Los Angeles Dodgers Top 20 Prospects for 2010
All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd!
1) Dee Gordon, SS, Grade B+: Terrific '09 season in the Midwest League. Tremendous tools, especially speed, but needs to polish defense. Plate discipline at higher levels may also be an issue, but overall I love this guy.
2) Chris Withrow, RHP, Grade B+: Needs to improve his command, but stuff is excellent and he was rather inexperienced for the California League. If he lowers the walks and stays healthy, has number one/two potential, but they really need to give him time to sharpen his control and gain experience.
3) Ethan Martin, RHP, Grade B: Similar to Withrow: great fastball/curveball combo, has dominance potential but needs to sharpen control.
4) Aaron Miller, LHP, Grade B: Ceiling isn't quite as high as Martin and Withrow, but I like his combination of athleticism, stuff, and better-than-anticipated pitchability.
5) Josh Lindblom, RHP, Grade B: Hard sinking fastball/curveball combo should work very well in relief, could be a closer eventually.
6) Scott Elbert, LHP, Grade B-: Power lefty stuff is very attractive, but command and durability issues keep him from a higher grade in my opinion. Dodgers fans are really in love with him.
7) Andrew Lambo, OF, Grade B-: I think he's better than he looked last year, doesn't turn 22 until August, could put up huge numbers in Albuquerque thin air. I don't think he'll be a star but I can see him as a solid player. People were too enthusiastic about him entering '09 and are probably too negative entering '10.
8) Garrett Gould, RHP, Grade B-: Hard-throwing athletic high school pitcher could follow in the footsteps of Withrow and Martin.
9) Ivan DeJesus, Jr, SS, Grade B-: Down one notch due to lost injury season, will have to see how the recovery goes, won't stand in Gordon's way in the long run but should have a good career.
10) Allen Webster, RHP, Grade C+: Another high-ceiling young arm, greatly improved his command in 2009.
11) Trayvon Robinson, OF, Grade C+: Toolsy outfielder had breakthrough season repeating the California League. Want to see him repeat this against better competition before I buy in completely.
12) Kenley Jansen, RHP, Grade C+: Catcher conversion drawing notice this fall/winter with 8527 MPH fastball. Not really, but you'd expect that given the hype he's already getting. Let's see if he can throw strikes.
13) Nate Eovaldi, RHP, Grade C+: Dodgers fans like him a lot more than this, but his performance has not lived up to scouting reports yet. Command issues hold him back from higher ranking for me.
14) Kyle Russell, OF, Grade C+: Loads of power, can steal a base, draws walks, also struck out 180 times as a college player in the Midwest League. Left-handed-hitting Rob Deer?
15) Brett Wallach, RHP, Grade C+: The Dodgers love bloodlines. I like the scouting reports about Wallach but we need a larger sample size.
16) Jonathan Garcia, OF, Grade C+: Toolsy outfielder from Puerto Rico did well in the Arizona Rookie League, showing more polish than expected, though he'll need to show plate discipline at higher levels.
17) Lucas May, C, Grade C: Made progress with the bat, but he was repeating the level and defense is still an issue with 20 passed balls in 65 games.
18) Xavier Paul, OF, Grade C: Season ruined by injuries. I still think he can be a solid fourth/fifth outfielder.
19) Tony Delmonico, C, Grade C: I like his bat, but he needs more work behind the plate.
20) Pedro Baez, 3B, Grade C: Still has the impressive power potential, but lots of problems with the strike zone.
OTHERS (Grade C): Geison Aguasviva, LHP; Steven Ames, RHP; Brian Cavasos-Galvez, OF; Danny Danielson, RHP; John Ely, RHP; Roberto Feliciano, LHP; Carlos Frias (a sleeper!), RHP; Austin Gallagher, 1B-3B; Javy Guerra, RHP; John Link, RHP; Carlos Monasteros, RHP; Jon Michael Redding, RHP; Jerry Sands, OF-1B; Travis Schlichting, RHP; Tim Sexton, RHP; Angelo Songco, OF; Cole St. Clair, LHP; Scott Van Slyke, OF; J.T. Wise; C.
The Dodgers are strong on the pitching side: Martin and Miller could both be B+ guys a year from now, maybe even an A- if their command really sharpens up. Withrow could rank as the number one prospect ahead of Dee Gordon if you prefer pitching to hitting. His ceiling is terrific, although I'd like to see his walk rate come down. He has Homer Bailey-like risk if they rush him too fast. Elbert's stuff is right up there with the other pitchers, but there are enough chinks in his armor (command, health history) to keep his grade slightly lower in my mind. I'm probably higher on Gould than some folks, but I see him in the same mold as the others if he develops properly. Other live arms such as Jansen, Eovaldi, Webster, and Wallach all have significant potential but enough doubts or lack of data right now to keep their ratings in the C+ range.
The hitters are led by the electric Dee Gordon, who will need some time to put his game together but has big upside. Possible comp: Rafael Furcal, circa 2000-2006. DeJesus doesn't have the same ceiling but still has a chance to be a very useful player if his leg is OK. I haven't given up on Lambo yet, not at age 21.
The hitting in beyond that is thin: there is a mixture of tools guys and polish guys, but they all have questionmarks of one sort of another. Adding some additional impact hitting depth for the system seems like a good idea; we'll have to see if they address that in the 2010 draft.
Trades and graduations have thinned the system out, but overall I think Logan White and his staff do a fine job and the potential for a quick recharge seems good to me.