Archive for March, 2010

My top 200 (and 1) Dodger Prospects heading into the 2010 Season

March 17, 2010

Welcome to the most comprehensive analysis of the Dodgers minor league system.  For the next few months, I am going to provide a summary of every player in the Dodgers minor league system who meets the following qualifications:  (1) played in the Dodgers minor league system during 2009, or was injured during the entire 2009 season; (2) is still within the Dodgers organization as of season end; (3) is under 28 years old as of Opening Day 2010; and (4) the player is still considered a prospect by Baseball America Standards, which means that pitchers must have less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, and hitters must have less than 130 at bats in the majors.  Like Baseball America, I do not take into account service time, and therefore it is possible that I have included prospects who will not technically be rookies in 2010 (i.e. Brent Leach). 

The players are going to be listed by how I rank them as a prospect.  Just like last year, the list is almost exactly 200 players, and I will start from #200 (actually, #201 this year), and work my way to who I think is the #1 prospect in the Dodgers system.  I’ve included where each prospect played in 2009, how each was acquired by the Dodgers, their height, weight, and age as of the start of the 2010 season, and finally their 2009 combined minor league statistics.  Also, since this is my second year completing these rankings, I’ll include my prior year ranking, my review of how accurate I was during my prior year ranking, and obviously a current year discussion about the player.  I will generally post 10 players at a time, and will try to post at least once a week.  The first 100 players will probably be unknown to most people, but look at it as a way to get to know the Dodgers minor league system even better.  Feel free to discuss, comment, and let me know what you think. 

 

201.  Taiwan Perry, LF (18 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 185 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.050 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

There are two questions that surround Taiwan Perry: where did he come from, and how can anyone be that bad?  While I can’t provide too much insight on either of these questions, I can tell you that based on his myspace and twitter accounts, he likes Kim Kardashian, was a Reds fan growing up, and fell in love for the first time at age 16.  In regards to baseball, I really don’t know where he came from, and I’m assuming the Dodgers saw him play somewhere and decided to sign him to fill out their rookie league roster.  The only thing that was somewhat interesting about him during last season was that I wanted to see how low his average could go.  He didn’t get his first hit until August 10th, and by August 25th I believe his average was at.031.  But then, he unfortunately got a hit in his 2nd to last game of the season, and ended the year batting .050.  Needless to say he has no future with the Dodgers, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t return in 2010. 

200.  Parker Dalton, 3B (55 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 24th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 26.75 years old, bats right handed

.169 average, 1 HR’s, 14 RBI, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 195

I ranked Parker Dalton #195 last season, and I think my assessment of his baseball skills was right on.  Dalton had a bad 2008, and an even worse 2009.  He has no power, can’t hit for average, and strikes out way too much (27.3% of plate appearances in 2009).  However, I can’t help but like Dalton as a person.  His teammates call him Pops because they say he is wise beyond his years.  In addition, he has overcome melanoma, a very serious type of skin cancer, which is why he started his professional baseball career at such an advanced age.  I think that Dalton was more of a player/coach for the Loons during 2009, and I believe that he may have that same role in the future. 

199.  Esteban Lopez, C (49 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 25th round

6’1”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats right handed

.203 average, 3 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 169

Esteban Lopez has always had the reputation as a strong defensive catcher who can’t hit.  During his two years at the University of Hawaii, he only made four errors, yet hit .260 as a senior.  Unfortunately this trend has continued into his professional career.  He hit .243 in 2008, and just .203 in 2009.  His horrid average can partially be attributed to his extremely low batting average for balls in play (.245), but I think the bigger problem is that he just can’t hit.  Last year I said he had a good build for a catcher, and would probably get a chance to prove himself in HiA.  Well, he still has a good catchers body, but he played in LoA instead of HiA, and obviously did nothing to prove himself.  Even my #169 ranking last year was probably a little too high, which is why I dropped him to the very bottom this year.  At 25 years old, the only reason the Dodgers may keep him in their system is to help out with all the pitchers during Spring Training.

198.  Geraldo Martinez, LHP (6 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/23/07

6’0”, 162 lbs, 22 years old

0-2, 9.00 ERA, 2.17 WHIP, 4.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 156

Last year, I talked about how Martinez had a good second half in 2008, and how if he had a good 2009, he’d have a chance to play in the U.S. in 2010.  Well, he didn’t hold up his end of the bargain.  I’m not sure why Geraldo Martinez was only limited to 6 innings in 2009, but whatever the reason, it really hurt Geraldo’s progress and basically killed any chance he had to make it with the Dodgers.  When the 2010 season starts, Geraldo will be a 22 year old with 23 innings of professional experience (all in the DSL).  That being said, he may not even warrant another look, so he may not even be back with the team next season.

197.  Ryan Arp, C (17 games in Arizona League, 1 game in AAA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 45th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.167 average, 1 HR’s, 8 RBI, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 176

Not much has changed for Ryan Arp from 2008 to 2009, so I’m going to repeat some of the information from last year.  Arp was the Dodgers very last draft pick in the 2008 draft, and he ended up signing with the team because he had already graduated from Upper Iowa University.  It’s actually surprising that he was even drafted at all because he only hit .208 during his senior year, but apparently he is a pretty good defensive catcher.  After a respectable showing in the Pioneer Rookie League in 2008, the Dodgers demoted Arp to the Arizona Rookie League for the majority of 2009 where he was awful.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers picked Arp when they needed a backup catcher in AAA after AJ Ellis was promoted to the majors.  He played in one game in September, and then was probably a reserve on the Isotopes playoff roster.  Overall, despite his cameo in AAA,  Arp has no chance to make it to the majors, but may continue to help out a few young pitchers along the way by playing solid defense behind the plate.

196.  Irvit Mendez, RHP (1.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’6”, 225 lbs, 19.75 years old

0-0, 27.00 ERA, 8.25 WHIP, 13.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 175

In 2008, Irvit Mendez made one appearance in the DSL and allowing 4 runs without getting an out.  In 2009, Mendez made three appearances, and again allowed 4 runs, although this time he was able to also get 4 outs.  Is that considered that an improvement?  I’m not sure, but either way, the biggest problem for Mendez is his control.  He walked 5 batters in his one appearance last year, and 7 batters in his 1.3 innings this year.  That’s just ridiculous.  The two positives about Mendez are his age and his size.  He’ll still be 19 years old when the 2010 season starts, and I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL (if he returns at all).  As for his size, Mendez amazingly grew from 6’0” to 6’6” in the past year.  That growth spurt could have contributed to this control problems, but in the long run, if he learns to use that size to his advantage, he could eventually move up through the system.

195.  Tommy Perez, RHP (2 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 9/7/03

6’4”, 167 lbs, 23.5 years old

0-0, 9.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 0.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I didn’t rank Tommy Perez in my top 200 last year because he missed all of 2007 and 2008, so I had thought that he had been released.  But alas, he resurfaced in 2009, even though it was only for two brief one inning appearances.  Looking back at Tommy’s career, it seems that injuries have been a consistent theme.  After pitching 44 innings in his debut in 2004, Perez has only pitched 22 innings since.  Not a great track record.  However, Perez will be just 23 and a half years old at the start of the 2010 season, and has a good pitching frame at 6’4”.  Therefore, if he can somehow find a way to get healthy, Perez may still have a chance to make a splash in the Dodgers minor league system.

194.  Garett Green, 3B (49 games in HiA, 17 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 30th round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 25 years old

.235 average, 4 HR, 32 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 181

Garett Green had a subpar and injury riddled season in 2009 while playing most of the season at HiA (his time in Arizona was spent rehabbing his injury).  As I mentioned last year, he has no chance to make it to the big leagues.  Drafted out of San Diego State in 2008, the highlight of his baseball career will probably be that he got to play college ball with Stephen Strasburg.  At the end of the day, age is the biggest factor for Garett Green, as he’ll be 25 years old at the start of the 2010 season.  If he’s back with the club in 2010, he’ll most likely return to Hi-A.

193.  Steve Cilladi, C (14 games in Arizona League, 1 game in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 33rd round

5’9”, 182 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.119 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Besides the great Taiwan Perry and 18 year old Jorky Infante, Steve Cilladi had the lowest OPS of any Dodger minor leaguer at .379.  It is true that he only played in 15 games, but still, that is just awful.  The only reason that he isn’t ranked last is that he will be 23 years old when the 2010 season starts, instead of 24 or 25 like some of the other players.  Anyways, to provide a little background on Cilladi, his dad was a former athletic trainer for the Rockies and Cubs, so I’m sure he knows something about conditioning.  He played college ball in the NAIA with the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes, and during his four seasons there, Steve hit .267 with 76 hits, so he wasn’t exactly a masher in college either.  In fact, he wasn’t even the full time starting catcher during his Senior year.  I’m not sure why the Dodgers spent a pick on draft pick on Cilladi, even if it was a 33rd rounder, but I wish him the best of luck, and I guess he’ll be one of the backup catchers for the Dodgers in the Pioneer League next year.

192.  Jose Sanchez, LF (1 game in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/9/07

6’2”, 175 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.200 average, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 151

After playing in 5 DSL games during the 2008 season, Sanchez decided to take even more time off during 2009, and played in only 1 game.  Apparently he had some kind of an injury because he was on the DL from mid June until the end of the season, but I have no idea what that injury was.  Last year, I actually had some high hopes for Sanchez given his young age, his experience (2009 was actually his 3rd professional season), and his ideal size for an outfielder.  After another injury shortened season, however, I don’t see how Jose will be able to make up for so much lost time.  He’ll still be just 19 years old to start the 2010 season, but there is no doubt that he’ll be in the DSL yet again, that is if he comes back at all.

191.  Nick DeBarr, RHP (29.3 innings in AAA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/30/08

6’3”, 245 lbs, 26.5 years old

2-0, 7.36 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 7.67 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Nick Debarr is an injury prone 26 year old who struggled mightily in his first season in the Dodgers system.  Originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 14th round of the 2002 draft, DeBarr started his professional career with three mediocre seasons, posting ERA’s of 4.59, 4.15, and 4.91.  Unfortunately, he then underwent Tommy John surgery before the 2005 season, and missed the entire year.  However, he came back even stronger in 2006 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in HiA, and then continued to move up the ladder in the Ray’s system in 2007 and 2008.  Eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, the Dodgers picked up DeBarr as a long shot to help out in the bullpen.  Although he put up fairly solid stats in spring training (3.86 ERA in 7 innings), the Dodgers didn’t have enough room on their 25 man roster for him, and he was sent to AAA.  There he was pretty horrible, and apparently got hurt in mid July as he didn’t pitch after July 12th.  I doubt the Dodgers will re-sign Debarr for 2010, but if they do, he’ll definitely be in AAA again to trying to prove his worth.

190.  Keyter Collado, C (9 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/04

5’11”, 178 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.273 average, 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 154

Collado is another young catcher in the Dodgers system who hasn’t amounted to much.  After back to back successful seasons in 2006 and 2007, in which he was even named to the GCL post season all star team (in 2007), Collado has only played in 32 games over the past two years.  I’m not sure what has limited Collado over that time, but the 23 year old is running out of time to impress.  The one thing I noticed about Collado in 2009 was that he had a ridiculous ground ball percentage of 79%.  Granted it was only through 9 games, but still, I’ve never seen a ground ball percentage that high.  Overall, Collado has yet to play above rookie ball, so if he does return in 2010, he be a 24 year old either returning to rookie ball, or playing at Lo-A for the first time.

189.  Noel Acevedo, LHP (4 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

5’11”, 160 lbs, 19.75 years old

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

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When players debut for the Dodgers in the Dominican Summer League, they are generally 18 years old or younger.  Noel Acevedo, however, was 19 when he threw his first pitch for the Dominican Dodgers, and then went on to appear in only three games, probably due to injury.  In those three games, Noel didn’t have very good stats, as he walked 4 and only had one strikeout.  In addition, Acevedo is only 5’11” and 160 pounds, so I can’t imagine that he will ever develop into a significant prospect, even though he is a lefty.  So basically my ranking of Acevedo is based on his inexperience going into his 20 year old season, and his lack of impressive makeup.

188.  Rafael Aybar, 2B (Did not play in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 4/9/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 19.75 years old, switch hitter

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 148

First of all to clarify, Rafael Aybar is not related to former Dodgers infielder Willy Aybar or Angels infielder Erick Aybar.  That being said, last year I thought that Aybar had some potential as a 2nd baseman because he had some speed, and had shown an improvement to his overall game when compared to the prior year.  However, before the 2009 season, Aybar was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for the steroid boldenone.  In fact, even though the DSL season is longer than 50 games, Aybar ended up missing the entire year.  This will not only hurt his development, but also has put him in the doghouse with Dodger management.  You can’t blame the guy for trying to get ahead in such a competitive environment, but steroids are obviously not the way to go.  When the 2010 season begins, he’ll already be almost 20 years old, so he’ll have to make up for lost time quickly.  My guess is that his career is pretty much finished.

187.  Gabriel Gutierrez, C (33 games in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2002

5’11”, 190 lbs, 26.25 years old, bats right handed

.267 average, 0 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 161

Gabriel Gutierrez is an interesting case.  One of the few Mexican born players in the Dodgers minor league system, Gabriel returns to Mexico to play baseball any chance he gets.  In addition to playing in the Mexican Winter League for the past three seasons (where he has struggled, especially in 2008), Gutierrez was actually loaned to the Mexican League by the Dodgers during the 2009 regular season.  No matter where he has played, however, Gutierrez hasn’t had very good results.  While he holds his own as a catcher, Gabriel doesn’t project to be a starter in the minor leagues, let alone in the majors.  He has never shown any power whatsoever, and obviously has no speed.  He will be 26 years old next season, and while he has worked his way up to AA, I don’t see him being promoted beyond that. 

186.  Johan Garcia, 3B (40 games in HiA, 12 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 4/19/05

6’0”, 170 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.189 average, 0 HR’s 10 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 155

After spending two season in the Dominican Summer League, and then two more seasons in the Dodgers U.S. based rookie leagues, Johan Garcia finally got a chance to prove himself in Hi-A after he was promoted to the California League in July of 2009.  Unfortunately, his promotion was far from memorable.  In 111 at bats, Garcia hit. 162 with only 4 RBI’s.  While he may have been a little unlucky with his .205 batting average for balls in play, that is no excuse.  His only asset is his speed, but even that isn’t overly impressive.  At 23 and a half years old, Garcia is running out of time to impress.  I’m sure he’ll return to Hi-A again next year, but I doubt he’ll ever have the chance to play every day.

185.  Edward Bens, 1B (41 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/9/07

6’1”, 189 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed

.266 average, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 132

Even though I thought Edward Bens would move to a U.S. based rookie league in 2009, the Dodgers decided to keep him the Dominican Summer League for a third straight year.  And I guess the Dodgers were right to keep him there, as Bens only had a mediocre season in 2009, even though he was one of the oldest and most experienced players in the league.  In addition, Bens saw his stock drop significant because he no longer appears to be a true catcher.  Last season he played 35 of his 41 games behind the plate.  In 2009, however, he only caught 18 games, while playing 23 at 1st base or DH.  The one thing that Bens has going for him is that he doesn’t strike out very much.  He K’d in less than 10% of his plate appearances in 2009, which was one of the best rates in the Dodgers minor league system.  Looking to the future, I can’t image that Bens will stay in the Dominican League for a 4th year, so I suspect he’ll finally make it the U.S.

 

184.  Gari Tavarez, RHP (18.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’0”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

0-0, 6.75 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 9.64 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 149

While Tavarez didn’t exactly dominate in 2008, I still thought that the Dodgers would give him a chance in the Pioneer League in 2009.  However, the Dodgers decided to put Gari in the Arizona League, and it looks like they made the right decision.  While Tavarez wasn’t quite as bad as his stats may lead one to believe (his FIP was a respectable 3.75 and he struck more than one batter per inning), he was far from impressive.  In fact, his 6.75 ERA was a far cry from the 1.49 ERA he posted in 2007 in the Dominican Summer League.  I’m not sure why he was limited to just over 18 innings, but this undersized pitcher is running out of time as he is a 22 year old who has yet to play above rookie ball.

183.  Christian Lara, SS (115 games in HiA in 2009)

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

5’11, 150 lbs, 24.75 years old, switch hitter

.256 average, 6 HR’s, 46 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 200

I should apologize to Christian Lara.  Last year, I ranked Lara dead last in my top 200 ranking.  After further review, however, I realized that Lara wasn’t quite as bad as I had originally thought, and I also realized that there were other players who were more deserving of last place on my list.  In fact, while browsing through the old Baseball America archives, I discovered that Lara was once a legitimate prospect.  In 2003, Lara was the Red Sox player of the year for their Dominican Summer League.  In 2004, Lara was actually ranked the 9th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League after hitting .433 in 60 at bats.  During that season, Lara apparently had “good on-base ability and speed and focuses on getting the most out of those tools”.   Now that I got my apology out of the way, I will say that Lara still isn’t a very good player.  He made the third most errors of any Dodger minor leaguer with 25, and struck out 4 times for every walk.  He did show a little more speed and power in 2009, but those are both functions of him repeating in the California League, as he has much more experience in the league than the other players.  I can’t see Lara as anything more than a bench player for Hi-A or AA in 2010.

182.  Jean Eusebio, RHP (21.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

6’1”, 195 lbs, 20.75 years old

0-0, 4.15 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 7.48 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 174

After playing catcher in 2008, Jean Eusebio took the Kenly Jansen route and made the transition to the mound during the 2009 season.  For a guy with no pitching experience, Eusebio was relatively successful.  Playing in the Dominican Summer League, his 3.91 FIP was even better than his 4.15 ERA, and his strikeout rate was respectable.  His only ugly stat was his WHIP, which was a function of his 15 walks in less than 22 innings.  I’m not sure what 2010 will bring for Jean Eusebio.  He will be 21 years old during most of next season, and will probably return to the DSL to continue his growth as a pitcher.  He has the size to succeed, but he’s going to have to make great strides in the next 12 months to get his name on the Dodger prospect map.

181.  Marlon Urriola, RHP (2 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/25/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 21.75 years old

0-1, 13.50 ERA, 4.00 WHIP, 13.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 117

After pitching 3 seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the Dodgers fulfilled my prediction and decided to give Marlon Urriola a chance to play in a U.S. based league in 2009.  Unfortunately, his 2009 U.S. debut lasted only 2 innings, which was spread over two days in late June.  I can honestly say that I have no idea why Marlon only pitched in two games in 2009, but I can only assume it was due to injury.  The good news, however, is that Marlon will only be 21 years old at the start of the 2010 season, so he has plenty of time to make up for his lost time.  At 6’2”, Marlon has a solid right handed frame, and hopefully he can stay healthy in 2010 and put together a solid season (while mostly likely repeating in the Arizona Rookie League).

180.  Jose Ramirez, RF (51 Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 200 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.213 average, 2 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m guessing that Jose Ramirez won’t be replacing Andre Ethier as the Dodgers right fielder anytime soon, as Ramirez hit just .213 in his first professional season.  In addition, Ramirez is already 21 years old and only has 51 games under his belt, so his inexperience could be a problem as he moves up.  His one strong point, however, seems to be his speed.  He stole 10 bases on the year, with 8 of them coming in the month of June.  Those 8 stolen bases in June were good for 3rd place among all Dodger minor leaguers for that month.  In addition, at 6’2” and 200 lbs, Ramirez seems to have good size.  He is also pretty versatile in the outfield, playing in both right and center field during the 2009 season.  As for his future, I’m pretty sure the Dodgers will keep Jose in the Dominican Summer League for another year, even though he’ll be one of the oldest player in the league. 

179.  Adam Godwin, CF (95 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 11th round

5’11”, 170 lbs, 27.25 years old, bats right handed

.254 average, 1 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 145

Adam Godwin is definitely fast.  How fast you may ask?  Try 84 stolen bases in 93 attempts during his senior season at Troy State.  That same season, Godwin hit .367 with 5 HR’s.  Ever since his professional debut, however, Adam success has seemed to fade away.  After hitting .310 in 2005 with the Ogden Raptors, Godwin has seen his game steadily decline.  While he continued to steal bases from 2006 through 2008, even that tailed off in 2009 as he was limited to 95 games due to a crowded Lookout outfield.  Besides his lack of playing time, Godwin’s biggest disadvantage is his age, as he will turn 27 before the start of the 2010 season.  As Godwin looks toward his 6th professional season, he has to wonder if he will ever get the chance to play full time again.  I see him as a part time player in AAA at best, but I think that he’ll start the 2010 season in AA for yet another season.

178.  Jose Garcia, LHP (7.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

5’11”, 185 lbs, 18.75 years old

0-0, 13.50 ERA, 2.86 WHIP, 8.59 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jose Garcia is a young lefty from the Dominican Republic who has a lot to learn before he’ll be a successful professional pitcher.  In 2009, he was ridiculously wild, walking 14 batters in just over 7 innings, allowed way too many runs, and only pitched in 10 games.  Despite these negative, however, Garcia showed flashes of success during 2009.  He struck out almost one batter per inning, and allowed only a .259 batting average.  In addition, Garcia was even able to pick up two saves in his limited appearances.  Jose is only 5’11”, but given the fact that he is only 18 years old, maybe he’ll still grow an inch or two.  He’ll return to the Dominican Summer League next year, and I’m assuming the Dodgers will try to get him some more innings than during 2009.

177.  Kyle Wilson, RHP (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 22nd round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.75 years old

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 128

Does anyone know what happened to Kyle Wilson during 2009?  I had originally excluded him from my list because I thought he had been released, but then I saw on Baseball America that he had been reinstated from the DL at the end of the season, so I put him back in.  Last year, I ranked Wilson a respectable #128 because the UCLA alum was actually extremely dominate in 2007 (1.09 ERA in 33 innings at Inland Empire), and then did pretty well in limited innings in 2008.  However, as he has pitched just 22.2 innings over the past two season, and is now pushing 27 years old, I felt that I had to drop his ranking a little.  His stats demonstrate that he has good stuff when healthy, but I have no idea how hard he throws or what kind of pitches he has.  In 2004 at UCLA, he led the team with 12.5 strikeouts per 9 innings, so he most likely has a good “out pitch”.  Wilson topped out in AA in 2008, and if healthy, will look to return to that level in 2010. 

176.  Jose Lugo, 1B (41 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 200 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.223 average, 0 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jose Lugo is a young player from Venezuela who made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2009.  While his stats weren’t pretty, I’ll give the 19 year old Lugo a break because he was getting himself used to the life as a professional baseball player.  In addition, I like the fact that Lugo improved as the season progressed, as he hit .206 in June, .238 in July, and .250 in August.  However, the biggest negative about Lugo is that he didn’t show any speed or power in his game.  Listed as a first baseman, Jose also played 12 games at catcher, which could potentially boost his value if he can continue to improve behind the plate. 

175.  David Iden, 2B (32 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 35th round

5’9”, 160 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed

.239 average, 0 HR’s, 5 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

A late round pick for the Dodgers in 2009 out of Cal Lutheran University, David Iden is the type of player who just wants to be given a chance.  Upon being drafted by the Dodgers, Iden was “ecstatic… relieved…and anxious”.  At Cal Lutheran, the Thousand Oaks native was a career .343 hitter, and ranked in the school’s top 10 for career RBI’s (100), runs scored (121), and stolen bases (63).  However, upon arriving in professional baseball, Iden struggled to produce.  He hit only .239 in 32 games, and only had 5 RBI’s.  In addition, Iden proved that he wasn’t really a stolen base threat, as he was caught stealing 6 times in 11 attempts.  At 5’9”, Iden is the perfect size for a 2nd baseman, but must step up his game if he wants to make an impact with the Dodgers.  Also, at 23 years old, time is against David, so I’m going to guess that he’ll play at Lo-A or Hi-A in 2010.

174.  Luis Vasquez, RHP (58.3 innings in Pioneer League, 12.7 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/20/03

6’4”, 155 lbs, 24 years old

3-5, 5.96 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 6.46 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 130

I’m actually a little confused about Luis Vasquez, because when I look him up on the minor league baseball website, it now shows that his parent club is the Colorado Rockies.  It does make some sense, since he has been with the Dodgers for over 6 years and was probably a minor league free agent (although he wasn’t listed as one at Baseball America).  However, it seems strange that he signed so quickly with another club.  Whatever the case, Vasquez wasn’t the greatest player anyways, so he wouldn’t be a big loss.  After putting up respectable numbers in 2008, albeit with a low strikeout rate, Vasquez was rocked in Hi-A before getting demoted to the Pioneer League.  He continued to struggle with Ogden, allowing 8 HR’s to lead the team, and posting a 5.09 ERA.  Stats aside, Vasquez is a tall and skinny ball player who has yet to fill out his lanky frame.  He’ll be 24 years old at the start of the 2010 season, and I have no idea where his future lies.

173.  Luis Mesa, RHP (29.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’4”, 170 lbs, 19.75 years old

0-3, 6.37 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, 5.16 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Luis Mesa is another young player from Venezuela who debuted with the Dominican Dodgers in 2009.  While his ERA and WHIP weren’t great, a closer look at his numbers show that he actually had a fairly successful first professional season.  His FIP was actually a respectable 4.26, and his ground ball percentage of 64% was tops on the Dominican Dodgers.  That ground ball percentage demonstrates that he probably pitches with sink, and has the ability to induce quite a few ground balls, which generally make a pitcher successful.  A lanky right handed pitcher, Mesa has a great pitchers frame, and will hopefully gain some weight over the next few years.  I expect the Dodgers to hang onto Mesa, and I’m sure he’ll return to the Dominican Summer League next season.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if he made an appearance in a U.S. based rookie league at some point in 2011.

172.  Rafael Ynoa, 2B (35 games in Pioneer League, 14 games in HiA, 2 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

5’10”, 162 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.163 average, 0 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 89

I may have whiffed on my ranking of Ynoa last year.  I had ranked him 89th last year because he was coming off a season where he hit .306, which led the GCL Dodgers.  However, I should have taken a look at his prior year numbers more closely and realized that his 2008 season was a fluke, and not a breakout season.  Ynoa hit .259 in 2006 and just .206 in 2007, and hadn’t shown any previous power.  So really, his struggles in 2009 are nothing new.  He started the 2009 season in Hi-A, but was absolutely awful through 37 at bats, hitting just .054.  So the Dodgers demoted him to the Pioneer League in June, but he wasn’t much better.  Also, he must have gotten injured at some point during his stay in Ogden because he finished up the season on a rehab assignment back in the Arizona Rookie League.  Overall, Ynoa had a very forgettable season in 2009, and at 22 and a half, this prototypical 2nd baseman is going to have to do something special in 2010 to make a name for himself.

171.  Amauri Guzman, RHP (13.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/05

6’3”, 200 lbs, 23.5 years old

0-0, 3.38 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 8.78 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 178

Even though Amauri Guzman is just 23 years old, he has already seen his baseball career take quite a few twists and turns.  After signing with the Dodgers as an outfielder in March of 2005 out of the Dominican Republic, Amauri actually played his first few professional games in the Gulf Coast League before finishing the season in the Dominican Summer League.  In 2006, Guzman spent the entire season in the DSL.  In 2007, Guzman was promoted up to the Gulf Coast League, still as an outfielder, where he hit a respectable .310.  Then, for whatever reason, Guzman was converted to a pitcher, and spent all of 2008 back in the DSL, posting a horrid 9.64 ERA.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to bring Amauri back to the U.S. again in 2009, and let him pitch in the Arizona Rookie League.  I’ve never heard of any other prospect going back and forth between the U.S. based and foreign rookie leagues so many different times.  Anyways, Guzman performed surprising well in 2009, although he was limited to just 13 and one third innings.  With less than 28 innings of professional pitching experience, however, I’m not sure how the 23 year old will ever be able to move fast enough to make an impact in the Dodgers system, but the one thing he does have going for him is that he does have a good pitching frame.  If healthy, he’ll probably move up to Lo-A in 2010.

170.  Matthew Smith, RHP (7 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 22nd round

6’6”, 195 lbs, 23.25 years old

0-1, 12.86 ERA, 3.57 WHIP, 3.86 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 120

As I mentioned last year, Smith was drafted by the Dodgers in 2008 because of his size, not because of his college stats at Wichita State.  He recorded a 6.11 ERA during his 2008 season with the Shockers, and a 7.41 ERA during his 2007 season.  Nevertheless, Smith was able to use his size to his advantage during his professional debut as he posted some pretty respectable stats in the Pioneer Rookie League in 2008.  2009, however, was a totally different story, as Smith had probably the worst stats out of any Dodger minor leaguer.  While he only pitched 7 innings, he was absolutely horrendous.  Besides his 12.86 ERA and 3.57 WHIP, it should also be noted that batters hit an astonishing .541 against Smith.  Also, while he must have been injured most of the season, it should be noted that he was healthy at the end of the year, because he pitched on September 5th of 2009, which was one of the 66ers last games.  Overall, even though Matt has had really bad stats in 3 of his last for collegiate/professional pitching seasons, I have some faith that he’ll rebound at some point based on his great pitching frame, and I’m guessing that he’ll be back in the California League in 2010.

169.  Joseph Becker, SS (20 games in AA, 17 games in LoA, 11 games in HiA, 3 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/11/07

5’11, 175 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed

.299 average, 1 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 190

Joseph Becker did quite a bit of traveling in 2009.  He played at four different levels, ranging from the Arizona Rookie League, all the way up to AA.  When it was all said and done, his stats were actually pretty respectable for the year, especially when compared to what he did in 2008.  He finished the season in LoA, and was part of the Great Lakes playoff roster.  Unfortunately, he only hit .211 in 19 at bats during the Midwest League playoffs.  Becker was originally signed by the Dodgers as a non drafted free agent in 2007.  His college experience consisted of two years at Antelope Valley College, where he hit .350 for his career.  As a middle infielder, Becker is mediocre at best, and even though he’s listed as a shortstop, he also plays 2nd base.  He also has no power or speed to speak of.  At this point, while he had a solid average during the 2009 season, he appears to be more of an organizational player for the Dodgers.  In 2010, the 24 year old will probably bounce around again to different levels that need a middle infielder.

168.  Travis Vetters, OF (36 games in LoA, 4 games in Arizona league in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/28/06

6’2”, 190 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats right handed

.237 average, 1 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 73

Too bad Travis Vetters can’t just make a career out of playing in baseball’s Rookie Leagues.  For his career, Vetters is hitting .332 in 398 Rookie League at bats (in the Gulf Coast League, Arizona Rookie League, and Pioneer Rookie League), and .223 in 220 LoA at bats.  The difference is amazing as he goes through some sort of transformation when he plays in the Rookie Leagues.  One reason for his success in the Rookie Leagues has to be attributed to his age.  Most guys are between 18 and 20 when they play in the Rookie Leagues, but not Travis.  He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in June 2006 when he was almost 23 years old, and managed to stay in the Rookie Leagues for the better part of 3 years.  When he did get a chance to play in Lo-A in at the beginning of 2008, he struggled so bad that the Dodgers sent him to the Pioneer League for the rest of the season.  They let him try Lo-A again at the beginning of 2009, but his results were similar.  He struggled at the beginning of the season, got injured and rehabbed in the Arizona League (where he of course hit .333 in 4 games), and returned to Lo-A in July where he struggled some more.  So needless to say, the 26 year old Vetters is not much of a prospect.  The one thing he’ll always be able to tell his kids, however, is that during the 2008 season, he hit .404 in the Pioneer League in over 150 AB’s, and hey, I’ll give him props for that, because hitting over .400 in that many at bats is a major accomplishment.

 

 

167.  Jorky Infante, 2B (26 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 155 lbs, 19 years old, switch hitter

.143 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Let’s start with the positives for Jorky Infante.  First, he has a great name.  Second, he is a switch hitter.  Third, Infante played the entire 2009 season as just an 18 year old.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any other good things to say about Jorky.  His .368 OPS looked more like a batting average, and he didn’t show any power or speed.  He also plays 2nd base, which limits his value on the field.  In addition, from the looks of his stats, Infante appeared to be limited to a pinch hitting role during the 2009 season as he only had 35 at bats in 26 games.  Nevertheless, I expect improvement out of Infante in 2010.  He is obviously still young, and he still has the chance to develop into an average player next season.  If he does progress enough during 2010, he might be in line for a move to a U.S. based rookie league in 2011.

 

 

166.  Justin Dignelli, RHP (14 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 34th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 23 years old

1-1, 7.71 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 11.57 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Dignelli was a low risk, high reward draft pick for the Dodgers in 2009.  The 6’4” pitcher out of George Washington University allowed more than a run per inning in his college career.  In addition, Justin walked a ridiculous number of batters in college, a stat that followed him into his professional career.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to take a chance on Dignelli because they felt his size might lead to a promising future.  Sure enough, in his limited time with the Dodgers during his professional debut, the Dodgers got a glimpse of what they were hoping for as Dignelli struck out 18 batters in 14 innings, and allowed just a .216 batting average against.  They also saw his lack of experience, however, as demonstrated by his 7.71 ERA.  While the Dodgers will want to be aggressive with Dignelli, they also have to be careful with his right arm as he was constantly injured throughout his college career.  I expect Dignelli to play in the Pioneer League next year, and hopefully he’ll be able to show significant improvement.

 

 

165.  Jose Mateo, RHP (14.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’8”, 190 lbs, 21 years old

1-2, 8.16 ERA, 2.16 WHIP, 7.54 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The most interesting thing about Mateo is his extreme size.  The 6’8” Dominican towers over his Dodger teammates, and I would guess that he was the tallest player in the entire Dominican Summer League.  With his size comes wildness, however, as Jose walked as many batters as he struck out, which almost came out to one walk per inning.  It is for that reason that you don’t find many pitchers taller than 6’6” in the major leagues, because it is very difficult for extremely tall pitchers to harness their stuff.  In addition to his wildness, Jose must have also left too many hittable balls over the plate, as opposing batters hit .322 against him.  Even though Mateo was 20 years old in his debut season, the Dodgers used him sparingly, spreading out his 13 appearances evenly from June through August.  Overall, I don’t see too many positives in regards to Mateo besides the fact that he had a strikeout rate that was just a tick above average.  Nevertheless, his height makes him such a wildcard that I can’t help but have some hope that he’ll have a dramatic turnaround next year and burst on to the prospect scene, setting himself up for a U.S. debut in 2011.

164.  Adolfo Gonzalez, 2B (59 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/8/02

5’11”, 160 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.271 average, 4 HR, 24 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 104

Adolfo Gonzalez regressed significantly in 2009.  After spending all of 2008 in AA and hitting .298, the Dodgers demoted Gonzalez to Hi-A in 2009.  At Inland Empire he got off to a hot start, but then steadily declined before his season early on June 30 due to some sort of injury.  A smaller player who is pretty much limited to 2nd base, I’m not sure why I ranked Adolfo all the way at #104 last year because I really don’t like him as a player.  He just really isn’t that good.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers already re-signed this Venezuelan native after the 2009 season to a minor league contract, and I suppose he’ll return to Hi-A in 2010.

163.  Faustino Oguisten, SS (24 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 165 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.190 average, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Faustino Oguisten’s stats were obviously pretty ugly in 2009.  Not only was his batting average only .190, but so was his slugging percentage.  That’s right, all of Oguisten’s hits in 2009 were singles.  Nevertheless, this Dominican deserves some recognition in my ranking due to his youth and his position.  Oguisten was just 18 years old during his first professional season, and played the premium position of shortstop (even though he made 11 errors in just 24 games).  In addition, Faustino has good size, and if he is able to put on some muscle in the future, he could be a pretty scary offensive threat.  That potential still a long way off, however, and I’m positive that Oguisten will return to the Dominican Summer League in 2010.

162.  Miguel Sanfler, LHP (89 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/2/02

5’11”, 165 lbs, 25.5 years old

1-0, 5.48 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 6.13 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 102

Back in 2005, Sanfler was rated by Baseball America as the 19th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League.  This was only four spots ahead of one of the Dodgers top prospects Ivan DeJesus Jr.  At that time, Miguel boasted a 95 mph fastball and a devastating curveball.  Four years later, Sanfler’s stuff seems to have faded.  While the California League has been historically tough on pitchers, it is no excuse for the control problems that plagued Sanfler in 2009.  He walked almost as many batters as he struck out, which inflated Miguel’s WHIP to 1.64.  Sanfler also tends to leave the ball up when he misses, and allowed 7 HR’s in 2009, a remarkably high number for a reliever. At 5’11”, 165 lbs, and 25 and half years old, Sanfler doesn’t appear to have what it takes to make it to the show, and I’d be surprised if he was promoted to AA next year.  Lastly, Sanfler is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League, and has a 10.80 ERA in 1.7 innings, which doesn’t bode well for his assignment next year.

161.  Charlie Mirabal, SS (61 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07

5’11”, 164 lbs, 23 years old

.254 average, 0 HR’s, 26 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 79

As I said last year, Charlie Mirabal is an interesting story.  He was signed by the Dodgers after he performed well during an open tryout before the 2007 season.  Originally a middle infielder, Mirabal struggled during the 2007 season in the Dominican Summer League.  So the Dodgers decided to try him out as a pitcher during 2008, and he put up some great numbers.  He had a 1.99 ERA in 32 innings and had an outstanding strikeout rate.  Based on those facts, one would think that Mirabal would continue to pitch in 2009 in one of the U.S. based rookie leagues right?  Wrong.  The Dodgers had different plans for Miarbal, and decided to move him back to shortstop in 2009.  I don’t really understand this decision at all given Charlie’s success on the mound in 2008, and the only reasonable explanation would be that he had some sort of a minor injury to his pitching arm.  Whatever the case, Mirabal had another lackluster season as a position player in 2009.  He did rank 3rd on the Dominican Dodgers in RBI’s and stolen bases, but he was also one of the oldest players in the league.  It is for this reason that I dropped Charlie significantly in my ranking from last year.  When the 2010 season starts, the 5’11” Mirabal will be 23 years old.  I can’t see him making any sort of an impact as a shortstop, but maybe the Dodgers will give him yet another chance on the mound to see if he can repeat his 2008 performance in a more advanced league.

160.  Marlon Arias, LHP (18.6 innings in HiA, 6.3 innings in AAA, 1 inning in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/11/03

6’3”, 150 lbs, 25.5 years old

1-1, 6.23 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, 9.35 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 171

Marlon Arias’ claim to fame will always be the no-hitter he threw in 2007 while with Inland Empire.  Given the reputation of the California league, that is no small feat.  Going back to the beginning of his career, Arias was signed at the beginning of 2003 out the Dominican Republic.  He dominated the Dominican Summer League in 2003 and 2004 before coming to the U.S. in 2005.  From 2005 through 2009, however, he has continually struggled, and has never posted an ERA below 5.00 during that time period.  In addition, he regressed significant in 2009 as his ERA rose to an ugly 6.23.  Nevertheless, there were two positives for Marlon in 2009.  First, he made it all the way to AAA, and ended the season there.  Second, he struck out more than one batter per inning.  A current minor league free agent, it remains to be seen if the Dodgers will resign this tall lefty to another minor league contract, or if they’ll let him join another organization.  While he has shown flashes of brilliance over his career, I don’t see any major league potential in him as a player, so unless the Dodgers need organizational depth at pitcher, I’d prefer that they left him walk. 

 

 

159.  Carlos Mercedes, 1B (42 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 190 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats right handed

.133 average, 2 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Carlos Mercedes is a young Dominican player who made his professional debut in 2009.  He was only 17 when he played his first professional game, and his lack of experience showed.  He hit just .133 for the season, and struck out in almost one-third of his plate appearances.  However, he did hit 2 home runs, which is pretty good for the Dominican Summer League.  In addition, Mercedes was extremely unlucky in 2009, as his batting average for balls in play was only .192, which is one of the lowest in the Dodgers minor league system.  Primarily a 1st baseman in 2009, Mercedes also played in the outfield throughout the course of the season, which shows that he has some versatility.  Overall, while his 2009 stats were awful, I believe that his youth and size give him the potential to turn things around next season. 

 

 

158.  Thomas Melgarejo, LHP (36.3 innings in HiA, 4.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/1/05

6’1”, 216 lbs, 23 years old

2-3, 6.15 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 8.78 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 91

A native of Mexico who was signed by the Dodgers before the 2006 season, Melgarejo is another player who I ranked as a top 100 Dodger prospect last year, yet disappointed in 2009.  After spending back to back seasons in Lo-A, Melgarejo was promoted to the hitters’ paradise known as the California League, and the results were not pretty.   He posted a 5.70 ERA and allowed 7 HR’s in just over 36 innings.  He also walked too many batters, and based on his results, didn’t appear to have overpowering stuff.  However, when you combine his Hi-A stats with the stats he accumulated in the Arizona Rookie League while rehabbing an injury, he did end up striking out almost a batter per inning, and also had a respectable 5.00 FIP and a .272 batting average against.  In 2010, I anticipate that the 23 year old Melgarejo will return to Hi-A, and hopefully he’ll have better results.  Finally, it is worth noting that Thomas is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League, and is doing fairly well with 13 K’s and 4.82 ERA in just over 9 innings.

157.  Ronny Lugo, RF (63 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 170 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.246 average, 0 HR’s, 24 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Ronny Lugo was signed out of Venezuela prior to the 2009 season, and debuted with the Dominican Dodgers in May.  While his offensive stats were just average, it should be noted that Lugo played all three outfield positions, and only made 3 errors in 63 games.  He played the most games in right field, so one can only assume that he has an above average arm.  Getting back to his offense, he really didn’t do too badly for a first year player.  He had a very solid month of June by hitting .293, and his 24 RBI’s for the year ranked forth on the team.  In addition, he showed some speed with 5 triples throughout the course of the season, which led the Dominican Dodgers by far.  Nevertheless, at 20 years old, Lugo is going to have to show something special next year to get a chance at playing in a U.S. based league in 2011.

156.  Eric Thompson, RHP (28 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 23rd round

6’6”, 210 lbs, 22 years old

1-1, 5.79 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 4.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 121

Eric Thompson was drafted out of high school in 2006, and even though he was a 23rd round pick, the Dodgers had to pay him a fairly large signing bonus to convince him put his basketball career aside.  The thought was that the 6’6” pitcher would have the ideal frame and size to be a power pitcher.  However, more than three years have passed since he was drafted, and Thompson is still struggling in Rookie ball.  While he did make it up to LoA in 2008, he found himself back at Ogden for the entire 2009 season.  I don’t know anything about his pitches, command, or his velocity, but the fact that he struck out less than 5 batters per 9 innings in 2009 seems to suggest that his doesn’t have overpowering stuff.  But on the plus side, he did have a respectable 4.34 FIP in 2009, and opposing batters only hit .241 against him.  At 22 years old, Thompson is running out of time to prove himself to Dodger management.  Nevertheless, I have a soft spot for pitchers who were drafted out of high school, so I hope that he puts together a solid campaign in 2010.  He’ll probably start next season at Lo-A, and there is a chance that he’ll move up to Inland Empire by mid-season.

155.  Bridger Hunt, OF (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 9th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

No stats in 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 97

After a mediocre 2008 season in Hi-A, Bridger Hunt was on track to make the jump to AA in 2009 as a part time player.  The 9th round pick out of Central Missouri State had something to prove after being relegated to an organization player who was just there to fill out a roster. Unfortunately, Hunt never got that chance in 2009 as he was injured the entire season.  I’m not sure what Bridger’s injury was, but I did see his name on the Inland Empire DL list for the entire season.  My analysis of Hunt as a player is that he has the ability to hit for a decent batting average, but has no power.  He is also a scrappy player who has the potential to be a solid leadoff hitter, but unfortunately he lacks the speed to ever be great.  Overall, this injury has really put Hunt’s career on hold, and now I’m not sure if he’ll ever be able to get back on track.  If healthy in 2010, he’ll probably stay in extended spring training for a while to get back into game action, and then depending on his results, will play in HiA or AA.

 

154.  Chris Handke, RHP (1.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 41st round

6’10”, 235 lbs, 22 years old

0-0, 13.50 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 0.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Chris Handke is an interesting prospect with an even more interesting story.  The 6’10” pitcher (or 6’11” pitcher, depending upon where you look) was actually a much better basketball player at Cornell College, averaging 9.8 points per game and setting the single season record for blocks with 45 during the 2008-2009 season.  In addition, Handke had a 3.92 GPA while majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  And by the way, his career pitching stats at Cornell looked like this: 0-1, 10.12 ERA, 25 walks, and 11 strikeouts in 21 and one third innings.  Based on the above information, who would have guessed that he’d be playing in the Dodgers minor league system?  Well, Chris didn’t even believe it after he was drafted.  He was quoted as saying “I told the Dodgers that I want to finish my degree at Cornell and complete my basketball career.”  His dad Jim also told the local paper “Chris was up front with them. He told them academics are a big priority for him, and he wants to go back to play basketball this winter. They were fine with that.”  So what changed his mind?  I’m not too sure, but I bet it had something to do with the Dodgers agreeing to pay for his education during the offseason, or when he is done playing baseball.  I also know that the Dodgers drafted Chris after watching him hit 93 mph at the Perfect Game’s National Pre-Draft Showcase.  In regards to his professional debut, Chris only pitched in 2 games, and was hit very hard.  Nevertheless, a 6’10” pitcher who can hit 93 mph is always intriguing, so I’m sure the Dodgers will continue to spend time on him to see if they can maximize his potential.  He’ll probably start next season in the Pioneer League as a 22 year old.

 

 

153.  Ivan Eugenia, RHP (14 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 185 lbs, 18.5 years old

1-1, 5.79 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 9.64 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Ivan Eugenia is a young Dominican player who made his debut in 2009.  In fact, not only is Eugenia young, but he is the fourth youngest player in the entire Dodgers minor league system.  Because Ivan is so young, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt despite his mediocre ERA and WHIP in 2009.  His 5.79 ERA was supplemented by the fact that his FIP was a respectable 3.41.  In addition, another positive feature about Eugenia is his ability to strike batters out.  While he was limited to 14 innings in the DSL in 2009, his 9.64 K/9 ranked as one of the best for the Dominican Dodgers.  If Ivan can learn to limit the amount of walks he allows, he will no doubt turn into a legitimate prospect.  I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL in 2010, and hopefully he’ll get a chance to exhibit his potential by pitching more innings.

152.  Jordan Roberts, LHP (26.7 innings in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round

6’1”, 180 lbs, 24.25 years old

1-0, 2.70 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4.05 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 150

While he only pitched 26 innings all year, the 2009 season was a tail of two halves for Jordan Roberts.  After making 6 appearances in June and July and posting an ERA of 8.00, Jordan found his groove in August, and never looked back.  From August 4th through the end of the season, Jordan made 7 appearances, pitched just under 18 innings, and did not allow an earned run.  His WHIP during that streak was a ridiculous 0.68, and opposing players hit less than .150 against him.  The strange thing was that he only struck out 12 batters the entire season, so you have to wonder if he was a little bit lucky.  His 2009 FIP of 3.70 also seems to suggest that he was pretty fortunate throughout the season.  Going back to his college career, Roberts was a first team All-American out of the NAIA college Embry-Riddle in Florida.  Drafted in the 28th round of 2008, he finished his that season 12th in the NAIA in ERA a 1.94 and, and was 24th in strikeouts per game with 10.10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  So obviously Roberts does have some good stuff.  Looking to the future, however, Roberts will be 24 years old when the 2010 season starts, so he’s getting too old for the rookie leagues.  He’ll probably move up to Hi-A next year, and hopefully this lefty will continue his scoreless streak in the California League.

151.  Jessie Mier, C (35 games in HiA, 1 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 12th round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.217 average, 3 HR, 7 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 115

From now on, I’m guessing that Jessie Mier will simply be known as the older brother of Jiovanni Mier.  For those of you who don’t know, Jessie’s brother Jiovanni was drafted by the Astros with the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft.  Jiovanni is a promising young shortstop, and I’m pretty sure we’ll see him in an Astro uniform sometime in the next five years.  Jessie, on the other hand, is a struggling backup catcher.  Drafted out of Lewis-Clark College in 2007 he played in 8 games with the Ogden Raptors in his debut season before breaking his hand.  He made a full recovery, however, and split time between Ogden and Great Lakes in 2008, posting a respectable .270 average.  In 2009, Mier’s season got off to a late start as he didn’t make his debut until May 30 with Inland Empire.  With the 66ers, Mier served as the backup catcher for the remainder of the season and struggled in pretty much every offensive category.  Despite his struggles, the Dodgers decided to send Mier to the Arizona Fall League for some additional work.  Generally, I consider all players sent to the Arizona Fall League as at least a marginal prospect.  In Mier’s case, however, I don’t consider that to be the case.  In fact, I think the Dodgers wasted an AFL spot by sending Mier.  He proved my point by hitting just .167 in the AFL in 36 at bats.  Overall, while he is known as one of the better defensive catchers in the Dodgers system, Mier’s offensive skills have just not developed enough to compliment his abilities behind the plate.  He will probably play in AA next season, but will definitely be the backup catcher as I don’t him ever being a starting catcher at any level.

150.  Andres Perez, INF (26 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 8/9/09 out of independent ball

6’0”, 200 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats right handed

.340 average, 5 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Andres Perez played his college ball at Stony Brook University, and during 2006, his Senior season, he hit .327 and led the team with 7 HR’s.  Undrafted out of college, Perez signed with the Yankees as a non drafted free agent in September of 2006.  In 2007, his first professional season, he played at 4 different levels ranging from the Gulf Coast League to HiA.  After an uninspiring season, however, he was cut from the Yankees, so he signed with Tampa Bay before the 2008 season.  After a mediocre season in the Florida State League, he was again let go again.  Unable to find a team to sign with at the beginning of 2009, Perez kept his baseball hopes alive by playing independent ball with the Newark Bears.  According to the Newark website at the time of his signing, “Perez was batting .306 with 11 doubles, 4 triples, and 17 home runs, and he collected 54 runs batted in just 64 games.  Perez was a versatile player who appeared at first base, second base, third base, and the outfield.”  Because he signed so late in season, Perez only got into 26 games in the California League, but he made each game count.  He averaged almost an RBI a game, and hit a sizzling .340.  He also had a great OPS of .966.  On the downside, he didn’t walk a whole lot, and his batting average for balls in play of .400 shows that he was probably getting a little lucky.  A minor league free agent after the season, Perez will have to wait and see if his performance was enough to earn him another job in 2010.  However, at 25 years old, he also may be tempted to give up the dream and pursue another realistic occupation.

149.  Austin King, OF (28 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 31st round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats right handed

.244 average, 3 HR’s, 12 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I had the toughest time finding Austin King’s college stats.  He played at Jackson State Community College, but their website really sucks and it doesn’t have stats.  In addition, he apparently didn’t even play college ball in 2009 based on the Junior College Athletic Association website, which complicated things even further.  When I did finally find his stats, they didn’t agree with what I had previously read.  So contrary to previously published report about him on Scout.com, he did not hit .452 with 15 HR’s and 110 RBI’s in college.  Instead, in 2008 he hit .328 with 4 HR’s 25 RBI’s.  He also stole 17 bases in 18 attempts.  Going back even further into King’s past, he was drafted out of high school by the White Sox in the 40th round of the 2007 draft, but obviously didn’t sign.  Turning to his professional debut, Austin really struggled in his first few months of professional ball.  Luckily for him, however, he turned things around in August as he hit .302 for the month, slugged 3 HR’s, and had a very respectable .879 OPS.  Overall, I believe that King has some potential as a prospect because he has good size and is still reasonably young.  I’m sure he earned a spot in the Pioneer League with his hot streak at the end of last season, so I’m guessing he’ll play there in 2010.

148.  Graham Miller, LHP (14.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 32nd round

6’2”, 205 lbs, 23.25 years old

1-0, 4.30 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 8.59 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Graham Miller was a late round pick out of The Master’s College, a tiny NAIA school located in Santa Clarita.  While his Senior season was less than impressive (he had a 6.63 ERA in 55 2/3 innings), after the draft his college head coach said that “He can hit 90 with his fastball.  He has really good movement.  He has a really good changeup.  A pretty good split.  There’s an upside to him.  He struggled throwing strikes here a little bit, but he’s a left-hander.  He’s a big kid.  Getting in pro ball, they have more of a daily routine.  Maybe he can be more consistent, more effective.”  Well, Miller’s coach may have been right, because while the level of competition in the Pioneer League was significant better than in the NAIA, Graham’s numbers actually improved from college.  He had an overall solid professional debut, and while he only appeared in 9 games, he made his time count, especially when he faced lefties.  For the season, left handed batters only hit .077 against Miller.  While his future role is still uncertain, I’m sure his only chance to make it to the big leagues will be as a left handed specialist.  Since he is already 23 years old, he will probably assume that role for the Great Lake Loons in 2010.

147.  Andres Santiago, RHP (42.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 16th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 20.25 years old

3-4, 7.17 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 8.02 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 133

Andres Santiago was drafted out of Puerto Rico in 2007 at the tender age of 17.  After spending his first two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, I thought the Dodgers would challenge him with a promotion to the Pioneer League in 2009.  Instead, the Dodgers sent Santiago to the Arizona Rookie League for some more work.  Upon further review, I guess his assignment makes sense since he only had 30 innings of professional experience prior to the 2009 season and was still only 19 years old.  Anyways, before you write him off due to his 7.17 ERA, it should be noted that his 2009 FIP was actually 3.36.  As a pitcher’s FIP is a much better indicator as to what kind of season a player had, it looks like Andres didn’t do so bad after all.  In addition, his strikeout rate of 8 batters per nine innings is a major improvement over the last two seasons.  Overall, Santiago has a solid pitchers frame, and is still very young.  Therefore I think that he has some potential as a prospect, and I really hope the Dodgers decide to challenge him in 2010 with an assignment in the Pioneer League or LoA.

 

146.  Kevin Childs, RHP (14.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 36th round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 22.75 years old

0-0, 6.14 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 7.98 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Kevin Childs was drafted out of Culver-Stockton College where he pitched only 8.1 innings in 2009.  A transfer out of Delta Junior College, the Culver-Stockton Wildcats were excited to get a player like Childs, who would have been already drafted in 2008 if it hadn’t been for his inability to find the strike zone.  Unfortunately, Childs came down with elbow stiffness during Fall ball, and while he was lucky to escape Tommy John surgery, it did limit his innings during the season.  He made the best out of his limited appearances, however, as he posted a 2.16 ERA while striking out 10 batters.  What impressed the scouts the most, though, was his .194 battering average against, and his ability to consistently hit 90-91 mph.  What also showed was his wildness, however, as he walked 6 batters and hit another 5.  Nevertheless, most people think that if he had pitched an entire season in 2009, he would have been drafted much higher.  In addition, it has been said that his fastball used to top out at 97 mph.  Once Childs hit the professional ranks in the Arizona League, he initially struggled.  However, he calmed down in August by posting an ERA of 1.69 and striking out 5 in 5.1 innings.  In addition, his FIP for the season was 4.19, which was much more impressive than his 6.14 ERA.  Overall, the Dodgers must believe that Childs is a project worth investing in, especially with his solid frame, and I think he’ll start next year in the Pioneer League.

 

 

145.  Luis Rosano, RHP (43.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 190 lbs, 18.75 years old

3-5, 4.98 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 5.40 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I know three things about Luis Rosano: he is young, he has a good pitching frame, and he is from Venezuela.  In looking at his stats, he did pretty well for his professional debut.   While his ERA was close 5.00 and he didn’t strike out many batters, his FIP was a respectable 4.15.  In addition, he was surprising successful against lefties, who hit just .184 against him.  In regards to the future, I have pretty high hopes for Rosano.  He was used strictly as a starting pitcher in 2009, and I assume that trend will continue in 2010.  I’m sure he’ll be back in the Dominican Summer League next year since he’ll be just 19 years old, but if he continues to improve, I can see him playing in a U.S. based league in 2011.

144.  Alex Garabedian, C (84 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 8th round

6’2”, 210 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.236 average, 6 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 98

Coming out of high school, Alex Garabedian was considered to be one of the better catching prospects.  He was a 2003 AFLAC All-American, was named as the top catcher in Florida by TeamOne Baseball, and was ranked by Baseball America as the second-best catching prospect and the 33rd-best overall prospect nationally going into the 2004 draft.  However, he fell to the Yankees in the 7th round of that 2004 draft, and decided to attend the University of Miami rather than turning pro.  After hitting .255 with the Hurricanes during his freshman season, he actually decided to transfer to the College of Charleston.  At Charleston, Garabedian did much better, and as a Junior, he hit .353 with 13 homers, and also threw out over 40 percent of attempted base stealers.  That led to him being drafted by the Dodgers in the 8th round of the 2007 draft.  Unfortunately, even though his biggest asset is his bat, he has struggled at the plate since his professional debut.  He ended the 2008 regular season hitting .095 in 13 games at Inland Empire, and then continued to struggle in the Hawaii Winter League (.154 average in 52 AB’s).  2009 wasn’t much better as he struggled to the tune of a .236 average in 280 at bats.  While he did show a little bit of power, I’m sure it wasn’t enough to impress Dodgers management.  At 24 years old, Garabedian will probably have to spend a third season at Hi-A to prove his worth.  While he seems to have a lot of potential, another lackluster season could put his career in jeopardy. 

143.  Stetson Banks, CF (44 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 22nd round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.231 average, 2 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Stetson Banks was drafted out of BYU in the 22nd round of the 2009 draft.  He only played two years in college, however, because he served his Mormon mission in 2007 and 2008.  During his 2009 college season, Banks hit .348 and stole 23 bases in 29 attempts.  He is extremely fast, and that speed carried over into his professional debut as he stole 11 more bases in the Arizona Rookie League.  Unfortunately, his ability to hit for average did not carry over to his professional debut as he batted only .231 in 169 at bats.  In addition, he showed very little power, and his on base percentage of .309 was very poor.  Nevertheless, Stetson is a great athlete, which he demonstrated in high school by being named second team all-state in football as a wide receiver.  Further his uncle, Brian Banks, made it to the major leagues earlier in the decade, so he does have some decent bloodlines.  While he played at 2nd base and shortstop in college, he was primarily a center fielder for the Dodgers.  He’ll most likely play in the Pioneer League next season, and hopefully his athleticism will lead to better stats.

142.  Freudys Perez, C (38 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

5’10”, 160 lbs, 18.5 years old, bats right handed

.198 average, 2 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Freudys Perez is the Dodgers youngest catching prospect, and was just 17 years old for the majority of the Dominican Summer League season.  While his stats were pretty ugly, I’m sure his youth and the difficultly of his position played into his lack of offensive.  I also noticed that Perez had a very solid start, hitting .293 in the month of June, and then struggled the rest of the way, including the month of August where he went just 2 for 19.  In addition, Freudys did show some power with 2 HR’s, and has a pretty good eye at the plate as he walked in 12.8% of his plate appearances, which ranked as third best for the Dominican Dodgers.  I’m 100% certain that Perez will return to the DSL next season, and hopefully this Dominican native can improve offensively as he continues to learn his position.

 

141.  Steve Smith, RHP (67.3 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old

4-1, 2.67 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.22 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 160

Steve Smith was signed by the Dodgers in 2008 as a non drafted free agent out of the University of New Mexico, where he was a teammate of fellow Dodger minor leaguer Brian Cavazos-Galvez.  He wasn’t overly impressive during his senior season with the Lobos, posting a 5.01 ERA and 58 strikeouts in just under 74 innings, but the Dodgers decided to give Smith a chance anyways.  In his professional debut, he struggled to adapt to more experienced hitters, but he dramatically turned things around in 2009.  His 2.67 ERA with the Loons actually ranked as the 7th best ERA of all Dodger minor leaguers with at least 50 innings pitched.  In addition, his ERA for the 2nd half of the 2009 season was an amazing 1.98.  Despite his 2009 success, however, I’m skeptical that Smith has what it takes to be a legitimate prospect.  His strikeout rate was just average, and his performance came in the pitcher friendly Midwest League.  He also struggled against left handed batters, who hit .309 against him.  Overall, while I was very impressed with Smith in 2009, I don’t think his success will continue in the future, especially if he plays in the California League next season.

140.  John Hernandez, RHP (14.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 28th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 22.75 years old

2-1. 1.88 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 7.54 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

John Hernandez, who was drafted out of Barry University in the 28th round of the 2009 draft, is also called Bobby by his teammates (because his middle name is Robert).  At Barry, Hernandez was a 4 year player, and while his Senior year was decent (5-3, 4.14 ERA, 60 K’s in 67 innings), his most successful season came in 2008 as a Junior.  During that season, John went 7-0, had a 1.58 ERA, and struck out 51 batters in 51 innings.  Also, according to his college website, he was “One of the most dominant pitchers on the Bucs staff … Great fastball and slider … Solid change up and curve … Has good command of pitches … Hard worker and athletic.”  Upon turning pro, Hernandez had immediate success in the Arizona Rookie League.  His 1.88 ERA was one of the best on the Arizona Dodgers pitching staff, and his 0.90 ERA against righties demonstrates that he knows what he’s doing.  However, upon further review, it appeared that he was getting pretty lucky.  While his ERA was great, his FIP was actually 5.26.  In addition, his WHIP of 1.67 and his .293 batting average against were pretty ugly.  In 2010, Hernandez will be 22 years old, and I expect him to play in Lo-A.  The righty will have to prove himself against tougher competition in order to be considered a legitimate prospect.

139.  Giordanny Chavez, RHP (18.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 185 lbs, 18.75 years old
0-1, 6.38 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 5.89 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

How can you go wrong with a 6’3” 18 year old?  In my opinion, you can’t.  Giordanny Chavez is a Dominican native who made his debut with the Dodgers in 2009.  While his stats were less than impressive, his physical stature screams potential.  Limited to just 18 innings in 2009, Chavez was actually fairly effective against right handed batters, who hit just .246 against him.  What he’ll have to improve is his performance against lefties.  I really don’t know much about Chavez at all besides the fact that he has a very projectable frame.  I think that he’ll improve with experience, and while I’m sure that he’ll return to the DSL in 2010, I expect much better results. 

 

138.  Melvin Ray, CF (29 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 33rd round

6’4”, 205 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats right handed

.130 average, 2 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 143

So far in his professional career, Melvin Ray has put up atrocious stats.  He had a .162 average in 2008, and then followed up that season by hitting .130 in 2009.  He also struck out at an incredible rate in 2009, going down on strikes in over 56% of his plate appearances.  Nevertheless, I can’t help but like his potential.  Out of all the players in the Dodgers minor league system, I would say that Ray has the best size for an offensive player, as 6’4” and 205 lbs is exactly what you want in an outfielder.  And I’m sure that he is athletic, because as I mentioned last year, he claims to be related to Jackie Robinson.  He also showed some power and speed during his 29 games this season.  In addition, he is just 20 years old, so he has plenty of time to get his act together.  If he can learn to make contact on a more consistent basis, I really do think that Melvin can make a name for himself within the Dodgers minor league system.  I think the Pioneer League is the right place for Ray to play in 2010, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he matured into a legitimate prospect in the years to come. 

137.  James Tomlin, LF (108 games in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/2/2006

6’0”, 183 lbs, 27.5 years old, bats right handed

.315 average, 2 HR’s, 34 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 138

When you compare Tomlin’s stats between 2008 and 2009, they are almost identical.  Literally, the only difference was that he had a higher walk rate and strikeout rate in 2009.  Everything else was pretty much the same.  Originally drafted in the 7th round by the Twins in 2000, he played 6 seasons with them before moving to the Royals organization in 2006.  He stayed there for only one season, before moving on to the Dodgers in 2007.  In his three seasons with the Dodgers, he has shown very little power, but has demonstrated a little speed, along with the ability to hit for a decent average.  Overall, Tomlin has played 10 minor league seasons and has a career .283 average.  He may never make it up the majors, and was actually selected by the Rangers in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft this past December, so he won’t be back with the Dodgers.  He has decent tools, but I doubt that he has what it takes to make it to the show.

136.  Clayton Allison, RHP (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 27th round

6’5”, 235 lbs, 24.5 years old

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 96

Allison was part of the 2008 College World Series championship team while playing for Fresno State, and even picked up a big win against North Carolina in the Semi Finals.  He also posted a 3.91 ERA throughout his final college season.  While he wasn’t drafted until the 27th round, the Dodgers gave him a chance because they liked Allison’s size and ability to win.  In his first professional season, he moved all the way up to AA, but only pitched 8 professional innings.  Then, Clayton disappeared in 2009.  While I was pretty sure it was due to an injury, it wasn’t until after the 2009 season that I learned that it was indeed shoulder surgery that caused him to miss the season.  Luckily, he is expected to be back at full strength by the start of spring training.  At 6’5” and 235 lbs, Allison has an ideal pitchers body, and in the future will probably work out of the bullpen.  Given that he missed the entire 2009 season, the Dodgers will probably take it easy with Allison, but he may return to AA since he is already 24 years old.  I’m hoping he’ll have a successful return as I think he has the potential to one day make an impact with the Dodgers.

135.  Jose Capellan, C (50 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

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

.248 average, 1 HR, 11 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jose Capellan made his professional debut in 2009 and was the starting catcher for the DSL Dodgers.  While his overall stats make it seem like he did not have a good season, the reality is that Jose had two great months, and one really bad one.  Capellan started the season by hitting .303 in June, but then dropped off considerably in July as he managed just a .125 average.  He finished the season by catching fire in August, however, as he posted a batting average of .326 and an OPS of .827 in 43 at bats.  Throughout the entire season, Capellan showed that he had the ability to make pretty good contact, as he struck out in just 15.4% of his plate appearance.  In addition, he only made 8 errors behind the plate, which is pretty good for a first year catcher.  Capellan played the entire 2009 season as an 18 year old, so he is still very young.  He also is the perfect size for a catcher.  I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL next year, and hopefully he’ll continue to improve and become a more consistent hitter.

134.  Jose Dominguez, RHP (59.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’0”, 180 lbs, 19.5 years old

4-5, 3.64 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 8.65 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 60

Signed for $50,000 as a 16 year old at the start of the 2007 international signing period, Jose Dominguez impressed scouts back then with a 90 mph fastball and a solid curve.  At the time, Logan White said, “It’s rare to see a kid as polished as he is.”  Last year, I ranked Jose Dominguez 60 overall because I thought that he had a lot of potential.  He posted a 11.79 K/9 rate in 2008, even though he was just 17 years old for most of the season.  In 2009, Dominguez had a lower strikeout rate, but improved his overall performance with an impressive ERA and WHIP.  So why did I rank him so low?  Well, after the minor league season was over, I found this little piece of information on milb.com: “Jose Dominguez of the Dodgers’ organization and Waldo Rosario of the Rays’ organization each received 50-game suspensions on Monday for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  Both players, part of their respective clubs’ Dominican Summer League team, tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol.  Their suspensions will be effective at the start of next season.”  A 50 game suspension will have a detrimental effect on Jose’s career, both in terms of experience and his reputation.  He could have been one of the youngest players in one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010, but now will have to sit until at least July.  Without the suspension, I probably would have ranked Dominguez in a similar spot as I did last year.  But unfortunately, he is now a huge question mark for me. 

 

133.  Christian Gonzalez, RHP (12 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/1/04

6’1”, 169 lbs, 21.75 years old

0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 5.25 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 129

After spending four seasons in the Dominican Summer League (one at 3rd base, two in the outfield, and one as a pitcher), Gonzalez made his U.S. debut in 2009.  While he only made nine appearances throughout the season, his results were quite good.  Not only did he have an impressive ERA, but he showed great control by walking only one batter during his 12 innings.  He did have his weaknesses however, as demonstrated by his low strikeout rate and the fact that opposing batters hit .333 against them.  Overall, Gonzalez is not a big player, and I see him staying in the bullpen throughout his career.  At 21 years old, he’ll probably climb the later up to the Pioneer League in 2010, and hopefully the Dodgers will give him a longer look next year by allowing him to pitch more innings.

132.  Jovanny Rosario, CF (55 games in AAA, 18 games in HiA, 12 games in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/2/03

5’9”, 160 lbs, 25 years old, switch hitter

.258 average, 1 HR, 11 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 99

Rosario played at three different levels for the Dodgers in 2009.  He started in AA, and while he didn’t perform particularly well there, he was promoted up to AAA in May during the Dodgers outfield shuffle, in which both Xavier Paul and Jamie Hoffmann were promoted to LA.  Rosario wasn’t a full time player in AAA, but he did get into 51 games and had average results.  Once August hit, the Dodgers decided that they should give Rosario some more playing time, so he was sent to Inland Empire and played almost every day for the rest of the season.  All in all, Rosario ended the season with a mediocre average, an awful slugging percentage, and an even worse walk rate (he walked just 4 times all season).  In addition, Jovanny didn’t really utilize his speed, which is his biggest asset.  Sure he ended the season with 14 steals, but 9 of those steals came at Hi-A against easier competition, and only one steal came during his time in AAA.  To make matters worse, Rosario is currently hitting just .214 in the Dominican Winter League through 56 at bats.  A minor league free agent at the end of this past season, the Dodgers already re-signed Rosario for 2010.  Now almost 25 years old, I predict he’ll play a similar role in 2010 as he did in 2009, and while he reminds me of a switching hitting version of Juan Pierre, I don’t think he has what it takes to make it to the next level.

131.  Joe Torres, LHP (18.3 inning in HiA, 22 innings with other organization in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/20/09

6’2”, 195 lbs, 27.5 years old

0-0, 0.98 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 8.35 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Once upon a time, Joe Torres was a great prospect.  He was the #10 overall pick in the 2000 draft (by the Angels), and signed for $2.08 million.  In 2001, he was ranked by Baseball America as the Angels’ #1 prospect, and at the time he drew very high praise.  He consistently hit 93 and was clocked as high as 95.  His curveball was the best in the organization, and he had a promising changeup.  Baseball America also predicted he would be in the major leagues by the age of 23.  Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.  He pitched a few mediocre seasons, and had trouble with his delivery, which ultimately led to his Tommy John surgery in 2004.  He was back pitching for the Angles in 2005, but then left as a minor league free agent to sign with the White Sox in 2007.  He stayed with the White Sox until 2008, and then signed with Texas in 2009.  He only lasted a few months with the Rangers before signing on with the Dodgers.  He was placed on the Inland Empire roster and proceeded to record an ERA under 1.00.  However, his other stats were not quite as impressive, especially his 1.53 WHIP and his 3.86 FIP.  While he had a limited sample size, I will venture to say that Torres isn’t the prospect that he once was.  He’s 27 and a half years old and was playing in A ball.  While he still shows flashes of brilliance, he is much too old to make it to the big leagues.  He was obviously a minor league free agent at the end of the 2009 season, and I highly doubt he’ll return to the Dodgers system next season.

130.  Cody White, LHP (Did not play in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 12th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 25 years old

No stats for 2009

Prior Year Ranking: 125

Not too long ago, Cody White was considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.  He was ranked #24 in the 2007 Baseball America prospect handbook, and in the 2008 version of the handbook he was listed as having the system’s best changeup.  Those accolades did not come without just cause, as his ERA was 2.68 and 3.14 in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  However, White’s troubles started in 2008.  His ERA jumped to 4.94, and his strikeout rate dropped to 5.81 per 9 innings.  In addition, his heavy workload of just about 146 innings in 2008 probably attributed to the fact that he missed the 2009 season.  While I’m not sure what his injury was, I’m guessing that it was pretty serious.  Whatever the case, the missed year is going to definitely hurt his development as White will be 25 years old when the 2010 season starts.  A draft and follow player who wasn’t actually signed until 2004, White will be a minor league free agent after the 2010 season, so his performance next year will determine if the Dodgers decide to resign him.  I’m betting that he’ll return to AA in 2010 if he’s healthy.

129.  Chris Henderson, 3B (47 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 21st round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.255 average, 0 HR’s, 18 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

 

Chris Henderson was an amazing college player at George Mason University.  In 2009, Henderson hit.413 with 14 homers, 58 RBI and 70 runs scored.  He also had a ridiculous .487 on-base percentage and a .702 slugging percentage.  But the kicker is that he did all this as a catcher.  That’s right, Henderson was a catcher in college, and was in fact named one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher.  The other two finalists were the #4 overall pick Tony Sanchez, and the Dodgers own Jeremy Wise.  So my first question is how did Henderson last all the way until the 21st round?  The simple answer is that scouts don’t think his college game will translate well into professional success.  The other question is why did the Dodgers convert Henderson to a 3rd baseman?  I actually have no answer to that question, but I can say that it wasn’t because he was a defensive liability, as he had a career fielding percentage of .990 in college.  Whatever the case, learning the new position seemed to limit Henderson’s hitting ability once he turned pro.  His batting average was less than impressive, and he showed no power.  In addition, he made 16 errors at 3rd base.  My guess is that the Dodgers will return Henderson back to catcher next year.  He has much more value at that position, especially since he has proven that he can be an offensive force.  I bet that they just wanted to save his knees in 2009 after he had already caught an entire college season.  I can see him having a much better offensive season in 2010 if he does return to catcher, and I would guess that this 21 year old will play in either the Pioneer League or in Lo-A.

128.  Jesus Rodriguez, RHP (80.3 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/20/05

6’0”, 180 lbs, 24.5 years old

6-5, 3.47 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 4.71 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 141

Jesus Rodriguez is from Mexico, and while he only signed with the Dodgers in 2005, he actually already had three years of baseball experience before signing as he had played in the Mexican League from 2003 through 2005.  Since joining the Dodgers, Rodriguez has made a steady ascent through their system.  He started in the Pioneer League in 2006, and after a great year in 2007 split between LoA and HiA (3.05 ERA, 1.22 WHIP in 91 innings), Jesus made it all the way up to AA in 2008, just his third professional season.  He continued his career in AA in 2009, and upon first glance it looks like he put up pretty good numbers.  His 3.47 ERA was definitely better than average, and his WHIP was solid.  However, his extremely low strikeout rate is worrisome, as is his FIP of 4.67.  Rodriguez also allowed 10 HR’s throughout the year, which ranked as 9th worst in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, at 6’0”, Jesus isn’t very big for a pitcher, and his aforementioned strikeout and HR rate seem to suggest that he doesn’t throw very hard.  As for 2010, Jesus is still just 24 years old, so he’ll probably return to AA again next season.  With a good first half, he may even be able to make it up to AAA.  Overall, Rodriguez’ future is definitely in middle relief, and while he is a good minor league inning eater, I’m not sure that he has what it takes to make as a reliever at the next level.

127.  Anthony Hatch, 3B (130 games in LoA in 2009)

Acquired by Dodgers in Minor League portion of Rule 5 Draft in December of 2008

6’3”, 200 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats left handed

.294 average, 11 HR’s, 73 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The Dodgers acquired Anthony Hatch in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft in December of 2008.  Originally, he was a 13th round pick of the Blue Jays in the 2005 draft.  At the start of 2009, was coming off of a 2008 season where he had spent the majority of his time in AA, and when he was reassigned to HiA in July of 2008, he hit .329.  When I first saw that we had drafted Hatch, I automatically assumed that he would play in AA given his age and experience.  However, the Dodgers decided to send Hatch to LoA where he spent the entire season, and I really think it was a selfish move on the Dodgers part.  I believe the Dodgers sent Hatch to LoA because they wanted an older player on the Great Lakes team to be a mentor to the other players.  The Dodgers knew that almost every player on the Loons would be under 23 years old, so they wanted a veteran presence.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it was genius of the Dodgers to do that, I just think that it was selfish in the sense that it probably hurt Hatch’s overall development.  Instead of being challenged by AA pitchers, Hatch got to face undeveloped 22 year olds, and he took full advantage.  While he didn’t have any eye popping numbers, he was very consistent throughout the entire season, and ranked 6th in the entire Midwest League with 141 hits.  Hatch also ranked 4th in the Midwest League in doubles (36), 10th in RBI’s (73), and 9th in OPS (.827).  In addition, I would say that Hatch was a key ingredient in the Loons first playoff berth given his consistency all season.  If Hatch were 22 years old instead of 26, he would probably rank in my top 25.  But unfortunately, that is not the case, so I think my ranking is appropriate.  He’ll probably move up to AA next season where he’ll face players closer to his own age, and even if he doesn’t make it to the show, I hope that he continues to be a good influence on his Dodger teammates.

126.  Zach Schreiber, RHP (26 innings in AA, 11.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 4/15/09

6’1”, 220 lbs, 27.75 years old

2-0, 2.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.68 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Zach Schreiber played his college ball at Duke, and was originally a 16th round pick by the Braves in the 2004 draft.  He performed exceptionally well in the minor leagues with the Braves, and from 2005 through 2008, he never had an ERA above 2.97 at any level.  After the 2007 season, he was placed on the Braves 40 man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.  However, after completing a full year in AAA in 2008, he was released in March of 2009 due to roster limitations.  After he cleared waivers, he was signed by the Dodgers and was placed on their Inland Empire roster.  He performed well through 11 innings, and was quickly promoted to AA where he performed even better.  His 2.42 ERA and 10 K/9 at Chattanooga ranked among the team leaders, and he even picked up a couple of saves.  Nevertheless, I’m not sure that Schreiber has any potential as a prospect with the Dodgers.  He is 27 years old, and is also a minor league free agent who is unlikely to resign with LA.  My guess is that he’ll be with another organization in 2010.

125.  Matthew Wallach, C/1B (107 games in LoA in 2008)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 22nd round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 24 years old, bats left handed

.251 average, 4 HR’s, 48 RBI’s

Prior Year Ranking: 64

Matthew Wallach dropped significantly in my ranking this year despite his great bloodlines.  The son of former Dodger and current AAA manager Tim Wallach and brother of 2009 draftee Brett Wallach, Matthew had a disappointing season in 2009 with the Great Lake Loons.  After a solid 2008 campaign where he was the starting catcher for Ogden and hit .283 with 10 HR’s, Wallach moved to 1st base for a portion of the 2009 season and saw his numbers deteriorate.  Due to the emergence of Tony Delmonico, Wallach only played 53 games at catcher, and spent the rest of his time at first base.  If he moves away from full time catching, that definitely hurts his overall value as a prospect.  Wallach also batted just .251 for the season and only hit 4 HR’s.  In addition, he made 18 errors in 2009, which ranked as 8th most among all Dodger minor leaguers.  At the end of the day, we shouldn’t expect too much out of Wallach as he was a 22nd round pick.  Still, I was hoping that he’d continue to improve and become a viable option for a backup catcher with the Dodgers.  Matthew will be 24 years old at the start of the 2010 season, and my guess is that he’ll move up to Hi-A.  Maybe one day he’ll be able to play for his dad at AAA, but that day is still at least a few years away.

124.  Greg Wilborn, LHP (19.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 18th round

6’2”, 175 lbs, 22.75 years old

2-1, 7.45 ERA, 2.12 WHIP, 10.71 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Greg Wilborn was drafted out of the University of Louisiana Lafayette in the 18th round of the 2009 draft.  For the Ragin Cajuns in 2009, Wilborn compiled a 3-4 record with a 7.83 ERA, and struck out 46 batters in 46 innings.  His career ERA of 7.30 wasn’t much better.  Keep in mind, however, that Wilborn missed the entire 2008 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2007, so even now he is not fully recovered.  Nevertheless, since the surgery he has already gotten his fastball up to 92-93 miles per hours, and has topped out at 94.  Upon being drafted, his college coach said “The thing they like about him is that he has a loose arm that will throw very hard…Once you hit that velocity range and have a loose arm, they will look past everything else.”  After making his professional debut with the Ogden Raptors in June, Wilborn was used sparing throughout the rest of the season due to his past history of injuries.  Overall, he pitched just over 19 innings.  While his ERA and WHIP were pretty ugly (mostly due to allowing too many walks), one thing that stands out is his strikeout rate.  His 10.7 strikeouts per 9 innings is impressive, especially for a young lefty, and his ability to strike guys out shows that he has at least one dominate pitch.  2010 will probably bring an assignment to LoA, I’m sure the Dodgers are hoping that Wilborn will follow in the footsteps of the 2008 18th round pick and take off in his second professional season.

123.  Alexis Aguilar, 2B (45 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 162 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats right handed

.275 average, 1 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 135

Alexis Aguilar is a young middle infielder from Venezuela in his second season with the Dodgers.  After hitting just .211 with 8 RBI’s in 2008, Aguilar showed significant improvement in 2009 with his .275 average.  He also demonstrated that he was patient at the plate, as he walked almost as much as he struck out.  In August, he was named the Dodgers DSL Pride Award winner with a .333 average, 5 SB’s, and an .834 OPS.  While he moved to 2nd base for most of the year (from shortstop), I believe that he still has value to the Dodgers if he can continue to improve.  He’ll never be a great hitter, but I think he can still play shortstop full time if given the chance.  He is only 18 years old, yet may very well be promoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010 since he already has 86 professional games under his belt.

122.  Jonathan Dutton, LHP (20 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 24th round

6’1”, 155 lbs, 22.5 years old

0-3, 3.60 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 10.35 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 105

After splitting 112 innings in 2008 between the Pioneer League and LoA, I thought that Dutton might be ready to take on the challenge of the California League.  After all, 2009 was Dutton’s 5th professional season (counting 2005 when he was drafted, but didn’t play in any games).  The Dodgers had other plans, however, and decided to limit Dutton to just 20 innings while repeating him in LoA.  The good news is that his limited role was not due to injury, because his appearances were spread pretty evenly between May and September.  The bad news is that the Dodgers must not have him that high on their prospect radar because they didn’t get him into very many games.  Either way, Dutton performed well in his abbreviated season, especially against lefties.  In addition, he finished the season with a hot streak, allowing just 3 earned runs in August and September combined (over 13 and two-third innings).  I see potential for the left hander, though I think his future role will be more as a left handed specialist.  He’ll still be just 22 years old when the 2010 season starts, and I’m hoping he’ll get some more innings next year in the California League.  

121.  Florencio Bustillos, RHP (48.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 209 lbs, 20.75 years old

4-2, 3.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 10.36 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I don’t know as much about Florencio as I would like.  Originally, I thought that he was just another teenager signed out of the Dominican Republic as a teenager.  Then I realized that he had previously played in the Mexican League for the past three seasons, starting as a 17 year old.  So the Dodgers must have purchased his contract from the Mexican League.  In his three seasons in the Mexican League, he never had an ERA better than 5.49, and he had a ridiculously low strikeout rate (50 K’s in 125 innings).  In the Dominican Summer League, however, Bustillos suddenly turned it around (which shows that the level of competition in the Mexican League is much higher than in the DSL).  In the DSL, Florencio had a good ERA, and an even better FIP (3.30).  He also had a ridiculous strikeout to walk ratio.  In just under 49 innings, Florencio struck out 56 batters, and only walked 10.  In fact, his K/BB ratio of 5.60 ranked 2nd in the entire Dodgers minor league system, behind only Danny Danielson (minimum 40 innings).  His one downfall, however, is that he allows too many home runs.  The 6 long balls that he gave up in 2009 ranked 4th in the entire Dominican Summer League.  Overall, I think that Bustillos has some real potential.  While he’s not real big, he is still relatively young and will most likely play in a U.S. based league next year.  He is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League, and while his ERA is a mediocre 4.62, batters are only hitting .240 against him.

120.  Jake McCarter, RHP (46 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 200 lbs, 25.5 years old

3-3, 3.33 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.98 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 158

McCarter, like many of the players on my list, has a very interesting back story.  Believe it or not, McCarter was drafted four different times, yet never signed with any of the teams that drafted him.  His draft year, round, and team were as follows: 2003 40th round Reds, 2004 28th round Yankees, 2005 39th round Nationals, and 2006 45th Red Sox.  Obviously, based on the round numbers that he was drafted in, teams were not amazed by his talent by any means.  Anyways, in regards to his college career, McCarter played in junior college for two years before transferring to Alabama.  In 2006, Jake was very successful with the Crimson Tide (2.32 ERA in 62 innings), but he decided to transfer to Oklahoma after the season.  After being forced to sit out the 2007 season due to NCAA rules, McCarter was handed the closer role for the Sooners in 2008.  While he did pick up 9 saves throughout the season, he had a very ugly ERA of 7.11, which is why he was not drafted for a 5th time in 2008.  Instead, he signed as a non drafted free agent with the Dodgers after the 2008 college season, and got his first taste of professional ball in the Gulf Coast League.  Due to his age, I basically wrote McCarter off last season, but his performance in 2009 may have changed my mind.  Jake performed very well in the Dodgers extended Spring Training, and because of that performance he was able to start the year in HiA.  During his first month in the California League, he was absolutely lights out, and only allowed 1 hit in his first 11 innings.  In June and July he hit a speed bump and struggled quite a bit, but once August hit he again found his groove and did not allow a run in his final 10 appearance of the season.  When it was all said and done, McCarter lead all 2009 Dodger minor leaguers with a .193 batting average against, and also recorded a 3.33 ERA (and 3.31 FIP).  In addition, he shared the Inland Empire closing duties with Marcel Prado, and converted 7 saves during the season.  While I don’t know much about his pitching repertoire, his stats seem to strangely suggest that he does very well against lefties, and struggles somewhat against right handed batters.  Overall, I’m not sure what to make of Jake because he is already 25 years old, yet proved in 2009 that he can get the job done out of the bullpen.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers pushed him in AA and AAA next season to see how he responds. 

119.  Daniel Tamares, RHP (38 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 9/26/06

6’3”, 170 lbs, 20.25 years old

1-5, 7.11 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 9.95 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 74

I probably over-estimated Tamares in my rankings last year.  I don’t blame myself, however, because Daniel had a 2.37 ERA through 49 innings in the DSL as 18 year old in 2008.  Because of his good size and solid stats, I thought he was destined for bigger and better things in a U.S. based rookie league in 2009.  But the Dodgers had other plans and kept Tamares in the DSL for another year, which appears to have been the right decision because he struggled mightily in 2009.  He tripled his ERA from the previous year and batters hit .314 against him.  Nevertheless, I think Tamares has a bright future.  As I mentioned before, he has a great size for a pitcher at 6’3”.  He also significantly improved his strikeout rate from the prior year, and his FIP was actually pretty good at 4.15.  In addition, he is still very young and has yet to fully mature.  Even though his stats weren’t great this past year, with 3 DSL seasons under his belt, I think it is time for Tamaras to move to a U.S. based rookie league, so I predict that we’ll see Tamares in Arizona in 2010.

118.  Casio Grider, SS (47 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 14th round

6’1”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.263 average, 2 HR’s, 15 RBI’s, 22 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Casio Grider has a great name, and is extremely fast.  He was named as the faster runner in the Dodgers 2009 draft by Baseball America, and runs a 6.5 second 60.  Drafted out of Newberry College in the 14th round draft, Logan White calls Grider a tools guy who is a bit raw and very athletic.  Upon turning pro, Grider was sent to the Arizona Rookie League and had immediate success, as he was named as one of the Dodger Pride Award winners for the month of July.  For the season as a whole, however, he was pretty mediocre in most aspects of his game, although he did continue to show his speed by stealing 22 bases in 24 attempts (which ranked 3rd in the Arizona League).  Also, while he models his game after Ozzie Smith, Grider made 18 errors in 47 games.  Overall, with his speed, raw ability, and error prone defense, this slender shortstop actually reminds me of a taller version of Dee Gordon.  Unfortunately, he is a year older than Gordon and two levels behind, so he has come catching up to do.  If the Dodgers want to be aggressive with Grider, they may send him to Lo-A next season to see how he responds, but his more likely destination is the Pioneer League in 2010.

117.  Marlon Sucre, LF (47 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/07

6’2”, 160 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed

.255 average, 3 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 66

After the 2008 season, I was pretty high on Sucre.  He had a successful year in the DSL as an 18 year old in 2008, so I thought that he was on the verge of breaking out.  This led me to rank Marlon all the way at 66 in my pre-2009 rankings.  Unfortunately, Sucre had a lackluster season in 2009 which caused his ranking to drop quite a bit.  While he showed a little more speed and power, his average, OBP, and SLG% all decreased from 2008.  He also did not demonstrate any patience in 2009, as he walked in only 4% of his plate appearances.  Even still, this young man from Panama does have some potential.  He has a solid frame, still has room to fill out, and won’t even be 20 years old until the start of next season.  After spending three seasons in the DSL, I think Sucre’s ready to move up to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010. 

116.  Ramon Jean, 2B (44 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.280 average, 0 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 85

Signed before the 2007 season out of the Dominican Republic, Jean only spent one season in the DSL before being promoted to a U.S. based rookie league.  In 2008 as a 20 year old in the Gulf Coast League, Ramon hit 4 HR’s in 111 AB’s with a .279 average, and also stole 10 bases.  After his successful season, I thought that Jean was ready for the Pioneer League in 2009.  The Dodgers, however, decided to place him in the Arizona Rookie League, and while his average and stolen base numbers were pretty good, Jean did not display any power or patience.  He was also atrocious in the field, as Jean made 21 errors in 44 games while splitting time between 2nd base and shortstop.  Heading into 2010, I believe that Jean will be promoted to Lo-A where he’ll continue to split time between 2B and SS.  He is still just 22 years old, so if he can learn to cut down on his errors, he may one day be a useful middle infielder.

115.  Lenell McGee, CF (45 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 13th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed

.268 average, 2 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 101

Lenell McGee was drafted out of Oakton Community College in the 13th round of the 2008 draft.  Upon being drafted, the Dodgers immediately placed McGee in the Gulf Coast Rookie League, but his stats were rather uninspiring during his debut season.  Nevertheless, the Dodger promoted Lenell to the Pioneer League in 2009 to get him some experience against older competition.  McGee again struggled through the season, however, as he batted just .268 and showed little speed or power.  He also didn’t show any patience at the plate as he walked in less than 5% of his plate appearances.  Despite these struggles, I think that McGee has the size and athleticism to potentially be a legitimate prospect.  In addition, McGee plays a solid centerfield and made just 3 errors during the 2009 season.  Finally, Lenell seems to be a hard worker because in a video I watched about the Dodgers new Venezuelan facility, DeJon Watson was talking about some of the Dodger players who were down there working out, and he specifically mentioned McGee (as well as Melvin Ray).  In regards to 2010, I expect McGee to be in LoA where he’ll split the centerfield duties with the Dodgers other young outfield prospects.

114.  Gabriel Martinez, 1B (72 games in AA, 4 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/2/09

6’2”, 180 lbs, 26.75 years old, bats left handed

.296 average, 10 HR’s, 47 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Gabriel Martinez was originally selected by the Rays in the 27th round of the 2001 draft when he was just a teenager in Puerto Rico, but did not sign until 2002.  In his first three professional seasons (2002 – 2004), he hit a combined .315 in 896 at bats, but didn’t show much power as he shifted between 1B, 3B, and the OF.  Starting in 2005, however, Gabriel’s average started to decline, but his power numbers steadily increased.  In 2008, his last season with Tampa Bay before leaving as a minor league free agent, Martinez hit .276, but had 20 HR’s.  Seeing that he had some power potential, the Dodgers decided to give Martinez a chance and signed him before the 2009 season.  They placed him in AA where he was primarily a first baseman, but also played 3B and RF.  Before getting injured in late May, Martinez was doing quite well as he had a .998 OPS and 7 HR’s at the time of his injury.  After missing all of June, he returned to the AA lineup in July and continued to hit for a decent average, but his power pretty much disappeared.  When it was all said and done, Martinez put together a pretty solid season, but it’s hard to get too excited about a 26 year old in AA who is pretty much limited to 1st base.  After the 2009 season, he again became a minor league free agent, so he probably won’t even be back with the Dodgers next season.  If he does return, he’ll probably play in AAA as a backup infielder, and because of his age and position, I doubt that he’ll ever make it to the big leagues.

113.  Wilner Charles, CF (51 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 160 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.268 average, 1 HR’s, 8 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 90

After spending the entire 2008 season as a second baseman, Wilner moved to centerfield for the majority of 2009 in the DSL.  The move in defensive position had very little effect on his offensive performance, however, because Charles’ stats in 2009 were almost identical to his stats in 2008.  For me, that was a little disappointing because I was hoping that Charles would be able to provide a little more production in his second professional season.  Still, it is hard to be too disappointed because Charles played the entire 2009 season as an 18 year old, and is still one of the youngest players in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, Wilner was named as the July Pride Award Winner in the DSL, so he is on the Dodgers radar.  In 2010, the Dodgers will have to decide if Charles needs a third season in the DSL, or if he’s ready for the Arizona Rookie League.  My decision would be to bring him to Arizona to challenge his game, but the Dodgers may decide to wait.  At just 5’11”, he may still have some room to grow, but even if he doesn’t grow he is still a good size for a speedy centerfielder.

112.  Marcel Prado, RHP (44.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/04

6’4”, 226 lbs, 22.25 years old

2-2, 4.06 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 4.06 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 77

After doing some research, I’m pretty sure that Marcel Prado was part of the 2000 Venezuelan team that won the Little League World Series.  Anyways, I’m not really sure what to make of Marcel Prado as a professional pitcher.  He has a great pitching frame, is still pretty young, and based on his ERA, he had a pretty successful season in the California League in 2009.  In addition, he was coming of a 2008 season in which he struck out more than a batter per inning.  Yet in 2009, Prado walked more batters than he struck out, had a K/9 of just over 4, and had a FIP of 5.20.  In addition, Prado pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League this past offseason, and batters hit .409 against him.  I ranked him 77th last year because of his youth and size, but I’m becoming more skeptical of what he’ll be able to do as he moves up in the Dodgers system.  Overall, while Prado has a lot of potential, I’m not sure if he has the stuff to really succeed.  My guess is that he’ll return to Hi-A in 2010 as the Inland Empire closer, and hopefully he’ll post some better numbers.

111.  Javier Solano, RHP (33 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 177 lbs, 20 years old

2-0, 4.64 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 8.45 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 139

The Dodgers purchased Solano’s rights from the Mexican League’s Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000.  Given the Dodgers lack of recent spending in the international markets, this was a pretty big signing for them.  According to Baseball America, Solano has a mature body, and he’s more athletic than that build might indicate.  Baseball America also says that the Dodgers love his mechanics, pitchability and confidence.  As for his stuff, BA says that that is promising too. “Solano’s two best pitches are an 89-93 mph fastball that sits around 91 and a plus 75-78 mph curveball. He also has some feel for a changeup and uses a slider as his fourth offering.”  Upon his signing, Assistant general manager De Jon Watson said he’s thrown “exceptionally well” and is “very advanced” for a 17-year-old, with an above-average fastball and curveball.  Solano has pitched the past two seasons in the Pioneer League, and in 2009 he put up some pretty good numbers.  While his overall ERA was an uninspiring 4.64, Solano has been quoted as saying his ERA was bloated because of the way the league was structured – pitchers are instructed to go out and throw just a fastball for a particular game, or just breaking pitches for another.  Overall, I believe Solano has some pretty good potential as a relief pitcher.  He’ll most likely play in either Lo or Hi A next season to get a full workload.

110.  Blake Brannon, RHP (35.7 innings in HiA, 25.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/10/07

6’2”, 225 lbs, 25 years old

1-3, 3.82 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 8.07 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 70

Blake Brannon was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2007 out of the University of Texas at San Antonio.  It was no wonder he wasn’t drafted, because in his Senior season with San Antonio, Brannon posted a 6.33 ERA in 58 innings of work with just 44 strikeouts.  Still, the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him, after struggling in his debut season, Brannon has turned things around ever since.  In 2008 he was outstanding (3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 10.43 K/9), and while his 2009 numbers weren’t quite as good, he continued to show why he was worth signing.  He had a 2.81 ERA with the Great Lakes Loons before earning a promotion to Inland Empire in June, and after joining HiA he held his own despite in the hitter friendly California League.  At 6’2” and 225 pounds, Brannon is a big kid and has the body type to pitch out of the bullpen.  He’ll be 25 years old when the 2010 season starts, so he’ll have to move quickly if he ever wants to make it to the show.  Brannon will probably start the 2010 season with Inland Empire, but a midseason promotion to AA wouldn’t be surprising.

109.  Harvey Garcia, RHP (13.3 innings in AA, 1.7 innings in AAA, 15 innings with other organization in 2009)

Acquired via trade with Pirates

6’2”, 220 lbs, 26 years old

0-2, 3.60 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 9.60 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The Dodgers acquired Harvey Garcia from the Pirates in the Delwyn Young trade.  The strange thing is that even though Young was traded in April, Garcia didn’t join the Dodgers until August, so the Dodgers must have taken a while to pick him as their player to be named later.  Some other interesting facts about Garcia are that he was one of the players included in the Hanley Ramirez for Josh Beckett trade, and also that he actually made his major league debut in September of 2007 with the Marlins (and posted a 4.38 ERA in 12 innings).  In regards to his time with the Dodgers, Harvey was initially placed on the AAA roster, but was quickly reassigned to AA after just two rough appearances.  Garcia found much more success at Chattanooga as he posted a 3.05 FIP and 0.90 WHIP through 13 innings.  When you combine his entire 2009 season, including his time with Pittsburgh, batters only hit .179 against him, and he struck out over a batter per inning.  Sure it was only through 30 total innings, but those are some pretty good numbers.  At the end of the day, it is expected that Garcia put up good numbers in the minors since he is already 26 years old, and does have major league experience.  He was a minor league free agent after the season, but if the Dodgers do end up resigning him, he is someone to keep an eye on as a potential fill in middle reliever (if the Dodgers bullpen suffers some injuries during the 2010 season).  While he’ll never be a great professional pitcher in my opinion, he may be useful as an inning eater.  NOTE AFTER POSTED: Turns out he wasn’t part of the Delwyn Young trade, but was instead part of a separate transaction.

108.  Robert Blevins, RHP (153.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 13th round

6’0”, 200 lbs, 25 years old

11-10, 4.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 5.68 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 80

Last year after a very successful season in LoA, I said that because of his age, Blevins needed to move quickly through the Dodgers system if he wanted to make an impact.  I also thought that he’d start in HiA, and then move up to AA if he was successful.  Instead, the Dodgers decided to keep Blevins in LoA for another year, so even though he had another successful season in 2009, I think that Blevins is behind in his development.  To look at things in a positive light, however, it should be noted that Bobby was very durable in 2009 and was 2nd in the Midwest League and in the entire Dodgers minor league system in innings pitched.  He also ranked 7th in the Midwest League with his 1.24 WHIP, which was mainly attributed to the fact that he had a remarkable walk rate, as Blevins walked less than 5% of the batters he faced.  In addition, Bobby’s 4.16 ERA was complimented by his 3.57 FIP.  Going back to the negatives, besides his age, the other thing that worries me about Blevins is his low strikeout rate in 2009.  Overall, if Blevins were either a couple of years younger or playing in a higher level, I’d consider him a much better prospect.  But until Blevins is able to succeed at a higher level, I’m going to have to rank him in the lower half of the Dodger minor league players.  I really hope he gets a chance to play at AA next season so he can prove himself.

