Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dodger prospects in Baseball America's top 100 since 1990

I found an interesting post on Minor League Ball where someone compiled a list of all the Baseball America Top 100 prospects every season since 1990. I'm going to take a look at the Dodgers on the list and break it down a little.

This seems appropriate as it's prospecting season and my Dodgers' Top 30 will be out in the next 2-3 weeks.
  • No. times a Dodger was ranked: 89
  • Highest ranking: 2, Paul Konerko (1998)
  • Most in a year: 9 (2006)
  • No. of times in top 10: 12
  • Players ranked the most: Roger Cedeno, 1993-96 (ranks 85, 38, 26, 57); Paul Konerko 1995-98 (ranks 45, 42, 11, 2); James Loney, 2003-05, 2007 (ranks 34, 42, 62, 44)
The Dodgers have experienced some highs and lows with their farm system over the years. In the early '90s, it was chock full of potential stars and future Hall-of-Famers. Players like Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez led the list.

Then came the run of four consecutive Rookies of the Year -- a time in which the Dodgers had one of the strongest farm systems in baseball.

From 1998 to about 2003, the Dodgers' system was stripped by trades and busted prospects. Hell, the only guy to make the BA Top 100 in 1999 (catcher Angel Pena) and 2001 (outfielder Chin-Feng Chen). This was due to extremely poor top draft choices from 1995-2001, where the names David Yocum, Damian Rolls, Glenn Davis, Bubba Crosby, Jason Repko, Ben Diggins and Brian Pilkington all were present.

The system began to re-emerge under former General Manager Dan Evans and Scouting Director Logan White. The 2002 draft produced players like James Loney, Greg Miller, Jonathan Broxton and Russell Martin. The 2003 draft was also a solid effort, netting Chad Billingsley and Matt Kemp.

Once those guys graduated to the majors or dropped off the list due to poor performance and/or injuries, the Dodger system went back into a lull. Since Clayton Kershaw graduated in 2008, the Dodgers' system hasn't been well-regarded by prospect experts. It seems like the system is ticketed for another uptake in the not-to-distant-near-future.

Here's a year-by-year breakdown of the Dodgers on the BA Top 100 since 1990 (ranks in parenthesis)

Kiki Jones, RHP (6)
Jose Offerman, SS (10)
Tom Goodwin, OF (30)
Braulio Castillo, OF (34)
Eric Karros, 1B (84)
Jose Vizciano, 2B/SS (99)
: Offerman, Goodwin and Vizciano saw time in the bigs. Karros was the 1992 Rookie of the Year and the L.A. Dodger all-time home run leader


Offerman (4)
Raul Mondesi, OF (14)
Henry Rodriguez, OF (29)
Jamie McAndrew, RHP (41)
Jones (41)
Dan Opperman, RHP (71)
Goodwin (74)
Karros (94)
Comments: Boy, they had high hopes for Offerman. Rodriguez made his name in Montreal.

Pedro Martinez, RHP (10)
Mondesi (21)
: A future Hall-of-Famer and one of the better five-tool players of the 1990s who also won the 1994 ROY.

Mike Piazza, C (38)
Martinez (62)
Mondesi (82)
Roger Cedeno, OF (85)
Comments: Another HOF'er and my favorite player of all-time in Piazza. Martinez dropped and was later traded for 2B Delino DeShields.

Darren Dreifort, RHP (11)
Chan Ho Park, RHP (14)
Todd Hollandsworth, OF (27)
Cedeno (38)
Mondesi (51)
Rick Gorecki, RHP (75)
Comments: Dreifort was the No. 2 pick in the 1993 MLB Draft behind Alex Rodriguez. Oh what might have been. All these guys saw time in the bigs, and all but Gorecki saw significant time.

Hollandsworth (13)
Antonio Osuna, RHP (15)
Cedeno (26)
Paul Konerko, C/1B (45)
Park (41)
Karim Garcia, OF (98)
Comments: The first Garcia sighting and like the previous year, these guys all made the big leagues.

Garcia (7)
Park (18)
Konerko (42)
Hollandsworth (44)
Cedeno (57)
Wilton Guerrero, SS (61)
Comments: Garcia looked bound for superstardom and the Dodgers signed the wrong Guerrero, as Wilton is Vladimir's brother. Hollandsworth won the 1995 ROY.

Konerko (11)
Garcia (20)
Adrian Beltre, 3B (30)
Guerrero (49)
Onan Masaoka, LHP (95)
Comments: Believe it or not, I remember Masaoka (No. 40). Beltre makes his first appearance.

Konerko (2)
Beltre (3)
Mike Judd, RHP (59)
Dennis Reyes, LHP (91)
Comments: Talk about top-heavy. The Dodgers haven't had two guys in the top five since and didn't prior to 1998.

Angel Pena, C (41)
Comments: Pretty sad when you think about it.

2000 (23)
Chin-Feng Chen, OF (17)
Eric Gagne, RHP (49)
Comments: The Dodgers made a splash in the international market to bring in Chen and Gagne had potential.

2001 (28)
Chen (86)
Comments: Back to being sad.

2002 (25)
Kazuhisa Ishii, LHP (35)
Chen (64)
Ricardo Rodriguez, RHP (2002)
Comments: Ishii was a free agent from Japan and Rodriguez was later traded for RHP Paul Shuey.

2003 (14)
James Loney, 1B (34)
Jonathan Figueroa, LHP (35)
Edwin Jackson, RHP (99)
Comments: The turnaround begins. Unfortunately, Figueroa never made it (R.I.P.)

2004 (2)
Jackson (4)
Greg Miller, LHP (8)
Franklin Gutierrez, OF (31)
Loney (42)
Comments: Jackson came up in 2003 on his birthday and out-dueled Randy Johnson to earn this ranking. Gutierrez is now one of the best defensive outfielders in the majors and was traded for Milton Bradley prior to the '04 season. Miller had some of the greatest potential of any Dodger prospect.

2005 (2)
Joel Guzman, SS (5)
Chad Billingsley, RHP (19)
Jackson (30)
Loney (62)
Andy LaRoche, 3B (74)
Russell Martin, C (89)
Miller (100)
Comments: Another international signing in Guzman, which has been missing from the Dodgers' farm system in recent years. Billingsley makes his first appearance.

2006 (2)
Billingsley (7)
LaRoche (19)
Guzman (26)
Martin (42)
Scott Elbert, LHP (55)
Jonathan Broxton, RHP (63)
Blake DeWitt, 3B (82)
Andre Ethier, OF (89)
Matt Kemp, OF (96)
Comments: This was the year that had everyone talking. Despite having nine guys in the top 100, BA still ranked the Diamondbacks' overrated farm system ahead of the Dodgers'. Ethier was acquired in the Milton Bradley deal while the others were homegrown.

2007 (6)
LaRoche (19)
Clayton Kershaw, LHP (24)
Elbert (31)
Loney (44)
Comments: Graduations hurt the Dodgers' minor league depth. Grabbing Kershaw at No. 7 overall helped a lot.

2008 (6)
Kershaw (7)
LaRoche (31)
Chin-lung Hu, SS (55)
Elbert (88)
Comments: Kershaw established himself as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball and was on the fast track to stardom. Hu forced himself onto the list with a breakout 2007.

2009 (23)
Andrew Lambo, OF/1B (49)
James McDonald, RHP (56)
Comments: Again, graduations and poor decisions (like trading Carlos Santana for Casey Blake) hurt the depth. Ironically, these two were traded for Dotel in July 2010.

2010 (24)
Dee Gordon, SS (46)
Chris Withrow, RHP (48)
Comments: Withrow had a horrible 2010, which will likely keep him out of the 2011 Top 100, but Gordon should be firmly entrenched on the list.

The Dodgers' farm system has the ability to turn it around with high-potential prospects like Gordon, Rubby De La Rosa and Zach Lee. It'll be interesting to see how they develop of the next couple years and how the Dodgers plan to replenish the system. Getting back into the international market would be a great start.


  1. I really hope the farm system gets back to the way it once was; one of the best in baseball. Allowing some of these kids to stay in the minors and develop is the best thing the Dodgers can do. They can't rush anyone up.

  2. Recent history says it should.

    The Dodgers have a tendency to push their high school pitchers (Kershaw, Billingsley, to a lesser extent, Withrow), so I wouldn't expect that to change much.

    It's turning around. In a couple years, I bet the farm system will once again be in the top 10.