State of the Minor League System - Center Field

Center Field is next up in my series.  To remind everyone what I'm doing, this analysis will serve two purposes.  First, it will take a look at the Dodgers minor league system at each position and show the depth and talent at each.  Second, it will provide a re-ranking of the players within each position.  I have also provided the preseason rank that I gave to each player within the position.  You'll notice that some players have an N/A next to their preseason rank.  That is because the player is new to the Dodgers since my preseason ranking.  I will be providing a position by position breakdown over the next two weeks.

I am including the players that were drafted in the 2010 draft and have already signed with the Dodgers.  I know that it is difficult to evaluate such prospects so early into their Dodger career, but I am going to do my best and basically give them a preliminary ranking.  Also, I use Baseball America's prospect restrictions (130 AB's or 50 IP), although I also limit my ranking to players under 28 years old.

In addition, the position that I have each player ranked at is the position that I believe is best for the player.  It may not be the players current primary position, but it is where I believe each player will ultimately end up should they make the major leagues.  Finally, please feel free to leave comments, debate my rankings or challenge the positions that I have the players at.  Enjoy.

Preseason Current Name How Acquired Age Height Weight Bats Current Level
1 1 Trayvon Robinson 2005, 10th  22.88 5' 10" 175 S AA
N/A 2 James Baldwin 2010, 4th  18.77 6' 3" 190 L Arizona Rookie
N/A 3 Leon Landry 2010, 3rd  20.82 5' 11" 185 L Pioneer Rookie
2 4 Jamie Hoffmann Signed 9/2/03  25.91 6' 3" 235 R AAA
6 5 Ramon Jean Signed 3/12/07  22.77 6' 0" 160 R Hi-A
5 6 Lenell McGee 2008, 13th  21.94 6' 2" 185 R Lo-A
3 7 Nick Buss 2008, 8th  23.59 6' 0" 180 L Lo-A
9 8 Melvin Ray 2008, 33rd  21.23 6' 4" 205 R Arizona Rookie
N/A 9 Mike Drowne 2010, 28th  21.97 5' 10" 175 R Arizona Rookie
10 10 Stetson Banks 2009, 22nd  22.51 6' 1" 185 R Lo-A
N/A 11 Gregory Pena Signed 2010  18.59 6' 0" 175 S DSL
4 N/A Wilner Charles Signed 2008  19.28 5' 11" 160 R Released
7 N/A Jovanny Rosario Signed 6/2/03  25.26 5' 9" 160 S Released
8 N/A James Tomlin Signed 10/2/2006  27.93 6' 0" 183 R Released
11 N/A Bridger Hunt 2006, 9th  24.98 6' 0" 185 R Released
12 N/A Travis Vetters Signed 6/28/06  26.85 6' 2" 190 R Released


Before the 2010 draft, Center field was a relatively weak position for the Dodgers.  The only real prospect was Trayvon Robinson, who is having a solid season in the Southern League.  While Robinson will never be a legitimate power threat, he's still just 22 and has some time to fine tune his skills.  He definitely has the speed to stay in center, and I project his ceiling in the MLB to be a .290 hitter with 10 homers and 20 SB's over a full season.

In the 2010 draft, the Dodgers drafted both James Baldwin and Leon Landry, who immediately provided the center field position with some depth.  Baldwin is the younger of the two and in my opinion is the better prospect.  Even though Landry is having a much better professional debut than Baldwin at a higher level, I think Baldwin's bloodlines, size, and athleticism will eventually make him the better player.  Baldwin has a very projectable frame at 6'3" and is still extremely raw, hence his tough transition in the Arizona Rookie League.  Landry has a lower ceiling than Baldwin in my opinion, but had a solid career at LSU and could definitely become a serviceable center fielder at the big league level.  Landry is quick and is an overall great athlete, and has been compared to Juan Pierre with a little less speed and a little more power.

The next player on my list is Jamie Hoffmann, who has had a good year so far in AAA.  However, I don't believe he'll never be more than a backup outfielder at the big league level. 

There are also a couple of sleeper candidates for me.  The first is converted infielder Ramon Jean.  He has no power, but is still young and is having a solid season with the 66ers.  The other two sleeper players are Lenell McGee and Melvin Ray, who both have lots of raw talent.  I'm sure that neither of them will ever amount to a big league player, but it's fun to dream about their potential.

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