Thursday, September 13, 2012

My 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league Players of the Year

It was an interesting year in the Dodgers' farm system. The team made a bunch of trades that hurt the system's depth. In fact, they traded away the likely winner of this award, Leon Landry, in the Brandon League deal.

Hitter of the Year
OF Joc Pederson, Rancho Cucamonga
.313/.396/.516, 18 HR, 70 RBI, 96 R, 26 SB

- Pederson started off the season slowly, hitting just three home runs through the month of June. Then, he took off. The toolsy outfielder would go onto hit 15 home runs the rest of the season while helping to pace the Quakes' offense.

His OPS was .739 through June. He finished with a .913 OPS and, despite playing in the California League, is an impressive feat for a 20-year-old.

Pederson's best day came on July 1, when he smacked a franchise-tying three home runs against the High Desert Mavericks.

Pederson's 26 stolen bases were second-best in the system, but he was also caught 14 times. He'll need to improve that percentage going forward.

Despite the addition of Yasiel Puig, Pederson might be the team's best position prospect. He got a taste of Double-A last week in the Southern League Playoffs. He went 3-for-11 with a triple. He should start the season with the Chattanooga Lookouts next season as a 21-year-old.

Runners up: Jerry Sands, Alex Castellanos

Pitcher of the Year
RHP Matt Magill, Chattanooga Lookouts
11-8, 3.75 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.91 FIP, 10.3 K/9

- Not often will a 3.75 ERA get much praise or acclaim, but Magill's season was quite impressive. Like Pederson, Magill was playing against slightly advanced competition and actually improved from his age-21 to age-22 season.

The most impressive stat was his 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Magill's stuff isn't overpowering by any means. His fastball has been described as fringy, but it must be good enough to amass a league-leading 168 strikeouts.

He also allowed significantly fewer baserunners this season. He reduced his hits per nine innings from 10.1 last season to 7.8 this season. His walks per nine innings was up by 0.4, but he cut his WHIP by nearly 0.21 (from 1.49 to 1.28).

Finally, in 146 1/3 innings this season, he gave up just eight home runs. That's outstanding.

The Dodgers tend to keep top pitching prospects away from Triple-A. While Magill doesn't have the upside top-of-the-rotation upside, he does profile as a back-end starter in the majors, provided his stuff translates to the bigs and he refines his command.

I could see him beginning next season in Double-A and wouldn't be overly shocked to see him in Albuquerque. He'll have to be added to the 40-man roster this winter, but that's a formality at this point.

Runners up: Zach Lee, Steve Ames

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