Archive for February, 2012

My top 200 Dodger Prospects heading into the 2012 Season

February 27, 2012

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/13/10

5’8”, 170 lbs, 20.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/26/2010

6’0”, 187 lbs, 21.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers prior to 2011 season

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 2/8/11

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/26/10

6’2”, 185 lbs, 19.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 33rd round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers prior to 2011 season

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/27/04

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in 2011

6’3”, 180 lbs, 19.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 35th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/13/10

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 49th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 40th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/14/10

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 11/5/09

6’0”, 179 lbs, 22.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 11/17/10

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/29/09

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

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/10

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

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/7/2010

6’3”, 180 lbs, 22 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in August 2011 as a Non Drafted FA

6’6”, 215 lbs, 24.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/26/10

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 23rd round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 2/17/11

6’5”, 175 lbs, 22.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/6/10

6’4”, 210 lbs, 25 years old

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/7/10

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 48th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/30/09

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

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

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

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

 

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

Signed 7/1/10 as Non Drafted Free Agent

6’0”, 200 lbs, 25.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 2/8/11

5’11”, 185 lbs, 21 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 11/26/09

5’11”, 171 lbs, 22.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 6/9/10

6’3”, 190 lbs, 20.75 years old

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

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

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

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

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

6’0”, 185 lbs, 25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/29/09

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 34th round

6’4”, 225 lbs, 24 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 35th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 25th round

5’11”, 187 lbs, 25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season

6’3”, 170 lbs, 18.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in 2011 as a minor league free agent

6’3”, 225 lbs, 24.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 47th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 21.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 6/1/09

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 6/26/09

6’4”, 208 lbs, 20 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 28th round

5’10”, 175 lbs, 23.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Acquired in 2009 minor league portion of Rule 5 draft

6’1”, 210 lbs, 24.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 21st round

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

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

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

 

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

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

Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season

6’2”, 190 lbs, 17.75 years old

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

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

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

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

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

6’2”, 170 lbs, 23.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/19/09

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 32nd round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 8/20/10

6’2”, 150 lbs, 19.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/11/07

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 6/27/08

6’4”, 250 lbs, 27 years old

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

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

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

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

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

5’11”, 185 lbs, 23.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/30/09

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

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

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

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

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

Signed 6/28/10 as Non Drafted Free Agent

6’2”, 165 lbs, 24.25 years old

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

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

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

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

PTNL in trade for Dotel

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 13th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 12/5/07

6’2”, 190 lbs, 26 years old

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

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

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 38th round

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

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

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

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

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

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

6’4”, 235 lbs, 23.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 24th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/29/09

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 36th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 41st round

6’11”, 235 lbs, 24 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 27th round

6’2”, 215 lbs, 24.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 9th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’3”, 195 lbs, 20 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 46th round

6’6”, 250 lbs, 26.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 23rd round

6’4”, 215 lbs, 22.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 35th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 23 years old

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season

6’0”, 194 lbs, 20 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 26th round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 22 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 3/10/10

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07

6’3”, 178 lbs, 22 years old

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers before the 2008 season

6’2”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 16th round

6’3”, 205 lbs, 23.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 14th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07

5’11”, 145 lbs, 20.75 years old

Did not play in 2011

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

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

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

Signed as a minor league free agent in Dec 2011

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

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/14/03

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 4/8/08

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 7/6/07

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 11/1/09

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 15th round

6’5”, 215 lbs, 22.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 5/6/09

6’4”, 170 lbs, 21.75 years old

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

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

 

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 6th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 7/8/05

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

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/25/10

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in August 2011 out of the Mexican League

5’7”, 145 lbs, 21.5 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/09

6’3”, 184 lbs, 19 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 2/22/08

6’0”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 10th round

6’3”, 215 lbs, 24.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 6/16/09

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 28th round

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

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

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

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 39th round

6’2”, 185 lbs, 23.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 9th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 8th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 6th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 24.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 21.5 years old

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

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

 

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 33rd round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season

6’1”, 170 lbs, 17.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 24th round

6’4”, 205 lbs, 23.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 11th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 9th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/09

6’0”, 193 lbs, 19.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 16th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.25 years old

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

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

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 7th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season

5’10”, 165 lbs, 18 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 18th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 16th round

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

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 2/2/10

6’4”, 215 lbs, 27.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 10th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 25th round

6’6”, 185 lbs, 24.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers prior to the 2011 season

6’0”, 205 lbs, 22 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 12th round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 22nd round

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

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

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

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

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

Obtained in a trade for Dana Eveland

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 9th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 8th round

6’0”, 190 lbs, 22.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 8th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 15th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 18th round

6’2”, 175 lbs, 24.75 years old

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

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

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

 

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/3/07

6’4”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/09

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 9/26/06

6’3”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

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

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

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

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

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

6’2”, 220 lbs, 24 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 11/22/08

6’0”, 195 lbs, 21.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 7th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 23.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 10/20/03

6’4”, 175 lbs, 26 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 29th round

6’3”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old

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

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

 

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 5th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/2/08

6’1”, 150 lbs, 20.75 years old

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05

6’2”, 166 lbs, 24.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 14th round

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

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

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

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

 

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

Obtained in a trade for Dana Eveland

6’3”, 230 lbs, 22.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 19th round

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

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

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

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 17th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 23.25 years old

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

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

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 19th round

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 17th round

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/29/09

6’1”, 175 lbs, 21.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson

6’3”, 210 lbs, 25.25 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 6th round

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

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

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

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

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

Trade with Mets for Hu

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.5 years old

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 15th round

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 21st round

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 24.25 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/22/07

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 7th round

6’5”, 225 lbs, 25.5 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 22.25 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Signed by Dodgers 1/18/08

6’0”, 177 lbs, 22 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 3rd round

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 12th round

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed as a minor league free agent in Dec 2011

6’1”, 200 lbs, 25.25 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 12th round

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 3rd round

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 17th round

6’1”, 205 lbs, 24 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 7th round

6’4”, 160 lbs, 21.25 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Signed as a minor league free agent in Nov 2011

6’1”, 205 lbs, 27 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 31st round

6’5”, 210 lbs, 21.75 years old

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

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

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

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

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

Acquired via trade with Cubs in April 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 5th round

6’0”, 170 lbs, 22.25 years old

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

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

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

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

 

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

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 2nd round

6’1”, 197 lbs, 20.5 years old

No stats in 2011

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

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

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

31.  Ivan DeJesus, 2B (100 games in AAA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

5’11”, 200 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.310 average, .820 OPS, 8 HR’s, 59 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 25; Pre 2010 Rank: 13; Pre 2009 Rank: 5

Is there a more controversial Dodger prospect than Ivan DeJesus?  The 2005 2nd round pick was well on his way to Los Angeles after an outstanding 2008 season in AA as a 21 year old, but as we all know a broken leg during spring training in 2009 cost him the season and has never really allowed DeJesus to return to his full potential.  Ivan has spent the last two seasons in AAA, and while he’s posted very good stats for the Isotopes the reality is that he’s done most of his offensive damage at home in Albuquerque’s hitter friendly park.  He is also mostly limited to 2nd base now, although he did spent some time at 3rd last season (but posted a .818 fielding %) and can play his former position of shortstop in a pinch.  He did make his major league debut last season for the Dodgers when Furcal went down for an injury in April, but he was used very sparingly and managed just 6 singles in 32 at bats.  He was also excluded from the September call ups, and there have been questions about his attitude and work ethic throughout his career.  Overall DeJesus projects to be a gap hitter at the big league level with the potential to hit for a solid average, but he doesn’t have any speed and his defense abilities are more limited than your typical big league utility player.  Unless injuries plague the rest of the roster Ivan will return to AAA in 2012 where he’ll again wait for a chance to return to Los Angeles.  Given that he seems to have been passed on the depth chart Justin Sellers, however, he might have to wait for while.

Why #31:  I never know where to rank DeJesus.  He’s put up strong numbers at AAA but I don’t think he’ll be more than a .260 hitter at the big league level with limited power potential.  Combine that with his defensive limitations and a historically poor attitude and I’m not sure how much value has to a big league team.

30.  Juan Rodriguez, RHP (76 IP in LoA in 2011, including 59 IP with Red Sox)

Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson

6’5”, 195 lbs, 23.25 years old

3-5, 4.38 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 2.92 FIP, 12.79 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

There’s something about Juan Rodriguez that I like.  The hard throwing right hander was acquired by the Dodgers as part of the Trayvon Robinson trade, and what he lacks in control he makes up for with velocity.  Signed by the Red Sox as a 19 year old out of the Dominican Republic, Juan dominated the DSL for two seasons before getting promoted to the Red Sox Gulf Coast team in 2010.  After a solid US debut Rodriguez was sent to the Sally League in 2011 and had a 5.19 ERA prior to be shipped to the Dodgers.  Upon joining the Loons, however, Juan posted a 1.59 ERA over 17 frames and allowed just 6 hits for a .105 batting average against.  At the time of the trade, Ned Colletti said “Rodriguez has power stuff and is still very young. He has potential to develop into a solid late-inning reliever.”  Here is video of him throwing for the Loons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fELvgmbS9a0).  In addition to an upper 90’s fastball, Rodriguez throws a slider and a changeup, but by all accounts his secondary pitches are fringy at best.  He has good movement on his fastball, however, which is what allows him to strike out so many batters.  Overall I love Rodriguez’s projectable frame, and because he is still just 23 I feel that he’ll be able to improve upon his control and slider with good coaching.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers challenged Rodriguez with an assignment to AA in 2012, and like Ned Coletti I think Juan could eventually be a late inning reliever for the Dodgers.

