The Ogden Raptors are an interesting team. They have some solid Dodger prospects, and having a great season so far as they have already clinched a playoff spot with the first half division crown. The only problem is that it has been difficult for us to get information about some of the players on the team because they are technically in a Rookie League, and there isn’t much coverage of the team. Luckily, I was able to exchange emails with Brandon Hart, the Radio Play by Play guy for the Ogden Raptors, and he was gracious enough to answer several questions about the Dodger prospects on the team. He provided me with some thorough responses, and I really appreciate his time. Below are my questions and his responses (in bold).
Jonathan Garcia – He can obviously hit the ball, but how is his defense? I’ve heard he has a great arm, but is his range good as well? Also, what kind of speed does he have? Finally, is he really 5’11", or has he grown since those measurements came out?
His defense as far as catching the ball and range is average, not great but not bad either. His arm is top notch and the best of the outfielders I have seen this season. He has average speed. He is not slow by any means but isn’t a speed demon either. He really is 5-11 too.
Michael Pericht – He was on a tear to start the season, and although he’s cooled down a bit he is still having a great season. Do you think he can keep up the good offensive stats all season? How is his defense as a catcher, and you think he can stay there throughout his professional career?
Pitchers have kinda figured him out. He seems to be a sucker for the low and away slider. You throw him something straight or middle-in and it will go a long way. I would rate his defense a bit below average as far as receiving the ball and blocking pitches in the dirt. His arm is good. He split time between catcher and 1B in college. He might have a better shot at 1B but I his value is at catcher. I think it might all depend on who is ahead of him.
Leon Landry – Landry has had a great start to the season. Would it be reasonable to compare him to Juan Pierre with a little less speed and a little more power? Or is there another way to describe Landry?
Landry should be defined by his defense. It is what got him drafted in the 3rd round. He has a second gear in the field. The comparison to Pierre with less speed and more power I would feel is fair but (and I hate to compare him to someone on the Giants) he is a lot like Andres Torres. Landry is better than Pierre. Pierre got on base because of his speed. Landry will drive the ball to get on base. Great defense and good speed. Has a bit of pop but he should not be described as a power hitter. Gap hitter.
Nick Akins – Akins destroyed the Arizona League, and now is putting up great numbers in Ogden. Will he get promoted to the Midwest League this season? Is he a legitimate prospect, or just a good hitter who is using his experience to do well? Also, is he destined to be a left fielder, or can he hold his own in center or right?
When talking with De Jon Watson, he seems to hint that there won’t be a whole lot of movement between Ogden and Great Lakes. With the Loons holding the best record in the Minors, I think the Dodgers would like to keep the success there. He is a tremendous power threat. He has light-tower power. His weakness is in the field. He can be a lazy fielder, who actually dropped a foul ball yesterday. His arm is average along with his speed. In the clubhouse, he gets comparisons to Manny. He is going to be a left fielder. He doesn’t have the arm for right and has not nearly enough speed to play center and won’t here in Ogden with much better choices for center.
Jake Lemmerman – How has Lemmerman’s defense looked at shortstop? Are his good offensive numbers a product of the hitter friendly Pioneer League, or is he really that solid at the plate?
Lemmerman is very solid at short. He hasn’t made any wow plays but he also hasn’t booted the easy ball either. He really is one of the better hitters in the league and is just a very consistent hitter who will make solid contact at the plate day in and day out.
Garrett Gould – Prior to this year, it had been said that Gould could throw up to 94 mph. However, there have been rumors that he is barely hitting 90 mph this year. Is this true, and if so, do you think it is attributable to him being young and having a tired arm? Also, is his curveball as good as the scouts say it is? How are his other secondary pitches coming along? In your opinion, should he be considered top Dodger prospect in the same tier as Chris Withrow, Aaron Miller, and Ethan Martin?
Has touched 94, but sits at the 89-92. Curveball is very good at 79-82 and has touched 84. Change-up is coming along and a very good third pitch. I wouldn’t say he has a tired arm though. His stamina seems to be there and usually goes about five innings like the rest of the starters. Gould’s curve is what keeps hitters off balance and when it is working, along with his fastball, his strikeout numbers go way up. He should be considered near the top prospects. You can’t tell he is 19 when he is on the mound. He looks like a guy in his second year out of a full college career. His youth is where his value is at. Really not fair to compare him to upper level, high velocity guys.
Greg Wilborn – He is a little old for the Pioneer League, but he is putting up some very good numbers. How hard does this lefty throw? What are his secondary pitches? Do you think he’ll get promoted before the season is up to test him in a tougher league?
Wilborn features a slider, curveball and a change-up. He improved a ton this off-season and was given the Opening Day start because of this. He has lived up to the role and really hasn’t had a bad start all season. Touched 94 but sits 90-92. Off-speed pitches that are getting hitters out, not the fastball that he sets up people. If a starter is to get promoted, I would think it would be Wilborn.
Carlos Frias – Frias jumped onto a lot of people’s radar’s after a solid 2009, but he has struggled this season and been very inconsistent. Does he still have a 96 mph fastball, or has he lost some velocity? How are his secondary pitches coming along?
Lately the velocity has been down but it is a mystery as to why. The fastball is 91-93 but was probably in the high 80s in his last start. Inconsistent is the word though. His curveball are top notch but he has trouble controlling it. When he knows where his pitches are going, he is nearly unhittable. Also has a change-up that is coming along.
Shawn Tolleson – Tolleson is putting up some ridiculous numbers as the closer. Has he surprised a lot of people since he was 30th round pick? How hard does he throw and what is his out pitch? Is he a guy to keep out eye on or is he just a 22 year old feasting on younger hitters?
Tolleson wasn’t the closer out of camp. His out-pitch is clearly his cutter. He loves to throw it with two strikes and hitters can rarely make contact. He is definitely a guy to look out for. He is not only getting the guys out in the bottom of the order and getting the easy three-run lead saves. He is also getting the close-game, get-out-of-a-jam saves. This league is not as young as you think. There are young Latin players but still tons of guys that are 22 out of college.
Andrew Pevsner – Pevsner seems like a with a perfect pitchers frame, and has put up great numbers so far. How hard does he throw and what are his secondary pitches?
He throws 85-86 with a curveball and change. He is living with good location and I think had probably been running a bit hot until his last appearance when he gave up three runs.
Logan Bawcom – Similar to Pevsner, how hard does he throw and what other pitches does he have?
Bawcom throws a bit harder at 90-92. Has a hard 83 mph slider and change.
Ji-Mo Lee – Lee is very old for the Pioneer League and isn’t very big. Besides the fact that he has put up good numbers this year, is there any reason why we should continue watching Lee?
He is only 23. Probably not as far as possibly playing for the Dodgers. He should be just a solid middle reliever in the minors but I just don’t see him making the big-league club. He does have a plus slider and could ride that to the show. Fastball is at 93 and has a good combo. Just doesn’t have the K numbers you would like.
Luis Ferreras – I had high hopes for Ferreras after his 2008 season, in which he made it all the way up to AA, but he has been stuck in the Pioneer League for the past 2 seasons. Does he have the stuff to ever be a solid prospect, and what kind of stuff does he have on the mound?
Ferreras throws 88 and has a slider as hit out pitch. Could be the closer if Tolleson wasn’t doing so well. If Tolleson were to leave or get hurt, etc. I would think he would be the guy to step up into that role, but is small out on the mound.
Finally, Brandon Hart wanted me to know one last thing. "One thing that I noticed is that you seem to think this should be a young league with 19-20 year olds. There are many guys who are out of college and are more the 22-23 range. There is the occasional pitcher that was drafted out of high school but for the most part there are college guys or the Latin guys, who can be younger."
So there you have it. The answers to some of the most burning questions that us prospect hounds have. Hopefully it provides some helpful insight.