Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Garrett Gould is back with a vengeance

When the Dodgers snagged Garrett Gould in the second round of the 2009 MLB Draft, I was ecstatic. I wanted the Dodgers to grab him with their first-round pick that year. To get him in the second was quite the steal.

His debut was short and not-so-sweet. He pitched 2 2/3 innings, giving up four hits, five runs (three earned), two walks while striking out four. It was a small sample size, so there wasn't much to worry about.

Last season, he played with Ogden and was not himself. He was battling some minor injuries which led to a drop in velocity. He was in the mid-to-upper-80s for most of 2010. His numbers were pedestrian, but he was still 18 years old.

This season, however, his velocity is back and he is dominating the Midwest League. He has a 5-2 record with a 1.83 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 6.0 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 8.0 K/9 and a 3.43 K/BB ratio. He's doing all this as a 19-year-old (20 in July). His fastball sits at 90-94 and he has one of the best curveballs in the system. He also has a changeup that could be a decent third pitch. Down the road, I wouldn't be surprised to see him add a consistent slider or cutter.

His control has been excellent this season and is a big factor in his success thus far.

I ranked Gould as the team's 12th-best prospect heading into the season (13th in 2010), but he has the ability and talent to be a top-five prospect in the Dodgers' system, a position for which he's challenging in my midseason rankings, which will come out in a month or so.

A promotion to High-A Rancho Cucamonga is not out of the question, despite his age. The Dodgers historically challenge their young pitches (especially prep pitches with good stuff) and could sniff the California League for a few innings.

With guys like Chris Withrow and Ethan Martin continuing to struggle, Gould is cementing himself as one of the best pitching prospects in the system.


What's gotten into James Loney? He hit his second home run in four games last night while raising his average to .249. Considering he was hitting .202 on May 2, it's quite the improvement. His OBP and OPS are still dismal (.293/.326), but he's had a solid month of May (.295/.354/.420). We all know he's never going to be a 20-home run guy, but at least he was hitting doubles last season (41). He has nine extra base hits in 2011. That isn't nearly enough from a traditional "power" position.

One thing he doesn't get enough credit for is digging throws out of the dirt. He is the best in baseball at that. I bet Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake would agree with me.

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