s, 24 RBI’s

 

Brain Mathews was a very late round pick in 2005, yet is still a very intriguing player.  While his stats last year were not great, he is still only 21 years old, and has the body type to be a solid 3rd baseman.  In addition, he did have a pretty good year in 2007, hitting .300 in 60 games with 6 home runs.  Mathews jumped around in 2008, playing at 3 different levels, but next year he should get a chance to play more consistently on the same team at Hi-A.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a break out year in 2009, but of course, I could be wrong.

 

 

139.  Javier Solano, RHP (38 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 177 lbs, 18.5 years old

2-3, 9.47 ERA, 1.95 WHIP, 8.53 K/9

 

2008 was Solano’s first season in professional baseball, and as far as I can tell, he was signed straight out of Mexico.  He is only 18 and half years old, yet made his debut in the Pioneer Rookie League.  He posted some pretty awful stats, but was able to strike out quite a few opposing hitters.  At only 6’0”, he’ll have to work hard to make an impact in this system, but he is participating in the Mexican Winter League to try and improve his performance.  He’ll probably repeat in the Rookie League next year, and hopefully will have better results.

 

 

138.  James Tomlin, LF (108 games in AA)

Signed by Dodgers 10/2/2006

6’0”, 183 lbs, 26 years old, bats right handed

.313 average, 2 HR’s, 35 RBI’s

 

Tomlin is one of the older players on this list, but had a pretty solid season in AA during 2008.  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 two 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, it’s doubtful that Tomlin will ever make it up the majors, but he may be promoted to AAA next year if he decides to stay with the Dodgers organization. 

 

 

137.  Jerome Williams, RHP (26 innings in AAA, 10 innings in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 6/25/08

6’3”, 240 lbs, 27 years old

2-3, 3.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7.25 K/9

 

Most Dodger fans probably remember Jerome Williams from his days with the Giants.  He was their number one pick in the 1999 draft, and was a highly regarded prospect not too long ago.  After his trade to the Cubs in 2005, however, he went downhill, and was eventually released.  Williams began the 2008 season with the Long Beach Armada of the Golden Baseball League, but was later signed by the Dodgers in June.  He started his career with the Dodgers with their Hi-A club, before moving up to AAA in July and August.  While his overall stats for 2008 weren’t amazing, he did post a 2.08 ERA during his time in AAA, which is pretty impressive in the PCL.  While it’s possible that Williams will regain the stuff that made him a number 1 pick, that is highly unlikely.  What I can see happening, however, is Williams having a good beginning of 2009 in AAA, and eventually being called up to the Dodgers as a long reliever.  Then again, he might not even be with the team next year.  We shall see.

 

 

136.  Miguel Pinango, RHP (136 innings in AAA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/30/07

6’1”, 190 lbs, 25.5 years old

5-9, 5.16 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 6.15 K/9

 

Pinango is another player who has already been in baseball for a long time.  Signed by the Mets in 1999 when he was 16, he spent seven seasons in their minor league system.  He was signed by the Dodgers in 2007 as a minor league free agent, and has been their AAA workhorse ever since.  While his 2007 numbers were more impressive than the ones he posted in 2008, his 5.16 ERA wasn’t bad for a starter in the PCL.  He doesn’t strike out a ton of players, but does have an excellent changeup.  If he returns to the Dodgers, he’ll probably begin the year again in AAA, and will have an outside chance to make the major league club if injuries occur.

 

 

135.  Alexis Aguilar, SS (41 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 162 lbs, 17 years old, bats right handed

.211 average, 0 HR’s, 8 RBI’s

 

Alexis Aguilar was barely 17 during the 2008 season, yet played 41 games at shortstop for the Dominican Summer League.  Unfortunately he only hit .211 with 8 RBI’s, but took a big step in learning how to play the game.  He stole 8 bases in those 41 games, and only made 8 errors, which is pretty good for a 17 year old rookie at a premium position.  At 5’11”, he has size to stay at shortstop, so now he just needs to continue improving.

 

 

134.  Yorniel Martinez, CF (52 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 160 lbs, 18 years old, bats right handed

.228 average, 1 HR, 21 RBI’s

 

Yorniel Martinez is another young player who made his debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2008.  He plays center field, and stole 12 bases in 52 games.  Obviously his average was pretty low, but that was probably the result of Yorniel never playing a full season of baseball before.  You see, he started off his career strong, posting a .288 average in June, but then tailed off by hitting .250 in July and a dismal .103 in August.  Once he gains stamina, he may be able to climb up the rankings in the Dodgers system.

 

 

133.  Andres Santiago, RHP (18 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 16th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 19 years old

1-0, 4.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 4.00 K/9

 

Andres Santiago was cruising along in 2008 before his season was cut short in the middle of July.  I’m not sure what that reason is, although I’m assuming it was some sort of arm injury.  Anyways, after being drafted in the 16th round in 2007 out of Puerto Rico, Santiago began his Dodgers career in the GCL where he posted a 4.50 ERA in 2007.  He continued his career in the GCL in 2008, and improved his ERA to 4.00.  Both years he had very low strikeout ratios, which is a little troubling, but he does have the size to be a decent pitcher.  He is still only 19 years old, so that is to his advantage, and given that he is able to come back strong from his injury, he’ll probably begin the 2009 season in the Pioneer Rookie League.

 

 

132.  Edward Bens, C (41 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 2/9/07

6’1”, 189 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats right handed

.205 average, 1 HR, 15 RBI’s

 

Edward Bens played his second professional season with the Dominican Summer League Dodgers in 2008.  His stats were rather unimpressive, but they were an improvement over 2007 when he hit only .191 with 9 RBI’s.  A catcher with ideal size for his position, Bens is still only 19.5 years old and is still improving.  He is another player who tailed off at the end of the season, hitting .188 in July and .074 in August, so that shows his stamina just isn’t’ there.  That will likely improve as time goes on and he gets more accustomed to the game.  I’m guessing the Dodgers will give him a chance in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009, which will be a big step for this young player.

 

 

131.  Mario Grispin, SS (1 game in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/23/07

6’2”, 165 lbs, 17.5 years old, bats right handed

.250 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s

 

I’m not going to pretend like I know anything about this player, because I don’t.  All I know is what I’ve read on his player page in the minor league baseball website, and that he was signed by the Dodgers in July of 2007.  The biggest mystery is why he has only played one professional game since he was signed over a year ago.  Maybe they are trying to ease him into things, or maybe he has had quite a few injuries, but nevertheless his one game was pretty impressive because he had a hit and drove in two runs.  In addition, he has three things going for him.  One he is only 17 and a half years old, two, he plays shortstop, and three, he has pretty good size.  Hopefully he’ll play more than one game next year, and then we’ll be able to see what he can really do.

 

 

130.  Luis Vasquez, RHP (19 innings in HiA, 12 innings in Pioneer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/20/03

6’4”, 156 lbs, 22.5 years old

0-0, 3.48 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 4.06 K/9

 

Luis Vasquez is a tall and very skinny player who split time last year between the Pioneer Rookie League and Hi-A.  While he does not strike out very many batters, he was able to post a respectable ERA and WHIP.  He also held batters to a .219 average for the season, which was his most impressive stat.  His biggest disadvantage is that he’s only pitched 40 innings over the past two seasons, so he hasn’t gotten a lot of experience.  He is still only 22 and a half years old, however, so if he can put on a little weight and pitch a full season in 2009, he could turn into a legitimate prospect.

 

 

129.  Christian Gonzalez, RHP (46 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 11/1/04

6’1”, 169 lbs, 20 years old

1-7, 3.72 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 5.09 K/9

 

Even though Christian Gonzalez is only 20 years old, he has been playing in the Dodgers system since 2005.  During that time, he’s moved from 3rd base, to outfield, and now to pitcher.  The move to pitcher was a little surprising because Gonzalez actually had a respectable year at the plate last year, but apparently he has more potential as a pitcher.  H had a pretty good debut on the mound, posting a respectable ERA and a decent WHIP.  While he doesn’t have great size, he may be useful out of the pen.  He’ll probably return to the DSL next year and continue to work on his pitching.

 

 

128.  Kyle Wilson, RHP (13 innings in AA, 10 innings in GCL in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 22nd round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 25.5 years old

2-1, 2.78 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 4.37 K/9

 

Kyle Wilson is a local boy, born in Santa Monica, growing up in Valencia, and going to college at UCLA.  He was drafted in the 22nd round of 2004, and had a breakout year in 2007, posting a 1.09 ERA in 33 innings at Inland Empire.  His great season was largely overlooked, however, because he was a 24 year old playing in Hi-A.  In 2008, he started the year in AA, but had some sort of injury and basically rehabbed in the GCL Rookie League during most of the season.  He did end his time in the GCL with a 0.90 ERA, and had a 2.78 overall ERA in 2008, but he is now 25 years old and time is running out for him.

 

 

127.  Carlos De Aza, RHP (20 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07

6’3”, 178 lbs, 18.5 years old

1-0, 6.53 ERA, 2.08 WHIP, 8.71 K/9

 

2008 was the first professional season for Carlos De Aza, and while he didn’t have the best ERA or WHIP, he had a successful debut.  He is obviously very young at 18 and a half, but already has good size.  In addition, he had a strikeout rate of 8.71 per 9 innings, and opposing hitter only hit .233 against him.  He’ll need to pitch significantly more innings in 2009 to continue his growth, and if that happens, I think that De Aza has the potential to move quickly in the Dodgers system.

 

 

126.  Matt Berezay, LF (90 games in HiA, 33 games in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 21st round

5’11”, 185 lbs, 25 years old, switch hitter

.227 average, 11 HR’s, 62 RBI’s

 

Matt Berezay is a small, switch hitting left fielder that has some legitimate power.  After hitting 13 HR’s in the pitcher friendly Midwest League, he powered 11 more HR’s in 2008.  The only problem is that Berezay is already 25 years old, and while he started 2008 at AA, he was demoted during the season, and finished the year at Hi-A.  In addition, he doesn’t hit for a high average or have much speed.  I’m assuming that Berezay will get another shot at AA in 2009, and hopefully he’ll post better results this time.

 

 

125.  Cody White, LHP (85 innings in AA, 60 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 12th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 23.5 years old

10-9, 4.94 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 5.81 K/9

 

Cody White has been in the Dodgers system for a while now, and has been a consistent lefty starter for the last 3 years.  He posted a 2.68 ERA in the Pioneer Rookie League in 2006, and a combined 3.14 ERA in A ball in 2007.  While his ERA jumped to a combined 4.94 in 2008, it was due to the fact that he made the leap to AA.  Not known as a strikeout pitcher, White uses his size and experience to get guys out.  He’ll probably return to AA next year as a 24 year old, and may even get a change to move up to AAA due to the fact that he is a lefty.

 

 

124.  Adrian Aviles, RF (64 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’1”, 155 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats left handed

.267 average, 0 HR’s, 16 RBI’s

 

Even though Adrian Aviles is only 19 and half years old, 2008 was his third professional season.  He hasn’t had a lot of success at the plate during any of the three seasons, but has improved each year.  His .267 average is pretty good for the Dominican Summer League, especially since he ended the year on a high note, hitting .317 in the month of August.  Although he hasn’t shown any power yet, he still has the potential to be a powerful left hand hitting outfielder.  My guess is that Aviles will make the move to one of the Dodgers U.S. Rookie affiliates in 2009, and maybe that will jumpstart his offensive career. 

 

 

123.  Scott Van Slyke, RF (48 games in HiA, 22 games in LoA)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 14th round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.232 average, 5 HR’s, 33 RBI’s

 

Scott Van Slyke is the son of former major leaguer Andy Van Slyke, so he definitely has the bloodlines to succeed in baseball.  At 6’5”, he also has the size to be a very successful player and outfielder.  Unfortunately, he has yet to hit his stride offensively and has consistently hit for a low average since being drafted in 2005.   The Dodgers are still hoping his power and other offensive skills will develop, however, because even though he was a 14th round pick, they had big plans for him coming out of high school.  The first step for Van Slyke’s success will be for him to get regular playing time, because he only played in 70 games in 2008.  He’ll probably get that opportunity next year when he returns to Inland Empire as their everyday right fielder.

 

 

122.  Jonathan Runnels, LHP (31 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 29th round

6’1”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old

3-0, 6.39 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 11.61 K/9

 

Jonathan Runnels was drafted out of Rice College this year after pitching just 13 innings for the Owls during his senior year.  The Dodgers saw something in Runnels, however, and although his ERA and WHIP were awful in his pro debut, he was able to strike out batters at a rate of 11.61 K’s per nine innings.  At 165 lbs, he is not a big player, but has an advantage in the Dodgers system because he is a lefty.  Runnels will have to move quickly because he is already 22 and half years old, and he should get a chance to prove himself next year in A ball. 

 

 

121.  Eric Thompson, RHP (29 innings in Pioneer Rookie League, 13 innings in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 23rd round

6’6”, 210 lbs, 20.5 years old

2-2, 5.10 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 7.02 K/9

 

Eric Thompson was drafted out of high school in 2006, and put his basketball career aside to sign with the Dodgers. As a 23rd round pick, he signed for a surprising large bonus, and has progressed steadily through the Dodgers system since then.  He’s advanced from the rookie league to Lo-A, and is still just 20 and half years old.  At 6’6”, he has the size to be a power pitcher, and will hopefully continue to improve as he gets older.  He’ll probably start next season back at Lo-A, but has a chance to move up to Inland Empire by mid-season.

 

 

120.  Matthew Smith, RHP (24 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 22nd round

6’6”, 195 lbs, 22 years old

3-0, 4.56 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.37 K/9

 

Smith was drafted by the Dodgers because of his size, not because of his college stats.  He recorded a 6.11 ERA during his 2008 season with Wichita State, 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.  And actually, if you take out the 8 earned runs he allowed in his final two appearances in 2008, his ERA would have been around 2.  In addition, batters hit only .231 against him.  At 22 years old, Smith should move quickly through the system, but I would expect him to face a much bigger challenge at Great Lakes or Inland Empire in 2009. 

 

 

119.  Rogelito Chery, RHP (30 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’10”, 171 lbs, 19 years old

3-3, 6.00 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 8.70 K/9

 

Chery began his professional career in 2008 with the Dominican Dodgers, and struggled quite a bit.  He posted a horrendous ERA and WHIP, and batters hit almost .300 against him.  On the positive side, however, Chery struck out almost a batter per inning, which hopefully means that does have good stuff.  He also improved as the season progressed, recording an improved ERA of 3.68 in the month of August.  While he is listed at only 5’10”, this 19 year old is still growing, and with any luck at least reach the 6 foot mark.  Overall, I expect a much better season out of Chery in 2009, especially because he has a year of experience under his belt.

 

 

118.  Rene Rivera, C (38 games in AA, 37 games in AAA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers as a FA in 2008

5’10”, 230 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.250 average, 9 HR’s, 30 RBI’s

 

Rene Rivera was signed by the Dodgers as an insurance policy at catcher before the 2008 season, and made his way up to AAA.  Originally a 2nd round pick of the Mariners in the 2001 draft, Rivera actually made it up to the majors from the 2004 to 2006 seasons.  After struggling, however, he was sent back to the minors before the 2007 season, and has been there ever since.  Currently a minor league free agent, Rivera will probably sign elsewhere because he is not good enough to be Martin’s backup, and is even buried under players such as A.J. Ellis and Lucas May.  That being said, he had a respectable year during 2008, and may one day make it back up to the show.

 

 

117.  Marlon Urriola, RHP (50 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 5/25/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 20 years old

1-4, 5.04 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 8.46 K/9

 

Marlon Urriola took a small step back in 2008 after posting a 3.62 ERA in 2007, but he did show improvement in some areas, including his ability to strike guys out.  At 6’2”, he has a pretty good foundation, and now just needs to add some weight.  He is only 20 years old, yet has already played three seasons in the Dominican Summer League.  It will be up to the minor league staff to determine if Urriola is ready to make the jump to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues. 

 

 

116.  Brian Ruggiano, 2B (46 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 23rd round

6’0”, 175, 22 years old, bats right handed

.241 average, 2 HR’s, 21 RBI’s

 

Brian was the second Ruggiano drafted by the Dodgers out of Texas A&M in the past four 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.  Brian will try and follow in his brother’s footsteps by making it to the big leagues, but didn’t get off to a good start.  After hitting .315 with 9 HR’s during his junior season in college, he managed just a .241 average and 2 HR’s in his pro debut with the Ogden Raptors.  However, 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.

 

 

115.  Jessie Mier, C (28 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 14 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 12th round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.270 average, 1 HR, 12 RBI’s

 

One interesting thing about Jessie Mier is that his brother, Jiovanni Mier, is projected to be a 1st round pick out of high school in the 2009 draft as a shortstop (Baseball America has him ranked 26 overall).  That being said, Jessie was drafted out of Lewis-Clark College in 2007 and played in 8 games with the Ogden Raptors in his debut before breaking his hand.  He made a full recovery, however, and split time between Ogden and Great Lakes in 2008.  Known as one of the better defensive catchers in the Dodgers system, Mier is hoping that his offensive skills will continue to develop and eventually compliment his abilities behind the plate.  At 23 and half years old, Mier is going to have to improve quickly, and hopefully he’ll at least make it up to Inland Empire in 2009.

 

 

114.  Eduardo Sierra, RHP (47 innings in AA, 11 innings in AAA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers January 2008

6’3”, 185 lbs, 26.5 years old

5-2, 4.84 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 7.80 K/9

 

Eduardo Sierra was signed as a minor league free agent before the 2008 season, and worked his way up to AAA at the end of the season.  Originally signed by the Oakland A’s way back in 1999, Sierra has bounced around from the A’s to the Yankees to the Rockies to the White Sox and now to the Dodgers.  Throughout his minor league career, he’s always posted solid stats, but he has never been great.  That being said, the batting average against Sierra for 2008 was only .211.  I’ll be bold and guess that if Sierra stays with the Dodgers next year and continues to post an ERA under 5, he’ll have an outside shot to make an appearance on their major league roster at some point next season because of his experience in the bullpen. 

 

 

113.  Gustavo Gomez, RHP (28 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 150 lbs, 17.5 years old

0-2, 5.08 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 6.04 K/9

 

Gustavo Gomez is a 17 and half year old out of Panama who only has only 28 innings of professional experience.  I know little about him, but the main reason that I have him ranked this high is because of his youth.  While his stats were not great in 2008, they’ll likely improve with age and experience.  I’m sure he’ll be back in the Dominican Summer League next year, and hopefully he’ll have better results.

 

 

112.  Ryan Rogowski, LF (74 games in AA, 46 games in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 8/28/05

6’2”, 200 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats left handed

.250 average, 4 HR’s, 46 RBI’s

 

Ryan Rogowski was signed by the Dodgers in 2005 after he was passed over in that year’s draft.  Since that time, he has moved through the system fairly quickly, making it all way to AA in just his third minor league season.  A left handed outfielder who has good size, Rogowski has not sacrificed any speed as he has posted consecutive seasons of 35+ stolen bases.  He has not been able to hit for power or for a high average, however, as his average has been around .250 for the past few years.  Basically, I see Rogowski as a less talented version of Jason Repko, and I predict a return to AA for him in 2009.

 

 

111.  Fredy Quintero, RHP (29 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 180 lbs, 20.5 years old

3-1, 4.03 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 6.83 K/9

 

Fredy Quintero was signed by the Dodgers in 2008 out of Mexico, and started his professional career in the Gulf Coast Rookie League.  His numbers were not amazing, but they were pretty solid for a 20 year old in his first pro season.  He pitched almost exclusively in relief, and even picked up 2 saves.  At 6’3” and 180 lbs, Quintero has a solid foundation to build upon, especially since he is still young.  He’ll probably play next year in the Pioneer Rookie League, but will have an outside shot of starting the season at Lo-A if he is impressive during minor league spring training.

 

 

110.  Eduardo Perez, 1B (57 games LoA, 49 games HiA)

Signed by Dodgers 3/4/02

6’1”, 175 lbs, 24 years old, switch hitter

.274 average, 9 HR’s, 43 RBI’s

 

After a very solid season in 2007 (14 HR’s, .311 average), Perez’s stats came back down to earth in 2008.  Even still, his 9 HR’s were nothing to be ashamed of, nor was his .274 average.  The problems with Perez, however, are that he is a 24 year old who has never played above Hi-A, and that he plays a position that requires a lot more offensive production that we saw in 2008.  That means that he’ll have to tear it up next year in order get any recognition in this Dodgers system.

 

 

109.  Elian Herrera, CF (33 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 4 games in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 5/14/03

5’11”, 190 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.292 average, 5 HR’s, 27 RBI’s

 

Herrera played the majority of 2008 with the Ogden Raptors before being called up to Inland Empire for 4 games at the end the season.  While he struggled during his brief appearance at Hi-A, he performed well in Rookie ball, even though he was coming back from an injury that limited him to only 37 total games in 2008.  However, he is already 23 and a half years old and is running out of time to impress those within the Dodgers organization.  In addition, at only 5’11”, he doesn’t really have the size to be an everyday outfielder in the major leagues.  Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what kind of numbers Herrera will be able to put up during a full, healthy season in 2009

 

 

108.  Jonady Nunez, RHP (45 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 185 lbs, 19 years old

0-6, 3.57 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 5.96 K/9

 

Nunez made his professional debut with the Dodgers in 2008 at the tender age of 18.  While he had a dismal record of 0-6, his ERA and WHIP were very respectable.  In addition, opposing batter hit only .230 against him.  Even though Nunez is already 6’1”, he may continue to grow since he is still so young.  Also, I’m sure that Nunez will continue to play in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, but with another solid season, he will probably make the jump to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010.

 

 

107.  Jerry Castillo, 1B (56 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

6’3”, 190 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.285 average, 0 HR’s, 10 RBI’s

 

Jerry Castillo completed his second season in the Dominican Summer League in 2008, and while he improved his batting average from .210 in 2007 to .285 in 2008, he did not improve his power numbers.  Nevertheless, Castillo is a big first baseman who does have plenty of power potential.  He just turned 20 years old, and stands at 6’3”.  Once his swing develops and he fills out a little more, I expect the home runs to come.  He’ll probably return to the DSL in 2009 to try and fine-tune his swing, and my guess that he’ll be one of the team leaders in HR’s next season.

 

 

106.  Daigoro Rondon, RHP (74 innings in LoA, 8 innings in Pioneer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/9/04

6’2”, 163 lbs, 22 years old

5-11, 6.42 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 10.32 K/9

 

Rondon jumped from the GCL in 2007 to Lo-A in 2008, and did not fare well.  He posted 11 losses and a 6.96 ERA in 74 innings, and earned a demotion to the Pioneer Rookie League at the beginning of August.  Upon reaching Ogden, he turned things around and recorded a 1.17 ERA during the remainder of the season.  The one consistency for Rondon throughout the season was his ability to strike batters out.  His 10.32 K rate was very impressive, and it demonstrates that he has good stuff that simply needs to be refined.  In 2009, Rondon will probably take another shot at Lo-A, and maybe this time he’ll get some better results.

 

 

105.  Jonathan Dutton, LHP (76 innings in Pioneer League, 36 innings in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 24th round

6’1”, 155 lbs, 21 years old

10-2, 5.21 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 8.33 K/9

 

In looking at Dutton’s 2008 record of 10-2, one might think that he had a phenomenal season.  However, his 5.21 ERA and 1.74 WHIP prove otherwise.  In fact, Dutton was so lucky that he allowed 14 hits in 5 innings on August 2nd, yet still picked up the win.  Nevertheless, Dutton pitched over 112 innings and established himself as a durable lefthander in the Dodgers system.  He had a solid strikeout rate and has decent size. In addition, he was drafted in 2005 out of Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, so even though 2008 was his fourth professional season, he is still only 21 years old.  My guess is that Jonathan will move up to Hi-A in 2009, and hopefully he’s be able to bring down his ERA to a more respectable level.

 

 

104.  Adolfo Gonzalez, 3B (93 games in AA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/8/02

5’11”, 160 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.298 average, 1 HR, 20 RBI’s

 

Gonzalez started his professional career in the Dominican Summer League in 2002, and has slowly progressed through the Dodgers minor league system over the past seven years.  A smaller player who has never displayed much power, Gonzalez played 2nd and 3rd base during 2008 and hit a respectable .298.  He also surprised many by pitching in a few games when the Suns ran out of pitchers.  While there isn’t much potential for Gonzalez, he is still only 23 years old and should make it up to AAA at some point in 2009.  In addition, he is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League and is hitting an impressive .350 through 8 games. 

 

 

103.  Gorman Erickson, C (29 games in GCL Rookie League, 1 game in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 15th round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 20.5 years old, switch hitter

.247 average, 2 HR’s, 7 RBI’s

 

Gorman Erickson is a switch hitting catcher who the Dodgers drafted out of high school in 2006.  While he didn’t have great stats 2008, he does have potential as a big catcher who is still young and learning the game.  One interesting thing about Erickson is that while he played the majority of 2007 and 2008 in the GCL, he was brought up to AAA for one game at the end of the 2007 and 2008 seasons.  Not sure why the Dodgers wanted to move him up that many levels for just one game, but I guess they have their reasons.  Gorman will probably be the main catcher for the Dodgers Lo-A affiliate in 2009, and since he’ll be just 21 at the start of next season, he still has plenty of time to improve and develop his offensive abilities.

 

 

102.  Miguel Sanfler, LHP (80 innings in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/2/02

5’11”, 165 lbs, 24 years old

2-4, 3.95 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.70 K/9

 

After a few mediocre seasons, Sanfler broke out in 2008 and had his best professional season.  Even though his numbers were not dominate, they were very solid, especially his .222 batting average against and 8.70 K/9 rate.  Sanfler has the exact same body type as former Dodger farm hand and current Astro Wesly Wright.  They are both left handed pitchers who are approximately 5’11” and 165 lbs.  The only difference is that Sanfler is a 24 year old in Lo-A while Wright has already made it up to the Show.  That being said, Miguel needs to step it up as he is getting a little bit too old to be playing in A ball.  While he’ll definitely start next year in Hi-A, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sanfler in AA at some point in 2009.

 

 

101.  Lenell McGee, LF (34 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 13th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.222 average, 2 HR’s, 21 RBI’s

 

Lenell McGee was drafted out of Oakton Community College in the 13th round of the 2008 draft (where he hit .360 in 2008), and the Dodgers immediately placed him in the Gulf Coast Rookie League.  During his debut season, he hit only .222 with 2 HR’s, but was able to knock in an impressive 21 runners in only 34 games.  In fact, his 0.6 RBI’s per game ranked as 15th in the entire Dodgers minor league system.  At 6’2” and 185 lbs, Lenell is a good size for an outfielder.  Also, he is only 20 years old and has plenty of time to improve his game.  He will likely play in the Pioneer League next year and will try to become an impact player.

 

 

100.  Carl Webster, RHP (18 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 18th round

6’2”, 165 lbs, 18.5 years old

1-1, 3.44 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 6.38 K/9

 

So when the Dodgers drafted Carl Webster this past year, I automatically assumed that he was the son of former Dodger outfielder and current Dodger scout Mitch Webster.  Well, I was wrong, and the person that told me I was wrong was Mitch Webster himself.  You see, a few weeks back I saw Mitch (along with Ned Coletti and the rest of the Dodger front office) at a Kings Hockey game.  While I didn’t get a chance to talk to Coletti, I was able to talk to Mitch for about 20 minutes about the Dodgers and our minor league system.  He was a great guy, and gave me some insight on a few of the players that I will be writing about later in the list.  Anyways, getting back to Carl, he is not the son of Mitch Webster, but nevertheless pitched very well in his professional Debut.  Even though he was drafted in the 18th round, he showed the Dodgers that they made a good choice by posting a 3.44 ERA.  Also, at 6’2” and only 165 lbs, Webster has yet to fill out.  When he does gain some muscle, I expect his K’s per 9 to increase dramatically.  I would keep an eye on Webster, and I predict that in a few years, we will be talking about what a steal he was as an 18th round pick.

 

 

99.  Jovanny Rosario, CF (127 games in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 6/2/03

5’9”, 160 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.270 average, 1 HR, 35 RBI’s

 

Jovanny Rosario reminds me a lot of Juan Pierre.  He is small, very fast, and has little power.  He led all Dodger minor leaguers in stolen bases in 2008 with 39, but was also caught 14 times.  Even though he only hit .270 this year, he did have a 15 game hit streak to start the season, and also fared much better in the Pioneer League in 2007 when he had an impressive .331 average.  The main problem with Rosario is that he has moved very slowly through the system, and is now 23 and a half and hasn’t played above Lo-A.  However, he is a switch hitter, and as long as he maintains his speed, the Dodgers may continue to develop him as a potential pinch runner and base-stealing threat. 

 

 

98.  Alex Garabedian, C (54 games in LoA, 13 games in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 8th round

6’2”, 210 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.234 average, 3 HR’s, 22 RBI’s

 

Considered to be one of the best catching prospects coming out of high school, Garabedian turned down a chance to sign with the Yankees in 2004 to attend college.  While in college, he had some solid seasons, however his draft status slipped due to defensive concerns, and he fell to the Dodgers in the 8th round in 2007.  Even though Garabedian’s biggest asset is his bat, he has struggled at the plate since turning pro.  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).  In addition, I saw Garabedian play in a few games in Hi-A this year, and he did not look good.  Nevertheless, he must have some potential since he was drafted in the top 10 rounds just one year ago, and also because the Dodgers though enough of him to send him to the Hawaiian League.  In 2009, Garabedian will probably return to Hi-A as a 23 year old, and he’ll need to have a breakout season in the hitter friendly California League.

 

 

97.  Bridger Hunt, OF (93 games in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 9th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.292 average, 1 HR, 33 RBI’s

 

Bridger Hunt spent the entire 2008 season at Inland Empire, and had a pretty mediocre season.  He had a decent batting average, but showed no power.  He is a scrappy player who has potential to be a solid leadoff hitter, but unfortunately he lacks the speed to ever be great.  I saw Hunt play at Inland Empire this year, and he appears to be a singles hitter who has a knack for getting on base.  While he will probably make the jump to AA next year, I don’t see him making it past that level unless he develops another aspect of his game.

 

 

96.  Clayton Allison, RHP (6 innings in AA, 2 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 27th round

6’5”, 235 lbs, 23 years old

1-1, 5.63 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 6.75 K/9

 

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 fact, he moved all the way up to AA in his first professional season, and even though he struggled, that can probably be attributed to his nerves and the fact that he only pitched 8 professional innings.  At 6’5” and 235 lbs, Allison has an ideal pitchers body, and will probably work out of the bullpen.  I don’t think he’ll return to AA next year (Hi-A is the more likely destination), but nevertheless his experiences in 2008 will make for a better future.

 

 

95.  Erick Lantigua, 1B (53 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 165 lbs, 18 years old, bats right handed

.247 average, 2 HR’s, 19 RBI’s

 

Erick Lantigua is a tall, lanky first baseman who made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2008.  He played the first half of the season as a 17 year old before turning 18 in mid July.  Therefore, he is obviously still very young and inexperienced.  Nevertheless, he had a solid first season and even hit a couple home runs.  In addition, he demonstrated that he has a good eye because he took 21 walks in only 146 official AB’s.  A native of the Dominican Republic, Lantigua will definitely fill out as he gets older, and with the muscle will come more power. 

 

 

94.  Juan Gonzalez, 2B (116 games in AA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/8/07

6’0”, 165 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats right handed

.261 average, 14 HR’s, 59 RBI’s

 

Juan Gonzalez was originally signed by the Detroit Tigers as a non-drafted free agent back in 1999.  He struggled through many average seasons before signing with the Dodgers before the 2007 season.  He played in AA during 2007, and repeated that level in 2008.  The surprising thing about Gonzalez is that even though he isn’t very big, he hit 14 HR’s during 2008.  He also hit 21 doubles and had a .375 OBP.  Those are pretty good numbers for a switch hitting middle infielder.  However, Gonzalez is already 26 and a half years old, and his power may just be a function of him finally learning how to hit minor league pitching.  If Juan is still with the organization in 2009, he will probably move up to AAA, but I don’t expect him to ever make it to the major leagues.

 

 

93.  Thomas Melgarejo, LHP (73 innings in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 12/1/05

6’1”, 216 lbs, 21.5 years old

2-6, 4.19 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 7.64 K/9

 

Thomas Melgarejo, a native of Mexico, was signed by the Dodgers before the 2006 season.  He had a good debut in 2006, but that was followed by an awful year in 2007.  He recovered in 2008, however, and had pretty solid year in Lo-A.  While his numbers were not amazing, they were good enough for him to break into my top 100.  I also like Melgarejo is because he is a lefty who appears to have a pretty solid build.  He’s probably best suited as a left handed specialist out of the bullpen, even though he has seen some time as a starter over the past two years.

 

 

92.  Eduardo Perez, RHP (53 innings in GCL, 3 innings in Pioneer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/13/05

6’2”, 185 lbs, 20.5 years old

4-3, 3.38 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 8.36 K/9

 

Eduardo Perez was one of the “players to be named later” in the deal that brought Greg Maddox to LA, so unfortunately he is no longer with the Dodgers.  However, I had put this list together before the trade was completed, so that is why he is still included in my top 200.  Perez had a solid season in 2008, so I was a little disappointed to see him leave the Dodgers.  His K’s per 9 were excellent, and he only allowed a .240 batting average. Also, he will only be 21 at the start of the 2009 season, so he is still young.  He’ll probably do well in the Padres system, and we may someday see him facing the Dodgers.

 

 

91.  Enlly Morales, 2B (67 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

5’11”, 168 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.292 average, 2 HR’s, 27 RBI’s

 

Enlly Morales led the Dodgers Dominican Summer League in batting average during the 2008 season in his professional debut.  He also hit 2 home runs, which surprisingly ranked him second on the team, and won the organization’s Pride Award for the months of June and July.  At 5’11”, Morales has the size of a classic 2nd baseman.  In addition, he is only 19 years old, so he definitely has plenty of time to improve his game.  Even though he had a good season, he will probably return to the DSL because he is still young and inexperienced.  However, it is possible that the organization will give him a shot in one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in order to challenge him and judge his overall ability.

 

 

90.  Wilner Charles, 2B (34 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 165 lbs, 17.5 years old, bats right handed

.268 average, 0 HR’s, 8 RBI’s

 

Wilner Charles is one of the youngest players on this list at just 17 and half years old.  He was born in Haiti, and signed with the Dodgers this year.  He played in 34 games in his debut season, and fared pretty well.  He didn’t show much power, but had a respectable average and stole 7 bases in only 71 AB’s.  As he gets older, Charles will undoubtedly get bigger, but at this point he is the right size for a 2nd baseman.  Charles will definitely return to the Dominican Summer League in 2009, and he’ll try to gain the experience he needs to one day move up in the Dodgers system.

 

 

89.  Rafael Ynoa, 2B (43 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

5’10”, 162 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.306 average, 0 HR’s, 16 RBI’s

 

2008 was Ynoa’s first season in a U.S. based rookie league, and he took full advantage by leading the GCL Dodgers in batting average.  He was also second on the team in runs scored and stolen bases.  A prototypical 2nd baseman, Ynoa is only 5’10” and has not demonstrated any power so far as a professional.  Also, since he is 21 years old, he is probably not going to get any bigger.  Nevertheless, he has improved him hitting since turning pro in 2006, and projects as a slick fielder.  My guess is that Ynoa will head to Lo-A in 2009 with hopes of having another good offensive year.

 

 

88.  Kyle Smit, RHP (58 innings in LoA, 22 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 5th round

6’3”, 165 lbs, 21 years old

1-5, 6.55 ERA, 1.87 WHIP, 7.05 K/9

 

Coming out of high school, Smit was one of the best pitchers coming out of Nevada.  He didn’t really have many college options, however, so he was an easy sign for the Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2006 draft.  He has not performed well so far as a professional, but at only 21 years old, he still has a lot of projection left in his frame.  He already hits 93 on the radar gun, and some scouts think he may be able to hit 96 when he fills out.  One aspect that he needs learn is controlling his pitches, as he allowed far too many walks last year.  That, combined with his lack of a dominant 2nd and 3rd pitch, really hurt his ERA and WHIP in 2008.  Smit will probably return to Lo-A as a 22 year old in 2009, and there he will work to get stronger and fine tune his pitches.

 

 

87.  Garrett White, LHP (54 innings in LoA, 19 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 6th round

6’5”, 235 lbs, 24.5 years old

3-5, 4.81 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8.75 K/9

 

Garrett White was drafted one round after Kyle Smit in the 2006 draft, but is a very different pitcher than Smit.  White attended the University of Mississippi, and had solid career there.  He posted a 3.39 ERA during his final season, and led Old Miss with 11 saves.  Since turning pro, White has been hot and cold, but has seemed to struggle with the more advanced competition.  During his stint in Hi-A this past year, he got rocked and had an 8.05 ERA in 19 innings.  Back down in Lo-A, however, he regained his confidence and allowed a .221 batting average against.  A big lefthander who pitches out of the bullpen, White has big league potential if he can learn how to compete against tough competition.  His biggest disadvantage is his age, as he is already 24 and half years old.  He’ll probably begin next year and Hi-A, but if he excels, he has a good chance of being promoted to AA by midseason.

 

 

86.  Erik Kanaby, CF (122 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 10th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed

.272 average, 0 HR’s, 25 RBI’s

 

Kanaby is a solid centerfielder with plus speed and the ability to get on base.  While he only hit .272 in 2008, his average was .338 in the Pioneer League in 2007, and .406 during his senior season at Lamar University.  Also, while he has no power, he did steal 26 stolen bases in 2008.  There are two negatives about Kanaby, however.  First, he is already 23 years old and hasn’t played above Lo-A.  Second, he was caught stealing 29 times over the past two seasons, demonstrating that he isn’t able to read pitchers very well.  Nevertheless, he’ll move up to Hi-A next year and will roam center field for the 66ers in 2009.  With a good season, he’ll be able to establish himself as a legitimate prospect.

 

 

85.  Ramon Jean, SS (33 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.279 average, 4 HR’s, 16 RBI’s

 

Ramon Jean was signed before the 2007 season, and had a solid debut in the Dominican Summer League.  In 2008, Jean was moved to the GCL, and while his numbers were pretty average, he was one of the best offensive players on the team.  As a 20 year old, he hit 4 HR’s in 111 AB’s and also stole 10 bases.  Now 21, he is not a big guy plays solid defense at shortstop.  He’ll most likely progress to the Pioneer League in 2009, but there is an outside chance that they’ll send him at Lo-A to see how he responds in a more advanced league. 

 

 

84.  Ernesto Antuan, RHP (19 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 162 lbs, 19 years old

1-1, 2.37 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 7.58 K/9

 

Ernesto Antuan is a 19 year old from the Dominican Republic who had a solid debut with the Dominican Dodgers in 2008.  While he only pitched 19 innings, he held opposing hitters to a .149 average and posted a WHIP of under 1.00.  He also had a pretty decent strikeout rate.  He isn’t a very big pitcher at 6’0 and 162 lbs, but so far he seems to be getting the job done.  Antuan won’t be 20 until after the 2009 season, so the Dodgers may keep him in the Dominican Summer League for another year.  During that time, I’m sure that they’ll increase his workload to prepare him for the long seasons that are ahead of him.

 

 

83.  Mario Alvarez, RHP (41 innings in AA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/16/03

6’0”, 195 lbs, 24.5 years old

1-5, 7.08 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 4.43 K/9

 

The Mario Alvarez story is a bit of a mystery to me.  He 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.  Since 2004, however, it was all downhill for Alvarez as he had the following ERA’s: 6.14 in 2005, 5.89 in 2006, 5.60 in 2007, and 7.08 in 2008.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to add him to their 40 man roster after the 2007 season to protect him in the rule 5 draft.  Maybe the Dodgers saw potential in Alvarez that the fans didn’t, or maybe they were simply wrong about his ability, but whatever the case, he was injured during most of 2008 which added to his problems.  While he’ll probably be fully recovered for 2009 and is still just 24 and a half years old, he’ll most likely be dropped from the 40 man roster sometime soon to create room for free agent signings.  My guess is that he’ll return to AA in 2009 if he clears waivers.

 

 

82.  Robert Boothe, RHP (64 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 12/5/07

6’2”, 191 lbs, 22.5 years old

2-5, 6.89 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 8.58 K/9

 

Robert Boothe was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent after the 2007 season.  He is half Japanese, attended Asia University, and was eligible for the Japanese draft before signing with the Dodgers.  While he had a pretty rocky debut in 2008, he showed pretty good control and demonstrated that he has the ability to strike guys out.  Also, 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.”  In addition, at 6’2” and 190 lbs, he has a solid build.  Boothe will probably make the move to Lo-A in 2009, and I’m expecting him to improve greatly from his first season.

 

 

81.  Jerry Sands, RF (46 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 25th round

6’4”, 210 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.205 average, 10 HR’s, 33 RBI’s

 

Sands was the Dodgers 25th round pick in 2008 out of Catawba College in North Carolina, a NCAA division II school.  During his 3 years at Catawba, 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 46 games, which placed him second in HR’s in the GCL.  His power comes from his 6’4” and 210 pound frame, which is ideal for a power hitting outfielder.  Sands isn’t bad on the base paths or in the field either, as he stole 5 bases without being caught, and only made one error all season.  While he only hit .205 during 2008, I attribute that to his adjustment to the professional level.  I predict that Sands will jump to Lo-A in 2009, and if he has another power outburst, the Dodgers will be looking at late round gem. 

 

 

80.  Robert Blevins, RHP (49 innings in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 13th round

6’0”, 200 lbs, 23.5 years old

2-7, 2.96 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.54 K/9

 

Robert Blevins had a must better year in 2008 than his 2-7 record shows.  He posted a 2.96 ERA, allowed a .239 batting average against, and had a strikeout rate of 10.5 K’s per 9 innings.  He is a great competitor, and apparently played his entire junior year of college with a torn labrum in his left hip (yet still with 10-2 with a 2.57 ERA).  He doesn’t throw extremely hard, but has a lot of different pitches, including 4 types of fastballs (4-seamer, 2-seamer, cutter, and sidearm).  At 23 and a half, Blevins needs to move a little more quickly if he wants to make an impact, and my guess is that he’ll start at Hi-A next year, with a promotion to AA a possibility later in the year.

 

 

79.  Charlie Mirabal, LHP (32 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07

5’11”, 165 lbs, 21.5 years old

5-2, 1.99 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 11.09 K/9

 

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 while also getting a little lucky.  He had a 1.99 ERA in 32 innings and had an outstanding strikeout rate, but also posted a 1.48 WHIP.  I can’t remember the last time I saw an ERA that low with a WHIP that high, but that is where the his luck came into play.  Mirabal is only 5’11”, but is a lefty and obviously has some pretty good stuff.  He’s already 21 years old, so Mirabal will defiantly move to a U.S. based rookie league in 2009 because he can’t afford to spend another season in the DSL.

 

 

78.  Matthew Magill, RHP (30 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round

6’3”, 175 lbs, 19 years old

1-2, 3.34 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.59 K/9

 

Matt Magill was picked late in the 2008 draft due to his 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.  At 6’3”, Magill has a very projectable frame that is ideal for a pitcher.  He only throws about 90 mph right now, but projects to throw a little harder when he fills out.  He also has a great slider, which is currently his best pitch.  Matt is only 19, so he is still very young and has plenty of time to improve.  He’ll probably play in the Pioneer Rookie League next year after an extended stay in spring training.

 

 

77.  Marcel Prado, RHP (37 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/04

6’4”, 226 lbs, 21 years old

1-1, 4.86 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 9.73 K/9

 

During 2007, Marcel Prado a great season in the Dominican Summer League, posting a 1.24 ERA and a .180 batting average against in 36 innings.  Based on that success, the Dodgers assigned Prado to the Pioneer Rookie League in 2008.  While he was unable to repeat his amazing performance from 2007, he still pitched pretty well and continued to demonstrate his ability to strike out hitters.  His 6’4” frame is ideal for a pitcher, and he is still just 21 years old.  One negative thing about Prado is that he has had a limited workload during his four professional seasons, as he has never pitched more than 37 innings in any season.  Also, he has been used exclusively out of the bullpen, which may be hindering his growth.  Lastly, it should be noted Prado has been playing in the Venezuelan Winter League this off-season, and has performed well with a 3.86 ERA in 11 innings so far.

 

 

76.  David Pfeiffer, LHP (62 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 14th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 23 years old

3-3, 5.55 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 8.76 K/9

 

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 this off-season when he played for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaii Winter League.  It was there that he finally broke out by posting 1.59 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, and .127 batting average against in 17 innings.  These numbers earned him a spot on the Hawaii Winter Baseball All-League Team, and also got him some recognition within the Dodgers system.  A left-handed reliever, Pfeiffer’s struggles during the 2008 regular season could maybe be attributed to the hitter-friendly California League.  In 2009, I expect the Dodgers to move Pfeiffer up to AA to see if his dominance from the Winter League can carry over.  If he continues to thrive, then he may be on the fast track to becoming a lefty specialist that the Dodgers can one day use out of their bullpen.

 

 

75.  Danny Danielson, RHP (10 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 7th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 20 years old

0-0, 5.59 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 7.45 K/9

 

Danielson is a big kid out of Alabama who was the Dodgers 7th round pick in 2007.  He had a solid debut in 2007 by recording a 3.48 ERA, .a 224 batting average against, and a strikeout per inning in the GCL.  Things changed in 2008, though, because he was limited to only 10 innings of work.  I do not think his limited workload was due to injury, however, because he made appearances during June, July, and August.  Instead, I think the Dodgers were simply trying to bring him along slowly because according to Baseball America, he was overworked as a high school pitcher.  Anyways, during his limited action, he pitched in 9 games, and allowed runs in only 2 of them.  Not bad for a 20 year old with limited experience.  In 2009, Danielson will have to pitch significantly more innings in order to improve, and he’ll probably get that chance in the Pioneer Rookie League.

 

 

74.  Daniel Tamares, RHP (49 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 9/26/06

6’3”, 170 lbs, 19 years old

3-4, 2.37 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.12 K/9

 

Daniel Tamares is a young right-hander who has already pitched two seasons in the Dominican Summer League.  In 2007 he had an average debut while pitching only 15 innings, but in 2008 he was greatly improved and posted some impressive numbers.  In fact, before he tired during the later months of the season, Tamares had an ERA of less than 1.50 though the month of July.  While he only pitched 49 innings during his 11 appearances, Tamares seems ready to take his game to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2009.  He has good size, and projects to get even stronger once he fills out.

 

 

73.  Travis Vetters, CF (37 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 28 games in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 6/28/06

6’2”, 195 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.329 average, 9 HR’s, 49 RBI’s

 

Travis Vetters is another interesting Dodger prospect.  He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in June 2006, but didn’t play much that season.  In 2007, he led the Dodgers Pioneer Rookie League team with 14 HR’s and had a .315 average.  In 2008, he started the year in Lo-A, but he struggled mightily, so he returned to the Pioneer League where he tore it up with a .404 average and 9 HR’s.  With those kinds of numbers, he should be a legitimate prospect, right?  Well the problem with Vetters is that he already 25 years old and has spent most of his professional career in a Rookie League.  Nevertheless, it is tough to hit over .400 no matter where you play, so I will give him a little respect.  The Dodgers will probably try to jump him to Hi-A in 2009 to see how he responds, but this time he can’t afford to struggle in the higher level.

 

 

72.  Andrew Locke, 1B (122 games in Hi A in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 19th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.311 average, 11 HR’s, 85 RBI’s

 

Locke has been a pretty solid minor league player since being drafted out of Boston College in 2005, but like Travis Vetters, he is getting up there in age.  As a 25 year old in Hi-A, he hit a respectable .311 with 11 HR’s, but some of that can be attributed to the fact that the California League is very hitter friendly.  Also, Locke is limited to playing 1st base, so that hurts his chances of moving up since 1st basemen are a dime a dozen.  However, I saw Locke play during this past season, and he looked like a solid player who was had poise and the ability to lead a team.  I like his potential, and I hope he does well in the future.  Overall, Locke has definitely proven that he deserves a shot to play in AA during 2009, and I foresee him playing well in Chattanooga next year.

 

 

71.  Carlos Frias, RHP (31 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/3/07

6’4”, 170 lbs, 19 years old

1-2, 3.82 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 5.58 K/9

 

Carlos Frias is another 19 year old prospect, but he is one step ahead of Daniel Tamares because he has already played one full season in the GCL.  A 6’4 specimen, Frias forced the hand of the Dodgers to promote him after his stunning 2007 season where he had a 1.81 ERA and allowed only a .184 batting average.  He did not disappoint in 2008 as he posted good numbers as one of the youngest players on the Dodgers GCL team.  Also, instead of tiring during the long season, Frias seemed to get better as he ended the season with a 2.70 ERA in his final 17 innings.  In 2009, I expect Frias to move up to the Pioneer League, and hopefully he’ll continue to improve.  I have high hopes for Frias, and I can see him one day being a legitimate Dodger prospect.