Why #30:  Rodriguez’s performance with the Loons showed that he could be something special, and I especially love his projectable frame.  If he can fine tune just one of his secondary pitches then I think he could reach his potential of a late inning reliever.  If his secondary pitches remain fringy, however, then it’s unlikely that he’ll succeed at the higher levels of the minor leagues.

29.  Josh Wall, RHP (68.2 IP in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round

6’6”, 220 lbs, 25 years old

4-5, 3.93 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 3.99 FIP, 7.47 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 61; Pre 2010 Rank: 57; Pre 2009 Rank: 49

Josh Wall signed with the Dodgers out of high school in 2005 as a 2nd round pick for $500,000 and spent the first 6 professional seasons as a middling starting pitcher.  2011 brought about quite a few changes for Josh, however, because after four years in Class A the Dodgers finally decided to move him to AA, and they also changed his role from starter to reliever.  Wall responded with his best season to date, posting an ERA below 4 for the first time since 2005 while providing the Lookouts with a solid bullpen arm.  While his overall stats weren’t all that impressive, he did add a few ticks to his fastball and was rumored to be hitting 100 mph in some outings.  After the season Wall was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he had even more success as he posted a 2.16 ERA over 8.1 frames against baseball’s best prospects.  Here he is throwing for the Salt River Rafters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLIh4tMHuQo).  In addition to his strong fastball, Josh throws a hard slider along with a decent curveball and a fringy changeup.  His overall potential as a reliever was too much for the Dodgers to ignore as they added him to the 40 man roster this past November.  He was also invited to the Winter Development camp this past January along with several of the organizations other prospects.  While there is currently no room for Josh in the big league bullpen, Wall is definitely an option to join the Dodgers at some point during the 2012 season.  Given his age and experience the Dodgers probably won’t be afraid to send him to AAA despite the tough pitching conditions.

Why #29:  After 7 minor league seasons, Wall has finally become relevant as a prospect thanks to his newfound success as a reliever and a fastball that apparently can reach triple digits.  I’ve always liked Wall’s size and draft pedigree, and I’m glad that he’s found a home in the bullpen because that should allow him to eventually make it to the big leagues.  He doesn’t seem to the stuff of a closer but I think his ceiling is that of a big league middle reliever.

28.  Scott Barlow, RHP (1.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 6th round

6’4”, 170 lbs, 19.25 years old

0-1, 27.00 ERA, 4.20 WHIP, 13.40 FIP, 5.40 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

I’m usually a big fan when the Dodgers draft high school arms, but when I heard that the Dodgers picked Scott Barlow in the 6th round of this past draft I wasn’t overly excited.  High school players picked in the top 10 rounds of the draft are usually dominant in the prep career, but Barlow didn’t have eye popping stats as he went 7-4 with a 3.17 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 64 innings as a senior at Golden Valley High in Santa Clarita.  In addition, reports were that his fastball maxed out in the high 80’s, and that he had some attitude problems during his high school career.  However I partially changed my mind about Barlow’s potential after reading that he had added significant muscle after the draft and was hitting 94 mph in the Dodgers offseason instructional league.  Besides his newly improved fastball, Scott also has a strong curveball, a slider, and a changeup, so he apparently has enough offerings to remain in the rotation.  According to a Baseball America offseason chat with Jim Shonerd, Barlow should be considered one of the Dodgers best sleeper prospects, and I also learned in that chat that the Dodgers were also encouraged by his clean mechanics and feel for pitching.  Barlow will be just 19 years old during the 2012 season so I’m guessing the Dodgers will take it slow with Scott and keep him in the Arizona Rookie League for a full season.  As mentioned above I’m encouraged by the recent reports on his stuff so I definitely think that he should be considered a legitimate prospect going forward.

Why #28:  Before reading about Barlow’s improved fastball I was ready to rank him in the 40 to 50 range, but obviously he’s now moved up a few spots.  I still don’t have him as high as some other publications, however, because I’ve yet to see how his different pitches will work against professional hitters.  I’m also worried a bit about reports about his attitude problems.  If everything goes according to plan I believe his ceiling is that of a #3 starter, but that potential is a long ways off.

27.  Leon Landry, CF (125 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 3rd round

5’11”, 185 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed

.250 average, .667 OPS, 4 HR’s, 41 RBI’s, 28 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 21; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Leon Landry played his college ball at LSU, and although he helped the Tigers win the 2009 College World Series he was overshadowed by several players on that team.  That changed in 2010 as he established himself as a more elite player by hitting .338 with 6 homers and 16 stolen bases, striking out just 25 times in 240 at bats, and making just one error in center field.  The Dodgers selected him in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft and Landry signed quickly for about $285K.  Leon made his professional debut in the Pioneer League and had an outstanding season for the Ogden Raptors, ranking among the league leaders in several offensive categories and hitting very well both at home and on the road.  He also showed that he was an outstanding defender, and according to Raptor radio man Brandon Hart “Landry should be defined by his defense.  It is what got him drafted in the 3rd round.  He has a second gear in the field.”  In 2011 Landry moved up to the Midwest League, but unfortunately like a lot of his Loons’ teammates his numbers fell dramatically in LoA.  He was only able to match his 2010 home run total despite aggregating more than double the at bats, and his OPS fell more than 240 points.  On the plus side he stole 28 bases, continued to play solid defense in center field, and struck out in just 12.1% of his plate appearances.  In addition, he was incredibly consistent as he not only hit .250 for the season, but batted exactly .250 in April, May, and July.  Overall Neon Leon’s potential probably falls somewhere in between the outstanding athlete we saw in 2010 and the disappointing player we saw in 2011.  His defense definitely has big league potential so he just needs to learn a more consistent approach at the plate.  Still just 22, I think Landry will move up to HiA in 2012 where he’ll roam center field for the Quakes.

Why #27:  Similar to last year, I think Landry has the ceiling as a solid defensive outfielder at the big league level who can play either left or center and hit .280 with about 10 homers and 25 stolen bases per year.  While he fell off the map for some, I still like his potential and think he just needed to adjust to playing baseball over an entire 140 game schedule.

26.  Scott Schebler, OF (70 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 26th round

6’1”, 208 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed

.285 average, .853 OPS, 13 HR’s, 58 RBI, 1 SB

Pre 2011 Rank: 27; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers selected Scott Schebler in the 26th round of the 2010 draft after a huge season at Des Moines Area CC where he hit .446 with 20 jacks and 82 RBI’s.  However his asking price to sign was $300K – $500K and he had a strong commitment Wichita State, so both Scott and the Dodgers played the waiting game.  After getting drafted Schebler participated in the Northwoods League, a wood bat college summer league, to boost his stock.  He did just that as he smacked 10 more homers in just 218 at bats.  While negotiations went down the wire, the Dodgers eventually signed Schebler for $300K and a commitment to pay for his college.  Scott played in just 5 games for the Dodgers in 2010 because he signed so late, so 2011 was really our first real look at Schebler.  He spent the year in the Pioneer League and quietly had a very good season for Ogden, tying for the team lead with 13 homers while posting a .853 OPS.  Check out one of his at bats here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OLOCD_tHy4).  He was outstanding with runners on base, and ended the season on a hot streak.  He also answered some questions about his defense as he spent almost all his time in right field and posted the best fielding percentage of all the outfielders.  The one surprise about his season was the fact that he only stole one base, especially because Baseball America described him as having plus speed in their pre-draft report.  In addition Schebler posted a very low walk rate and ended up K’ing in 30.8% of his plate appearances, which isn’t a good combination.  Despite those negatives, I still see Schebler as a very exciting athlete that has a lot of potential.  He’ll definitely move up to a full season league next season and hopefully he’ll show improvement in the various aspects of his game now that he has a full season of experience under his belt.  I expect him to spend 2012 with the Loons where he’ll be an intriguing guy to follow.

Why #26: While Schebler got lost in the mix of good Raptor team and seems to have fallen off the prospect radar despite a strong season, I am holding fast on my ranking of the outfielder.  His lack of stolen bases concerns me because I thought that would be a big part of his game at the next level, but I still think he could mature into a power and speed guy who can handle any of the outfield positions.  His ceiling would be that of a major league player with 20 – 20 potential, but that’s obviously a long way off and he’s definitely going to need to improve his contact rate next season.

25.  Scott Van Slyke, RF (130 games in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 14th round

6’5”, 220 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.348 average, 1.022 OPS, 20 HR’s, 92 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 55; Pre 2010 Rank: 28; Pre 2009 Rank: 123

For Scott Van Slyke, things just seem to take a little longer.  Drafted way back in 2005, Scott muddled through several seasons including a very average performance in the California League in 2008.  When he returned to HiA in 2009, however, Van Slyke had a breakout season that included 23 homers, 100 RBI’s, and a .907 OPS.  That earned him a promotion to AA in 2010, but he got off to a slow start in his new environment and was sent back down to HiA where he again found success.  Van Slyke got another shot at the Southern League in 2011, and just like with HiA he broke out in his second go-around.  This time Scott really set the world on fire as he led the Lookouts in every significant offensive category except for runs and stolen bases, and even won the league batting title with a .348 average.  As Ken Gurnick pointed out in a recent article, the change for Van Slyke came when he started taking baseball seriously.  You can read all about it here (http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120130&content_id=26513908&vkey=news_la&c_id=la), but overall he says he is now more committed to the game.  Defensively Scott can play both outfield and 1st base, although he’s merely average at both positions and probably can’t handle center or right field at the big league level.  I got a good look at Van Slyke during the Winter Development Program last month, and I was impressed with how big he was and how much he looked like a ball player.  I’ll admit that his appearance helped bump him up a few spots in my rankings, although I’m still not one of his biggest fans so I still probably have him lower than most.  Now that he’s on the 40 man roster, Van Slyke will have a bigger spotlight on him in 2012 so we’ll see how he responds to that.  He’ll most likely play in the hitter’s paradise known as Albuquerque, so I do expect him to continue to put up big numbers.  I’m not sure how his success in the minors will translate in the big leagues, however, so for now I think he’ll be a bench player at best.

Why #25:  Van Slyke has definitely improved over the past few seasons, but I just don’t see him as a big league starter.  He’ll probably make his MLB debut in 2012 and could eventually be a bench player, but given his struggles with new environments (another example was this past winter when he hit .194 in the Venezuelan Winter League) he could have a lot of trouble getting enough playing time at the big league to get comfortable enough to have success.

24.  Alex Castellanos, OF (125 games in AA in 2011, although 93 of those games were with the Cardinals organization)

Trade with Cardinals for Rafael Furcal

5’11”, 180 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed

.320 average, .958 OPS, 23 HR’s, 85 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers obtained Alex Castellanos from the Cardinals in exchange for Rafael Furcal.  Most fans didn’t expect Los Angeles to get anything more than salary relief for Furcal, so the fact that the Dodgers also got a decent prospect was icing on the cake.  Since joining the organization, Castellanons has been a controversial prospect because he is loved by some, but ignored by others.  He hit .322 after joining the Lookouts with a 1.009 OPS over 121 at bats, but he was one of the older players in the Southern League and didn’t have a whole lot of success in previous years.  After the season he was sent to the AFL and started off on fire, but an oblique injury sent him home after just 8 games.  I personally think Castellanos’ value lies in his ability to play the infield because as a 25 year old outfielder he is just another big league bench player.  That being said, I don’t think he has what it takes to play 2nd base or 3rd base because if he had that ability he would have been playing there already.  I got a chance to watch Alex practice in person during the Dodgers winter development program, and physically he did not impress me at all.  He actually reminded me a bit of another Alex, Alex Cora, albeit with more power.  While I was there Tommy Lasorda did specially ask that he get some extra reps in the batting cage and he did hit the ball pretty well, but I just don’t see him as being a power threat at the big league level.  He’ll almost certainly spend 2012 in AAA, but now that he’s on the Dodgers’ 40 man roster he’ll probably see Los Angeles at some point next season.

Why #24:  As mentioned above I was not impressed with Castellanos physical appearance, and although there is no denying his impressive stats in 2011 you do have to remember that he was already 25 years old when the season ended.  He may eventually be a useful big league player and he has the ceiling of a starting outfielder, but I don’t think he’ll ever show significant power and he doesn’t really have any other plus skills.  Unless he can truly transition to the infield then I’m going to keep him out of my top 20.

23.  Ryan O’Sullivan, RHP (8.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 4th round

6’2”, 190 lbs, 21.5 years old

0-1, 6.48 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 5.72 FIP, 5.40 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After declining to sign with the Giants out of high school as a 10th round pick, Ryan O’Sullivan decided to attend San Diego State and as a freshman in 2009 he was in the same rotation as Stephen Strasburg.  While he struggled during that first season to the tune of a 6.79 ERA, the Aztecs believed he would eventually take over as the staff ace.  Unfortunately he injured his elbow in his first appearance of 2010, however, which caused him to miss the entire season.  Struggles with grades forced him to transferred to Oklahoma City College, but upon arriving it was discovered he couldn’t get an academic release to play in 2011.  Despite another missed season, O’Sullivan was eligible for the 2011 draft and threw bullpen sessions for several teams.  The Dodgers were among the teams scouting Ryan, and took a flyer on him with their 4th round pick.  Per Baseball America he apparently had issues with his post draft physical, but instead of going through another year of college he decided to sign for a below slot deal of $100,000.  O’Sullivan made his professional debut in the Pioneer League, but he only threw 8.1 innings over 3 appearances so the sample size is too small to analyze.  There are solid scouting reports about his stuff, however, and per Baseball America he has a quality 4 pitch mix.  His fastball sits in the low 90’s and peaks and 95 mph, while his slider is his best secondary offering.  He also throws a show-me curveball and a circle change.  Ryan, whose brother Sean O’Sullivan has thrown 193 big league innings with the Angeles and Royals, will almost certainly start 2012 in the Loons rotation, but they will probably limit his innings give that he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2009.  Given his lack of experience and injury history he is a bit of a wildcard, but if he reaches his full potential then he seems to have the stuff to be a middle of the rotation starter.

Why #23:  When a guy has better pure stuff than his brother who has already made it to the big leagues, you have to like his changes.  That being said Ryan’s injury history make him a bit of a question mark and caused him to fall a bit in my rankings.  At his best he could be a middle of the rotation starter, but he is still a long way off from that ceiling.

22.  Griff Erickson, C (41 games in AA, 63 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 15th round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 24 years old, switch hitter

.293 average, .866 OPS, 13 HR’s, 66 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 62; Pre 2010 Rank: 45; Pre 2009 Rank: 103

Ever since he was selected in the 15th round of the 2006 draft, I’ve always had high aspirations for Gorman “Griff” Erickson.  After hitting just .215 with 2 homers and a .619 OPS for the Loons in 2010, however, it was tough to consider Erickson a legitimate prospect.  That all changed in 2011 after Griff was sent to the California League and had by far his best season to date.  The big backstop only played 63 games for the Quakes because he was promoted to AA in early July, but he made the most of his time in Rancho with a .305 average and a .899 OPS.  Griff also had a knack for getting on base with an OB% over .400, and showed a great eye as he walked almost as much as he struck out.  After joining the Lookouts, Erickson smacked 7 homers in just 41 games and posted a .808 OPS in his first taste of the Southern League.  He also continued to show improved defense while in AA and threw out 32% of would be base-stealers.  After the season the switch hitter was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he struggled through 19 games, but the exposure to advanced pitching will be beneficial to him in the long run.  Here he is batting right handed for the Salt River Rafters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJEsvRNWIkQ), here he is hitting left handed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUQV6b2ICww&feature=related), and here’s a look at his receiving skills (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZboPf6dWqg0&feature=related).  Griff will be 24 years old when the 2012 season begins, so he is still quite young.  He’ll probably return to AA where he’ll be the Lookouts’ main catcher, and other strong campaign should get him added to the 40 man roster next offseason.  He’ll get a chance to show off in front of Dodgers management before then, however, because he was invited to the 2012 big league spring training.  Overall Griff has more upside than fellow minor league catcher Tim Federowicz, but he’s less polished and has a lower chance of reaching his full potential.

Why #22:  What’s not to love about a big switching hitting catcher coming off his best season?  Especially when he held his own during his first taste of AA as a 23 year old?  The only thing keeping him out of my top 20 is the fact that he hadn’t shown much potential prior to this season, so I’m a bit worried that he’ll return to his career averages in the future.

21.  Alex Santana, 3B (50 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 2nd round

6’4”, 200 lbs, 18.5 years old, bats right handed

.238 average, .636 OPS, 1 HR, 19 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After making Ralston Cash a surprise 2nd round pick in 2010, the Dodgers made another interesting decision in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft when they selected Alex Santana. Despite being picked #73 overall, Santana wasn’t ranked among the top 200 draft prospects by Baseball America.  In fact, in BA’s state by state rankings, Santana was only the 72nd best draft prospect in the state of Florida.  The Dodgers love bloodlines, however, so they made the son of form big league shortstop Rafael Santana their pick.  Don’t get me wrong Santana is an intriguing player.  He is extremely young and very raw, and he has some very interesting tools.  Scouts say that he has strong wrists, is a good line drive hitter, and has good speed.  He also projects to have above average power thanks to plus bat speed.  Santana struggled during a 50 game debut in the Arizona Rookie League, posting a lowly .636 OPS and striking out in 31.2% of his plate appearances.  He played almost the entire season as a 17 year old though so getting off to a slow start was expected, and he did have some bright spots as he stole 8 bases and ranked 3rd on the team with 30 runs scored.  In terms of his defense, Alex was a shortstop in high school but has obviously outgrown the position.  Now a 3rd baseman, Santana was still trying to learn the position during his debut season as he posted an ugly fielding percentage of .832 and made 17 errors in just 38 games.  The good news is that he is expected to have the athleticism and arm to stick at the hot corner.  Looking ahead to 2012, I can’t see Santana being ready for a full season league.  Therefore I expect him to stay in extended spring training before playing the year in Ogden with the Raptors.
Why #21:  I really like Santana’s potential and think he could be a solid major leaguer one day, but he could just as easily turn into just another organizational player.  It’s tough to rank such a young player, but his bloodlines and power potential caused me to rank him in the top 20.  His uncertainly and youth won’t allow me to rank him any higher, however.  It’s very early in his career, but I currently see his ceiling as a big league 3rd baseman with 20 homer potential and a .280 average.

