Dodgers Minor League Countdown: 130 - 121

Here is the next part in my Dodger minor league countdown.  While we are still a long ways away from the organization's top prospects, you'll notice this group contains some interesting players including young Dominican players and potential bullpen arms.  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, or were injured during the entire 2010 season; (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 players age I’ve listed is their age as of the start of the 2011 season.

130.  Arce Rodriguez, OF (45 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2010

6’0”, 191 lbs, 18 years old, bats right handed

.222 average, .514 OPS, 0 HR’s, 13 RBI’s, 2 SB's

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

 

Arce Rodriguez made his professional debut with the Dominican Dodgers in 2010, and played the entire season as a 17 year old.  He was the team’s main left fielder and made just two errors all season, but had a very poor year at the dish and didn’t show any speed, power, or patience.  In fact, A-Rod walked in just 1.9% of his plate appearances, which is a worse walk rate than what Brian Cavazos-Galvez posted in 2010.  Really, the only thing Rodriguez has going for him is his age, as he is youngest position player in the Dodgers minor league system.  I’m hoping his youth, combined with the experience he gained in 2010, will turn him into a legitimate prospect down the road.  I’m sure he’ll return to the DSL in 2011 for another year of seasoning, and I’ll be rooting for the 18 year old to put up better numbers despite again playing against older competition.

 

129.  Jordan Roberts, LHP (64 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round

6’2”, 200 lbs, 25.25 years old

6-4, 2.95 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 3.43 FIP, 6.61 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 152;     Pre 2009 Rank: 150

 

Jordan Roberts was a first team All-American out of the NAIA college Embry-Riddle in Florida and was selected by the Dodgers in the 28th round of the 2008 draft.  In his senior season at Embry-Riddle, Roberts finished the year 12th in the NAIA in ERA (1.94) and was 24th in K/9 (over 10).  His professional debut in 2008 was a little rocky, but since then Jordan has been very good.  He had a 2.70 ERA and .216 batting average against with the Ogden Raptors in 2009, then as a follow up he posted a 2.95 ERA with a .232 batting average against with the Loons in 2010.  In addition, his 1.08 WHIP this past season ranked 3rd among all Dodger minor leaguers (minimum 50 IP).  The one caveat is that Roberts has been one of the oldest pitchers on his team for the past two seasons, so he is playing against younger competition.  Despite his age, the left hander is valuable because he might prove to be a useful bullpen arm for the Dodgers at some point down the road.  However might is the key word here, especially since he is not a strikeout pitcher.  Nevertheless there is a good chance he’ll play in AA next season, and if he does well in the Southern League, he’ll be one step closer to his ultimate goal. 

 

128.  Abdul Nieto, LF/1B (27 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’3”, 180 lbs, 19.25 years old, bats right handed

.176 average, .534 OPS, 1 HR, 8 RBI’s, 1 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 103;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

I know that Abdul Nieto has been terrible since putting on a professional uniform in 2009, hitting just .165 with a .490 OPS through 176 at bats, but I still have hope for this young player.  You see, Abdul Nieto was one of the best prospects coming out of Panama when he was signed by the Dodgers in the Summer of 2008, so he isn’t just another random player from the DSL.  He played 2009 as a 17 year old and 2010 as an 18 year old, so he is has been playing against older competition and may have been overmatched.  In addition to his age, the thing I like about Nieto is his size as he already has a major league body.   His biggest downfall is his defense, and because he was a butcher in the outfield in 2009 he was moved to 1st base.  However, I’m hoping that he can move back to the outfield in the future as he matures and gets more coaching.  In looking to the future, Abdul now has two years of experience under his belt, so he should be more prepared in 2011.  He’ll probably return to the DSL for a 3rd season, but since he’ll be just 19 years old I’m not writing him off yet.  In fact, I think he’s a good bet to get promoted to the Arizona League in 2012.

 

127.  Ramon Jean, 2B (80 games in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/12/07

6’0”, 160 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.271 average, .646 OPS, 1 HR’s, 30 RBI’s, 13 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 116;     Pre 2009 Rank: 85

 

Signed before the 2007 season as a 19 year old out of the Dominican Republic, Ramon Jean only spent one season in the DSL before being promoted to a U.S. based rookie league.  After playing two seasons in the Dodgers rookie league, he received a surprise promotion to the California League in 2010, and also changed positions.  A middle infielder for the first three years of his career, Jean spent almost all of 2010 in center field.  He held his own as the captain of the outfield, and also got off to a hot start at the plate as he hit over .300 for most of the year before tailing off toward the end of the season.  He didn’t show any power, but made good contact and showed a little speed.  Overall, when you look at Jean’s career stats, there is nothing that jumps out at you, which means that he doesn’t really have any plus tools.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers invited Jean to participate in their offseason instructional league, so they must believe he has at least some potential.  Since I don’t see Jean moving up to AA in 2011, I’m guessing he’ll return to the 66ers for another season.

 

126.  Luis Ferreras, RHP (24.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 3/30/07

5’9”, 150 lbs, 21.25 years old

1-1, 5.55 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 3.49 FIP, 6.66 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 63;     Pre 2009 Rank: 46

 

Luis Ferreras was signed as a 17 year before the 2007 season, and put together a remarkable debut season in the Dominican Summer League by allowing just 3 runs in 27.1 third innings for a 0.99 ERA.  Seeing this success, the Dodgers brought Luis to the U.S.A. in 2008 and he played in the GCL, the Midwest League, and even AA for a few games.  Things were a little more consistent for Ferreras in 2009 as he spent the entire year in the Pioneer league and posted a 2.50 ERA.  So heading into 2010, I had pretty high hopes for Ferreras.  However Ferreras was forced to repeat with the Raptors, and he saw his ERA more than double from 2009.  In addition, he only struck out 6.7 batters per 9 innings.  At the end of the season, the Dodgers were not impressed with the 5’9” pitcher (he had previously been listed at 6’0”) and decided to release him in December.  Since I had already finalized my ranking by the time he was released, this is basically where he would have ranked had he stayed in the Dodgers system for 2011.

 

125.  Alexis Aguilar, SS/2B (25 games in Arizona League, 21 games in DSL in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

5’11”, 162 lbs, 19.75 years old, bats right handed

.272 average, .658 OPS, 1 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 12 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 123;     Pre 2009 Rank: 135

 

Alexis Aguilar is a young infielder from Venezuela who signed with the Dodgers in 2008.  After hitting just .211 in his debut season, Aguilar showed some improvement in the DSL in 2009.  Unfortunately for him, that wasn’t enough to warrant a promotion to a US based league as he started the 2010 season back in the Dominican Summer League.  However, a hot start in 2010 earned him a rare mid-season promotion from the DSL to the Arizona League, where he spent the rest of the season.  Even though Aguilar struggled in Arizona with a .253 average in 83 at bats and just 3 extra base hits, the fact that he was promoted was a significant step in the development of his career.  In addition, after spending the most of the 2009 season at 2nd base, Alexis played the majority of his games at shortstop in 2010, which improves his defensive value.  He also spent time at 3rd base and in the outfield, and showed good speed with 12 stolen bases in 15 attempts.  Still just 19 years old, Aguilar is on track to play in the Pioneer League next season and is one good season away from turning into a legitimate prospect.

 

124.  Steve Smith, RHP (73.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers in 2008

6’2”, 210 lbs, 24.75 years old

4-5, 2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 3.27 FIP, 8.06 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 141;     Pre 2009 Rank: 160

 

Steve Smith was signed by the Dodgers in 2008 as a non drafted free agent out of the University of New Mexico, where he was a teammate of fellow Dodger minor leaguer Brian Cavazos-Galvez.  He wasn’t overly impressive during his senior season with the Lobos, posting a 5.01 ERA and 58 strikeouts in just under 74 innings, but the Dodgers decided to give Smith a chance anyways.  Smith struggled in his 2008 professional debut, but he has dramatically turned things around ever since.  For two straight years he has been one of the Loons most effective bullpen arms, posting a 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings in 2009 and a 2.69 ERA in 73.2 innings in 2010.  In addition, his 17 holds in 2010 ranked 1st in the Midwest League, and his 1.07 WHIP was the best of any Dodger minor leaguer in a US based league (minimum 50 IP).  He was also effective against both righties (.218 batting average against) and lefties (.230 batting average against).  After the season, he was invited to participate in the Arizona Instructional League after the season with several top prospects, so he is at least on the Dodgers radar.  I’m not exactly sure why the 24 year old Smith was kept in LoA for two straight seasons, but I can guarantee that he’ll get promoted in 2011, possibly even to AA.

 

123.  Elian Herrera, OF (25 games in AAA, 97 games in AA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 5/14/03

5’11”, 190 lbs, 26 years old, switch hitter

.254 average, .693 OPS, 2 HR’s, 46 RBI’s, 32 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 89;     Pre 2009 Rank: 109

 

Prior to 2010, Elian Herrera had moved slowly through the Dodgers system.  In 7 minor league seasons, the Dominican native had never played above HiA, and was constantly one of the older players on his team’s roster.  In 2010, however, Herrera got the chance to play in AA, and even spent about a month in AAA when injuries struck the Isotopes roster.  Unfortunately, Herrera didn’t really have a very good showing at either level as he combined to hit just .254 with a .693 OPS.  He does have a few positive traits, though, as he is a switch hitter, has good speed, and posted a solid walk rate in 2010.  In addition, he can play all over the field as he spent time at all 3 outfield positions, 3rd base, 2nd base, and shortstop in 2010.  At the end of the season, the Dodgers saw enough potential in Herrera that they decided to resign the minor league free agent for another year.  I’m guessing he’ll spend most of 2011 in AAA where he’ll continue to fill a utility role.  He is currently playing in the Dominican Winter League, but continues to be mediocre as he is hitting.279 in 44 games. 

 

122.  Jimmy Marshall, RHP (14 IP in Arizona League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 23rd round

6’6”, 195 lbs, 24 years old

2-1, 1.93 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4.13 FIP, 7.71 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 100;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Before getting selected by the Dodgers in the 23rd round of the 2009 draft, Jimmy Marshall was a four year player for Florida State.  He was a middle reliever and spot starter for the Seminoles in 2006 and 2007, then shared the closer role during 2008 with some guy named Buster Posey.  In 2009 Marshall inherited the team captain patch and the full time closers role for FSU, and while he had his least successful season in terms of ERA (4.85), he was able pick up 10 saves and posted a strikeout rate of 13.5 K’s per 9 innings.  His biggest problem during his senior season was his control, which is an issue that has followed him into his professional career.  After throwing 11 innings for the Arizona Dodgers in 2009, I was convinced that Marshall would move up to a full season league in 2010 due to his age and college experience.  The Dodgers decided to keep Jimmy in the Arizona League for another season, however, and while his ERA and batting average against (.200) were great, he continued to struggle with control and was limited to just 14 innings.  In addition, his strikeout rate dropped to 7.71 K/9.  From what I’ve read Marshall has a low 90’s fastball and a decent slider, and given his size I was hoping he’d turn into a power reliever.  Instead his career has seemed to have stalled, and since he’ll be 24 years old when the 2011 season starts, I beginning to doubt his ability to ever make it to the big leagues.  Nevertheless, I still like Marshall as a potential prospect, and I’m hoping he’ll thrive in either LoA or HiA in 2011.

 

121.  Nick Gaudi, RHP (11.1 IP in LoA, 18 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 30th round

6’5”, 215 lbs, 24.5 years old

1-1, 4.91 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 2.89 FIP, 10.74 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 88;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

Nick Gaudi was barely recruited heading into college, and had to walk-on to the Pepperdine baseball team.  After making the team, he didn’t get any playing time in 2005 as a freshman and decided to redshirt.  So he actually spent 5 years in college, which is why he is a little older than most 2nd year players and also a reason why clubs stayed away from him in the 2009 draft despite his strong college stats.  In an interview after he was drafted, Gaudi described the windup as “deceiving”, as he twists and the ball comes from behind his back.  I’ve actually seen video of his windup, and it is interesting as he turns his back slightly to the batter and has an extreme over the top delivery.  In that same interview, Gaudi calls himself “a strike thrower and a pitcher's pitcher” and says he “can locate his fastball and try to outthink hitters rather than overpower them with raw power or talent.”  In addition to his unique delivery and his ability to throw strikes, scouts credit his success to the development of a slider and split-finger fastball.  In terms of his professional career thus far, Gaudi dominated the Pioneer League in 2010 with a 2.96 ERA and 12.84 K/9 in 27 innings as one of the oldest players in the league.  Given his success, the Dodgers started Nick with the Great Lakes Loons in 2010, but he was shut down with an injury after just 3 appearances.  When he recovered in mid June, Gaudi was sent back to the Pioneer League where he spent two months before returning to the Loons in August.  Overall, Gaudi’s stats were relatively disappointing, although he did post a strong FIP and K/9.  Given his age, the big 24 year old will have to move quickly next year if he wants to have an impact with the Dodgers.  I’m guessing the Dodgers will be aggressive with him and let him start 2011 in either HiA or AA to see what he does against older competition.

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