Josh Rawitch set up a Q&A session with Dodger Assistant GM, Player Development, DeJon Watson. For those unfamiliar with DeJon he's a local boy who starred in baseball and football at Santa Monica High School and was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1985 draft by the Royals. He never advanced above A ball and turned to a career in scouting. He quickly moved up the scouting ranks and was the Cincinnati Reds Director of Scouting when he did this interview. In October of 2006, Ned Colletti hired him away from the Indians and brought him back home. Just one year later he was promoted to Assistant GM, Player Development. A busy man he took a few minutes out of his time to talk with TBLA about the Dodger prospects. Below is a summary of that conversation. Originally I had 50 questions but was told to cut it down to 10-12. I'm sure many questions you or I had were cut and in retrospect I wish I had asked a few of my other questions then the one's I did ask.
I did not have a phone recorder so unless you see a quote, the answers I've written down are summaries
Ivan DeJesus lost a year to injury. Other then a brief appearance in Arizona we have not heard how he's doing. Has he made a full recovery without any loss in athletic skills and can we expect him to be playing winter ball in Puerto Rico? He's going to play winter ball in Puerto Rico, has a slight limp, still little trouble doing the turns, straight a head is fine, expectations are for him to be 100% by spring training. Little worried about the pounding his leg will take on the winter league astro turf.
Josh Lindblom started most of the time in AA but once promoted to AAA he pitched only in relief. Is the belief going forward that he's a bullpen guy instead of getting a shot in the rotation? He pitched in relief for the Isotopes just in case the Dodgers needed him in the bullpen. The expectation is that if he does not make the major league roster he will be pitching in the Isotope rotation.
Lucas May made some big strides with the bat this year, having a solid year in AA, World Cup, and the AFL. The one question many of us have is how is he progressing as a catcher? We have heard many a rumor that pitchers do not like pitching to him, has trouble with passed balls, and just does not appear to have the skills to be a major league catcher. Are these unfounded? Is he progressing as a catcher? Defense is improving, has made "drastic improvement" based on his play in the AFL. Was the main catcher for the World Cup team which won the World Cup.
Andrew Lambo had a pedestrian season in AA but is doing quite well in the AFL, where will he be playing in 2010? Still needs to prove himself in AA, very happy with his performance in the AFL as he's still one of the youngest players in the league but is one of the best hitters in the league.
Why did Kyle Russell spend the whole season with the Loons and how worried are you about the K's? - he stayed with the Loons all year because they liked the group of players they had there and wanted to keep them together as a unit for the complete season. Pitch recognition is his biggest problem and they hoped they made some big strides in the instructional league this Sept by adjusting his setup. They don't want to reduce his aggressiveness and realize that a hitter like that will strike out.
Tony Delmonico followed the Russ Martin, Carlos Santana, Lucas May playbook and was converted to a catcher. How did you and your scouts feel that worked out and is that going to stick? - Tony will stay at catcher and we felt he was making excellent progress when he was hurt and had to move from behind the plate.
Gerald Sands struggled in the MWL, was sent to Ogden where he destroyed the league playing CF, came back to the Loons and finished strong while playing 1st base. What position will he be playing in 2010 and do you see him making it to the California League? "blue collar kid" , "Brings it every game" , going forward he will play both 1st and the outfield, he has the foot speed to play the outfield but they are not ruling out 1st base.
Ethan Martin and Nate Eovaldi became an interesting tag team during the 2nd half; can you elaborate on the thinking behind using them in the same game in the 2nd half for about three innings each? Since Ethan was coming off the injury last year and Nathan had the history of the TJ, they wanted to keep the innings down so they put them together. Next year the gloves will come off and they will both be in the rotation.
Is Austin Gallagher a 1st baseman going forward and is his shoulder healthy? - Still looking at both sides of the diamond for Austin. His shoulder is coming along and he's making progress, taking dry swings at the moment. They love the bat and his internal desire.
Aaron Miller was dynamite for the Loons during the regular and post season. Are the Dodgers going to be aggressive with him and move him to AA to start the season? - To be determined this spring but he's impressed everyone in the organization with not only his stuff but his poise.
Allen Webster had a big year, was that the biggest surprise of the season or did your scouting staff know what you had? - When drafted he was throwing 88-90 but after making some adjustments to his pitching mechanics and natural physical maturation he was touching 95 this year. "added five feet to his fastball". Other players of note who he thought made big strides were Buddy DeLaRosa - "touching 98 - 99 " this summer after some tweaks to his mechanics. Carlos Frias big arm.
One of the Dodger prospects we traded away a few years ago was Chuck Tiffany. He then suffered an arm injury and wasn't able to come back with the Rays. This summer we signed him to a contract but I've never heard a word about his progress? Is he still with the organization? If so what are the expectations? - arm never bounced back, he was released at the end of the year
What happened to College World Series hero Clayton Allison? - shoulder surgery (would not reveal what kind), expected to be 100% by spring.