 

 

70.  Blake Brannon, RHP (35 innings in LoA, 8 innings in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 6/10/07

6’2”, 225 lbs, 23.5 years old

2-0, 3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 10.43 K/9

 

Blake Brannon was signed as a non-drafted free agent after the 2007 draft out of the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He had a terrible debut during the 2007, but turned things around in 2008 while splitting time between LoA and HiA.  A big solid righthander, Brannon has powerful stuff and knows how to strike guys out.  In college, he set school records in appearances, and also had a 30 inning scoreless streak at one point during his college career.  He is exclusively a reliever, and while he is already 23 and half years old, he still has time to establish himself in the Dodgers minor league system.  He’ll probably return to HiA to begin next season, but he’ll most likely have the opportunity to move up to AA at some point during 2009 if he performs well.

 

 

69.  Clay Calfee, LF (49 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 14th round

6’6”, 220 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.232 average, 8 HR’s, 35 RBI’s

 

Clay Calfee is a big outfielder with a ton of power.  Drafted out of Angelo State in Texas, Calfee left the college 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.  At 6’6”, Calfee is prone to the strikeout, and doesn’t have much speed.  He does project as a decent outfielder, however, as he only made 1 error last season.  Because he is already 22 and a half, he’ll probably move up to Lo-A next season.  He’ll have a big challenge in the Midwest league as it has historically been hard on hitters.

 

 

68.  Jacobo Meque, LHP (33 innings in AA, 15 innings in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2007

6’2”, 175 lbs, 25 years old

3-1, 3.19 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 10.88 K/9

 

First of all, Jacobo Meque is a minor league free agent, so he may not be back with the Dodgers next season.  That being said, he has played the last two seasons with the Dodgers, and has put up some pretty impressive numbers, especially in the category of strike outs.  2008 was his first experience in AA, yet he allowed only a .215 batting average against at that level and picked up 5 saves.  He is a left hander, and pitches exclusively out of the bullpen.  Without much of a future in the Dodgers organization, Meque will probably sign elsewhere.  If he does stay with the Dodgers, however, he’ll probably return to AA for his 9th professional season.

 

 

67.  Pedro Guerrero, SS (32 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06

6’3”, 181 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.263 average, 2 HR’s, 13 RBI’s

 

When people hear the name Pedro Guerrero, they will probably think of the Dodgers infielder/outfielder from 1978 through 1988.  This Pedro Guerrero, however, is a Dodger shortstop who is only 20 years old and played in the Gulf Coast League in 2008.  Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, Guerrero played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut.  He is a lanky player, and will probably not stay at shortstop as he is 6’3”, and made 12 errors in only 32 games last season.  He is probably better suited as a 3rd baseman or outfielder, but if he does make that move, then he needs to improve his offensive game.  As a professional, he only has 4 HR’s to his credit, and has yet to hit above .290.  Nevertheless, Guerrero is still young, and I expect him to have a good season next year in the Pioneer Rookie League. 

 

 

66.  Marlon Sucre, LF (53 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/07

6’2”, 160 lbs, 18.5 years old, bats right handed

.286 average, 2 HR’s, 23 RBI’s

 

Marlon Sucre was signed by the Dodgers in 2007, but struggled during his debut as a 17 year old in the Dominican Summer League.  During the 2008 season, however, he improved dramatically as he raised his average by over 110 points and had 21 more RBI’s.  He also ended the year by hitting .391 during the final month of the season.  A lanky outfielder, Sucre plays good defense and he had the least number of errors on the Dodgers DSL team for players who appeared in more than 50 games.  He is still very young at just 18 and a half, and has a lot of potential.  He’ll probably return to the DSL for a third season in 2009, and if he does I think he’ll probably lead the team in most of the offensive categories.

 

 

65.  Joel Lima, RHP (39 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 165 lbs, 19 years old

2-2, 2.52 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 7.55 K/9

 

Lima time isn’t done just yet!  Before the 2008 season, the Dodgers signed the then 18 year old Joel Lima.  Not only is Joel Lima the brother of former Dodger Jose Lima, but he also had a superb season in 2008 as a 19 year old.  While he isn’t the biggest player, his stats speak for themselves as he posted a 2.52 ERA over 17 appearances.  He also struck out close to a batter per inning, and only allowed a .243 batting average.  Although his brother has never been a consistent major league pitcher, the fact that Joel has the bloodlines of a professional athlete gives him the advantage over some of the other players in the Dodgers system.  He may jump to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2009, however he may also need another year of experience in the Dominican League.  

 

 

64.  Matthew Wallach, C (51 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 22nd round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.283 average, 10 HR’s, 36 RBI’s

 

Matthew Wallach is another Dodger prospect with baseball bloodlines.  The son of former Dodger Tim Wallach, Matt grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended Cal State Fullerton.  While he didn’t have a great senior season with the Titans (.255, 5 HR’s), the Dodgers took him with their 22nd round pick in the 2007 draft.  So far, he has been a great late round pick as he had a solid professional debut in 2007, and then followed that up with a superb 2008 where he hit for average and showed some surprising power.  While Matt has only played rookie ball so far, the fact that he plays catcher can really help his changes of moving up through the system.  All teams love offensive catchers who can also defend well behind the plate, so if Matt can keep up his hitting in A ball next year, he’ll really make a name for himself.

 

 

63.  Tito Franco, RF (44 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 170 lbs, 17 years old, bats right handed

.242 average, 2 HR’s, 15 RBI’s

 

At only 17 and a quarter years old, Tito Franco is the youngest player in the Dodgers minor league system.  In fact, he played over half of the 2008 season at the age of 16.  Yet he played like a much older player as he held his own in the Dominican Summer League this past year.  I see a lot of potential in young players, especially those who are able to get the job done against older competition.  In Franco’s case, he started off the season pretty slow, but gained steam as it wore on.  He hit .191 in June, .250 in July, and finished the season by hitting .310 in August.  He also showed a little power by hitting 2 HR’s in a very pitcher friendly league, and only committed 4 errors in the outfield.  The experience that Franco got as a 17 year old will be invaluable to his future.  There is no doubt that he’ll return to the DSL again next season, and hopefully he’ll continue to improve, even though he’ll again be one of the youngest players in the league in 2009.

 

 

62.  Francisco Felix, RHP (49 innings in HiA, 31 innings in AAA)

Signed by Dodgers 2/19/03

5’11”, 191 lbs, 25 years old

5-4, 4.28 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.00 K/9

 

Francisco Felix has been with the Dodgers for a very long time.  Signed in 2003, he played 2 seasons in the Dominican Summer League and pretty much dominated the competition.  He was then sent to the Mexican League, and struggled there before making his U.S. debut in 2006.  In 2007, he split time between Lo-A and Hi-A, and had mixed results.  He returned to Hi-A to being the 2008 season, and pitched very well in 25 appearances.  He compiled a 3.31 ERA and a .198 batting average against while striking out over a batter an inning at Inland Empire.  That earned him a promotion all the way up to AAA, and although he didn’t have the dominating stats that he had at Hi-A, he didn’t really struggle either.  At 25 years old, AAA is probably where Felix belongs, and he’ll most likely return there next season.  While he stands at only 5’11” he can definitely be a relief option for the Dodgers in the future if he can perform well at Albuquerque.  He is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League, and is holding his own with a 4.13 ERA, a .243 batting average against, and a strikeout rate of over a batter per inning.

 

 

61.  Steven Caseres, 1B (44 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 9th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed

.268 average, 7 HR’s, 38 RBI’s

 

Steven Caseres is a big left-handed first baseman who has tons of power, but also is prone to the strikeout.  In 44 games in the Pioneer Rookie League, Caseres hit 7 HR’s, and struck out 54 times.  Back in college at James Madison, he had a great 2008 season where he hit .342 with 21 HR’s and 70 RBI’s.  He was also a freshman All American, and placed in the top 10 on James Madison’s career home run list with 32 (even though he played just two seasons).  Limited to first base, Caseres’ road to the show will have to go through his bat as he has no speed and isn’t known for his glove.  He’ll probably open the season in Lo-A next year, and will have to battle through the cold and the pitcher friendly ballparks in order to prove his offensive abilities.

 

 

60.  Jose Dominguez, RHP (42 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’0”, 190 lbs, 18 years old

2-4, 5.14 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 11.79 K/9

There are two things that stand out when you look at the stats of Jose Dominquez: his age, and his strikeout rate.  As a 17 year old during the majority of the 2008 season, Dominguez took the Dominican Summer League by storm and struck out 55 hitters in just 42 innings.  He also led all Dodger minor leaguers in 2008 with his 11.79 strikeout rate.  While his ERA and WHIP weren’t as pretty as his strikeout numbers, those were mostly the result of a rocky start to the season and will surely fall into place as he matures.  Signed for $50,000 as a 16 year old at the start of the 2007 international signing period, he 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.”  It will be interesting to see what Dominguez does from here.  He’ll most likely repeat in the DSL 2009, and hopefully he’ll have another exciting season.

 

 

59.  Austin Yount, Utility (33 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 12th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 22 years old, bats left handed

.301 average, 1 HR, 21 RBI’s

 

Austin Yount, nephew of hall of famer Robin Yount, was drafted by the Dodgers out of Stanford in the 12th round of the 2008 draft.  Even though he was known more as pitcher during his days at Stanford, the Dodgers saw something in his offensive abilities, and are grooming him as a 3rd baseman/utility player.  I’m not really sure what the Dodger scouts saw in him at the plate during his college days, as he only had 1 career HR and hit a combined .257, but whatever it was they saw, it paid off as he had a solid debut in the Pioneer League.  In fact, he ended the year hitting .357 in the month of September as the Ogden Raptors were making their playoff push.  While Austin isn’t a big player, the argument could be made that neither was his uncle Robin, and look what kind of career he had.  I think that Austin had the bloodlines to one day make it to the major leagues, but at 22 years old, he’ll have to move quickly.  He’ll probably play in Lo-A next year, and with a good season, he’ll make his way onto the Dodgers prospect radar.

 

 

58.  Elisaul Pimentel, RHP (56 innings in GCL Rookie League, 4 innings in Pioneer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 12/12/06

6’2”, 170 lbs, 20.5 years old

3-7, 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 6.75 K/9

 

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, even though is win-loss record didn’t show it.  During one game in August, he even took a no-hitter into the 6th inning.  Based on that success, the Dodgers decided to promote Pimentel again as he was moved to the Pioneer League toward the end of the 2008 season.  While he struggled in his two appearances there, the promotion was an encouraging sign for Elisaul and his development path.  Pimentel ended the season with a combined 2.70 ERA and a .221 batting average against, both stats which ranked in the top 20 in the Dodgers system.  In 2009, he will probably return to the Pioneer League, with a promotion to Lo-A possible later in the season.

 

 

57.  Timothy Sexton, RHP (142 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 25th round

6’6”, 185 lbs, 21.5 years old

5-12, 6.04 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 5.84 K/9

 

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.  Nevertheless, Sexton is only 21 and half years old, so he still has plenty of time to learn from his experience.  From what I’ve read, he has a solid four-pitch repertoire, and can hit 91 mph.  In addition, he is 6’6”, reminds scouts of Bronson Arroyo, and has a very projectable frame.  In 2009, Sexton will probably return to Hi-A, and hopefully he’ll have better results.

 

 

56.  Paul Koss, RHP (69 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 11th round

6’4”, 215 lbs, 23.5 years old

3-2, 3.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 8.57 K/9

 

Paul Koss is the 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.  Drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, Koss started his career in the Pioneer League.  He moved up to Hi-A in 2008, and finished the season with 14 saves and 3.50 ERA for the Inland Empire 66ers.  He also made the California League All-Star Team, and has been quoted as saying that he loves the pressures of being a closer.  Koss has good size that is ideal for a relief pitcher, and also possesses a nasty slider that is by far his best pitch.  Really, the only thing that he needs to work on is his fastball, as it generally sits at 92 mph and doesn’t have great movement.  Koss will probably be promoted to AA to begin 2009, and that will be a pretty big challenge for the 23 year old as he will face some stiff competition.

 

 

55.  Justin Orenduff, RHP (110 innings in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 1st round

6’4”, 205 lbs, 25.5 years old

3-7, 6.55 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 7.77 K/9

 

Justin Orenduff was drafted in the supplemental 1st round in 2004, and used to be one of the Dodgers top prospects.  From 2004 to 2007, Orenduff had an average ERA of around 3.80 and accumulated a strikeout rate of 10.2 batters per 9 innings.  After the 2006 season, he was ranked 14th in the Dodgers system by Baseball America, and after the 2007 season he was at #27.  Then, in 2008, something went wrong.  In 110 innings at AAA, Orenduff had a 6.55 ERA, a 1.89 WHIP, and allowed an amazing 25 HR’s.  While some of those HR’s can be attributed to the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, most were simply related to bad pitches.  Orenduff’s struggles continued in the 2008 Arizona Fall League as he allowed 10 more HR’s in just 28 innings.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers haven’t given up hope.  Orenduff is a big guy, and at 25 and a half is just reaching his prime.  He also has a solid slider, and is already on the Dodgers 40 man roster.  He will most likely return to AAA in 2009, and if he can return to form, he’ll be a candidate to make an appearance on the major league club at some point next season.  If he continues to struggle, however, he will probably never get that chance.

 

 

54.  Jordan Pratt, RHP (69 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 5th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 23.5 years old

4-3, 4.83 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 10.43 K/9

 

Pratt was a 5th round pick in the 2003 draft, so he has been with the Dodgers for a while already.  After many up and down seasons, Pratt started putting everything together during the 2008 regular season.  While his ERA and WHIP weren’t very good, his strikeout rate was great at 10.43 K’s/9, and he allowed only a .203 average against.  After the season, the Dodgers showed their commitment to Pratt by sending him to the Hawaii Winter League, and he didn’t disappoint.  In the HWL, Pratt posted an improved ERA of 2.53, and had an amazing strikeout rate of 14.5 strikeouts per 9 innings (which by far led the league for pitchers with at least 10 innings).  At 6’3” and 195, Pratt has a great pitchers body, and can hit 94 mph on the radar gun.  He also has a great cutter.  In addition, he is still just 23.5 years old, even though he already has 6 years of professional experience. The Dodgers left Pratt unprotected in the recent Rule 5 draft, and while many thought that he might be taken by another team based on his recent success, he luckily will stay with the Dodgers, and will probably be promoted to AA in 2009.

 

 

53.  Edwin Contreras, RHP (55 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 11/28/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 20 years old

5-0, 2.30 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 5.60 K/9

 

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, and this time he did even better.  He had a perfect 5-0 record, posted a WHIP of 1.02, and allowed only a .219 batting average.  In addition, his 2.30 ERA led all Dodger minor leaguers in that category (besides those playing in the Dominican Summer League).  Really the only statistic that Contreras lacked was his ability to strike batters out, but that will probably come as he matures.  At 6’2”, Contreras has the build to be successful professional pitcher.  However, he is only listed at 165, so he’ll have to put on some muscle if he wants to continue climbing the later.  In 2009, Contreras will most likely make the jump to Lo-A, and he’ll be primed for another great season in the pitcher friendly Midwest League.

 

 

52.  Preston Mattingly, 2B (92 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 1st round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.224 average, 6 HR’s, 24 RBI’s

 

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 31 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.  So far, that pick has looked like a major mistake as player like Joba Chamberlin, Chris Tillman, and Brett Anderson were all still available at that time that Mattingly was picked.  Nevertheless, it is still too early to completely write off Preston as he is still only 21 years old, and hasn’t had an opportunity to play above Lo-A.  While his statistics have been pretty bad, he is a great athlete, and is still adjusting to professional pitching.  He has good size, and simply needs to learn how to put the bat on the ball.  He also needs to find a permanent position as he has moved around the infield during his first 3 years of professional ball.  In addition, Mattingly must have injured himself in some way toward the end of last season because he didn’t play after July 31st.  Looking ahead to 2009, Mattingly will probably make the move to Hi-A, even though his stats don’t really warrant a promotion.  The change of scenery will probably do him good because for one he will be closer to his father in LA, and for two because the California league is generally much easier on hitters.  Overall, I expect him to have a much better year at Inland Empire, and hopefully that will put Preston back on the Dodgers prospect radar.

 

 

51.  Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (47 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’1”, 170 lbs, 19.5 years old

1-4, 1.71 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 9.70 K/9

 

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.  At 6’1” and 170 lbs, De La Rosa isn’t going to intimidate anyone with his size, but he big enough to hold his own.  Also, he is still just 19 and a half years old, so he is still maturing as a player.  In 2009, De La Rosa will be a candidate to make the jump to the Gulf Coast League, where he will face a much bigger challenge. 

