Dodgers Minor League Countdown: 80 - 71

This next group of Dodger minor leaguers includes several international signees who are very young and seem to have a lot of upside.  If even one of these guys turns out to be a legitimate prospect down the road, I'll be very happy. 

80.  David Pfeiffer, LHP (82 IP in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2003, 14th round

6’3”, 190 lbs, 25.5 years old

7-5, 4.06 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4.41 FIP, 6.80 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 81;     Pre 2009 Rank: 76

 

David Pfeiffer was born in Vero Beach, FL, so he was destined to be a Dodger.  After signing with the team in 2003, however, he didn’t show much potential as a prospect until the 2008 offseason when he played for the Waikiki BeachBoys in the Hawaii Winter League.  It was there that he finally broke out by posting a 1.59 ERA, a 0.65 WHIP, and an amazing .127 batting average against in 17 innings.  Pfeiffer carried his success into the 2009 season where he performed very well in HiA despite playing in the hitter friendly California League.  After 6 minor league seasons, David finally made his way up to AA and played a surprisingly big role for the Lookouts in 2010.  He was an inning eater as his 82 frames lead all relievers, and he even made 3 spot starts when the team needed him.  For the year, he posted a respectable 4.06 ERA and had a solid WHIP of 1.29.  Another interesting fact about Pfeiffer is that he actually had some big hits at the plate, batting .278 in 18 at bats and picking up an unexpected 5 RBI’s.  The 25 year old lefty was a free agent after the season, but the Dodgers liked what they saw out of him and resigned him for 2011.  Given his and experience he should spend next season in AAA, and since the Dodgers are a little short on left handed relievers he could even be an option for the Dodgers big league bullpen down the road if he continues to have success and the Dodgers run into injuries.  Pfeiffer played in the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason (he was on the same team as Dee Gordon) and dominated the competition through 11.2 innings with a 0.77 ERA and a .128 batting average against.

79.  Yimi Garcia, RHP (30.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2009

6’1”, 175 lbs, 20.5 years old

1-2, 7.04 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 3.17 FIP, 6.46 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 47;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Yimi Garcia had a terrific season in the Dominican Summer League in 2009.  Making his professional debut, the right hander had a 1.67 ERA through 54 innings with a 0.96 WHIP and a .202 batting average against.  After getting promoted to the Arizona League in 2010, however, Garcia crashed back down to earth.  Playing the season as 19 year old, Yimi gave up 26 runs in 30.2 innings while allowing a .356 batting average against.  The only good news is that Garcia gave up just 8 walks and 1 homer for the season, which led to his respectable FIP of 3.17.  It should also be noted that Garcia performed much better as a starter than as a reliever, posting a 3.71 ERA while in the rotation (17 innings) compared to an 11.20 ERA out of the bullpen (13.2 innings).  While he’s “only” 6’1”, he does have a solid pitching frame and definitely has room for growth.  Given his age and lack of experience, I’m guessing that Garcia will play in the Pioneer League in 2011, which will present another challenge since it is a hitter friendly league.  Hopefully he will have a better season to put himself in a position to pitch in a full season league in 2012.

 

78.  Steve Domecus, C/LF (34 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 9th round

6’3”, 220 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed

.252 average, .748 OPS, 4 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

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

 

Steve Domecus grew up in Northern California, and after a great high school career he decided to attend UC Santa Barbara.  After redshirting his first year (2006), Domecus only started 5 games in 2007 and was told after the season he’d be used as a part time DH the following year.  Knowing that he had what it took to be a catcher, Steve transferred to Moorpark Junior College and drew a lot of attention from college and pro scouts.  Next thing he knew, the White Sox called during the 2008 draft and asked if he’d sign if he was selected in the 7th round.  Domecus wrestled with the decision, but finally told Chicago that he wanted to transfer to Virginia Tech instead.  In 2009, his first year at VT, Domecus hit .406 but didn’t show much power and was limited to just 40 games due to a broken hand.  Therefore he didn’t get drafted, and returned for his senior season where he improved many aspects of his game.  In 2010 Domecus hit .365 for the Hokies with 27 doubles, 13 homers, 60 RBI’s, and 12 stolen bases.  He was the team’s main catcher, although he also spent a little time in left field.  In their draft report, Baseball America said that it would be unlikely for Steve to stay behind the plate, and that a move to left field in professional ball was probable.  However, after the Dodgers drafted him in the 9th round this past season and sent him to the Pioneer League, he played almost exclusively behind the plate, with just 5 appearances in LF.  It makes sense for the Dodgers to keep him at catcher because that is where his value lies.  In addition, the system is very short on catching prospects.  At the plate, Domecus held his own in his professional debut but will look to improve next season in a full season league.  I got to watch Domecus play online this season, and he holds his hands pretty high above his head.  He also moves his hands quite a bit, especially right when the pitch is being thrown so it appears to be a timing mechanism that works for him.  Finally, he looks like an old school player with the high socks and seems to play with a lot of grit.

 

77.  Blake Dean, 1B (59 games in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 8th round

6’1”, 175 lbs, 23 years old, bats left handed

.302 average, .819 OPS, 5 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 2 SB’s

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

 

Blake Dean was definitely a safe and cost effective pick for the Dodgers as the LSU Senior signed for just $35K.  The 10th round pick of the Twins in 2009, Dean chose to return to college for his senior season even though he had already led his team to the national title.  In 2010, Dean hit .341 for LSU with a .430 OBP, slugged 12 homers, and led the team with 70 RBI’s.   He signed quickly with the Dodgers and was sent to the Pioneer League where he got off to a sluggish start.  But once the calendar turned to July, Dean caught fire as he hit well over .300 for the remainder of the season.  In addition, his most impressive stat with the Raptors was his 1.87 walk to strikeout ratio.  That’s one of the highest ratio’s I’ve ever seen, and it means that he struck out in just 5.7% of his plate appearances while walking in 10.7% of plate appearances.  The bad news, however, is that while Dean had over 50 home runs during his 4 seasons with LSU, he only knocked 5 out of the park for the Raptors and doesn’t really possess plus power.  Yet he plays 1st base which is a position that is going to require a significant amount of pop (unless you are James Loney).  Also, in watching his scouting video, he has an unconventional first step toward the ball which almost looks like it causes a hitch in his swing process.  Blake will undoubtedly play in a full season league next year, and the 23 year old will have to show more power if he wants to be considered a legitimate Dodger prospect.

 

76.  Kazuya Takano, RHP (No stats in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in November 2010

Height & Weight Unknown, 18 years old
No stats in 2010

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

 

Kazuya Takano was the first Japanese high school player to sign with the Dodgers when he joined the team in November 2010.  Similar to Nishijima, I don’t have much information on Takano so I’m going to defer to the press release.  “Takano, a senior at Buntoko High School in Kumamoto, Japan, has been highly evaluated by the Dodgers.  [He] has a very smooth delivery and flexibility.”  After signing, Kazuya said “I've been working hard to make my dream to become a professional baseball player come true.  I am very thankful to the Dodgers organization and I will work even harder to become a big leaguer as soon as possible.”  Being just 18 years old, Takano will probably spend at least a few months in extended spring training, and then I’m sure he’ll get into some game action in the Arizona League.  Since there are really no scouting reports on him, we’ll have to wait and see how he performs in 2011.

 

75.  Jackson Mateo, RHP (22 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by the Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 193 lbs, 18.5 years old

2-1, 1.23 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 3.06 FIP, 7.36 K/9

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

 

I know he only threw 22 innings in 2010, but Jackson Mateo really had outstanding stats in the DSL.  Making his professional debut and playing as a 17 year old for the entire season, Mateo was actually the main closer for the Dodgers as he led the team with 7 saves.  He posted a 1.23 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP to go along with a .169 batting average against.  He also didn’t allow an earned run over the final 14.1 innings of the season, and gave up only 7 hits during that span.  In addition, if you look at what he did in just the month of July, Mateo allowed just 1 hit over 9 innings.  The only thing that wasn’t impressive about his season was his strikeout rate.  Listed at 6’0”, it is still possible for him to grow a few inches since he is still so young.  Given his age I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL in 2011, but another solid season could put him in the Arizona League in 2012 as a 19 year old.

 

74.  Rafael Ynoa, 2B (124 games in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2006

6’0”, 180 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.286 average, .735 OPS, 9 HR’s, 51 RBI’s, 40 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 172;     Pre 2009 Rank: 89

 

Rafael Ynoa had one of the most surprising seasons of all Dodger minor leaguers in 2010.  After hitting just .054 with a .240 OPS through 147 at bats in a 2009 season split between HiA and two rookie leagues, Ynoa put together a very solid season with the Loons in 2010.  His nine homers were nine times his previous career total, and his 40 stolen bases more than quadrupled his previous season high.  He also had a respectable batting average and only struck out in 11.1% of his plate appearances.  In addition, Rafael is an excellent defensive 2nd baseman with soft hands, and he’s even spent some time at shortstop.  During the Loons playoffs, Loon beat writer Hugh Bernreuter said “Ynoa is an outstanding fielder, especially at second base. He had a long string of errorless games during the season and made some spectacular plays. He is very solid, very consistent. The best fielding second baseman the Loons have had…. I believe the Dodgers want to see if he can handle shortstop because his future could be as a utility infielder, similar to an Omar Infante or Ramon Santiago. He has shown he can handle shortstop.”  Nevertheless, I’m still skeptical about Ynoa’s future as a prospect and am not as high on him as most people are.  While there weren’t many negatives to his season, he was caught stealing 14 times and his .735 OPS wasn’t really that impressive.  Overall, given his career stats prior to 2010 it’s going to take more than one good season to convince me of his worth, and he’ll have that chance in 2011 because he’s going to play in either HiA or AA. 

 

73.  Abdiel Velasquez, RHP (32 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by the Dodgers in 2010

6’3”, 184 lbs, 18 years old

2-1, 2.53 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 4.39 FIP, 7.88 K/9

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

 

Abdiel Velasquez is the youngest player in the Dodgers minor league system, yet still managed to have a very successful professional debut in the DSL.  The young right-hander from Panama won’t even turn 18 until this upcoming March, but had a 2.53 ERA and a .150 batting average against in 32 impressive innings.  In addition he is already 6’3”, so he has the makings of a great pitcher’s frame.  Probably his most impressive outing was on 7/25/10 when he threw the final 3 innings of a no-hitter.  The only negative to Velasquez’s season was his control, as he walked 20 batters and hit 7 others.  However, I’m not too concerned about his wildness because he is so young and I’m sure is adjusting to his height.  For 2011 I’m sure Abdiel will return to the DSL for another year of seasoning, and he is definitely somebody to watch next year.

 

72.  Jon Michael Redding, RHP (144 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round

6’1”, 195 lbs, 23.25 years old

4-10, 5.56 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 4.35 FIP, 5.38 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 46;     Pre 2009 Rank: 37

 

The Dodgers 5th round pick in 2008, Jon Michael Redding played his college ball at Florida Community College where he went 8-5 with a 2.02 ERA and a .222 batting average against in 2008.  He began his professional career in the Pioneer Rookie League, but was limited to just 31 innings in his professional debut due to a heavy college workload.  Redding spent 2009 with the Loons in LoA and led the Midwest League in wins with 16.  In addition, he proved to be very durable by logging 133 innings and had a respectable FIP of 3.70.  However, in 2009 Redding was also awful when pitching on the road (6.34 ERA in 71 innings), allowed an overall .281 batting average against, and saw his strikeout rate drop from 10.3 K’s per 9 in 2008 to just 6.5 in 2009.  So really it was a season of mixed results.  That brings us to 2010, which Redding spent with the Inland Empire 66ers.  Despite proving to be a workhorse yet again with 144 innings pitched, Redding’s numbers declined in every category.  Probably his worst stat in 2010 was his strikeout rate, which dipped to just 5.38 K/9.  In addition, instead of winning double digit games like in 2009, Jon Michael’s loss total amounted to double figures.  In terms of his future, Redding’s stock has dropped since being drafted back in 2008, when Baseball America said the he had a ceiling of a #3 starter in the big league rotation.  While he still possesses a low 90’s fastball, which is complimented by a good slider and a hard curveball, the fact that he seems to be so hittable concerns me.  For now it seems at best he can be a back of the rotation guy, although even that seems unlikely after his 2010 season.  Hopefully he can turn things around in 2011, whether he repeats in HiA or he plays in a more pitcher friendly league like the Southern League.

 

71.  Leonel Beras, LHP (71.2 IP in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 10/22/07

5’11”, 143 lbs, 19.75 years old

8-3, 2.26 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 2.99 FIP, 8.92 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 96;     Pre 2009 Rank: 34

 

Leonel Beras made his professional debut as a 17 year old in the DSL in 2008 and was very impressive.  While he only threw 20.2 innings that year, he had a 2.18 ERA and a .235 batting average against and again was just 17.  However in 2009 he was unable to find the plate as he walked 20 batters and was limited to just 14 innings.  That led to a 7.07 ERA and a terrible WHIP.  Moving ahead to 2010, Beras rebounded nicely in his 3rd season with the DSL Dodgers.  He ranked 2nd in the league with 8 wins and also placed among the Dodger minor league leaders in several pitching categories.  One of his more impressive stats was his .178 batting average against through 71.2 innings.  While the left hander is listed at just 5’11” and 143 pounds, those measurements haven’t changed since he was 17 so I’m guessing he’s bigger now.  With over 100 professional innings under his belt, I’m sure Leonel will move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2011 so he can face some tougher competition.  Hopefully he’ll continue to be difficult to hit in the more advanced league.

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