Monday, September 9, 2013

My 2013 Dodgers' Minor League Players of the Year: Schebler and Lee

The Dodgers had a few standout performers int he minor leagues this season. While the Loons and Quakes were ousted from the playoffs, it didn't take away from some great individual performances.

Here are my choices for Dodgers' Minor League Players of the Year.

Hitter of the Year
OF Scott Schebler, Rancho Cucamonga
.296/.360/.581, 27 HR, 91 RBI, 13 3B, 95 R

- Schebler had himself a breakout campaign in 2013, leading the California League in total bases (277) -- the first Quake to do so since Angelo Songco in 2011 (310). Schebler was a 26th-round draft pick in 2010 by the Dodgers and was a late signee.

He started the season somewhat slowly, posting a .267/.335/.527 triple slash through the season's first two months. The slugging percentage was impressive, but a rough May helped to normalize his numbers. From June 1 through the rest of the season, Schebler was the Quakes best and most consistent hitter. He slugged .609 in his final 80 games. Even in the Cal League, that's an impressive mark.

Schebler was the only Dodger minor-leaguer to post 20 or more doubles, 10 or more triples and 20 or more home runs in 2013. That's an impressive extra-base hitting display put on by the 22-year-old.

And the topping on Schebler's season is the fact he hit lefties just as well as he hit righties this season. While he hit against righties more, he posted similar triple slash marks:

vs. LHP
.301/.368/.569 (137 PAs)
vs. RHP
.294/.358/.585 (397 PAs)

Schebler has established himself as a legitimate prospect, but it remains to be seen how he'll handle Double-A pitching come 2014.

Runners up: Joc Pederson, Corey Seager

Pitcher of the Year
RHP Zach Lee, Chattanooga Lookouts
10-10, 3.22 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 3.37 FIP, 8.3 K/9

- Lee began the season as the system's best pitching prospect (my No. 1 prospect), and ended the season as such. He acclimated himself well as a 21-year-old in the Southern League. He pitched the second half of the 2012 season in Chattanooga and made marked improvements on those numbers.

While Lee may not be the ace some expected him to be when the Dodgers selected him in the 2010 draft and gave him a $5.25 million bonus, he still has a No. 3 starter's upside.

Lee's main criticism is the lack of a strikeout pitch. He might not have a legitimate knockout pitch, but he did average 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings this season, a career-best for Lee. He also threw more strikes, establishing a career-best in strikeouts-to-walks (3.74) and walks per nine innings (2.2). His K/BB was third best among Southern League starters with at least 120 innings pitched.

With a strong spring, Lee could, ,conceivably, contend for a rotation spot in Los Angeles in 2014. More likely, he remains in the minors (if he isn't traded). He could return to Chattanooga or the organization could get ballsy and send him to Albuquerque.

Runners up: Ross Stripling, Red Patterson

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue