Friday, January 28, 2011

Rafael Furcal misses MLB Network's Top 10 shortstops

Like most baseball fans, MLB Network has been a Godsend. It isn't perfect, but it certainly isn't ESPN.

I enjoy the series, "Top 10 Right Now," the network is running. While I don't agree with all the rankings, a lot of them are accurate.

I happened to turn on the TV on my day off to find the Top 10 shortstops. I tuned in at No. 4, which was Jose Reyes. I thought he was ranked a bit high but wasn't too up in arms about it.

I was wondering where the Dodgers' Rafael Furcal had placed. When the show recapped numbers 10 through two, Furcal was absent. Guys like Starlin Castro (whom I actually like) and Marcos Scutaro ranked ahead of Furcal.

Let's break this down.

Furcal's Wins Above Replacement (player), a cumulative statistic, mark in 2010 was 4.1. That was good for fourth-best in baseball. Oh yeah: he did it in 97 games!

Shortstop WAR in 2010
(click for larger view)

Now, WAR isn't the be-all, end-all, but it it's a rather significant statistic. By the looks of it, MLB Network got it really wrong in this case.

The show even had a "Just Missed" list that didn't feature Furcal.

I know he isn't the most durable guy, but Furcal is valuable and definitely a Top 10 shortstop right now.


Keith Law recently ranked the 30 farm systems in baseball. The Dodgers checked in at No. 22. He also released his Top 100, which featured three Dodgers: Dee Gordon (70), Zach Lee (91) and Rubby De La Rosa (94). They ranked No. 2, 4 and 5, respectively, on my Dodgers' Top 30 list.

Gordon also checked in on's Top 50 list, as ranked by Jonathan Mayo, at No. 44.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Grading the Dodgers' off-season

I know the off-season isn't officially over yet, but the Dodgers have done about all they're going to do this winter, save for some non-roster invites and maybe another veteran signing -- Eric Chavez.

So I'm going to grade the Dodgers' off-season moves and give brief explanations of each. We'll go in chronological order.

Oct. 19: Ted Lilly re-signed for 3 years, $33 million.
Comment: At the time, it felt like a bit much. Three months later, it's still a bit much, but it was a decent deal.
Grade: C+

Nov. 15: Hiroki Kuroda re-signed for 1 year, $12 million
Comment: This was a great deal in terms of value and contract length. Kuroda could have gotten a 2- or 3-year deal on the open market, but his comfort level in L.A. seemed to be the determining factor.
Grade: A-

Nov. 26: Jon Garland signed for 1 year, $5 million with a club option for 2012 ($8 million)
Comment: This deal surprised many -- not only that a deal was made but the fact the Dodgers were getting Garland for $5 million. He must pitch 190 innings for his 2012 option to vest.
Grade: B

Nov. 30: Juan Uribe signed for 3 years, $21 million
Comment: This deal blew then and it still blows now. There is no way this player should have gotten this deal. By far the worst deal of the off-season.
Grade: F

Nov. 30: Ryan Theriot traded to St. Louis for Blake Hawksworth
Comment: Theriot was going to be non-tendered, so to get anything even potentially useful for him was a plus. Hawksworth could make the 'pen out of Spring Training.
Grade: B

Dec. 3: Declined arbitration to Russell Martin and re-signed Rod Barajas to a 1 year, $3.25 million contract
Comment: In hindsight, this might have been a mistake, considering the Dodgers spent $3.25 million on Barajas. Still, the Dodgers didn't want to risk paying an injured, regressing catcher in excess of $6 million. Barajas got $500,000 out of Spring Training last year, yet GM Ned Colletti felt it necessary to give him a $2.75 million raise.
Grade: B- and D-, respectively

Dec. 9: Vicente Padilla signed for 1 year, $2 million (plus incentives)
Comment: His contract can reach $8 million with 33 starts or as much as $6 million with certain relief bonuses. This, like the Garland signing, was a bit surprising.
Grade: B+

Dec. 11: Tony Gwynn signed for 1 year, $675,000
Comment: This was a decent signing at the time. Now, Gwynn will compete for an everyday job in the Dodgers' lineup.
Grade: B-

Dec. 14: Dioner Navarro signed for 1 year, $1 million
Comment: The Dodgers were desperate here. With Martin gone and Barajas not a full-time catcher, they panicked and, for some reason, gave Navarro $1 million to be the backup. Curious move, especially with A.J. Ellis making peanuts and could possibly out-produce Navarro.
Grade: D-

Dec. 16: Matt Guerrier signed for 3 years, $12 million
Comment: This makes almost less sense than the Uribe deal. The Dodgers weren't exactly hurting in middle relief, especially with Ronald Belisario's Venezuelan League performance. To give a mediocre reliever who doesn't strike many batters out a 3-year deal is a bad allocation of limited resources.
Grade: D

Dec. 27: Chin-lung Hu traded to the New York Mets for Mike Antonini
Comment: Hu could have been the second infielder off the bench for the Dodgers, but it appears the organization grew tired of him and was likely to non-tender him. Antonini is left-handed, which is about the best thing one can say about him.
Grade: C

Jan. 20: Marcus Thames signed for 1 year, $1 million (plus incentives)
Comment: This was one of the Dodgers' better off-season signings, despite Thames' horrific defense. His right-handed pop will be a welcome sight off the Dodger bench.
Grade: B+

The Dodgers also had a bunch of minor-league signings and non-roster invites (not counting prospects.

Juan Castro
J.D. Closser
Roman Colon
Dana Eveland
Jon Huber
Gabe Kapler
Trent Oeltjen
Tim Redding
Eugenio Velez
Oscar Villareal

I'd be surprised if any of these guys make the name out of Spring Training. The Dodgers usually find one or two NRIs to take into the season, but the 25-man roster is pretty full as it is, so that might not be the case this year. If I had to bet money on one guy making the team, it'd be Castro because of his ability to play shortstop -- even though he's the worst player on the list.

Overall grade: C (2.18 GPA)
- The Uribe, Guerrier and Barajas deals really bring down the GPA. And I think the GPA is about in line with what most think about the Dodgers' offseason: Average, but nothing special.

It's a shame, too, after starting off well with the shoring up of the starting rotation.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eric Chavez a real possibility for the Dodgers?

Yes, that Eric Chavez. Chavez is the man who has played 154 games in the last four years, combined.

Susan Slusser, who covers the Oakland Athletics for the San Francisco Chronicle, passed along some information on her blog about Chavez's recent workout with the Dodgers.
"I heard from a scout who works for another NL team that the Dodgers were raving about Eric Chavez's tryout today; he swung the bat well and apparently looked healthy after being put through his paces."
"...I know that Chavez is really excited about the Dodgers, so I hope that's where he lands."
While the Dodgers haven't come out and said anything formally, they did bring him in for the workout, so there's obviously some interest.

Color me skeptical. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be opposed to a deal because he wouldn't cost a lot of money and would make the Dodgers use Casey Blake in his more effective role: as a part-time/utility player.

However, this is a guy who last played more than 90 games in 2006 (when he played 137).

Chavez was a good hitter in his prime and a great defender, but his last four seasons have been plagued by a multitude of injuries.

His career splits against right-handed pitchers is promising, though.

Still, it's hard to overlook the injuries. Can the Dodgers really expect Chavez to remain healthy, even in a platoon role? We'll see. It's worth the risk to bring him in on a cheap contract, but that also leaves the Dodgers in a quandary.

A few days ago, I predicted and made my case for Justin Sellers to make the team out of Spring Training. Because if Rafael Furcal goes down, Jamey Carroll and Juan Uribe are the only other players on the roster capable of playing shortstop effectively.

So, do the Dodgers bring in the veteran and hope to strike lightning in a bottle, leaving only one true reserve shortstop? Or do they give the young guy a chance and save the money they'd spend on Chavez?

We shall see.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Analyzing Baseball America and FanGraphs' Dodger Top 10 prospects

Baseball America, one of the foremost authorities on prospects, released its 2011 Dodgers' Top 10 prospects list today. To my surprise, FanGraphs also released its Top 10 today.

Now let me preface this by saying I am no authority on prospects or scouting, but the BA's Top 10 confuses the hell out of me.

I'm going to compare the two lists with each other and my own rankings, which I released on Jan. 10.

I was way off on my prediction for Baseball America's list.

Rank BA FanGraphs FKB (mine)
1 Gordon Gordon Sands
2 Lee Lee Gordon
3 De La Rosa Robinson Robinson
4 Withrow Sands Lee
5 Webster Jansen De La Rosa
6 Sands De La Rosa Webster
7 Elbert Webster Jansen
8 Jansen Miller Miller
9 Martin Withrow Landry
10 Robinson Gould Withrow

Baseball America

Where to begin? The top three are all good in my book. Dee Gordon was BA's No. 1 last year and apparently isn't concerned about his 2010 performance. So much so that BA named Gordon the Dodgers' best defensive infield prospect, despite his well-documented fielding woes. That is a little curious. He definitely has the ability to overcome his mistakes, though.

Zach Lee is getting all kinds of praise and accolades without even throwing a pitch. Rubby De La Rosa was the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

The first head-scratcher comes in at No. 4 -- Chris Withrow. Withrow, who ranked No. 2 on this list a year ago, had a disastrous season at Double-A, yet he only falls two spots. He has some of the best stuff and most potential in the organization, but it's still surprising to see him ranked so high.

Jerry Sands is a little low for my taste, as you can see, but I guess I can understand that one.

Then, the biggest "What the...?" moment checks in at No. 7. Scott Elbert is BA's No. 7 prospect.

Really? Not only is he ranked at seven, but he's ranked ahead of Kenley Jansen.

Baseball America's love affair with Elbert has been well documented, as he's been ranked in the Dodgers' Top 11 ever since 2005.
Elbert's Baseball America rankings

2005: 11
2006: 6
2007: 3
2008: 4
2009: 5
2010: 6
2011: 7
It's not like Elbert has done anything in the minors or majors to justify this ranking. It's just Baseball America's propensity to rank former first-round picks in the Top 10.

Jansen checked in at No. 8. He was No. 14 last year after pitching 12 innings. One would think he'd rank higher after dominating the minors and his 27 major-league innings in 2010. However, relievers don't usually rank high in BA's Top 10.

Ethan Martin is No. 9 and despite a season worse than Withrow (at a lower level, too), he stays in the Top 10. He definitely has the talent, bu the needs to prove it this season.

By now, you're probably wondering where Trayvon Robinson is ranked. Well, he is the Dodgers' 10th-best Dodger prospect.


Not only did Robinson break out in 2009, he followed it up with a great 2010 season at Double-A. His walk rate is improving and he's not trying to hit the ball over the fence all the time. He profiles as an everyday center fielder by most accounts, yet BA has him at No. 10.

Like I said, a lot of head-scratchers on BA's list.

The most glaring omission from the Top 10 is Aaron Miller. He was a former first-round pick, yet he didn't get the same love as Withrow, Elbert and Martin. He struggled mightily at Double-A, but he was still really good at Inland Empire.


FanGraphs' rankings of the Dodgers' top two are the same as Baseball America. However, the rest of its list is a lot less confusing and debatable than BA's.

Robinson checks in at No. 3, which is where I ranked him. No. 1 prospect, Sands, checks in at No. 4. Then, there's a run of three right-handed pitchers from No. 5-7 -- Jansen, De La Rosa and Webster.

The missing Miller checks in at No. 8, which is where I ranked him, too. Withrow's ranking is a little more realistic at No. 9.

Finally, a surprise with Garrett Gould at No. 10. I like the ranking and he'd rank higher on a lot of lists if not for his injury and decrease in velocity.

There were no glaring omissions or curious selections on FanGraphs' list.

Overall, I like FanGraphs' list much better than BA's. It seems to be based more on "right now" than "what if?"

That should just about do it for prospect season, aside from Brandon Lennox's Top 200 at True Blue LA. He's already ranked 130 prospects with 70 more to go.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baseball America's Dodger Top 10 drops Friday

Baseball America releases its Top 10 Dodger prospects on Friday. Here is my best guess at the list. It's a bit different than my own Top 10.
1. Trayvon Robinson
2. Rubby De La Rosa
3. Zach Lee
4. Jerry Sands
5. Dee Gordon
6. Allen Webster
7. Kenley Jansen
8. Aaron Miller
9. Chris Withrow
10. Leon Landry
I'll break down BA's list when it's released tomorrow. I can't wait for the Prospect Handbook, which should ship sometime in February.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Justin Sellers should make the Dodgers' Opening Day roster

Not many Dodger fans know who Justin Sellers is. Hell, I didn't really until last season.

But I'm going on record right now: Sellers will make the Dodgers' Opening Day roster.

Why? Well, the short answer is: he isn't Juan Castro.

Sellers, who will turn 25 on Feb. 1, was a sixth-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2005. He was never touted for his bat, and it showed in his first four professional seasons -- he never OPS'd higher than .701, which came in his debut season.

In his two seasons with the Dodgers, he has a slash line of .279/.365/.412/.777, mostly at Double- and Triple-A (save for a 24-game stint at Inland Empire). He benefited from the friendly confines of the Pacific Coast League, but he still put up decent numbers at Chattanooga in 2009.

As you can see, he has decent on-base ability. Being a former farmhand of the Oakland Athletics, that isn't surprising.

Sellers' main value, however, is with his glove. He's one of the better fielding shortstops in the minors.

Looking at the current Dodgers' roster, it looks like they could be an infielder short. Other than Jamey Carroll, the Dodgers don't really have another backup infielder -- especially one who can play up the middle.

Conventional Dodger wisdom would lead one to believe Castro and his scrappy veteraness would get the nod over Sellers -- and it's probably going to happen. If/when it happens, it will be a mistake.

Back in December, Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness wrote about the Dodgers' refusal to part ways with one of the worst hitters in Major League history. He said the acquisition would likely cost the Dodgers' Chin-lung Hu -- and he was right. If Hu was still around, this post would either be about him or it would go unwritten.

What do the Dodgers have to lose by giving Sellers a shot as the 25th man? Sure he wouldn't get as much playing time as he would in Triple-A, but he could surprise some folks and be a valuable glove off the Dodgers' bench.

After all, Rafael Furcal isn't exactly the most durable player around.

Here's hoping Sellers doesn't fall flat on his face in Spring Training, thus making my prediction look bad.


Evan of the New Mexico Fan blog, had a nice write-up on Sellers and his being invited to the Dodgers' winter development program.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Time for Kim Ng to work her magic

With Chad Billingsley agreeing to a 1-year, $6.275 million contract with the Dodgers today, he avoided arbitration and likely the hardest case Dodgers' Assistant General Manager Kim Ng would have this off-season.

An unfortunate bit of news to come out of this announcement is the Dodgers had zero interest in negotiating a long-term deal with Billingsley, according to his agent, Dave Stewart, and Ng.

It's unfortunate because Billingsley is the future of the rotation, along with Clayton Kershaw. People are too focused on his two poor postseason games to actually realize Billingsley is one of the best young pitchers in the National League. With the way he finished 2010, there's no reason to expect anything but a return to his 2008 form.

James Loney and Hong-Chih Kuo did not agree to contracts and both they and the Dodgers exchanged contract figures today.
Loney wants $5.25 million, the team offered $4.7 million.
Kuo wants $3.075 million, the team offered $2.55 million.
In the 10 years Ng has handled the Dodgers' arbitration cases, only two players have gone to a hearing -- Eric Gagne in 2004 and Joe Beimel in 2007 -- both of which the Dodgers won.

Ng is one of the more feared negotiators in the business and unless Loney and Kuo agree to meet somewhere in the middle before their arbitration hearings (sometime between Feb. 1 and Feb. 18), they're likely going to earn the lesser of the two amounts.

