We are finally into the top 100 Dodger prospects. From here on out, most of the names should be at least somewhat familiar to most Dodger fans, although some 2009 draftees and Dominican Summer League players might still be new to some people. Hopefully you'll find some interesting names in this group!
100. Jimmy Marshall, RHP (11 innings in Arizona League in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 23rd round
6’6”, 195 lbs, 23 years old
0-1, 4.09 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 9.82 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: N/A
Jimmy Marshall was a four year player for Florida State, and overall had a very successful career for the Seminoles. He was a middle reliever and spot starter for FSU in 2006 and 2007, then shared the closer role during 2008 with Giant top prospect Buster Posey, who was actually a pretty dominate pitcher in college in his limited opportunities. In 2009 Marshall inherited the team captain patch and the full time closers role for FSU, and while he had his least successful season in terms of ERA (4.85), he was able pick up 10 saves, post a strikeout rate of 13.5 K’s per 9 innings, and hold batters to a .238 average. His biggest problem during his senior season was his control as he walked 24 batters in 26 innings, which is probably attributable to his height. Because of his age and college experience, the Dodgers moved Marshall directly into the closer role for the Arizona Dodgers, although they limited him to just 11 innings spread over two months. While his ERA of 4.09 and FIP of 4.38 were just mediocre, he continued to show a good strikeout rate and also allowed batters to his just .211 against him. From what I’ve heard, he has a low 90’s fastball and a decent slider, but I don’t know much else about his pitching repertoire. Overall, I really like Marshall’s size and potential, even though he is already 23 years old and was drafted in the 23rd round. I’m almost positive that he’ll start in Lo-A next season, and I’m hoping that he develops into a useful power reliever.
99. Josh Walter, RHP (110 innings in LoA in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers 6/27/08
6’4”, 250 lbs, 25 years old
10-4, 3.27 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 9.25 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 189
If Josh Walter were three years younger, he would easily be a top 30 prospect for the Dodgers. He has pretty good stuff, and he is big…like Jonathan Broxton big. He also had a great season with Great Lakes in 2009 while splitting time between starter and reliever. He was named as a mid season All Star in the Midwest League after having a phenomenal first half, and ultimately finished the season with 113 K’s and a .228 batting average against, both stats which ranked among Dodger minor league leaders for 2009. But unfortunately, Josh Walter is not three years younger. Instead, he is almost 25 years old, and has yet to play above Lo-A. He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 out of Texas State University where he posted a 4.71 ERA as a Senior. He actually didn’t pitch much at all in college, as he only pitched about 40 innings at Texas State. Going back to his professional career, even if Walter is promoted to AA in 2010, he is still going to be behind schedule. While he has the potential to thrive as a middle reliever, he may be too old to ever make it in the major leagues. It’s going to take another outstanding season in 2010 for him to make any sort of an impact with the Dodgers.
98. Joseph Paxson, RHP (29.3 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 13th round
6’3”, 250 lbs, 23.5 years old
1-3, 5.52 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 8.90 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: N/A
The third time was the charm for Joseph (J.B.) Paxson. After being drafted in the 33rd round by the Dbacks in 2005 and the 18th round by the Braves in 2006, Paxson signed with the Dodgers in 2009 as a 13th round pick. He actually didn’t really have a choice this time, because he was a Senior in college and didn’t have the option of going back to school. In looking at Paxson’s past, it also makes sense why Joseph was drafted so many times. He hit a school record 29 home runs during his high school career, and then hit .455 with 13 HR’s in his only season at Walters State Community College. Up until this point, you’ll notice that Paxson was actually known for his offense, as he was a full time catcher. In 2007, however, Paxson joined Western Kentucky and proceeded to have three solid seasons as a two way player. In his three years with the Hilltoppers, Paxson was the starting catcher for the majority the games, and as a Senior actually hit .345 with a great 1.076 OPS. However, the Dodgers wanted him for his pitching arm. While his ERA wasn’t great during the 2009 season (6.82), he struck out 41 batters in 31 innings and Dodgers really liked his fastball. According to reports, his fastball can get up to the mid 90’s, which makes sense given that he is 6’3” and weights 250 lbs. Upon signing with the Dodgers, J.B. was sent to the Pioneer League where he compiled a 5.52 ERA in 29 innings. However, his 2009 FIP was 2.89, so he actually did a lot better than most people would initially think. Used strictly in relief, Paxson picked up 3 saves during the season, and he also had 3 holds, which ranked 6th in the Pioneer League. Even though Paxson is already 23 years old, I think that he has a bright future as a reliever. I’m sure that he’ll head to LoA next year, and hopefully a full season of concentrating on pitching will result in even better stats for 2010.
97. Mario Alvarez, RHP (85 innings in HiA, 3 innings in AA in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers 1/16/03
6’0”, 205 lbs, 26 years old
5-7, 4.60 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 7.06 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 83
While I discussed Mario’s background last year, it is worth repeating. Alvarez was signed as a 3rd baseman in 2003, and hit very poorly in his debut. So the Dodgers converted him to a pitcher in 2004, and he was an immediate success, posting a 1.24 ERA in 65 innings. From 2005 to 2007, however, Alvarez had three mediocre seasons as he never finished with an ERA below 5.60 during that time period. Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided to add him to their 40 man roster after the 2007 season to protect him in the Rule 5 draft. He went on to have arm surgery during the 2008 season which caused him to miss most of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. During that time, he was removed from the Dodgers 40 man roster, and is now just another Dodger minor leaguer. Upon his return in 2009, Alvarez actually had pretty solid stats even though he played the majority of the season the California League. His 1.18 WHIP with Inland Empire ranked as best on the team for players with at least 20 innings pitched, and his overall season WHIP of 1.22 ranked as 9th best in the entire Dodgers minor league system (minimum 45 innings). In addition, his FIP for 2009 was 3.76, and batters hit just .249 against him. To add to his recent success, Mario currently has a 1.17 ERA through 15 innings in the Dominican Winter League. While he’s not very big, Alvarez does have something special about him, which is why the Dodgers put him on the 40 man roster back in 2007. At 26 years old, he is running out of time to make it to the big leagues, but he is worth keeping an eye on. He was already resigned by the Dodgers this offseason to a minor league contract, so I expect Mario to play a full season of AA in 2010, with a good chance of making it up to AAA at some point.
96. Leonel Beras, LHP (14 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07
5’11”, 143 lbs, 18.75 years old
0-3, 7.07 ERA, 2.14 WHIP, 9.00 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 34
Leonel Beras was definitely one of my biggest ranking mistakes last year. I’m not saying that we should give up all hope in Beras because of his 2009 ERA, but obviously he is not one of our top 40 prospects as I thought last year. What plagued Beras in 2009 was his lack of control. In 14 innings, Leonel walked 20 batters, which calculated out to him walking more than 25% of the batters he faced. When he did find the plate, however, he showed decent stuff as opposing batters hit just .200 against him for the season. He also struck out a batter per inning, and absolutely dominated left handed batters in his limited exposure to them. In addition, Beras is obviously very young, so he has still has plenty of time to improve. Besides his lack of control, the two biggest negatives about Leonel are his size and his lack of experience. Over his two professional seasons, he has pitched just 34 total innings. I expect that to change next year as I believe the Dodgers will give Beras a bigger role in his third season in the DSL during 2010. He’ll play most of the 2010 season as a 19 year old, so hopefully the Dodgers will feel he is finally mature enough to pitch an entire season. While he’s not currently a top 50 prospect, I would continue to keep an eye on Beras as he has shown flashes of brilliance and is still developing as a player.
95. Jesus Castillo, RHP (150.3 innings in AA in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 27th round
6’0”, 195 lbs, 25.75 years old
7-9, 4.31 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 5.33 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 43
I’m not really sure what to think of Jesus Castillo. Drafted by the Dodgers as a late round pick in 2003, he had three straight excellent seasons from 2004 through 2006, and never finished with an ERA above 2.96 during any of those years. In 2007, Castillo received a bigger challenge as he played the entire year in Hi-A, but even then he did relatively well with a 4.78 ERA in the California League. Then in 2008, Castillo probably had his best year as a professional, and based on those numbers the Dodgers decided to add Castillo to their 40 man roster after the season. Even though I thought Castillo would play in AAA in 2009, he was a victim of numbers and was forced back to AA for a second season. In Chattanooga, Castillo posted average stats, but wasn’t as successful as in prior years. So when the Dodgers 40 man roster got too full in August of 2009, Castillo again was a victim of numbers and was designated for assignment. He cleared through waivers, however, and luckily the Dodgers were able to outright him back to the minors. In regards to Castillo’s future, as mentioned earlier I’m not sure what to think. His career ERA is a respectable 3.91, but his strikeout numbers have always been very low. He is also already 25 years old, and isn’t very big for a pitcher. Nevertheless, he should finally be ticketed for AAA in 2010. It’ll be tough for the Dodgers to add him back to their 40 man roster after he has already been removed from it, so he’ll have to convince them with his play on the field. So far this offseason he is doing his part, as he is currently doing very well in the Mexican Winter League with a 1.67 ERA through 32 innings.
94. Andrew Suiter, LHP (15.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 10th round
6’3”, 210 lbs, 22.75 years old
2-0, 4.02 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 8.62 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: N/A
I read an interesting interview with Suiter that took place in 2008, shortly after he was drafted by the Yankees in the 32nd round. At the time, we has looking for 3rd or 4th round bonus money, so it is no wonder he didn’t sign. In the interview, Suiter discussed a variety of topics. He started with a discussion about his pitches, and at the time of the interview, said that he had a 4 seam fastball that ranged from 90 – 92 mph, a 74 mph 11-to-5 curveball, and a “fosh,” which is held like a split-finger, but where the thumb is off to the side of the ball. Next, Andrew talked about his college career, and how he was originally a prize recruit by UCLA, but then due to a broken wrist and poor coaching decisions, transferred to UC Davis where he finally got an opportunity to play. Finally, Suiter described how he wanted to be a starter rather than a reliever, how he was a really good water polo player, and how he definitely needed to improved upon his control. Anyways, enough with the interview. Suiter obviously didn’t sign with the Yankees, and returned to UC Davis in 2009. While his 2009 college stats were rather unimpressive, he did improve his velocity and was hitting 94 mph by the end of the season. So the Dodgers decided to take a chance on him with their 10th round pick, and immediately placed him in the Pioneer League. After the draft, Logan White said "This kid has a really good arm…He's throwing 94-95 now and has a good change and a good curve ball. The question is getting him to command the strike zone. When he was a starter he wasn't very successful but when they moved him into the bullpen he had good success. We're going to start him and if he has trouble we'll move him into relief and we feel he will be very good. We think we have a great find this late in the process. We can see no reason he can't throw strikes, maybe he just likes relief better. If we get another Brent Leach, that will be great." In the Pioneer League, Suiter continued to have major problems with his control, as he walked 18 batters in just under 16 innings. When he did throw strikes, however, Suiter showed good stuff because batters only hit .200 against him, and he struck out almost a batter per inning. At 6’3”, Andrew has good size, and I think this lefty could become a successful relief pitcher if he learns better control. He’ll most likely play in LoA in 2010.
93. Antonio Castillo, LHP (47.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07
5’11”, 180 lbs, 22 years old
4-3, 6.04 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 7.36 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 45
Even though Castillo had an awful season in 2009, I’m not going to give him a break because he was so dominant in 2007 and 2008. I know those two seasons came while he was in the DSL, but come on, his combined ERA’s during those seasons was 1.41 through 115 innings, and his combined WHIP was 0.80. Those are some unbelievable stats, especially for a 5’11” lefty. Turning back to 2009, Castillo obviously experienced some sort of transformation upon being brought to the U.S. for the Pioneer League. His 2008 ERA more than quintupled, and his 2008 WHIP more than doubled. His biggest problem by far was his walk rate, as he walked almost 15% of batters he faced. Even still, Castillo still showed flashes of brilliance as he actually performed very well during the month of July, which is when he pitched the majority of his innings. In just over 27 innings during that month, his ERA was a more respectable 3.62, and batters only hit .243 against him. So it was the other two months (June and August) that really doomed his season. Overall, Castillo is still pretty young, and was making a pretty big jump from the DSL to the hitter friendly Pioneer League. Even though he isn’t very big, I think he can be an effective left handed reliever. Look for him to play in the Midwest League next year in a rebound season.
92. Pedro Guerrero, SS (62 games in Pioneer League in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06
6’3”, 181 lbs, 21.25 years old, bats right handed
.259 average, 4 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 3 SB’s
Prior Year Ranking: 67
Pedro Guerrero (no relation to the former Dodger great) was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut in 2008. He produced average numbers in the Gulf Coast League in 2008, and had similar numbers in 2009. While he spent the majority of his time with Ogden at shortstop, at 6’3” he may be better suited for 2nd or 3rd base, which have been his secondary positions throughout his career. His offensive numbers probably won’t support any other position, however, so Guerrero needs to step it up at the plate. His biggest problems are his walk and strikeout rates. In 247 plate appearances in 2009, Pedro struck out 65 times, and walked just 9 times for a dismal walk to strikeout ratio of 0.14, which ranks as one of the worst in the Dodgers minor league system. In addition, Guerrero’s 23 errors ranked in the top 5 among Dodger minor leaguers in 2009. The good thing about Pedro, however, is that he is still young, and played all of last season as a 20 year old. So he has plenty of time to improve his game, as well as add muscle to his lanky frame. I wouldn’t be surprised if Guerrero spent 2010 repeating the Pioneer League given his age, and hopefully he’ll show some more patience and consistency at the plate.
91. Kyle Smit, RHP (47 innings in LoA, 20.7 innings in HiA in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 5th round
6’3”, 165 lbs, 22.5 years old
1-7, 6.12 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 8.11 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 88
Coming out of high school, Smit was one of the best pitchers in Nevada. He didn’t really have many college options however (he had committed to Western Nevada Community College), so he was an easy sign for the Dodgers in the 5th round of the 2006 draft. Unfortunately, he has not performed well so far as a professional, and has a 5.83 career ERA. Last year I gave him a break because he was only 21 years old at the time, but after back to back horrible seasons, I’m starting to think that he simply may not have great stuff. While he still has a lot of projection left in his frame and supposedly already hits 93 on the radar gun, he’s going to have to start producing some better stats if he wants to make any kind of impact with the Dodgers. Going back to his 2009 season, Smit started the year in LoA, and even though he was struggling to the tune of a 5.36 ERA, the Dodgers actually promoted him to HiA in July. It was in the California League that Kyle really tanked as he allowed 18 earned runs in 20.2 innings. Overall, Smit still has time to prove his worth. He is still young, and he has always posted good strikeout rates. Also, as mentioned before, he has a good frame and has yet to fill out. He’ll most likely return to the California League in 2010, and let’s hope that he can somehow find a way to record an ERA under 6.00 for the first time in a few years.