 

 

50.  Roberto Feliciano, LHP (20 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 24th round

6’0”, 214 lbs, 18 years old

2-0, 3.10 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 11.07 K/9

 

Considering that he was a 24th round pick, Roberto Feliciano did very well during his first professional season.  Drafted out of Puerto Rico, this lefthander is a solid 6 footer who knows how to strike batters out.  He whiffed 25 hitters in just 20 innings in the Gulf Coast League, and also amassed a decent 3.10 ERA.  He pitched strictly out of the pen last season, but I don’t see why he couldn’t be a starter at some point in his career.  I don’t know much else about Feliciano, except for the fact that he is currently playing in the Puerto Rican Winter League, and has allowed only 1 hit in almost 4 innings.  He also has allowed 3 walks, however, so he may need to work on his control a little.  At just 18 years old, Feliciano is still very young, and will definitely return to one of the Dodgers Rookie Leagues in 2009.  While he probably won’t repeat the great season he had in 2008, I expect that he will continue to grow into a legitimate prospect.

 

 

49.  Josh Wall, RHP (129 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

6’6”, 190 lbs, 21.5 years old

9-6, 6.28 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 7.05 K/9

 

Josh Wall was drafted in the same round in 2005 as Ivan DeJesus Jr., but has not had as much success as the young shortstop.  While he posted a 9-6 record for the 66ers in 2008, his ERA was a horrendous 6.28, and opposing batter hit almost .300 against him.  While some of his struggles can be attributed to the hitter friendly California League, I think most of it was related to his inability to execute.  Nevertheless, Wall is not even 22 years old yet, and still has a very projectable frame.  Coming out of high school, he was hitting 93 on the radar gun, and even showed his power by hitting 19 home runs as a senior.  Also, he had a solid 2007 season at Great Lakes where he posted a respectable 4.18 ERA.  I personally think that Wall still has it in him to be a great pitcher, but he just needs to get his confidence back after the beating he took last season.  If the Dodgers were smart, they would move him up to AA despite his terrible stats, simply to get him away from the California League.

 

 

48.  Justin Miller, RHP (140 innings in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 6th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 21 years old

4-11, 3.99 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 5.27 K/9

 

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 playoff.  That success translated into a promotion to Lo-A, where he had a phenomenal start to the 2008 season.  In April, Miller posted a 1.11 ERA in 24 innings, and allowed only a .205 batting average.  The league eventually caught up with Justin, but his final stats for the 2008 season were still very good.  Also, while he can be hittable and wild at times, he still throws pretty hard and has a promising slider.  The one thing I don’t like about Miller is his low strikeout rate, but I think he simply needs more professional experience.  In 2009, I expect Miller to move up to Hi-A where he will face a major challenge.  If he can keep his ERA under 4.50 in the California League, then I would consider it a very successful season.

 

 

47.  Javy Guerra, RHP (66 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 4th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 23 years old

5-4, 4.07 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 8.55 K/9

 

Javy Guerra, a 4th round pick in 2004, has had a mediocre professional career so far even though he has great stuff.  His ERA has never been below 4.00, and his 2007 ERA was actually 6.27. That being said, 2008 was a big year for Guerra as he showed that he could hold his own in the California League with a 4.07 ERA, and also earn a trip to the Hawaii Winter League.  In the HWL, he showed his stuff by flashing fastballs and 96 mph, and also by holding batters to a .233 batting average.  In addition, he ranked 18th on Baseball America’s top 20 players from the HWL, and was featured in an article that talked about top players available in the Rule 5 Draft.  Luckily for the Dodgers, nobody took Guerra during that draft, so he will be able to continue his Dodger career next season at AA in Chattanooga.  While he is only 6’1, he has a deceptive delivery and obviously can throw the ball very hard.  2009 will be the turning point in Guerra’s career, and he will have to be up for the challenge as he makes his way through the Dodgers system.

 

 

46.  Luis Ferreras, RHP (13 innings in LoA, 12 innings in GCL, 3 innings in AA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

6’0”, 151 lbs, 19 years old

0-1, 4.23 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 4.23 K/9

 

In 2007, Luis Ferreras had an amazing debut in the Dominican Summer League as a 17 year old.  He had an ERA that was below 1, held batters to a .183 batting average, and picked up 12 saves.  Therefore in 2008, even though Ferreras only had one year of professional experience and was only 18 years old, the Dodgers allowed him to pitch in the GCL, LoA, and even in AA.  While he saw mixed results in 2008, Ferreras gained plenty of valuable experience that he will be able to use throughout the remainder of his career.  Also, he is just 19 years old, so Ferreras has plenty of time to grow and mature into a legitimate Dodger prospect.  The one knock on Ferreras’ 2008 performance was his ability to strike batters out.  However, I wouldn’t be too concerned about that statistic because he had decent strikeout numbers in 2007, and also because he was trying to adjust to more advanced hitters during 2008.  The other knock on Ferreras is his size, and that is something he will have to work on during the offseason.  In 2009, I expect Ferreras to start the year at LoA, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was again moved up to HiA or AA at some point during the season.

 

 

45.  Antonio Castillo, LHP (69 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

5’11”, 180 lbs, 20.5 years old

3-1, 1.18 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 9.70 K/9

 

In 2007, Antonio Castillo posted an ERA of 1.75 and allowed a batting average against of only .178 in 46 innings.  After such a great season, there is no way that Castillo would be able ever repeat such a performance, right?  Well in 2008, Castillo was not only able to repeat his performance, but he was able to do better.  In approximately 69 innings, Castillo had a 1.18 ERA, struck out over a batter per inning, and allowed a .160 batting average.  He also finished the year with a 0.53 ERA in the final month of the season, and allowed only 1 HR all year.  Statistically, he had the best year out of all of the Dodger minor league pitchers.  However, Castillo is already 20 and a half years old, has only played in the Dominican Summer League, and is definitely undersized for a pitcher.  At 5’11”, he is one of the rare pitchers who are less than 6 feet tall.  Nevertheless, Castillo is a lefty and seems to have the advantage when he takes the mound against any batter.  In 2009, I predict that Castillo will play for one of the two Dodgers Rookie League squads, and will face a much greater challenge than he did in the DSL.

 

 

44.  Travyon Robinson, CF (112 games in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 10th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 21 years old, switch hitter

.276 average, 4 HR’s, 42 RBI’s

 

Travyon Robinson is a local guy as he was drafted out of Crenshaw high school in 2005.  While he is a small player, Robinson has plenty of speed and handles the bat well as a switch hitter.  He also is a great defensive center fielder as he made just one error during the entire 2008 season.  Also in 2008, he had the best offensive year of his young professional career.  Although his stats weren’t eye-popping, his offensive improvements from 2007 shows that he is on the right path.  With speed being his biggest asset, Robinson needs to work on making better contact.  He only had a .276 average and struck out 104 times in just 439 at bats, so that proves that he struggles to get the bat on the ball.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers showed their faith in Robinson by inviting him to their December strength and conditioning camp at Dodger Stadium.  This camp was designed for the higher level prospects, so the fact the he was invited shows that the Dodgers think highly of Travyon.  Because he is just 21 years old, Robinson may return to Hi-A for another year of work in the California League.  However, he may progress up to AA so the Dodgers can see how he responds to more advanced pitching. 

 

 

43.  Jesus Castillo, RHP (114 innings in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 27th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 24.5 years old

7-4, 3.24 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 6.00 K/9

 

Jesus Castillo was drafted by the Dodgers as a late round pick in 2003.  From 2004 through 2006, he had three straight excellent seasons, 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.  That brings us to this past season, where all things considered, Castillo probably had his best year as a professional.  His 3.24 ERA ranked third for Dodger AA starters, and the two players ahead of him were Clayton Kershaw and James McDonald.  He also posted a respectable 1.37 WHIP, and made the AA All-Star team.  Based on those numbers, the Dodgers decided to add Castillo to their 40 man roster in November of this year in order to protect him during the Rule 5 Draft.  Since being added to the 40 man roster, Castillo has pitched 17 innings in the Mexican Winter League, and hasn’t disappointed as he has posted a 2.60 ERA and allowed only a .203 batting average against.  While Castillo has never been known as a strikeout, he seems to be able to get the job done by allowing hitters to put the ball in play.  In 2009, Castillo will definitely be moved up to AAA, and he may even be a candidate to make a spot start depending on injuries and how the Dodger rotation shapes up during this offseason. 

 

 

42.  Kyle Orr, 1B (45 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 4th round

6’5”, 205 lbs, 20 years old, bats left handed

.225 average, 5 HR’s, 24 RBI’s

 

Kyle Orr’s ranking is based mostly on projection, because his stats during the last two seasons have been pretty dismal as he has hit a combined .226 during 2007 and 2008.  But believe me, there is plenty of potential for this big 1st baseman who was drafted out of Canada in 2006.  While he was strongly committed to play at the University of Kentucky, the Dodgers were able to sign Orr with a $435K signing bonus and an additional $100K going toward a college education if he ever chooses to get one.  At 6’5”, Orr has been putting on shows during batting practice since high school.  He has legitimate raw power, even though he only has 8 HR’s as a professional so far.  He is also a gritty player, and has a strong arm.  His biggest struggle comes against left handed pitchers, as Orr hit only .079 against south paws in 2008.  Without much speed or defense, he is going to have to get it done with his bat, and hopefully will improve as he gets older.  Orr is still just 20 years old, so he has plenty of time to develop his game.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers kept Orr in extended spring training, and then returned him to the Pioneer League for another season of growth.  If that is the case, then I would expect him to post much improved numbers in 2009, especially in the area of power.

 

 

41.  Thomas Giles, RF (126 games in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 8th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 25 years old, bats left handed

.280 average, 22 HR’s, 100 RBI’s

 

In 2008, Thomas Giles had a great offensive season and led all Dodger minor leaguers in HR’s and RBI’s.  Based on those numbers, some might expect Giles to rank a little higher on my list.  Well unfortunately, Giles had a four factors working against him.  First, Giles is already 25 years old, and was one of the oldest players in Hi-A.  His experience alone gave him an advantage over younger pitchers.  Second, Giles played the entire season in the California League, which is very hitter friendly.  In fact, he had a 6 RBI game and a 9 RBI game, both which came at stadiums where the wind was blowing out.  Third, Giles was sent to the Hawaii Winter League after the season, and had a terrible time at the plate.  He hit just .184 in the HWL, and picked up just 3 RBI’s in 76 at bats.  Forth, Giles strikes out way too much as he went down on strikes 117 times last year.  Even with these negatives trying to pull him down, Giles is still a solid player.  He’s not very big, but is a versatile outfielder and has a sweet left handed swing.  He’s also an educated player and knows how to place the ball into the gaps.  In addition, I had the opportunity to watch Giles play a couple of times this year, and he was definitely the most exciting hitter on the team (after Santana left).  In 2009, Giles will undoubtedly be promoted to AA where he will have to prove that his offensive stats are not solely related to the hitting environment.  He’ll also have to make the most of his opportunities as he will again be one of the older players in the league.

 

 

40.  Geison Aguasviva, LHP (71 innings in Pioneer Rookie League, 19 innings in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05

6’2”, 166 lbs, 21 years old

4-6, 4.07 ERA, 1.52 WHIP, 7.94 K/9

 

Geison Aguasviva is a lefthander who was signed out of the Dominican Republic before the 2006 season.  His debut in 2006 was average at best, but in 2007, Aguasviva put together a very impressive season.  In 66 innings, he posted a 1.50 ERA, struck out over a batter per inning, and allowed only a .183 batting average.  Based on that success, the Dodgers decided to jump the then 20 year old to Lo-A to begin the 2008 season.  After 19 innings and an 8.38 ERA, it was apparent that it probably wasn’t the greatest idea to promote him up that high, so the Dodgers moved Aguasviva to the Pioneer Rookie League in June.  There he had much better results as he had an ERA of just 2.90 in 13 starts (although his WHIP was still a little high).  As a tall, skinny player, Aguasviva still has plenty of projection left in his frame.  So far, he has been able to hit 91 MPH on the radar gun, but the Dodgers expect that to jump even higher once he adds muscle.  He also has decent secondary stuff that he has been able to command fairly well.  In 2009, Aguasviva will still be just 21 years old, and I’m pretty sure that he will get another shot to prove himself at Lo-A. 

 

 

39.  A.J. Ellis, C (84 games in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 18th round

6’3”, 240 lbs, 27.5 years old, bats right handed

.321 average, 4 HR’s, 59 RBI’s

 

Andrew James Ellis, aka A.J. Ellis, was drafted out of Austin Peay College in 2003, and left as their all time hit leader.  That success didn’t immediately translate at the professional level, however, as he struggled at the plate from 2003 through 2006.  In 2007, he finally began to show some signs of life with a .269 batting average and 8 HR’s at AA.  Then came 2008, the year in which Ellis really broke out offensively.  While his power numbers dipped from the year before, Ellis hit a remarkable .321 and had 59 RBI’s.  In fact, after the AAA All Star game (which he was chosen to be a part of), he hit .371 to finish out the season.  As a result, the Dodgers called him up September to give him a little experience, and even though he went 0 for 3, I’m sure he had the time of his life.  At 27 and half years old, Ellis is one of the oldest players on the list.  However, he already has a leg up over most of the other players in the Dodgers minor league system because he has already made his major league debut.  In fact, if I were Dodger management, I would pick A.J. Ellis to be the primary backup to Russell Martin during the 2009 season.  He is cheap, durable, plays adequate defense, and possesses at least some sort of an offensive threat.  I see him as an upgrade over Danny Ardoin, but I guess they are going to have to battle it out in Spring Training (unless the Dodgers sign another legitimate backup).  He if is able to win the job, it would be quite an accomplishment for this former 18th round pick.

 

 

38.  Travis Schlichting, RHP (60 innings in AA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/6/07

6’4”, 190 lbs, 24 years old

6-4, 3.77 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 7.39 K/9

 

I don’t really know where to begin with Travis Schlichting as he has already had a long and complicated baseball career.  Originally selected as a 3rd baseman in the 4th round of the 2003 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, Schlichting 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.  While he threw 8 scoreless innings for the Angles during that 2006 season, they released him, and he would 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.  He logged 60 innings, and had a respectable record, ERA, and WHIP.  In fact, he did well enough to earn himself a spot in the Arizona Fall League, and it was there that he really showed his best stuff.  As the closer for the Surprise Rafters, Schlichting posted a 1.50 ERA, allowed a batting average of just .208, and picked up 3 saves in 12 innings.  He also proved that he deserved a spot on the Dodgers 40 man roster.  At 6’4”, Schlichting has good size for a pitcher.  He can hit at least 91 mph on the mound, and has good sink on his pitches.  In addition, he is still just 24 years old, so he has a lot of good years still ahead of him.  In 2009, I expect Schlichting to begin the year at AAA, but it wouldn’t be a total shock to see him in the Dodger bullpen at some point next season.

 

 

37.  Jon Michael Redding, RHP (31 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 21 years old

0-4, 5.17 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 10.34 K/9

 

The Dodgers must have really done their homework when it came to Jon Michael Redding, because he was a surprise pick to go as high as the 5th round.  When you look at the numbers he put up at Florida Community College, however, you might be able to see why the Dodgers though he had some real potential.  During his 2008 college 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.  While he was committed to play at LSU, he took the Dodgers offer and began his professional career in the Pioneer Rookie League.  Because he had already thrown 125 innings in 2008 before signing with the Dodgers, management decided to take it easy on him, and only let him throw 31 innings.  In those 31 innings, he had mixed results as his ERA and WHIP were pretty bad, yet showed that he had good stuff by posting a strikeout rate of 10.34.  Also, from what I’ve read, Redding is a strike throwing machine, has three decent pitches, and can reach the low 90’s on the radar gun.  Even though he is only 21 years old, Redding will probably begin 2009 in LoA as one of their 5 starting pitchers.  Although he’ll have to adjust to the cold weather, I expect Redding to put together a great season in the Midwest League.

