Dodgers 200 Minor League Countdown: 170 - 161

Here is the next part of my Dodger minor league countdown.  While we are still a long way off from the real Dodger prospects, at least the names are getting a little more interesting and recognizable.  Also, I know everyone was waiting to see where Roman Pena would rank, since he is the high profile player we got in return for our top prospect Preston Mattingly.

170.  Carlos Mercedes, 1B (33 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 190 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.253 average, .779 OPS, 2 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 159;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Carlos Mercedes is a young Dominican player who made his professional debut in 2009.  He was only 17 when he played his first professional game, and his lack of experience showed.  He hit just .133 during the 2009 season, and had an OPS of .486.  In 2010, however, Mercedes showed some improvement in the DSL as he almost doubled both this average and his OPS.  Even still, Mercedes didn’t have a great season as he only collected 9 extra base hits for the year, and amazingly struck out in 40.4% of plate appearances.  That number makes Kyle Russell look like a contact hitter.  In addition, the fact that he plays 1st base doesn’t help his cause because you generally expect big offensive numbers out of a corner infielder.  Because he’s still just 19 years old he still has a chance to make a name for himself, but it’s going to take a big season in 2011 for that to happen.

169.  Joseph Lincoln, C (15 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 34th round

6’4”, 210 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.179 average, .484 OPS, 0 HR’s, 4 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Joseph Lincoln is a big catcher that was drafted out of Missouri Southern in the 34th round of the 2010 draft.  In his one year with the MSSU Lions (he had previously played one year each a Maple Woods CC and Kansas University), Lincoln hit .434 with a team high 53 RBI’s and 11 homers.  Going back to his high school days, Lincoln had an incredible senior season as he hit .629 with eight homers, 51 RBI’s, and 16 stolen bases.  Unfortunately, Lincoln’s previous success didn’t translate to his professional debut.  Joseph only got into 15 games, and in his limited at bats Lincoln hit just .179 and did not record an extra base hit.  In addition to his size, the good news is that Lincoln will play the entire 2011 season as a 22 year old, so he is still relatively young.  There is even a chance he’ll get promoted to LoA next season, although he’ll surely be a backup no matter where he plays. 

 

168.  Jose Ramirez, OF (62 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’2”, 200 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed

.279 average, .763 OPS, 5 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 14 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 180;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

After a terrible debut season in 2009, Jose Ramirez turned things around in 2010.  While his stats weren’t amazing, he was good enough to be named as the DSL offensive MVP by yours truly.  The 22 year old isn’t a prospect by any means, but did rank among the DSL Dodgers leaders in several offense categories.  His 5 homers were tops on the team, as was his .763 OPS (minimum 80 at bats).  He also ranked 2nd on the Dodgers with 33 RBI’s and 14 SB’s, and did not make an error all season while playing all over the outfield.  Because of his solid 2010 season, the Dodgers may decide to bring Ramirez to a US based rookie league in 2011 despite the fact that he is a little older than most players promoted from the DSL.

 

167.  Cody White, LHP (23.1 IP in AAA, 27.1 IP in HiA, 6 IP in Arizona League)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 12th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 26 years old

3-4, 7.31 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 5.32 FIP, 5.32 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 130;     Pre 2009 Rank: 125

 

Not too long ago, Cody White was considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.  He was ranked #24 in the 2007 Baseball America prospect handbook, and in the 2008 version of the handbook he was listed as having the system’s best changeup.  Even after missing the 2009 season, White was including in the 2010 BA handbook in the LHP depth chart.  All of these accolades did not come without just cause, as his ERA was 2.68 and 3.14 in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  However, White’s troubles started in 2008.  His ERA jumped to 4.94, and his strikeout rate dropped to 5.81 per 9 innings.  In addition, his heavy workload of just about 146 innings in 2008 probably attributed to the fact that he missed the 2009 season.  White returned to the mound in 2010 and started the year in HiA.  After just a few games, however, he promoted all the way up to AAA to replenish the Isotopes injury depleted pitching staff.  Unfortunately, White was terrible in both the California League and the PCL which led to his combined 7.31 ERA.  His WHIP was also awful, and batters hit .322 against him for the season.  Currently a minor league free agent, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cody was with a different organization in 2011.

 

166.  Jesus Rodriguez, RHP (38.2 IP AAA, 23.1 IP AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 1/20/05

6’0”, 180 lbs, 25.5 years old

4-2, 5.52 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 5.10 FIP, 5.08 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 128;     Pre 2009 Rank: 141

 

Jesus Rodriguez has made steady progress through the Dodgers minor league system since signing with the organization in 2005 out of Mexico.  From Pioneer Rookie League to AAA, Rodriguez has spent time at every level.  He first reached AA in 2008, and then spent all of 2009 there as well.  In 2010 he again found himself in Chattanooga to start the season, but was promoted to Albuquerque in May despite 5.01 ERA with the Lookouts.  With the Isotopes, Jesus continued to be mediocre, recording a 5.82 ERA and just 18 strikeouts in 38.2 innings.  Speaking of strikeouts, getting guys to swing and miss has always been Rodriguez’s biggest problem as he has only struck out 5.5 batters per 9 for his career.  And when you are not sinker ball pitcher, the more balls that are put in play, the higher your ERA is going to be.  Also, at 6’0” and 180 pounds, Rodriguez isn’t an imposing presence on the mound by any means.  In regards to his future, the 25 year old will definitely be around next season to provide middle relief because he is a valuable organizational player.  However, it doesn’t seem like he has what it takes to make it as a reliever at the next level.  To further that point, he is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League and has an 11.28 ERA through 22.1 innings.

 

165.  Charlie Mirabal, SS (36 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07

5’11”, 164 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed

.295 average, .716 OPS, 0 HR’s, 21 RBI’s, 8 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 161;     Pre 2009 Rank: 79

 

As I’ve written before, Charlie Mirabal is an interesting story.  He was signed by the Dodgers after he performed well during an open tryout before the 2007 season.  Originally a middle infielder, Mirabal struggled during the 2007 season in the Dominican Summer League.  So the Dodgers decided to try him out as a pitcher during 2008, and he put up some great numbers.  He had a 1.99 ERA in 32 innings and had an outstanding strikeout rate.  Based on those facts, one would think that Mirabal would continue to pitch in 2009 in one of the U.S. based rookie leagues right?  Well, that was not the case as the Dodgers had different plans for Miarbal, and decided to move him back to shortstop in 2009 while keeping him in the DSL.  I don’t really understand this decision at all given Charlie’s success on the mound in 2008, and I decided that the only reasonable explanation would be that he had some sort of a minor injury to his pitching arm.  Whatever the case, Mirabal had another lackluster season as a position player in 2009, and I thought that the Dodgers might try Mirabal on the mound again in 2010.  However, while the Dodgers did promote Charlie to the Arizona League in 2010, they continued to play him at shortstop.  He did have a decent season, as he led all Arizona Dodgers with a .295 average (minimum 80 at bats), but he didn’t really show any other plus skills.  He has never hit a professional home run, and has average speed at best.  In addition, playing as a 23 year old, he was quite old for the Arizona Rookie League.  Since he is now probably too old be to be converted back to pitcher, I can see Mirabal playing the role of a backup infielder for the Loons in 2011.

 

164.  Chris Gutierrez, SS (121 games in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers on 3/1/2010

5’9”, 185 lbs, 27 years old, bats right handed

.312 average, .806 OPS, 1 HR, 35 RBI’s, 16 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Gutierrez actually had a pretty good season for the 66ers, hitting .312 and holding down the most difficult defensive position on the field all season long.  However, the 26 years old Gutierrez was much older than his competition, so he was really just doing his best to keep the team competitive in an organization that is a little bit thin in quality shortstops.  Originally signed by the Blue Jays as a non drafted free agent in 2005, Gutierrez was with Toronto until midway through 2009.  He then spent a little bit of time with the Angeles in 2009, making it all the way to AAA, before signing with the Dodgers in 2010.  At his age, I highly doubt he’ll be back in the Dodgers organization next year; especially since he is a minor league free agent.

 

163.  Pedro Tavarez, C (12 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.222 average, .465 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 104;     Pre 2009 Rank: 183

 

You’ll notice that Pedro Tavarez has jumped around in my rankings in the past few years.  Prior to the 2009 season, he was coming off of two terrible seasons in the DSL so I ranked him #183.  In 2009, however, he was promoted to the Arizona League and had a solid year with a .325 average and was named to the post season all star team.  That prompted me to rank him #104 last year, although I wrote that I still wasn’t sold on him and that he would really need to prove himself in 2010.  Well that didn’t happen at all as Tavarez played in only 12 games with the Ogden Raptors this past season, and didn’t collect an extra base hit all year. In addition, it should be noted that it wasn’t injuries that limited his playing time in 2010 because his 12 games were spread all throughout the season.  Instead, the Raptors simply didn’t have enough starts to go around at catcher, and Tavarez was the odd man out.  Given his lack of playing time, I doubt that Tavarez would be promoted in 2011, so it looks like he’ll stay in Ogden for another year.  Now 23 years old, he is losing value fast.

 

162.  Gari Tavarez, RHP (23.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’0”, 170 lbs, 23.25 years old

1-0, 4.94 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 3.37 FIP, 6.84 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 184;     Pre 2009 Rank: 149

 

After getting promoted from the DSL a US based league in 2008, Gari Tavarez’s career has stalled.  He has spent 2008 in the Gulf Coast League, and then the last two seasons in the Arizona Rookie League.  His combined stats in the US based rookie leagues over the past 3 seasons are a 5.42 ERA, a 1.61 WHIP, and a 6.5 K/9, so he hasn’t really deserved a promotion.  However, his 2010 stats were slightly better than the previous two seasons, and he is still just 23 years old, so it is possible that he’ll finally get promoted beyond Arizona 2011.  While his frame appears to be best suited for a career in the bullpen, the Dodgers are hoping that Tavarez will at some point recapture the form he had back in 2007 when he dominated the Dominican Summer League as a 19 year old with a 1.49 ERA and 9.5 K/9 in 66.2 innings.

 

161.  Roman Pena, OF (21 games in HiA in 2010 – Indians Organization)

Trade with Indians for Preston Mattingly

6’0”, 190 lbs, 24.5 years old, bats left handed

.148 average, .602 OPS, 2 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: N/A;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Roman Pena was acquired by the Dodgers from the Indians after Don Mattingly requested that his son be traded in order for him to get a fresh start.  When you look at the trade, it was really an exchange of struggling players as both Preston Mattingly and Pena have been terrible in the minor league careers.  We all know how bad Preston was, so let’s look at how Roman has done since getting drafted by the Indians in the 9th round of the 2005 draft.  His debut season was in 2006, and he actually did pretty well with a .302 average and 7 homers in 56 games.  Since then, however, he’s been dreadful.  In 2009, Pena hit .204 over a full season in the Carolina League.  Then in 2010, while repeating in HiA, Roman batted just .148 through 21 games before his season ended due to an injury.  Now 24 years old, I can’t see Pena being more than organizational depth for the Dodgers in either HiA or AA next season.  He doesn’t seem to have any tool that stands out, so I don’t really see him going anywhere.

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