107.  Austin Yount, 3B (38 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 12th round

6’0”, 185 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats left handed

.257 average, 3 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 59

I was really hoping for a lot more out of Austin Yount in 2009.  After spending the 2008 season in the Pioneer League and hitting .301, I guessed that Yount would move up to LoA and spend time as a utility player while getting used to a full season league.  The Dodgers instead decided to keep Austin in the Pioneer League for another year, however, and because the Ogden Raptors were so stacked with good players, he found himself sitting on the bench for about half the season.  When he did get into games, he was mediocre at best with his .257 average and .745 OPS.  The nephew of hall of famer Robin Yount, Austin was actually more of a pitcher while at Stanford, but after the Dodgers selected him with their 12th round pick in the 2008 draft, they decided he’d be a hitter.  So he’s played mostly at 3rd base since professional debut, and while there was talk that the Dodgers may try to convert him to a catcher, he only spent one game behind the plate in 2009.  Overall, Yount is a fairly small player without much power or speed, and at 23 years old he is running out of time to impress.  His bloodline suggest that he has the ability to one day succeed at the big league level, but he’s going to have to play above rookie ball before that can happen.  Hopefully he’ll play in LoA or HiA in 2010.

106.  Arismendy Ozoria, RHP (57 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’0”, 195 lbs, 19.5 years old

3-2, 2.53 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.53 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Ozoria put together a very solid debut season in the DSL in 2009.  To put it into perspective, when compared to all Dodger minor league pitchers in 2009 with a minimum of 45 innings pitched, Ozoria ranked 5th in ERA, 4th in WHIP, and 3rd in batting average against.  Of course he was facing easier competition in the DSL, but you’ve got to give him some credit as he had no prior professional experience, and was only 18 for most of the season.  In addition, while his FIP was 3.57 and his walk rate was a little high, the fact that opposing batters hit just .216 shows that he has some good stuff.  At 6’0” and 195 pounds Arismendy is not that big, but his stats demonstrate that he obviously has some potential.  At 19 years old and with 57 innings under his belt, he may be ready to move up to the Arizona League even though he’s only pitched one professional season.  It will be interesting to see how he evolves as a player at higher levels.

105.  Alberto Bastardo, LHP (75 innings in HiA, 72.3 innings in AA, 1 inning in AAA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/13/06

6’0”, 160 lbs, 26 years old

12-5, 4.00 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.89 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 142

Alberto Bastardo, who obviously has a great name, was originally signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 2002.  He had successful seasons with the Orioles, but left as a minor league free agent before the 2006 season.  Upon joining the Dodgers, Bastardo was been pretty average until 2009, when he seemingly broke out with a solid season.  He spent time in three different levels, and posted decent stats in each.  His first half in the California League was especially good, and he was named as a mid season All-Star.  Overall, he ended the season with a 4.00 ERA and had an even better 3.67 FIP.  He also had a great strikeout to walk ratio, and actually had the third most strikeouts in the entire Dodger minor league system with 130.  A relatively small lefty, Bastardo is still just 26 years old, even though 2009 was his 8th professional season.  Since he made his AAA debut at the end of last season, I see him returning there in 2010.  Strictly a starter the past two years, the Dodgers may try him as a lefty reliever at some point in the future.  He’s currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, and is performing well with a 2.77 ERA in 52 innings.  Lastly, even though he was a minor league free agent after the season, the Dodgers already resigned him for next year.

104.  Pedro Tavarez, C (43 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 198 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.325 average, 1 HR, 26 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 183

After hitting .220 in the in the Dominican Summer League in 2008, I ranked Tavarez 183rd last year, but I also mentioned that he was still young enough to possibly break out in 2009.  Well, after the Dodgers promoted Pedro to the Arizona Rookie League, he actually did have a breakout season.  He improved his average by over 100 points, and his OPS increased from .587 to .765.  He also showed good plate discipline as he walked almost as much as he struck out during 2009.  In addition, he was named to the Arizona League post season all start team as the catcher.  Even with this breakout season, however, I’m not completely sold on Tavarez.  He has never shown any power, and his career average is still just .259.  While he has good size for a catcher and is still just 22 years old, he’ll have to prove himself again in 2010 to really put himself on the Dodgers prospect radar.  He’ll probably play in the Pioneer League next season.

103.  Abdul Nieto, LF (30 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 180 lbs, 18.25 years old, bats right handed

.153 average, 1 HR, 6 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Abdul Nieto was one of the best prospects coming out of Panama when he was signed by the Dodgers in the Summer of 2008.  At the time, he was 16 years old, yet already had a solid build.  While I don’t know how much the Dodgers signed him for (although I’m betting it was for less than $100,000), I do know that they got a young player who has a lot of potential.  After training with the Dodgers in second half of 2008, Nieto made his professional debut in the DSL in June of 2009.  Unfortunately, his overall season stats were pretty dismal.  He only had 13 hits throughout the entire season, and only two of them were for extra bases.  He also only appeared in only 30 games over three months.  Nevertheless, I believe that Nieto gained some valuable experience as a 17 year old.  As mentioned earlier, he has an ideal build for baseball, and will only get stronger as he matures.  I wouldn’t be surprised if people started talking about him next year as a potential legitimate prospect.  He’ll definitely return to the Dominican Summer League next season, and I’m sure that he’ll get more at bats, most likely as a starting outfielder.  If he had a good season in 2010, he may be one of the youngest players in the Arizona Rookie League in 2011. 

102.  Joel Lima, RHP (30.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’0”, 165 lbs, 20.5 years old

2-1, 2.97 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.12 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 65

As I mentioned last year, Joel Lima is in fact the brother of former Dodger Jose Lima.  They are 17 years apart, but the bloodlines are obviously there.  Joel is a little smaller than Jose, but they are both right handed.  After posting a 2.52 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and a .243 batting average against in 2008, Lima recorded similar numbers in 2009.  The downside is that while the numbers were similar, he actually slightly regressed in all aspects of his game.  In addition, Lima has only pitched 70 total innings over his two professional seasons, so he still lacks experience.  Overall, while Joel’s 2009 season wasn’t quite as impressive as his 2008 campaign, you really can’t really complain about a 2.97 ERA.  After spending two seasons in the DSL, this 20 year old is probably ready for tougher competition in the U.S.  I think he’ll play in the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, and hopefully he’ll continue to post good numbers.

101.  Travis Chick, RHP (113 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/3/08

6’2”, 220 lbs, 25.75 years old

8-7, 4.22 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7.81 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m not going to spend too much time on Travis Chick because he was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season and has signed with Angels.  So obviously he is no longer in the Dodgers system.  I wish he was still with the Dodgers, however, because Chick is a pretty solid pitcher.  In fact, I considered him to be one of the better non roster invitees that the Dodgers signed in the 2008-2009 offseason.  Obviously he didn’t make the team out of spring training, but he put up pretty good numbers last season in AA.  Originally drafted by the Marlins in 2002, Chick actually made his major league debut with the Mariners in September of 2006.  Overall, while he’s never going to be a big league star, he seems to be a decent back up plan to keep in the minors in case of injuries.  It will be interesting to see if he has any impact with the Angels during the 2010 season.

100.  Jimmy Marshall, RHP (11 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 23rd round

6’6”, 195 lbs, 23 years old

0-1, 4.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 9.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jimmy Marshall was a four year player for Florida State, and overall had a very successful career for the Seminoles.  He was a middle reliever and spot starter for FSU in 2006 and 2007, then shared the closer role during 2008 with Giant top prospect Buster Posey, who was actually a pretty dominate pitcher in college in his limited opportunities.  In 2009 Marshall inherited the team captain patch and the full time closers role for FSU, and while he had his least successful season in terms of ERA (4.85), he was able pick up 10 saves, post a strikeout rate of 13.5 K’s per 9 innings, and hold batters to a .238 average.  His biggest problem during his senior season was his control as he walked 24 batters in 26 innings, which is probably attributable to his height.  Because of his age and college experience, the Dodgers moved Marshall directly into the closer role for the Arizona Dodgers, although they limited him to just 11 innings spread over two months.  While his ERA of 4.09 and FIP of 4.38 were just mediocre, he continued to show a good strikeout rate and also allowed batters to his just .211 against him.  From what I’ve heard, he has a low 90’s fastball and a decent slider, but I don’t know much else about his pitching repertoire.  Overall, I really like Marshall’s size and potential, even though he is already 23 years old and was drafted in the 23rd round.  I’m almost positive that he’ll start in Lo-A next season, and I’m hoping that he develops into a useful power reliever.   

99.  Josh Walter, RHP (110 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/27/08

6’4”, 250 lbs, 25 years old

10-4, 3.27 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.25 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 189

If Josh Walter were three years younger, he would easily be a top 30 prospect for the Dodgers.  He has pretty good stuff, and he is big…like Jonathan Broxton big.  He also had a great season with Great Lakes in 2009 while splitting time between starter and reliever.  He was named as a mid season All Star in the Midwest League after having a phenomenal first half, and ultimately finished the season with 113 K’s and a .228 batting average against, both stats which ranked among Dodger minor league leaders for 2009.  But unfortunately, Josh Walter is not three years younger.  Instead, he is almost 25 years old, and has yet to play above Lo-A.  He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 out of Texas State University where he posted a 4.71 ERA as a Senior.  He actually didn’t pitch much at all in college, as he only pitched about 40 innings at Texas State.  Going back to his professional career, even if Walter is promoted to AA in 2010, he is still going to be behind schedule.  While he has the potential to thrive as a middle reliever, he may be too old to ever make it in the major leagues.  It’s going to take another outstanding season in 2010 for him to make any sort of an impact with the Dodgers.

98.  Joseph Paxson, RHP (29.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 13th round

6’3”, 250 lbs, 23.5 years old

1-3, 5.52 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 8.90 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The third time was the charm for Joseph (J.B.) Paxson.  After being drafted in the 33rd round by the Dbacks in 2005 and the 18th round by the Braves in 2006, Paxson signed with the Dodgers in 2009 as a 13th round pick.  He actually didn’t really have a choice this time, because he was a Senior in college and didn’t have the option of going back to school.  In looking at Paxson’s past, it also makes sense why Joseph was drafted so many times.  He hit a school record 29 home runs during his high school career, and then hit .455 with 13 HR’s in his only season at Walters State Community College.  Up until this point, you’ll notice that Paxson was actually known for his offense, as he was a full time catcher.  In 2007, however, Paxson joined Western Kentucky and proceeded to have three solid seasons as a two way player.  In his three years with the Hilltoppers, Paxson was the starting catcher for the majority the games, and as a Senior actually hit .345 with a great 1.076 OPS.  However, the Dodgers wanted him for his pitching arm.  While his ERA wasn’t great during the 2009 season (6.82), he struck out 41 batters in 31 innings and Dodgers really liked his fastball.  According to reports, his fastball can get up to the mid 90’s, which makes sense given that he is 6’3” and weights 250 lbs.  Upon signing with the Dodgers, J.B. was sent to the Pioneer League where he compiled a 5.52 ERA in 29 innings.  However, his 2009 FIP was 2.89, so he actually did a lot better than most people would initially think.  Used strictly in relief, Paxson picked up 3 saves during the season, and he also had 3 holds, which ranked 6th in the Pioneer League.  Even though Paxson is already 23 years old, I think that he has a bright future as a reliever.  I’m sure that he’ll head to LoA next year, and hopefully a full season of concentrating on pitching will result in even better stats for 2010.

97.  Mario Alvarez, RHP (85 innings in HiA, 3 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/16/03

6’0”, 205 lbs, 26 years old

5-7, 4.60 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.06 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 83

While I discussed Mario’s background last year, it is worth repeating.  Alvarez was signed as a 3rd baseman in 2003, and hit very poorly in his debut.  So the Dodgers converted him to a pitcher in 2004, and he was an immediate success, posting a 1.24 ERA in 65 innings.  From 2005 to 2007, however, Alvarez had three mediocre seasons as he never finished with an ERA below 5.60 during that time period.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to add him to their 40 man roster after the 2007 season to protect him in the Rule 5 draft.  He went on to have arm surgery during the 2008 season which caused him to miss most of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.  During that time, he was removed from the Dodgers 40 man roster, and is now just another Dodger minor leaguer.  Upon his return in 2009, Alvarez actually had pretty solid stats even though he played the majority of the season the California League.  His 1.18 WHIP with Inland Empire ranked as best on the team for players with at least 20 innings pitched, and his overall season WHIP of 1.22 ranked as 9th best in the entire Dodgers minor league system (minimum 45 innings).  In addition, his FIP for 2009 was 3.76, and batters hit just .249 against him.  To add to his recent success, Mario currently has a 1.17 ERA through 15 innings in the Dominican Winter League.  While he’s not very big, Alvarez does have something special about him, which is why the Dodgers put him on the 40 man roster back in 2007.  At 26 years old, he is running out of time to make it to the big leagues, but he is worth keeping an eye on.  He was already resigned by the Dodgers this offseason to a minor league contract, so I expect Mario to play a full season of AA in 2010, with a good chance of making it up to AAA at some point.

96.  Leonel Beras, LHP (14 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07

5’11”, 143 lbs, 18.75 years old

0-3, 7.07 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 9.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 34

Leonel Beras was definitely one of my biggest ranking mistakes last year.  I’m not saying that we should give up all hope in Beras because of his 2009 ERA, but obviously he is not one of our top 40 prospects as I thought last year.  What plagued Beras in 2009 was his lack of control.  In 14 innings, Leonel walked 20 batters, which calculated out to him walking more than 25% of the batters he faced.  When he did find the plate, however, he showed decent stuff as opposing batters hit just .200 against him for the season.  He also struck out a batter per inning, and absolutely dominated left handed batters in his limited exposure to them.  In addition, Beras is obviously very young, so he has still has plenty of time to improve.  Besides his lack of control, the two biggest negatives about Leonel are his size and his lack of experience.  Over his two professional seasons, he has pitched just 34 total innings.  I expect that to change next year as I believe the Dodgers will give Beras a bigger role in his third season in the DSL during 2010.  He’ll play most of the 2010 season as a 19 year old, so hopefully the Dodgers will feel he is finally mature enough to pitch an entire season.  While he’s not currently a top 50 prospect, I would continue to keep an eye on Beras as he has shown flashes of brilliance and is still developing as a player.

95.  Jesus Castillo, RHP (150.3 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 27th round

6’0”, 195 lbs, 25.75 years old

7-9, 4.31 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 5.33 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 43

I’m not really sure what to think of Jesus Castillo.  Drafted by the Dodgers as a late round pick in 2003, he had three straight excellent seasons from 2004 through 2006, and never finished with an ERA above 2.96 during any of those years.  In 2007, Castillo received a bigger challenge as he played the entire year in Hi-A, but even then he did relatively well with a 4.78 ERA in the California League.  Then in 2008, Castillo probably had his best year as a professional, and based on those numbers the Dodgers decided to add Castillo to their 40 man roster after the season.  Even though I thought Castillo would play in AAA in 2009, he was a victim of numbers and was forced back to AA for a second season.  In Chattanooga, Castillo posted average stats, but wasn’t as successful as in prior years.  So when the Dodgers 40 man roster got too full in August of 2009, Castillo again was a victim of numbers and was designated for assignment.  He cleared through waivers, however, and luckily the Dodgers were able to outright him back to the minors.  In regards to Castillo’s future, as mentioned earlier I’m not sure what to think.  His career ERA is a respectable 3.91, but his strikeout numbers have always been very low.  He is also already 25 years old, and isn’t very big for a pitcher.  Nevertheless, he should finally be ticketed for AAA in 2010.  It’ll be tough for the Dodgers to add him back to their 40 man roster after he has already been removed from it, so he’ll have to convince them with his play on the field.  So far this offseason he is doing his part, as he is currently doing very well in the Mexican Winter League with a 1.67 ERA through 32 innings.

94.  Andrew Suiter, LHP (15.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 10th round

6’3”, 210 lbs, 22.75 years old

2-0, 4.02 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 8.62 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I read an interesting interview with Suiter that took place in 2008, shortly after he was drafted by the Yankees in the 32nd round.  At the time, we has looking for 3rd or 4th round bonus money, so it is no wonder he didn’t sign.  In the interview, Suiter discussed a variety of topics.  He started with a discussion about his pitches, and at the time of the interview, said that he had a 4 seam fastball that ranged from 90 – 92 mph, a 74 mph 11-to-5 curveball, and a “fosh,” which is held like a split-finger, but where the thumb is off to the side of the ball.  Next, Andrew talked about his college career, and how he was originally a prize recruit by UCLA, but then due to a broken wrist and poor coaching decisions, transferred to UC Davis where he finally got an opportunity to play.  Finally, Suiter described how he wanted to be a starter rather than a reliever, how he was a really good water polo player, and how he definitely needed to improved upon his control.  Anyways, enough with the interview.  Suiter obviously didn’t sign with the Yankees, and returned to UC Davis in 2009.  While his 2009 college stats were rather unimpressive, he did improve his velocity and was hitting 94 mph by the end of the season.  So the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him with their 10th round pick, and immediately placed him in the Pioneer League.  After the draft, Logan White said “This kid has a really good arm…He’s throwing 94-95 now and has a good change and a good curve ball. The question is getting him to command the strike zone.  When he was a starter he wasn’t very successful but when they moved him into the bullpen he had good success.  We’re going to start him and if he has trouble we’ll move him into relief and we feel he will be very good.  We think we have a great find this late in the process.  We can see no reason he can’t throw strikes, maybe he just likes relief better.  If we get another Brent Leach, that will be great.”  In the Pioneer League, Suiter continued to have major problems with his control, as he walked 18 batters in just under 16 innings.  When he did throw strikes, however, Suiter showed good stuff because batters only hit .200 against him, and he struck out almost a batter per inning.  At 6’3”, Andrew has good size, and I think this lefty could become a successful relief pitcher if he learns better control.  He’ll most likely play in LoA in 2010.

93.  Antonio Castillo, LHP (47.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

5’11”, 180 lbs, 22 years old

4-3, 6.04 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 7.36 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 45

Even though Castillo had an awful season in 2009, I’m not going to give him a break because he was so dominant in 2007 and 2008.  I know those two seasons came while he was in the DSL, but come on, his combined ERA’s during those seasons was 1.41 through 115 innings, and  his combined WHIP was 0.80.  Those are some unbelievable stats, especially for a 5’11” lefty.  Turning back to 2009, Castillo obviously experienced some sort of transformation upon being brought to the U.S. for the Pioneer League.  His 2008 ERA more than quintupled, and his 2008 WHIP more than doubled.  His biggest problem by far was his walk rate, as he walked almost 15% of batters he faced.  Even still, Castillo still showed flashes of brilliance as he actually performed very well during the month of July, which is when he pitched the majority of his innings.  In just over 27 innings during that month, his ERA was a more respectable 3.62, and batters only hit .243 against him.  So it was the other two months (June and August) that really doomed his season.  Overall, Castillo is still pretty young, and was making a pretty big jump from the DSL to the hitter friendly Pioneer League.  Even though he isn’t very big, I think he can be an effective left handed reliever.  Look for him to play in the Midwest League next year in a rebound season.

92.  Pedro Guerrero, SS (62 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06

6’3”, 181 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats right handed

.259 average, 4 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 67

Pedro Guerrero (no relation to the former Dodger great) was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut in 2008.  He produced average numbers in the Gulf Coast League in 2008, and had similar numbers in 2009.  While he spent the majority of his time with Ogden at shortstop, at 6’3” he may be better suited for 2nd or 3rd base, which have been his secondary positions throughout his career.  His offensive numbers probably won’t support any other position, however, so Guerrero needs to step it up at the plate.  His biggest problems are his walk and strikeout rates.  In 247 plate appearances in 2009, Pedro struck out 65 times, and walked just 9 times for a dismal walk to strikeout ratio of 0.14, which ranks as one of the worst in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, Guerrero’s 23 errors ranked in the top 5 among Dodger minor leaguers in 2009.  The good thing about Pedro, however, is that he is still young, and played all of last season as a 20 year old.  So he has plenty of time to improve his game, as well as add muscle to his lanky frame.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Guerrero spent 2010 repeating the Pioneer League given his age, and hopefully he’ll show some more patience and consistency at the plate.

91.  Kyle Smit, RHP (47 innings in LoA, 20.7 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 5th round

6’3”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old

1-7, 6.12 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 8.11 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 88

Coming out of high school, Smit was one of the best pitchers in Nevada.  He didn’t really have many college options however (he had committed to Western Nevada Community College), so he was an easy sign for the Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2006 draft.  Unfortunately, he has not performed well so far as a professional, and has a 5.83 career ERA.   Last year I gave him a break because he was only 21 years old at the time, but after back to back horrible seasons, I’m starting to think that he simply may not have great stuff.  While he still has a lot of projection left in his frame and supposedly already hits 93 on the radar gun, he’s going to have to start producing some better stats if he wants to make any kind of impact with the Dodgers.  Going back to his 2009 season, Smit started the year in LoA, and even though he was struggling to the tune of a 5.36 ERA, the Dodgers actually promoted him to HiA in July.  It was in the California League that Kyle really tanked as he allowed 18 earned runs in 20.2 innings.  Overall, Smit still has time to prove his worth.  He is still young, and he has always posted good strikeout rates.  Also, as mentioned before, he has a good frame and has yet to fill out.  He’ll most likely return to the California League in 2010, and let’s hope that he can somehow find a way to record an ERA under 6.00 for the first time in a few years.

90.  Michael Pericht, C (35 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 16th round

6’5”, 225 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed

.211 average, 4 HR’s, 19 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

You’ve got to love Michael Pericht’s size, especially for a catcher.  In fact, he is exactly the same size as the Orioles young catching star Matt Wieters.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t possess the same skill set as Wieters yet, but you never know what he may develop into.  In fact, I’ve heard him compared to David Ross with a 20+ homer potential.  Going back to his college days, Pericht played at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, and as a Junior he hit .337 with 12 HR’s and had a spectacular 1.046 OPS.  Going into the 2009 draft, he was very excited, and was quoted as saying “Right now, I’m trying to stay as calm as possible. It’s exciting and it’s nerve-wracking. I kind of feel like a duck on the pond right now.”  He was selected by the Dodgers in the 16th round, signed quickly, and was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League.  Before you look at his .211 average and dismiss Pericht as a prospect, it should be noted that he posted a .345 on base percentage, and his 4 HR’s ranked 2nd on the team and came in just 109 at bats.  While his strikeout rate was pretty high at 29.5%, I think that as Michael gets older he’ll be able to shorten his swing and make better contact.  If Pericht can find a way to stay behind the plate as he moves up through the system, he may become a very valuable prospect.  If he moves to first base, however, his significance will diminish, although he’d still be worth watching given his size and potential power.  My guess is that he’ll spend 2010 in the Pioneer League and continue to get reps behind the plate.

89.  Elian Herrera, OF (99 games in HiA, 13 games in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/14/03

5’11”, 190 lbs, 25 years old, switch hitter

.287 average, 4 HR’s, 37 RBI’s, 43 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 109

After being limited to less than 250 at bats in every season of his six year minor league career, Elian Herrera finally got a full season under his belt in 2009…and he made it count by wreaking havoc on the base paths.  He spent the majority of the season in HiA, and stole 42 bases there in 47 attempts.  Compare that to Trayvon Robinson, who stole 43 bases at Inland Empire and was caught 18 times, and you’ll realize that Herrera is actually the better base stealer of the two players.  However, Elian is two years older than Robinson, so Robinson is obviously the better prospect.  Anyways, besides being very fast, Herrera is a very versatile player as he spent time all over the field in 2009.  He played all three outfield positions, played a lot of 2nd base, spent time at 3rd base, and even made an appearance at shortstop.  He also hit for a good average in 2009, and scored 70 runs during the season (ranking in the top 10 among Dodger minor league players).  Unfortunately, the positives for Herrera stop there.  At 25 years old, Elian is fairly old to have not played above A ball.  In addition, he has never shown any power, and only stands at 5’11”.  Nevertheless, 2010 will give Herrera a chance prove that he is a legitimate Dodger prospect.  While he was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season, the Dodgers showed confidence in Elian and re-signed him to a minor league deal.  I’m sure he’ll finally get a chance to play in at least AA, and hopefully he’ll continue to thrive both at the plate and on the base paths. 

88.  Nick Gaudi, RHP (27.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 30th round

6’5”, 215 lbs, 23.5 years old

2-4, 2.96 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 12.84 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Even though he was the Dodgers 30th round pick, Gaudi is used to going up against big odds to make it in baseball.  He was barely recruited heading into college, and had to walk-on to the Pepperdine baseball team.  After making the team, he didn’t get any playing time in 2005 as a freshman, so decided to redshirt.  So he actually spent 5 years in college, which is another reason why clubs probably stayed away from him.  Anyways, as a sophomore Gaudi started to contribute, and then as a junior he earned Pepperdine’s closer role, led the West Coast Conference with 15 saves, and was named first team All-WCC.  As a senior he again was named first team All-WCC.  He contributes his college success to two things.  First, he mastered a new pitching windup that he developed with the Pepperdine assistant baseball.  Gaudi described the windup as “deceiving”, as he twists and the ball comes from behind his back.  Second, he calls himself “a strike thrower and a pitcher’s pitcher.”  He also says he “can locate his fastball and try to outthink hitters rather than overpower them with raw power or talent.”  Getting into his professional career, it should first be noted that Gaudi was one of the oldest players in the Pioneer League, so his stats should be taken with a grain of salt.  Nevertheless, he was pretty dynamite on the mound.  He had a rough first couple of outings, but after that he was lights out.  His most impressive stat was his strikeout to walk rate, which was an amazing 7.80 and ranked only behind fellow 2009 draftee Stephen Ames in the Dodger minor league system.  Scouts credit his success to the development of a slider and split-finger fastball, and he’ll definitely need that offspeed stuff because his fastball is just average.  2010 will bring a much bigger challenge for Nick as I’m sure the Dodgers will challenge him with at least an assignment to HiA given his age.  I can even see him playing in AA at some point next season if he continues to thrive.

87.  Moises Tamarez, RHP (31.3 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 195 lbs, 17 years old

1-0, 4.31 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 2.87 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Moises Tamarez is by far the youngest player in the Dodgers minor league system.  He didn’t turn 16 until March of 2009, so he must not have signed with the Dodgers until after that date.  Usually when players sign when they are that young, they spend most of their time at the training facility and barely get into any games, if any at all.  Tamarez, however, didn’t waste any time and pitched in his first professional game right when the DSL season started.  He went on to make 13 appearances from June to August, and even made three starts.  Not only did he pitch quite a bit as a 16 year old, but he also posted pretty good numbers (besides his unbelievably low strikeout rate).  In addition, Tamarez already has the perfect pitchers body, and is only going to get bigger as he matures.  Moises will be just 17 during the 2010 season, so I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL for at least one more year.  Since he is getting so much experience at such a young age, he really has the potential to be a legitimate Dodger prospect in a year or two.

86.  Clay Calfee, 1B (17 games in Pioneer League, 16 games in Arizona League, 11 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 14th round

6’6”, 220 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats left handed

.268 average, 5 HR’s, 27 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 69

Clay Calfee was drafted out of Angelo State in Texas in 2008.  Clay left Angelo State as their all time leader in home runs (28), RBI’s (171), and hits (239).  In addition, during his final season at Angelo State, he hit an amazing .404 with 13 HR’s.  After being drafted, he made his professional debut in the Pioneer League.  While he struggled with a .232 average, he did manage to hit 8 HR’s and drive in 35.  In 2009 the Dodgers decided to transition Calfee from left field to first base, and throughout the season he actually played at three different levels.  He started the season in the Arizona Rookie League, and after posting mediocre stats he was promoted to LoA in late July.  During his 11 games in the Midwest League, Clay looked very lost and was never able to get things going.  He only got 5 hits in 40 at bats and was quickly demoted to the Pioneer League where he finished the season.  The good news is that he turned things around with the Ogden Raptors by recording a .354 average and 3 HR’s in 17 games.  Overall, Calfee is a big guy with a lot of power, but is very prone to the strikeout.  He has a career strikeout rate of 33%, which is even worse than fellow Dodger minor leaguer Kyle Russell.  Calfee is also almost 24 years old, which is fairly old for a player who only has 11 games of experience beyond rookie ball.  While I’d like to think that Clay has a future with the Dodgers because of his power potential, his age and lack of experience really limit him.  I’m sure he’ll start with a full season club in 2010 and hopefully he’ll contribute early and move up quickly through the system.

85.  Ji-Mo Lee, RHP (3 innings in Pioneer League, 0 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 5/24/09

6’1”, 188 lbs, 23.25 years old

0-0, 18.00 ERA, 4.33 WHIP, 3.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The Dodgers signed Ji-Mo Lee out of Korea in May of 2009.  He was originally drafted by a Korean baseball team in 2005, but was then required to serve two years of military duty.  He played for the Korean team in 2008, but was released after posting a 9.64 ERA.  While he performed poorly in 2008, after being signed by the Dodgers, Logan White said “Ji-Mo has a feel for two types of pitches that are already at a Major League level and he should develop into a good pitcher.”  In addition, Byung-Hwan An, the Dodgers’ scouting supervisor in Korea said “I have been watching him since high school and always liked his fastball and aggressiveness on the mound.  He is a very talented pitcher with a high ceiling. It is great that we can give him a chance to play in the States, which has been his dream.”  Even though he signed in May, Lee didn’t appear in a minor league game until the very end of August.  He appeared in 4 games total, and he basically had no success.  Nevertheless, based on the information provided, it seems like the Dodgers consider Lee a legitimate prospect.  He is 23 years old and apparently has two really good pitches, so I’m sure that he’ll be playing in either LoA or HiA during the 2010 season. 

84.  Bryant Hernandez, SS (44 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 9th round

5’8”, 170 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.276 average, 2 HR’s, 16 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Bryant Hernandez is not very big at all, but he has some pop and is a good offensive player.  In 2009 as a junior at the University of Oklahoma, Hernandez batted .351, hit 12 HR’s, and tied future Dodger teammate J.T. Wise for the team lead with 62 RBI’s.  He was also a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation’s top shortstop.  Speaking of Wise, the Dodgers actually noticed Hernandez when they were scouting Wise during the 2009 college season.  After the draft, Logan White said that Hernandez “is a kid that had good numbers, could hit in the middle of the night, could play short or second and he’s a sure-handed fielder with some pop in his bat. We could also turn him into a catcher down the road, if needed. He’s a grinder and knows how to play the game.”  The part about turning him into a catcher is interesting, so we’ll have to see if that develops down the road.  Also, while White mentioned his good defense, in college Hernandez seemed to make the difficult plays, but struggled with the routine grounders, leading to team high 21 errors.  Unfortunately that trend followed Bryant into professional ball, as Hernandez made 17 more errors in just 44 games.  In addition, Bryant’s offense abilities took a hit once he turned pro, although you can’t really complain too much about a .276 for a 21 year old in his first professional season.  The Dodgers will probably want to be fairly aggressive with Hernandez in 2010 given his experience at a big time college program, so he’ll probably spend next season in LoA.  In the Midwest League, hopefully he can put together a more complete season offensively and defensively to put his name on the Dodgers prospect radar. 

83.  Edwin Contreras, RHP (75.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/28/06

6’2”, 165 lbs, 21.5 years old

5-1, 4.06 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.73 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 53

Signed out of Mexico in late 2006, Edwin Contreras made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and did very well.  Because he was still just 19 to start the 2008 season, the Dodgers returned Contreras to the GCL where he improved upon the previous year.  He had a perfect 5-0 record, posted a 2.30 ERA and 1.02 WHIP, and allowed only a .219 batting average.  With two rookie league seasons under his belt before the 2009 season, I thought Contreras was ready for LoA, but the Dodgers instead placed Edwin in the Pioneer League.  While playing with the Ogden Raptors, Contreras got off to a hot start with a 2.27 ERA through July, and for the season ranked among the league leaders in games started and innings pitched.  However, while he had a respectable FIP of 4.19 for the season, his 1.50 WHIP and 5.73 K/9 scare me.  His career K/9 of 6.2 isn’t much better, which tells me that Contreras is somewhat hittable and has probably been getting pretty lucky throughout his short career.  The good news is that at just 21 years old, Contreras has plenty of time to improve his pitches and put some muscle on his 165 pound frame.  Nevertheless, 2010 will be a big year in Edwin’s career as it will probably be his first year in a full season league, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.

