Dodgers 2012 Minor League Countdown: 170 - 161

Here is the next part of my Dodger prospect countdown, and my final post of 2011. Even though we are still towards the beginning of my rankings, there are already some interesting names starting to appear on my list. From here on out the players should become familiar as we get closer to the top prospects in the Dodgers minor league system.

170. Robert Purpura, RHP (12 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 10.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers in July 2011 as a non drafted free agent
6’0”, 185 lbs, 25 years old
2-1, 3.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 4.81 FIP, 8.87 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Robert Purpura was one of several non drafted free agents signed by the Dodgers this past July. The southern California native had just finished his college career at Vanguard, a small Christian college in Costa Mesa, where he graduated with a degree in Kinesiology. Nicknamed “Paps” by his teammates, Robert was both a starter and reliever for the Lions in 2011 and he posted a 3.35 ERA over 51 innings while accumulating 50 strikeouts. While I don’t know much about his pitches, a recent college opponent said that “Purpura is a really good pitcher, and he had a really good fastball and slider.” After signing with the Dodgers, Purpura was sent to the Arizona Rookie League where he spent the first month of his professional career and allowed just 5 hits over 10.1 innings. That earned him a promotion to Ogden where his fortunes changed as he had a 6.75 ERA in 12 innings despite being one of the older players in the league. That age factor will also haunt him going forward as Purpura is now almost 25, so he is probably too old to ever have an impact in the Dodgers organization. He’ll probably spend 2012 in the Loons bullpen as a middle reliever.

169. Webster Rivas, 1B/C (55 games in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 5/29/09
6’0”, 195 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed
.279 average, .751 OPS, 2 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 0 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 179, Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

After an uninspiring professional debut in 2010, Rivas showed solid improvement in his sophomore season with the Dominican Dodgers both at the plate and behind the dish. A year after hitting .246 with a .662 OPS, Webster increased those numbers to .279 and .751. He also showed a great eye, walking almost as much as he struck out. In terms of defense, Rivas spent most of 2010 at 1st base, but this past year he was the Dodgers primary catcher and threw out almost 50% of would be base-stealers. He seems like a prime candidate to move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012, although he’s still a long ways off from being considered a legitimate prospect.

Follow the jump for #'s 168 - 161

168. Robert Chamra, RHP (20.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 34th round
6’4”, 225 lbs, 24 years old
3-0, 3.92 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 5.67 FIP, 6.53 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The 34th round pick of the 2011 draft, Robert Chamra signed quickly with the Dodgers and joined the Arizona Rookie League in mid June. The tall right hander had a mediocre professional debut, allowing 13 walks in 20 innings while striking out just 15. Going back to his college days, Charma started his schooling at Temple, but transferred to North Carolina State after his sophomore season. With the Wolfpack in 2011 Robert posted a team high 8 wins, but only struck out 39 batters in 68.1 innings. Here is a video of his throwing warm up pitches in college. I don’t really think the big right-hander has much potential, but hopefully he’s able to prove me wrong with a successful campaign in 2012.

167. Beau Brett, 1B (18 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 35th round
6’3”, 185 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats left handed
.160 average, .483 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2011 Rank: 106; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Back in 2010, Beau Brett was a draft eligible sophomore at USC who had accumulated only had 44 at bats over two seasons with the Trojans and had never collected an extra base hit in his college career. Nevertheless the Dodgers selected Brett in the 35th round of the 2010 draft, and he surprisingly signed with the club. From what I can tell, the only reason the Dodgers even drafted Beau was because of his baseball bloodlines, with his most famous relative being his uncle George Brett. Upon signing, Beau was placed the Arizona Rookie League but had an ugly professional debut. In 2011 the Dodgers sent Brett back to Arizona, and sadly he was even worse in his sophomore season. The lefty batted just .160 with just 8 hits in 50 at bats, and had an OPS of just .483. As a 1st baseman, that just isn’t going to cut it. Heading into 2012, I’m not sure if the Dodgers will even keep Brett around because he clearly doesn’t have much value. If the Dodgers do grant him another season, I’m guessing he’ll get a chance to play in the Pioneer League to see if a change in environment can jump-start his career.

166. Chance Gilmore, LHP (17.1 IP in Arz Rooke Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 25th round
5’11”, 187 lbs, 25 years old
2-0, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 4.30 FIP, 9.35 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 149; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Jeremy “Chance” Gilmore was drafted in 2010 out of Coastal Carolina, where his dad Gary was the head coach. Chance had a solid season as a junior in 2009, and then really made his dad proud in 2010 as he hit .341 with 12 homers and 54 RBI’s and helped his team reach the super regionals in the NCAA baseball tournament. Gilmore signed with the Dodgers quickly in 2010, but struggled in rookie ball despite being 23 years old. Therefore Gilmore was converted from outfielder to pitcher in 2011 and again spent the season in the Arizona Rookie League, this time as a left handed reliever. While Chance had pitched in high school, he didn’t throw at all in college so as expected he was a bit wild. In 17.1 innings he walked 13 batters, but at times he was effectively wild as he struck out more than a batter per frame. Looking towards the future, the biggest thing working against Gilmore is his age as he’ll be 25 years old when the 2012 season starts. He’ll probably get a chance to pitch in a full season league, but beyond that I doubt he has much of a future with the Dodger organization.