 

20.  Kyle Russell, RF (11 games in AAA, 120 games in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 3rd round

6’5”, 195 lbs, 25.75 years old, bats left handed

.255 average, .831 OPS, 20 HR’s, 72 RBI’s, 6 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 17; Pre 2010 Rank: 14; Pre 2009 Rank: 14

Kyle Russell was the Dodgers 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft out of Texas, and after setting home runs records in college he has continued to put on a power display as a pro.  He has also struck out at a pretty alarming rate (31.8% for his career), but really that just comes with the territory for Kyle.  After earning co-MVP honors in the Midwest League in 2009, Russell made a joke out of the California League in 2010 by hitting .354 in 53 games with 16 homers and a ridiculous 1.140 OPS.  That earned Kyle a promotion to AA in June, and while his stats dropped across the board in the Southern League, he still managed to collect 36 extra base hits in just 273 at bats.  In 2011 Kyle returned to AA and he continued his trend of hitting for a lot of power while striking out a ton.  He ranked 2nd on the team with 19 homers, but K’ed in 32.2% of his plate appearances.  The good news is that the everyday right fielder also continues to walk at a good rate which helped him post a .840 OPS despite a .259 average.  He finished 2011 with an 11 game stint in AAA (which is where he where he will be in 2012), and after the season he spent some time in the AFL and had decent results (check out his long swing here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgabucHEuCU&feature=related).  At the end of the day you know what you’ll get out of Russell.  He’s been extremely consistent with his strikeouts, posting a K rate of between 31.2% and 32.4% in each of his four minor league seasons, and has hit at least 20 home runs for the past three years.  If given the chance to play every day at the big league level I think his stats would probably be pretty similar to his final line of 2011 (with a lower OPS).  As mentioned above he’ll start 2012 in AAA and could quickly become a fan favorite in Albuquerque with his power potential.

Why #20:  While I doubt that Russell will ever get the chance to play every day in the big leagues, I do think he could be a valuable left handed bench player with good power against right handed pitchers.  He also plays a serviceable right field so he wouldn’t be a defensive liability if given the occasional start.  For that reason I think he deserves to be ranked as a top 20 Dodger prospect.   I expect big numbers out of him in Albuquerque this season, and I could see him helping out the Dodgers at some point in 2013 while possibly filling the void left by Jamie Hoffmann (but with more power potential).

19.  Angel Sanchez, RHP (99 IP in LoA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 7/12/10

6’3”, 177 lbs, 22.25 years old

8-4, 2.82 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.46 FIP, 7.64 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #12

Angel Sanchez literally came out of nowhere.  Even though he was technically signed by the Dodgers in July of 2010, I would bet that nobody had heard of Sanchez coming into the 2011 season.  Even the Dodgers were confused because in their 2011 media guide, they showed that Sanchez had played in the DSL last season which wasn’t true.  In reality Sanchez was a rare Dominican player to sign after attending college, and made his professional debut all the way up in the Midwest League.  Upon joining the Loons in May he created a lot of buzz, and rightly so because the right hander had a very successful campaign.  For the season Angel posted a 2.82 ERA over 99 innings with a WHIP of 1.12.  His most impressive stat, however, was that opposing batters hit just .198 against him.  In terms of his stuff, Sanchez was equally impressive with a mid 90’s fastball, a sinking 2-seamer, a good changeup, and a developing curveball.  His frame is also projectable, and he is still quite young at 22 years old.  All that being said, I’m being a little cautious when ranking Sanchez and am not as high on him as most.  His less than impressive strikeout rate worries me a bit, and his FIP of 3.46 is pretty average.  He was also playing in a very pitcher friendly league and because he burst onto the scene there were no scouting reports on him which helped his cause.  I’ll be curious to see how Sanchez performs in 2012, especially since his most likely destination will be HiA.  If he continues to post outstanding stats then I’ll be forced to jump onboard the Sanchez bandwagon, but for now I’ll watch and hopefully even catch him pitching in person next season.

Why #19:  I’m just not sold on Sanchez, which is why I have him ranked lower than most.  I’ve seen him pitch online and he does have quality stuff and a good motion, but again I just don’t see him as a top prospect just yet.  He probably does have the ceiling of a #3 starter in the big leagues, but I think obviously a long ways off from reaching that potential and a lot can change over the next 12 months.

18.  Jake Lemmerman, SS (21 games in AA, 103 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 5th round

6’1”, 192 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed

.283 average, .785 OPS, 10 HR’s, 65 RBI’s, 10 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 19; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #16

Jake Lemmerman is a local kid who grew up in Corona Del Mar, yet he decided to play his college ball at Duke.  While he was a Blue Devil, Lemmerman built up quite a reputation for himself both on and off the field (http://bcclist.com/2010/10/07/download-duke-athlete-thesis-karen-owens/).  The Dodgers selected “Late Night” in the 5th round of the 2010 draft, and upon signing he was assigned to the Raptors in the Pioneer League.  After joining Ogden, Lemmerman had pretty much the best season possible for a first year shortstop.  Jake was named the MVP for the entire league, and definitely deserved it with the offensive stats he put up as a middle infielder.  Jake hit .363 over 259 at bats and finished the season with 12 homers.  He also ranked 1st in the league in runs (69), 1st in doubles (24), 7th in RBI’s (47), 2nd in total bases (158), 3rd in OBP (.434), 3rd in SLG (.610), and 4th in OPS (1.044).  That prompted the Dodgers to promoted Lemmerman to the California League in 2011, and while he didn’t tear it up with the Quakes he had a decent season.  He batted a respectable .293, but he only hit 8 long balls and had an OPS under .800.  I guess that’s pretty good for a 22 year old player’s first full pro season, and the Dodgers were impressed enough to promote him to AA late in the year and also send him to the AFL.  While Late Night was unimpressive in 21 games with the Lookouts and really struggled in the AFL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p7thHrJre0) (.156 average over 20 games), I’m going to cut him some slack because this was his first full season of professional baseball so I’m sure there was a fatigue factor.  He won’t have that excuse next year, however, so he’ll need to learn to cope with a long season.  I’m still surprised the Dodgers haven’t tried Lemmerman at either 2nd or 3rd base since his path to the big leagues seems to be blocked by Dee Gordon, and it couldn’t hurt to have some defensive versatility, but so far he’s spent every inning as a pro at shortstop.  In 2012 he’ll almost certainly be the Lookouts everyday shortstop and it will be interesting to see how he handles a full year of AA pitching.

Why #18:  Overall Lemmerman seems like the type of player who is going to give you a great effort day in and day out, and will post consistent yet unspectacular stats no matter where he plays.  I believe his MVP season in 2010 was a bit of a fluke, as was his terrible performance in the AFL.  His ceiling is that of a big league shortstop, and his overall 2011 season stats probably provide a good guide of what he’d post if he played every day in the MLB.

 

17.  Shawn Tolleson, RHP (44.1 IP in AA, 9.2 IP in HiA, 15 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 30th round

6’2”, 215 lbs, 24 years old

7-2, 1.17 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 1.59 FIP, 13.70 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 54; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #8

By now, most of us know the story of Shawn Tolleson.  The former travel ball teammate of Clayton Kershaw was actually considered a better prospect than the Cy Young winner at one point, but a blown out elbow derailed his career and Tolleson went undrafted coming out of high school.  He instead headed to Baylor, but he never really returned to form and as a redshirt junior in 2010 he posted a 5.17 ERA.  The Dodgers took a chance on Tolleson as they selected him in the 30th round of the 2010 draft, and ever since then he’s been virtually unhittable.  He started his career by carving up the Pioneer League in his professional debut, then started the 2011 season in LoA with Great Lakes.  Shawn only threw 15 innings for the Loons before his promotion, but those were probably the best 15 innings anyone has ever thrown in the Midwest League as Tolleson got 33 of his 45 outs via a strikeout, picked up 10 saves, didn’t allow an earned run, and had a FIP of negative 0.40.  He continued his dominance in HiA with the Quakes, and after just 5 appearances he was promoted again up to AA which is where he finished the season.  After joining the Lookouts Tolleson finally found a league where he couldn’t strike everyone out as his K/9 was “only” 11.2, but in all seriousness he continued to dominate with a 1.62 ERA and a 2.18 FIP in 44.1 innings.  In terms of his stuff, Tolleson’s cutter has become famous this year and is definitely his out pitch, but Shawn also added some velocity over the past 12 months and can now dial it up to 96 mph.  He also throws a slider and is working on a changeup to keep hitters off balance.  Tolleson will almost certainly return to AA to start the 2012 season, but he’s not far away from a big league debut.  There isn’t room for him in the current big league bullpen, but at the very least I think we’ll see Tolleson in Los Angeles in September.

Why #17:  After an outstanding season in 2010, Tolleson proved he was the real deal as he tore through the minor leagues in 2011.  While major league hitters will probably adjust to his cutter, he has enough other quality pitches to succeed.  He has the ceiling of a late inning reliever and could be a useful bullpen arm for years to come.

