Catcher Gorman Erickson is rated as the #62 Dodgers prospect.
Even though we are still in the 60's with this post, there are still some very solid Dodger prospects in this group. That just goes to show how deep the Dodgers system really is because there are stil 60 prospects better than these players (in my opinion). You'll find several catchers in this group, as well as former 2nd round pick who is still trying to figure things out. As a reminder, my ranking includes players in Dodgers minor league system who meets the following qualifications: (1) played in the Dodgers minor league system during 2010, were injured during the entire 2010 season, or were signed prior to me putting together my ranking; (2) is still within the Dodgers organization as of season end; (3) will be under 28 years old as of Opening Day 2011; and (4) the player is still considered a prospect by Baseball America Standards, which means that pitchers must have less than 50 innings pitched in the majors, and hitters must have less than 130 at bats in the majors, regardless of service time. Also, remember that the player’s age I’ve listed is their age as of the start of the 2011 season.
70. Arismendy Ozoria, RHP (31.2 IP in Pioneer League, 35.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010) Signed by Dodgers in 2009 6’0”, 195 lbs, 20.5 years old 8-2, 3.61 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 4.15 FIP, 8.15 K/9 Pre 2010 Rank: 106; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Arismendy Ozoria put together a very solid debut season in the DSL in 2009. His 2.53 ERA and .216 batting average against ranked among the Dodger minor league leaders, and it was enough to get promoted to the Arizona League in 2010. He was only with the Arizona Dodgers through July, however, because he got promoted to the Pioneer League for the final 5 weeks of the 2010 season. While he was in Arizona, he ended up with the 2nd most innings pitched on the team and a 2.78 ERA. He also led the team with 4 wins, had a great FIP of 2.86, and he struck out an impressive 9.46 batters per 9 innings. While in Ogden his stats weren’t quite as impressive, he still had a very successful season considering it was his first year in America. In fact, his success got him noticed as Baseball America mentioned that several Arizona League managers liked his stuff. In addition, during my interview with DeJon Watson last season he said that Ozoria is a guy to keep his eye on for 2011. I’ve heard that Ozoria throws his fastball between 89 – 93 mph, although I have to confirm this information. Because he’s still just 20 year old Ozoria probably won’t be ready for a full season league in 2011, so I’m guessing he’ll be a mainstay in the Raptors rotation instead. Hopefully he continues to blossom as a pitcher and moves up the prospect rankings over the next 12 months.
70. Arismendy Ozoria, RHP (31.2 IP in Pioneer League, 35.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers in 2009
6’0”, 195 lbs, 20.5 years old
8-2, 3.61 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 4.15 FIP, 8.15 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 106; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Arismendy Ozoria put together a very solid debut season in the DSL in 2009. His 2.53 ERA and .216 batting average against ranked among the Dodger minor league leaders, and it was enough to get promoted to the Arizona League in 2010. He was only with the Arizona Dodgers through July, however, because he got promoted to the Pioneer League for the final 5 weeks of the 2010 season. While he was in Arizona, he ended up with the 2nd most innings pitched on the team and a 2.78 ERA. He also led the team with 4 wins, had a great FIP of 2.86, and he struck out an impressive 9.46 batters per 9 innings. While in Ogden his stats weren’t quite as impressive, he still had a very successful season considering it was his first year in America. In fact, his success got him noticed as Baseball America mentioned that several Arizona League managers liked his stuff. In addition, during my interview with DeJon Watson last season he said that Ozoria is a guy to keep his eye on for 2011. I’ve heard that Ozoria throws his fastball between 89 – 93 mph, although I have to confirm this information. Because he’s still just 20 year old Ozoria probably won’t be ready for a full season league in 2011, so I’m guessing he’ll be a mainstay in the Raptors rotation instead. Hopefully he continues to blossom as a pitcher and moves up the prospect rankings over the next 12 months.
69. Bladimir Franco, 3B (35 games in Arizona League in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 7/6/07
6’1”, 172 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed
.224 average, .600 OPS, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 3 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 36; Pre 2009 Rank: 30
Bladimir Franco was signed by the Dodgers in 2007 when he was just 16 years old, and made his professional debut in the DSL in 2008. While he hit just .169 back in 2008, he lead the team with 5 homers as a 17 year old so that is what put him on the map for me. In 2009 Franco had one of the best seasons for the Dominican Dodgers in recent memory with 9 homers, a .282 average, and an .880 OPS; and did all of that as an 18 year old. That earned Franco a promotion for the Arizona League in 2010 where he started the most games at the hot corner for the Dodgers. However the results were ugly as Franco had a .272 OBP, a .224 average, and a .600 OPS in 125 at bats. He also struck out in 35.8% of his plate appearances and made 11 errors. Despite his down season, I’m going to give Franco a bit of a break since the transition from the DSL to the Arizona League is a big one. He obviously has some power, and while his defense at 3rd base is suspect (.881 career fielding percentage at 3rd base) he is still young enough to improve his footwork with some better coaching. He’ll be 20 years old to start the 2011 season, and he’ll probably play in the Pioneer League.
68. Michael Pericht, C (54 games in Pioneer League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 16th round
6’5”, 235 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats right handed
.278 average, .832 OPS, 9 HR’s, 38 RBI’s, 2 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 90; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Pericht played at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana, and as a junior he hit .337 with 12 HR’s to go along with a 1.046 OPS. Going into the 2009 draft, he was very excited, and was quoted as saying, “Right now, I'm trying to stay as calm as possible. It's exciting and it's nerve-wracking. I kind of feel like a duck on the pond right now.” He was selected by the Dodgers in the 16th round, signed quickly, and was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League. While he only hit .211 in Arizona, he posted a .345 on base percentage and smacked 4 HR’s in just 109 at bats. Pericht was promoted to the Pioneer League in 2010 where started off the season on fire. He had a .378 average in the month of June and hit all 9 of his homers before the end of July. He came back down to earth as the season progressed, however, and ended the year with a .278 average. Raptors announcer Brandon Hart said this about Michael, “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.” Despite his 2nd half struggles, the 6’5” Pericht was able to establish himself as a power hitting catcher who has some potential. In addition, it should be noted that 7 of his 9 homers in 2010 came on the road, so he wasn’t aided by the Raptors’ hitter friendly ballpark. I watched a few games online in which Pericht was playing, and he has a pretty long swing. However, he is extremely powerful and on one of his home runs it looked like he barely even swung at the pitch. In terms of his defense, I’ll defer again to Mr. Hart who said, “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 his value is at catcher.” It will be interesting to see what the 22 year old does in a full season league in 2011. I’m guessing he’ll play with the Loons, and a strong year could vault him up the rankings since the Dodgers have very few legitimate catching prospects.
67. Steven Caseres, 1B (87 games in HiA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 9th round
6’4”, 220 lbs, 24 years old, bats left handed
.256 average, .723 OPS, 9 HR’s, 57 RBI’s, 0 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 43; Pre 2009 Rank: 61
Steven Caseres was selected by the Dodgers in the 9th round of the 2008 draft out of James Madison University, where he had a great 2008 season with a .342 average, 21 HR’s, and 70 RBI’s. Because he was just a redshirt sophomore when he was drafted, Caseres was set on going back to school until the Dodgers convinced him to sign with $250,000. He had a good debut in the Pioneer League in 2008, and then really put his name on the Dodgers prospect radar with a strong 2009 season in the California League. With the 66ers in 2009 Caseres only hit .260, but had 15 homers and an .828 OPS. In 2010, many thought that Caseres was a candidate to move up to AA. However, the Dodgers instead decided to keep Caseres in HiA for another season and it turned out to be the right decision. Steven regressed and ended the 2010 season with a .256 average and a .723 OPS while striking out in 25% of his plate appearances. He was also limited to just 87 games and really struggled at home with a .204 average. Nevertheless, Caseres still has a ton of power so I wouldn’t write him off just yet as a prospect. The 24 year old will probably move up to AA in 2011 and will look to rebound. Finally, I found an interesting interview that Caseres did with a website called “All Things Valley League” (http://allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com), and when asked what the Dodgers organization stresses about hitting Steven said “In all honesty, the Dodgers do not really have a set philosophy when it comes to hitting like some other organizations do. The one thing I can say is that the Dodgers really want you to stay within your role as a hitter. If you are an RBI guy they want you to drive in runs, whereas if you are an on-base guy they want you getting on base any way possible.” He also shared: “My funniest story so far had to be when we were playing at Great Falls, Montana and the power box exploded right over our dugout. It sounded like a gun blast and when I looked out onto the field, I saw our SS Dee Gordon running towards the outfield wall like someone was shooting up the place.”
66. Tae-Hyeok Nam, 1B (40 games in Arizona League in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 6/16/09
6’2”, 215 lbs, 20 years old, bats right handed
.243 average, .713 OPS, 3 HR’s, 24 RBI, 1 SB
Pre 2010 Rank: 50; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
When the Dodgers signed Nam in June of 2009, he became the first Korean high school player they had ever signed. He was scouted throughout his high school career by the Dodgers, where he hit 22 home runs and had 43 RBIs in 65 games to go along with a .314 average. After the signing, Logan White said that Nam had “good power and well above average speed.” White also stated that “Nam is strong physically. With the help of our player development staff, I'm confident that he will become a fine player.” After signing, Nam only got into 3 games in 2009 so his first real season was in 2010. With the Arizona Dodgers Tae-Hyeok got the majority of starts at 1st base, and despite ending the season in a slump he was one of the better offensive players on the team in terms of homers and RBI’s. After the season, DeJon Watson said that Nam has grown since signing with the team and is a big strong kid. Watson also mentioned that he has a solid approach at the plate, and is a line drive/gap hitter with occasional pull power. The bad news, however, is that Nam is now considered strictly a first baseman so the question going forward is if he’ll be able to hit enough in the higher levels to succeed at a position that require a lot of offense. Now 20 years old, it will be interesting to see where Nam plays in 2011 because I’m not sure he’s ready for a full season league. He may end up in the Pioneer League as the Raptors main 1st baseman.
65. Matt Wallach, C/1B (24 games in AA, 67 games in HiA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 22nd round
6’1”, 205 lbs, 25 years old, bats left handed
.264 average, .773 OPS, 11 HR’s, 42 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2010 Rank: 125; Pre 2009 Rank: 64
After a subpar season with the Loons in 2009, Matt Wallach probably didn’t expect to lead the 66ers in catching appearances in 2010, but that is exactly what happened due to an injury to Tony Delmonico. Wallach made good use out of his additional playing time, having an all around solid season and even jumping onto the Dodger prospect discussions. Wallach has always been a very strong defensive catcher, and even won Baseball America’s best defensive catcher award for the California League. In 2010, however, he also showed some offensive ability for the first time in a full season league. Wallach hit 8 homers with the 66ers and posted a.758 OPS, which is pretty good for a catcher. That earned him a promotion to AA where he continued to hit as he recorded 3 homers and an .822 OPS in 68 at bats. He also showed extreme patience against the more advanced pitchers, walking in 15.5% of his plate appearances. His success earned him a spot in the AFL, and although he struggled with the Desert Dogs, DeJon Watson had this to say about him after the AFL season: “He keeps getting better. He had a strong year defensively. He finished at Double-A. His swing continues to improve. He's changed his swing approach to be flatter. He had been a little hooky. Overall, his catching improved. We see him as a backup down the road. He has great makeup. His game-calling is getting better.” Since he only spent a month in AA in 2010 I expect him start the season there in 2011, however I won’t be surprised if he moved up to AAA at some point if there is room for him. Another good season could move him closer to his goal of one day joining his dad in Los Angeles.
64. Bobby Coyle, OF (54 games in Pioneer League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 10th round
6’1”, 215 lbs, 22 years old, bats left handed
.316 average, .788 OPS, 4 HR’s 52 RBI’s, 7 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Bobby Coyle is a local boy who played his high school ball at Chatsworth, but was overshadowed by 2007 first round picks Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez. Out of high school he was drafted by the Indians in the 19th round, but decided to attend Arizona instead. After putting up mediocre stats in his first two seasons with the Wildcats, Coyle decided to transfer to Fresno State and received a NCAA waiver which allowed him to play right away (instead of having to sit out a year). As a junior Coyle had a great season for the Bulldogs, co-leading the team with 69 RBI’s and hitting .360 with 11 homers. After getting drafted by the Dodgers he didn’t immediately sign, but tipped his hand a little when he told the Fresno Bee “I grew up in the L.A. area, and it's sweet and exciting to be taken by the team I watched as a kid.” Coyle eventually inked a deal with $95,000 and was assigned to the Pioneer League in late June. Bobby played all three outfield positions for the Raptors, and ended up leading the team with 52 RBI’s. He also hit for a nice average, although like most players on the team he did much better at home (.900 OPS at home, .689 OPS on the road). In Baseball America’s pre-draft analysis, they said that Coyle only has average power, but has good pitch recognition skills which could lead to him getting on base a lot. They also said he while he is an above average runner, he projects as a left fielder. Coyle will most likely get a chance to play in a full season league in 2011, and is a wild card for next year because it wouldn’t surprise me either way if he burst onto the prospect radar with another strong season or got lost in the organization with an average year.
63. Beyker Fructuoso, RHP (3.2 IP in Pioneer League, 26.2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 7/9/07
6’4”, 205 lbs, 20.75 years old
0-0, 4.45 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 2.97 FIP, 10.09 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 60; Pre 2009 Rank: 26
Signed by the Dodgers in 2007, Beyker Fructuoso made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League in 2008 as an 18 year old and had a very successful season (2.37 ERA and .229 batting average against in 38 innings). In 2009, however, Fructuoso had a sophomore slump as he got lit up for 8 homers in just 28.2 innings in the Arizona League. Despite his poor stats in 2009, the Dodger promoted Beyker to the Pioneer League to start the 2010 season because he already had two rookie league seasons under his belt. Two appearances and 8 runs later, Fructuoso found himself back in Arizona where he finished out the 2010 season. The good news is that he did very well in his return to Arizona, posting a 3.04 ERA, a 2.82 FIP, and a .202 batting average against in 26.2 innings. In addition, he struck out over 10 batters per 9 innings and is still just 20 years old. At 6’4” Fructuoso has a great pitching frame, and while I don’t know how hard the throws, I’d guess he could at least hit the low 90’s. Now that he has three seasons and 97 professional innings to his credit, I’d guess that Fructuoso will spend 2011 in a full season league like LoA. He is definitely someone to keep your eye one because I have the feeling he could be one of the Dodgers breakout prospects next season.
62. Gorman Erickson, C (82 games in LoA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2006, 15th round
6’4”, 220 lbs, 23 years old, switch hitter
.215 average, .619 OPS, 2 HR’s, 27 RBI’s, 3 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 45; Pre 2009 Rank: 103
Gorman Erickson is a switch hitting catcher who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2006 draft and signed with the Dodgers for $35,000 in May of 2007 as a draft and follow player. Better known as Griff, he didn’t do much of anything in his first two professional seasons, nor did he get much playing time. In 2009, however, Erickson made his way onto the Dodgers prospect radar with a .305 batting average and .860 OPS for the Ogden Raptors. He was also named to the Pioneer League post season all star team and was ranked by Baseball America as the 30th best prospect in the system. Unfortunately his success did not carry over into 2010 as Griff struggled at the plate in the Midwest League. While splitting the catching duties with J.T. Wise, Erickson batted just .215 with only 2 homers. He also really struggled against right handed pitching. Nevertheless, the 6’4” catcher did have a few positives in his season as he had a very good walk to strikeout ratio, and had another strong defensive season behind the plate. Overall, while I was hoping for a lot more out of Erickson in 2010, he is still young enough to turn his career around. The Dodgers are very thin in terms of catching prospects, so the organization is going to give him every chance to improve. They showed their commitment to Erickson by inviting him to participate in the 2011 Winter Development Program. Griff will probably spend 2011 in Rancho Cucamonga, and hopefully playing in the California League will jumpstart his bat.
61. Josh Wall, RHP (153 IP in LoA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round
6’6”, 218 lbs, 24 years old
9-7, 4.24 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 3.77 FIP, 8.88 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 57; Pre 2009 Rank: 49
Josh Wall signed with the Dodgers out of high school in 2005 as a 2nd round pick for $500,000, but has not lived up to expectations thus far. He made decent progress in his first three seasons, including a solid performance with the Loons in 2007, but literally hit a wall in the California League in 2008 and 2009. His combined ERA of 6.14 in 240.1 innings with the 66ers prompted the Dodgers to send Wall back to the Midwest League in 2010 despite the fact that he was 23 years old. While he was disappointed with the demotion, Josh responded nicely in his return to the Loons. While his stats weren’t amazing, for the most part Wall was able to regain his form against the younger competition as he posted a 4.24 ERA and 3.77 FIP while leading the league with 151 strikeouts. At the very least, his season proved that the 6’6” right hander deserves another chance in a more advanced league, especially since taller pitchers take longer to develop and because he has the raw talent to be really good. While his velocity has fluctuated over the years, Wall has hit 96 mph in the past and generally sits in the low 90’s. He also has a pretty good curveball and a solid changeup. In addition, the Dodgers could even move Wall the bullpen down the road so he still has plenty of value to the organization. After the season Josh participated in Arizona instructional league, and given his age (and history in the California League) I would move him to AA in 2011 to see how he does.