Here is the next part of my prospect countdown. With most of the other prospect rankings completed, it looks like mine is really the only one left (besides Baseball Prospectus). Anyways, it looks like I won't get everything posted before Spring Training starts, but I'll continue to post these once a week for the next six weeks. Hopefully you find some prospects here worth watching, even though we are still outside of the top 50. Enjoy
70. Fredy Quintero, RHP (32.7 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers in 2008
6’3”, 180 lbs, 22.25 years old
0-2, 1.93 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 8.82 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 111
Like they did with Javier Solano, the Dodgers purchased Quintero’s rights from the Mexican League's Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000. He started his career in the Gulf Coast League and posted a 4.03 ERA in 29 innings, which was pretty solid for a 20 year old in his first pro season. This earned Quintero a spot on the Ogden Raptors in the Pioneer League where he improved dramatically. His 1.93 ERA ranked as best on the team and his batting average against was just .246. In addition, Fredy had good strikeout numbers and showed pretty good control. According to Baseball America, at the time of his signing Quintero had an 89-92 mph fastball and a hard slider, so I’m assuming that he’s only gotten better as he’s matured. He has a good frame at 6’3”, so he can probably had a mph or two to his velocity. Heading into the 2010 season, Quintero will be 22 years old so he’ll most likely start in LoA. Another good season will firmly place his name on the Dodgers prospect radar.
69. Jaime Ortiz, 1B (56 games in HiA in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 7th round
6’1”, 220 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats left handed
.245 average, 5 HR’s, 24 RBI’s, 2 SB’s
Prior Year Ranking: 21
Jaime Ortiz was one of the biggest disappointments for me last season, and I admit that my evaluation of him last year was way off. After he hit 13 HR’s in the Midwest League in 2008, I predicted that Ortiz would hit 20 out in the California League in 2009 to go along with a .280 average. As it turns out, the only thing that I correctly predicted was the league that he played in. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why Ortiz never really got going offensively, but my best guess is that he simply never got into a rhythm during the season because he had to share his first base duties with Steven Caseres throughout the entire season and didn’t really get consistent playing time. Still that’s no excuse for Ortiz, especially since he was playing in the hitter friendly California League. The good news is that Jaime is still just 21 years old and already has a lot of professional experience. Drafted out of Puerto Rico as a 17 year old, Ortiz has made a steady progression through the Dodgers system. So far in his four year professional career, he has been promoted after each season (going from the GCL to the Pioneer League to LoA to HiA). I’m pretty sure that trend will stop heading into 2010 as there is no way that Ortiz will move up to AA. In fact, even if Caseres does get promoted (which he probably will), Ortiz will probably still end up splitting time at 1st base again next season in California League because the Dodgers have quite a few solid first base prospects. Overall, while I still think that Jaime has a lot of potential, he is going to have to show us something next year because his career .240 batting average isn’t going to impress anyone.
68. Eric Krebs, RHP (25 innings in HiA, 16.2 innings with other organization in 2009)
6’3”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old
0-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 11.16 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: N/A
Eric Krebs was originally a 16th round pick in the 2005 draft by the Pirates out of a small community college in Texas. After 4 mediocre seasons with the Pirates, Eric was sent to the Dodgers as part of the Delwyn Young trade. Krebs has a lot of upside, but he also has some problems on the mound, with his biggest issue being his command. During his 2009 season split between AA (with the Pirates) and HiA (with the Dodgers), Krebs walked more than a batter per inning. That led to an inflated WHIP, as well as a FIP of 4.24 during his time with the Dodgers. Nevertheless, the Dodgers decided that Krebs was worth a roster spot in the AFL. They based their decision on Krebs’ potential as he has a fastball that can hit 96 miles per hour. In the AFL, Krebs faired very well in most aspects of his game, but unfortunately his lack of control continued. He walked 11 batters in just under 14 AFL innings, which again caused him to have a very ugly WHIP (1.76) when compared to his ERA (2.63). The number that really sticks out, however, is his strikeout rates. In the AFL he posted a K/9 of 12.5, and his career rate stands at just over a strikeout per inning. So he obviously has something going for him. His fastball is complimented by a late breaking slider and a changeup that sits in the low 80’s. Krebs will definitely start in AA next year, and a promotion to AAA at some point isn’t out of the question. In fact, if he can learn to harness his pitches and limit his walks, he may be able to make it as a reliever at the big league level. He’ll be almost 25 years old when the 2010 season starts, however, so he’ll have to turn things around quickly.
67. Carlos De Aza, RHP (27.7 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07
6’3”, 178 lbs, 19.75 years old
4-2, 1.30 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7.81 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 127
What a difference a year made for Carlos De Aza. After posting a 6.53 ERA and 2.08 WHIP in 2008, De Aza completely turned things around in 2009 with a 1.30 ERA and a ridiculous .149 batting average against. Now I know that a lot of people will point the fact that Carlos only pitched 27 innings in 2009 and say that his FIP was 3.86, but come on, the guy was basically unhittable. He gave up just 4.6 hits per 9 innings for the season, which is ridiculous. The only negative thing about his is that he has control issues, but even that drastically improved when compared to 2008. He walked 11.3 batters per 9 innings in 2008 (which is one of the highest walk rates I’ve ever seen), but he brought that number all the way down to 6.5 walks per 9 innings in 2009. At 6’3” and just 19 years old, De Aza definitely has some potential. I’m sure he’ll get promoted to one of the U.S. based rookie leagues in 2010 based on his numbers and makeup. While he’s still got a long ways to go in terms of development, he is an interesting name keep track of as he progresses through the Dodgers system.
66. Jordan Pratt, RHP (57 innings in LoA in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 5th round
6’3”, 195 lbs, 24.75 years old
3-4, 4.58 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 10.26 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 54
Jordan Pratt had a lot of good things going for him heading into the 2009 season. He was coming off a decent season in HiA, and an even better winter league. In the 2008 Hawaii Winter League, he posted an ERA of 2.53 and had an amazing strikeout rate of 14.5 strikeouts per 9 innings. He also generated some buzz prior to the 2008 Rule 5 draft as his name was thrown around as a potential target for several clubs. In addition, he was named as the Dodgers 30th best prospect by Baseball America after the 2008 season, and was predicted to begin 2009 in AA. So I’m sure he felt some disappointment when he learned that he’d be spending the 2009 season in LoA where he was one of the oldest players on the team. He didn’t let his disappointment show, however, as he put together a solid season for the Great Lakes Loons. His ERA and WHIP weren’t great, but his FIP was 3.74 and batters his just .222 against him. He also struck out over a batter per inning, and was surprisingly effective against lefties. In regards to his stuff, Pratt has a fastball that can hit 94 MPH, a power curveball with good movement, and a slider. His biggest problem is his control. Pratt walked 16.4% of batters he faced in 2009, which was the highest percentage for any Loons pitcher, and for his career he walks almost 7 batters per nine innings. Basically if he can improve his command, then he pretty much has what it takes to be an effective arm out of the bullpen. I’m not sure what the future holds for Pratt. He was a minor league free agent after the 2009 season, but luckily re-signed with the Dodgers this past January. For the 2010 season, I’m almost certain that he’ll be promoted to AA to face some stiffer competition because at almost 25 years old, 2010 is a make or break season for Jordan.
65. Gustavo Gomez, RHP (60 innings in Dominican Summer League in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers in 2008
6’1”, 150 lbs, 18.75 years old
2-3, 2.70 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.45 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 113
2009 was Gustavo’s second professional season, and he showed drastic improvement from 2008. He led the 2009 Dominican Dodgers in strikeouts and innings pitched, and posted a great ERA and FIP (2.63). Gomez also only walked 19 batters during the season, and his strikeout to walk ratio of 3.32 ranked 6th in the Dodgers minor league system for 2009. The best part about Gomez, however, is that he is still just 18 years old, and already has 88 innings of professional experience. Based on this experience, and the fact that Gustavo had a great 2009 season, I expect Gomez to move up to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010. While his build needs some more muscle, he should be ready for tougher competition.
64. Kyle Orr, 1B (40 games in Pioneer Rookie League in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 4th round
6’5”, 205 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed
.223 average, 3 HR’s, 27 RBI’s
Prior Year Ranking: 42
Since being drafted in 2006, Kyle Orr has done nothing to deserve a top 100 ranking. He has yet to hit better than .230 in any of his minor league seasons, only has 11 HR’s in 479 career at bats, and has struck out in 30% of his career plate appearance. Yet I continue to see Orr’s potential and I can’t help but rank him in the top half of Dodger minor league players. Drafted in the 4th round of the 2006 draft, the Dodgers were able to sign Orr away from a strong commitment to play at the University of Kentucky for a $435K signing bonus and an additional $100K going toward a college education if he ever chooses to get one. Upon signing, Orr was said to have a ton of power even though he was just 17 years old at the time. Unfortunately, that power hasn’t translated into any professional success as mentioned above. After spending three years in Rookie ball, I think that Orr just needs to be thrown into a full season league like LoA and see what happens from there. He’s been limited to less than 500 professional at bats even though he was drafted way back in 2006, so I think that has hurt his development. He’s still just 21 years old, so he has plenty of time to turn things around and use his 6’5” frame to his advantage. While I don’t think he’ll cut down on his strikeouts anytime soon, I do believe he can turn into a Kyle Russell type and hit 20 HR’s annually at some point in the near future.
63. Luis Ferreras, RHP (18 innings in Pioneer League in 2009)
Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07
6’0”, 150 lbs, 20.25 years old
2-1, 2.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 5.50 K/9
Prior Year Ranking: 46
Luis Ferreras has had an interesting journey so far with the Dodgers. Signed as a 17 year on before the 2007 season, Ferreras put together a remarkable debut season in the Dominican Summer League, allowing just 3 runs in 27 and one third innings for a 0.99 ERA. Seeing this success, the Dodgers brought Luis to the U.S.A. in 2008 and started him in the Gulf Coast League. Through 7 games in the GCL, Ferreras again showed dominating stuff as he allowed just 1 run over 12 innings. That prompted the Dodgers to actually promote the 18 year old Ferreras all the way to AA for a couple of weeks to fill in for some injured players, during which time Luis threw 3 hitless innings. When the AA bullpen was back to full strength, Ferreras was sent to LoA where he finally showed that he was human by posting 8.53 ERA through 12 innings. When it was all said and done, Ferreras had a 4.23 ERA in 2008. So that brings us to 2009. After playing all over the place in 2008, I thought that Luis would have a little more consistency in 2009 by spending the season with LoA. The Dodgers, however, decided that the Pioneer League was a better place for Luis, so he spent the year there. While it might seem like Ferreras was injured at some point during the season because he was limited to 18 innings, when you look at his game log you’ll notice that all of his appearances were spread pretty evenly from June to September. So basically, the Dodgers just wanted to limit his innings in order to protect his 19 year old arm. While his ERA with Ogden was pretty good, his WHIP or 1.44 and FIP of 4.31 tell another story. In addition, Ferreras has a low career K/9 of 6.3, and actually walked more batter than he struck out in 2009. Nevertheless, since he’ll be just 20 years old when 2010 starts, I’m pretty confident that Luis will continue to grow, mature, and improve over the next few years. While I have no idea what his velocity is or what his secondary pitches are, I think that Ferreras has the potential to one day be a big league reliever. My guess is that he’ll spend 2010 in LoA.
62. Brian Ruggiano, 3B (54 games in Pioneer Rookie League, 7 games in Arizona League in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 23rd round
6’0”, 175, 23.75 years old, bats right handed
.346 average, 9 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 22 SB’s
Prior Year Ranking: 116
Brian was the second Ruggiano drafted by the Dodgers out of Texas A&M in the past few years because they drafted his brother, Justin Ruggiano, in the 25th round of the 2004 draft. Justin is no longer with the Dodgers, as he was part of the Mark Hendrickson/Toby Hall trade in 2006, but he has made a name for himself by making it up to the Rays during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Even though Brian struggled in his debut season, last year I wrote that “based on his brother’s success after being drafted in the 25th round, I wouldn’t count out Brian as being an impact player just yet, even though he was a 23rd round pick.” Well, Brian Ruggiano tried to prove me right and had a huge year for the Dodgers in 2009. He ranked among the Dodger Minor League Leaders in several categories, including on base percentage (.413), slugging percentage (.547), OPS (.961), average (.346), and stolen bases (22). He also ranked very favorably among the Pioneer League Leaders, and actually lost the Pioneer League batting title on the last game of the season (he ended up finishing second with his .371 batting average while with Ogden). He did all this while learning to play 3rd base, a position that he has never played regularly (he was basically a catcher and outfielder in college, and played 2nd base last season). Despite all of his success, there is still the fact that Ruggiano was a 23 year old playing in rookie ball. He was one of the older hitters on the Raptors, so his accomplishments have to be discounted a little. At the end of the day, however, it’s not Brian’s fault that he was placed in the Pioneer League, and he did everything in his power to show that he didn’t belong there. He even stole 22 bases and hit 9 home runs, which were the most surprising numbers to me because he isn’t really known as a power or speed player. In 2010 Ruggiano will probably get the respect he deserves, and I’m guessing that he’ll play in the California League. If he can put together another season similar to 2009 in HiA, then he’ll really put his name on the Dodger prospect radar.
61. Jan Vazquez, C (25 games in Arizona League in 2009)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 6th round
5’10”, 165 lbs, 18.75 years old, switch hitter
.216 average, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 0 SB’s
Prior Year Ranking: N/A
Jan Vasquez is a young switch hitting catcher who was drafted by the Dodgers in the 6th round of the 2009 draft. He is from Puerto Rico and was taken Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School. Prior to the draft Vazquez ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash, which is great for a catcher. Also, scouting reports suggest that he has a plus arm behind the plate, and also has some experience as a middle infielder. According to Logan White, “This kid is a real athlete. He shifts, blocks, has perfect size for a catcher. If we don't need him behind the plate, he could play second base because he can really hit from both sides of the plate.” After signing with the Dodgers, Vazquez was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League where he played just enough to get his feet wet. He only appeared in 25 games as he split time with Michael Pericht and Pedro Tavarez, and while he struggled to the tune of a .216 average, he did show life at the end of the season and finished the year by hitting .333 in the month of August. At just 18 years old, Vazquez is still learning the game and developing as a player. Despite being just 5’10” and 165 pounds, his body shows potential to add muscle as he matures. In 2010, I expect Vazquez to repeat the Arizona Rookie League, but this time I’m sure that he’ll get more at bats. In fact he’ll probably be the primary catcher for the club to get him ready for a full season league in 2011.