165. Simon Binns, RHP (7.1 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season
6’3”, 170 lbs, 18.75 years old
0-0, 9.82 ERA, 2.59 WHIP, 6.47 FIP, 11.05 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers signed Simon Binns out of Panama when he was just 17 years old, and he made his professional debut this past season in the DSL. He was used very sparingly, however, appearing in just 7 games that were spread evenly through the season. In those 7 games he was quite wild and hittable, but that was probably because he was getting such inconsistent playing time. The good news is that Binns has an excellent pitching frame and posted a strong strikeout rate, so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. Given his age and lack of experience Simon will definitely return to the DSL in 2012 where I expect him to get much more playing time.

164. Daniel Carela, RHP (10.1 IP in HiA, 17.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers in 2011 as a minor league free agent
6’3”, 225 lbs, 24.5 years old
1-0, 5.46 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 4.59 FIP, 7.39 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Daniel Carela, a native of New York, was originally signed by the Mets as a non drafted free agent in October of 2008. After a rocky professional debut in 2009, Carela put together a great season in 2010, posting a 1.82 ERA in the New York-Penn League over 24.2 innings and allowing a .188 batting average against. He’s a video of him that year. Despite his strong stats and a fastball that apparently reaches into the mid 90’s, Daniel was released by the Mets during their 2011 spring training. He was signed by the Dodgers in May of this past year, and was sent to Rancho Cucamonga after a brief tune-up in the Arizona Rookie League. Carela was used sparingly with the Quakes while allowing 12 runs (5 earned) in just 10.1 innings, then ended the season by getting rocked back in the Arizona Rookie League thanks to his inability to find the plate. As mentioned above he has a great fastball when he can find the plate, but his offspeed stuff is not very good so the 24 year old probably doesn’t have much of a future unless he masters a secondary offering.

163. Jonathan Linares, C (7 games in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season
6’0”, 160 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats right handed
.300 average, .891 OPS, 0 HR’s, 3 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

A Venezuela native, Jonathan Linares was signed by the Dodgers before the 2011 season and made his professional debut in the DSL as an 18 year old. The catcher played 7 games in June, but then for whatever reason was shut down for the remainder of the season. The good news is that in those 7 games, Linares collected 4 doubles in 20 at bats and only struck out twice. He was also perfect defensively, and threw out 3 of 8 would be base stealers. Hopefully Jonathan will be at full health in 2012 so he can get some more experience with the Dominican Dodgers. I know it’s way too early to tell, but a strong campaign next year could make him a candidate to move to a US based league in 2013.

162. Greg Downing, LHP (23.0 IP in Arz. Rookie League in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 47th round
5’10”, 175 lbs, 21.25 years old
2-0, 5.48 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 5.20 FIP, 9.39 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Greg Downing was a stud in high school, setting a New York City record with 108 strikeouts in 53 innings as a senior. Despite his strong stats he didn’t get much love from scouts due to his small size and violent pitching motion, so he decided to attend Monroe Community College. After two years at the community college, Downing transferred to Division III Franklin Pierce University where he ranked 13th nationally with his K/9 of 11.27 in 2011. He also smoothed out his pitching motion and had a solid 2.30 ERA though 74.1 innings. Upon getting drafted by the Dodgers he said “I'm still shocked. I knew I had a shot to get picked, but wasn't 100-percent sure it was going to happen. I really need to thank Coach [Jayson] King and Franklin Pierce for getting me exposure to MLB scouts, and I need to give credit to my father, who passed away when I was 10 years old, for teaching me to love the game of baseball." Downing signed quickly, and continued to post strong strikeout numbers in his professional debut. His other stats weren’t so good, however, including his batting average against of .302. Here is a video of him pitching with the Arizona Dodgers. Given his size, I’m guessing that the Dodgers will continue to use Downing in relief, and he’ll spend 2012 in the Ogden Raptors' bullpen.

161. Leo Rodriguez, SS/2B (63 games in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 6/1/09
5’11”, 160 lbs, 20.25 years old, bats right handed
.278 average, .688 OPS, 1 HR’s, 22 RBI’s, 6 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 154; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

2011 was Rodriguez’s second season in the DSL, and while his stats look pretty similar to 2010 he actually showed solid improvement year over year. The most important development in Leo’s career is his defense, as he spent most of 2011 at the premium position of shortstop after playing mostly 2nd base in 2010. He held his own up the middle, and also showed his versatility by playing a little 3rd base as well. At the plate, Rodriguez’s average and OPS were almost the exact same as in 2010, but his ISO (Isolated Power) increased a bit and he also walked almost as much as he struck out (which was just 9.6% of the time). Given his youth, defensive capabilities, and experience, I expect Rodriguez to move to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012 where he should get a chance to prove himself against more advanced competition.

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