I mean, Ng was able to win immediately after Gagne won the Cy Young award for his 2003 performance. Kuo is coming off an all-star appearance and Loney is coming off his worst season as a pro. Seems like cake for Ng.

So, look for Loney and Kuo to make somewhere in the area of $4.975 million and $2.8125 million, respectively.

Ng is one of the best assistant GMs in the game and it's a travesty she hasn't gotten a general managerial job yet, which is fortunate for the Dodgers. If/when the day comes a woman is a GM, it will be Ng.


The Dodgers also made official the signings of Marcus Thames and Gabe Kapler today.

The more I think about it, the more Tony Gwynn should start over Thames. I'd say give him 4-6 weeks to see what he can do. If by that time he isn't hitting nearly enough to warrant a starting position, the Dodgers can revert to the original plan of a platoon in left field.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dodgers agree to terms with Thames, Kapler

The Dodgers agreed to terms with OF Marcus Thames on Monday. They also signed free agent OF Gabe Kapler to a minor-league deal.

I've been on board with a Thames signing since we saw the Dodgers blow their money on Juan Uribe. In fact, earlier today I passed along the rumor from Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. I also wrote about it in December after the Dodgers lost out on Bill Hall. Thames was probably the best bat available who fit the Dodgers' price range. His defense is God-awful, but the Dodgers will just have to live with it. Besides, he won't get enough playing time to not justify this signing.

Other options included Scott Hairston, Jerry Hariston and Lastings Milledge.

Kapler is just minor-league/AAAA depth. He'll probably be ahead of Jamie Hoffmann on the depth chart.

Unfortunately, this signing pretty much spells the end of Xavier Paul's Dodger career. It's sad because he always had nice talent and ability, but never got a fair chance with the Dodgers. Oh well. I hope he catches on somewhere (preferably outside the NL West) and has a nice career.

This should be the last "big" signing for the Dodgers this off-season -- and I use "big" very loosely. The fact of the matter is, the Dodgers don't have a lot of room left on the 40-man roster or a lot of money left.

If I had to guess, Tony Gwynn would get first crack at the third outfield position. His defense is quite valuable in center field and would vastly improve the overall outfield defense. If he falters in Spring Training, he's probably no better than a fifth outfielder, creating a platoon in left field between Jay Gibbons and Thames -- thusly giving the Dodgers one of the worst defensive outfields in recent memory.

Russell Martin says 'personal' issues cause of decline

Former Dodger catcher Russell Martin told the National Post of Canada that "personal issues" were the cause of his decline in the last few seasons.
"There's some things that you keep for yourself," Martin said. "Those distractions, they're personal -- personal issues in my life that not everybody needs to know about."
This is a quote from the story. I respect Martin's right to privacy and I'm not trying to pry or even figure out said personal issues. As he said, not everyone needs to know about those issues. However, unless it was something tragic or serious, can we really expect it to be the sole blame for his decline?

I have said my piece on Martin's decline. While Martin is probably to classy to say it, his overuse as a Dodger probably led to his decline as well.

I have a soft spot in my heart for catchers. I really had envisioned Martin being the leader of this organization and having his No. 55 hanging in between Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale. Obviously those visions were premature.

He's probably not going to reach that status, but he could get back to respectability -- and I hope he does.

The Dodgers will have to see if the combination of Rod Barajas and Dioner Navarro can at least match Martin's production in recent years. Sadly, I don't think the combo will.


Danny Knobler of CBS Sports said the Dodgers are interested in Marcus Thames to fill the need for a right-handed-hitting outfielder.

This needs to happen. Thames' defense, while atrocious, couldn't really be that much worse part-time than Manny Ramirez was full-time in left field. Plus, he could play 1B in a pinch. His power is intriguing and should be intriguing enough to overlook his severe defensive deficiencies.

Knobler also notes the Dodgers have "moved on" from Scott Podsednik. Thank God!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fox advances McCourt money + Dodger blog news - Winter workout, Sax, Plaschke, $1 billion?

Something that came down today from California Sportswriter of the Year Bill Shaikin (L.A. Times) is Fox is advancing Frank McCourt money on the remainder of the current television deal.

Oy vey.

Other than that, not a whole lot is going on right now. A brief rumor mentioning the Dodgers and Johnny Damon, but that died quickly.

So, here's what's going on with other Dodger blogs.

A couple Dodger blogs were at the Dodger winter workouts for prospects this week.
  • Roberto Baly of Vin Scully is my Homeboy posted a slew of photos, videos and analysis.
  • Jared Massey of L.A. Dodger Talk recounted his time at the workout.
Dodgerbobble got to meet my first favorite Dodger, Steve Sax, at an appearance on Sunday.

Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness asked how you would assemble the Dodgers' batting order.

Sons of Steve Garvey absolutely destroyed Bill Plaschke's column on the National Championship Game. When Plaschke gets trashed, it's an automatic win.

If the Dodgers were put up for sale by McCourt, the bidding could be reach $1 billion, writes Mike Ozanian of Forbes.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Top 30 Los Angeles Dodgers' prospects for 2011

Here is a list of my top 30 Dodger prospects. Baseball America will release its Dodger top 10 list on Jan. 21. Baseball Prospectus, Minor League Ball and L.A. Dodger Talk have already released its top Dodger prospect lists. All players who have not reached 50 innings pitched or 130 at-bats in the Major Leagues are eligible for this list. Ages are as of April 1, 2011.

Impact potential: B-
- The Dodgers have a lot of raw potential in the organization and some prospects could make big impacts. However, many of them are unproven and 2011 will be a telling year for the farm system.
Depth: C+
- The Dodgers have tons of depth at right-handed pitching and the outfield. They are lacking depth at left-handed pitching, catcher and third base.

Top 30 Dodgers' Prospects for 2011

1. Jerry Sands, 1B/OF (6'4, 225, 23 years old)
- Sands had question marks coming into the season -- mostly, could he continue to hit well against advanced competition? He had a .315/.401/.618 line in 2009 between rookie ball and Low-A. In 2010 at 22, he proved he could keep up his production by putting up a .301/.395/.586 line between High-A and Double-A. He was so dominant at High-A that he was promoted near the end of June. His Double-A numbers weren't as dominant, but he still managed a .889 OPS against advanced competition. He was named the organization's 2010 minor league player of the year after slugging 35 home runs (third-most in the minors). He was tried at third base early in the off-season, but that didn't last. Sands could fill a Dodger void in LF or 1B in the near future. He's athletic enough to stick at the corner outfield positions, but I see him replacing Loney at first base. He surprisingly stole 18 bases this season.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga/Triple-A Albuquerque
ETA: late-2011

2. Dee Gordon, SS (5'11, 160, 22 years old)
- Gordon is near the top of my prospect rankings for a second consecutive year. A lot of scouts are hot and cold on him. If you look at his stats, he doesn't seem to be worthy of this spot. But his exciting brand of ball and potential cannot be denied. He does need to improve his on-base skills and defense, though, to remain an elite prospect. This season will tell us whether or not he's the next Jose Reyes or Ronny Cedeno.
2010 ranking: 1
2011 location: Triple-A Albuquerque
ETA: late-2011

3. Trayvon Robinson, OF (5'11, 195, 23 years old)
- Robinson broke out in 2009 between High-A and Double-A, putting up a .300/.373/.493 line between the two levels. Some thought it might be a fluke, but Robinson backed it up with a really good 2010 season in which he put up a .300/.404/.438 line in Double-A. Comparing the two seasons, he hit for less power (57 extra-base hits in 2009, 37 in 2010), but he raised his OBP 31 points while hitting for the same average. That is awfully encouraging for a future No. 1 or No. 2 hitter. One area of concern is Robinson's strikeout rate, which was 28.9 percent last season, which was an increase from 27.1 in 2009. He'll need to cut that down if he wants to be an impact player in the majors. It's hard to argue with a .400+ OBP, though. He could succeed Matt Kemp in center field or slide over to left field in the majors.
2010 ranking: 10
2011 location: Triple-A Albuquerque
ETA: mid-2011

4. Zach Lee, RHP (6'4, 190, 19 years old)
- Lee was written off by nearly every Dodger fan when the Dodgers drafted him No. 28 overall in the 2010 MLB Draft. Many said the Dodgers punted the pick. So when Aug. 16 rolled around, no one thought he'd end up in the Dodgers' minor league system. Yet he signed and here he is. He's an elite talent. Logan White said he could be better than Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, which is high praise for the Dodgers' top talent evaluator. He has a low-to-mid-90s fastball and a changeup that some scouts call "major league-average" right now, although Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus said it is his "worst" tool. He lands at No. 4 here without throwing a professional pitch. He could advance quickly, as the Dodgers like to push their high-school right-handers.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Pioneer League Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2013

5. Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (6'1, 170, 22 years old)
- Baseball America picked De La Rosa as its Dodger sleeper prospect in the 2010 Prospect Handbook. Baseball America hit this one right on the head, as he was the Dodgers' minor league pitcher of the year. A baffling note, though, is De La Rosa was inexplicably left off the Southern League Top 20 prospect list at the end of the season. De La Rosa split time between Great Lakes and was catapulted to Chattanooga, where he was even more dominant. He had a 1.41 ERA in 51 Double-A innings. His strikeout rate dropped from Low-A to Double-A, which is cause for a little concern. De La Rosa is a unique groundball pitcher in that he has a fastball that was clocked as high as 102 mph. With a heater like that, one would think he'd strike out more hitters. But he had only 69 2/3 innings pitched coming into 2010, so he's still learning how to pitch. He is oozing with talent and potential, but he needs to develop his secondary pitches more to remain a starter. On a fun note, he was dubbed, "Giggles," by Dee Gordon on Twitter.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga/Triple-A Albuquerque
ETA: 2012

6. Allen Webster, RHP (6'3, 185, 21 years old)
- Webster was an 18th-round pick and not many thought he'd make as big an impact as he has in his career. He followed up his impressive 2009 season with a solid 2010 campaign at Low-A. His 2.88 ERA ranked ninth among Midwest League starting pitchers. He has a low-90s fastball, a curveball and a good changeup. He does need to bulk up to remain a starting pitcher. At 21, though, that shouldn't be too big a task. His delivery is clean and repeatable -- a staple of Logan White draft picks.
2010 ranking: 9
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: 2012

7. Kenley Jansen, RHP (6'6, 220, 23 years old)
- We all know Jansen's story -- a light-hitting catcher turned flame-throwing reliever. Jansen will be an integral part of the Dodgers' bullpen this season after dominating at High-A and Double-A (1.60 ERA, 15.6 K/9) before continuing the dominance with the big club (0.67 ERA, 13.7 K/9). He does need to improve his control a bit, as he walked a few too many in his debut (5.0 BB/9). He even picked up four saves as a rook. If Jonathan Broxton falters again, Jansen could end up splitting closing duties with Hong-Chih Kuo.
2010 ranking: 28
2011 location: Majors
ETA: Now

8. Aaron Miller, LHP (6'3, 200, 23 years old)
- Miller looked like one of the biggest steals of the 2009 draft after the Dodgers took him at No. 36 overall, as he showed good control and the ability to strike out hitters in his debut season. His 2010 started off great in High-A before getting promoted to Double-A. Let's just say his experience in Chattanooga was forgettable -- a 7.04 ERA in 23 innings for the Lookouts. He was demoted to Inland Empire, where he finished the season. Miller still has great ability and could have just hit a rough spot in his time at Double-A. He has a low-90s fastball and a slider. Like most all young starters, he needs to develop an adequate third pitch to stick as a starter. Worst case scenario is he's a power lefty coming out of the 'pen.
2010 ranking: 5
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: mid-2012

9. Leon Landry, OF (5'11, 185, 21 years old)
- The Dodgers chose Landry in the third round of the 2010 draft, and they may have found a gem. Landry came out of LSU and is a little younger than most guys out of college. He had a fantastic debut, hitting .349/.399/.510 in the Pioneer League. He's a toolsy outfielder with really good potential. He could end up being a regular center fielder with pop. He has surprising strike-zone discipline for a younger kid fresh out of college. With a good year against advanced pitching, he could solidify himself as a top-five guy on this list come 2012.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: late-2013

10. Chris Withrow, RHP (6'3, 195, 22 years old)

- Withrow was primed to truly breakout in 2010 and stake his claim to the No. 1 spot in the Dodger organization and potentially a big league rotation spot in 2011. Unfortunately, he forgot how to throw strikes consistently. The 2007 first-round pick had a miserable season at Double-A, posting a 5.97 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 10.1 H/9, 4.8 BB.9 and 1.74 K/BB ratio. About the only positive is his strikeout rate (8.3), but even that was down from the year before (10.4). This season will determine whether or not Withrow is truly an elite prospect. For the Dodgers' sake, here's hoping he is.
2010 ranking: 3
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: 2012

11. Matt Magill, RHP (6'3, 190, 21 years old)
- If Webster was not expected to do well in the minors as an 18th-round pick, then who could have predicted the kind of success Magill has had so far. Despite fringy stuff (average fastball, average-to-above-average secondary pitches), Magill did nothing but impress in the Midwest League this past season. He had a 3.28 ERA and the second-lowest H/9 ratio in the league (6.2). He even struck out 9.6 batters per nine innings -- a vast improvement from his first two seasons (7.1). He'll be 21 this season and could get promoted to Double-A early in the season. He's one of my favorite prospects despite not being as "sexy" as other pitchers in the system. He falls just outside the top 10.
2010 ranking: NR
2011 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: 2013

12. Garrett Gould, RHP (6'4, 190, 19 years old)
- Gould didn't have the best 2010 season at Ogden (4.06 ERA, 1.53 WHIP), but he still has a lot of potential. There were concerns about his health, as he lost some velocity on his fastball. He'll need to bounce back and show he's healthy this season in order to make a jump midseason or next season. If his fastball gets back into the low-90s, he could still end up as a No. 3-type starter.
2010 ranking: 13
2011 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: 2012

13. Jonathan Garcia, OF (5'11, 175, 19 years old)
- Garcia posted impressive numbers in the Pioneer League as an 18-year-old -- .305/.365/.527. He isn't the fastest player, but his instincts allow him to play a decent center field. He could end up in right field with his strong arm. The 2009 eighth-round pick made big strides and I'm excited to see what he does in A-ball this season. He could be ticketed for the top 10 come midseason if he continues to perform well. He must improve his strike-zone discipline.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: 2014

14. Ethan Martin, RHP (6'2, 195, 21 years old)
- If Withrow had a terrible season in Double-A, Martin had a dreadful season in High-A. Martin never got on track, posting a 6.35 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 6.4 BB/9 and 1.30 K/BB ratio. The knock on Martin coming out of high school was his control and he did nothing to prove his detractors wrong this season. He still has some of the most potential in the organization, but if he can't throw strikes, he's not going to make it. There's a slim chance the Dodgers could look to convert him to third base, as many teams liked his bat better than his arm in the 2008 draft. This season will tell us a lot about Martin and will determine his future in the organization.
2010 ranking: 2
2011 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: 2013

15. Blake Smith, OF (6'2, 225, 23 years old)
- Many saw Smith as a pitcher, but the Dodgers drafted him as a second-round outfielder out of Cal. He had a less-than impressive debut but followed it up with a solid 2010. He hit .281/.363/.488 in Low-A, including 19 home runs. His swing gets long at times, which leads to his higher-than-ideal strikeout totals. he came straight out of college, so the Dodgers could be more aggressive with him. I wouldn't be surprised to see him start at Double-A. He has good power potential.
2010 ranking: 16
2011 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: mid-2013

16. Joc Pederson, OF (6'1, 185, 18 years old)
- Pederson was a surprise signing after being chosen in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. He was committed to go to USC until the Dodgers gave him a $600,000 signing bonus. The athletic outfielder has average tools across the board which could improve as he gets more seasoning. He is currently the best Five-Tool prospect in the system. He had 12 plate appearances for the Arizona League Dodgers in which he had zero hits. However, he drew four walks while striking out five times in his brief time there. He should start in Rookie Ball and has an outside chance of reaching Low-A.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Arizona League Dodgers/Pioneer League Ogden
ETA: 2014

17. Brian Cavazos-Galvez, OF (6'0, 215, 23 years old)
- Cavazos-Galvez made a big jump this past season in Low-A. While he's a tad old for Low-A ball (23), he put up solid numbers and should be pushed to Double-A to see if he's a legitimate prospect. Cavazos-Galvez has some pop (.520 slugging) and the ability to steal bases (43-for-56). His poor defense limits him to left field, though, which diminishes his value a little. Still, he's a gap-to-gap hitter who isn't the that patient. This season will determine the rest of his career.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: late-2012

18. Jake Lemmerman, 3B/SS/2B (6'1, 192, 21 years old)
- Lemmerman had a great debut coming out of Duke University, putting up a great line of .363/.434/.610 in the Pioneer League. There are questions about his quickness and his ability to stay at shortstop, which makes me think he'll be a third baseman as he progresses in the minors. Some think he has enough skill to stick at second base. His bat is far more advanced than his glove. We'll have to see how he takes to tougher competition.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: late-2013

19. Scott Elbert, LHP (6'1, 215, 25 years old)
- Elbert has seemingly been in the Dodger prospect rankings for a long time -- because he has. He was once slated for top-of-the-rotation duty but is now likely nothing more than a left-handed reliever. He could still be a late-inning reliever because of his pure stuff. His AFL performance has restored my faith in him as a reliever, despite his being ranked lower this year than last. He's likely to get a look in Spring Training as the second left-hander out of the Dodger 'pen.
2010 ranking: 14
2011 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Majors
ETA: Now

20. Ralston Cash, RHP (6'1, 197, 19 years old)
- The Dodgers grabbed Cash in the second round of the 2010 draft and while he wasn't overly impressive, the Dodgers still have hopes for the young right-hander. He had a solid showing in the Arizona League but got absolutely rocked in his two Pioneer League games (12.00 ERA, 2.33 WHIP, 16.5 H/9). He has a low-90s sinking fastball, slider and changeup -- pretty standard for a groundball pitcher. Ethan Martin is his cousin. Another high schooler, Cash could progress quickly if he performs well.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2014

21. Ivan DeJesus, 2B (5'11, 190, 23 years old)
- DeJesus made it back from a broken leg in Spring Training 2009 to post decent numbers in Triple-A (.296/.335/.405). However, his Arizona Fall League performance is something the Dodgers should be excited and encouraged about (.321/.411/.436). He's finally been moved to second base, which is where I thought he'd end up since day one. He has an extreme outside shot at winning the starting second base job out of Spring Training (moving Juan Uribe to third base and Casey Blake to a LF platoon/super utility role), but I wouldn't hold my breath. He could get the call if there are a couple of significant injury in the infield.
2010 ranking: 7
2011 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Majors
ETA: mid-2011

22. Angelo Songco, OF (6'0, 195, 22 years old)
- Songco was actually putting up really good numbers through the the end of July (.301/.371/.485, 13 home runs) before completely collapsing in August and five games in September (.195/.248/.328). He has potential, including power potential. He had one bad month during an otherwise solid season. It'll be interesting to see if he can play solid for an entire season. At best, he could be a solid corner outfielder in the bigs.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: 2014

23. James Baldwin, OF
(6'3, 190, 19 years old)
- Baldwin is the son of James Sr., the former Dodger (and White Sox's) pitcher. He has the frame to be a powerful outfielder, yet he played more like Juan Pierre in his debut, which wasn't great (.274/.313/.363). However, he's extremely young and has plenty of time to work on his game. He's toolsy and needs to mature as a hitter, which includes improved performance against left-handed pitching and his reducing his strikeout rate.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Pioneer League Ogden/Low-A Great Lakes
ETA: 2015

24. Josh Lindblom, RHP (6'5, 240, 23 years old)
- Oh how the mighty have fallen. Lindblom was No. 4 on this list last year. He was ranked so high because he had potential as a starting pitcher. Now, he needs to prove he can be more than a middle- or long-reliever. His 2009 Spring Training performance was reason to be excited, but Lindblom has pretty much fallen flat on his face since. He'll again pitch at Albuquerque with his sinking fastball/slider combination. He had a 6.54 ERA and 1.84 WHIP for the 'Topes last season. If he shows he can cut it as a reliever, he'll get a late-season call-up.
2010 ranking: 4
2011 location: Triple-A Albuquerque/Majors
ETA: late-2011

25. Javier Solano, RHP
(6'0, 190, 21 years old)
- Solano defied the numbers and improved greatly as he progressed through the minors. He had a 9.47 ERA at age 18 in the Pioneer League and a 4.64 ERA when he repeated the level in 2009. In 2010, he was promoted to High-A and pitched well enough to earn a promotion to Double-A, where he pitched even better. Overall, he had a 2.94 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 10.1 K/9 and a most impressive 5.54 K/BB ratio. He profiles as a middle reliever with his low-90s fastball, upper-70s curveball and changeup.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga/Triple-A Albuquerque
ETA: 2012

26. J.T. Wise, C (6'0, 210, 24 years old)
- Wise was drafted out of Oklahoma in the 2009 draft and tore the cover off the ball in his debut at Ogden (.338/.401/.566 in 164 plate appearances). He hit well at Low-A in 2010 -- .309/.363/.505. So why is he ranked so low? Well, he's 24 and will turn 25 in June. He is old for the leagues in which he's been playing. If the Dodgers want to see what they really have in Wise, they need to jump him to Double-A and let him sink or swim. If he were a couple years younger, he'd be a top 12 prospect for sure.
2010 ranking: 21
2011 location: High-A
Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: 2013

27. Kyle Russell, OF (6'5, 195, 24 years old)

- Russell is one of the best power-hitting prospects the Dodgers have. However, the kid doesn't make enough contact to be considered a legitimate prospect. He hits the ball over the fence or he strikes out. He struck out in 41.4 percent of his Double-A at-bats. That isn't going to get it done. He plays excellent defense, so he'll likely get a look in the big leagues before he hangs up his spikes, but unless he turns into a better hitter, he'll never be a regular.
2010 ranking: 12
2011 location: Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: late-2012

28. Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (6'3, 195, 21 years old)
- Eovaldi was in my top 10 last year but injuries and the inability to develop a third pitch has caused him to drop like a rock. He only threw 98 1/3 innings this season, posting a 4.30 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and a 9.9 H/9 ratio while spending most of his time at Inland Empire. He also failed to raise his strikeout rate. It's disappointing because of his plus-fastball and breaking ball combination. He seems destined for bullpen duty if he ever makes it to the majors.
2010 ranking: 8
2011 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: 2013

29. Nick Akins, OF (6'1, 220, 23 years old)
- One would think a guy with a 1.047 OPS in the minors would be ranked a lot higher than No. 29. However, Akins has not played above Rookie-level ball. If he were putting up these numbers in Double-A as a 22-year-old, he could be a top three prospect in the organization. He was a 19th-round pick in 2009 and should get pushed to High-A before the end of the season.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: 2014

30. Tony Delmonico, C/2B (6'0, 197, 23 years old)
- Delmonico has always been one of my favorite prospects. He has the bat to succeed behind the plate (.293/.403/.463 career in the minors), but there are questions as to whether or not he has the skill set to be a full-time catcher. He has the intangibles to do so, but he hasn't transitioned as well as Russell Martin, Luke May and Carlos Santana before him. He threw out 28.7 percent of base-stealers in 2010, which isn't terrible, but he did have 22 passed-balls, which isn't great. That number is up from 11 in virtually the same number of chances. There's still hope for him, but he did deal with injury issues last season. If he can make the jump to Double-A, he still has a solid chance of making the majors as at the least as a backup catcher.
2010 ranking: 11
2011 location: Low-A Great Lakes/High-A Rancho Cucamonga
ETA: late-2013

Sleeper: Greg Wilborn, LHP (6'2, 175, 23 years old)
- Wilborn is an interesting case. He has decent stuff for a lefty, including a fastball in the upper-80s to low-90s, a slider, curveball and changeup. He's a little older than is ideal for Low-A, but that means the Dodgers should be able to promote him aggressively. He does have an 11.5 K/9 ratio in his Minor League career, which is impressive. If he can establish himself in Double-A later this season, he could find himself in L.A. before too long. He isn't ever going to be a five-star prospect, but he is left-handed and can pitch, so there's a reasonable expectation he'll reach the majors one day.
2010 ranking: Not ranked
2011 location: High-A Rancho Cucamonga/Double-A Chattanooga
ETA: late-2013

The next nine (in alphabetical order): Noel Cuevas, OF; Jon Link, RHP; Justin Miller, RHP; Russ Mitchell, 1B/3B/LF; Jaime Pedroza, 2B; Scott Schebler, OF; Travis Schlichting, RHP; Alfredo Silverio, OF; Scott Van Slyke, OF

Best of the Dodger System

Best Hitter for Average Leon Landry
Best Power Hitter Jerry Sands
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Ivan DeJesus
Fastest Baserunner Dee Gordon
Best Athlete Trayvon Robinson
Best Fastball Kenley Jansen
Best Curveball Chris Withrow
Best Slider Matt Magill
Best Changeup
Best Sinker
Zach Lee
Justin Miller
Best Control Allen Webster
Best Defensive Catcher Jan Vazquez
Best Defensive Infielder Jaime Pedroza
Best Infield Arm Pedro Baez
Best Defensive Outfielder Kyle Russell
Best Outfield Arm
Best Five-Tool Prospect
Jonathan Garcia
Joc Pederson

Projected 2014 Lineup

Catcher Tony Delmonico
First Base Jerry Sands
Second Base Ivan DeJesus
Third Base Jake Lemmerman
Shortstop Dee Gordon
Left Field Andre Ethier
Center Field Trayvon Robinson
Right Field Matt Kemp
No. 1 Starter Clayton Kershaw
No. 2 Starter Chad Billingsley
No. 3 Starter Zach Lee
No. 4 Starter Rubby De La Rosa
No. 5 Starter Allen Webster
Closer Kenley Jansen