82.  Bolivar Medina, LHP (46.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2007

6’2”, 175 lbs, 21.75 years old

3-2, 2.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 8.10 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Prior to the 2007 season, the Dodgers signed a group of young Dominican players.  According to Logan White in a 2007 interview, the two most impressive players in that group were Pedro Baez (one of the Dodgers top prospects) and Bolivar Medina.  So that right there tells you that Medina has some potential.  After posting a 2.75 ERA through 36 innings in the Dominican Summer League in 2007, Bolivar must have injured himself in some way because he missed the entire 2008 season.  It is for that reason that I didn’t include him in my rankings last season, because I thought that he had been released or something since he didn’t show up in any 2008 games.  Whatever the case, Medina made his return in 2009, and was placed in the Arizona Rookie League where he performed exceptionally well.  His 2.89 ERA ranked 5th in the League for qualifying pitchers, and his 1.20 WHIP ranked 10th.  His stats also ranked favorably among the Dodger minor league pitching leaders, especially his 3.23 strikeout to walk ratio and his .235 batting average against.  Besides his impressive numbers, Media also had good size for a pitcher at 6’2”.  Overall, I think this lefty has some potential to make an impact with the Dodgers if he can stay healthy.  As he is still pretty young, he just needs more experience, which he’ll probably get in Lo-A next season.

81.  David Pfeiffer, LHP (48 innings in HiA, 4 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 14th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 24.5 years old

3-3, 3.29 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 6.92 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 76

David Pfeiffer was born in Vero Beach, FL, so he was destined to one day be a Dodger.  After signing with the team in 2003, however, he didn’t show much potential as a prospect until the 2008 offseason when he played for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaii Winter League.  It was there that he finally broke out by posting a 1.59 ERA, a 0.65 WHIP, and an amazing .127 batting average against in 17 innings.  Pfeiffer carried his success into the 2009 season where he performed very well in HiA despite playing in the hitter friendly California League.  In 48 innings he had a 3.33 FIP and only allowed one home run.  He also had an especially good August, and was named the Dodgers Pride Award Winner for the month because he earned two saves and allowed just one run in 14.2 innings (0.61 ERA) in 11 August games.  David will be just 24 years old when the 2010 season starts, but with six years of minor league experience and parts of three seasons spent in HiA, it is definitely time for a promotion to AA.  Therefore, he’ll most likely spend the 2010 season in Chattanooga, and if he continues to improve, he has the potential to one day possibly help the Dodgers as a lefty reliever out of the bullpen. 

80.  Nick Buss, CF (110 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 8th round

6’0”, 180 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats left handed

.260 average, 10 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 27

2008 was the second time that Nick Buss was drafted by the Dodgers.  After failing to sign him as a 35th round pick in 2006, the Dodgers finally got their man in the 8th round two years later.  During the two years between being drafted by the Dodgers, Buss spent time as the starting center fielder for the USC Trojans.  While his stats at USC weren’t amazing, he did post a solid .415 OBP in 2008 and placed 2nd on the team with 8 HR’s.  He also played in the Alaskan Baseball League in the summer of 2007, and was named the League’s top prospect by Baseball America after hitting .369 and stealing 29 bases.  Since being drafted, however, Nick “Chili” Buss has been pretty average, and I’ll admit that I ranked Buss much too high last year.  I based my prior year ranking on his defensive skills and his ability to get on base, but both of those skills seemed less impressive in 2009.  His .298 on base percentage in 2009 was pretty bad, and I also read that his throwing arm is average at best.  In addition, Buss struggles mightily against left handed pitchers, and he hit just .165 against them in 2009.  Really when I look at him more closely, his only assets are his above average speed and his ability to make contact (he has a career strikeout percentage of just 15.4%).  Nevertheless Buss will probably move up to HiA in 2010, and maybe he’ll be able to rejuvenate his career in the friendly confines of the California League.  He’s just 23 years old so he’s still young enough to have a big season and upgrade his prospect status.

79.  Eduardo Perez, 1B (90 games in AA, 38 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/4/02

6’1”, 175 lbs, 25.5 years old, switch hitter

.305 average, 14 HR’s, 69 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 110

Last year, I said that Eduardo Perez would have to “tear it up next year in order get any recognition in this Dodgers system”.  Well Perez did just that.  He killed the California League for the first month and a half of the 2009 season by hitting .353 with a .981 OPS through 150 at bats.  That earned him a promotion to AA, where Perez finally faced players that were closer to his own age.  While his hot streak dropped off a bit in Chattanooga, Perez did hit .281 with 11 HR’s against the tougher competition.  In addition, when you look at his combined stats for the season, he ranked among the Dodger minor league leaders in average, RBI’s, doubles, and hits.  His overall performance earned Perez another season with the Dodgers, as he was resigned to a minor league contract during this past offseason.  Despite his good performance, I’m worried that Perez will not be able to produce enough offensively to support his position of first base.  He’s also not very big, so I question his ability to produce at the big league level.  Best case scenario for Perez is that he ends up as a bench player on a major league team.  I don’t really think the Dodgers are a team that he’ll ever end up playing for (I think a team like the Nationals or Pirates are more likely destination), but with another good season in 2010, you never know.  He’ll probably start in AA again next season, but he could move up to AAA at some point in 2010. 

78.  Greg Miller, LHP (11.7 innings in HiA, 5.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2002, 1st round

6’6”, 215 lbs, 25.25 years old

0-1, 6.35 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.94 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 35

There honestly isn’t anything left to say about Greg Miller, so I’ll just summarize his career in a few short sentences.  He was once a phantom… a can’t miss prospect who was going to be the next great Dodger starter (just look at his 2003 minor league stats).  Then injury hit.  Then loss of control.  Then loss of confidence.  And things spiraled out of control from there.  He was removed from the 40 man roster this past Spring, and after peaking in AAA in previous years, the Dodgers tried to reinvent Miller back in HiA with a new arm angle.  They hoped that working with Charlie Hough would turn things around.  But things didn’t change for Greg, and while he held opposing batters to a .179 average in the California League, he still managed to record a 9.26 ERA before injury struck once again in late June.  Miller tried to work himself back into pitching shape before the end of the season by rehabbing in the Arizona Rookie League, but the season ended before he got a change to return to real action.  And in reality, that could be the last we see of Miller.  He is currently a minor league free agent and could very well sign with another club prior to the 2010 season.  If he’s healthy, I hope the Dodgers do resign Miller to give him one last chance because the potential is still there, and I would hate to see him sign with someone else and then succeed.  If he does return, I think another lesson with Charlie Hough would be good for him.

77.  Robert Boothe, RHP (56.3 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/5/07

6’2”, 190 lbs, 24 years old

2-3, 4.95 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 12.46 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 82

Robert Boothe was signed by the Dodgers as an international free agent after the 2007 season.  He is half Japanese, attended Asia University, doesn’t speak much English, and was actually eligible for the Japanese draft before signing with the Dodgers.  At the time of his signing, Logan White said that Boothe has “a nice delivery, good arm action, and a sound mix of breaking pitches which gives him the ability to be a future Major Leaguer.”  After a rough debut season, Boothe turned things around in the Midwest League in 2009.  I know his ERA wasn’t great and he struggled with his control, but in my opinion he had a very good season.  He posted an excellent FIP of 2.65, so the fact is that Boothe was getting a little unlucky during this season.  He also allowed just two home runs in 56 innings.  His most impressive stat, however, was his strikeout rate.  Boothe led all Dodger minor leaguers with his 12.46 K/9, and through the month of June his K/9 actually stood at a remarkable 14.05.  His ability to strike batters out demonstrates that he has some nasty stuff on the mound.  He’s been described as a power arm who can throw into the mid 90’s and has closer potential.  The one negative about Boothe is his age.  He’s already 24 years old, so he’ll need to move quickly through the system while continuing to improve.  A promotion to AA isn’t out the question for the start of 2010, but he’ll have to really impress in Spring Training to end up there.  If all goes well over the next few years, Boothe has the upside to become a big league middle reliever at some point in his career.

76.  Thomas Giles, RF (82 games in AA, 16 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 8th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats left handed

.276 average, 15 HR’s, 48 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 41

Thomas Giles had a great season in 2008.  He led all Dodger minor leaguers in HR’s and RBI’s while playing 126 games in the California League.  Despite his excellent season and the fact that he was already 25 years old, the Dodgers still placed Giles back in HiA at the beginning of the 2009 season.  Deciding that he needed to prove them wrong, Giles got off to a hot start, and through 16 games with Inland Empire he was hitting .344 with 4 HR’s and an OPS of .983.  Seeing that Thomas was clearly not being challenged in HiA, he was finally promoted to AA in May.  The problem was that Chattanooga has a crowded outfield, so for the remainder of the season Giles had to occasionally rotate out of the starting lineup.  Even still, Giles was able to mash 11 more HR’s and finished the season with a combined slugging percentage of .523, which ranked in the top 10 for Dodger minor leaguers (min 175 AB’s).  Physically Giles is not very big, so he has to rely on his baseball knowledge and his sweet left handed swing to generate his power.  He has a good college background as he was drafted out of the University of Miami.  Despite several good qualities, Giles has two big factors working against him.  First, at 26 years old, Giles is already older than several Dodgers already on the major league roster, so time is not on his side.  Second, he strikes out too much, and during his time in AA Giles struck out in 27% of his plate appearances.  Overall Giles is a solid player, but he will probably never get the opportunity to play in the big leagues.  He’ll most likely head back to AA next season, and hopefully he’ll continue to show the Dodgers that he has good power and deserves the opportunity to play in AAA at some point during 2010.

 

 

75.  Justin Sellers, SS (116 games in AA in 2009)

Acquired via trade with Cubs in April 2009 for Cash

5’10”, 160 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.280 average, 2 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m still not 100% sure how the Dodgers acquired Sellers, although I read somewhere that he was traded to the Dodgers by the Cubs for cash last April.  Originally selected by Oakland in the 6th round of the 2005 draft, he was traded to the Cubs in February of 2009 for Michael Wuertz.  At the time of the trade, Cubs fans were pretty excited to get Sellers because he was ranked in Baseball America’s top 30 from 2006 through 2008, peaking at #9 in the 2006 version of the book.  That’s why I’m still a little confused why the Cubs would give up Sellers to the Dodgers for an undisclosed amount of cash.  Anyways, in regards to Sellers baseball abilities, he is the son of former big league pitcher Jeff Sellers, so he has the bloodlines to compete at the major league level.  In addition, before he was drafted, some scouts thought that Sellers would have been a late first round pick if he had been just a few inches taller.  Known for his strong defense up the middle, Justin’s bat has always been in question as he has very little power and is prone to hitting weak pop ups.  However, he has always been projected to hit for a decent average, and showed some of that skill while batting .280 with the Lookouts this past season.  Sellers is still relatively young for his level of competition, and the Dodgers decided to challenge him by sending him to the Arizona Fall League this offseason.  While he struggled there in limited playing time, the fact that he was sent to Arizona shows that the Dodgers have some confidence in his ability.  After back to back mediocre seasons in AA, the Dodgers have to decide whether Sellers is ready to handle AAA in 2010.  I’m guessing that part of that decision will be based upon how the major league roster shakes out (such as where Hu ends up playing).  Overall, Sellers seems to be a player in the mold of Juan Castro, and if he can continue to play solid defense and put up average offensive numbers, he may one day make it to the big leagues as a backup infielder.

74.  Preston Mattingly, LF (115 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 1st round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.238 average, 8 HR’s, 36 RBI’s, 24 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 52

I wrote this last year, but it’s worth mentioning again.  Coming out of high school, Preston Mattingly wasn’t projected as a 1st round pick.  He was supposed to go within the first 10 rounds, but being picked 31st overall was almost out of the question.  The Dodgers, however, felt otherwise, and decided to spend their supplemental first round pick on the son of the Yankee legend.  Keep in mind this pick was made before Don Mattingly was even part of the Dodger organization.  So far, that pick has looked like a major mistake as players like Joba Chamberlin, Chris Tillman, and Brett Anderson were all still available at that time that Mattingly was selected.  Since we can’t go back and change the past, however, we might as well look to the future for Preston.  Despite poor stats during his two seasons in LoA, the Dodgers moved Mattingly to HiA in 2009 hoping that a change of scenery would jumpstart his offense.  The Dodgers also changed Preston’s position going into 2009, moving him from 2nd base to left field.  Unfortunately, the promotion didn’t help as Mattingly failed to show much improvement with Inland Empire.  Even though the majority of his offensive numbers did progress slightly when compared to 2008, that can probably be attributed to the fact that the California League is much more hitter friendly when compared to the Midwest League.  In addition, Mattingly’s strikeout rate continued to be a big problem.  He ranked 3rd in the California League with 150 strikeouts, and he struck out in almost 30% of his plate appearances.  The one bright spot it may seem are his stolen base totals, but even that is tainted by the fact that he was caught 13 times.  Scouts say that he has a hard time recognizing pitches, and that he also has a tendency to get out on his front foot and committed too soon.  Despite all these shortcomings, I haven’t completely given up hope on Mattingly.  He obviously has great bloodlines, and is still just 22 years old.  To rebound, he needs to look to another Dodger minor leaguer with a major league father, Scott Van Slyke.  Van Slyke struggled in his first season at HiA in 2008, but then completely broke out with a huge season when he returned there in 2009.  So you never know what can happen.  Overall, while Mattingly is a long shot to play in the majors (especially now that he is a left fielder), I’m still optimistic that he’ll turn things around at some point.

73.  Enlly Morales, 2B (64 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

5’11”, 168 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed

.317 average, 3 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 91

After a very solid professional debut in 2008, Enlly Morales showed the Dodgers that he is indeed for real with a great sophomore campaign.  His .317 average led the DSL Dodgers and ranked 5th in the entire Dodgers minor league system (minimum of 175 at bats).  Even more impressive was his .406 on base percentage, which stemmed from his amazing ability to make contact.  Morales struck out in just 8% of his plate appearances, which led all Dodger minor leaguers.  To add to his 2009 resume, Enlly ranked 3rd in the entire Dominican Summer League with 19 doubles.  Needless to say, Morales had a great season, and will no doubt be promoted to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010.  At 20 years old, he should be old enough to handle the transition to a new country, and hopefully he’ll continue to be an offensive force once he arrives.  Finally, at 5’11”, Enlly is actually the perfect size for a second baseman so I’m not worried about his lack of height, but I would expect him to fill out his 168 pound frame as he gets older. 

72.  Elisaul Pimentel, RHP (59 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/12/06

6’2”, 170 lbs, 21.75 years old

4-4, 4.73 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 7.32 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 58

Elisaul Pimentel has moved quickly through the Dodgers system since being signed as an 18 year old in 2006.  He made his professional debut in 2007 in the Dominican Summer and had a mediocre season, yet the Dodgers promoted him to the Gulf Coast League at the beginning of 2008.  The move paid off as Pimentel put together a very solid season during his time in the GCL, and was even promoted to the Pioneer League toward the end of the 2008 season.  As expected Elisaul returned to the Pioneer League in 2009, and while his numbers weren’t great, they were still somewhat respectable.  Although he was very hittable (as demonstrated by his .300 batting average against), he allowed very few walks and actually had a FIP of 3.47.  In addition, his strikeout to walk ratio ranked 8th among all Dodger minor league pitchers (minimum of 45 innings pitched).  Unfortunately I don’t know anything about his velocity or what types of pitches he throws, but the fact that he has been able to hold his own as a 21 year old tells me that he has some decent stuff.  While the Great Lakes pitching staff will be fairly crowded in 2010, I think there is room for Pimentel to earn a spot somewhere on the Loons pitching staff if he has a good spring training.  

71.  Paul Koss, RHP (18 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 11th round

6’4”, 215 lbs, 24.75 years old

0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 9.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 56

Paul Koss is a former closer at USC who had a great career for the Trojans.  He had 36 career saves, and posted a 2.79 ERA during his senior season.  Koss started his professional career in the Pioneer League, and then moved up to Hi-A in 2008 where finished the season with 14 saves and a 3.50 ERA.  In my analysis last year, I predicted that Koss would play in AA in 2009, just his second full professional season.  Well Koss did end up playing in Chattanooga, but unfortunately it was only for 18 innings because he got injured not once, but twice during the 2009 season.  After pitching 6 games in April with excellent results, Paul sat out all of May with some sort of an injury.  Then after returning for 9 games in June, Koss ended up missing the rest of the season.  I was unable to find out what Koss’ injury was, but hopefully it wasn’t too serious because I think Koss has a lot of potential.  He has great size for a pitcher, and already has the mentality of a closer because he’s been quoted as saying that he loves pressure situations.  He also has a nasty slider that he uses as his out pitch, and has put up good numbers over the past two seasons (including a .169 batting average against in 2009).  With 2009 basically being a lost season for Koss, I’m guessing he’ll return to AA in 2010 for another year.  Even though I think Koss fits more into a middle relief role at the big league level, being the Lookouts closer will give him valuable experience in pressure situations. 

70.  Fredy Quintero, RHP (32.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 180 lbs, 22.25 years old

0-2, 1.93 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 8.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 111

Like they did with Javier Solano, the Dodgers purchased Quintero’s rights from the Mexican League’s Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000.  He started his career in the Gulf Coast League and posted a 4.03 ERA in 29 innings, which was pretty solid for a 20 year old in his first pro season.  This earned Quintero a spot on the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League where he improved dramatically.  His 1.93 ERA ranked as best on the team and his batting average against was just .246.  In addition, Fredy had good strikeout numbers and showed pretty good control.  According to Baseball America, at the time of his signing Quintero had an 89-92 mph fastball and a hard slider, so I’m assuming that he’s only gotten better as he’s matured.  He has a good frame at 6’3”, so he can probably had a mph or two to his velocity.  Heading into the 2010 season, Quintero will be 22 years old so he’ll most likely start in LoA.   Another good season will firmly place his name on the Dodgers prospect radar.

69.  Jaime Ortiz, 1B (56 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 7th round

6’1”, 220 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats left handed

.245 average, 5 HR’s, 24 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 21

Jaime Ortiz was one of the biggest disappointments for me last season, and I admit that my evaluation of him last year was way off.  After he hit 13 HR’s in the Midwest League in 2008, I predicted that Ortiz would hit 20 out in the California League in 2009 to go along with a .280 average.  As it turns out, the only thing that I correctly predicted was the league that he played in.  To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why Ortiz never really got going offensively, but my best guess is that he simply never got into a rhythm during the season because he had to share his first base duties with Steven Caseres throughout the entire season and didn’t really get consistent playing time.  Still that’s no excuse for Ortiz, especially since he was playing in the hitter friendly California League.  The good news is that Jaime is still just 21 years old and already has a lot of professional experience.  Drafted out of Puerto Rico as a 17 year old, Ortiz has made a steady progression through the Dodgers system.  So far in his four year professional career, he has been promoted after each season (going from the GCL to the Pioneer League to LoA to HiA).  I’m pretty sure that trend will stop heading into 2010 as there is no way that Ortiz will move up to AA.  In fact, even if Caseres does get promoted (which he probably will), Ortiz will probably still end up splitting time at 1st base again next season in California League because the Dodgers have quite a few solid first base prospects.  Overall, while I still think that Jaime has a lot of potential, he is going to have to show us something next year because his career .240 batting average isn’t going to impress anyone. 

 

68.  Eric Krebs, RHP (25 innings in HiA, 16.2 innings with other organization in 2009)

Acquired via trade with Pirates in April 2009 for Delwyn Young

6’3”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old

0-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 11.16 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Eric Krebs was originally a 16th round pick in the 2005 draft by the Pirates out of a small community college in Texas.  After 4 mediocre seasons with the Pirates, Eric was sent to the Dodgers as part of the Delwyn Young trade.  Krebs has a lot of upside, but he also has some problems on the mound, with his biggest issue being his command.  During his 2009 season split between AA (with the Pirates) and HiA (with the Dodgers), Krebs walked more than a batter per inning.  That led to an inflated WHIP, as well as a FIP of 4.24 during his time with the Dodgers.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided that Krebs was worth a roster spot in the AFL.  They based their decision on Krebs’ potential as he has a fastball that can hit 96 miles per hour.  In the AFL, Krebs faired very well in most aspects of his game, but unfortunately his lack of control continued.  He walked 11 batters in just under 14 AFL innings, which again caused him to have a very ugly WHIP (1.76) when compared to his ERA (2.63).  The number that really sticks out, however, is his strikeout rates.  In the AFL he posted a K/9 of 12.5, and his career rate stands at just over a strikeout per inning.  So he obviously has something going for him.  His fastball is complimented by a late breaking slider and a changeup that sits in the low 80’s.  Krebs will definitely start in AA next year, and a promotion to AAA at some point isn’t out of the question.  In fact, if he can learn to harness his pitches and limit his walks, he may be able to make it as a reliever at the big league level.  He’ll be almost 25 years old when the 2010 season starts, however, so he’ll have to turn things around quickly.

67.  Carlos De Aza, RHP (27.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07

6’3”, 178 lbs, 19.75 years old

4-2, 1.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.81 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 127

What a difference a year made for Carlos De Aza.  After posting a 6.53 ERA and 2.08 WHIP in 2008, De Aza completely turned things around in 2009 with a 1.30 ERA and a ridiculous .149 batting average against.  Now I know that a lot of people will point the fact that Carlos only pitched 27 innings in 2009 and say that his FIP was 3.86, but come on, the guy was basically unhittable.  He gave up just 4.6 hits per 9 innings for the season, which is ridiculous.  The only negative thing about his is that he has control issues, but even that drastically improved when compared to 2008.  He walked 11.3 batters per 9 innings in 2008 (which is one of the highest walk rates I’ve ever seen), but he brought that number all the way down to 6.5 walks per 9 innings in 2009.  At 6’3” and just 19 years old, De Aza definitely has some potential.  I’m sure he’ll get promoted to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010 based on his numbers and makeup.  While he’s still got a long ways to go in terms of development, he is an interesting name keep track of as he progresses through the Dodgers system.

 

 

66.  Jordan Pratt, RHP (57 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 5th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 24.75 years old

3-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 10.26 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 54

Jordan Pratt had a lot of good things going for him heading into the 2009 season.  He was coming off a decent season in HiA, and an even better winter league.  In the 2008 Hawaii Winter League, he posted an ERA of 2.53 and had an amazing strikeout rate of 14.5 strikeouts per 9 innings.  He also generated some buzz prior to the 2008 Rule 5 draft as his name was thrown around as a potential target for several clubs.  In addition, he was named as the Dodgers 30th best prospect by Baseball America after the 2008 season, and was predicted to begin 2009 in AA.  So I’m sure he felt some disappointment when he learned that he’d be spending the 2009 season in LoA where he was one of the oldest players on the team.  He didn’t let his disappointment show, however, as he put together a solid season for the Great Lakes Loons.  His ERA and WHIP weren’t great, but his FIP was 3.74 and batters his just .222 against him.  He also struck out over a batter per inning, and was surprisingly effective against lefties.  In regards to his stuff, Pratt has a fastball that can hit 94 MPH, a power curveball with good movement, and a slider.  His biggest problem is his control.  Pratt walked 16.4% of batters he faced in 2009, which was the highest percentage for any Loons pitcher, and for his career he walks almost 7 batters per nine innings.  Basically if he can improve his command, then he pretty much has what it takes to be an effective arm out of the bullpen.  I’m not sure what the future holds for Pratt.  He was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season, but luckily re-signed with the Dodgers this past January.  For the 2010 season, I’m almost certain that he’ll be promoted to AA to face some stiffer competition because at almost 25 years old, 2010 is a make or break season for Jordan.

65.  Gustavo Gomez, RHP (60 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’1”, 150 lbs, 18.75 years old

2-3, 2.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.45 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 113

2009 was Gustavo’s second professional season, and he showed drastic improvement from 2008.  He led the 2009 Dominican Dodgers in strikeouts and innings pitched, and posted a great ERA and FIP (2.63).  Gomez also only walked 19 batters during the season, and his strikeout to walk ratio of 3.32 ranked 6th in the Dodgers minor league system for 2009.  The best part about Gomez, however, is that he is still just 18 years old, and already has 88 innings of professional experience.  Based on this experience, and the fact that Gustavo had a great 2009 season, I expect Gomez to move up to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010.  While his build needs some more muscle, he should be ready for tougher competition. 

64.  Kyle Orr, 1B (40 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 4th round

6’5”, 205 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed

.223 average, 3 HR’s, 27 RBI’s

Prior Year Ranking: 42

Since being drafted in 2006, Kyle Orr has done nothing to deserve a top 100 ranking.  He has yet to hit better than .230 in any of his minor league seasons, only has 11 HR’s in 479 career at bats, and has struck out in 30% of his career plate appearance.  Yet I continue to see Orr’s potential and I can’t help but rank him in the top half of Dodger minor league players.  Drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 draft, the Dodgers were able to sign Orr away from a strong commitment to play at the University of Kentucky for a $435K signing bonus and an additional $100K going toward a college education if he ever chooses to get one.  Upon signing, Orr was said to have a ton of power even though he was just 17 years old at the time.  Unfortunately, that power hasn’t translated into any professional success as mentioned above.  After spending three years in Rookie ball, I think that Orr just needs to be thrown into a full season league like LoA and see what happens from there.  He’s been limited to less than 500 professional at bats even though he was drafted way back in 2006, so I think that has hurt his development.  He’s still just 21 years old, so he has plenty of time to turn things around and use his 6’5” frame to his advantage.  While I don’t think he’ll cut down on his strikeouts anytime soon, I do believe he can turn into a Kyle Russell type and hit 20 HR’s annually at some point in the near future.

63.  Luis Ferreras, RHP (18 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

6’0”, 150 lbs, 20.25 years old

2-1, 2.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 5.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 46

Luis Ferreras has had an interesting journey so far with the Dodgers.  Signed as a 17 year on before the 2007 season, Ferreras put together a remarkable debut season in the Dominican Summer League, allowing just 3 runs in 27 and one third innings for a 0.99 ERA.  Seeing this success, the Dodgers brought Luis to the U.S.A. in 2008 and started him in the Gulf Coast League.  Through 7 games in the GCL, Ferreras again showed dominating stuff as he allowed just 1 run over 12 innings.  That prompted the Dodgers to actually promote the 18 year old Ferreras all the way to AA for a couple of weeks to fill in for some injured players, during which time Luis threw 3 hitless innings.  When the AA bullpen was back to full strength, Ferreras was sent to LoA where he finally showed that he was human by posting 8.53 ERA through 12 innings.  When it was all said and done, Ferreras had a 4.23 ERA in 2008.  So that brings us to 2009.  After playing all over the place in 2008, I thought that Luis would have a little more consistency in 2009 by spending the season with LoA.  The Dodgers, however, decided that the Pioneer League was a better place for Luis, so he spent the year there.  While it might seem like Ferreras was injured at some point during the season because he was limited to 18 innings, when you look at his game log you’ll notice that all of his appearances were spread pretty evenly from June to September.  So basically, the Dodgers just wanted to limit his innings in order to protect his 19 year old arm.  While his ERA with Ogden was pretty good, his WHIP or 1.44 and FIP of 4.31 tell another story.  In addition, Ferreras has a low career K/9 of 6.3, and actually walked more batter than he struck out in 2009.  Nevertheless, since he’ll be just 20 years old when 2010 starts, I’m pretty confident that Luis will continue to grow, mature, and improve over the next few years.  While I have no idea what his velocity is or what his secondary pitches are, I think that Ferreras has the potential to one day be a big league reliever.  My guess is that he’ll spend 2010 in LoA.

 

 

62.  Brian Ruggiano, 3B (54 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 7 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 23rd round

6’0”, 175, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.346 average, 9 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 22 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 116

Brian was the second Ruggiano drafted by the Dodgers out of Texas A&M in the past few years because they drafted his brother, Justin Ruggiano, in the 25th round of the 2004 draft.  Justin is no longer with the Dodgers, as he was part of the Mark Hendrickson/Toby Hall trade in 2006, but he has made a name for himself by making it up to the Rays during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.  Even though Brian struggled in his debut season, last year I wrote that “based on his brother’s success after being drafted in the 25th round, I wouldn’t count out Brian as being an impact player just yet, even though he was a 23rd round pick.”  Well, Brian Ruggiano tried to prove me right and had a huge year for the Dodgers in 2009.  He ranked among the Dodger Minor League Leaders in several categories, including on base percentage (.413), slugging percentage (.547), OPS (.961), average (.346), and stolen bases (22).  He also ranked very favorably among the Pioneer League Leaders, and actually lost the Pioneer League batting title on the last game of the season (he ended up finishing second with his .371 batting average while with Ogden).  He did all this while learning to play 3rd base, a position that he has never played regularly (he was basically a catcher and outfielder in college, and played 2nd base last season).  Despite all of his success, there is still the fact that Ruggiano was a 23 year old playing in rookie ball.  He was one of the older hitters on the Raptors, so his accomplishments have to be discounted a little.  At the end of the day, however, it’s not Brian’s fault that he was placed in the Pioneer League, and he did everything in his power to show that he didn’t belong there.  He even stole 22 bases and hit 9 home runs, which were the most surprising numbers to me because he isn’t really known as a power or speed player.  In 2010 Ruggiano will probably get the respect he deserves, and I’m guessing that he’ll play in the California League.  If he can put together another season similar to 2009 in HiA, then he’ll really put his name on the Dodger prospect radar. 

61.  Jan Vazquez, C (25 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 6th round

5’10”, 165 lbs, 18.75 years old, switch hitter

.216 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Jan Vasquez is a young switch hitting catcher who was drafted by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2009 draft.  He is from Puerto Rico and was taken Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School.  Prior to the draft Vazquez ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash, which is great for a catcher.  Also, scouting reports suggest that he has a plus arm behind the plate, and also has some experience as a middle infielder.  According to Logan White, “This kid is a real athlete. He shifts, blocks, has perfect size for a catcher.  If we don’t need him behind the plate, he could play second base because he can really hit from both sides of the plate.”  After signing with the Dodgers, Vazquez was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League where he played just enough to get his feet wet.  He only appeared in 25 games as he split time with Michael Pericht and Pedro Tavarez, and while he struggled to the tune of a .216 average, he did show life at the end of the season and finished the year by hitting .333 in the month of August.  At just 18 years old, Vazquez is still learning the game and developing as a player.  Despite being just 5’10” and 165 pounds, his body shows potential to add muscle as he matures.  In 2010, I expect Vazquez to repeat the Arizona Rookie League, but this time I’m sure that he’ll get more at bats.  In fact he’ll probably be the primary catcher for the club to get him ready for a full season league in 2011.

 

 

60.  Beyker Fructuoso, RHP (28.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/9/07

6’3”, 195 lbs, 20 years old

1-5, 6.28 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 9.10 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 26

While I may have been a little off in my ranking of Fructuoso last season, I haven’t given up hope on this young Dominican player.  He’s got a ton of potential and simply hit a speed bump in his young career.  Signed as a 17 year old in the summer of 2007, Beyker spent his first professional season in the Gulf Coast League and went on to have a very successful debut.  As an 18 year old he posted a 2.37 ERA, allowed just a .229 batting average against, and struck out 37 batters in 38 innings.  In 2009, Fructuoso was placed in the Arizona Rookie League and played the entire season as a 19 year old, so he was still one of the youngest players league.  It’s no excuse for his 6.28 ERA, but I will give him a little bit of a break because he showed good control, struck out more than a batter per inning, and was victimized by the long ball (he gave up a team 8 HR’s despite pitching just over 28 innings).  Despite his sophomore slump, it’s easy to see why I am so excited about Beyker as a player.  He has already shown flashes of brilliance, and has a great pitcher’s frame at 6’3”.  I have no idea how hard he throws, but judging by his stats and his build my guess is that he’ll be able to one day sit in the low to mid 90’s (if he’s not there already).  With 66 professional innings under his belt, Fructuoso is ready to move up to at least the Pioneer League in 2010.  While he’s been under the radar so far, he’s definitely someone to keep your eye on.

59.  Jaime Pedroza, 2B (136 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 9th round

5’8”, 167 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.260 average, 15 HR’s, 78 RBI’s, 36 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 19

In 2007, Pedroza was drafted out of UC Riverside in the 9th round after leading the Highlanders to a NCAA tournament berth during his junior year.  In his professional debut, he dominated the Pioneer Rookie League with a .360 average, a .413 on base percentage, 8 HR’s, and 40 RBI’s.  That earned him a promotion to Hi-A at the end of the 2007 season, and he returned there in 2008 where he had a great season with the 66ers.  He hit .290, showed off his power with 9 HR’s, and also added a new element to his game as he stole 25 bases.  So most people would have assumed that Pedroza would have either stayed in HiA or been promoted to AA.  However, the Dodgers sent Jaime to LoA in 2009.  My guess as to why the Dodgers sent him to the Midwest League was because they promised the Loons that they would field a good team in 2009, and Pedroza was one piece of the puzzle.  The moved paid off for the Dodgers because Pedroza had an all around solid season and was one of the players that led the Loons to the playoffs for the first time in 2009.  While his average wasn’t great, he ranked second on the team with 15 HR’s and 36 SB’s, and also led all Dodger minor leaguers with 100 runs scored.  In addition, Pedroza was money in the Midwest League playoffs and hit two game changing home runs during the Loons playoff run.  In terms of his overall prospect status, Pedroza’s ranking has dropped since last year, but he is still a pretty good player.  Although he is just 5’8”, he is the perfect size for a middle infielder and has more offensive force than most players at that position.  The problem is that he isn’t very good defensively as he made 27 errors in 2009; second most in the Dodgers minor league system.  In addition, his strikeouts scare me as he struck out in 26.6% of his plate appearances in 2009.  According to someone who covered the Loons during the 2009 season, “this is an important off-season for Pedroza…the Dodgers have to decide whether to push him up to Double A or cut him.”  I can’t imagine that he’ll be cut due to his offensive performance, so my guess is that the Dodgers do in fact give him a chance in AA in 2010 to see how he responds.  In addition, he’ll be reunited with his brother Sergio who originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2005 was traded to Tampa Bay for Julio Lugo, and was re-signed by the Dodgers this past off-season.  Hopefully Jaime will have another good season in 2010 and prove that he is a legitimate Dodger prospect. 

58.  Francisco Felix, RHP (55.3 innings in AA, 21.3 innings in AAA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 2/19/03

5’11”, 191 lbs, 26.75 years old

4-2, 3.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.16 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 62

After spending seven minor league seasons with the Dodgers, Francisco Felix will finally get the opportunity to spend some time in the Dodgers big league camp.  You see Felix was re-signed by the Dodgers after the 2009 season and was surprisingly invited to the major league spring training as a non roster player.  While his odds of actually making the 25 man roster out of spring training are slim to none, I’m sure it will be a good experience for Francisco.  In addition, it will give him a chance to pitch in front of big league coaches and hopefully show them that he deserves to be an option in the major league bullpen if injuries should occur.  Management should actually already be familiar with Felix due to his success last season.  He recorded a 2.93 ERA in the first half of the season at AA, then upon his promotion to Albuquerque he continued his success with a FIP of 2.54 through 21 innings.  After the season, Felix returned home to Mexico to play in the Mexican Winter League and appeared in 33 games more games, accumulating a 2.40 ERA and a .228 batting average against.  Overall, Felix has put up some pretty good numbers over the past year.  Despite being just 5’11”, he obviously has good stuff and can definitely be a relief option for the Dodgers in the future if he continues to succeed. 

 

57.  Josh Wall, RHP (111.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

6’6”, 190 lbs, 23 years old

5-8, 5.98 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 6.22 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 49

Since being drafted in 2005, Josh Wall has not pitched like a 2nd round pick.  Though he signed for $500,000, Wall has a career ERA of 5.46, a career WHIP of 1.60, and a career K/9 of just 6.5 K/9 through 5 professional seasons.  Things are getting any better either, because he has spent the last two seasons in HiA and has actually performed worse than his career averages.  Part of his struggles can be blamed on the fact that the California League is never kind to pitchers, and part of it can be blamed on the fact that he is still adjusting to his 6’6” frame, but at the end of the day he still needs to do a better job of executing.  The thing is, he has the raw talent to be really good.  While his velocity has fluctuated over the years, Wall has hit 96 mph in the past and generally sits in the low 90’s.  He also has a pretty good curveball and a solid changeup.  He just needs to learn to put everything together while on the mound.  The good thing about Wall is that he just turned 23 years old, so he still has time to turn things around.  While some people might disagree, I really think that Wall should move up to AA in 2010 to put him in a new environment.  He obviously hasn’t had a good experience in the California League, so maybe a promotion to Chattanooga will change his luck.  Plus, as much as I hate to say it, it’s not like Charlie Hough has been able to do anything for him over the past two years.  Overall, I haven’t given up on Josh Wall just yet, and I still think he has it in him to put together a solid season in the near future. 

 

 

56.  Nick Akins, LF (32 games in Arizona League, 27 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 19th round

6’1”, 180 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats right handed

.300 average, 11 HR’s, 50 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Nick Akins is only 22 years old, yet has already had an interesting baseball career.  It started in high school when he transferred from Los Angeles High School to El Camino Real High during his junior season, which required him to take a two hour bus ride each way.  Because Los Angeles High School wasn’t in the best neighborhood, Nick’s dad thought that getting Nick to a better school would help him in life.  Well, to make a long story short there was an ugly fight involving Nick and his father during his junior year at El Camino Real which led to his expulsion from the team.  Even though the fight wasn’t started by Nick, the administrators didn’t care.  Nick transferred back to Los Angeles High School for his senior year, but wasn’t allowed to play baseball despite his best appeals.  He ended up playing in weekend adult league and the Dodgers actually drafted him in the 13th round of the 2006 draft.  Nick didn’t sign, however, and played ball at Riverside Community College for two seasons, winning the JUCO state championship in the process.  After the 2008 season Akins transferred to the local NAIA college Vanguard, and after hitting .314 with 13 home runs, 35 runs batted in and a .633 slugging average over 47 games he was again was drafted by the Dodgers, this time in the 19th round.  He ended up signing with the Dodgers and was placed in the Arizona Rookie League where he absolutely dominated.  In just 120 at bats, Akins hit 7 HR’s and had an outstanding 1.055 OPS.  He was rewarded for his efforts by being named a post season All Star for the League.  In the middle of August he was promoted to the Pioneer League and while his stats dropped off a little, he still continued to show good power potential.  Despite all these good qualities, Akins does have a few drawbacks to his game.  First, he is pretty much limited to left field, which hurts his value on the field.  Second, while Akins can mash fastballs, he has a lot of trouble with off-speed pitches, which is something that will most likely be exploited as he moves up in the minors.  Finally, so far in his minor league career Nick has posted a poor walk to strikeout ratio, demonstrating that he strikes out too much.  Nevertheless, I see Akins as a legitimate Dodger prospect who has a lot of potential.  While he’ll probably never become a big league regular, I can see Akins as a solid big league backup someday.  He’ll definitely spend 2010 in either LoA or HiA.

55.  Chris Jacobs, 1B (42 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 17th round

6’5”, 260 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats right handed

.277 average, 4 HR’s, 17 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 24

When you look at the 6’5” and 260 pound Chris Jacobs, you see an athlete.  Growing up, there was no doubt that he would play a professional sport, it was just a matter of him deciding which one he would play.  Football was an obvious option, but Chris made the decision early during his high school career to put all his time and energy into baseball.  Even though wasn’t drafted until the 17th round in 2007, he feels that he made the right decision by choosing baseball.  Jacobs spent his first two professional seasons in the Gulf Coast League and posted mediocre stats.  He moved up to the Pioneer League in 2009, and while his overall stats point to another average year, he actually showed improvement over his first two professional seasons.  His slugging percentage rose by 68 points, and his OPS increased to a respectable .810.  However, his 4 home runs are a disappointing total and show that he hasn’t come close to tapping into his power potential, which is what the Dodgers were looking for when they drafted him.  In addition, he struck out in 28.7% of his 2009 plate appearances, which is not a good sign because that percentage was substantially worse than his 2008 percentage of 20.4%.  Despite these disappointing figures and the fact that Jacobs has spent three seasons in rookie leagues without much success, I’m still optimistic about his future.   He is still just 21 years old and obviously has huge power potential.  He also has not yet been given the opportunity to play a full season, so in 2010 it will be interesting to see what he can do with 400 or 500 at bats.  I’m guessing he’ll play in LoA and while he’ll probably still have to split time with other young first basemen, I’m sure he’ll get plenty of time at DH.

                       

 

54.  Justin Miller, RHP (115 innings in LoA, 34.3 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 6th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 22.5 years old

5-14, 5.48 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 4.82 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 48

Even though Justin Miller was considered to be one of the best community college pitchers available in the 2007 draft, he fell to the 6th round where the Dodgers gladly scooped him up.  What probably scared most teams away was the fact that Miller actually spent more time in right field than on the mound during his final college season, as he developed a tender elbow.  Nevertheless, he was hitting 94 on the radar gun before his injury, and at 6’3”, the Dodgers felt like he had a very projectable frame.  After being drafted, Miller was assigned to the Gulf Coast League where he ended the season by pitching 7 innings of scoreless relief in the GCL playoffs.  That success allowed Miller to start the 2008 season in LoA where he played all year end posted a 3.99 ERA despite a 4-11 record.  In 2009, Miller returned to LoA and even though he didn’t quite find the same success as in 2008, he was promoted to HiA in August.  Unfortunately, Miller wasn’t up to the challenge as he posted an 8.13 ERA in the California League and somehow managed to be the losing pitcher in each of his 7 starts.  He also posted a career low by striking out just 4.8 batters per 9 innings.  Luckily, Miller doesn’t need to strikeout a whole lot of batters because he is a sinkerball pitcher, but I would still like to see a rate higher than what he had in 2009.  According to Baseball America, Miller currently hits 92 mph and has a good slider, but they see him more as a bullpen arm than a starting pitcher.  I’m not sure I agree with that assessment because sinkerball pitchers are generally more useful in the rotation, especially if they don’t strike a lot of guys out.  However, Miller is going to have to step up his game when he returns to HiA next season if he wants any kind of shot with the Dodgers because there are plenty of young arms in the Dodgers system that are ahead of him at this point.

 

53.  Steven Ames, RHP (30 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 17th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 22 years old

1-1, 2.10 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 14.10 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Steven Ames had an unbelievable debut season, especially when you consider that he was a 17th round pick.  Even though he only pitched 30 innings in 2009, his numbers were off the charts.  His 14.10 K/9 was ridiculous, and he only walked 6 batters all season.  In addition, batters only hit .192 against him, and his FIP was an incredible 1.53.  The best part about Ames, however, is that he did all this as a 21 year old.  This type of performance would be expected from a college player who was 22 or 23 years old, but as a 21 year old I am every impressed.  Going back to his college days, Ames played for three years at Gonzaga and posted an ERA under 2.00 in his first two seasons.  In 2009 with the Bulldogs he struggled a little bit and posted a 3.91 ERA through 96 innings, but the Dodgers realized his potential and drafted him in the 17th round of the 2009 draft.  Luckily he signed with the Dodgers, and as mentioned above, he thrived in the Pioneer League.  While he was mostly a starting pitcher in college, the Dodgers used Ames exclusively as a reliever and I’m guessing that’s where he’ll stay as he continues his professional career.  While I’m not very familiar with Ames pitching arsenal, according to Baseball America he has been able to hit 94 mph on the radar gun.  In addition, I’ve read that he has three good pitches and has a good feel for pitching.  Based on his 2009 performance, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers promoted Ames to Hi-A in 2010.  He is certainly ready for the challenge of the California League, and has the stuff to succeed there.  The long term projection for Ames is a middle reliever in a big league bullpen, although he’ll have to continue to dominate to reach big leagues as a 17th round pick. 

52.  Russell Mitchell, 1B (131 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 15th round

6’1”, 182 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed

.241 average, 13 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 32

By now, most people know that Russell Mitchell is a grinder who is a player in the mold of Kevin Millar.  He can play all over the field and in 2009 he spent significant amounts of time at 3B, 2B, 1B, and in the outfield.  Over the past seven years, he has steadily progressed through the Dodgers minor league system and even though his career batting average and on base percentage aren’t great, he does have 85 career HR’s and 412 RBI’s.  After a mediocre season in Chattanooga, the Dodgers sent Mitchell to the AFL where he really blossomed.  He hit .319 and had 5 HR’s and 25 RBI’s in less than 100 at bats.  He was also named to the AFL All-Prospect team and even won the league’s Sportsmanship Award.  After winning the award, Mitchell said “This is a big honor. Words cannot express how much it means to me.  It’s nice to know the coaches think so highly of you, and that they feel you represent someone who was a great man.”  Based on his AFL performance, the Dodgers re-signed Mitchell to a minor league contract this off-season (he was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season), and he recently participated in the Dodgers January minor league mini camp.  In addition, he was given a surprise invitation to the Dodgers major league spring training.  While he has no chance to make the big league club out of spring training, it will be a good opportunity for Mitchell to play in front of the big league coaches and with superior talent.  He’ll most likely spend 2010 as a utility player in AAA and at 25 years old, he will have to do something really special to ever make it to the show. 

 

51.  Matthew Sartor, RHP (71.7 innings in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/24/07

6’6”, 250 lbs, 25.5 years old

4-6, 4.27 ERA, 1.30 WHP, 9.54 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 33

Matthew Sartor started his college career at North Central College, but ended up transferring to the University of Texas at Arlington.  During his two seasons with the University of Texas at Arlington, Sartor was used sparingly and he went undrafted after posting a combined 7.91 ERA in just 31 innings.  After the 2007 college season, however, Sartor was not ready to give up baseball so he joined an independent league.  The move paid off as the Dodgers signed Sartor shortly thereafter and was placed in the Pioneer League.  I’m not sure if Sartor showed better stuff in the independent league or if the Dodgers signed him purely due to his size and projection, but either way the signing has looked great based on his professional success.  Since he was already 23 at the time of his signing, he made his professional debut in the Pioneer League posted great numbers.  He struck out 25 batters in just 18 innings, picked up 2 saves, and only allowed a .161 batting average.  2008 was split between LoA and HiA, and Sartor again thrived with a combined 3.12 ERA and a strikeout rate of 10.7.  As predicted, Matt played in AA in 2009 he got off to a very hot start.  Through the month of June, Sartor lead all Dodger minor leaguers with a 0.94 WHIP (minimum 30 innings) and had a FIP of 2.53.  He was also selected to the Southern League midseason All Star team.  Unfortunately the 2nd half of the season was not kind to Sartor has he had an ERA of 6.29 after the All Star game, but even still Matthew had an overall successful season.  He ended the year with a respectable 3.57 FIP and batters only hit .236 against him.  He also had great strikeout numbers and fanned over a batter per inning.  He’s a massive player, and while I’m not exactly sure about how hard he throws, I’m assuming that it’s at least in the low 90’s.  Because of his age, 2010 is an important year for Sartor to demonstrate that the second half of 2009 was a fluke.  At 25 and a half years old he is definitely old enough to handle AAA, and as I mentioned last year he is a wildcard to one day make the Dodgers major league roster.     

50.  Tae-Hyeok Nam, 1B/3B (2 games in Pioneer League, 1 game in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 6/16/09

6’0”, 209 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.250 average, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When the Dodgers signed Nam in June of 2009, he became the first Korean high school player they had ever signed.  He was scouted throughout his high school career by Byung-Hwan An, the Dodgers’ scouting supervisor in Korea, where he hit 22 home runs and had 43 RBIs in 65 games to go along with a .314 average.  After the signing, Logan White said that Nam had “good power and well above average speed.”  White also stated that “Nam is strong physically.  With the help of our player development staff, I’m confident that he will become a fine player.”  The signing seemed to be very exciting for Nam as well as he said “I grew up watching Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers are my favorite team.  I am very excited to be a Dodger and I can’t wait to play in a Dodger uniform.”  After his signing in June, I kept waiting to see Nam’s name appear in a minor league game.  By the time mid August came, I gave up hope for 2009 and just figured that Tae-Hyeok would start his professional career in 2010.  Then, in the very last game of the season for the Arizona Dodgers, Nam made his professional debut and went 0 for 3.  Because the Pioneer League season lasts longer than the Arizona League, Nam then moved up to the Ogden Raptors and played in two more games, picking up a couple of hits in the process.  Nam won’t even be 19 years old until the 2010 season starts, so the Dodgers will continue to take it easy with him.  He’ll probably return to the Pioneer League, and the most interesting question I have is whether Nam will play 1st base or 3rd base in the future.  He is listed as a first baseman on the minor league baseball website, but in his only on field appearance in 2009 he played 3rd base.  He’s obviously more valuable as a 3rd baseman, so hopefully his glove is good enough to play there.  We will find out more next season when we get a longer look at him. 

 

 

49.  Daigoro Rondon, RHP (20.3 innings in Pioneer League, 13 innings in HiA, 4 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/9/04

6’2”, 163 lbs, 23.25 years old

4-6, 4.82 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 9.40 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 106

Daigoro Rondon was signed by the Dodgers as a 17 year old out of the Dominican Republic.  After a shaky debut in 2004, Rondon had great seasons in the DSL in 2005 and 2006.  He was promoted to the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and continued to shine with a 2.77 ERA.  In 2008, however, Rondon finally found out what it was like to face tougher competition.  He played most of the year in LoA and ended the season with a 6.42 ERA.  Despite his 2008 struggles, the Dodgers pushed Rondon to HiA at the start of the 2009 season, but the results were disastrous.  Through 13 innings, Daigoro had a 7.62 ERA and a WHIP of almost 2.00.  So the Dodgers sent Rondon back to extended spring training in May and he worked there until the Pioneer League started at the end of June.  Rondon played well with the Ogden Raptors (2.50 FIP) and earned a promotion to LoA for the final week of the season, where he pitched 4 scoreless innings and made the Loons playoff roster.  In terms of Rondon’s stuff, the one thing that nobody will ever question is Rondon’s fastball.  In the 2010 edition of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, they say that he tops out at 95 and sits around 92-93.  BA also says that his secondary pitches are a work in progress, which is why he is strictly a reliever.  Another important thing to point out is that Daigoro has been said to have a poor attitude and a less than ideal work ethic.  So obviously that’s a little disappointing to hear.  Overall, while I’m not as high on him as Baseball America is (they have him ranked as the Dodgers #27 prospect), I do think Rondon has the potential to be a serviceable big league middle reliever one day.  He’ll probably return to HiA in 2010 with a chance to make it up to AA if he has early success with the 66ers.

48.  Jeremy Wise, C (39 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 5th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.338 average, 8 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When Wise was drafted, it seemed like there were two schools of thought.  Some loved the pick, especially after watching him tear up the Pioneer League.  Others thought it was a waste of a pick because Wise was already 23 years old when he was drafted and doesn’t have much upside.  I’m definitely part of the latter group and am not a big fan of Wise.  While I’m not disputing that he was a great college player and had an outstanding professional debut, you have to put everything into context.  He was the oldest position player on the Ogden Raptors and had four years of college experience at a major program.  Therefore, I would expect him to do well in his first professional season and that is why I’m not ranking him somewhere in my top 30.  Even with all those negatives, however, I do still think that Wise is a top 50 player in the Dodgers minor league system.  The fact that he is a catcher does increase his value, as do his college awards (2009 Big 12 player of the year, 2009 Finalist for Johnny Bench Award, and 2009 semifinalist for Golden Spikes Award).  He is also a fine defensive player and has a good arm.  According to Logan White, “he reminds you of AJ Ellis as a defender and the kid is really a good hitter.  He stays inside the baseball, he hits to all fields and he’s got good power.  I think he will develop into a power hitting catcher at the major league level.  He plays hard and he is a gamer.”  In addition, Wise did give the Dodgers some depth at the catching position, which is something they lacked after the trade of Carlos Santana and the move of Kenley Jansen to pitcher.  Given his age, I can see Wise playing in HiA in 2010 with the potential to move up to AA if need be.  While I don’t think he’ll continue his offensive pace, he should be able to hold his own against more advanced pitching.  My guess is that he’ll be a major league backup catcher at best, but only time will truly tell his story.

47.  Yimi Garcia, RHP (54 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 175 lbs, 19.5 years old

3-2, 1.67 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 8.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I really don’t know much about Yimi Garcia, so I’m basing his relatively good ranking on his stats and a gut feeling.  Signed by the Dodgers before the 2009 season, Garcia put together the most impressive pitching season of all Dodger minor leaguers.  He led Dodger pitchers (with a minimum of 45 innings pitched) in WHIP, ranked 2nd in ERA and batting average against (.202), and had the 5th best strikeout to walk ratio (3.40).  He was also named as the Dodgers Pride Award winner for the DSL for the months of June and July.  Of course he did all this while playing in the Dominican Summer League, which is the lowest level of professional baseball, but even still he played almost the entire season as an 18 year old and had no previous experience.  In addition, while he’s only 6’1”, he does have a solid pitching frame and definitely has room for growth.  I know nothing about his velocity or his pitching repertoire, but I’m sure that we’ll begin to get some scouting reports on him soon if he has another stellar season.  The Dodgers have an interesting decision to make with Garcia in 2010.  While he did falter a little bit during the final month of the DSL season (he had a mere pedestrian 4.50 ERA in his final 8 innings of the season) and is still just 19 years old, he did get quite a few innings under his belt and should be ready for the slightly more challenging Arizona Rookie League.  He has nothing left to prove in the DSL so I think the right decision would be to bring him over to the U.S. 

46.  Jon Michael Redding, RHP (133 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 22.25 years old

16-3, 4.60 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 6.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 37

The Dodgers made Jon Michael Redding a surprise 5th round in the 2008 draft.  He played college ball Florida Community College, and during his college 2008 season Redding went 8-5 with a 2.02 ERA and a .222 batting average against.  He was also a workhorse as he pitched 5 complete games, and struck out almost a batter per innings.  He began his professional career in the Pioneer Rookie League, but was limited to just 31 innings in his professional debut due to his heavy college workload.  That brings us to 2009, which was an interesting year for Redding because it was filled with mixed results.  The good news is that Redding led the Midwest League in wins with 16, proved to be very durable by logging 133 innings, was a midseason All Star for the Loons, and had a respectable FIP of 3.70.  The bad news, however, is that Redding was awful when pitching on the road (6.34 ERA in 71 innings), allowed an overall .281 batting average against, and saw his strikeout rate drop from 10.3 K’s per 9 in 2008 to just 6.5 in 2009.  So what do we make of Redding after his inconsistent season?  Well I personally still like his long term potential, but I’m not as high on him as I once was.  He still possesses a low 90’s fastball, which is complimented by a good slider and a hard curveball, but the fact that he seems to be so hittable concerns me.  Also, his 16 wins mean nothing to me since they are mostly a function of luck (he went 7-2 on the road this season despite the 6.34 road ERA I mentioned earlier).  Before the 2009 season, Baseball America said that Redding has the ceiling of a #3 starter in a big league rotation, but at this point my guess is that he’ll be a #4 or #5 starter at best.  Redding is still just 22 years old, so he’s got time to improve his game, although having a better year in 2010 is going to be difficult since he’ll probably be playing in the hitter friendly California League.

45.  Gorman Erickson, C (55 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 15th round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 22 years old, switch hitter

.305 average, 5 HR’s, 36 RBI’s

Prior Year Ranking: 103

Gorman Erickson is a switch hitting catcher who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2006 draft and finally signed with the Dodgers in May of 2007 as a draft and follow player.  Better known as Griff, he didn’t do much of anything in his first two professional seasons, nor did he get much playing time.  In 2009, however, Erickson made huge strides offensively and hit very well from both sides of the plate.  He finished the season with a .378 on base percentage, a .860 OPS, and a .305 batting average (which ranked 10th among Dodger minor leagues with a minimum of 175 at bats).  In addition, Erickson only struck out in 16% of his plate appearances, and was named to the Pioneer League post season all star team.  According to Baseball America, Griff is also a solid defensive catcher who has a “fair amount of power.”  Since Carlos Santana has been traded and Kenley Jansen is now a pitcher, there are not many catching prospects ahead of Erickson on the prospect depth chart.  2010 will bring a significant challenge to Erickson since he will most likely play in LoA, yet has never played more than 55 games in a season.  He’ll have to adjust to catching a full season, and hopefully he’ll be able to do so without losing much offensive ability. 

44.  Matthew Magill, RHP (72 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round

6’3”, 175 lbs, 20.25 years old

6-3, 4.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 6.88 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 78

Matt Magill was picked late in the 2008 draft due to his strong college commitment to Cal Poly.  The Dodgers were able to sign him by early July, however, and he paid immediate dividends by having a good debut in the Gulf Coast League.  In 2009 Magill moved up to the Pioneer League and had another successful season.  He proved to be very durable and ranked among the Pioneer League Leaders in several categories including wins, WHIP, ERA, and innings pitched.  His most impressive stat, however, was that he allowed just a .224 batting average against.  After the season, Magill was invited back the Arizona to take part in instructional ball.  He also did an interview a Venture County local paper where he talked about how he enjoyed being a starting pitcher “because you know when you are pitching instead of sitting in the bullpen waiting until they call on you.  Sometimes relievers don’t pitch for seven or eight days, but starting you know you are going to pitch every fifth day.”  He also said that “I used to be really jerky and all over the place with my mechanics, but pitching coach Chuck has helped make it smoother this year. It looks better and feels better and I am able to throw more strikes and keep my walks down.”  At 6’3”, Magill has a very projectable frame that is ideal for a pitcher.  In high school he only hit around 90 mph, but scouts projected that he’d throw a little harder when he fills out.  He also has a great slider, which is currently his best pitch.  2010 will most likely bring an assignment to LoA where he’ll probably be one of the 5 starting pitchers for the Loons.  Even though he is just 20 years old, Magill is moving quickly through the system and hopefully he’ll continue to put up good numbers as he faces tougher competition.

 

 

43.  Steven Caseres, 1B (113 games in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 9th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed

.260 average, 15 HR’s, 55 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 61

Steven Caseres was selected by the Dodgers in the 9th round of the 2008 drafted, and so far he has proven to be a very solid pick.  Even though he hasn’t posted any eye popping numbers since turning pro, he has shown that he does have a lot of power, which is something the Dodgers seem to lack in their minor league system.  Back in college at James Madison University, he had a great 2008 season where he hit .342 with 21 HR’s and 70 RBI’s.  He also finished his college career in the top 10 of James Madison’s career home run list with 32 long balls, despite playing just two seasons.  Steven made his professional debut in the Pioneer League and hit relatively well.  Because of his previous success and the fact that he was already 22 years old, the Dodgers skipped Caseres up to HiA in 2009.  After a mediocre April and an average May, Caseres really broke out during the month of June.  He batted .418 with six homers and 15 RBI in 21 June games, and was named as the Dodgers HiA Pride award winner.  Unfortunately, things went downhill after June and Caseres hit just .232 after the all star break with just 4 HR’s over his final 181 at bats.  In addition, Caseres failed to hit left handed pitchers throughout the entire season, batting just .155 against them in 103 at bats.  When it was all said and done, Caseres ended the 2009 season with a .260 average, but he also had 15 HR’s in just 113 games, so the power is obviously there.  However, at 6’4”, another thing Steven has to worry about is his strikeout numbers as he struck out in 25.2% of his plate appearance in 2009.  Ideally, Caseres would return to HiA in 2010 to work on his weaknesses in a more hitter friendly environment, but the Dodgers seem to have a log jam of young first basemen in the lower minors.  Therefore, he’ll probably spend 2010 in AA, so hopefully he is up to the challenge. 

42.  Roberto Feliciano, LHP (24 innings in Arizona League, 6.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 24th round

6’0”, 214 lbs, 19.5 years old

1-2, 1.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 9.39 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 50

Even after Roberto Feliciano posted solid numbers in 2008, most people didn’t pay much attention to him due to his size and the fact he was drafted in the 24th round.  However, this teenager out of Puerto Rico continued to shine in the Arizona and Midwest leagues and showed that 2008 was not a fluke by putting up even better numbers in 2009.  He was absolutely lights out in the Arizona League as demonstrated by his 1.50 ERA, 1.83 FIP, and .195 batting average against.  He was named as a post season Arizona League All Star and earned a promotion to LoA in mid August.  He went on to post an ERA of 2.70 during his time with the Loons, although his FIP during that time was 4.01, so he was actually hit pretty hard.  That isn’t something to be concerned with, however, because he was limited to less than 7 innings in LoA, so the sample size is too small.  A stocky lefty, Feliciano is best suited for the bullpen and will ascend through the Dodgers system quickly as long as he continues to put up good numbers.  He strikes guys out, has good control, and is still very young.  He should return to LoA in 2010 as a 19 year old, and will hopefully be up to the challenge of taking on a bigger workload.  As I mentioned last year, I expect that he will continue to grow into a legitimate prospect.

41.  James Adkins, LHP (138.7 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’6”, 230 lbs, 24.25 years old

6-10, 4.48 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 5.26 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 18

For a supplemental first round pick, James Adkins has definitely struggled.  However, he put together a fairly decent season in 2009 while playing in AA, and even though his stats were not overpowering by any means, I still think he has potential.  He’s a big kid and comes from an athletic family, so Logan White must have seen something in Adkins that caused him to draft James 39th overall in the 2007 draft.  In college at Tennessee, Adkins left the school as their all time strikeout leader with 380 K’s, and as a junior in 2007, he went 7-7 with a 2.80 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 122 innings.  So while his strikeout rates as a professional have been pretty bad so far, the ability is there.  Going back to his 2009 season with the Lookouts, Adkins continued to struggle with his control as he walked almost as many batters as he struck out.  That caused him to have an inflated ERA and WHIP.  Adkins was also surprisingly ineffective against left handed hitters as five of the eight HR’s he allowed during 2009 were to lefties.  In terms of his stuff, James has a good slider, but his fastball generally only sits at around 89 to 90 mph.  The one good thing about Adkins is that he has proven to be durable by pitching a lot of innings each year, but I don’t think that will help him at the next level as it is unlikely he’ll ever make it as a starter in the big leagues.  He’ll be 24 next year, and while I still think that Adkins has a chance to make the big leagues, he’s going to have to improve dramatically and reinvent his game, most likely as a bullpen arm.

40.  Timothy Sexton, RHP (157 innings in HiA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 25th round

6’6”, 185 lbs, 22.75 years old

8-14, 3.96 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 5.73 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 57

Coming out of Miami Dade Community College, Timothy Sexton was projected as a third to fifth round pick in the 2007 draft, but many teams stayed away from him when he reportedly asked for a $500,000 signing bonus.  The Dodgers took a chance on him in the 25th round, however, and were able to sign him for $123K.  Because of his college experience, the Dodgers sent him directly to Lo-A where he had a very successful debut.  In 2008, the Dodgers moved him up to Hi-A, but the results were not quite as good.  He struggled through 26 starts, posting an ERA of over 6 and allowing a .317 batting average against.  That brings us to 2009, where Sexton returned to the California League and had a horrendous win/loss record (due to the fact that he was charged with a team high 23 unearned runs), but actually had an overall solid season.  The 6’6″ 22 year old had a sub 4 ERA (FIP of 4.04), was named as a California League mid season All Star, and proved to be very durable as he led all Dodger minor leaguers with 157 innings pitched.  He paid a price for pitching so many innings, however, because Sexton tired down the stretch.  Through the month of July, Sexton had thrown 120 innings and had a superb ERA of 3.15.  In the months of August and September, however, Sexton’s ERA was 6.57.  In terms of his pitching repertoire, Sexton reportedly sits around 91 mph with his fastball and throws four different pitches, but he mainly relies on his sinker and good control.  Speaking of his control, Sexton only walked 34 batters over the entire season, which calculated out to him walking just 5% of the batters he faced.  Unfortunately, he also strikes out very few batters as demonstrated by his low K/9.  In addition, allows too many home runs for my liking, although part of that could be a function of pitching in the California League.  After spending two seasons in HiA, I’m sure the Dodgers will push Sexton to AA in 2010.  I think that he is ready for the challenge of tougher competition, although I’m still undecided about his long term future.  Hopefully he’ll put together another solid season and prove that he deserves consideration as a legitimate Dodger prospect. 

39.  Mario Songco, LF (36 games in Pioneer League, 33 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 4th round

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

.235 average, 10 HR’s, 45 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When I look at Mario Songco, I don’t see a power hitter.  In fact, I don’t even see a baseball player.  But man can this guy hit.  He played his college ball locally at Loyola Marymount and in 2009 he led the Lions with a .360 average, 15 home runs, and 63 RBI’s in just 59 games. He also posted a stunning OPS of 1.159.  According to scouting reports “he uses a distinctive stance, starting deep in the box, standing tall with his bat held high.  He lifts his front right leg straight up and then drops it straight down before lashing at the ball with a quick bat.  Scouts are not that excited about his new leg kick but agree he has power to all fields.”  Selected by the Dodgers in the 4th round, Songco signed quickly for $225,000 and continued his torrid hitting in the Pioneer League, whacking 7 home runs in his first 19 games.  That earned him a promotion to LoA, but Mario was finally overmatched as he hit just .150 in 120 at bats.  He was demoted back to Ogden at the end of August and finished the season there on a cold streak, ending the season with a combined .235 average.  In addition, Songco struggled throughout the season with strikeouts, and had a poor walk to strikeout ratio.  In terms of his defense, Songco has a weak arm and very little range, so he is limited to left field.  He also has no speed to speak up.  Nevertheless, at just 21 years old, Songco will hopefully use his experience from 2009 and apply that when he takes a second crack at the Midwest League in 2010.  Overall, he seems to have power to make it to the big leagues as a reserve/pinch hitter type.

38.  Alfredo Silverio, LF (132 games in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/03

6’1”, 185 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.284 average, 13 HR’s, 61 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 28

Alfredo Silverio has been with the Dodgers for a long time already.  Signed as a 17 year old out of Dominican Republic in 2003, Silverio has already spent 6 seasons in the Dodgers organization.  After spending his first three professional seasons in the DSL, Silverio was sent to the Gulf Coast League in 2007 and put his name on Dodger prospect radar by hitting .373 in 51 games with 6 HR’s and 46 RBI’s.  That stellar season earned him a promotion to Lo-A in 2008, and while his numbers dropped a little, he still had a very solid season in the Midwest League.  Silverio repeated LoA in 2009 and improved in virtually all aspects of his game.  While his overall numbers weren’t amazing, his .284 average and 13 home runs are pretty good for a 22 year old in the pitcher friendly Midwest league.  In addition, Silverio is a very athletic player and has the look of a ball player.  He has decent arm strength from the outfield, and while he is best suited for left field, he does have the ability to play all three outfield positions.  As I mentioned last year, his biggest downfall is his lack of plate discipline.  In 2008, he walked only 7 times in 376 at bats.  He improved somewhat in 2009 but he still only walked in 5% of his plate appearances, which was a team low for the Loons.  In 2010, I can see Silverio potentially having a big season if he plays in HiA.  Or because he has already spent two seasons in class A, the Dodgers may challenge him with an assignment to AA.  Either way, things seem to be looking up for Silverio as he tries to make his way to the major leagues.

37.  Jeff Hunt, 3B (18 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 15th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 19 years old, bats right handed

.172 average, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I’m a big fan of Jeff Hunt, and was very excited when I found out the Dodgers were able to sign him.  He turned down a scholarship to Ohio University when the Dodgers offered Hunt $125,000 and up to $114,000 in education money if he enrolls in school within two years of retiring from professional baseball.  After signing, Hunt said “It was a tough decision.  I think I made the right decision.  I made the decision that I want and I’m happy.”  Hunt also explained his decision by saying “In college, you don’t get to play every day.  You’re limited on how much you can practice and work with a coach.  In pro, you play and practice every day.  Everything is just baseball.  I don’t have anything else to worry about like homework, papers or exams.”  What makes Hunt the most valuable in my option is that he is a legitimate power hitter and plays 3rd base.  As the Dodgers minor league system is fairly weak in regards to the hot corner, Hunt is a great addition to the organization.  According to scouting reports, Hunt plays solid defense and “uses his long arms to his advantage from the left side, displaying legitimate power potential.”  He is also a former hockey player, and got a lot of good experience by playing with the Canadian Junior National Baseball Team for a few years before being drafted.  While his professional debut was pretty ugly, he was playing as an 18 year old and is adjusting to professional ball.  In addition, he wasn’t given much of a chance in the Arizona League as he signed late and was limited to just 64 at bats.  He’s a wildcard right now, especially in terms of power, but could surprise a lot of people in the future.  The Dodgers will probably take their time with him, so he’ll probably play in the Pioneer League next season.

 

36.  Bladimir Franco, 3B (60 games in Dominican Summer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/6/07

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

.282 average, 9 HR’s, 32 RBI’s, 7 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 30

I had Franco ranked #30 last year after he hit .169, so there is no way I could drop him too far in my ranking after he had a such a solid year as a 18 year.  His 9 HR’s ranked 4th in the Dominican Summer League, and he posted an OBP of .401.  He also led the Dominican Dodgers by walking in 15.1% of his plate appearances, and even stole 7 bases.  Despite all this success, however, Bladimir does still have a long way to go in terms of his baseball development.  His defense has proven to be his biggest liability as he made 24 errors in 55 games during the 2009 season at third base.  The Dodgers are going to give him every opportunity to stay at third base, however, since that boosts his value as a prospect.  Other potential positions include 1st base and left field.   In addition, Franco has trouble making contact at times as demonstrated by the fact that he struck out in 29.1% of his plate appearances.  I’m pretty sure that this is due to his youth, inexperience, and his pursuit of home runs.  At 6’1” and about 175 lbs, his size and position remind me of fellow Dominican Pedro Baez, who was signed just one year before Franco.  When the 2010 season starts, Bladimir will be just 19 years old I’m sure that he will be moved to a US based Rookie league.  I’m guessing that he will make big strides in 2010 and will finally earn the recognition he deserves since he’ll be playing against tougher opposition. 

 

 

35.  Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (16.3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’1”, 170 lbs, 21 years old

0-1, 6.06 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 12.12 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 51

Rubby De La Rosa was signed out of the Dominican Republic on the first day of international signing period in 2007, and only pitched 6 innings during the 2007 season.  In 2008, De La Rosa pitched a full season in the Dominican Summer League, and put up some amazing numbers.  In his 12 starts, he had a 1.71 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and allowed only a .197 batting average against.  In addition, he did not allow any home runs, and struck out 51 batters in 47 innings.  His stellar season prompted the Dodgers to bring De La Rosa to Camelback Ranch for spring training in 2009, and while there he continued to earn rave reviews.  Keith Law stopped by the Dodgers camp last March and claimed that Rubby had great stuff, staying that “De la Rosa sat at 91-95 mph with a solid changeup from 84-86 that he turns over hard.  His breaking ball was a slow curve in the mid-70s, although the harder he threw it the sharper the break became. He clearly has the arm speed to throw a good breaking ball and the laxity in his wrist to throw a curve, so it might just be a matter of development with better coaches as he moves up.”  When the 2009 season started, De La Rosa found himself in the Arizona League, but after just five appearances he was sent home to the Dominican Republic for “some undisclosed disciplinary issue”.  I haven’t heard any detail behind what happened, but let’s hope that these issues are behind him and don’t resurface in 2010.  While it’s hard to get much insight from a season that lasted just 16 innings, I will say that he was reportedly hitting 98 mph before he got sent home, and actually had a very good FIP of 2.89.  Combine that with his strikeout rate of 12.1 K’s per 9 innings and you’ve got yourself a legitimate prospect.  Like most players, he does need to work on is his control, but I’m sure that will come with more experience.  De La Rosa just turned 21, and hopefully the Dodgers feel that he’s ready for LoA in 2010 to get the full season experience he needs after a shortened 2009.

 

34.  Brian Cavazos-Galvez, LF (71 games in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 12th round

6’0”, 215 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.322 average, 18 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Brian Cavazos-Galvez truly had an amazing offensive year in 2009.  Despite playing a short season league, Galvez ranked among the Dodger minor league leaders in home runs, doubles, batting average, slugging percentage, and even stolen bases.  He also straight up killed the Pioneer League, earning league MVP honors and leading the league in runs, hits, doubles, HR’s, and total bases (while ranking second in RBI’s and slugging percentage).  Now that I got that out of the way, there are a few things that need to be said about his 2009 performance.  First, Galvez was playing in the Pioneer League, which is one of the most hitter friendly leagues in all of the minors.  Second, at 22 years old, Brian was one of the older players in the league and had more experience than most of his colleagues since he played four years of college baseball.  However, even if these factors diminish his performance a bit, those are some pretty impressive numbers.  It is at this point in the write-up that I should probably mention that Galvez was born to be a Dodger.  His father, who he now doesn’t speak to, played briefly for the Dodgers in 1986 and actually conceived Brian while he was playing AAA ball in Albuquerque for the Dodger affiliate then called the Dukes.  While there is a lot more to the story, I’ll let you read up on the subject at Baseball America if you feel so inclined.  Anyways, Brian ended up staying in New Mexico and even played his college ball there before being drafted by the Dodgers this past June.  Going back to Galvez’s baseball abilities, he played all three outfield positions for the Raptors, although most scouts feel that he’ll end up in left field as he gets promoted though the system.  Another interesting stat about Galvez is that while he doesn’t strike out much (he K’d in just 13.3% of plate appearances), he doesn’t walk a whole lot either.  Brian managed just 10 walks in 323 plate appearances, which calculates out to one of the lowest walk rates I’ve ever seen for a full time player.  Overall, Galvez obviously has a lot of potential, but I’m not quite ranking him in my top 30 yet because I still have some questions about his raw ability, his defense, and his ability to adapt to tougher competition.  There is no way that he’ll be able to keep up the same offensive pace in 2010 against more advanced pitching, so it will be interesting to see how things turn out for him next year.  He’ll definitely play in a full season league, but I’m just not sure if it will be in LoA or HiA.

33.  Geison Aguasviva, LHP (62.7 innings in LoA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05

6’2”, 166 lbs, 22.5 years old

4-2, 1.58 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 6.61 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 40

2009 was a great year for Geison Aguasviva.  His 1.58 ERA led all Dodger minor leaguers with a minimum of 50 IP, and his pitching played a big role in the Great Lakes Loons success.  He was also absolutely dominate against left handed hitters, and filled in as both a starter and reliever throughout the season.  In addition, opposing batters hit just .236 against him, and through almost 63 innings he allowed just one home run.  The best part about Aguasviva, however, is that this isn’t the first season in which he has had a great deal of success.  Back in the DSL in 2007, through 66 innings Geison posted an ERA of 1.50 and a WHIP of just 0.84.  So really at this point we can consider him a legitimate prospect.  As a tall, skinny player, Aguasviva still has plenty of projection left in his frame.  He currently pitches in the low 90’s, but the Dodgers expect that to jump even higher once he adds muscle.  His best pitch, however, is his changeup which projects as a plus pitch.  While Aguasviva’s strikeout rate was just 6.6 K’s per 9 innings in 2009, he has a career K/9 rate of 8.0, so I’m not too concerned about his lack of strikeouts in 2009.  While there is some debate whether he’ll end up as a starter or reliever, my guess is that he’ll probably stay in the bullpen for this whole career.  In 2010, Aguasviva will be 22 years old and I’m thinking he’ll play in HiA.  If he can continue to succeed, I think he’ll make the loss of Victor Garate a lot whole easier for Dodger fans as he has the potential to someday be a lefty reliever at the big league level.

32.  Carlos Frias, RHP (61 innings in Arizona League, 7.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/3/07

6’4”, 170 lbs, 20.25 years old

5-6, 4.19 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 9.57 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 71

Last year I wrote that “I had high hopes for Frias, and I can see him one day being a legitimate Dodger prospect.”  That day came quicker than I imagined.  Carlos Frias was signed out the Dominican Republic as a 17 year old before the 2007 season.  After a posting a 1.81 ERA in his professional debut in the DSL, he was promoted to the Gulf Coast League for the 2008 season.  Even though he was one of the youngest players in the GCL and was playing in the USA for the first time, Frias held his own in a limited role and posted a 3.82 ERA.  In 2009 the Dodgers decided to keep Carlos in Rookie ball, but wanted to get him more innings.  So they basically made him a full time starter, and even though his ERA increase to 4.19, his overall numbers improved (as did his prospect status).  In the Arizona League, Frias finished 5th in strikeouts with 67 strikeouts, with calculated out to almost 10 strikeouts per 9 innings.  In addition, his FIP was a sparkling 2.59.  His success earned him a late season promotion to the Pioneer League where he made two appearances and continued to thrive.  In regards to his stuff, I relied on Baseball America and found that he “has a live fastball that he can get up to 96 mph but usually works in the 92-93 range.  His changeup is a plus pitch that batters miss a lot, although he sometimes throws it too hard.  The key for Frias will be developing better command of his breaking ball.”  In addition, Dodger pitching instructor George Culver said that Frias is “a young kid with a very good arm who still doesn’t have the nuances of the game.”  Overall, Carlos sounds like very promising player.  From what I can tell, the main statistical flaw for Frias is his walk rate as he issues far too many free passes, but that is something that I’m sure will improve as he gets older gets more accustomed to his 6’4” frame.  The Dodgers will have to make a decision with Frias at the start of the 2010 season.  I can see him either staying in extended spring training and joining Ogden in June, or being placed in LoA to start the season.  Either way, Carlos is definitely someone to keep an eye on because he has a great pitchers’ body, and is just now tapping into his potential.

31.  Brent Leach, LHP (18.7 innings in AAA, 13 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 6th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 27.25 years old

2-1, 4.26 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 10.52 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 17

Brent Leach seems to be the forgotten man in terms of all the Dodger prospect talk – and rightly so because he used up all of his rookie eligibility last year.  Even the 2010 Baseball America handbook claimed that Leach had “graduated to the majors”, even though BA usually ranks all prospects with less than 50 innings pitched or 130 at bats, regardless of service time.  Despite Baseball America’s mistake, he still qualifies as a prospect under my qualifications, so I included him within my ranking.  Leach had an up and down year in 2009.  He had an ERA of 0.69 though 13 AA innings (although his FIP over that same period was 3.43), and based on that success he was called up the majors in May.  He made his major league debut on 5/6/09 and pitched a scoreless inning against the Nationals.  The very next day he was called upon again, but this time he wasn’t as lucky as he allowed two runs without getting an out.  Over the next two months, Leach did very well for himself allowing just 4 runs in 17.3 innings.  But unfortunately his success was fleeting as he had a meltdown in mid-July, allowing 7 runs over his final seven appearances (which in total lasted only two innings) before getting sent back to the minors.  After returning to the minors, Leach continued to struggle and finished the season with a 6.75 ERA (5.40 FIP) in Albuquerque.  His biggest problem was his control as he walked 16 batters in just under 18 innings in AAA, which doesn’t bode well for his long term success.  Leach is obviously still on the Dodgers 40 man roster, but I don’t think there is a spot for him on the big league roster in the upcoming year.  The Dodgers pitching roster is already pretty much set for 2010, and unless there are injuries to Kuo, Sherrill, and/or Elbert, Leach will remain in the minors until rosters expand in September.  Nevertheless, I believe that Leach will provide the Dodgers with at least a few good innings over the next few years, so his presence is important within the Dodgers minor league system.  At 27 years old, Leach is well into his prime and if nothing else will provide the younger Dodger minor league players with veteran leadership. 

30.  Jamie Hoffmann, RF (68 games in AAA, 29 games in AA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 9/2/03

6’3”, 235 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.291 average, 10 HR’s, 64 RBI’s, 15 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 29

I realize that Jamie Hoffmann is no longer with the Dodgers because he was selected by the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft, but because I put together my ranking early in the offseason, I’ve included him.  Plus, there is a very good chance that Hoffmann will be returned to the Dodgers before the end of the 2010 season because the Yankees already have four other outfielders who are ahead of Hoffmann on the depth chart.  Whether he returns or is gone forever, I see Hoffmann’s ceiling as a major league backup so he barely warrants a top 30 ranking.  The ex-hockey player is a great defensive outfielder and has a knack for getting on base, but he doesn’t really have that plus offensive tool that would allow him to be a major league regular.  His power is mediocre at best, and while he did steal 15 bases in 2009, he was also caught 11 times.  Even if Hoffmann does return to the Dodgers, he definitely wouldn’t have a spot on the team in 2010 unless injuries diminish the Dodgers outfield depth.  However, there is an opportunity for him to claim a spot on the Dodgers bench in the future after Manny leaves (given that Hoffmann does in fact return to the Dodgers).  No matter what happens, 2010 should be an interesting year for Jamie because at the very least, he’ll get exposed to the crazy New York media during spring training.

29.  Cole St. Clair, LHP (36.3 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 7th round

6’5”, 225 lbs, 23.5 years old

4-1, 2.48 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 11.15 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 20

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 mentioned many of his amazing stats last year, but it is worth noting a few of them again: (1) he went 11-1 with a 1.16 ERA as a high school senior; (2) 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; (3) in the summer of 2006 he played for Team USA and posted a 0.69 ERA in 26 innings and struck out 43; (4) during his junior season in college he recorded a 1.91 ERA and picked up 9 saves; (5) 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.  While the 23 year old has only moved up to LoA so far, St. Clair has posted very good stats since turning pro.  In 2009 with the Loons, Cole picked up 15 saves, had a FIP of 2.87, recorded 11.15 strikeouts per 9 innings, and allowed a .226 batting average against.  He also ended the regular season with 14 dominate shutout innings.  In addition, St. Claire is still regaining his velocity after suffering injuries in college, but has learned how be crafty in the meantime until his velocity returns (if it ever does).  He currently tops out at around 90 mph, but has great pitch placement and solid secondary pitches.  Overall, I’ve gone back and forth on St. Clair’s potential, but my final conclusion is that he has a good chance of becoming a successful middle reliever or set-up man in the big leagues.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he was promoted to AA in 2010 to face tougher competition and give the Dodgers a better look at him

 

28.  Scott Van Slyke, RF (132 games in HiA, 3 games in AAA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 14th round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.293 average, 23 HR’s, 100 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 123

Scott Van Slyke had a huge year in 2009, but I’m still not sold on his overall potential and therefore I’m not as high on him as some other people are.  Van Slyke is 6’5” and is the son of former major leaguer Andy Van Slyke, so he definitely has the size and bloodlines to succeed in baseball.  However, in his five years as a professional, he has only had one good season and it was in the hitters’ paradise called the California League.  Don’t get me wrong, his 23 home runs and 100 RBI’s were very impressive, as were his 42 doubles, which led all Dodger minor leaguers.  In addition, his outfield arm is very strong and so is his overall defense.  But before we get too excited about Van Slyke, I think we need to see how he performs against tougher competition.  He spent the last week of the 2009 season in AAA and only had 1 hit in 6 at bats, and then played in the Mexican Winter League after the season and had a rather unimpressive 32 at bats.  So next year will be his true test as he will be a 23/24 year old playing most likely in AA.  As much as I would like for Van Slyke to succeed, I see his 2009 season as a fluke rather than a sign of things to come, so he’ll have to prove me wrong with his performance next season.

27.  Brandon Martinez, RHP (21 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 7th round

6’4”, 150 lbs, 19.25 years old

0-4, 9.86 ERA, 2.33 WHIP, 9.86 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Besides Garrett Gould, Brandon Martinez was the 2009 draftee that I was most excited about.  He is still extremely young and has so much room to grow, and that is why I feel that his ceiling is so high.  Drafted out of Fowler High School (near Fresno), Martinez had dominate stats his senior season as he struck out 85 batters in 45 innings and allowed a .124 batting average against.  While most scouts say that Brandon sits around 90 mph, it has been reported that he hit 94 mph in high school.  After the draft, Logan White said “This kid is skinny as rail but I’ll tell you he has an outstanding delivery, throws hard and has a fine breaking ball. We’ll have to put a little weight on him. He could turn into a really fine pitcher over time.”  Upon signing with the Dodgers, Martinez was sent to the Arizona Rookie League and struggled mightily.  However, I wouldn’t read too much into those stats because he was simply adjusting to professional hitters and more importantly did show flashes of dominance with this strikeout rate.  I’m guessing that the Dodgers will take it slow with Martinez and send him to the Pioneer League in 2010.  Finally, there is one other interesting thing about Brandon Martinez: he is the subject of a book written by his father called “Born to Play.”   Since I’m not the first to report this, I will simply quote that this book “details Brandon Martinez’s unique life — his daily existence, his struggles against discrimination due to Tourette Syndrome (a neurological disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics), and more important, it examines a father’s persistent fight for his son’s academic and athletic life. Here, the author reveals how the disorder of his son, the discrimination and bad politics almost prevented him from achieving his boyhood dream.”  While I have not read this book it seems very interesting and I am tempted to read it as some point this spring. 

 

26.  Travis Schlichting, RHP (13.7 innings in AA, 12.7 innings in AAA, 3 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 10/6/07

6’4”, 215 lbs, 25.25 years old

2-0, 0.92 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 7.06 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 38

Travis Schlichting 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, had respectable stats, and earned a surprise spot on the Dodgers 40 man roster in November of 2008.  Heading into in 2009, Schlichting was looking forward to his first major league training camp.  But unfortunately he was one of the first players to get hurt and was sent back to minor league camp before ever getting into a game.  He returned to the mound in May, and after 13 impressive innings in AA he was called up to the Dodgers.  He made his major league debut on 6/7/09 in Texas and allowed one run in 1.2 innings.  He pitched in just one more game before getting sent down to Albuquerque in mid June.  Schlichting continued to dominate the minors in AAA before again being shut down, this time due to a back injury.  Because of roster limitations, Schlichting was eventually placed on the 60 day DL to create another spot on the 40 man roster.  Even though he did finish up the season by making a few more rehab appearances in the Arizona Rookie League, he was kept on the 60 day DL until the season ended.  While he did get to make up for some lost time in the Arizona Fall League, he still ended pitching just 47 innings in 2009.  Watching him online during a few AFL games, I saw that Schlichting’s fastball topped out at 93 mph and was usually at around 91 mph.  I also noticed that he threw several curveballs, sinkers, cutters, and changeups, all in 82 to 90 mph range.  So, the question now is where does the 25 year old Schlichting fit into the Dodgers 2010 plans?  While he seems to be ready for a role in a major league bullpen, the Dodgers simply don’t have room for him heading into the 2010 season.  That means he’ll continue to pitch in AAA, work on his controls (which is his one weakness), and serve as an insurance policy in case the bullpen suffers injuries (which it always does).  Overall, he’s a solid option to have in the minors, and even if he doesn’t see any major league action in 2010, I’m guessing that he’ll provide the Dodgers with several valuable innings over the next few years.

25.  Javy Guerra, RHP (41 innings in LoA, 28.3 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 4th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 24.25 years old

6-2, 2.60 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 10.90 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 47

After several mediocre years in the Dodgers system, Javy Guerra made big strides in 2009.  Drafted back in 2004, Guerra had a solid debut in the Gulf Coast League but was then sidelined for portions of the 2005 and 2006 season due to Tommy John surgery.  He returned to full time action in 2007 and was used as a starter, but the results were disastrous as he had a 6.27 ERA in the HiA.  2008 saw the beginning of Guerra’s conversion to reliever, and he showed a lot of improvement in the California League and then later in the Hawaii Winter League.  At the start of the 2009 season, Javy was “demoted” to LoA, but was handed the closer’s role with the idea that success would lead to a big promotion.  As it turns out Guerra exceeded expectations in the Midwest League with a 1.54 ERA and .161 batting average against through 41 innings, and showed much better control, which was something that had plagued him throughout his professional career.  That earned Guerra the promotion he was looking for as he was sent to AA at the end of June.  While he didn’t quite have the same success against the tougher competition in Chattanooga, Javy did enough to earn himself a spot on the Arizona Fall League roster.  Through 10 AFL innings, Guerra only allowed one run, but his control issues returned as he walked 9 batters during that span.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers added Guerra to their 40 man rosters this past November to protect him in the Rule 5 draft.  The Dodgers have always been intrigued by his velocity as he has been able to consistently throw fastballs in the mid 90’s.  His heater is complimented by a sharp slider, which sat between 87 and 89 mph during the AFL games that I watched online.  During the AFL Rising Stars game, the announcers describe him as having a big arm, a fastball with sink, and an “electric slider.”  Guerra will most likely return to AA at the start of the 2010 season, and depending on his results he may get promoted to AAA at some point.  Overall, while I don’t expect Guerra to ever be an elite major league player, I do think that he will be able to become a solid middle reliever at the big league level as soon as this year (similar to how Brent Leach broke into the MLB in 2009 and provided some solid innings).

24.  Lucas May, C (68 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 8th round

5’11”, 195 lbs, 25.25 years old, bats right handed

.306 average, 6 HR’s, 32 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 25

The key to Lucas May’s success is his ability to play catcher.  You see may people feel that May is already close to major league ready with his bat, but that is only if he is able to also play catcher at the big league level.  His offensive abilities are not outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, but they are considered solid for a catcher.  Basically, May does not have the bat to play outfield or first base, but as a catcher he would at least be an adequate hitter at the very least.  The good news is that his defensive ability is improving, as noted by DeJon Watson in a recent offseason interview.  Also, I mentioned this story last year, but it is worth repeating again.  Early in 2009, I had the opportunity to talk to former player and former 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.  So there you have it, from the professional himself.  In regards to May’s season in 2009, it was cut short by a wrist injury which limited him to just 68 games in AA.  May made the most of his time, however, and ended the season with solid stats.  After the minor league regular season ended, May went on to participate in the Baseball World Cup and the Arizona Fall League, and performed very well in both.  In the World Cup he showed a lot of power in limited plate appearances and was one of the heroes for Team USA in the championship game.  In the AFL he had an OPS of over 1.000 through 40 at bats.  Lucas will most likely spend the majority of the 2010 season in AAA, but I can almost guarantee that he will be a September call up.  I can guarantee this because believe it or not, 2010 is Lucas May’s last option year (he was added to the 40 man roster in November of 2007).  Therefore, I’m sure the Dodgers will want to get a look at him at the big league level prior to the spring of 2011, which is when they will have a decision to make whether to keep him on the 25 man roster or place him on waivers.

23.  Jerry Sands, RF (41 games in Pioneer League, 32 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 25th round

6’4”, 210 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.315 average, 19 HR’s, 58 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 81

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.  In my write-up last year, I said “if he has another power outburst in 2009, the Dodgers will be looking at late round gem.”  Well Sands definitely had another power outburst in 2009, smacking 19 home runs and recording an OPS of 1.019 (which ranked 2nd in the entire Dodgers minor league system for players with at least 175 AB’s).  Sands started the season in LoA, but struggled so badly that he was sent back to extended spring training in May.  After working on his game, Sands resurfaced in the Pioneer League and was absolutely brilliant.  He placed 4th in the league with 14 HR’s despite having just 163 at bats (the three players that ranked ahead of Sands in HR’s had at least 287 at bats), and his 1.114 OPS would have ranked first in the league had he qualified with enough plate appearance.  Jerry was promoted back up to the Midwest League in August and this time found much more success, hitting .287 and adding 5 more home runs to his season total.  A multidimensional player, Sands makes relatively good contact for a power hitter (he struck out in 19.5% of plate appearances in 2009) and hits the ball to all fields.  He also has decent speed and can play all three outfield positions along with first base.  However, his most likely destination is right field because of his strong arm and below average range.  Overall, Sands is a very intriguing prospect with a very high ceiling.  With 29 home runs in 119 games over the past two years, that projects out to almost 40 HR’s over a 162 game schedule.  I’m not saying that Sands is ever going to hit 40 HR’s in the big leagues, but I think that if he continues to improve, he has the chance to be a solid MLB regular.  That’s pretty good for a former 25th round pick.  2010 should see Sands return to LoA to start the season, but by the end of the year he may find himself in AA.

22.  Danny Danielson, RHP (61.3 innings in Arizona in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 7th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 21.25 years old

5-2, 3.08 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 11.30 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 75

Danny Danielson is a big kid out of Alabama who was the Dodgers 7th round pick in 2007.  While he was brought along very slowly in his first two professional seasons, Danielson showed up to spring training 30 pounds lighter in 2009 and was ready to work.  The extra training paid off because Danielson had a phenomenal year in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009.  While his stats don’t look overly amazing at first glance, when you take a closer look at his numbers you will realize what a remarkable year he had.  His FIP was 2.48, and he had an outstanding strikeout rate of 11.30 K’s per 9 innings.  What was most impressive, however, was his strikeout to walk ratio which was 6.42 for the season and led all Dodger minor leaguers by a wide margin.  When you do the math, that calculates out to just 12 walks in over 61 innings.  In terms of his pitches, reports out of the Arizona League were that his fastball was sitting at around 89 mph, but he has reached 93 mph in the past and I think that he is more likely to sit in the low 90’s in the future given his big frame.  He also has an average curveball and is working on a slider.  His best pitch, though, is his changeup, which has been described as outstanding.  Still just 21 years old, Danielson will most likely move to Lo-A for the 2010 season and get some more experience.  While he doesn’t have the pedigree to be a #1 starter, I can see Danielson as a solid #4 starter at the big league level in the future.

21.  Xavier Paul, OF (31 games in AAA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 4th round

5’9”, 205 lbs, 25 years old, bats left handed

.328 average, 2 HR’s, 16 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 15

The one thing I didn’t realize about Xavier Paul was how short he was.  I swear that he used to be listed at a taller height because last year in my ranking, I had him at 6’0”.  Anyways, that is beside the point.  The real tragedy is that Paul blew a perfect opportunity last year to prove that he could be the Dodgers 4th outfielder in 2010.  When Manny went down for steroids, Paul was called up and got off to a hot start, getting three hits in his first five professional at bats, one of those hits being a home run.  But then a random staph infection sent Paul to the disabled list, and right when he was almost recovered from that, an ankle injury kept him out for the rest of the season.  Injuries aside, the one thing that has always impressed me about Paul is his ability to hit the ball extremely hard.  I’ve seen Paul play in AAA and during spring training, and the ball just sounds different off of his bat.  He has a solid build, and while he’ll never hit a ton of home runs, he is a line drive machine.  He also plays solid defense, and has the ability to play all three outfield positions given his above average range and his strong, accurate arm.  That being said, I don’t think he has the talent to ever become a major league regular, but I do think he’ll serve as a solid backup outfielder for the Dodgers at some point in the future.  While there is definitely not a spot for Xavier on the 25 man roster as of now, you never know what injuries are going to happen so Paul may end up spending some time with the Dodgers in 2010.  If the Dodgers do remain healthy, he’ll spend the season in AAA as an insurance policy.  After 2010, however, the Dodgers will have a decision to make because Paul will be out of options at that point.  So in the spring of 2011, let’s hope this circumstance doesn’t turn into another Delwyn Young situation where the Dodgers end up trading him for almost nothing just because Paul is out of options.

 

20.  Blake Smith, OF (30 games in Pioneer League, 6 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’2”, 220 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats left handed

.214 average, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

I will probably take some heat for ranking Blake Smith this high.  He had an awful season in 2009, showing no power and striking out in 32.2% of his plate appearances.  But really this ranking is based purely on athleticism.  I’ve heard from many sources that Smith is a super athletic guy, so I really feel that he will provide the Dodgers with value at some point down the road.  Even if he doesn’t pan out as a position player, I am confident that Smith can return to the mound and become a useful reliever at the big league level.  In addition, if he does stay as an outfielder, he’s got a great arm so he should be able to be a solid right fielder.   In terms of his hitting abilities, Blake has a sweet lefty swing, which lead to .319 average and 10 HR’s during his junior season at Cal.  He also apparently put on a power display during his workout at Dodger stadium prior to the draft.  According to Logan White, “He was highly touted as a hitter and a pitcher.  Just like Loney, he has a really nice left-handed swing and he’s a power guy with incredible raw power. When he worked out, he almost hit one out of Dodger Stadium — way up in the seats. Obviously he can throw and if we can work with him to utilize that raw power, he’ll be a front-line corner outfielder.”  In addition, Baseball America ranked Smith as the Dodgers best power hitter of the 2009 draft, and thinks he has 25 HR potential in the major leagues.  At the end of the day, I really think that Smith just needs some time to adjust to professional pitching.  Despite his struggles, I’m sure the Dodgers won’t be shy about sending him to LoA in 2010, and even though the Midwest League is known as a pitcher’s league, I think we’ll see a jump in his stats next year.

19.  Austin Gallagher, 1B/3B (60 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 3rd round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats left handed

.257 average, 3 HR’s, 30 RBI’s, 1 SB

Prior Year Ranking: 7

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.  Well in his first two professional seasons, Gallagher proved his doubters wrong by hitting .284 in the Pioneer League in 2007 and .293 in a surprise season in the California League in 2008 (where he was the second youngest player in the league).  So heading into 2009, it looked as if Gallagher would either spend another season in HiA or possibly play in AA.  In spring training, however, Gallagher injured his throwing shoulder so the Dodgers didn’t want to push him too hard.  Therefore, they assigned him to LoA and also limited him to first base.  While Gallagher must have been disappointed with his demotion to the Midwest League, at the end of the day it was the right decision to keep him at the lower level because Austin was never fully healthy in 2009.  He struggled his way through 60 games and was shut down for the season in early July when he decided to have surgery in his nagging shoulder injury.  Despite the poor stats and the injury riddled year, I’m not giving up on Gallagher at all.  He is expected to be fully recovered for the 2010 season, and even though he missed most of 2009, he really isn’t behind in terms of experience because he is still just 21 year old.  He has outstanding bat speed and makes good contact, and even though he has yet to hit a lot of home runs, he is a line drive machine and has tremendous power potential for the future.  The biggest question surrounding Gallagher is what position he’ll end up playing.  As mentioned, the shoulder injury limited him to 1st base in 2009, but the Dodgers expect to give him another opportunity to play the hot corner in 2010.  He if can somehow find a way to stay at 3rd base despite his size and questionable footwork, that will be a huge plus for him as he moves up through the ranks.  However, even if he does get stuck at 1st base, I think he’ll be able to hold his own at that position offensively as he matures.  I think Gallagher will play in HiA in 2010 and hopefully he’ll have a better season than last year.

 

18.  Brett Wallach, RHP (31 innings in Pioneer league in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 3rd round

6’2”, 180 lbs, 21.25 years old

0-1, 5.23 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 11.03 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

By now, I’m sure that everyone knows that Brett Wallach is the son former Dodger player and current Dodger AAA manager Tim Wallach, and is also the brother of fellow Dodger minor leaguer Matt Wallach.  So Brett obviously has a very athletic background.  However, it wasn’t his name that caused the Dodgers to pick him because after the draft, Logan White said “To be honest, if his name was Jones or Jenkins, we’d still be excited to get him.  Having his father and his brother in the organization had no effect at all on us drafting him.  This kid is lean and lanky and has excellent arm action and an excellent delivery on the mound.”  Drafted out of Orange Coast Community College, Wallach led his team to the California Junior College state title in 2009.  Along the way, he had a 2.23 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 96.2 innings.  When he wasn’t pitching, he also served as the team’s first baseman/shortstop and had a .352 average with 46 RBI’s.  Because of his hitting skills, Logan White also mentioned “He’s a good hitter too, and Tom Lasorda thinks he should be a position player, but Wallach loves to pitch. He’s got a Hershiser-type sinker and a hard slider, changes speeds well and good mound presence. This kid is going to move very quickly.”  Wallach signed with the Dodgers relatively quickly, and was sent to the Pioneer League in July.  Though he made 12 starts for the Raptors, he was generally limited to only two or three innings per appearance because of his heavy college workload.  For the season, Wallach had a 5.23 ERA and allowed 4 home runs, but his FIP was a respectable 4.17 and he struck out an impressive 11 batters per 9 innings.  He has four workable pitches, including a very strong changeup, and the sinker and slider mentioned above.  His fastball usually sits around 91 mph, but he can hit 94 mph on occasion.  A very athletic player, Wallach hasn’t really been able to focus on pitching full time until 2009, so he really needs to get some innings under his belt.  He’ll definitely pitch in a full season league in 2010, with LoA as his most likely destination.  He has the potential to be a #3 starter in the big leagues some day, so hopefully he continues to improve and develop next season.

17.  Tony Delmonico, C (100 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 6th round

6’0”, 194 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.285 average, 9 HR’s, 43 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 13

Tony Delmonico had a very solid year in 2009, and it is only due to the emergence of other Dodger prospects that caused him to drop in my rankings.  As expected, Delmonico made the transition to catcher in the Midwest League, but unfortunately he injured his hand during the season and didn’t get to spend as much time behind the plate as he would have liked.  Nevertheless, he improved drastically throughout the year in terms of his defensive catching abilities, and ended up throwing out 26% of would be base-stealers.  Dodger management has already indicated that he will continue to play catcher in 2010 as they feel that is the best position for him going forward.  According to various reports, despite his lack of playing time he was all around best catcher in the Midwest League, a statement complimented by the fact that he was both a mid season and post season all star.  In a season where he was supposed to concentrate on his defense, Delmonico continued to demonstrate strong offensive abilities with 9 HR’s and a .285 average.  He was also led the Loons with a .383 on base percentage and even stole 5 bases.  In 2010, I expect Tony to move up to HiA and share the catching duties there with Jeremy Wise.  If he continues to show improvement behind the plate, he is a legitimate candidate to one day take over for Russell Martin because of his strong offensive abilities.

 

16.  Kenley Jansen, RHP (11.7 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 11/17/04

6’5”, 245 lbs, 22.5 years old

0-0, 4.63 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 14.66 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 36

A year ago, I was pretty high on Kenley Jansen as a catching prospect, ranking him 36th and documenting the potential similarities between him and former Dodger minor leaguer Carlos Santana.  So I was obviously disappointed when Jansen was hitting just .200 through 115 at bats at the end of June.  At that point I pretty much wrote him off as a prospect and was prepared to drop him in my rankings to somewhere in the 60 – 70 range.  But then something amazing happened as Jansen found new life on the pitching mound.  He started throwing fastballs in the mid 90’s and was striking batters out at an amazing rate.  He ended up pitching just under 12 innings with the 66ers and had a remarkable 19 strikeouts.  He also showed how raw he was by walking11 batters and posting an ugly WHIP of 2.14, but the potential was obviously there.  He was sent to the Arizona Fall League after the season to get some additional work in, and while he was there he again recorded ugly stats, but also continued to receive rave reviews due to his velocity.  After the season, Jansen was featured in a video for the 66ers that included a few useful pieces of information.  First, Jansen said that his fastball tops out at 98 mph and sits at around 96 mph.  Second, he said that he also has a curveball, slider, and changeup (accordingly to Baseball America, his slider the potential to be a good pitch).  Finally, DeJon Watson was interviewed in the video and said that Jansen is about 6’5” and 245 lbs, which differs from his listed height and weight of 6’2” and 220.  So Kenley really does have great size for a pitcher.  Added to the 40 man roster his past November, Jansen is in a great position to one day make Dodgers major league bullpen.  However, since he is just 22 years old and has very little pitching experience, the Dodgers will take their time with Jansen.  He’ll probably start the 2010 season back in the California League to get some addition work with Charlie Hough, but I’m sure that he’ll make it up to AA at some point during the season to face some more advanced competition.

15.  Travyon Robinson, CF (117 games in HiA, 19 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 10th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 22.5 years old, switch hitter

.300 average, 17 HR’s, 64 RBI’s, 47 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 44

Los Angeles native Trayvon Robinson improved his prospect status significantly in 2009.  He showed the rare combination of speed and power by more than doubling his stolen base total and more than quadrupling his HR total from 2008.  He did all this while hitting .300 and posting a .866 OPS, both career highs.  While most of the damage was done in the hitter friendly California League, Robinson did spend the last three weeks of the 2009 season in AA and held his own while he was there.  After the season, Robinson spent time in the prestigious Arizona Fall League and was added to the Dodgers 40 man roster in November.  Even though Robinson’s newfound power was unexpected, in my opinion his breakout season wasn’t too much of a surprise because I had always considered him to be a legitimate Dodger prospect.  I had ranked him within my top 50 last season and knew that he had the potential to be an exciting player.  However, I’m not as high on Robinson as some people are, and for that reason I ranked him outside of my top 10.  While I think that he is a good player and has big league potential, I don’t believe that his power is for real as I can’t see him hitting more than 10 HR’s at the big league level.  In addition, I’m not sure if his other tools are strong enough to allow him to be a major league regular.  One indicator is that his 47 stolen bases in 2009 were tainted by the fact that he was caught 20 times.  The good news for Trayvon, however, is that will get to spend at least a portion of spring training in the Dodgers big league camp because he is on the 40 man roster.  As for the 2010 season, I’m sure that he’ll return to AA for another opportunity to prove himself in the Southern League.  Another solid season might give him the opportunity to play for a spot on the 25 man roster in 2011.

 

14.  Kyle Russell, RF (133 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 3rd round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats left handed

.272 average, 26 HR’s, 102 RBI’s, 20 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 14

Kyle Russell had an outstanding season in 2009.  He led the Midwest League in HR’s, RBI’s, and slugging %, and was named as the league’s co-MVP with teammate Dee Gordon.  He also showed off his surprising speed by stealing 20 bases in 22 attempts.  I realize that a lot of people have discounted his accomplishments in 2009 because he struck out 180 times (32% of his plate appearances) and was a little old for the Midwest League at 23 years old.  But for me, I’m not too bothered by those two things, and I’ll tell you why.  In regards to his strikeouts, I don’t really care how many times a guy strikes out as long as he is producing.  Sure it’s a little concerning that he struck out so much at such a low level of the minors, but I really don’t expect his K rate to increase as he moves up.  I’m predicting it will stay at about 30% for his career, which isn’t such a bad thing as long as he continues to hit with power.  In regards to his age, there really isn’t much Russell can do about which level the Dodgers place him in, so he took the assignment with a good attitude and did his best.  Also, the other option for Russell would have been for him to play in the California League, which is actually a lot easier of a league to hit in.  So I’m actually more impressed that he put up those numbers in the Midwest League.  The other thing to mention is that Russell is not just good offensive player, but is also a very solid defensive outfielder.  He has enough range to play center field, but because he has a very strong arm he has spent most of his minor league career in right field.  In terms of his future potential, Russell has the ability to be a fringe major league regular if he can continue to improve his game.  Even if he doesn’t end up as a starter, at the very least he can be a solid lefty pinch hitter off of the bench as Russell does very well against right handed pitchers (included a .978 OPS against right handed pitchers in 2009).  Russell is clearly ready for AA in 2010, but he may be forced to start the season in HiA because the Chattanooga outfield is already pretty set (Lambo, Robinson, and Van Slyke).  No matter where he plays, expect him to hit a lot of home runs and strike out quite a bit.

13.  Ivan DeJesus, SS (4 games in Arizona Rookie League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

5’11”, 190 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.200 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 5

This past offseason, I’ve heard some people say that Ivan DeJesus shouldn’t drop in prospect rankings just because he was injured, especially since the injury was a freak broken leg that wasn’t his fault.  Personally I disagree.  I’m obviously going to rank a 21 year old coming off a season where he hit .324 in AA more favorably than a 22 year old who is coming off a broken leg.  In addition, while he has been able to resume full baseball activity, there are always going to be short term and long effects from a compound fracture.  For the short term, he proclaimed that he still isn’t even 100% healed heading into spring training, so that is going to limit him some.  For the long term, I really don’t think he is ever going to fully regain his speed (which was already marginal at best) or his defensive range at shortstop.  I also think that he may lose a little bit of aggressiveness since he’s going to have to be a little more cautious while running the bases.  All of these signs (along with the emergence of Dee Gordon) point to DeJesus moving to 2nd base in the near future.  The problem with that is that I don’t believe DeJesus quite has the offensive ability to play second base at the major league level.  Sure he hit .324 in AA, but at the major league level I see his ceiling as being a player who hits .270 with around 5-10 HR’s annually.  That’s just not very exciting.  Even with all that being said, DeJesus won’t even turn 23 until May of 2010, so he still has plenty of time to heal, catch up in his development, and prove me wrong.  He was added to the Dodgers 40 man rosters in November, so management is confident that he rebound from his injury.  Despite missing a year, he’ll still be one of the younger players in AAA, which is his likely destination for the 2010 season.  While with the Isotopes, DeJesus will probably play both middle infield positions.  Another thing to point out is that Ivan’s father was a major league shortstop for 15 seasons, so Ivan has a great baseball background which has lead to him being a very intelligent player.  Overall, I’m obviously not as high on DeJesus as some people are, but if he can return to his previous form and demonstrate that he is 100% healed, then I have no problem changing my mind about him.  I’m hoping that he has a healthy and very productive 2010 season.

12.  Pedro Baez, 3B (79 games in HiA in 2009)

Signed by Dodgers 1/22/07

6’2”, 195 lbs, 22 years old, bats right handed

.286 average, 10 HR’s, 61 RBI’s, 5 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 11

Pedro Baez was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200K before the 2007 season.  And actually he was the last “big” international signing the Dodgers have had, which is a little sad.  Anyways, I’m a little higher on Baez than most, and that is due to his youth, raw power potential, and ability to play 3rd base.  While his defense right now is still a little raw, he has the tools to be an above average third baseman if he can improve his footwork.  His arm is outstanding, and he has been clocked as high as 94 mph on throws across the infield.  In fact, now that Josh Bell is gone, it appears that he is the heir apparent to take over third base once Casey Blake’s contract expires.  In terms of his 2009 season, Baez was doing quite well until a knee injury ended his season in mid July.  He hit a respectable .286, and his 61 RBI’s ranked fourth on the team even though he missed a month and a half of the season.  He was also selected to play in the 2009 Futures Game, which is a big compliment because it features some of the game’s best prospects.  Another interesting thing about Baez is that even though he is right handed, he hit .300 against right handed pitchers and .247 against left handed pitchers.  The best part about Baez, however, is his power.  As mentioned above, he has great raw power and absolutely kills fastballs.  While he has trouble with offspeed pitchers, I think that his pitch recognition will come with maturity.  Even though he is coming off of an injury, I think he is young enough to rebound fully in 2010.  Baseball America says that he will start the 2010 season in AA, although I think he might be better served spending a little more time in the California League.  Overall I see him as a player with 30 HR potential at the big league level, but whether or not he reaches that potential is the question.

11.  Allen Webster, RHP (47.7 innings in Arizona League, 21 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 18th round

6’2”, 165 lbs, 20 years old

4-1, 2.36 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 10.09 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 100

I want to start off with a story that I told last year, only I want to go into a little more detail.  So in January of 2009, I was at a Kings Hockey game and happened to sit right behind Ned Coletti.  Once I realized it was Ned, I looked around and realized that I was actually sitting right in the middle of the section that included almost all of the Dodgers front office and scouts.  Now I didn’t really want to bother anyone, plus I didn’t really know who most of the people were.  However, when I saw Mitch Webster sitting by himself, I couldn’t help but go over and talk to him.  I started out by introducing myself, and then we got to talking about the minor league system.  One of my first questions was “so how is your son Carl doing?  I saw that he had a nice year in the GCL in 2009.”  Webster burst out laughing said Carl Webster isn’t my son…in fact I think Carl Webster is black!”  I was a little embarrassed because I really had thought that Carl was his son and that’s why the Dodgers picked him, but at the same time it was really funny.  It also goes to show that the Dodger scouts tend to concentrate on their specific areas and don’t even know about all minor league players because Mitch was obviously wrong about Webster being black.  Anyways, a lot has changed for Carl Webster since I first talked about him.  First, he clarified that he wanted to go by his middle name Allen.  Most importantly, however, is the fact that he jumped up the prospect ladder in 2009 with an outstanding showing in the Arizona League.  Through almost 50 innings he had a 2.08 ERA, a FIP of 2.03, and a batting average against of just .197.  He also had a great WHIP and struck out more than a batter per inning.  Webster earned a promotion to the Pioneer League in late August and pitched 21 more impressive innings, posting another good FIP 2.39 during his stay in Ogden.  I’m not going to say that I predicted anything, but in my write-up last year I did say “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.”  While Webster is still listed at 165, I’m sure that he has gained some weight since he was drafted, which I’m sure has lead to his dominance.  In terms of his stuff, Webster works in the low 90’s but frequently reaches 95 mph.  Like most pitchers he also has a breaking ball and a changeup, and while they both are considered plus pitches at times, they both can also use some work as he advances through the system.  From the looks of things, Webster will spend the 2010 season in LoA.  I’m sure he’ll have no problem securing a spot in the Loons rotation, and it will be good for him to pitch in a full season league.  Baseball America seems to think that Webster has the potential to be a #2 starter at the big league level, and while those seem to be pretty lofty expectations, it shows that they must be seeing something in him that they like.  Realistically I think he’ll be more of a #3 or #4 starter, but only time will tell.

 

 

10.  Jonathan Garcia, RF (41 games in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 8th round

5’11”, 175 lbs, 18.25 years old, bats right handed

.304 average, 3 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

The Dodgers drafted Jonathan Garcia out of Puerto Rico in the 8th round of the 2009 draft.  After the draft, Logan White said “He’s a little raw right now but if he can utilize his talents we will have a pretty good player.”  Little did Logan know that Garcia would utilize his talents quicker than anyone expected.  Playing the entire 2009 season as a 17 year old, not only did Jonathan hold his own against older competition, but exceeded everyone’s expectations.  He hit .304 for the season, posted a .500 slugging percentage, and had an OPS of .862.  He also ranked fourth in the Arizona League with 16 doubles and even stole 4 bases without getting caught.  According to Baseball America, Garcia has outstanding raw power and is a smart hitter.  He can hit the ball to all fields, and as he grows and matures he will surely hit more home runs.  In fact, I expect Garcia to grow at least an inch or two over the next few years, and I see his ceiling a player who can hit 25 to 30 home runs annually.  In terms of his defense, Garcia is really good.  Even though he made 5 errors during his short 2009 season, I heard he has a hose for an arm and has great outfield instincts.  While he has the ability to play center field, he is probably best suited as a right fielder.  Because he is so young, I initially expected Garcia to play in the Pioneer League in 2010.  However Baseball America said that he is ready for the jump to LoA.  So I guess we’ll have to wait and see where he ends up.  No matter where he plays, the one thing that’s for sure is that he is a legitimate prospect who will be watched closely by Dodger management over the next few years.  I can see him potentially being a similar player to Raul Mondesi, but with less speed.

 

9.  Aaron Miller, LHP (30.3 innings in LoA, 5.7 innings in Arizona League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 1st round

6’3”, 200 lbs, 22.5 years old

3-1, 2.75 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 12.00 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

When the Dodgers drafted Miller in the first round, I was both surprised and disappointed.  There were still many quality players available when Miller was picked, and honestly at the time I would have rather had players such as Tyler Skaggs, Brooks Pounders, or Kyle Heckathorn.  But after seeing Miller’s professional debut, it seems that Logan White made the right selection, who said after the draft “when we look back, we’re going to say what a great deal we got with that sandwich pick.”  After initially struggling in the Arizona Rookie League, Miller dominated upon his promotion to the Midwest League.  Not only did succeed during his 7 regular season starts, but Miller also completely shut down the opposition during his 2 playoff starts for the Loons, allowing just one run and three hits in 12 innings.  Obviously impressed, the Dodgers sent Miller to the Arizona Fall League where he made three brief appearances before getting shut down for the season.  Besides his immediate success, two pluses for Miller are that he is still learning to pitch (so has the potential to get better), and the fact that he has a very fresh arm (since he didn’t pitch many college innings).  In terms of his stuff, Miller has a fastball that can occasional hit 95, although he usually sits between 91 and 92 mph.  He also has a hard slider, and is currently working on his changeup.  Even though Aaron has all these good things going for him, I still have some concerns.  I’m afraid that he won’t be able to match his success in 2010, but instead will struggle with the larger workload and tougher competition.  I’m also worried that he’ll never be able to master a third pitch, which will prohibit him from being a starter in the big leagues.  Nevertheless, I’m confident that Miller will have at the very least a relatively successful major league career.  Even if ends up in the bullpen, he has the stuff to be a very good reliever or setup man, potentially in the mold of Kuo or Sherrill.  He’ll most likely start in the California League in 2010, and I’m almost positive that he’ll make his way up to AA at some point during the season.

8.  Josh Lindblom, RHP (57.3 innings in AA, 39 innings in AAA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 2nd round

6’5”, 240 lbs, 22.75 years old

6-5, 3.83 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 7.66 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 6

Josh Lindblom has been on the fast track to the major leagues since the day he was drafted by the Dodgers.  He started his professional career in LoA, and made it all the way up to AA by the end of the 2008 season.  Then in March of 2009, less than 10 months after being drafted, Lindblom was in the Dodgers major league spring training and was actually in the mix to be the Dodgers 5th starter for the 2009 season.  While he didn’t end up making the team, he got a lot of publicity and became a household name among Dodger prospect junkies.  Back in the minors, Lindblom split 2009 between AA and AAA and posted solid results.  While his overall stats declined from 2008, his FIP was a respectable 3.50 and he posted a very strong walk rate.  In addition, he held opposing batters to a .245 batting average. The one thing that concerns me, however, is the fact that Lindblom’s strikeout rate dropped from 9.79 K’s per 9 in 2008 to 7.66 K’s per 9 in 2009.  The decrease is obviously due to the fact that he was facing more advanced competition in 2009, but even still I generally expect a strikeout rate of at least 8.0 from top pitching prospects.  At 6’5” and 240 lbs, Lindblom is a big kid.  He has two great pitches, a 95 mph fastball and a hard curve, and is still in the process of adding a third pitch.  For 2010, even though Lindblom is in big league camp and has impressed so far, I don’t believe he’ll make the opening day roster because the Dodgers have too many other options who are already on the 40 man roster.  In addition, because he seems to have a bright future with the team and will probably stick with the team once he is brought up to the show, the Dodgers will probably want to delay his major league debut until at least June to prevent him from potentially becoming a “super two”.  In regards to his future, I think Lindblom is best suited for the bullpen.  He was a closer at Purdue and has always had trouble with his stamina as a starter.  In addition, his two pitches mentioned above are both plus pitches when he doesn’t have to worry about going deep into games.  Therefore, I believe that he has the potential to become a top tier setup man or solid closer at the big league level. 

 

 

7.  Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (96.3 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 11th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 20 years old

3-5, 3.27 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 6.63 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 12

I have to admit; Nathan Eovaldi is my favorite Dodger prospect, and that is one of the reasons why I’ve ranked him higher than most other Dodger prospect lists.  Even though I have never seen him pitch in person, I just love the fact that he throws straight heat, is still so young, and has a very projectable frame.  In addition, during the 2009 season he still probably wasn’t even fully recovered from his 2007 Tommy John surgery, so I only expect him to get better.  Now I realize that most people will look at Eovaldi’s stats and immediately point to his low strikeout rate.  I know that I would if I didn’t know anything else about him because strikeouts usually say a lot about how dominate a pitcher can be.  But unlike my concerns with Lindblom, I’m really not too worried about Eovaldi’s strikeout rate because he is still so young and has so many years to improve.  Heck, he was only 19 years old during the entire 2009 season, and only had 8 innings of professional experience prior to that, so I’m sure he is still getting used to the minor leagues.  Another thing I want to point out about Eovaldi is the fact that from June forward, he was absolutely spectacular.  His ERA through his final 62 innings of the season was 1.60, and he only allowed 1 home run during that time period.  He also tacked on another scoreless inning during the Midwest League playoffs in which he struck out the side. In terms of his pitches, Eovaldi sits in the mid 90’s, and hit 98 mph last season.  Some scouts project that he may be able to hit 100 mph if the Dodgers decide to use him out of the bullpen.  He also has a solid curveball, but it is inconsistent.  I’ve heard mixed reports about him using a slider.  Some say he stopped using it because it led to his TJ surgery.  However, in listening to Loons games during the year, I’ve heard the announcers say he has a slider in the high 80’s, and that it is a very good pitch.  In addition, he is developing a changeup.  Overall, whether Nathan ends up as a starter or in the bullpen, I’m expecting big things out of him.  I’m guessing the Dodgers will continue to use him as a starter because that is where he is most valuable, but I can also see him as a solid closer one day.  I’m hoping that Eovaldi plays in Inland Empire next season so I can get a chance to watch my favorite Dodger prospect live.

6.  Scott Elbert, LHP (62.3 innings in AA, 33.7 innings in AAA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 1st round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 24.5 years old

4-4, 3.84 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 11.72 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 4

Scott Elbert was a first round draft pick back in 2004.  At the time, he was fresh out of high school and was actually better known for his performance as a running back as he ran for 2,449 yards and scored 36 touchdowns as a junior.  Six years later, Elbert is 24 years old and is now entering his prime.  He is coming off a solid season in which he made 19 appearances out of the Dodgers bullpen and was named the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year.  His 11.72 strikeouts per 9 innings while in the minors ranked 3rd among all Dodgers minor leaguers, and while his minor league ERA was 3.84, his combined minor league FIP was a sparkling 3.14.  He can consistently pitch at 93-94 mph, and his sharp slider is a very strong pitch.  The one thing he needs to work on is his control, which seems to get away from him when he gets excited or is in a pressure situation.  Heading into the 2010 season, Elbert tried to work his way onto the Dodgers opening day roster, but he was recently sent back down to minor league camp.  In my opinion, while he has struggled thus far this spring, he was the Dodgers best option as their #5 starter because he has the most upside of all the candidates and is already on the 40 man roster.  However, it also makes sense to keep him down in the minors for a while longer since other players fighting for the 5th spot in the rotation are out of options.  In terms of his long term projection, while some like him as a reliever, I see Elbert strictly as a starter because his raw stuff is just too good to waste in the bullpen.  Overall, while he doesn’t seem to have the upside that he once did, Elbert does appear to be maturing into a very strong pitcher.  Even if he does end up spending some of the 2010 season in the minors, I believe Elbert will provide the Dodgers will many solid innings for years to come.

5.  Garrett Gould, RHP (2.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’4”, 190 lbs, 18.5 years old

0-1, 10.12 ERA, 2.25 WHIP, 13.50 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: N/A

Garrett Gould is by far my favorite pick of the 2009 draft.  When I heard that we selected Gould in the 2nd round with the 65th overall pick, I was ecstatic.  I had thought that he would go at the very latest in the supplemental first round, so it has a huge plus that he was still available to us that late.  However, even after we drafted Gould I knew it wasn’t a given that he would sign because he had strong commitment to Wichita State.  After the draft, he said “It’s always been my dream to play at Wichita State…Especially knowing what coach (Brent) Kemnitz does with his pitchers.”  I addition, the Dodgers aren’t know for giving bonuses higher than the recommended amount.  Luckily, everything fell into place right at the signing deadline and the Dodgers signed Gould to $900K signing bonus, which was actually about $10K more than they gave to their top pick Aaron Miller.  Because he signed so late, Gould only made three appearances in the Pioneer League.  Even though he got hit hard, the important thing is that he got his feet wet.  In addition, he showed some dominance in his three outings by recording half of his outs via the strikeout.  In terms of his stuff, Gould throws in the low 90’s, but I expect his velocity to increase as he gets older (he won’t even turn 19 until this upcoming July) and grows into his projectable frame.  He also is learning how to throw a changeup, but it is still a work in progress.  My favorite thing about Gould, however, is his curveball.  Scouts describe it as a plus pitch, and many thought that he had the best high school curveball in the entire 2009 draft.  While I’ve only seen limited footage of Gould, I picture his curveball as a right handed version Kershaw’s.  I believe his overall potential is a #1 or #2 starter at the big league level.  He is a very athletic player (he was a quarterback in football and a forward in basketball) and has a ton of talent.  In 2010, I believe the Dodgers will challenge Gould with an assignment to LoA.  Even though the Loons rotation will be crowded, I think he’ll be used similarly to how Nathan Eovaldi was used during 2009.  I look forward to following him throughout next season and I really think he’ll be a unanimous top 5 Dodger prospect by this time next year.

4.  Andrew Lambo, LF (130 games in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 4th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed

.256 average, 11 HR’s, 61 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 2

I really like Andrew Lambo.  At 6’3” and 190 lbs, Lambo has an advanced feel for hitting and has a smooth left-handed stroke.  Despite his “down” year and the fact that a lot of people jumped off of his bandwagon, I still think that Lambo is an excellent player with a ton of potential.  In my mind, he is in a great position to take over left field for the Dodgers in 2012 (the Dodgers will have to find a short term solution for 2011), and will eventually hit.300 with around 25 HR’s at the big league level.  To support these predictions, I will point to a few signs that demonstrate Lambo’s future success.  First, Lambo seems to have a good head on his shoulders, and in watching a few of his interviews he already appears to have the personality of a big league player.  Sure he had some trouble in high school, but I really think he grew from that experience and has turned into a strong leader.  Second, at 21 years old Lambo is still very young, yet has been playing against much older competition throughout his professional career.  This experience should prepare him for the future, and should also give him the edge next year in AA when he finally catches up to the other players in terms of age.  Third, even though Lambo only had 11 HR’s in 2009, he had 39 doubles, which tied for the second most in the entire Dodgers minor league system.  As most people know, doubles for a young player generally turn into HR’s when that player matures and gets older.  So that is why I expect him to have a decent amount of power in the big leagues.   Finally, Lambo was sent to the Arizona Fall League after the season, and did very well against some of the minor league’s best pitching prospects.  Through 77 at bats, Lambo hit .325 and had an .846 OPS.  So I don’t sound biased, I should point out that there are a few things that Lambo is not great at.  He is not a fast runner, which limits him defensively to left field or first base.  While some scouts think he’ll eventually end up at 1st base, I’m confident that he is good enough to stay in left field.  In addition, Lambo needs to work on his patience at the plate as he walked in less than 8% of his plate appearances in 2009.  Overall, as I’ve already mentioned, I expect big things from Lambo in a few years.  I also expect him to thrive in AA during the upcoming season, which will bring his prospect status back up to where it was a year ago. 

 

3.  Ethan Martin, RHP (100 innings in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 1st round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 20.75 years old

6-8, 3.87 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 10.80 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 3

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.  Even though the injury wasn’t too serious, it worried a lot of people because the Dodgers had just invested a lot of money into the young player.  Luckily he made full recovery by the beginning of the 2009 season, and was placed in LoA where he pitched an even 100 innings and did very well.  While his record and ERA were just mediocre, his FIP of 3.45 was very good and his strikeout rate of 10.8 K’s per 9 innings was outstanding.  In addition, opposing batters only hit .232 against him.  The one thing that he had trouble with was his control as he walked 5.5 batters per 9 innings, which led to his inflated WHIP.  Going back to high school credentials, Martin was named as the Baseball America High School Player of the Year in 2008 because he was an amazing two way player.  His overall pitching stats as a senior were 11-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 141 K’s in 79 innings, but he was also a great power hitting 3rd baseman.  He ended up being the first high school pitcher selected in the 2008 draft, which says a lot about how much the Dodgers thought of his arm.  On the mound, Martin has a very strong fastball that has good movement and can reach all the way up to 97 mph.  His curveball is also a plus pitch, but he needs to control it better.  Overall, I believe that Martin has the ability to be a #2 starter at the big league level, and I am very confident that he’ll reach his full potential.  He is just 20 years old, and his path will probably lead him to Hi-A in 2010 with a promotion to AA late in the season.  He’ll then probably split 2011 between AA and AAA, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was ready for the major leagues in some capacity in 2012.

2.  Chris Withrow, RHP (86.3 innings in HiA, 27.3 innings in AA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 21 years old

8-8, 4.51 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 10.37 K/9

Prior Year Ranking: 8

Heading into 2009, Chris Withrow had only pitched 13 professional innings over a two year period.  This was mostly due to various injuries, including a deep cut to his hand and a case of “tired arm”.  While nobody had completely written him off, this caused some people to wonder if he was bound to be a 1st round bust.  However, Withrow really turned things around last season, getting some much needed experience in the process.  He played most of the 2009 season in the hitters’ paradise known as the California League, but Withrow held his own while he was there and really showed why he as a first round pick.  While his ERA and WHIP in HiA were just mediocre, his FIP was 2.96 and he almost struck out 11 batters per inning.  His success while with the 66ers earned Withrow a promotion to AA in August, and he finished the season there.  Even though he wasn’t quite as dominant with the Lookouts (3.68 FIP, 8.6 K/9), he still had a very fine showing for a 20 year old playing against older competition.  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.  Since turning pro, however, Withrow has actually been clocked as high as 99 mph. He also is developing a changeup, has a very clean delivery, and is the perfect size for a pitcher at 6’3”.  The one thing he wants to work on his control, as said after the season “I would like to find my command a little bit—of course, everybody would—but that’s just going to come with more time on the mound. It’s all just a big process right now.”  In my opinion, Withrow projects as a #1 or solid #2 starter.  Even though I believe a few pitchers in the Dodgers system have higher ceilings than Withrow, Chris ranks as the Dodgers second best prospect because I feel he is more likely to reach his full potential than those other pitchers (as demonstrated by this spring training debut where he struck out the side).  2010 will be a big season for Withrow as he’ll return to AA.  If he has another solid season, he could be on track to break into the big leagues by 2011.

1.  Dee Gordon, SS (131 games in LoA in 2009)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 4th round

5’11”, 150 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats left handed

.301 average, 3 HR’s 35 RBI’s, 73 SB’s

Prior Year Ranking: 9

When the Dodgers selected Dee 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 on him.  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.  Jump forward one and a half years and Gordon has shot up the prospect charts and is basically the Dodgers unanimous number one prospect.  He was the Midwest League MVP and was named the Dodger minor league player of the year.  As there have already been many discussions and scouting reports on Dee Gordon, I really won’t spend too much time describing him as a player.  However, I will mention a few things about Gordon that caused me to rank him #1 on my personal list.  First, Gordon is still growing as a baseball player as it appears that he is not yet close to reaching his full potential.  His on field instincts are still being refined as a shortstop, as a hitter, and as a base runner, so it will be very exciting to see what kind of player he turns out to be once he gets more experience.  Second, Gordon plays the premium position of shortstop, and is expected to stick there throughout his professional career.  While many players start out at shortstop, most move off the position as they move up through the minors.  Gordon, however, is projected to be a premium defender once he gets more experience because he has amazing range and a strong arm.  I’m not too worried about the 34 errors he made in 2009 because he just needs more experience at the position.  Finally, Gordon has the one tool that you can’t teach: speed.  He is exceptionally fast, and even though his base stealing skills need some improvement (he was caught 25 times in 2009), he has the type of game changing speed that will allow him to get tons of infield hits each season (a la Ichiro) and be a distraction to opposing pitchers on the base paths.  The one thing I’m not sure about is Gordon’s power potential.  Most scouts seem to think that he’ll develop some pop once he gains so weight, but after watching Gordon in some videos on Dodgers.com, I just don’t see him ever hitting more than a couple home runs a year.  He won’t need that power, however, because as mentioned he has plenty of other tools.  Hopefully he’ll play locally with the 66ers in 2010 so I can get a chance to watch him in person prior to him taking over as the Dodgers starting shortstop in 2012.


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