Here's my three guys who stand have the most to lose and most to gain in 2012.
Most to lose
Ethan Martin RHP
- Martin, while not as talented as Withrow, has even more to lose than Withrow this season. His control was an issue after his debut season (5.5 BB/9, 1.97 K/BB), but he's just gotten worse as he's moved up. He posted a 7.36 ERA at Ranch Cucamonga last season before getting promoted to Double-A (sounds counter-intuitive, I know). He actually pitched a lot better in Chattanooga, but still has no control. His saving grace is his stuff -- a mid-90s fastball and a power curveball. With that combination, he could be a reliever in the majors, but I think his days as a legit starting prospect are over. This season will determine whether he even has a future in the majors.
Alfredo Silverio OF
- Some could put him on the "most to gain" list, but Silverio stands to lose a lot with a poor 2012 performance. He had his best season in the minors seven years after his debut. Guys who do that don't tend to work out long-term. The concerns with him include lack of power (despite 66 extra base hits in 2011), defensive ability (best suited in a corner) and his lack of plate discipline (3:1 K:BB ratio). If he bombs in Albquerque, his chances of being a regular in the majors are likely over.
Chris Withrow RHP
- People are still really high on Withrow, but he's about to begin his fourth stint in Double-A and has yet to get over the hump. He is the best prospect talent-wise in the system, but he hasn't put it all together -- and he might not ever put it all together. If he wants to remain a top starting pitching prospect, the 2012 season will make or break him. Otherwise, he'll end up in the bullpen or not ever end up in the majors.
Most to gain
Steve Ames RHP
- Curiously left off Baseball America's Top 30 list, Ames had a fantastic 2011 season and could take another leap forward in 2012. Scouts say his stuff don't match his numbers, but all he's done is produce in the minors. His 13.5 K/9 in his career is awfully impressive and his 1.8 BB/9 and 7.45 K/BB are even more impressive. With another solid showing in 2012, he could throw his hat into the bullpen ring for 2013.
O'Koyea Dickson 1B
- I just posted about Dickson, but he has a chance to establish himself as a legitimate prospect in the Dodgers' organization. He's going to have to do it all with his bat, though, as his defense is average at best. Dickson has good power potential and as an older selection from the 2011 draft, he'll need to move quickly to be more than roster fodder.
Leon Landry OF
- Landry had a fantastic debut season in 2010 -- well enough for me to rank him in my Top 10 last year. However, he had a rough go at it with the Loons and has fallen off a lot of prospect radars. But I foresee a breakout season for Landry, and not just because he's going to play in the hitter-friendly California League. Landry has a chance to re-establish himself as one of the organization's best position prospects. His defense in center field is among the best and his ability to get on base could help him bounce back in 2012.
Photo credit: SD Dirk on Flickr