Monday, June 27, 2011

My mid-2011 Top 15 Dodgers' prospects

The minor-league season is about half-way done and it's time to update my prospect rankings. As I did last year, I'm releasing my midseason Top 15 prospects.

All players who have not reached 50 innings pitched or 130 at-bats in the Major Leagues as of June 26 are eligible for this list.

Read the full preseason 2011 Top 30 from January.

Only five more?
Jerry Sands OF/1B (1)
Started: Triple-A Albuquerque
Current Location: Triple-A
- Sands is at 125 Major League at-bats. I'm confident he'll get five more this season, which is why I've singled him out up here. He's heated up in the last week and has a great slash line: .336/.398/.701 with 10 home runs. He would be my No. 1 prospect on this list, as he was to start the season.

1. Rubby De La Rosa RHP (5)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Majors
- De La Rosa was really good in the Southern League, posting a 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 11.7 K/9 rate. He's had some success with the Dodgers since his call-up in May -- 3-2, 5.26 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 9.5 K/9. However, his last two starts have been rough. He needs to improve his control, which he has done since his first start against the Phillies. His breaking ball needs some work, but his changeup is lights-out, when it's on.

2. Zach Lee RHP (4)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes
Current Location: Low-A
- Lee started off really strong before cooling a bit. As a 19-year-old, he's facing advanced competition in the Midwest League. He's 5-1 with a 3.47 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 8.0 K/9. He suffered an elbow injury and has struggled a bit since coming back, but there isn't much to be concerned about. The Dodgers probably won't push him to High-A this season, but he should start there in 2012.

3. Allen Webster RHP (6)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: Double-A Chattanooga
- Webster just might be my favorite prospect. He doesn't get the publicity De La Rosa and Lee get, but he just gets the job done. He started with Rancho Cucamonga and was promoted to Chattanooga as a 21-year-old. He has more than held his own in Double-A, posting a 4.03 ERA in six games (five starts), a minuscule 1.07 WHIP and 6.5 H/9 rate. He isn't striking out as many hitters as he did in the California League (5.6 K/9 compared to 10.3 K/9), but he's been quite effective. He could contend for a rotation spot in 2012.

4. Dee Gordon SS (2)
Started: Triple-A Albuquerque
Current Location: Majors
- Gordon has dropped, but not because of his play. It's because the guys in front of him have played better. He put up a .318/.361/.370 line with 22 stolen bases (in 25 attempts) for the Isotopes in the Pacific Coast League before being recalled to be the Dodgers' everyday shortstop in June. He has all of 18 games in the majors, but he's had some electrifying moments on offense and defense. He's in a slump of late, but he's still firmly entrenched as the Dodgers' starting shortstop. He'll be off this list next season.

5. Garrett Gould RHP (13)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes
Current Location: Low-A
- If Webster is my favorite prospect, Gould is my second-favorite. I've been touting him since the Dodgers stole him in the second round of the 2009 draft, saying he could, one day, be a Top 5 prospect. Well, here we are. Gould is dominating the Midwest League with the Loons: 7-3, 1.70 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 3.0 BB/9, 8.0 K/9. I'd love to see him pushed to the California League for my own selfish reasons (so I could see him in person in 2011). I wouldn't be surprised if he stays in Great Lakes and skips Rancho all together next season.

6. Trayvon Robinson OF (3)
Started: Triple-A Albuquerque
Current Location: Triple-A
- Much like Gordon, Robinson (the subject of my previous post) has dropped because some higher-ceiling pitching prospects are performing well. Robinson has been no slouch, though. He's tied his career-high in home runs with 17 already this season and has a .954 OPS. Now, the fact that he plays in the launching pad that is the PCL has an impact. However, he hits just as well -- if not better -- away from Isotopes Park. The one thing that concerns me is his K-rate, which has increased from 28.9 last season to 30.6 this season. He needs to get that under control.

7. Nathan Eovaldi RHP (28)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Double-A
- The biggest jump of any Top 30 prospect, Eovaldi has established himself as a starter in Double-A as a 21-year-old and has been dominant. He has a 2.56 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 3.21 K/BB ratio and a most impressive 9.9 K/9 rate. His off-speed pitches have improved, which has helped him improve overall. He even touched 101 MPH out of the bullpen a few weeks ago. While his future likely lies as a late-inning reliever (if he remains in the Dodgers' system), he's only improved his stock with a great showing as a starter in 2011. He's (again) made a believer out of me.