16.  Angelo Songco, 1B/OF (131 games in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 4th round

6’0”, 195 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats left handed

.313 average, .948 OPS, 29 HR’s, 114 RBI’s, 4 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 31; Pre 2010 Rank: 39; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #15

Angelo Songco was born in Granda Hills and played his college ball locally at Loyola Marymount.  During his junior season he led the Lions with a .360 average, 15 home runs, and 63 RBI’s in just 59 games to go along with a sizzling OPS of 1.159.  Selected by the Dodgers in the 4th round of the 2009 draft, Songco signed quickly for $225,000 and continued his torrid hitting in the Pioneer League, whacking 7 home runs in his first 19 games.  In 2010 Songco spent the entire season in LoA with the Loons, and while he showed some pop with 15 homers, including one bomb that reportedly traveled an estimated 508 feet, his overall season stats weren’t all that impressive.  That changed completely in 2011 as Angelo put together one of the organization’s best minor league offensive seasons in recent memory.  Songco led the Quakes in several offensive categories (runs, HR’s, 2B’s, SLG%, OPS), and also paced the entire California League with 310 total bases.  Songco also ranked 2nd in the league with his 29 HR’s and 114 RBI’s, while his .948 OPS placed 4th.  In addition, the lefty wasn’t a big swing and miss guy as he struck out in a respectable 20.6% of his plate appearances. Angelo’s only struggles came again left handed pitchers, but even then he showed significant improvement from 2010 as he hit 8 of his homers against southpaws and still had a respectable OPS of .769.  Stats aside, the big news for Songco in 2011 was his shift from left field to 1st base.  Songco had never been a strong outfielder, and given the Dodgers depth at the position they decided to move Songco to the infield.  From a defensive perspective his transition has been relatively smooth, but at the same time it’s going to put more pressure on Angelo since 1st base requires big time power numbers.  If he continues to hit like he did this past season that won’t be an issue, but given that his big season came in the hitter friendly California League there are going to be questions surrounding his power until he proves he can hit in AA.  He’ll get that chance sooner rather than later because he’s ticketed for Chattanooga in 2012.

Why #16:  Like most people I want to see how Songco performs outside the friendly confines of the California League before getting too excited about him.  While I do like his potential, the fact that he’s now limited to 1st base caused me to rank him a little lower than I would have if he had stayed in left field.  Some scouts believe that his home run power will turn into gap power as he faces tougher pitching, but based on what I’ve seen (and the reports of the 500+ feet homers) I think he truly has big time power potential.  For now I believe his ceiling is that of a big league starting 1st baseman with 25 homer potential, although I don’t see him as a high average guy and I think his defensive will always be limited.

15.  Blake Smith, OF (74 games in HiA, 6 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’2”, 225 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats left handed

.304 average, .948 OPS, 20 HR, 73 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 20; Pre 2010 Rank: 20; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #18

Blake Smith was selected in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft out of Cal where he was a two way player for the Golden Bears.  During his 3 year college career Smith had a .312 average with 28 homers in 158 games, and a 4.63 ERA in 62.2 innings with a 12.2 K/9.  The Dodgers signed Smith as an outfielder, and after the draft Logan White said, “He was highly touted as a hitter and a pitcher.  Just like Loney, he has a really nice left-handed swing and he’s a power guy with incredible raw power. When he worked out, he almost hit one out of Dodger Stadium — way up in the seats. Obviously he can throw and if we can work with him to utilize that raw power, he’ll be a front-line corner outfielder.”  After a terrible professional debut in 2009, many wrote off Smith as a wasted pick.  I, on the other hand, expected a rebound season for Smith in LoA in 2010 and that is exactly what happened.  Blake led the Loons with 19 home runs and posted a very solid .852 OPS.  In 2011 the Dodgers moved Smith up to HiA, and despite missing a significant chunk of the season due to sports hernia surgery Smith ranked 3rd on the team with 16 homers and recorded a ridiculous 13 outfield assists with his cannon arm in right field.  Smith also posted an OPS just under .900 for Rancho, and his overall season stats were a bit inflated thanks to a 6 game rehab stint in Arizona where he crushed 4 additional homers.  Here’s an interesting video that shows all of Smith’s first half homers from 2011 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HB275wp1gA).  After the season Smith made up for lost time in the Panama Winter League and continued to tear the cover off the ball as he led his team in virtually every offensive category and was named the league MVP.  Heading into 2012 Blake will move up to AA and will be the Lookouts everyday right fielder.  If he continues to hit for power and posts a solid average against the advanced pitching of the Southern League, then I think Smith will be a legitimate candidate to be added to the 40 man roster after the season.

Why #15: Blake Smith has a lot of value because he has the potential to be a powerful outfielder, yet also has options because he throws 94 mph on the mound.  If I had to guess right now, I’d say Smith’s ceiling is a big league right fielder who could hit 25 homers annually with an adequate batting average.  This upcoming season will give us a much clearer picture as to whether or not he’ll reach that ceiling.

14.  Aaron Miller, LHP (34 IP in HiA, 2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 1st round

6’3”, 200 lbs, 24.5 years old

4-2, 3.75 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 3.76 FIP, 8.25 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 14; Pre 2010 Rank: 9; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Aaron Miller was the Dodgers 1st round pick in 2009 out of Baylor where he was a two way player for the Bears.  As a hitter Miller batter .312 during his junior season with 12 homers, and on the mound he posted a 5.12 ERA with a K/9 of almost 11.5.  The Dodgers wanted Miller as a pitcher, and after signing him for almost $900,000 he paid immediate dividends with a stellar professional debut.  Promoted to HiA for his first full season in 2010, Miller was the easily the best pitcher for the 66ers.  He was extremely consistent all season and stuck out almost a batter per inning.  During that season, Inland Empire pitching coach Charlie Hough had this to say about Miller: “Sneaky fastball…Easy, easy delivery and the ball kinda sneaks up on the hitters. He has a ways to go throwing some breaking balls. He has good feel with the changeup.”  Despite his overall strong season in 2010, there were some warning signs that worried me a bit including a dip in velocity and struggles during a short lived promotion to AA.  That brings us to 2011, which was mostly a lost year for Aaron.  A groin injury and a sports hernia caused him to miss quite a bit of the season, and when he was on the mound he wasn’t all that effective.  His velocity fell into the high 80’s and his secondary pitches were not as sharp.  To make matters worse Miller opted for surgery late in the season, and because he waited so long to go under the knife he may not even be at full strength headed into spring training.  When at his best Miller can throw in the low 90’s and has a plus slider with a developing changeup.  He also has great control and is a smart player.  When he does finally heal from his injuries I have no doubt that he’ll be able to return to the pitcher that the Dodgers saw when they drafted.  Now 24 years old, Miller will definitely head to AA in 2012 and will try to prove that he’s still in the Dodgers future pitching plans.

Why #14:  Miller has the ceiling of a middle of the rotation starter, and also has the added bonus of being left handed.  While he doesn’t seem to have quite the upside of some of the players ranked around him, I think he is a safe bet to reach his potential if he can stay healthy.

13.  Tim Federowicz, C (25 games in AAA, 90 games in AA – although the AA games were with the Red Sox organization, 7 games in Majors in 2011)

Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson

5’11”, 200 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats right handed

.287 average, .808 OPS, 14 HR’s, 69 RBI’s, 1 SB (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #9

A lot has been a made about Tim Federowicz’s prospect ranking this offseason.  Some feel he deserves to be among the Dodgers top 10 Dodger prospects, and Baseball America agrees with those individuals as was #10 on their list.  Others don’t see how a strong defensive catcher with a questionable bat can possibly be among to the top prospects.  I fall somewhere in the middle because I do think FedEx has the chance to be a starting catcher at the big league level, but I don’t think he’ll ever be more than a #7 or #8 hitter with plus defensive skills.  Sure FedEx has more offensive abilities than a guy like AJ Ellis, but I don’t see him hitting more than 5 to 10 homers at the big league level with a .250 average.  He’s shown some power in the minor leagues, including hitting 6 homers in just 25 games after joining the Isotopes, but against big league pitching he projects more as a gap hitter.  As previously mentioned there is no doubt that he has great defensive skills, however, and for his minor league career he has thrown out 33% of would be base-stealers.  In 2012 FedEx is slotted to be Albuquerque’s starting catcher, but with just Ellis and Matt Treanor ahead of him on the depth chart he could see quite a bit of time in Los Angeles before the season is up.

Why #13:  The fact that Federowicz has already made his big league debut and could be in the mix to be the Dodgers starting catcher as soon as 2013 means he deserves to be ranked in the top 15, but I just don’t think he’ll ever be good enough to warrant a top 10 ranking.  I expect more out of the players I ranked ahead of him, but even still FedEx could be a solid player for the Dodgers for years to come.

12.  Alfredo Silverio, LF (132 games in AA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 11/13/03

6’0”, 205 lbs, 24.75 years old, bats right handed

.306 average, .883 OPS, 16 HR’s, 85 RBI’s, 11 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 40; Pre 2010 Rank: 38; Pre 2009 Rank: 28; TBLA Prospect #13

Signed way back in 2003, Alfredo Silverio always showed potential but never really had a breakout season until 2011.  Sure he hit .373 in the Gulf Coast League in 2007, but that was only over 193 at bats and he was playing in a rookie league.  He did show some additional signs of life in 2010 with the 66ers, but that was nothing compared to the monster season he had in 2011 with the Lookouts.  Silverio’s name was scattered all over the Southern League’s leader board last season, with his most impressive feat being that the lead the league with 289 total bases.  He also ranked 1st in the league with a surprising 18 triples despite failing in 12 of his 23 stolen base attempts, and he socked a career high 16 homers.  He even showed some improvement in his ability to take a walk, although that is still a work in progress as he only walked in 5.2% of his plate appearances (compared to 4.4% in 2010 and 1.8% in 2008).  In terms of his defense, Alfredo has played all three outfield positions throughout his career and was the Lookouts’ main center fielder in 2011, but his below average range will probably limit him to a corner as he moves up.  The good news is that he does have a strong arm, so he should be able to handle right field at least on a part time basis.  Now 24 years old, Silverio will probably spend 2012 in AAA and could have another big season given the friendly confines of Albuquerque’s stadium.  Now that he’s on the 40 man roster he will probably see Los Angeles at some point in 2012 and it will be interesting to see how he handles big league pitching.

Why #12:  Silverio definitely put himself on the Dodgers’ radar with a big season in 2011, but I’m not sold on him being a top 10 prospect for Los Angeles.  While he does show some potential for all 5 tools, he doesn’t seem to have any skill that stands out.  He has the ceiling of a starting big league outfielder and seems likely to make it to the majors as soon as this season, but I personally don’t think he’ll be more than a .260 hitter with 10 to 15 homer potential.

                                                                                                                   

11.  Jonathan Garcia, OF (130 games in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 8th round

5’11”, 175 lbs, 20.25 years old, bats right handed

.228 average, .710 OPS, 19 HR’s, 63 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 12; Pre 2010 Rank: 10; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #11

The Dodgers selected Jonathan Garcia in the 8th round of the 2009 draft out of Puerto Rico, and so far the pick has looked like a steal.  In his professional debut Garcia did very well in the Arizona Rookie League, hitting .305 with a .862 OPS as a 17 year old.  Sent to the Pioneer League in 2010, Jonathan was a full two years younger than any other position player on the Raptors yet ranked 3rd on the club with his 10 homers and .527 slugging percentage.  In 2011 Garcia was promoted to LoA and he started the season with a bang despite playing in the cold Michigan weather. Jonathan tore out of the gate with 7 April homers while posting a .945 OPS, and was atop the Midwest League leader boards as the month came to a close.  Garcia couldn’t keep up his sizzling pace, however, and as the weather warmed up he actually cooled off considerably.  Overall Garcia had a very hot and cold season, leading the club by a sizable margin with 19 big flies but also finishing the year with a .228 average and an OPS of just .710 while striking out in 25.9% of his plate appearances.  It should also be noted that he wore down as the season progressed, and ended the year in a terrible slump as he posted an OPS of just .380 over his final 10 games.  The good news, however, is that Garcia played the entire 2011 season as a teenager, and outside of Joc Pederson’s 16 game cameo he was the youngest player on the Loons.  In addition, after the season Jonathan was sent to the instructs in Arizona and was actually named the Dodgers most improved player in camp.  In terms of a scouting report, Garcia is not a big player at 5’11” but he has above average raw power.  He struggles with offspeed stuff which leads to his inconsistent stats, but hopefully he’ll learn to make adjustments with age and experience.  Here’s an old video of him from back in 2010, but it’s the best footage of him that I could find (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbma-29kP80).  When it comes to defense his speed is average at best, but he has a great arm and profiles well as a right fielder (his 12 outfield assists in 2011 were more than double anyone else on the Loons).  Heading into 2012 Garcia will most likely move up to HiA where he’ll again be one of the youngest players in the league.

 

Why #11: I’ve always been a fan of Garcia, and I do look at his 2011 season as a success despite his ugly average and OPS.  He showed his power potential with 19 homers and played great defense in right field.  After playing in just 102 combine games from 2009 to 2010, Garcia participated in a team high 130 contests in 2011 so obviously he wore down in his first full season.  He’s also just 20 years old, and if he continues to move up one level at a time he’ll reach AAA by the time he is 22.  My only concern is the fact that he struggles with offspeed stuff because even if he makes adjustments, he’s going to be facing more advanced pitchers as he moves up through the system.  Overall I think Garcia has the ceiling of a solid big league right fielder with 25 homer potential and the ability to hit for a decent average, so even though he’s a long way off from reaching the big league I think he ranks as one of the Dodgers top offensive prospects.

10.  Josh Lindblom, RHP (42.1 IP in AA, 29.2 IP in Majors in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 2nd round

6’5”, 240 lbs, 24.75 years old

1-3, 2.13 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 11.48 K/9 (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: 18; Pre 2010 Rank: 8; Pre 2009 Rank: 6

Josh Lindblom won’t qualify as a rookie in 2012, but he qualifies for my ranking (just barely) because I look at all Dodger minor league players with less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, less than 30 big league appearances, or less than 130 at bats in the majors.  Because Lindblom has already spent so much time in the big leagues I won’t go into as much detail about his scouting reports since most of us have already seen him pitch, so instead I’ll write more about his background.  Josh was the Dodgers 2nd round pick in 2008 out of Purdue where he was used mainly in relief for the Boilermakers.  The Dodgers drafted Lindblom as a starter, however, and then spent the next few years moving him in and out of the rotation.  The flip-flopping culminated in 2010 with Lindblom getting shelled in AAA as a starter, so management finally decided he was best suited as a bullpen arm.  While Josh continued to get hit hard in the Isotopes bullpen, he rediscovered his fastball velocity after the season in the Arizona Instructs and carried over that success into 2011.  Josh started the season in the more pitcher friendly Southern League, then as we all know got the call to Los Angeles in June 1st.  While Lindblom put up solid numbers in Los Angeles (including a 2.73 ERA and a .212 batting average against), his role heading into 2012 is a bit uncertain.  The Dodgers have an abundance of bullpen arms, and while Lindblom has an advantage over NRI’s because he’s on the 40 man roster, the fact that he has minor league options works against him.

Why #10:  Lindblom’s major league success in 2011 made him an automatic to make my top 10, but I’m a little concerned that Josh has already hit his ceiling in terms of the stats he put up in Los Angeles.  He’ll eventually settle into a more stable role and may even have the stuff to become a major league setup man, but I’m just not sure his stuff is dominant enough to continue posting a sub-3 ERA. That being said there is nothing wrong with a big league reliever giving you a 3 something ERA, and I think he’ll be a solid bullpen arm for years to come.

9.  Joc Pederson, OF (16 games in LoA, 68 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 11th round

6’1”, 185 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats left handed

.323 average, .910 OPS, 11 HR’s, 65 RBI’s, 26 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 22; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #7

Joc Pederson grew up in Northern California and was an all around great athlete for Palo Alto high school.  On the football team he was a First-Team All League wide-out, and on the baseball field he hit .515 with 8 homers during his senior season to lead his team to the Central Coast Section championship game.  He had a strong commitment to play baseball at UCS in college, and even talked about walking onto the USC football team.  His college commitment and big bonus demands caused Pederson to fall to the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 draft.  Had he been drafted on talent alone, he was projected to go around the 3rd or 4th round, and Baseball America had him ranked as the 154th best prospect in the draft.  After a long summer of going back and forth, Pederson finally signed with the Dodgers right around the deadline for $600,000.  Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 Arizona League games, so 2011 was Joc’s first real taste of professional baseball.  The Dodgers were extremely aggressive with Pederson as they sent him to LoA in late May during a roster shakeup, and while he probably benefited from the experience Joc was completely overmatched as he managed just 8 singles over 16 games for a .160 average.  The Dodgers sent Pederson down to Ogden when the Pioneer League started in mid June, and after getting off to an average start for the Raptors Joc caught fire once the calendar turned to July.  When the season was over Pederson had showed an outstanding combination of speed and power while demonstrating amazing patience at the plate for a 19 year old.  Pederson led the Pioneer League with 64 RBI’s, while his .997 OPS and 24 SB’s ranked 3rd in the circuit.  He also crushed 11 HR’s and posted a great walk to strikeout ratio while playing almost every day.  Defensively “Yung Joc” spent time in all 3 outfield positions, although the vast majority of his starts came as a corner outfielder (mostly in left) where he recorded a team high 9 assists.  I had originally pegged Pederson as a center fielder given his speed, but Baseball America seems to think that he’s destined for a corner spot.  In 2012 Pederson will return to the Midwest League where he’ll try and improve upon his .160 average from 2011.

Why #9:  When he was drafted Pederson seemed to be a complete package, and his success in 2011 solidified that perception.  As I mentioned last year I’m not sure that he has any one plus skill, but Joc’s a hard worker and he does a lot of things well.  Speaking of last year, in my 2011 ranking I said that Pederson’s ceiling is that of a major league center fielder who plays solid defense and hits .290 with 15 homers per year.  I still think that ceiling holds true, although he’s now one step closer to reaching that potential and as I mentioned above his likely destination is now either left or right field.

