Albuquerque Isotopes 2010 Season in Review

Here is the last part of my 2010 minor league seasons in review.  To read the other parts of this series, click on the links below:

Chattanooga Lookouts, Inland Empire 66ers, Great Lakes Loons, Ogden Raptors, Arizona Dodgers, Dominican Dodgers

Out of all the Dodgers minor league affiliates, I’d have to say that the Albuquerque Isotopes are my least favorite.  Nothing against the franchise itself, but it’s just that the team is usually full of non prospects that are 30+ years old.  In addition, the PCL, and especially the Isotopes home field, is so hitter friendly that it is difficult to analyze the player’s stats.  That being said, the Isotopes were a fun team to follow this year because they had such a potent offense.  9 players with at least 200 at bats hit over .300, and 9 players had double digit home run totals.  The pitching, however, was awful.  As always, remember that these reports are very extensive, so just because I’m writing about a player doesn’t mean that he is a big time prospect.  While I’ll usually mention if a guy is worth keeping an eye on, you’ll have to wait for my upcoming prospect ranking to fully understand who I consider prospects and who are simply organizational players.  Also, how the poll question plays out will help when me when I run our overall TBLA top prospect poll later this week.

 

Record:  72 - 71

Season Result:  Finished in 2nd place in the PCL American South division, one game back of Oklahoma City, and missed the playoffs.  Their .503 winning percentage ranked 10th out of the 16 teams in the PCL.

Season Recap:  The Pacific Coast League does not have "halves" like most minor league seasons, but instead is like the MLB in that the full season record of each club is what counts.  After fighting to stay around the .500 mark all season, the Isotopes unfortunately missed the playoffs by one game.  In terms of team stats, the Isotopes took advantage of their hitter friendly ballpark and lead the PCL with a .302 team average.  The team also ranked 2nd in the League with an OPS of .836, and their 163 HR’s ranked 3rd.  Their pitching was another story, however, as the team’s 5.78 ERA and 1.60 WHIP ranked 2nd to last in the entire league.  The discrepancy between the batting and pitching demonstrates that Albuquerque’s stadium is extremely hitter friendly. 

League Leaders: 

Category

Player

Rank

Amount

At Bats

Jamie Hoffmann

1st

545

At Bats

Ivan De Jesus

2nd

533

Runs

Russ Mitchell

2nd

97

Runs

Jamie Hoffmann

6th

91

Hits

Jamie Hoffmann

1st

169

Hits

Russ Mitchell

4th

159

Hits

Ivan De Jesus

5th

158

Doubles

Trent Oeltjen

1st

42

Doubles

John Lindsey

2nd

41

Doubles

Russ Mitchell

4th

38

Doubles

Jamie Hoffmann

6th

36

RBI's

John Lindsey

3rd

97

RBI's

Russ Mitchell

6th

87

TB’s

Russ Mitchell

3rd

270

TB’s

John Lindsey

4th

268

SB’s

Trent Oeltjen

6th

27

OBP

John Lindsey

6th

0.400

SLG

John Lindsey

1st

0.657

Average

John Lindsey

1st

0.353

Average

Trent Oeltjen

6th

0.320

OPS

John Lindsey

2nd

1.057

Saves

Scott Dohmann

6th

16

Holds

Juan Perez

4th

12

GF’s

Scott Dohmann

4th

32

 

Offensive MVP:  The offensive MVP of the Isotopes has to be John Lindsey.  He led the entire minor leagues with his .353 average, and he also finished first among all players with his .657 slugging percentage.  He also led the Isotopes in almost every offensive category, and as you can see from the offensive leaders above, he also ranked among the PCL leaders in many other offensive categories.  When you look back at his season, Lindsey was hitting over .400 all the way until the All Star break, and hit both lefties and righties very well, In addition, Lindsey hit over .400 at home, but actually hit 14 of his 25 homers on the road.  As we all know, Lindsey got called up to the big leagues in September to fulfill his lifelong dream, although his year ended prematurely due to a broken bone in his hand.  It remains to be determined if Lindsey will be part of the Dodgers plans in 2011.

Best Offensive Prospect:  Due to the lack of hitting prospects on this team, I’m giving this award to Ivan De Jesus Jr.  In all honestly, there wasn’t anyone else to give this award to since De Jesus was the only player on this team who has the chance to be more than a utility player at the big league level.  I’m not saying De Jesus will ever be a starter in the MLB, but at just 23 years old he is way ahead of guys like Russ Mitchell and Trent Oeltjen in terms of prospect status because they are much older and have much lower ceilings.  Also, Xavier Paul is no longer considered a prospect since he has accumulated more than 130 at bats with the Dodgers, so he is out of the running.  Getting back to De Jesus, he actually had a pretty good season at the plate for a middle infielder as he hit .296 with 7 homers.  I’m sure the hitter friendly PCL helped his stats a bit, but this was more than I expected out of him this year.  Even with solid season, however, I really don’t expect De Jesus to ever be a good major league hitter, and I think he’ll max out with 5 homers and a .280 average in the big leagues.  In addition, he is strictly a 2nd baseman at this point, which lowers his value. 

Pitching MVP:  Similar to the Chattanooga, the Isotopes have very poor starting pitching, and thus I was again forced to give this award to a reliever.  However most of the relievers were bad as well, as only 3 players with at least 20 innings pitched had an ERA under 4.00 for the season.  Of that group of 3 (Justin Miller, Juan Perez, and Jon Link), I’m going to select Jon Link as the pitching MVP due to the fact that he was a workhorse and also served as the part time closer of the team.  Link threw 60.2 innings, which led all relief pitchers by a large margin, and recorded a 3.71 ERA.  His FIP for the year was 3.55 and he picked up 4 saves and 3 wins.  Again, it’s not that he had a great season; it’s just that nobody else stood out for Albuquerque on the mound.

Best Pitching Prospect:  This award basically came down to Scott Elbert vs. Josh Lindblom.  Both had terrible seasons for the Isotopes, although each of them struggled in different aspects of their game.  At the end of the day, I’m going with my gut and giving this award to Scott Elbert.  I know he missed a good portion of the season due to "personal reasons" and didn’t seem to have his head in the game, but he is back now and saying that the time off was the best thing that could have happened to him.  In addition, he is now going to work strictly out of the bullpen, so maybe that will help him focus and concentrate on a single role instead of going back and forth between starting and reliever.  According to those who saw him pitch in 2010, his stuff is still there including a mid-90’s tailing fastball and a solid slider.  He obviously struggles with control, but that is hopefully something that can eventually be fixed.  If he has a strong showing in the AFL and in spring training, he might win the 2nd lefty job in the Dodgers bullpen in 2011.

1st Base:  John Lindsey got the lion’s share of starts at 1st base for the Isotopes, and I talked about his season above.  JD Closser appeared in 31 games at 1st, but he was more of a catcher and will be discussed later.  Jay Gibbons played 28 games at 1st, but he will also be discussed later in the outfield section.

 

2nd Base:  Ivan De Jesus Jr. was the team’s main 2nd baseman, and I already wrote about his season in the section above.  However, I do want to mention that his fielding percentage at 2nd base this year was .974, which wasn’t terrible but wasn’t great either.  I guess I just expected more out of a former shortstop, although it’s possible that his leg hindered him some in the field.

 

3rd Base:  I knew Russell Mitchell could play 3rd base, but I didn’t think he’d be able to handle the hot corner for an entire season.  Well Mitchell proved me wrong in 2010 as he played 103 games at 3rd base and held his own with a respectable .958 fielding percentage.  I’m not saying that he’d be able to handle 3rd on a regular basis at the big league level, but he has proven that he can at least be adequate in an occasional start or in a utility role.  In terms of his offense, Mitchell had an outstanding season at the plate with 23 homers, 87 RBI’s, and a .315 average.  While he did perform much better at home in the friendly confines of "The Lab", he still held his own on the road with a .272 average.  Since Mitchell can also play 1st base, the outfield, and even a little 2nd base, it will be interesting to see where he ends up in 2011.

 

Shortstop:  Justin Sellers excellent performance at the plate was probably the biggest surprise of the Isotopes’ season.  The 5’10" shortstop, who hit .280 with 2 homers in AA in 2009 and started off 2010 by struggling in the California League, managed to slug 14 homers and post a .867 OPS for the Isotopes.  In addition, he hit .285 and walked nearly as much as he struck out.  By the end of the year, it was even rumored that the Dodgers would add Sellers to their 40 man roster and give him a September call up, although that report never materialized.  Like many other Isotope players, Sellers was aided by the hitter friendly home ballpark, but even still I can’t believe the season he had.  Finally, it should be noted that Sellers is also a strong defensive player, so he still might get a chance to one day play with the Dodgers.  In fact, he may even get added to the 40 man roster this November.

Chin-lung Hu played 45 games at shortstop during his injury riddled season, and had pretty decent stats in his limited playing time.  However he continues to move in the wrong direction as the once solid prospect is now more of an afterthought in the Dodgers system.  The 26 year old now only profiles as a big league utility back up at best, and the fact that he is out of options heading into the 2011 season complications his future with the Dodgers.  Getting back to his 2010 season, Hu hit .317, although he did most of his damage at home and against left handed pitchers.  One interesting stat for Hu’s 2010 season is that he only struck out in 7.2% of his plate appearances, and only walked in 3.6% of his plate appearances.

 

Catcher:  Lucas May was Albuquerque’s main catcher for the majority of the year, and was having a fine season at plate before he was shipped to Kansas City in the Scott Podsednik trade.  During his 351 at bats with the team, May mashed 16 homers, hit .291, and had an OPS of .856.  After the trade, he continued to do well in AAA and was brought up to the Royals in September where he hit .189 in 37 at bats. 

JD Closser caught 46 games for the Isotopes in 2010, and had a pretty poor season at the plate when compared to his teammates.  The 30 year old hit just .268 with a .671 OPS, and managed just 3 homers.  2010 was Closser’s 2nd season in the Dodgers organization, and I’m also guessing that it will also be his last.

AJ Ellis was the only other noteworthy Albuquerque catcher in 2010, although he was limited to just 18 games behind the plate since he spent most of the season with the Dodgers. 

 

Outfield: 13 different guys played in the Albuquerque outfield in 2010, but only a few are worth mentioning in this report.  Jamie Hoffmann anchored the outfield as he played 124 games in center, which contributed to his team high 139 games played.  Always known as a strong defensive outfielder, Hoffmann maintained his reputation by making only 1 error and posting a .996 fielding percentage for the season.  He also led the team with 5 outfield assists.  At the plate, Jamie was no slouch either as he hit .310 with 8 homers and recorded an .800 OPS.  Even though he is longer on the 40 man roster, Hoffmann will continue to provide solid outfield depth for the Dodgers unless he gets selected again in the Rule 5 draft.

Xavier Paul spent an even amount of time in all 3 outfield positions, and when he was not injured or with the Dodgers he continued to dominate the Pacific Coast League.  In 228 AAA at bats, Paul hit .325, slugged 12 homers, and had a .579 slugging percentage.  He is another player who is out of options heading into 2011, so hopefully he’ll find a spot on the Dodgers 25 man roster next year.

Trent Oeltjen started the 2010 season in the Brewers organization, but then exercised an out clause in his contract in July.  The Dodgers quickly signed him to a minor league contract and he provided solid dividends, hitting .347 with the Isotopes and recording an OPS of .979.  The 27 year old Aussie then earned a September call up, although that probably wouldn’t have been the case if Xavier Paul had been healthy.  When you combined Oeltjen’s AAA stats for the entire season, you’ll notice that he lead the PCL in doubles with 42, and ranked 6th with 27 SB’s.  I believe Oeltjen still has options, so it will be interesting to see what Trent’s role is with the Dodgers in 2011.

Jay Gibbons was one of the feel good stories for the Dodgers in 2010, but if it wasn’t for his outstanding performance in AAA, he never would have been added to the Dodgers 40 man roster.  While in Albuquerque, Gibbons hit .347, crushed 19 homers, and recorded an OPS of .969, while striking out in only 8% of his plate appearances.  He also played pretty solid defense, although his adventures in the outfield at Dodger stadium suggest he isn’t the best defensive player.  While he’s a free agent, Gibbons has made it clear that he wants to return to the Dodgers in 2011.

The 6’6", 240 pound Michael Restovich spent the majority of his defensive starts in left field, although he also played the role of DH for a good portion of the season.  Like many of his teammates, Restovich had a very good year at the plate as he hit .305 with 12 homers.  However his season was pretty much overshadowed by everyone else, and he was even released for a day in the middle of the season due to overcrowding on the AAA roster before an injury hit and he was re-signed.  In addition, the fact that he is not a strong defender in the field gave him basically zero chance of ever making it up to the Dodgers. 

Prentice Redman is the last Albuquerque player who made at least 50 appearances in the outfield, and he was actually tearing the cover off the ball early in the season before he was suspended for steroids.  He is 31 years old so he was pretty much a pointless player anyways.

 

Starting Pitchers:  Every single pitcher on the Isotopes pitching staff who made at least 5 starts had an ERA over 5 except for James McDonald, who is now a Pirate, and Scott Elbert, who’s ERA was 4.98.  So obviously this was not a good year to be a starting pitcher in Albuquerque.  32 year old Tim Corcoran was the workhorse of the staff as he led the team with 107 innings.  While his ERA was 6.31, his FIP was much better at 3.96 and he had a pretty good walk rate.  He also led the Isotopes with 9 wins.

Seth Etherton was another seasoned veteran in the Isotopes rotation who played the entire season as a 33 year old.  He was actually one of the more impressive pitchers on the team as his ERA was "only" 5.33 and his WHIP was a respectable 1.39.  He also struck out 8.3 batters per 9 innings, although he only won 5 of his 17 starts.

We all know how John Ely did during his time with the Dodgers, but what about his performance in AAA?  Well his ERA was extremely ugly at 6.22, although his FIP was a little better at 4.88.  You can’t really blame his stats on the Isotopes home ballpark either because he had a 5.40 ERA on the road.  He also allowed 10 homers in just 68 innings, and struck out just 7.4 batters per 9 frames.  Obviously his performance with the Dodgers is more meaningful than his time in Albuquerque, so that is good news for him since his MLB ERA was slightly better at 5.49.  His role on the team will depend more on what the Dodgers do this offseason.

Alberto Bastardo, who played most of his season in AA, made 12 starts with the Isotopes during his 2 month stint with the team.  The results were ugly as he recorded an ERA of 6.99 through 56.2 innings, and his WHIP in AAA was 1.76.  The small lefty is already 26 years old, and it remains to be seen if he’ll be with the Dodgers organization in 2011.

Charlie Haeger jumped around quite a bit in 2010, and his time in AAA was mediocre at best.  He had a 5.70 ERA in his 10 starts and one relief appearance with the Isotopes, but what’s worse is that he walked more batters than he struck out.  Now off the 40 man roster and 27 years old, Haeger’s best days are most likely behind him.

Scott Elbert made 9 starts in Albuquerque and recorded a 4.98 ERA in 43.1 innings.  While his ERA was relatively low compared to other starters, his WHIP was extremely high at 1.85 due to his elevated walk rate.  His strikeout rate was still very good, however, as he stuck out more than a batter per inning.  His strong K rate shows that he still has good stuff, which is why I named his as the team’s top pitching prospect above.

The aforementioned James McDonald was very solid during his time in Albuquerque, recording a 4.41 ERA and a FIP of 3.60 while striking out 8.1 batters per 9 innings.  Too bad he is no longer in the organization.

Finally, Josh Lindblom had a terrible season, and hopefully it was due to the fact that he was moved from reliever to starter to reliever during the season.  His overall ERA of 6.54 was horrible, especially when you consider the fact that he threw 95 innings, and his 1.84 WHIP was ugly as well.  The only slightly positive note is that his FIP was a more respectable 4.31.  Going forward, Lindblom will remain in the bullpen, and hopefully that will help his stamina and mental state in the future.  Also, he is still just 23 year old, which made him by far the youngest player on the team (not counting a cameo appearance by Eric Thompson).  The best thing that Lindblom could do for himself would be to learn from his mistakes and focus on the future because he still has a long baseball career ahead of him.

 

Relief Pitchers:  Besides Jon Link, who was team’s pitching MVP and was discussed above, the Isotopes had several other significant relievers on their team.  33 year old Justin Miller, who is not to be confused with the younger 23 year old prospect with the same name, had a very solid season for the Isotopes.  In fact, he did so well that he was promoted to the Dodgers in May and ended up throwing 24.1 innings in the big leagues before getting designated for assignment on July 23rd.  He cleared waivers and accepted the assignment back to AAA, and for the season he recorded a 1.95 ERA while in Albuquerque.  He also had a 1.22 WHIP and struck out exactly a batter per inning.  Overall, while he only threw 37 innings for the Isotopes, he was a valuable member of their bullpen.

Juan Perez is another veteran who had a solid season in the Albuquerque bullpen, as the 32 year old lefty posted an ERA of 2.96 in 45.2 innings.  He also struck out an impressive 10.5 batters per 9 innings.  I’m sure he was hoping to get called up to the Dodgers at some point in 2010, but as it turned out the Dodgers simply didn’t have room for another lefty in their bullpen.

Scott Dohmann, who is yet another 32 year old reliever, was the Isotopes closer for most of the season and accumulated 16 saves.  However his ERA for the season was 5.82, and his WHIP was 1.65.  To be honest I’m not sure why he was the closer of this team as it seemed that there were better options on the roster.

Travis Schlichting had a unique season because he performed better in the big leagues than he did in the minors.  In 47.1 AAA innings, Schlichting had a 4.75 ERA and a .294 batting average against, but in his 22.2 innings with the Dodgers he had a 3.57 ERA and a .233 batting average against.  I guess some of the discrepancy can be linked to the PCL being such a hitter friendly league, but even still it is a pretty rare occurrence to do better in the majors than in the minors (although John Ely experienced the same results).  While Schlichting has never had a high strikeout rate, his composure in the Dodgers bullpen over the past two seasons demonstrates to me that he can be a valuable option out of the Dodgers bullpen for years to come. 

Finally, we’ll end with Cory Wade.  Remember when he posted a 2.27 ERA in 71.1 innings out of the Dodgers bullpen in 2008?  Well those days are long gone as injuries and struggles led to Wade recording a 4.91 AAA ERA in just 29.1 innings of work.  The good news is that he showed great control by walking just 3, but he strikeout rate was disappointing at 6.1 K’s per 9 innings.  I haven’t really heard any recent scouting reports on Wade, so besides his slew of injuries, I’m not sure why he hasn’t regained his form.  While Wade is not currently on the 40 man roster, there is a chance he could be added back to the roster in November in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.  And in all honestly, it might be worth adding him back to the 40 man if there is room because it is likely that he’d be taken by another team, and because if Wade could ever get fully healthy, he might just revert back to that strong relief pitcher that he once was.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Join True Blue LA

You must be a member of True Blue LA to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at True Blue LA. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker