Showing posts with label Red Patterson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Red Patterson. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Meetings Day 3 - Kemp not going anywhere, Rule 5 Draft preview

Not a damn thing happened today for the Dodgers during the last full day of the Winter Meetings.

Sure, Dave Stewart may or may not have shat the bed by telling reporters Ned Colletti told him there are no plans to trade Matt Kemp (thank God), but that was really it.

Yeah, basically nothing. It isn't bad news, but I really want something to happen soon (but not just for the sake of happening).

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The Rule 5 Draft is Thursday, and the Dodgers have five free roster spots. However, they're not really expected to choose anyone.

A primer: If a team chooses a player during the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, said player must remain on the active roster for the entire season. There is also a $50,000 price tag on selecting a player. If the player wants to be sent to the minor leagues, the drafting team must first offer the player back to the original team for half of the original fee ($25,000).

J.J. Cooper of Baseball America previewed some of the available players. He singled out Hector Nelo from the Dodgers. Nelo was chosen in the minor-league phase of the Rule 5 last year. He pitched at Double-A in 2013 and posted a 2.67 ERA, 3.56 FIP and a 7.4 K/9. He re-signed with the Dodgers after the season and was not protected on the 40-man roster.

Nelo possesses a near-100 MPH fastball, but controlling the pitch has been a big issue for the 26-year-old righty. If not, he'd have been in the majors a long time ago.

The Dodgers hold the 25th pick, and most teams decline to select a player. This draft goes fast.

A lot of relievers are chosen in the Rule 5. Jose Dominguez was left unprotected last year, but no team took him. He had a 25-game suspension looming and not a lot of experience. The Dodgers could go that route, but I'm not expecting it.

More likely, the Dodgers take a player or two in the minor-league phase, as they did last year. And since they protected Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia and Jarret Martin, there's not much chance they lose a player in the Major League phase. If anyone gets popped, it'll be Red Patterson.

Photo credit: SD Dirk, Flickr

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dodgers lose Shawn Tolleson to Rangers, plus 40-man & Rule 5 Draft

This was surprising: the Dodgers lost reliever Shawn Tolleson via waivers on Tuesday to the Texas Rangers.

Tolleson, 25, appeared in one game for the Dodgers this season and 40 in 2012. The reliever with great minor-league numbers struggled with injuries in 2013 (a back and hip, primarily). He's also a Tommy John surgery survivor (senior year of college).

In 127 2/3 career minor-league innings, Tolleson has an eye-popping 1.34 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 13.0 K/9. In his limited time with the Dodgers, he didn't show quite the same potential.

Affordable relievers with great swing-and-miss potential don't usually hit waivers, so it was surprising he was available. The Dodgers were probably trying to sneak him through on this day of many roster moves, as teams must choose to add players to their 40-man rosters by 9 p.m. tonight. If some minor-leaguers aren't added, they'll be eligible for the Dec. 12 Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings.

The only way this move makes sense is if the Dodgers think Tolleson's injury history is too much for him to overcome. Otherwise, I can't make sense of the move. The Dodgers already had eight open spots on the 40-man roster and have expendable players like Mike Baxter, Javy Guerra and Justin Sellers who could easily be outrighted before losing a reliever of Tolleson's potential.

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In seemingly unrelated news, the Dodgers should be adding reliever Yimi Garcia to the 40-man roster sometime in the next few hours. He's the only Dodger minor-leaguer eligible for the Rule 5 Draft I'd add to the roster.

Garica, 23, had a 2.54 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 12.7 K/9 with in Double-A this season. He posts great numbers thanks to a low-90s fastball with some movement and a legitimate wipeout slider. He doesn't throw exceptionally hard, but he has better-than-average control and command, but he got bit by the home run bug a bit in 2013 -- (1.3 HR/9, nine home runs in 60 1/3 IP. That appears to be an anomaly, as he gave up just five home runs in his first 189 1/3 innings minor-league innings.