8.  Ethan Martin, RHP (40.1 IP in AA, 55 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 1st round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 22.75 years old

9-7, 5.95 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 4.75 FIP, 9.82 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 7; Pre 2010 Rank: 3; Pre 2009 Rank: 3; TBLA Prospect #20

For the past few seasons, Ethan Martin has been the topic for much debate.  The first high school pitcher selected in 2008, Martin’s career got off to a rough start as a knee injury didn’t allow his to make his professional debut until 2009.  After a solid season with the Loons, Martin was promoted to HiA in 2010 and that is where his troubles began.  Plagued by bouts of wildness, Ethan posted a 6.35 ERA over 113 innings and lost 14 games for the 66ers that season.  Despite his struggles his stuff earned praise from both Charlie Hough and DeJon Watson, and there was hope that Martin would turn the corner in 2011.  Unfortunately the young right hander had even more trouble finding the plate in his return to the California League this past season.  In early June Dodger management decided it was best to move Martin to the bullpen, then made an even more dramatic decision when they promoted him to AA despite a 7.36 ERA over 55 frames.  The move paid off as Martin showed improvement with the Lookouts, limiting opposing hitters to a .215 batting average and lowering his ERA to 4.02.  His still struggled with control as he walked 29 batters in just 40 innings, but was able to bear down and limit the damage against him.  Martin also struck out over a batter per inning in both leagues and has a career K/9 of 9.6.  After the season DeJon Watson had another conversation about Martin (this time with Jon Weisman) (http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7555302/los-angeles-dodgers-farm-system-bumper-crop-pitchers-rise) and again had good things to say about him.  Per Watson “Martin was a high school pitcher who hadn’t pitched much. Going into the draft, a lot of people actually saw him as a third baseman. I still think he’s going to be really good. If you look back at Roy Halladay’s career, or at Cliff Lee, you’ll see similar things; they struggled and got sent down. I think that sometimes we can be too quick to judge and end up thinking, ‘This guy’s not going to make it.’  If Ethan was throwing 88 mph, or something like that, I might say that he doesn’t have a chance, but he has one of the best arms in our system. He’s strong, but he has to learn how to pitch. That’s part of his process. It’s not mechanical, because he runs it up there and his mechanics are good. I still think he’s going to be a good player.”  To be more specific about his stuff, Martin still has a mid 90’s fastball with good movement that touches 98 mph.  He also throws a curveball, a slider, and a changeup all with varying degrees of success.  Reports are that Martin will return to the rotation in 2012 as a member of the Lookouts, and he used a stint this offseason in the Puerto Rican Winter League to get back into starter shape.  His stats this winter were pretty ridiculous (1.33 ERA in 20 innings despite 16 walks and just 10 K’s), but the sample size was small.  Hopefully he can put it all together in 2012.

Why #8:  I’ve seen Martin ranked all over the place this offseason, but I have him in my top 10 because of his pure stuff and the fact that he is still so young.  At 22 years old Martin will still be young for AA, so even if he doesn’t fully get on track in 2012 I would bet the Dodgers will add him to the 40 man roster this next offseason (he just missed the cutoff of needing to be added this past November).  I still have his ceiling as a #2 starter in the big leagues, although if he truly can’t improve his control then I could also see him as a power reliever.

 

7.  James Baldwin, OF (50 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 4th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed

.250 average, .828 OPS, 10 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 22 SB’s

Pre 2011 Rank: 13; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #10

James Baldwin might just be the most intriguing players in the Dodgers minor league system.  The son of the former major leaguer by the same name, Baldwin is an extremely athletic player who is still relatively raw as an outfielder because he played three sports in high school and also spent time on the mound.  A 4th round pick in 2010 James signed relatively quickly for $180,000, and while he got off to a very slow start in his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers he rebounded in the second half of the season and finished 2010 on the upswing.  Baldwin took that momentum into 2011 as he started off his time in Ogden on fire.  In the month of June (11 games) James hit .378 with 3 homers, 8 stolen bases, and 17 RBI’s.  Here he is hitting a triple for Ogden last season (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbPohJD1Srg).  Things went sour in July, however, starting with 20 missed games due to personal issues.  When he returned to the field he struggled to get in a groove, and although he continued to show a good combination of speed and power his average suffered and he struck out at an alarming rate.  James also had a lot of trouble against left handed pitchers as he hit just .183 against southpaws.  His swing is long at times, and he tends to struggle against quality pitching.  He’s still so young and raw, however, that I think he’ll be able to overcome this as he games experience.  To get back to the positives, James is a great defender in center field.  His plus speed allows him to get to a lot of balls, and he has a strong arm.  Heading into 2012 Baldwin will be the Loons center fielder and I look forward to seeing what he can do over a full season.

Why #7:  I’ve mentioned this before, but Baldwin really reminds me of Matt Kemp.  Kemp’s minor league numbers were more impressive and he didn’t strike out quite as much as James, but their raw tools are similar.  Due to his athleticism his ceiling could be through the roof, and I see him as a 20 homer/30 SB center fielder at the big league level.  Of course it’s possible that he never figures it out and continues to fail against tough pitching, but I’m hoping his 5 tool potential allows him to make the necessary adjustments.

6.  Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (103 IP in AA, 34.2 IP in Majors in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 11th round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 22 years old

6-5, 2.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 3.05 FIP, 8.65 K/9 (minor league stats only)

Pre 2011 Rank: 15; Pre 2010 Rank: 7; Pre 2009 Rank: 12; TBLA Prospect #3

It’s been fun watching Nathan Eovaldi come up through the Dodgers minor league system.  A bit of a sleeper pick in the 2008 draft because he was coming off of Tommy John surgery, the 11th rounder signed for a surprising $250K and had a dominating professional debut.  After putting up solid numbers with the Loons in 2009, Nathan hit a bit of a stumbling block in 2010 after getting promoted to HiA thanks to mediocre stats and an injury.  Eovaldi made 14 starts with the 66ers and despite showing flashes of brilliance at times he was mostly unimpressive as opposing batters hit .302 against him and his K/9 was just 6.1.  A strained oblique in July essentially ended his season, but Eovaldi came back with a vengeance in 2011.  An aggressive move by the Dodgers sent Nathan to AA and he looked like an entirely new pitcher with the Lookouts.  Eovaldi dominated the Southern League from the start despite being just 21 years old, posting a 3.06 ERA in April, a 2.70 ERA in May, a 2.90 ERA in June, and a 1.99 ERA in July.  That earned Nathan a surprise promotion to the major leagues in early August, and the rest is history.  He won his big league debut on August 6th by allowing just 4 hits and striking out 7 over 5 innings, then he went on to post a 3.63 ERA over 5 more starts and 4 relief appearances.  His stats were a little puzzling, however, as his big league FIP was 4.35 and he K/9 was below 6 (including 0 K’s over his 4 relief appearances).  That being said Nathan has good stuff, with a mid 90’s fastball that can potentially touch 100 mph when he’s used in relief.  As we all saw he also throws a good slider, and his 3rd pitch is a developing changeup.  At the end of the day Eovaldi’s future role is yet to be determined, although for now the Dodgers will keep him in the rotation.  There doesn’t seem to be room for him on the big league roster, so given his age the Dodgers will probably send him back to AA to start 2012.

Why #6:  Eovaldi is mostly a two pitch guy as he threw his fastball or slider 92.2% of the time (according to Fangraphs), which leads me to believe he may eventually end up in the bullpen.  If he does turn into a reliever then I believe he has the ceiling as a solid late inning guy or even a closer because both his fastball and slider are plus pitches.  If he stays in the rotation I see him mostly as a #3 or possibly even a #4, mostly due to the fact that I’m concerned by his lack of strikeouts.  He’s still young enough to develop another pitch, however, so hopefully that turns out to be the case.

5.  Garrett Gould, RHP (123.2 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’4”, 190 lbs, 20.5 years old

11-6, 2.40 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.31 FIP, 7.57 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 10; Pre 2010 Rank: 5; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #4

The Dodgers selected Garrett Gould in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft, and were able to lure him away from his college commitment to Wichita State for $900,000.  Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 games in 2009, so his 2010 season in Ogden was really his first real taste of pro ball.  While Gould showed flashes of brilliance in the Pioneer League, he also battled through a few minor injuries which left him with a relatively mediocre season.  In 2011, however, Gould took a big step forward.  Promoted to LoA, Garrett was spectacular in his first full season league was the Loons best pitcher.   “Gouldy Locks” lead Great Lakes in several categories and ranked 2nd in the entire league with his 2.40 ERA.  He also paced the club with 123.2 frames and collected 11 wins despite being limited to just 16 innings in his final 6 appearances in an effort to save his young arm.  After the season, DeJon Watson told John Weisman (http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7555302/los-angeles-dodgers-farm-system-bumper-crop-pitchers-rise) “I think [Gould] and Zach will both be pushing the envelope and challenging those guys who are ahead of them. They both have good stuff. I mean, Gouldy’s 90-94 with a very good breaking ball and an evolving changeup.  I think the biggest thing for him was trusting his secondary pitches. When he was behind in counts and he was able to do that last year, and he was starting to see the results.”  To put a little more emphasis on Gould curveball, it should be noted that it was ranked as the best in the Dodgers minor league system, and in fact most evaluators felt that it was the best among high school pitchers in the 2009 draft.  It is thrown in the low 80’s and to me looks like a right handed version of Kershaw’s curveball.  As mentioned above Gould also has a serviceable changeup which gives him a solid three pitch mix.  Early in his career there were times when Gould struggled with emotions on the mound, but hopefully he’ll continue to mature with age and he already took a step in that direction by getting engaged to his high school sweetheart less than a month ago.  In 2012 Gould is expected to head to HiA where he’ll get challenged by the hitter friendly California League.  It will be interesting to see how he responds to the change in environment, and I look forward to watching him throw in Rancho this season.

