Minor League Notes:
The California/Carolina A+ all-star Game was played on June 24th and Carlos Santana had a hit but was thrown out trying to go from1st to 3rd on a wild pitch. Koss pitched one inning without allowing a run.
Ivan Dejesus was named to the Futures all-star Game and was the only Dodger to be named to the team. Last year Kershaw and Hu went, and Hu went on to win MVP honors. The latest scouting report from Baseball HQ on DeJesus:
Ivan DeJesus (SS, LAD) follows in a line of strong defensive shortstops in the Dodgers’ system. The 20 year-old is fundamentally sound and possesses range in all directions and average arm strength. He has a good bit of athleticism, but is only an average runner. His offense has improved immensely in just a year’s time, as he is making better contact and drawing more walks. He lacks the secondary skills of power and speed, so his offense will be predicated on his BA/OBP. If he can maintain a respectable OBP, his bat handling abilities could suit him well in the number two hole.
Fresh off his start in the A- all-star game, Steve Johnson was promoted to the Inland Empire 66rs. The scouts are not enamored with Steve but he got the job done for the Loons. Interested to see how he does going from the pitching league in the Midwest to the offensive show of the California league. Expect some struggles.
The future of the Dodgers might be playing in Vegas soon but it won't be prospects, as Furcal, A Jones, and Nomar will be joining Schmidt in rehab assignments. Look for lots of roster movement as these players come off the DL. The team will soon be a combination of Dodger rehab players and old players(Ramon Martinez, Repko, Riley, Johnson, Tiffee) trying to make it back to the majors or old prospects(Lindsey.Griffen) trying to get to the majors for the 1st time. The only real prospects left on Vegas are Xavier Paul, Hu, Miller, and Meloan.
Mark Bellhorn belongs on the Vegas team but for some reason he is playing in AA as he tries to make it back to the major leagues. After a shaky start he is settling in and is now posting impressive OPS over 900 in June. I guess he is 2nd base insurance in case Kent goes down for an extended period and to be honest he'd be better insurance for 2nd then Berroa was for SS. The story in Jacksonville is about pitching as Jesus Castillo continues to be impressive in June with another sterling effort this weekend. James McDonald may have pitched his most impressive game of the year today when he blanked his opponents over six innings while punching out 9 of them with only one walk. Just like week I was worried over the lack of dominance being displayed by Scott Elbert but he punched out 9 in six innings of relief work over the course of the week. Both of his appearances were for 3 innings so he starting to get stretched out.
I'm sure you are sick and tired of reading about Carlos Santana but he is riding a 7 game hitting streak(including the all-star game noted above) plus he has driven in 13 runs in his last 10 games. He continues to drive in runs even while showing the excellent plate discipline that made me interested in him in the 1st place. Oh, and did I mention this catcher now leads the Cal League in Runs Batted In With 70? Outfielder Andrew Locke is 25 years old but he is having a solid June posting an 880 OPS. Jamie Pedroza gets hotter and hotter as the weather heats up. After a dismal April he put up on OPS of 866 in May and is following that up with an OPS of 957 in June. Not bad for a middle infielder.
Andrew Lambo is probably the next Dodger prospect who will get the most ink. His bat is bubbling again and his June OPS is over .900 now. Preston Mattingly broke a 0-26 streak by finally getting a hit on 6/26. Jamie Ortiz is hitting home runs with 10 in 186 at bats but that is all he is doing. Maybe Bryan Morris is coming around as he pitched 5 shutout innings with no walks in his last start. Victor Garate has gotten plenty of pub here and I'm hoping he gets a promotion soon so we can see how he does against the next level of competition.
The 2-10 Raptors are a bad team loaded with interesting players. J Dutton broke the losing streak by picking up the first win for the Raptors but he wasn't very impressive. In fact none of the pitchers for the Raptors have been impressive so lets talk about the Paul Bunyan Hitters instead. This is the basketball league version of a baseball team. The top 3 hitters for the Raptors are 6'5 Kyle Russel(1.215 OPS), 6'6 Clay Calfee(1.118 OPS), and 6'5 Kyle Orr(.919). They all hit from the left side, and between the 3 of them they have 8 home runs in about 120 at bats. Diminutive Devaris Gordon is also stroking the ball but he has 9 errors in 12 games. Steven Joseph Caseres is another LH giant but is only 6'4 and trails the Paul Bunyan Threesome by one inch and 100 points in OPS.
I'm just not going to write about these guys for a few more weeks.
I don't know squat about our Dominican League team but Dodger Prospect Hound Canuck had this to say about Bladimir Franco over at Dodger Thoughts.
Who may be the next big Dodger prospect you have never heard of? Try this name on for size: Bladimir Franco. He was one of a handful of Dominicans Logan White signed last summer for chump change while other clubs were spending a lot more money on the more-in-demand foreign amateurs. Now Big Bad Blad, a 17-year-old shortstop, is leading the Dominican Summer League in homers with 5. And that is only in 21 games and 73 AB's. When Hanley Ramirez was the same age in the same league, he hit 5 HR's, but that was for the whole season, in 54 games and 197 AB's. Ramirez's line that year was .345/.397/.533, and Franco's right now is .315/.405/.616, so a better walk rate and more power from Franco. But what's the bad news? There has to be bad news, and it is that while Ramirez only had 22 strikeouts in 197 AB's, Franco already has 26 in 73 AB's. In my opinion, Ramirez's far superior contact ability at a young age gave him a solid foundation to build on, and his power obviously developed later. Franco's superior power at the same age is exciting, but a swing-for-the-fences approach combined with a penchant for whiffing could prove to be a fatal flaw as Franco ages, a sign that he is going to be more Joel Guzman that Hanley Ramirez. We'll see what happens