8. Chris Withrow RHP (10)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Double-A
- Withrow had a really rough April followed up by a better May. His June, however, has been excellent -- 22 IP, 17 H, 9 BB, 20 K, 2.49 ERA. He still might have the best pure stuff of any Dodger minor-league pitcher, which is what keeps him on this list. Some think he could end up being a late-inning, power reliever if he doesn't get his command under control.

9. Shawn Tolleson RHP (NR)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes
Current Location: Double-A Chattanooga
- Baseball America picked Tolleson as its Dodger sleeper, and it didn't miss (it picked Jansen last year). Tolleson has been the most dominant pitcher in the organization, posting a 0.71 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 6.20 K/BB ratio and a ridiculous 14.7 K/9 rate among three minor-league levels (Low-A, High-A, Double-A). He only has an 8.1 K/9 rate in Double-A, but that's to be expected as he faces advanced hitters. He could contend for a bullpen spot next season.

10. Jake Lemmerman SS/3B/2B (18)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- The second 2010 draftee to make the Top 10 (Lee), Lemmerman (right) was surprisingly placed with the Quakes after a great debut in the Pioneer League. He's been cold of late, but he still has a .281 batting average, a .381 on-base percentage and is holding his own at shortstop. He's playing in a hitters heaven, so his numbers should probably be a little higher. He doesn't have a high ceiling, but his floor is a lot higher than others.

11. Angelo Songco OF (22)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- I have a lot of "favorites," and Songco (left) is one of them. He isn't the biggest guy (6'0, 195), but he can put the bat on the ball. He has a .305/.363/.526 slash line for Rancho Cucamonga and 37 of his 87 hits have gone for extra bases (23 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR). His defense is just average, which limits him to left field. I'd like to see him promoted to Double-A, but the Dodgers have a logjam of outfielders in the upper levels. He should get there sometime this season. He does need to show he can hit lefties better, though.

12. Blake Smith OF (15)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- Another guy I like more than most, Smith has great power potential. A 2009 second-round pick, Smith has a .516 slugging percentage for the Quakes this season. He swings and misses a lot (29.3 strikeout percentage), which is something he needs to improve. He's almost a clone of Kyle Russell. Like Songco, I'd like to see him promoted. He plays a good right field, which helps his standing as a prospect.

13. Jonathan Garcia OF (12)
Started: Low-A Great Lakes Current Location: Low-A
- Garcia got off to a fast start this season (7 HR in April), but struggled mightily in May. In June, however, he's been great. His overall slash line is .261/.304/.504 -- pretty impressive for a 19-year-old in a pitcher's league. I'd like to see him have a strong second half and be on the Quakes' roster come 2012. I'd also like to see his walk percentage increase.

14. Aaron Miller LHP (8)
Started: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
Current Location: High-A
- No. 1 on last year's midseason Top 15, Miller is a peculiar case. He has talent and the make-up to be a good pitcher, but he's been bitten by the injury bug. He's managed just 19 1/3 innings in the Cal League and hasn't been particularly great in those innings (3.72 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 9.8 H/9, 4.7 BB/9). He needs to first get healthy and come back to have a strong second half.

15. Javy Guerra RHP (NR)
Started: Double-A Chattanooga
Current Location: Majors
- I had given up on Guerra ever contributing after last season. Not because he pitched poorly, but because he was 24 and still in Double-A and showed no signs of improving his control. He started 2011 in Double-A this season and was lights-out: 1.06 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 7.9 K/9. He earned a call-up to the majors in May and has been solid out of the 'pen. He's impressed manager Don Mattingly enough to earn save chances. He struck out 8.8 hitters per nine innings in the minors, but has yet to find his strikeout groove in the majors (5.3 K/9). He just might be a fixture in the Dodgers' bullpen the rest of the season.

The next five (in alphabetical order): LHP Scott Elbert (19), OF Leon Landry (9), RHP Matt Magill (11), RHP Angel Sanchez, (NR), OF Scott Schebler (NR)

Graduated: Kenley Jansen (7), Sands (in five ABs)
Dropped out of Top 15: Landry (9), Magill (11), Ethan Martin (14)
Moved into Top 15: Guerra (NR to 15), Lemmerman (18 to 10), Tolleson (NR to 10), Songco (22 to 11)
Biggest riser: Eovaldi (from 28 to 7)
Biggest faller: Martin (from 14 to 31)

Chime in with your thoughts here or on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment