Dodgers 200 Minor League Countdown: 150 - 141

As we move into the top 150 Dodger minor leaguers, the names are going to be more recognizable.  It's also where there might be more debate as to where I've ranked some of these players.  So here it is, the final prospect post before Christmas.

150.  Pete Budkevics, RHP (40 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed 6/28/10 as Non Drafted Free Agent        

6’2”, 165 lbs, 23.25 years old

4-1, 3.38 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 3.85 FIP, 9.90 K/9

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

 

The Dodgers signed Pete Budkevics as a non drafted free agent this past June out of C.W. Post (aka Long Island University).  Budkevics had a solid senior season for the Pioneers, leading the team with 8 wins, posting a 2.97 ERA, and allowing just a .203 batting average against.  He also left his school as the career strikeout leader with 291 K’s over 4 years.  Shortly after signing with the Dodgers, Pete was assigned to the Ogden Raptors and probably surprised a lot of people by recording strong stats in 40 innings.  Playing as a 23 year old, Budkevics had a 3.38 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning.  He also proved to be very versatile as he made five starts towards the end of the season.  However he was much more effective as a reliever as his ERA was 1.06 out of the bullpen compared to 5.09 as a starter.  Budkevics is a prime candidate to move to a full season league in 2011, and I’m guessing he’ll find himself in the Loons bullpen next season.

149.  Chance Gilmore, OF (14 games in Pioneer League, 27 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 25th round

5’11”, 187 lbs, 24 years old, bats left handed

.257 average, .792 OPS, 3 HR’s 21 RBI’s, 9 SB’s

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

 

Jeremy “Chance” Gilmore was drafted in 2010 out of Coastal Carolina, where his dad Gary was the head coach.  Chance had a solid season as a junior in 2009, and then really made his dad proud in 2010 as he hit .341 with 12 homers and 54 RBI’s and helped his team reach the super regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament.  Gilmore signed with the Dodgers quickly, and was initially sent to the Pioneer League.  He struggled through 14 games with the Raptors, and as more 2010 draftees signed, he was demoted to the Arizona League because the Ogden roster got crowded.  Gilmore posted better stats in Arizona, including a .837 OPS, but that is probably a function of him playing against much younger competition.  A center fielder in college, Chance played almost exclusively in left and right field in his professional debut because James Baldwin and Leon Landry were the main center fielders for their respective teams.  Since he will already be 24 years old when the 2011 season starts, the future for Gilmore doesn’t look especially bright.  Nevertheless, I’m rooting for him to succeed wherever he plays next season.

 

148.  Jessie Mier, C (46 games in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 12th round

6’1”, 215 lbs, 26 years old, bats right handed

.269 average, .686 OPS, 1 HR, 14 RBI’s, 3 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 151;     Pre 2009 Rank: 115

 

Jessie Mier was selected by the Rangers in the minor league portion of the 2010 Rule 5 draft, so he is no longer in the Dodgers organization.  Had he remained with the Dodgers, this is where he would have ranked.  The reason he is included in my rankings because I compiled my list prior to the Rule 5 this year.  Anyways, Jessie is the less talented, older brother of Jiovanni Mier, who was drafted by the Astros with the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft.  Drafted out of Lewis-Clark College in 2007, Jessie spent the 2010 season in Chattanooga and was actually relatively decent with the bat.  But the sample size of his stats was still very small since he only accumulated 145 at bats for the season.  While he is known as one of the better defensive catchers in the Dodgers system, Mier’s career offensive stats suggest that he doesn’t have what it takes to ever make it to the major leagues.

 

147.  Jake McCarter, RHP (37.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.5 years old

0-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 2.85 FIP, 11.09 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 120;     Pre 2009 Rank: 158

 

As I mentioned last year, McCarter, has a very interesting back story.  Believe it or not, McCarter was drafted four different times, yet never signed with any of the teams that drafted him.  His draft year, round, and team were as follows: 2003 40th round Reds, 2004 28th round Yankees, 2005 39th round Nationals, and 2006 45th Red Sox.  Obviously, based on the round numbers that he was drafted in, teams were not amazed by his talent by any means.  Anyways, in regards to his college career, McCarter played in junior college for two years before transferring to Alabama.  In 2006, Jake was very successful with the Crimson Tide (2.32 ERA in 62 innings), but he decided to transfer to Oklahoma after the season.  After being forced to sit out the 2007 season due to NCAA rules, McCarter was handed the closer role for the Sooners in 2008.  While he did pick up 9 saves throughout the season, he had a very ugly ERA of 7.11, which is why he was not drafted for a 5th time in 2008.  Instead, he signed as a non drafted free agent with the Dodgers after the 2008 college season, and got his first taste of professional ball in the Gulf Coast League.  After a great 2009 season with Inland Empire, in which McCarter lead all 2009 Dodger minor leaguers with a .193 batting average against, I would have guessed that McCarter would take the logical next step to AA in 2010.  However, Jake was injured at the beginning of the season, and when he healed the Dodgers decided to send him to the Pioneer League.  It really makes no sense for a 25 year old with two years of professional experience to play in a rookie league, so I don’t know why the Dodgers sent him there, but I guess the good news is that McCarter did have a great season.  Batters hit just .217 against him, and he struck out over 11 batters per 9 innings.  In addition, his WHIP was one of the best in the Dodgers system.  Now 26 years old, it’s a crapshoot as to where McCarter will play in 2011.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on any roster from LoA to AAA.  I do hope that he gets a chance to prove himself against real competition because while I don’t know how hard he throws or what his pitches are, I do know that he has posted great stats in each of the last two seasons while playing in two hitter friendly leagues.

 

146.  Bobby Blevins, RHP (17.1 IP in AAA, 20.1 IP in AA, 68 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 13th round

6’0”, 200 lbs, 26 years old

4-10, 5.62 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 4.87 FIP, 5.03 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 108;     Pre 2009 Rank: 80

 

After progressing slowly through the Dodgers system during his first 3 professional seasons, Blevins saw a lot of movement in 2010.  The right hander started and ended the season with the 66ers in HiA, but from June 8th through July 24th Blevins split his time between AA and AAA because the Dodgers had a shortage of arms in their upper minors during that time period.  The interesting thing about his season is that Bobby’s ERA actually got better against the tougher competition.  His ERA with the 66ers was 6.09, with the Lookouts it was 5.31, and with the Isotopes it was 4.15.  However, his FIP of 7.47 and his remarkably low K/9 of 2.6 while in Albuquerque suggests that he was getting extremely lucky in AAA.  Also, when you combine his stats for all of 2010, batters hit .326 against him.  In terms of his stuff, Blevin’s doesn’t throw extremely hard, but has a lot of different pitches, including 4 types of fastballs (4-seamer, 2-seamer, cutter, and sidearm).  Judging from his career strikeout rate of 6.5 batters per 9 innings, he doesn’t really have a solid put away pitch.  At 26 years old, Blevins will probably spend 2011 doing what he did best in 2010: filling in when needed on various rosters.

145.  Thomas Melgarejo, LHP (3.1 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 12/1/05

6’1”, 216 lbs, 24 years old

0-0, 8.10 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 4.10 FIP, 13.50 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 158;     Pre 2009 Rank: 91

 

A native of Mexico who was signed by the Dodgers before the 2006 season, Thomas Melgarejo was actually on loan to his home country for almost all of 2010.  Melgarejo played on the Saraperos de Saltillo, and did very well out of their bullpen.  In 52 appearances, spanning 44.2 innings, Melgarejo posted a 2.01 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and a .214 batting average against.  That was a huge improvement from 2009 when he had a 5.70 ERA with the 66ers.  Even though he stuck out 5 batters in 3.1 innings after rejoining the Dodgers, the one thing about Thomas is that his strikeout rate has historically been relatively low.   Nevertheless, given his experience, success in 2010, and the fact that he’ll be 24 years old next season, I expect Melgarejo to move up to AA in 2011.  He is currently playing in the Mexican Winter League and has an ERA of 7.00 through 9 innings.

144.  Christian Lara, SS (108 games in LoA, 2 games in Arizona League in 2010)

Acquired via trade with Red Sox in April 2008 for Eric Hull

5’11, 185 lbs, 25.75 years old, switch hitter

.288 average, .810 OPS, 10 HR’s, 50 RBI’s, 17 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 183;     Pre 2009 Rank: 200

 

Christian Lara had a bit of a resurgence with the Loons in 2010, but I’m going to attribute that to the fact that he was much older than the rest of the league, and had already played 3 seasons of HiA heading into the season.  He stunned a lot of people with 10 homers and a .290 average, but at 25 years old that is basically expected out of him.  The one thing that surprised me about Lara was that while browsing through the old Baseball America archives, I discovered that he was once a legitimate prospect.  In 2003, Lara was the Red Sox player of the year for their Dominican Summer League.  In 2004, Lara was actually ranked the 9th best prospect in the Gulf Coast League after hitting .433 in 60 at bats.  During that season, Lara apparently had “good on-base ability and speed and focuses on getting the most out of those tools”.   Heading back to present times, Lara is no longer a legitimate prospect despite his solid 2010 season.  He is much too old to ever make it to the big leagues, although the Dodgers did already re-sign him this offseason (he was a minor league free agent).  In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a shot in AA in 2011, but I expect him to struggle against the older competition.

 

143.  Bret Montgomery, RHP (1 IP in Arizona League, 52.1 IP in Pioneer League)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 46th round

6’6”, 250 lbs, 25.5 years old

4-3, 4.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.49 FIP, 9.28 K/9

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

 

Bret Montgomery is a local boy who was the Dodgers 46th round pick in 2010.  He was born in Thousand Oaks, and played his college ball at Cal State Dominguez Hills.  In his 3 seasons with the Toros, Montgomery had a cumulative 2.95 ERA in 36 appearances, amassed 191 strikeouts, and threw a no hitter against Cal State LA in February of 2010.  After getting drafted, Bret said “I am more relieved than anything that I can keep playing baseball.  Overall I am very happy that it is with the Dodgers, after idolizing their players and always watching them as a kid it is a dream come true but it was also great being a Toro for three years and I will definitely keep track of our guys.”  After signing, Montgomery was sent to the Arizona Rookie League for one game, and then joined the Raptors.  In Ogden, his ERA wasn’t very good, but he had a solid FIP and a strong strikeout to walk ratio.  In fact, his combined FIP of 2.49 ranked as the 2nd best the entire Dodgers minor league system (minimum 50 IP).  He’s a big guy at 6’6” and 250 lbs, but the bad news about Montgomery is that he is already 25 years old.  Therefore he was playing against much younger competition, and is really going to have to move up the ladder at light speed if he wants to have any chance of making it to the big leagues.  Due to his age, I would expect him to start in HiA to see what he can do against more advanced batters.

 

142.  Vladimir Martinez, SS (16 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010           

6’2”, 173 lbs, 18.75 years old, switch hitter

.241 average, .529 OPS, 0 HR, 10 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

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

 

Vladimir Martinez is a shortstop from the Dominican Republic who made his professional debut in 2010.  He didn’t play his first game with the DSL Dodgers until late July, however, and only played in 16 total games for the season.  After getting off to a hot start, with 8 hits and 7 RBI’s in his first 24 at bats, Martinez cooled significantly to finish the season.  In addition to the fact that he’s a switch hitter, another thing that Vladimir has going for him is his age, as he’ll be just 18 years old to start the 2011 season.  It is his youth that gives me hope that he can still turn into a decent player in the future.  He’ll definitely return to the DSL next season, although he may be playing a different position because if keeps adding height to his 6’2” frame, he may outgrow shortstop.   

 

141.  Eduardo Perez, 1B (130 games in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/4/02

6’1”, 175 lbs, 26.5 years old, switch hitter

.271 average, .702 OPS, 4 HR’s, 58 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 79;     Pre 2009 Rank: 110

 

Eduardo Perez seems to be on the every-other year plan.  Since 2005, Perez had been good in the odd years, and mediocre or worse in the even years. The best example is his OPS, which has been .876, .821, and .886, in odd years since 2005, and .714, .766, and .702 in even years since 2005.  Even at his best, Perez isn’t much of a prospect since he is already 26 years old, isn’t very big, and only has mediocre pop despite playing the power position of 1st base.  Really the only thing he has going for him is the fact that he’s a switch hitter.  Even though he is one of the longest tenured players in the Dodgers organization since he has been with the club since 2002, he might not be around in 2011 since he became a minor league free agent after the 2010 season and has yet to re-sign.  He is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League and has a .187 average in 32 games.

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