 

 

36.  Kenley Jansen, C (79 games in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 11/17/04

6’2”, 178 lbs, 21 years old, switch hitter

.227 average, 9 HR’s, 27 RBI’s

 

Some people may question why I ranked Kenley Jansen in the top 40.  He only hit .227 in 2008, and has never really been on the Dodgers radar.  However, look at the comparison between Jansen’s 2008 stats in the Midwest League and the 2007 Midwest League stats of former Dodger prospect Carlos Santana, who is now rated as the #1 prospect in the Indians organization.  Note that both are switch hitters:

 

2008 Jansen: .227 average, 9 HR’s, 27 RBI’s

2007 Santana: .223 average, 7 HR’s, 36 RBI’s

 

Those stats are strangely similar.  Now I’m not saying that Jansen is going to have a monster season in the California League in 2009 just like Santana did last year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a much better year at the plate.  Anyways, going back to the beginning of Jansen’s career, he was signed out of Curacao in 2004.  Curacao probably sounds familiar because that is where Andruw Jones is from.  Jansen had a good debut in 2005 as he hit .304 with 18 RBI’s.  In 2006 and 2007, however, he struggled at the plate, but still managed to move up through the Dodger system.  We already discussed his 2008 season, although I would like to point out that his 9 HR’s he hit were actually very impressive given the league that he was in.  Also, Jansen is probably the best defensive catcher in the Dodger system, so that makes him even more valuable as a player.  As mentioned before, he’ll move up to Hi-A in 2009, and I expect Jansen to do very well as a 21 year old.

 

 

35.  Greg Miller, LHP (54 innings in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2002, 1st round

6’6”, 220 lbs, 24 years old

2-3, 7.71 ERA, 2.22 WHIP, 8.89 K/9

 

As everyone probably knows by now, Greg Miller used to be one of the top Dodger prospects.  His high point came after the 2003 season when he was ranked as the 8th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America.  Then came an injury in 2004, and he missed the entire season.  In 2005 and 2006 Miller returned to form, and again began to dominate the league.  Then disaster.  I won’t go into detail about Miller’s downfall, but I think the 2.22 WHIP in 2008 says it all.  After everything that Miller has gone through, however, there is still talk that he might make the big league club in 2009 with a good spring training.  Apparently his stuff is still good enough to get out major league hitters, and he simply needs to learn to harness his pitches. As evidence that he still has good stuff, he did record almost a strikeout per inning in 2008, and allowed a .272 batting average, which isn’t that bad considering he was playing in the Pacific Coast League.  Miller’s biggest problem is his control, as he walked 63 batters in 54 innings last season.  As that problem is mostly psychological and not physical, it appears to be something that he can overcome if he puts his mind to it.  Hopefully he is getting some help this offseason, because while he is just 24 years old, he is running out of time as he will be entering his 8th professional season in 2009.  He has been on the Dodgers 40 man roster since 2005, yet hasn’t been promoted beyond AAA.  It will be interesting to see what happens to Greg Miller in the next few months.

 

 

34.  Leonel Beras, LHP (21 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 17 years old

0-1, 2.18 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 7.84 K/9

 

Leonel Beras is a young and promising lefty who was signed out the Dominican Republic as a 16 year old.  He debuted in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and posted an excellent ERA of 2.18.  While his WHIP was a little high at 1.65, Beras had a good strikeout rate and allowed only a .235 batting average.  He also did not allow a HR during the season.  As mentioned before, Beras is very young, and that means he is still very inexperienced.  That makes his initial success even more exciting because he has been relying on his instincts.  Also, while Beras isn’t very big, he’ll most likely grow as he gets older.  In 2009, Leonel will most likely return to the DSL for another year of experience, and hopefully he’ll get to pitch a few more innings than he did this past season.

 

 

33.  Matthew Sartor, RHP (52 innings in LoA, 38 innings in HiA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/24/07

6’6”, 250 lbs, 24 years old

8-5, 3.12 ERA, 1.14 WHP, 10.68 K/9

 

Matthew Sartor was signed by the Dodgers out of an independent league in 2007.  Since he was already 23 at the time of his signing, he made his professional debut in the Pioneer League and had immediate success.  He struck out 25 batters in just 18 innings, picked up 2 saves, and only allowed a .161 batting average.  The Dodgers promoted Sartor to Lo-A to begin the 2008 season, and he continued to pitch very well.  He earned another promotion midway through the season to Hi-A, and finished out the year with a 2.15 ERA for the Inland Empire 66ers in 38 innings.  Combined for season, Sartor had an outstanding strikeout rate of over 10.5, and allowed only a .233 batting average.  He also had a great strikeout to walk ratio.  At 6’6” and 250 lbs, Sartor is an imposing presence on the mound.  I’m not exactly sure about how hard he throws, but I’m assuming that it’s at least in the low 90’s.  I expect Sartor continue his quick ascent through the Dodgers system in 2009, and will predict that he beings the year in AA.  If he continues to have the kind of success he has had the past two seasons, he’s a wildcard to make it onto the Dodgers roster as a reliever at some point during the next few seasons.

 

 

32.  Russell Mitchell, 3B (133 games in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 15th round

6’1”, 182 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.264 average, 16 HR’s, 75 RBI’s

 

While Russell Mitchell (who sounds a lot like Russell Martin) played 3rd base in 2008 at Jacksonville, he was listed as a catcher for the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.  When I first saw that, I assumed that the Dodgers were trying to move him behind the plate.  However, after reading the article by Tony Jackson at Baseball America, it appears that the Dodgers simply put him there because they had an open roster spot for a “catcher” position.  In reality, he continued to play 3rd base in the AFL, although he has also been known to play a little bit at 1st base.  Shifting to Mitchell’s offensive abilities, he is a classic power hitter who is prone to the strikeout.  After hitting 22 HR’s in 2007 with 126 K’s, Russell knocked 16 out of the park in 2008 while whiffing 95 times.  Also, even though he hasn’t been known to hit for a high average, he did post a .364 average through 22 at bats in the AFL.  Mitchell has the potential to one day be a utility player at the big league level, and has been compared to Kevin Millar by Logan White for being a gamer.  At 23 and a half, Mitchell will enter his 7th professional season in 2009, and he’ll probably spend his time at AAA as the starting 3rd baseman for the Albuquerque Isotopes. 

 

 

31.  Luis Garcia, RHP (30 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/22/04

6’2”, 175 lbs, 21.5 years old

3-0, 2.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 11.10 K/9

 

Luis Garcia was signed by the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic in 2004 as a 17 year old.  He played three seasons in the Dominican Summer League from 2004 to 2006, and posted average stats.  In 2007 he made the jump to the U.S. based Gulf Coast League, and he finished the year with a respectable 3.55 ERA.  In 2008, however, Garcia really broke out with an outstanding year in the Pioneer Rookie League.  While he was limited to only 30 innings, Luis made that time count by recording a 2.40 ERA and strikeout rate of over 11 batters per 9 innings.  He also held opposing hitters to a remarkable .193 batting average, allowed only 1 HR, and picked up 9 saves.  Garcia has good size for a pitcher at 6’2”, and still has room to fill out a little more.  In addition, he will be just 22 at the start of the 2009 season so is still quite young.  He’ll probably play at Lo-A next season, and hopefully he’ll build on the success he had during this past year.

 

 

30.  Bladimir Franco, 3B (66 games in Dominican Summer League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/6/07

6’1”, 172 lbs, 17.5 years old, bats right handed

.169 average, 5 HR’s, 13 RBI’s

 

Now I know it might seem like a little bit of a stretch to have guy who hit .169 as the Dodgers 30th best prospect.  But before you call me crazy, let’s look at the potential for Bladimir Franco and evaluate what he did this season as a 17 year old.  In the first month of the Dominican Summer League season (basically though June), Franco hit .308 with 5 HR’s and 11 RBI’s.  He was looking very solid at the plate, and was leading the league in the HR department.  Then something happened which caused Bladimir to fall flat on his face offensively.  In the months of July and August, he hit .068 and .115 respectively, did not hit any more home runs, and only collected 2 RBI’s.  So what happened between June and July?  I have no idea, but I would venture to guess that the league caught up to him and his inexperience.  Also, maybe based on his immediate success he thought that he was a gifted power hitter, and therefore decided to swing for the fences every time he came to the plate.   His 94 strikeouts in 213 at bats would certainly suggest that he was swinging a little too hard.  Whatever the case, I’m sure that Franco has learned from the experience, and will go into next year with a new approach to the game.  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 2009 season starts, Bladimir will be just 18 years old, and I’m sure he’ll again play in the DSL because he is still very raw.  Hopefully he’ll be a little more consistent and patient at the plate, and will show us what kind of potential he really has.

 

 

29.  Jamie Hoffmann, RF (113 games in AA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 9/2/03

6’3”, 205 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.278 average, 10 HR’s, 71 RBI’s

 

Back in 2003, Jamie Hoffmann had a major decision to make.  Believe it or not he was drafted in the 8th round of the NHL draft, and was also signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted baseball free agent.  After much deliberation, Hoffmann ultimately signed with the Dodgers, and made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2004.  During that first year, he dominated the league and was dubbed the GCL’s 13th best player by Baseball America.  After his great debut, Hoffman had a couple of mediocre seasons before breaking out in 2007 with a great season in Hi-A.  He hit .309 with the Inland Empire 66ers, to go along with 9 HR’s and 19 SB’s.  Based on that success, the Dodgers moved Hoffmann up to AA in 2008, where he had another solid season.  In addition to hitting 10 more HR’s, he stole a career high 28 bases and was chosen to play in the Arizona Fall League.  While he only played in 10 AFL games due to the fact that he was on the “taxi squad” that played only two days a week, he took full advantage of his playing time and hit .314 with 4 extra base hits and 3 stolen bases.  Rated as the Dodgers best defensive outfielder by Baseball America in each of the past three seasons, Hoffmann has some real upside as he has the ability to be a 5 tool player (even though none of the 5 tools are really outstanding).  Recently added to the Dodgers 40 man roster, Hoffmann will start the year in AAA, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a September call up at the end of the 2009 season.

 

 

28.  Alfredo Silverio, RF (95 games in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/03

6’1”, 185 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.263 average, 10 HR’s, 45 RBI’s

 

Signed in 2003 out of the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old, Silverio spent three seasons in the Dominican Summer League before he was promoted to the Gulf Coast League in 2007.  It was there that he had his breakout season as he hit .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.  His 10 HR’s established a new high, and he was even able to steal 6 bases.  Seeing his potential, the Dodgers sent Silverio to the Hawaii Winter League after the 2008 season to get him additional at bats.  He started off strong in the HWL, and even had a 9 game hit streak at the beginning of the season, but faded down the stretch and finished with a .241 batting average.  Now, after a month long break, Silverio has actually decided to participate in another Winter League, this time in his native country of the Dominican Republic.  So far he’s only played one game, but already has 1 HR and is 3 for 3.  From what I’ve heard, Silverio looks like a ball player and is very athletic.  He has decent arm strength from the outfield, and has the ability to play all three outfield positions.  His biggest downfall is his lack of plate discipline, as he walked only 7 times in 376 at bats.  In fact, those 7 walks were the lowest total for any Dodger minor leaguer with at least 100 at bats.  In 2009, Silverio will most likely move up to Hi-A, where he will get a chance to hit in the friendly confines of the California League.  That means that another big year could be in store for Alfredo.

 

 

27.  Nick Buss, CF (36 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 8th round

6’0”, 180 lbs, 22 years old, bats left handed

.279 average, 4 HR’s, 19 RBI’s

 

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.  Moving on to Buss’ professional debut in the Pioneer League, he showed some big potential at that plate and also in the field.  On the defensive side of the ball, Nick only made one error in 36 games and used his speed to his advantage in center field.  As a hitter, Buss posted an impressive .373 On Base Percentage and showed decent power with 4 HR’s.  In 2009 Buss will most likely play in Lo-A where he should get the majority of the starts in center field.  At 22 years old, hopefully he will use his experience to take advantage of younger players and turn that into a big season with the Great Lake Loons.

 

 

26.  Beyker Fructuoso, RHP (38 innings in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 7/9/07

6’3”, 195 lbs, 18.5 years old

4-2, 2.37 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.76 K/9

 

Beyker Fructuoso was the Dodgers big international signing in the summer of 2007.  He is also an interesting case because even though he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 as a 17 year old, he never played in the Dominican Summer League.  Instead, the Dodgers sent him straight to the Gulf Coast League, and apparently management knew what they were doing because he had a very successful professional debut.  His 2.37 ERA was one of the best in the system for 2008, and he also almost struck out a batter per inning.  In addition, batters hit only .229 against him, and he only allowed 2 HR’s during the entire season.  Fructuoso played the role of both starter and closer during the 2008 season as he started 4 games, but also picked up 2 saves.  He was limited to 38 innings because the Dodgers wanted to get him started slowly as he had no previous experience as a pitcher.  At 6’3 and 195 lbs, Beyker has the size to be a very effective pitcher.  He also still has some projection left as he will not turn 19 until the beginning of the 2009 season.  He’ll probably start the 2009 season in the Pioneer Rookie League, although the Dodgers may want to challenge him again by sending him to Lo-A.

 

 

25.  Lucas May, C (107 games in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 8th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.230 average, 13 HR’s, 54 RBI’s

 

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I had the opportunity to talk to former player and current Dodger scout Mitch Webster about the Dodger minor league system.  After talking about the obvious players, I asked him which players he thought had potential yet were a little under the radar.  One of the players he mentioned was Lucas May.  When I asked if he thought that he could one day back up Russell Martin, Mitch replied by saying that he thought May would be good enough to one day be a starting catcher in the major leagues.  To be honest I was a little surprised by that comment, but if Mitch Webster said it, then it must have at least some truth to it.  When I went back and looked at May’s stats, the two things that stand out most for this converted catcher are his high home run totals and his low averages.  Over the past few seasons, he’s hit for significant power, but has been unable to get one base enough to show that he can be an all around player.  In 2008, he actually got off to a great start before struggling to put the ball in play during the 2nd half of the season.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers sent May to the Arizona Fall League, but there he continued to struggle with his average, and hit only .182 in 21 games.  As May is already on the Dodgers 40 man roster, he now just needs to focus on refining his offensive and defensive skills.  His role in the system will be determined by what happens at the major league level with Ardoin, Ellis, and any possible catcher free agents that the Dodgers sign.  My guess is that May will play most of the 2009 season at AAA and will serve as an emergency backup in case injuries hit at the big league level.  My long term prediction is that he will have a much better season this upcoming year, and then the Dodgers will give him a chance in 2010 to be at least their backup catcher as they give Martin more time at 3rd base.

 

 

24.  Chris Jacobs, 1B (43 games in GCL Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 17th round

6’5”, 260 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.271 average, 3 HR’s, 26 RBI’s

 

When you look at Chris Jacobs, you see an athlete.  At 6’5” and 260 lbs, there was no doubt that he would play a professional sport, it was just a matter of deciding which one.  Well, Chris made that decision early during his high school career as he 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, and I for one agree.  At just 20 years old, Jacobs hasn’t yet found his power stroke at the professional level, but as most people know, power is the last tool to develop.  He has already shown a great deal of patience at the plate, which showed in his .380 on base percentage for 2008.  He also improved his batting average from .250 in 2007 to .271 in 2008.  In addition, he only made 2 errors in the field last season, so hopefully he continues to provide solid defense as he moves up through the system.  When the power finally does come, the Dodgers could have a monster hitter on their hands.  He’s already demonstrated that he can put on a show during batting practice, so he simply needs to transition that into games.  2009 should be an exciting season for Jacobs because he should get the chance to play in a few more games.  After being limited to 30 games in 2007 and 43 games in 2008, I would hope that the Dodgers would move Jacobs up to Lo-A where he can get full season under his belt.  If he does end up playing in at least 100 games, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jacobs hit at least 12 HR’s in 2009.

 

 

23.  Steve Johnson, RHP (73 innings in LoA, 52 innings in HiA)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 13th round

6’1”, 200 lbs, 21 years old

12-8, 4.32 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 8.06 K/9

 

Steve Johnson was drafted out of high school in the 13th round of the 2005 draft.  During his senior season, he had a 0.45 ERA and threw two no-hitters, including one that was a perfect game.  Most people were surprised that he actually signed with the Dodgers because he had a pretty strong commitment to Boston College and was only predicted to sign if he was drafted in the first 10 rounds.  Nevertheless, he made his professional debut in 2005, and has improved in each of the past 4 years.  One of Johnson’s highlights thus far was the 2.05 ERA he recorded in the 2007 Hawaii Winter League.  Up until that point, he wasn’t considered to be a legitimate Dodger prospect, but his performance in the winter league put him on the Dodgers radar.  In 2008, Johnson started the season in Lo-A and had a remarkable performance.  He posted a 2.34 ERA in 73 innings, allowed a .223 batting average, and was the Midwest League All Star game’s starting pitcher.  He did so well that the Dodgers decided to promote Johnson to Hi-A in June.  While his overall stats at Hi-A were pretty bad, he demonstrated another element of his game by striking out 55 batters in just 52 innings.  I actually had the opportunity to watch Johnson pitch on July 19 of last season, and that is when he had one of his better games.  He allowed 1 run and 3 hits in 6 innings, and struck out 6 batters.  While he only reached 91 on the radar gun, he looked good on the mound and was confident with his pitches.  In 2009, I predict that Johnson will return to Hi-A for another season.  As he is just 21 years old, he has plenty of time to make a name for himself and will hopefully be able to handle the small confines of the California League ballparks. 

 

 

22.  Michael Watt, LHP (81 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 2nd round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 19.5 years old

9-4, 4.35 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 8.81 K/9

 

Michael Watt was the other “player to be named later” in the Greg Maddox deal, so he also is no longer with the Dodgers.  To be honest, when I saw that Watt was included in this deal, I was extremely disappointed because I really liked his potential.  He was the Dodgers second round pick in 2007, and that has to mean something given Logan White’s ability to pick high school pitchers.  White must have seen something in him to draft him that high.  In addition, Watt had a very solid season in 2008, and his stats actually could have been much better had it not been for one or two bad starts that inflated his ERA and WHIP.  At 19 and a half, Watt still has a long way to go before he makes his way to the majors, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this lefty was in the Padres starting rotation within the next 5 years.

 

 

21.  Jaime Ortiz, 1B (97 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 7th round

6’3”, 200 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed

.217 average, 13 HR’s, 48 RBI’s

 

Jaime Ortiz is a native of Puerto Rico, and was selected in the 7th round of the 2006 draft.  He has tremendous power potential, and has already shown that he can hit the ball out of the park by hitting 11 HR’s in 59 games in 2007, and 13 HR’s in 97 games in the pitcher friendly Midwest League in 2008.  Also, even though Ortiz only hit .217 in the 2008 regular season, the 6’3” lefty has demonstrated that he can hit for average as he is currently batting .387 in the Puerto Rico Winter League.  Jaime is very athletic, and has soft hands at 1st base.  While he doesn’t have much speed, he won’t clog up the base paths, and he even managed to steal 2 bases in 2008.  His biggest problem is that he tries to pull everything.  He has trouble hitting up the middle or to the opposite field, and opposing teams are realizing this and playing him accordingly.  He needs to learn to use the entire field while at the same time utilizing his power.  In 2009, Ortiz will probably be the starting first baseman for the Inland Empire 66ers.  Because the California League is so hitter friendly, I expect a big season out of Jaime.  In fact, I predict that Ortiz will hit 20 HR’s next season to go along with a respectable .280 batting average.

 

 

20.  Cole St. Clair, LHP (17 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 7th round

6’5”, 225 lbs, 22 years old

0-0, 3.18 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 11.65 K/9

 

Cole St. Clair has 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.  I can’t possibly post all his impressive stats, but here are a few: (1) he went 11-1 with a 1.16 ERA as a high school senior; (2) he had a 3.26 ERA and struck out 62 in 47 innings as a college freshman; (3) as a college sophomore, in 74 innings he went 7-2 with a 1.82 ERA, struck out 100 batters, and allowed only a .151 batting average; (4) in the summer of 2006 he played for Team USA and posted a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings and struck out 43; (5) during his junior season in college he recorded a 1.91 ERA and picked up 9 saves; (6) finally as a college senior he went 10-3 with a 3.03 ERA.  After he was drafted, Logan White called St. Clair the “sleeper” of the draft and predicted that he would move quickly through the system.  He didn’t disappoint in his professional debut in the Pioneer Rookie League as he posted a 3.18 ERA and had a strikeout rate of 11.65 K’s per 9 innings.  At 6’5” and 225 lbs, St. Clair has the size that makes pitchers successful.  In addition, he is very competitive and has isn’t fazed by pressure situations.  While Cole was both a starter and closer in college, he will probably be used out of the bullpen as a professional because that will get him to the big leagues the quickest.  He’s a lefty that can hit 91 on the radar gun, and as Logan White described, he is “deceptive and sneaky fast”.  As St. Clair played four seasons of college baseball and is already 22 years old, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was promoted all the way up to Hi-A to start the 2009 season.  We know he has the mentality to be able to pitch at such a high level, but now the Dodgers just need to make sure he has the ability.

 

 

19.  Jaime Pedroza, SS (128 games in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 9th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 22 years old, switch hitter

.290 average, 9 HR’s, 57 RBI’s

 

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.  Pedroza started off the 2008 season with a major slump that lasted through the first month of the season.  Once May hit, however, Pedroza returned to his 2007 form and hit .315 over the season’s final 4 months.  He also again showed off his power with 9 HR’s, and also added a new element to his game as he stole 25 bases.  At 5’10”, Pedroza is the idea size for a shortstop, and even though he made 22 errors last season, he has the range needed to stay at the position and his offensive abilities should make up for his lack of defense.  Nevertheless, he may one day make the move to 2nd base.  In addition, the fact that he is a switch hitter adds to his appeal as a player.  In 2009, Pedroza should get the nod as the starting shortstop at AA.  As he will be just 22 years old throughout of next season, he is definitely young enough to be considered a legitimate shortstop prospect within the Dodgers system.

 

 

18.  James Adkins, LHP (88 innings in HiA, 38 innings in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 23 years old

6-11, 5.16 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 7.19 K/9

 

James Adkins was selected in the 1st round of the 2007 draft out of Tennessee, where he left the school as their all time strikeout leader with 380 K’s.  As a junior in 2007, he went 7-7 with a 2.80 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 122 innings.  After being drafted, the Dodgers immediately sent Adkins to Lo-A for his professional debut, and he performed very well.  He pitched 26 innings and recorded a 2.42 ERA to go along with a .181 batting average against.  In 2008, Adkins started the year at Hi-A, and although he struggled through 18 starts with a 5.34 ERA, he was promoted to AA in July.  In Jacksonville, Adkins showed improvement in his 8 starts and posted a 4.74 ERA and allowed a .269 batting average.  The area in which Adkins needs to improve is his ability to throw strikes.  In 126 innings, James allowed 66 walks and struck out only 100.  With an above average slider, a curveball, and a fastball that can barely hit 91 mph, he tends to rely on his secondary pitches which can sometimes get him in trouble.  However, as a 6’5” lefty, he is usually able to make it through the lineup at least once before running into problems.  At 23 years old, 2009 will be an interesting year for Adkins.  He is not yet on the fast track to the major leagues because he hasn’t shown that he can handle minor league hitting.  He’ll probably return to AA for a full season of experience, but if he does well during the 1st half of the year, he may earn a promotion to AAA towards the end of the 2009 season. 

 

 

17.  Brent Leach, LHP (59 innings in AA, 13 innings in HiA)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 6th round

6’5”, 205 lbs, 26 years old

2-3, 2.60 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7.73 K/9

 

Since being selected in the 6th round of the 2005 draft, Brent Leach has put up great numbers at each of his minor league stops.  In 2005, he made his professional debut in the Pioneer Rookie League and posted a 2.43 ERA with 77 K’s in 67 innings.  In 2006, he split time between Lo and High A and put up solid numbers.  In 2007 Leach played at Inland Empire, and even though an torn muscle in his side limited him to only 20 innings, he dominated in that short time by recording a 0.45 ERA.  Healthy again in 2008, Leach began the year back at Inland Empire, and again showed that the California League was no match for his ability as he had a 1.35 ERA through 9 games.  He was then promoted to AA where he immediately took over the roll as closer.  Leach pitching almost 60 innings for the Suns, and during that time he picked up 12 saves while limited opposing hitters to a .215 batting average.  After the season he was sent to the Arizona Fall League, and while he struggled during his time there with an 8.80 ERA, he was nominated to play the Rising Stars and was also added to the Dodgers 40 man roster at the end of November.  In regards to his stuff, Leach is a big lefty who can reach about 92 with his fastball.  He also has a great slurve, and is working on other secondary pitches.  In addition, Leach has an outstanding move to first base and has been very successful at picking off runners.  Even though Leach is already 26 years old, his age may work to his advantage because it shows that he has maturity and experience.  In 2009, he will probably begin the year at AAA.  However, if Scott Elbert struggles as the situational lefty at the big league level, don’t be surprised if Leach gets a chance to take over that role in the Dodger bullpen.  In fact, even if Elbert doesn’t struggle, the Dodgers may use Leach in the bullpen at some point in 2009.

 

 

16.  Victor Garate, LHP (78 innings in LoA, 38 innings in HiA in 2008)

Acquired by Dodgers in Rule 5 Draft in 2007

6’2”, 185 lbs, 24 years old

9-3, 2.79 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 11.64 K/9

 

Victor Garate was obtained by the Dodgers via the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft in December of 2007.  In looking at his stats prior to joining the Dodgers, he had both good years and bad.  In 2006, Garate pitched 39 innings in the New York-Penn League and recorded 59 strikeouts to go along with a 0.92 ERA.  In 2007, however, he struggled with a 5.06 ERA.  The Dodgers initially assigned Garate to Lo-A even though he was one of the older players in the league at 23.  To show that he didn’t belong at such a low level, Victor posted a 1.85 ERA in almost 78 innings while striking out 103 and limiting opposing hitters to .215 average.  That earned him a promotion to Hi-A in July, and while he didn’t have the same success and Inland Empire, he held his own and continued to strikeout a ton of hitters.  I had the opportunity to watch Garate pitch against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on August 30 of this past year.  Before the game, I was really excited to see what kind of stuff Garate had, but actually was a little disappointed once the game started.  He wasn’t flashing a 95 mph fastball or a wicked curve, but instead consistently hit 91 and simply kept hitters off balance.  Also, his windup is deceptive, especially because he is a lefty.   Garate is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League and is continuing to put up good numbers.  Through 21 innings, Victor has 24 strikeouts and has allowed a .192 batting average.  In 2009, my guess is that Garate will be promoted to AA to see how he responds to more advanced hitters who are closer to his age.  He has already been added to the 40 man roster, but I doubt he’ll be called up to the big league club next year. 

 

 

15.  Xavier Paul, CF (115 games in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 4th round

6’0”, 195 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats left handed

.316 average, 9 HR’s, 68 RBI’s

 

Coming out of high school, Xavier Paul made Baseball America’s All-America second team and was labeled a can’t miss prospect by many people.  He was thought to be a legitimate 5 tool player and was drafted ahead of guys like Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche in 2003.  Unfortunately, Paul developed a little slower than some of the other players in the system.  He showed consistency, but never had a big breakout year.  In addition, the Dodgers have a logjam in their outfield that has caused him to stay in the minor leagues.  However, Paul may have forced himself into getting big league consideration after he followed up his superb season in 2008 with an outstanding showing in the Mexican Winter League.  In just 164 at bats, he hit 7 HR’s and posted a .397 on base percentage.  The one tool that the Dodgers were hoping Paul would develop, his power, may have finally come.  That power will fit in nicely with his speed and outfield arm, which was rated as the best in the Dodgers system by Baseball America.  When spring training begins, Xavier will be 24 years old and ready for a spot on the 25 man roster.  However, as I mentioned before, there are currently seven guys on the outfield depth chart ahead of him, and that number could rise to eight if the Dodgers re-sign Manny (although if I were the Dodgers I would not put Jason Repko ahead of Paul because I think that Paul is a much better player overall, but that’s just my opinion).  So basically I’m not really sure what will happen to Xavier Paul in 2009.  He may have to spend another season in AAA and be an insurance policy in case somebody gets hurt.  In the grand scheme of things, that wouldn’t be such a bad thing because he has only spent one season at AAA so far, and while he is down there he can continue to work on his power.

 

 

14.  Kyle Russell, RF (61 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 3rd round

6’5”, 190 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.279 average, 11 HR’s, 46 RBI’s

 

Kyle Russell was the Dodgers 3rd round pick in 2008 out of the University of Texas.  In his sophomore season at Texas, Russell hit 28 HR’s which led all D-1 baseball in 2007 and set the Texas single season record.  Because he was draft eligible that year, he was drafted in the 4th round by the Cardinals, but did not sign.  During his junior season at Texas, he was not able to match his amazing HR total from a year before, but still hit 19 out of the park and had a .296 average.  After signing with the Dodgers, the made his professional debut in the Pioneer Rookie League and has a very solid season.  In 61 games, Russell hit .279 with 11 HR’s 46 RBI’s.  He also stole 4 bases and only made 1 error during the entire season.  Kyle’s one downfall, however, is that he is prone to the strikeout, and he led the Ogden Raptors with 82 K’s.  The reason he strikes out so much is because at 6’5”, he has a very long swing.  He uses that long swing to generate his power, but at the same time he has to start the swing very early, which gives him a disadvantage in pitch recognition.  Russell profiles mostly as a right fielder because he doesn’t have a lot of speed, but has a great arm.  In 2009, Russell will spend time at either Lo-A or Hi-A, or maybe both.  Because he is a little older than most players who were drafted, the Dodgers may want to move him a little more quickly through the system.  If Russell does end up playing in the California League, he will most likely put up huge power numbers which will open up the eyes of a lot of people.

 

 

13.  Tony Delmonico, 2B (35 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 6th round

6’0”, 194 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.340 average, 11 HR’s, 39 RBI’s

 

Tony Delmonico is a great hitter.  In his junior season at Florida State, Delmonico hit .374 with 8 HR’s and 69 RBI’s.  He followed that up with an outstanding professional debut in the Pioneer Rookie League where he hit .340 with 11 HR’s and 39 RBI’s.  Combine those two sets of statistics, and Delmonico had a great offensive year in 2008.  His only problem is finding a defensive position.  While he played shortstop at Florida State, he does not have the ability to handle that position as a professional.  In the Pioneer League he played 2nd base, but he might not even have the hands or range to play there.  He may end up at 3rd base or in the outfield, or the Dodgers may try him at catcher.  While he doesn’t have much experience behind the plate, he has the athleticism and arm to succeed at that position, and may be able to get the job done with a lot of coaching.  If he is able to play catcher, he may be one of the most intriguing players in the Dodgers minor league system because of his offensive abilities.  Nothing is final, however, and we will have to wait and see where he ends up in 2009.  In addition to his offensive and defensive abilities, Scouting Director Logan White believes that Delmonico has the intangibles that will get him to the big leagues.  He has been well coached by his father who has been a coach at the college level for many years, and he also has “well-above average gamesmanship”. 

 

 

12.  Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (8 innings in GCL Rookie League, 3 innings in Pioneer League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 11th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 18.5 years old

0-1, 0.84 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 9.29 K/9

 

After the Dodgers selected Nathan Eovaldi in the 11th round of the 2008 draft, most people thought the he would be a tough sign because he wanted to attend college at Texas A&M.  He also wanted to prove that he could handle a full pitching workload after blowing out his elbow in 2007 and getting Tommy John surgery.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers were able to sign the right-hander for $250K, and he has paid immediate dividends.  He was rated by Baseball America as the Dodgers best late round pick and also ranked as having the 3rd best fastball of all Dodger draftees (behind Ethan Martin and Josh Lindblom).  While he regularly pitches at around 93 mph, he can hit 96 mph at times, and some scouts project that he may be able to hit 100 mph if the Dodgers decide to use him out of the bullpen.  He is the ideal size for a pitcher, and still has a little projection left in his frame.  In his professional debut, Eovaldi put up spectacular numbers, but was limited to 10 and 2/3 innings due to precautions placed on him because of his past Tommy John surgery.  In those 10 and 2/3 innings, he only allowed 1 run.  He also struck out 11 and batters hit only .189 against him.  After the season, Eovaldi was sent to the instructional part of the Arizona Fall League to get a little more work in.  In addition, he attended the Dodgers Strength and Conditional Camp in December which was limited to top prospects.  Overall, even though Nathan has less than 11 innings of professional experience, it appears that he is on the right track.  The Dodgers will have an important decision to make in 2009 when it comes to deciding where Eovaldi will play.  My guess is that he will stay in extended spring training until the Pioneer Rookie League starts in June, but the Dodgers may want to put him on the fast track by sending him to Lo-A.  We will just have to wait and see.

 

 

11.  Pedro Baez, 3B (61 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 59 games in LoA in 2008)

Signed by Dodgers 1/22/07

6’2”, 195 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.229 average, 13 HR’s, 66 RBI’s

 

Pedro Baez was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200K before the 2007 season.  Since his signing, the Dodgers actually haven’t spent more than $50K on any Latin American player.  Anyways, Baez made his debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and put up pretty solid numbers.  Based on that performance, the Dodgers decided to move Baez all the way up to Lo-A to begin the 2008 season.  Unfortunately, he struggled mightily in the Midwest League as he hit only .178 in 59 games with 1 HR.  Seeing their mistake, the Dodgers sent Baez to the Pioneer Rookie League when it started in June.  Presented with a fresh opportunity, Baez turned things around and hit .267 in 61 games with a team high 12 HR’s.  Statistics aside, Baez has four legitimate tools (speed is really the only thing he lacks).  He definitely has big power potential, and once he learns how to recognize pitches, he should hit for a decent average.  In addition, Baez has an outstanding infield arm and has been clocked as high as 94 mph on throws across the infield.  Scouts also think that he’ll eventually be a solid defender, even though he committed 31 errors in 2008.  2009 will be another test for Baez.  My guess is that he’ll return to Lo-A to take another crack at the Midwest League.  When the season starts he’ll still just be 21 years old, but hopefully he’ll be able to put up better numbers this time around as he will be another year older and wiser. 

 

 

10.  Josh Bell, 3B (51 games in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 4th round

6’3”, 235 lbs, 22 years old, switch hitter

.273 average, 6 HR’s, 21 RBI’s

 

Heading into the 2008 season, Josh Bell was one of the Dodgers top 3rd base prospects.  Unfortunately, after a solid start to the season that saw Bell hit 6 HR’s in 51 games, he underwent a preventative procedure on his knee that caused him to miss the remainder of the season.  While the knee procedure was necessary for Bell to continue with a healthy career in the future, it did hinder his growth for the time being.  You see after a 2007 season that saw Bell hit 15 HR’s in Lo-A, he was looking forward to a big year in the California League.  That big season is now going to have to wait until 2009 when he is fully healthy.  A 6’3” switch hitter, Bell is a big player with lots of power potential.  He projects to possibly hit 30 home runs at the big league level.  However, his biggest liability is his defense as he has been known to play a lazy 3rd base.  In fact, the Dodgers sent Bell to the Hawaii Winter League after the 2007 season strictly for him to work on his defensive skills.  He has plenty of arm strength, but sometimes lacks the concentration to make all the necessary plays.  Bell also has below average speed.  In 2009, the Dodgers expect Bell to be fully healed from his knee injury.  He will probably return to Hi-A to start the season, but once he returns to form he will probably be promoted to AA.  He is still just 22 years old, so he still has plenty of time to move through the Dodgers minor league system.

 

 

9.  Devaris Gordon, SS (60 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 4th round

5’11”, 150 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed

.331 average, 2 HR’s 27 RBI’s

 

When the Dodgers selected Devaris Gordon in the 4th round of the 2008 draft, most people were very surprised.  He had been academically ineligible to play at the Community College he was attending, so there were very few scouting reports.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to take a chance on the son of major league veteran Tom “Flash” Gordon because they love players who have major league bloodlines.  Their gamble paid off as Devaris had a tremendous debut in the Pioneer Rookie League that earned him the #4 ranking in the league by Baseball America.  Not only did Gordon hit .331, but he also hit 2 HR’s and stole 18 bases.  In addition, he showed that he can make good contact by striking out only 29 times.  While Gordon is extremely raw, especially in the field, he has a ton of talent and athleticism.  He has the tools to stay at shortstop and will definitely add muscle as he gets older.  He seems to project as a leadoff time hitter as he has speed and the ability to hit the ball into the gaps.  It will be interesting to see what kind of stats Gordon will put up in 2009.  He will almost certainly be the starting shortstop for the Lo-A Great Lake Loons and will have to adjust to the colder weather of the Midwest League in addition to the longer season.  If he continues to succeed, he may turn out to be one of the Dodgers best picks in the 2008 draft.

 

 

8.  Chris Withrow, RHP (4 innings in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 19.5 years old

0-0, 4.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 2.25 K/9

 

After pitching only 9 innings last season, the Dodgers 2007 1st round pick only pitched 4 innings in 2008.  This limitation was caused by two significant injuries.  First, Withrow cut his hand in spring training when he trying to pick up a swimming mask.  After his cut was fully recovered, the second injury was related to a “tired arm” that he developed while trying to get his pitching arm into shape.  Finally in August Withrow as able to make his debut in Hi-A, and over four appearance he only allowed 2 hits, but he also walked 6 and only recorded one strikeout.  Because of the small sample size, it’s hard to judge him on his statistics, so I’m going to base my ranking on his potential talent.  Coming out of high school, Withrow was considered and excellent athlete.  As a high school senior, he consistently hit 92-94 mph on the radar gun and had a very promising curveball.  After being drafted, Withrow actually hit 98 mph in the Gulf Coast League in 2007.  He has a very clean delivery and is the perfect size for a pitcher at 6’3”.  He projects as a potential #2 or #3 starter if he can stay healthy and on track.  In 2009, Withrow will probably return to Hi-A, this time for a full season.  He reportedly developed a good relationship with their pitching coach Charlie Hough, who said that Withrow is one of the best pitchers he had ever seen.  Hopefully he can stay healthy and regain his status as one of the top prospects in the Dodgers system.

 

 

7.  Austin Gallagher, 3B (78 games in HiA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 3rd round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 20 years old, bats left handed

.293 average, 5 HR’s, 55 RBI’s

 

When the Dodgers selected Austin Gallagher in the 3rd round of the 2007 draft, some scouts doubted his ability at the plate.  They thought that he should attend college instead because he wasn’t ready for professional pitching.  So far Gallagher has proved them wrong by succeeding in leagues where he has been one of the youngest players.  In 2007, the Dodgers sent Gallagher to the Pioneer League even though he was fresh out of high school.  He responded by hitting .284 with 4 HR’s in almost 200 at bats.  In 2008, the Dodgers decided that Gallagher was ready for Hi-A even though he was the second youngest hitter in the league.  Once again Gallagher proved that he was ready as he hit .293 with 5 HR’s and 55 RBI’s.  In addition, Gallagher ranked second on the Inland Empire team with 33 doubles even though he played in only 78 games due to a hand injury in August.  The 33 doubles are an important stat because generally as a player matures, some of the double turn into home runs.  The fact that Gallagher hit so many double is a good sign for the future.  The one area of Austin’s game that is suspect is his defense.  So far as a professional he has not shown the quick first step that is needed to play at the hot corner, so many wonder if he will eventually move to 1st base.  A move across the diamond would lower his value as a prospect as first basemen are easier to come by, so let’s hope that he continues to work hard on his defense so he can stay at 3rd.  In 2009 the Dodgers will have to make another decision about where Gallagher will play.  Josh Bell will be coming back from injury and as he also plays 3rd base, so the Dodgers are going to have to juggle the two players at 3rd base in Hi-A and AA, that is unless Gallagher does make the move to 1st base, which will make the decision a little easier

 

 

6.  Joshua Lindblom, RHP (29 innings in LoA, 5 innings in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 2nd round

6’5”, 220 lbs, 21.5 years old

0-0, 2.12 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 9.79 K/9

 

Josh Lindblom was the Dodgers 2nd round pick in the 2008 draft, and he is being fast tracked to the big leagues.  Instead of being fast tracked as a reliever like most college players, however, Lindblom is doing so as a starter.  What makes this move even more interesting is the fact that Josh was a closer in college.  So far as a starter, Lindblom has been dominate.  In his 8 starts at Lo-A, he posted a 1.86 ERA in 29 innings and allowed an amazingly low .137 batting average.  With stats that good, the Dodgers decided to let Lindblom pitch one game at AA.  He didn’t disappoint there either as he allowed just 2 runs in 5 innings.  His combined WHIP for the 2008 season was 0.71, which was the lowest in the Dodgers minor league system.  At 6’5” and 220 lbs, Lindblom is a big kid.  He has two great pitches, a 95 mph fastball and a hard curve, and is working hard to add a splitter and changeup to his repertoire as he will need at least 3 strong pitches as a starter.  The one thing that Lindblom needs to work on is his stamina.  Instead of pitching with maximum effort for one or two innings, he is going to have to pace himself for a 7, 8, or 9 inning game.  Because he did spend some time as a starting pitcher early in his college career, the transition shouldn’t be too difficult, but it is still something he will have to get used to.  Due to his strong showing in 2008, Lindblom will most likely return to AA for a full season.  He’ll continue to be a starter, but if he starts to struggle for some reason, the Dodgers will not hesitate to send him back to the bullpen.  Either way, I expect him to be ready to play in the major leagues by 2010.

 

 

5.  Ivan DeJesus, SS (128 games in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

5’11”, 182 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.324 average, 7 HR’s, 58 RBI’s

 

As most people already know, Ivan DeJesus Jr. is the son of a former big league shortstop Ivan DeJesus who played shortstop for the Cubs and Phillies in the 1970’s and 80’s.  Those professional bloodlines are exactly what the Dodgers like, and that is why they selected him in the second round of the 2005 draft.  Since being drafted, DeJesus has steadily improved.  After average seasons in 2005 and 2006, he batted .287 for Inland Empire in 2007 and also hit 4 home runs.  In 2008, however, he really had a breakout season at AA where he recorded a .324 average to go along with 7 HR’s and 16 stolen bases.  At one point, he even had a 24 game hitting streak.  The best part his great season was that at 21, he was one of the youngest players in the league.  After the season, DeJesus was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League.  While his stats suffered a little against the elite pitching in the AFL, he has rebounded in the Puerto Rican Winter League where his is currently hitting .315 with 5 HR’s.  At the plate, DeJesus will never have a lot of power, and seems to have a lower ceiling that the other Dodger top hitting prospects.  At the major league level he’ll probably hit 7th or 8th in the batting order.  On the defensive side of the ball, DeJesus has always been considered to be a solid shortstop.  However, he did struggle with the glove a little in 2008 as he committed 26 errors at AA, and may be a better fit at 2nd base in the long run.  Currently, the question surrounding DeJesus is where he will play over the next few years.  Now that the Dodgers have resigned Furcal for at least 3 years and Blake for at least 2, his path to the majors seems to be blocked by those two players along with Blake DeWitt.  While DeJesus can definitely use a season at AAA in 2009, his role in 2010 is in question.  However, there is the possibility that by the time the 2011 season rolls around, Blake will be gone and Dewitt will move to 3rd, making room for DeJesus at 2nd base. 

 

 

4.  Scott Elbert, LHP (41 innings in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 1st round

6’1”, 210 lbs, 23 years old

4-1, 2.40 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 10.02 K/9

 

According to Baseball America, Scott Elbert has been one of baseball’s top 100 prospects since 2006.  The scouts love his stuff, and he has the mentality of a true gamer.  Unfortunately for Elbert, however, he injured his shoulder early in 2007 after getting off to a great start where he had struck out 24 batters in 14 innings and allowed only a .128 batting average.  After it was determined surgery was necessary, he missed the remainder of the season, and also missed the beginning of 2008 before returning to action this past June.  While his strikeout numbers were down a little, Elbert basically picked up where he left off in AA by limiting batters to a paltry .157 batting average in 41 innings.  Those numbers earned Elbert a surprise promotion to Los Angeles in late August where he worked out of the bullpen and struck out 5 of the first 7 batters that he faced.  Even though he had a couple of rough outings later in September that caused his major league ERA to balloon to 12.00, he pitched very well in the majority of his appearances.  After the season, it was clear that the Dodgers promoted Elbert to give him a look as the replacement to free agent Joe Beimel.  Based on the fact that the Dodgers haven’t looked at any left handed relievers this off-season, it appears that he will start 2009 as the lefty specialist out of the Dodger bullpen.  In the long run, however, Elbert projects to possibly be a solid starting pitcher.  He can consistently pitch at 93-94 mph, and his sharp curveball actually looked very similar to the one that Kershaw possesses.  I like his long term potential, and by 2010 he may be fighting for a spot in the Dodger rotation.

 

 

3.  Ethan Martin, RHP (Did not play in 2008 due to injury)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 1st round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 19.5 years old

No stats in 2008

 

The Dodgers 1st round pick in the 2008 draft, Ethan Martin injured his knee in a fielding drill before he as ever able to make a start.  Because he has not yet pitched a professional inning, his ability remains a mystery to most people.  Sure he was named as the Baseball America High School Player of the Year, but will that success continue at the professional level?  Martin is an all-around athlete who was actually projected to be drafted as a 3rd baseman before showing a 94 mph fastball from the mound as a high school senior.  He is an outstanding hitter, but the turning point came when he struck out Eric Hosmer (the #3 overall pick in the 2008 draft) in a game against American Heritage last March.  His overall stats as a senior were 11-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 141 K’s in 79 innings.  Before the 2008 draft, he was rated by Baseball America as having the second-best fastball and the third-best secondary pitch (his curveball/slurve).  He is considered to be a true gamer, and still has projectability in his 6’2” frame.  If Martin hits his true potential, he has the possibility to be a #1 pitcher one day.  Worst case scenario, if Martin for some reason fails as a pitcher, the Dodgers can always convert him back to a 3rd baseman.  Either way, I think that he will have a very successful career.  With his knee fully healed heading into the 2009 season, Martin will probably make his professional debut in the Pioneer Rookie League next June.  It will be exciting to see how he performs at a professional level, and I expect great numbers out of this kid.

 

 

2.  Andrew Lambo, LF (123 games in LoA, 8 games in AA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 4th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 20 years old, bats left handed

.295 average, 18 HR’s, 91 RBI’s

 

Andrew Lambo is by far my favorite player on this list because he has tons of potential, and can hit the ball with authority.  After batting .343 in his 2007 debut with the Gulf Coast Dodgers, Lambo was sent to the pitcher friendly Midwest League for 2008.  All Lambo did there was hit .288 with 15 HR’s and 79 RBI’s before being promoted all the way up to AA for the final 8 games of the minor league season.  At AA, Lambo wasn’t intimidated at all as he once again took control by hitting an astounding .389 with 3 more home runs.  His success continued in the Arizona Fall League where he was one of the league’s youngest players, yet still maintained a .313 average in 17 games and had 5 extra base hits.  At 6’3” and 190 lbs, Lambo has an advanced feel for hitting and has a smooth left-handed stroke.  He consistently hits line drives, and his swing has been compared to James Loney, although Lambo has shown much more power at this stage in his career.  The one negative about Andrew is the fact that he tends to strike out too much.  In 131 total games in 2008, Lambo struck out 119 times.  However, he is still just 20 years old and is learning how to make adjustments in his swing.  In the field, Lambo has played at both 1st base and in the outfield.  While he isn’t the most gifted defender at either position, he should be able to play a good enough left field to get him by at the professional level.  In 2009, Lambo will probably return to AA for a full season (which is unfortunate because none of us will be able to see him play locally at Inland Empire).  He’ll probably have a pretty tough time facing AA pitching for a full season, and he may even struggle at little at times.  Nevertheless, I expect another solid season out of Lambo and I predict that he will be ready to break into the big leagues by mid-season 2010.

 

 

1.  James McDonald, RHP (119 innings in AA, 22 innings in AAA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2002, 11th round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 24 years old

7-4, 3.29 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 9.00 K/9

 

I really wanted to rank Andrew Lambo as number one on my list.  But after watching James McDonald pitch 6 shutout innings for the Dodgers in September and then dominate the competition in the playoffs, I realized that he is currently our true number one prospect.  While Lambo may have a higher ceiling, McDonald has already proven that he can compete at the big league level.  The only question is will be better suited as a starter or as a reliever?  The 6’5” McDonald has been strictly a starter since converting back to a pitcher before the 2006 season (he was originally drafted as a two way player, but initially gave up pitching after the 2003 season when he experienced arm trouble).  After a mediocre season in 2006, McDonald pitched very well in the California League in 2007, and that is where he caught my attention.  While his 3.95 ERA wasn’t amazing, his strikeout numbers were very good and he only walked 21 batters in 81 innings.  That earned him a promotion to AA where he really showed his stuff by recording a 1.71 ERA through 10 starts and allowing only a .218 batting average against.  In 2008, McDonald returned to Jacksonville and continued to post good numbers.  He moved up to AAA in August, and was with the Dodgers by September.  As a starter, McDonald hits 93 on the radar gun and flashes a great curveball.  Apparently his curveball is so good, that Baseball America ranked it as being better than Clayton Kershaw’s.  He showed it a few times in September, and I’m not going to argue because it looked great.  In addition, he has a solid changeup, which gives him a 3rd major league ready pitch.  However, out of the bullpen McDonald can pump up his fastball to 96 mph as he showed in the playoffs.  A 96 mph fastball along with a good curve and changeup can be very dangerous out of the pen.  So what will the Dodgers do?  My guess is that McDonald will play the same role that Chad Billingsly played in 2007.  He will probably start the year in the bullpen, and then become a starter by midseason when the injuries hit.  At 24 years old, he is mature enough to handle the big leagues, and I think he will be very successful.


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