Monday, April 2, 2012

Two noticeable absences on the Great Lakes Loons' 25-man roster

O'Koyea Dickson and Joc Pederson were noticeably absent from the 2012 Great Lakes Loons' Opening Day roster, announced today by the team.

The Dodgers' Low-A affiliate in the Midwest League -- a team that featured Zach Lee, Garrett Gould and Angel Sanchez in 2011 -- is not as pitching-rich as last season, but the offense looks better than the '11 squad.

However, Dickson and Pederson -- both of whom were expected to begin in Midland -- were not included on the team's 25-man roster.

Dickson, a 2011 12th-round pick, played with Ogden in the Pioneer League last season, which is typical. His next step would have been to Great Lakes. I'm really surprised he's not on the roster.

Pederson began 2011 with the Loons because they lacked outfielders. He had a rough go at it, hitting .160/.288/.160 in 16 games with the team. He was, correctly, reassigned to Ogden and promptly mashed: .353/.429/.568.

This means one of three things:
  1. One or both of them will begin with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League (High-A)
  2. One or both of them will return to Ogden
  3. One or both of them will begin the season in Extended Spring Training
I really don't think they'll be pushed to Double-A, so I didn't include that as an option.

I sent a tweet to both of them about it. We'll see if any information comes from that. I could see them both starting with the Quakes (Dickson more than Pederson), but that would be an aggressive play.

Update (April 2, 9:28 a.m.): Wouldn't you know it? As soon as I hit "publish post," I get this reply from Pederson:
"still in AZ rehabbing my gotta get it better before I can break camp and they haven't told me where I am going"
That's one mystery solved.

As for the rest of the squad, it looks solid.

Here's a breakdown by position (my Top 50 rank in parenthesis):

Jose Dominguez
Eric Eadington
Yimi Garcia
Gustavo Gomez
Matthew Laney
Juan Noriega (47)
Jarret Martin
Brandon Martinez (42)
Ryan O'Sullivan
Arismendy Ozoria
Matt Shelton
Michael Thomas
Jason West

Jesus Arredondo
Jesse Bosnik
Justin Boudreaux (27)
Andrew Edge
Pratt Maynard (23)
Delvis Morales
Kevin Taylor
Jan Vazquez
Joseph Winker

James Baldwin (16)
Noel Cuevas (36)
Scott Schebler (25)
Devin Shines

No other real surprises. The outfield, as should be the case for most levels of the Dodger minor leagues, should be the team's strength. Baldwin should hit leadoff for the Loons. That's pretty much the only certainty. The rest of the lineup is anyone's best guess.

I like Maynard a lot and want to see him succeed. He was one of my favorite selections from the 2011 draft. Schebler has big-time potential, but he needs to cut down on his strikeout percentage in a big way. Boudreaux might surprise some folks this season.

On the mound, O'Sullivan might be one of the team's best pitchers. Martin, acquired from Baltimore, is a wild card. A lefty who can throw hard is never out of demand. He needs to work on his control and command. Martinez might be the best starting pitching prospect on the club. Garcia had a 12.2 K/9 with Ogden last season. It'll be interesting to see how he does in Low-A.

Overall, the team appears to be in better shape at the dish than on the mound. Of course, it's hard to live up to last season's pitching. With this team (and probable midseason additions), the Loons should contend for a playoff berth.

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