Why #5:  Gould has a very solid 3 pitch mix that should get him to the major leagues as a starting pitcher.  His ceiling is probably that of a borderline #2 starter, although a strong #3 starter is more likely.  While he’s still a ways off from reaching the show, he is still so young that he should be given plenty of time to develop.  He’s got a great pitcher’s frame and I could see him adding more strength and possibly even velocity now that he’s into his 20’s.

4.  Chris Reed, LHP (7 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 1st round

6’4”, 195 lbs, 21.75 years old

0-1, 7.71 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 4.63 FIP, 11.57 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #5

Chris Reed was a point of controversy when the Dodgers made him the #16 overall pick this past June.  Reed wasn’t considered a 1st round pick by anyone coming into the draft, and Baseball America had him rated as the #60 draft prospect.  Up until the day of the draft nobody had really even considered him an option for the Dodgers, then news broke that the Dodgers were interested in him at #16.  When the selection was made official a lot of people were upset because they believed the cash strapped organization was simply looking for a player that would sign for slot.  The Dodgers, on the other hand, stuck to their guns and said that he was the one they wanted based on his talent.  In an interview with Fangraphs Logan White had a lot to say about the pick.  You can read the whole story here (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/qa-logan-white-drafting-dodger/), but in short he said “Not to be disrespectful to the other teams, or to those players, but Chris Reed was absolutely who we considered the best guy. When we picked, there were a number of good players we passed on, and it was because we really liked Chris Reed. I think we found a diamond in the rough out of Stanford.  He didn’t pitch a lot as a freshman or as a sophomore. He pitched really well after his sophomore year, in a summer league. We followed him and were really on him going into his junior year. I like to think that we were on his bandwagon long before most people realized he was on the map.  We saw him pitch a lot. A lot of people had trouble seeing him, because he was a closer and might not have pitched when they were there. I saw him four times myself, which is tough when it’s a reliever. We felt pretty comfortable when we took him.”  Reed ended up signing close to the deadline for slightly above slot, and made 4 starts for the Quakes late in the season (including one playoff start).  The sample size was too small to analyze, but in terms of his stuff he has a mid 90’s fastball with good movement, a very good slider, and a solid changeup.  Here he is throwing at Stanford (http://vimeo.com/20156374).  He’s a big bodied guy who should be able to handle the workload of a starter, although the Dodgers will be careful with him in 2012 and will limit him to 150 innings according to White.  He’s also a smart kid who finished his degree at Stanford this past winter, so he has a lot of intelligence on the mound.  He’ll return to Rancho in 2012 and will be part of what should be a very good Quakes rotation.

Why #4:  Maybe I’m buying into the Dodgers’ hype a bit since I have Reed slightly higher than most prospect lists, but my gut instinct tells me that Chris will successfully transition to starter and will be a solid major league pitcher one day.  I see his ceiling as a #2 starter, and he also seems less risky than some of the other players in the top 10 because he also seems like a safe bet to be a solid big league late-inning reliever if for some reason he fails in the rotation.  He should move quickly and could be in the Dodgers plans as early as 2013.

3.  Chris Withrow, RHP (128.2 IP in AA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 23 years old

6-6, 4.20 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 3.85 FIP, 9.09 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 4; Pre 2010 Rank: 2; Pre 2009 Rank: 8; TBLA Prospect #6

Chris Withrow didn’t get a lot of attention in 2011, but the 2007 1st round pick quietly had a very good season despite walking too many batters.  In his second season with the Lookouts Chris lowered his ERA from 5.97 to 4.20, and he also led the entire Southern League with his 9.1 K/9 rate (among qualifying pitchers).  Like I said the 22 year old issued too many walks which didn’t allow him to work deep into games, but besides that he did everything else well.  In a recent article that Jon Weisman posted (http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/7555302/los-angeles-dodgers-farm-system-bumper-crop-pitchers-rise), Dejon Watson said “This past year was a really good year for him because he didn’t miss a start, he was durable, he repeated [his delivery] and he’s added a slider to his mix that gave him something that stayed on the plate. It seems like he’s been here a long time, but he’s right where he should be, and we’re excited about where he’s going.”  In terms of his stuff, Withrow has a fastball that can reach 98 mph, and he also has the makings of a plus curveball.  He also throws a fading changeup and as mentioned by Watson he’s added a slider to his repertoire.  His lack of control is a bit troubling, but the fact that opposing batters hit just .239 against him in 2011 is a good sign.  Still just 22 (he turns 23 on April 1st), Withrow is well ahead of the curve with 2+ years of experience at AA.  In 2012 he’ll most likely return to the Southern League where he should be able to improve his stats even further.  Now that he’s on the 40 man roster he has moved up a bit on the starting pitching depth chart, although I don’t think we’ll see Withrow in LA until September at the earliest.

Why #3:  I continue to love Withrow’s pure stuff and I think that he’ll eventually bring down his pitch counts as he matures and learns to pitch more to contact.  He has time on his side, and I still think he could be a #2 starter in the big leagues.  Even if he continues to struggle with control I think that at the very least he can be an electric reliever.

2.  Allen Webster, RHP (91 IP in AA, 54 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 18th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 22 years old

11-5, 4.03 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 3.57 FIP, 8.38 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 9; Pre 2010 Rank: 11; Pre 2009 Rank: 100; TBLA Prospect #2

Allen Webster was pretty much an unknown when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2008 draft.  He played mostly shortstop in high school, and when he was first used as a pitcher he could barely hit 90 mph.  Just a few years short years later and Webster has blossomed into one of the Dodgers best pitching prospects.  After putting his name on the map with a 2.36 ERA in 2009, Webster had an All Star season for the Loons in 2010.  He got even better in 2011 despite moving to the hitter friendly California League as he dominated in 9 starts for the Quakes, posting a 2.33 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, and a 10.3 K/9.  That prompted the Dodgers to challenge Webster with another promotion, and while his final AA stat line was a little ugly, he  was actually very good until the month of August when his workload caught up to him.  But even in his worst month of the season he still struck out over a batter per inning.  Here he is throwing in a game for the Lookouts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoq88CcXXQU&feature=related).  The most exciting part of Webster is his potential for four very good pitches.  His fastball can reach 97 mph and has good sinking action, and his slider was recently described as above-average by DeJon Watson.  He also throws a curveball, but his bread and butter is his changeup which is plus-plus.  It sits around 80 mph and features both sink and fade which at times will dumbfound hitters.  Allen will return to AA to start the 2012 season, but he seems to be the next prospect in line to Los Angeles should injuries occur.  If he does spend a full season in the minors I would call him the favorite to be the 2012 Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year.

Why #2:  With four legitimate pitches and a young arm, I think Webster’s ceiling has risen since last year as I now think he can be #2 starter.  He doesn’t have the same polish as #1 prospect Zach Lee, but he’s already had some success in the upper minor leagues and is on track to reach Los Angeles very soon.

1.  Zach Lee, RHP (109 IP in LoA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 1st round

6’4”, 220 lbs, 20.5 years old

9-6, 3.47 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 3.68 FIP, 7.51 K/9

Pre 2011 Rank: 1; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A; TBLA Prospect #1

We all know the Zach Lee story by now.  Considered by some to be the 2nd best pitcher in the entire 2010 draft, Lee fell to the Dodgers at the #28 pick thanks to extraordinary bonus demands and a strong commitment to play quarterback at LSU.  To the surprise of everyone Lee signed with the Dodgers at the deadline, and while he didn’t throw a pitch for the Dodgers in 2010 I immediately put Zach as our #1 prospect.  Lee made his professional debut with the Loons in 2011, and while he didn’t blow away the competition he did have a very solid season for a 19 year old.  He ended up winning 9 games for Great Lakes and opposing batter hit just .242 against him.  There were times when I wished he strike out more batters or issue less walks, but overall I was very impressed when watching his starts online.  Often it appeared that he was toying with hitters, although he also seemed to pitch to contact a times which caused his K rate to be a bit low.  The Dodgers got a scare in May when he missed a few weeks due to some elbow tightness, but luckily that turned out to be nothing and Zach ended up throwing over 100 innings.  In terms of his stuff, Lee is very advanced for his age and has a great feel for pitching.  He has an outstanding pitching frame, and according to a recent Baseball America article he recently gained 30 pounds of muscle which has him up to a solid 220 pounds.  According to DeJon Watson in a recent Baseball America article, “He’s got good fastball command at both sides of the plate. The slider is still developing, [and] the changeup is another pitch we’re trying to finish off for him. And he also has a curve. So he’s got four pitches, [and] the key is being able to master three of the four. If we can get those mastered, I think you’ll see him ascending as well and pushing us to make some tougher decisions”  To be a little more specific, Lee’s fastball can reach 98 mph on a good day, but he usually sits in the low 90’s and has great movement.  His slider showed a lot of promise late in the season, and his changeup is advanced for his age.  After spending the season in LoA Zach will definitely move up in 2012, and while his most likely destination is HiA I still think there is an outside chance he could break came with the Lookouts in AA.  Even if he doesn’t start the year in AA, I think he could get there at some point during next season.

Why #1:  There is probably no surprise here that I have Lee as #1.  I tabbed his as the Dodgers #1 prospect from the moment he signed, and I haven’t waivered in my opinion yet.  I still think he has the ceiling of a #1 starter, although if he’s in the same rotation as Kershaw he’ll have to settle for #2.  With 4 strong pitches, good control, and clean mechanics, he has a realistic chance of reaching his full potential.