Some other notable prospects who are Rule 5-eligible this year are as follows:


Of all the players listed, I'd give Patterson the best chance of being nabbed. The 26-year-old is a versatile reliever who doesn't light up the radar gun, but gets outs. I could see a team taking a flyer on Baez, but I'm not confident in that. The only other guy who could get popped is Martin, who has a mid-90s fastball and sometimes-wipeout breaking ball from the left side. Other than them, none of these guys will get chosen.

If a player is chosen, he has to remain on the active roster (25-man) for the entire season, or the drafting team would have to offer the player back to the original team at half the $50,000 price tag.

I'll do a post previewing players the Dodgers could choose in the Rule 5 Draft when it gets closer.

Photo credits
Tolleson: Epic Memories by Ron, Flickr
Patterson: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Video of Yasiel Puig's first Double-A home run, plus other prospect news

Yasiel Puig drew his first walk of 2013 on Friday night during the first Chattanooga Lookouts' game. Puig failed to draw a walk in 60 spring training plate-appearances. It wasn't cause for much concern because he hit .517.

On Saturday night, he hit his first Double-A home run in a 5-4 Lookouts' loss. It's been too long since we've seen this beautiful sight.

Per usual, it was a no-doubter. And Puig certainly does have that bat-flip down pat. I'm not a fan of it, but when he does it, you know he's done something well on the field.



One of the Dodgers' top prospects, Puig is 3-for-7 (.429) with a home run, two singles, two runs scored, a stolen base, a walk and three strikeouts in his first two games. It's only a matter of time before he's doing this at the Major League level.

The Lookouts play a doubleheader on Sunday because Thursday night's season-opener was postponed due to rain

Cotton, Cash roughed up in debuts

Jharel Cotton, making his first appearance above rookie ball, got roughed up a bit: 4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 2 HR.

At least Cotton was missing bats, thanks to his changeup. There was a nice piece about him on MLive by Loons' beat writer Hugh Bernretuer. It's worth a read.

Ralston Cash, who pitched with the Loons in 2012, was equally roughed up: 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 2 HR.

Luckily for him, none of the runs were earned. Cash struck out eight of the 11 batters he retired -- an impressive feat.

Both pitchers showed the ability to miss bats, which is a testament to their stuff and to the inexperience of the hitters.

They probably won't be pitchers who strikeout a hitter every inning, but having good secondary offerings is important.

Cuevas the hero in Rancho

Noel Cuevas was the hero in Rancho Cucamonga's comeback 8-7 win on Saturday night. The outfielder drove in the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning with an RBI single. He went 3-for-5  with a double and two stolen bases.

O'Koyea Dickson hit his first California League home run in the first inning -- a 2-run shot to right field. The Quakes' cleanup man could be in store for a big season.

Pratt Maynard made his season debut and went 3-for-4 with a double. He's one of my favorite Dodger catching prospects and it'd be great to see him do well in 2013.

Garrett Gould was cruising through three innings, having allowed just a run on one hit and one walk, while striking out four. His final line wasn't pretty: 5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K. At least he kept his walk total down.

Van Slyke, bullpen, have big night in New Mexico

Scott Van Slyke went 4-for-5 with a double and five RBI to help lead the Isotopes to an 8-3 win. The 'Topes are 3-0 on the season so far, thanks in large part to the bullpen.

Chris Withrow made his Triple-A debut by tossing two scoreless frames. He walked one and struck out three. Red Patterson followed him up with two scoreless innings of his own (one walk, two strikeouts). After Geison Aguasviva got in trouble, Josh Wall was called upon to get a four-out save -- which he did.

The bullpen should be a strength for the Isotopes this season. It's filled with players who know how to get strikeouts, which is invaluable in the thin air of the Pacific Coast League.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Albuquerque Isotopes announce 2013 roster, led by Alex Castellanos, Matt Magill and some flamethrowers

The final Dodger full-season minor-league affiliate to announce its roster is the Albuquerque Isotopes of the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Generally an offensive powerhouse, the 'Topes are lacking in hitting talent this season. That, coupled with the humidor, could lead to fewer runs scored than expected.
Castellanos
The offense is led by returning 'Topes Alex Castellanos and Scott Van Slyke. After that, it gets pretty thin.

Dee Gordon will be the team's starting shortstop, while Elian Herrera should start at second base. Either spring-training-sensation-not-named Yasiel Puig Brian Barden or Rusty Ryal should start at third base. The outfield will boast a couple rangy players in Matt Angle and Nick Buss.

I hit on just 13 of 25 players from my February prediction -- the worst of any minor-league level.

Roster

Catchers
Steve Cilladi (DL)
Jesus Flores
Matt Wallach

Gordon
Infielders
Alfredo Amezaga
Brian Barden
Dee Gordon
Elian Herrera
Osvaldo Martinez (DL)
Rusty Ryal
Scott Van Slyke

Outfielders
Matt Angle
Nick Buss
Alex Castellanos
Tony Gwynn

Fife
Starting pitchers
Stephen Fife
Javy Guerra
Blake Johnson
Matt Magill
Sean White

Relief pitchers
Geison Aguasviva
Steve Ames
Angel Castro
Peter Moylan
Red Patterson
Shawn Tolleson
Josh Wall
Chris Withrow

For the first time in a long time, there is actually some pitching talent on this squad.

Magill is the best pitcher in town, while Fife has actually proven to be a potentially serviceable pitcher. Guerra is in the rotation to get stretch into a long-reliever.

The bullpen has some hard-throwing youngsters and a cagey Aussie veteran in Moylan. Ames, Tolleson, Wall and Withrow could be a potent and lethal 'pen, provided the starters pitch well enough so the quartet isn't burned out. Either Tolleson or Wall should close with Ames and Withrow setting up. And Feelin' Kinda Blue favorite Patterson should be the team's other long reliever.

There are some players missing. Jeremy Moore, who was expected to be on the roster, is back in Arizona at extended spring training. Nick Evans, Dallas McPherson and Michael Antonini were are released prior to the season. And Kevin Gregg, who didn't have an out clause in his contract, was released on Wednesday after Paco Rodriguez was chosen to begin the season with the Dodgers instead of him, something I wrote about over at Yahoo! Sports.

My best guess at a lineup

Gordon SS
Gwynn CF
Castellanos RF/LF
Van Slyke 1B/DH
Barden 3B
Herrera 2B
Flores C
Ryal DH/1B
Angle/Buss LF/RF

Wall
Really, not a whole lot to be excited about. Guys like Blake Smith or, gulp, Puig could get the call to Triple-A, but that wouldn't come until midseason. They could get some reinforcements in the form of Moore and Brian Cavazos-Galvez, if there are enough injuries.

Here's hoping Magill doesn't get shelled, Castellanos continues to hit and the power relievers post a lot of strikeouts. It's the PCL, so anything can happen. The 'Topes could challenge for a playoff spot, but there are a lot of good prospects in the league, making other teams stronger.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Prospect news: Lee among SL's best, Puig out for AFL, first two AFL games

Zach Lee, who was ranked as the fifth-best prospect in the California League last week, was tabbed as the Southern League's 13th-best prospect, according to Baseball America.

Lee was the only current Dodger prospect to make the list. Allen Webster, who was traded to Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez deal, was ranked as the league's ninth-best prospect.

That was a little surprising, but Baseball America has always liked Webster, so I guess it isn't that surprising.

Lee will begin the 2013 season with the Lookouts and, if all goes according to plan, he won't don a Dodger jersey until September at the earliest. But it is nice to have the organization's top prospect close enough to the majors that he could contribute if needed.

Puig won't play in AFL

Dodgers' $42 million prospect Yasiel Puig won't play in the Arizona Fall League after suffering a staph infection. The injury isn't serious.

Many folks were interested to see how Puig would do against advanced competition as he had just 95 plate appearances in his debut season.

There is a chance he'll play winter ball, but the level of competition is significantly lower than that of the AFL.

While Puig's talents are still unknown, it's hard not to acknowledge the outstanding physical ability he possesses. He's an imposing figure and, if his head is screwed on straight, should be the next great Dodger prospect.

I'm hoping to see him in person come next season.

Pederson, Eadington struggle in AFL opener

Joc Pederson and Eric Eadington both go their first taste of fall ball on Tuesday -- and both didn't fare particularly well.

Pederson, who hit second and played left field, went 0-for-4 with six runners left on base while Eadington gave up two solo home runs in his inning of work.

Neither of them played in Wednesday's game.

Rafael Ynoa played well in the first game (2-for-4 with an RBI). Gorman Erickson has played in both games, but merely as a backup catcher.

Chris Reed and Red Patterson pitched in Wednesady's game. Reed, who replaced Steven Rodriguez on the roster, went one scoreless inning while hitting a batter. Patterson also threw a scoreless inning with a walk and a strikeout.

Andres Santiago is slated to start on Friday. I'm really interested to see how he does against advanced competition.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pederson, Puig, Rodriguez among Dodgers' prospects to play in AFL

The Dodgers are sending four position players and four pitchers to this year's Arizona Fall League following the season.

Teams tend to have legitimate prospects participate in the AFL, and the Dodgers are no exception this year.

Position players
Gorman Erickson
Joc Pederson
Yasiel Puig
Rafael Ynoa

Pitchers
Eric Eadington
Red Patterson
Steven Rodriguez
To be determined

Baseball America has the full rosters on its site. It lists the Dodgers' final pitcher as "TBD," so we'll see who it might be. I'd be shocked if it was a guy like Zach Lee or Chris Reed. It'll likely be another reliever.

Steve Ames went last season and because he's been dominant in 2012, I don't think he needs the extra work. I could see it being Juan Rodriguez. He was suspended earlier this season in Rancho Cucamonga for "conduct detrimental to the team," so he doesn't have a lot of mileage on his arm this season. However, his 9.6 walks per nine innings rate (no, that isn't a typo) is quite alarming. He could probably use the extra work.

There's also the possibility of the Dodgers not filling that spot. We'll see what happens.

I'm really excited to see how Pederson and Puig handle the league. Since a lot of good prospects play in the AFL, it's a solid determiner of potential success. It isn't the be all, end all, but it helps when evaluating players.

Pederson has been fantastic this season and is opening up eyes. Puig, as we all know, got a late start to the season after signing his record-breaking contract. He can definitely use the extra baseball.

Erickson was in the AFL last season and has been massively disappointing in 2012. We'll see if it helps him at all going forward.

Ynoa, who's finishing up his age-24 season (turned 25 one day after my birthday), has virtually zero pop, but he has decent on-base skills. My guess is the Dodgers want to see how he handles advanced competition. He's been decent in Chattanooga.

The same could be said about Eadington and Patterson. Both are a little old for their level, but both could be serviceable bullpen arms down the road. Patterson is a bit underrated and has handled Double-A well. Eadington was able to strike hitters out in his 11 Double-A innings, but he gave up too many hits (13). The Dodgers probably want to see if he's a viable option sometime next season or in 2014.

Rodriguez could be the first player from the 2012 draft class to get the call to the majors after Marcus Stroman's suspension. He'll get a little more work in Arizona and could conceivably make the Dodgers' bullpen out of 2013 Spring Training -- but I wouldn't put money on it.

So, if you live in Arizona and want to see some Dodger prospects, this might be your best chance to do so. Some of them will probably get Spring Training invites, but they won't play a whole lot.

Lee rolling in Chattanooga

Remember when people were freaking out over Zach Lee's poor Double-A performance? Well, he's done quite a bit to shut those people up.

Lee's last eight starts: 4-1, 1.97 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 7.3 H/9, 0.6 HR/9 (three home runs allowed), 2.0 BB/9, 6.9 K/9 and a 3.5 K/BB.

That's damn good for a 20-year-old in the Southern League. His strikeout numbers are down from Rancho, but that's to be expected going forward. He's more of a control/location pitcher than a strikeout guy. However, he has shown the ability to get the strikeout when needed.

Perhaps that worry should be focused on Chris Reed, who's had a lackluster year while adjusting to the rotation.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Chattanooga Lookouts boast a nasty bullpen, future Los Angeles Dodgers

The Chattanooga Lookouts are contending for a playoff spot in the Southern League and if they make it, they might be able to thank a filthy bullpen.

Some Major League teams would kill to have the Lookout bullpen. (*cough* Philadephia *cough*)

But this Chattanooga bullpen could be one of the best in recent Dodger minor league memory. includes Steve Ames, Eric Eadington, Red Patterson, Steven Rodriguez and Javier Solano. All five of these guys have solid numbers in Double-A, with Ames and Solano repeating the level.

Any of these five guys could close out a game if necessary, but Ames is the team's closer right now. It isn't far-fetched to say all these guys could eventually see time in a major league bullpen before they hang up their spikes.

Ames, a 17th-round pick in 2009, has a 1.75 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9 and a 9.7 K/9. His stuff isn't overpowering, but those numbers are absolutely nothing to scoff at. He's stepped into the closer's role after Logan Bawcom was traded to the Mariners on July 31. The 24-year-old could be in Los Angeles before too long.

Eadington, a pitcher Baseball America ranked just outside its Dodger top 30 prospect list, has played at three different levels this season and the 24-year-old is having no problem adjusting to advanced hitting. He only has 9 1/3 Double-A innings, but his workload should increase in the coming weeks.

Patterson, 25, is turning into a personal favorite of mine. He's not the most talented or physically gifted guy around, but he gets the job done. He has a 3.22 ERA, 1.41 WHIP (not great) and a nice 9.1 K/9 out of the Lookout 'pen. After posting a 2.08 ERA in the first half, he's struggled in the second half (5.57), but he's still a viable option as a long reliever/sixth- or seventh-inning guy. One thing he does do well is keep the ball in the yard. He's allowed just two home runs in 64 1/3 innings this season.

Rodriguez, the Dodgers' 2012 second-round pick, began his professional career with Great Lakes. He dominated in six innings there (four hits allowed, 10 strikeouts), so the Dodgers promoted him to Chattanooga. He's been nearly as dominant as a Lookout: 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 10 K. When he was drafted, many said he could be the player from the entire 2012 draft class to reach the majors first. He's effectively one step away from that.

And finally a guy who I don't think gets enough credit. Solano, a 22-year-old whose career arc has been somewhat puzzling. In 2008 and 2009, he pitched in Ogden as most teenagers do. In 2010, he pitched at Indland Empire (High-A) and Double-A. So, logic would dictate he'd begin 2011 in Double-A. Well, that didn't happen. He began 2011 with Rancho Cucamonga before earning a promotion to Chattanooga. The funny thing is, his Double-A numbers are the best of any level he's pitched -- and definitely the most challenging level of any level he's pitched. This season, he has a 2.73 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9 and an 8.6 K/9. He's allowing fewer baserunners than last season and is throwing more strikes. That's always a nice combination.

The aforementioned Logan Bawcom once resided in the Lookout bullpen, but so did Shawn Tolleson, who was promoted to Triple-A then the majors earlier this season. Oh, and I didn't even mention Chris Withrow, who has been relegated to relief duty after struggling with his command -- again -- and battling through injuries. If he ever figures it out, that's just one more feather in the proverbial cap of manager Carlos Subero.

The Lookouts have a three-game lead over the Jackson Generals. If guys like Zach Lee, Matt Magill, Aaron Miller, Andres Santiago, Allen Webster and, to a lesser extent, Chris Reed, can get through five or six innings, it will make it a lot easier on the team and keep the starters fresh for a playoff run.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Much like the Lookouts, the Quakes will be a force in 2012

I took a brief look at the Lookouts last week, focusing mostly on the pitching the team should have in 2012. This time, I'm looking at the Quakes, a team that should have some great pitching in a hitter-friendly league.

The 2011 second-half California League champions should have a strong squad heading into the 2012 season, with the pitching staff highlighting the squad.

Pitching

Dodgers' top prospect Zach Lee should begin the season with the Quakes. Depending on his performance, he could be there the entire season or move up to Double-A quickly.

Lee had a solid debut season in the Midwest League. I don't think he'll have much difficulty adjusting to advanced hitting. Remember, as the competition level advances, so does Lee's experience. For all intents and purposes, he has great poise on the mound; he just needs to get more experience under his belt. As he continues to mature, he should refine his pitches and become a good starting pitcher.

As a reference, Allen Webster virtually dominated the league in his first nine starts last season. Lee profiles as a better prospect as Lee, so he could just as well. But Lee is a year younger than Webster was, so it remains to be seen what happens.

Like 2011, Lee should be followed by former Loons Garrett Gould and Angel Sanchez. Both had breakout seasons for the Great Lakes' team and both rank in my top five Dodger prospects.

Gould and Lee are similar, with Lee having a better cutter/slider and Gould having a better curveball. Sanchez was a surprise breakout player in his first professional season. It'll be a telling season for both and both could also be promoted to Chattanooga before the season ends.

The Dodgers' 2011 first-round pick Chris Reed should also be in the Quakes' rotation to start the season. He actually went straight to Rancho Cucamonga after he signed with the Dodgers. He didn't exactly pitch well in his limited time (seven innings), but he started for the Quakes in the Cal League playoffs and threw five solid innings.

Another southpaw who could join the Quakes' rotation is Ryan Christenson. He struggled with the Loons last season, posting a 5.05 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and a staggering 11.1 H/9 rate. He's younger than Wilborn but older than the Lee-Gould-Sanchez trio, so there's still a chance for him.

And with the potential overcrowding in Double-A, a guy like Red Patterson or Jon Michael Redding could begin the season back with Rancho.

The bullpen could have 2011 fifth-round pick Scott McGough closing the door. He had a nice debut season, pitching better for the Loons than he did for the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer Rookie League. One thing's for sure: McGough can get a strikeout. His K/9 in his first 26 professional innings is 11.4. His K/BB is even more impressive, sitting at 5.50.

Another fireballer who should see time with the Quakes is Juan Rodriguez. Rodriguez was acquired in the Trayvon Robinson trade. Armed with the system's best fastball, Rodriguez could find himself setting up McGough or even closing at times.

Greg Wilborn, who began 2011 with the Quakes, could also find himself back with the team in the bullpen. He struggled mightily in 43 1/3 innings last season, posting a 6.85 ERA and 1.75 WHIP. His long-term prospects aren't great, but he could be a stabilizing force in a young bullpen.

Offense

On paper, the offense doesn't look that intimidating. But some guys should be helped by the hitter-friendly environment -- good or bad as that may be.

The best name the Quakes could have is Leon Landry. He was my No. 9 prospect going into last season, but had a rough 2011 season. He's primed to bounce back. He plays a legitimate center field and has a good approach at the plate. He could be the team's No. 1, 2 or 3 hitter.

Joining him in the outfield will be Jonathan Garcia. Garcia started last season on fire, clubbing seven home runs in April. He had an up-and-down rest of the season, which is to be expected from a streaky, young hitter. He could put up big power numbers at the Epicenter.

A guy who could start the season with the Quakes after ripping through the Pioneer League is Joc Pederson. He's the Dodgers' best offensive prospect. However, there's no reason to rush him. A better bet to start with the Quakes is Noel Cuevas, who saw time with the team last season.

Chris Jacobs, he of the .914 OPS with the Loons last season, could be the team's first baseman. It could be a breakout year for the big slugger.

If the Dodgers want to be aggressive with one of their 2011 drafted catchers, Pratt Maynard might be that guy. He struggled a bit with the Raptors, but as a college player, he has more experience than the high schoolers. If not, expect Steve Domecus to catch most of the time. J.T. Wise could also see some time at first base and catcher, but he's getting awfully old for the Cal League.

The up-the-middle combination could be Casio Grider (2B) and Christian Lara (SS), while Jesse Bosnik mans the hot corner. Both Grider and Lara are much better with the glove than the stick.

My projected lineup (with DH)
Landry CF
Lara SS
Cuevas LF
Wise/Domecus C
Garcia RF
Jacobs/Wise DH
Dean/Jacobs 1B
Bosnik 3B
Grider 2B

This is assuming Pederson starts with the Quakes (which is my own gut feeling).

So, the Quakes' strength in an offensive league could be their pitching. We'll see what happens, but 2012 should be a fun season for Rancho.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Chattanooga Lookouts will be stacked in 2012

The 2012 Chattanooga Lookouts, the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate, looks like it will begin the season as one of the most stacked teams in the organization and maybe in the entire Southern League.

As is often the case in baseball, it starts and ends with the starting rotation, which should be the Lookouts' strength.

The Dodgers tend to avoid sending top-flight pitching prospects to the hitter's haven known as the Pacific Coast League, so the Lookouts will benefit greatly.

RHP Allen Webster
Total: 11-5, 4.03 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 9.1 H/9, 3.5 BB/9, 8.4 K/9, 2.37 K/BB
High-A: 5-2, 2.33 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.7 H/9, 3.5 BB/9, 10.3 K/9, 2.95 K/BB
Double-A: 6-3, 5.04 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 10.0 H/9, 3.6 BB/9, 7.2 K/9
- One of the Dodgers' best prospects, Webster spent nearly twice as much time with the Lookouts than he did with the Quakes, and he should be back to head the rotation. He was having a solid showing in Double-A before three consecutive terrible starts inflated his numbers. Despite the troubles, his future as a middle-of-the-rotation starter is not jeopardized. It'll be interesting to see how he does with his second go-around in the Southern League.

RHP Red Patterson
Total: 12-5, 3.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 7.7 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 8.9 K/9, 3.82 K/BB
Low-A: 5-4, 3.43 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 7.7 H/9, 2.2 BB/9, 8.7 K/9, 3.95 K/BB
High-A: 7-1, 3.91 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 2.4 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 3.72 K/BB
- Patterson was surprisingly consistent in 2011 and could be one of the Lookouts' better starters in 2012. There's no guarantee he'll start with the Lookouts, but with 92 innings in High-A, there's no reason not to push him (other than overcrowding, I suppose). If he starts in Chattanooga, it'll be interesting to see how he does against advanced competition.

RHP Nathan Eovaldi
Total: 12-5, 3.69 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 7.7 H/9, 2.3 BB/9, 8.9 K/9, 3.82 K/B
Double-A: 6-5, 2.62 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 6.6 H/9, 4.0 BB/9, 8.7 K/9, 2.15 K/BB
Majors: 1-2, 3.63 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 7.3 H/9, 5.2 BB/9, 6.0 K/9, 1.15 K/BB
- Eovaldi's call-up last season was a surprise -- almost as surprising as his return to Double-A would be in 2012. Alas, the Dodgers signed Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to effectively fill out the rotation. With Ned Collett's desire to add a veteran reliever, there appears to be no room in Los Angeles for Eovaldi. He put up great numbers in Chattanooga and should return there as a starter until his services are needed with the Dodgers.

RHP Chris Withrow
Double-A (total): 6-6, 4.20 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 7.8 H/9, 5.2 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 1.73 K/BB
- Withrow showed flashes of his former self last season, but also showed flashes of his 2010 self, leading to a decent 2011 season. His stuff is as good as any in the system, but he must learn to throw strikes consistently. He should be a middle-of-the-rotation guy for the Lookouts in his fourth stint with the club.

RHP Matt Magill
High-A (total): 11-5, 4.33 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 10.1 H/9, 3.4 BB/9, 8.1 K/9, 2.42 K/BB
- Magill spent all his time with the Quakes last season and is age-appropriate for Double-A. He has fringy stuff, so he'll have to locate all his pitches well if he wants to be successful. But hey, the Lookouts could do a lot worse for a No. 5 starter.

RHP Jon Michael Redding
High-A (total): 11-7, 3.66 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.6 H/9, 3.4 BB/9, 8.5 K/9, 2.50 K/BB
- Redding spent his entire age-23 season with the Quakes, so he's a prime candidate to be promoted to Double-A. I like Patterson more as a prospect, but Redding had better success than him at Rancho. Both are junkballers with fringy fastballs, so there might only be room for one of them to start the season.

As you can see, there are six pitchers here for five rotation spots. Unless the Lookouts go with a six-man rotation (not likely), these are some of the options they have:
  • Eovaldi begins with the Dodgers, Isotopes or works out of the bullpen
  • Withrow or Webster are pushed to Albuquerque
  • Patterson is left to start at Rancho
  • Redding skips Double-A for Triple-A
Of those four, I'd say Patterson starting in High-A is most likely to happen.

The Lookouts will also have some bullpen talent, including Logan Bawcom, Cole St. Clair, Javier Solano and possibly guys like Shawn Tolleson, Steve Ames and Josh Wall. That's quite the formidable bunch.

Someone who could go either way is former first-round pick Aaron Miller. He's already spent 135 2/3 innings with the High-A affiliate and it's time for him to put up or shut up. With the Dodgers' reluctance to send guys to the PCL, Double-A is going to be jam-packed. Miller could work out of the bullpen or force his way into a rotation spot. With his injury history, though, he could ease his way into Double-A by starting with the Quakes (a team that will also be stacked).

For all the talk about the pitching, the offense doesn't look to be half-bad, either.

Angelo Songco and Blake Smith should both be middle-of-the-order hitters for the Lookouts. Both had fantastic seasons with the Quakes in 2011 and this will be a telling season for both. If they perform well, their prospect stars rise. If they don't, they might be nothing more than bench players in the Majors.

Songco and Smith are joining former Quakes' teammates Gorman Erickson and Jake Lemmerman, both of whom were promoted midseason. I really like Erickson and Lemmerman. While both didn't perform as well with the Lookouts as they did with the Quakes, they both have the potential to do some damage in their second go-around in Double-A.

Some other Quakes primed to make the jump are Travis Denker, Nick Buss, Austin Gallagher and Tony Delmonico.

There could be a few hold overs from the 2011 Lookouts, starting with OF/1B Brian Cavazos-Galvez. He made a name for himself in 2010 with a solid showing with the Quakes. Limited playing time and poor performance dimmed his status significantly in 2011. He should return in 2012 because he could use the seasoning and the Triple-A outfield situation looks as packed as the Double-A rotation.

Pedro Baez could be another hold over, but he can't hit a lick. Jaime Pedroza regressed in 2011, which included a demotion to High-A. And Matt Wallach should be Erickson's backup behind the dish.

My projected batting order (with DH)
Buss CF
Lemmerman SS
Songco 1B
Smith RF
Erickson C
Cavazos-Galvez LF
Gallagher DH
Delmonico 3B
Pedroza 2B

Overall, the Lookouts should be just as competitive in 2012 as they were in 2011. The pitching staff should be just as strong, if not stronger (depending on promotions). The offense might not be as great, as the team is losing Scott Van Slyke and Alfredo Silverio. A lot will depend on the trio of Songco, Smith and Erickson.

The team should also benefit from midseason callups in the form of Zach Lee, Garrett Gould and possibly Angel Sanchez.

Much like 2011, the 2012 minor-league teams could be exciting and fun to watch. It's a make-or-break year for a lot of prospects and it'll be interesting to see how they handle it.