All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don’t get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get out of the top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you are looking for.
1) James McDonald, RHP, Grade B+: Same grade I gave him last year, see no reason to change it given his strong season. Only concern is fly ball tendency.
2) Ethan Martin, RHP, Grade B: Higher ceiling than McDonald but need to see how he adjusts to pro ball. Impressive power arm plus athleticism.
3) Ivan DeJesus, Jr, SS, Grade B: Took a step forward offensively, good glove, just needs to cut down on errors and get more consistent. I think his difficult Arizona Fall League was an aberration.
4) Andrew Lambo, OF, Grade B: Not sure about the glove, but the bat looks quite strong to me.
5) Josh Lindblom, RHP, Grade B-: Rapid riser from the college ranks, could help in the bullpen quickly.
6) Devaris Gordon, SS, Grade B-: I am giving him an aggressive grade. He’s raw, but immensely talented. I don’t think he is Preston Mattingly.
7) Ramon Troncoso, RHP, Grade C+: Love the ground ball/power combination. Hope he throws strikes. Hasn’t broken 50 innings yet so still eligible for the book.
8) Scott Elbert, LHP, Grade C+: This might be a notch too low, but command and durability issues are still there.
9) Austin Gallagher, 3B, Grade C+: Sleeper prospect. Needs to tighten strike zone, but I think more power will come.
10) Josh Bell, 3B, Grade C+: Making progress, but reports about weight are disturbing and he might not hit enough for first base.
11) Xavier Paul, OF, Grade C+: Should be a very solid fourth outfielder.
12) Chris Withrow, RHP, Grade C+: Need to make sure he is healthy. Ceiling is high but so is risk.
13) Justin Miller, RHP, Grade C+: Like the hard sinker, but needs to improve secondary pitches to boost K-rate.
14) Tony Delmonico, 2B, Grade C+: Polished college hitter, making transition from SS to 2B. Needs to reduce errors.
15) Pedro Baez, 3B, Grade C: Excellent power potential and a strong arm, but there is a 43.7% chance (to pull a number out of the air) that he is pitching four years from now. Horrible plate discipline.
16) Jaime Hoffman, OF, Grade C: Another guy like Paul who would make a good reserve OF.
17) Jesus Castillo, RHP, Grade C: Added to the 40-man. Good control, not a dominant type.
18) Kyle Russell, OF, Grade C: Enormous power potential, but strikeouts are scary.
19) Nathan Eovaldi, RHP, Grade C: Possible steal from 2008 draft, high ceiling, needs experience.
20) Javy Guerra, RHP, Grade C: Good arm, fits better in the pen than he did as a starter.
Others: James Adkins, LHP; Geison Aguasviva, LHP; Danny Danielson, RHP; Victor Garate, LHP; Thomas Giles, OF; Steve Johnson, RHP; Paul Koss, RHP; Lucas May, C; Justin Orenduff, RHP; Jaime Pedroza, 2B-SS; Jordan Pratt, RHP; Jon Michael Redding, RHP (a sleeper), Travis Schlicting, RHP; Cole St. Clair, LHP; Josh Wall, RHP.
The Grade Cs are interchangeable. As usual, don’t sweat so much about where the Grade C+/C types rank exactly on this list. After I get past the top 10 I don’t worry so much about exact placement, since I’m trying to concentrate on the book right now. Some of the Grade C guys could be C+ in the book, and vice versa. I can probably fit one more player in, so make a suggestion if you like.
SYSTEM IN BRIEF
The Dodgers system has thinned out a lot, and actually looks a bit weak right now, though I trust Logan White and his people to recharge quickly.
Ethan Martin has the most impact ability, but given the attrition rate for young pitchers, I want to see how he adjusts to pro ball. McDonald’s ceiling is not as high, but I can’t in good conscience lower his grade from last year. I think he will be a solid pitcher as long as he doesn’t get traded to
I’m giving Gordon an aggressive B-,which I guess may surprise some people used to more conservative ratings from me. There are quite a few arms here who have bullpen potential…Troncoso and Elbert close to the Show, plus several others further away.
Some of the Grade C guys at the lower levels have the potential to get higher grades once they prove themselves more fully, and this system could look much deeper a year from now.
Full reports on these guys and over 1,000 others can be found in the 2009 Baseball Prospect Book. Pre-order for January 31st shipping now! You know you want to!