Dodgers Prospect Countdown: The Top 10

Who knew that my #7 prospect Ethan Martin could also play catcher?

Here is the final post in my Dodger prospect countdown heading into the 2011 season.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this series as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.  It was obviously a big task, but I had fun doing it and as always it taught me a lot about the Dodgers minor league system.

The ranking of the top 10 players is usually were the most arguments occur, so feel free to let me know what you think about my placement of players.  I don’t think there are any major surprises, especially at #1 since I said Zach Lee was my #1 prospect right when he signed. 

 

Since this there was so much writing involved in this series, I’ve posted the entire list on another site, which also has the list from the previous years.  The site is http://dodgerprospects.wordpress.com/, and it is a good place to bookmark and reference whenever you have a question about a Dodger prospect.  The formatting kind of sucks, but just "control find" a player's name and you’ll get an immediate scouting report.  In addition, I plan on posting a recap here on TBLA later this week with just my ranking of the 200 players, without the scouting reports.

10.  Garrett Gould, RHP (57.1 IP in Pioneer League in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round

6’4", 190 lbs, 19.5 years old

1-4, 4.06 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 3.39 FIP, 8.12 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 5;     Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

 

The Dodgers selected Garrett Gould in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft, and were able to lure him away from his college commitment to Wichita State for $900,000.  Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 games in 2009, so last year was really his first professional season.  Playing in the Pioneer League in 2010 Gould wasn’t overly impressive, but he did post a 3.39 FIP to go along with 8.1 strikeouts per 9 innings.  He also allowed 15 unearned runs, which is a surprisingly high number given that he only threw 57 innings.  The one thing that people talked about was his drop in velocity during the season, but I’m not too concerned about that because he battled a couple of minor injuries throughout the year and was simply adjusting to the rigors of being a professional pitcher that throws every fifth day.  He is also still just 19 years old and has a lot of projection left in his frame, so I expect him to get back into the mid 90’s by next year.  In addition, Baseball America said that "even at reduced velocity, his fastball worked well because he commands it to both sides of the plate and it features plus sink and armside life."  Now that we’ve covered his fastball, it’s time to mention that he has one of the best curveballs in the Dodgers minor league system.  It’s a plus pitch that was rated as one of the best among high school pitchers in the 2009 draft.  It is thrown at around 82 mph and to me looks like a right handed version of Kershaw’s curveball.  Gould also has a serviceable changeup which gives him a solid three pitch mix.  In 2011 Gould should be ready for a full season league, with the Great Lakes Loons as his most likely destination.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers piggybacked him with another starter to keep his innings down given that he is just 19 years old.  He still has a ways go to, but I think there is a good chance that Gould will one day help the Dodgers at the big league level.

 

Why #10: Gould did drop a bit in my rankings, but that is mostly due to the emergence of other players.  Even still I have him ranked higher than most, and that is because he is still so young which puts his potential through the roof.  I’m sure he’ll regain the velocity on his fastball, and his great curveball gives him a very solid out pitch.  I believe his ceiling is that of a #2 starter in the big leagues, which is enough to rank him in my top 10.

9.  Allen Webster, RHP (131.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 18th round

6’3”, 185 lbs, 21 years old

12-9, 2.88 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 3.50 FIP, 7.81 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 11;     Pre 2009 Rank: 100

 

Allen Webster was pretty much an unknown when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2008 draft.  He played mostly shortstop in high school, and when he was first used as a pitcher he could barely hit 90 mph.  Just a few years later, Webster has bloomed into one of the Dodgers best pitching prospects and had an All Star season for the Great Lakes Loons in 2010.  He led the Midwest League with 12 wins, and had an outstanding 2.88 ERA for the season.  He was also very consistent, posting a 2.88 ERA against both lefties and righties, and recording a 2.90 ERA at home vs. a 2.85 ERA on the road.  In addition, while his strikeout numbers weren’t overpowering, batters still only hit .239 against him.  Stats aside, the best part about Webster is that he has the potential for three plus pitches.  His fastball sits in the low 90’s with good sink, and during one start I watched online last season the announcer had him topping out at 97 mph.  He also has a solid curveball, which is improving with every start.  His best pitch, however, is his changeup which was rated by Baseball America as the best in the Dodgers organization.  Since Webster is still just 21 years old, the Dodgers probably won’t rush him so he’ll most likely start the 2011 season in Rancho Cucamonga.  In terms of his more distant future, one scout was quoted as saying “He could end up being a stud.  He has a couple of plus pitches and will be a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy.”

 

Why #9: Webster has three very good pitches and is still very young, which definitely gives him a good chance of making it to the big leagues one day.  I believe that he “only” has the ceiling of a #3 starter, but I have him higher on the list than Gould because he has already had success in a full season league.  That being said, I just don’t think he has the upside of the other pitchers ranked above him, and that is why I don’t have him higher on my list.

 

8.  Trayvon Robinson, CF (120 games in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 10th round

5’11”, 195 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter

.300 average, .842 OPS, 9 HR’s, 57 RBI’s, 38 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 15;     Pre 2009 Rank: 44

 

Drafted in 2005 out of Crenshaw High School, Trayvon Robinson’s career got off to a slow start.  In his first three professional seasons he was very ordinary and wasn’t mentioned in any of the Dodger top prospect discussions.  In 2008 he showed some signs of life while in Inland Empire, then really broke out in 2009 with 17 homers and 47 stolen bases.  That brings us to the 2010 season, which Robinson spent in AA.  While his stats weren’t eye popping with the Lookouts, the switch hitter had a solid all around year.  He led the team with a .300 average, hit 9 homers, stole 38 bases, and only made 4 errors in center field.  He also had an impressive .404 on base percentage which ranked 3rd in the entire Southern League, and recorded 12 outfield assists despite having a below average arm.  After the season, Robinson played in the AFL and DeJon Watson has this to say about him: “He had a big year. Look at his numbers over the last three years, the trend is up. His on-base percentage has gone up 150 points in a three-year window. We're trying to expand his overall game, to get him to be more aggressive defensively. He's still pushing the envelope with his baserunning. We want him a little more aggressive going first to third. He gets good reads and jumps. He's relatively close to finishing off the skill set. This will be a really good test for him.”  After watching him play in the AFL, Don Mattingly also had some praise for Robinson and said “He's coming. I've had the chance to see him play with my son in Michigan, saw him in the spring and fall, and every time I see him, I love to see the progression. Each time he's gotten better. He's getting there. If he continues to progress, he's got a chance to be an impact guy.”  Besides his arm, which worries some scouts enough to say that he might not be able to handle center field at the big league level, Trayvon has solid 4 tools and a knack for getting on base.  None of his tools are really outstanding, however, which limits his ceiling.  Robinson also strikeouts out a little too much, so he’s going to try and polish his game in AAA next season.  That being said, I’m almost positive that Robinson will make his major league debut at some point in 2011, even if it is just as a September call up. 

 

Why #8: I like Robinson’s athleticism and the fact that he is a switch hitter, but I’m not as high on him as most other people.  I think his ceiling is that of a solid defensive center fielder who has a weak arm and hits around .270 with 10 homers and 20 steals annually.  While that’s still pretty good, I just think the prospects I’ve ranked above him have brighter futures.

 

7.  Ethan Martin, RHP (113.1 IP in HiA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 1st round

6’2”, 195 lbs, 21.75 years old

9-14, 6.35 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 4.82 FIP, 8.34 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 3;     Pre 2009 Rank: 3

 

Ethan Martin was the Dodgers 1st round pick in 2008, and he ended up being the first high school pitcher selected in that draft.  Prior to the draft he had been named as the Baseball America High School Player of the Year as a two way player.  His overall pitching stats as a senior were 11-1 with a 0.99 ERA and 141 K’s in 79 innings, but he was also a great power hitting 3rd baseman.  Due to a knee injury Martin didn’t make his professional debut until 2009 when he threw an even 100 innings in the Midwest League.  He did very well for the Loons, as he had a FIP of 3.45 and a K/9 of 10.8 for the season.  In 2010 he was promoted to HiA but the results were ugly.  While he got off to a decent start and showed flashes of brilliance throughout the season, Martin ended up with a 6.35 ERA and 14 losses.  When I asked DeJon Watson about Martin’s struggles in 2010, he said that the biggest challenge for Ethan is the mental game.  Watson went on to say that he needs to make mental adjustments in order to succeed, and will most likely repeat the California League next year and will stay there until he can prove he can dominate that level.  I also heard from another scout that Martin’s fastball was much too straight last season and lacked the movement he had during 2009.  However, even though Martin had a poor season and needs to make some adjustments to his game, there is still reason to be excited about him as a prospect.  Both Watson and Charlie Hough told me that he still has great stuff and that he continues to get his fastball up to 98 mph.  Martin also has a big breaking curveball and a developing changeup, and is still just 21 years old.  Overall, I think it is much too early to give up on Martin after just one poor season.  He was invited to participate in the Dodgers Winter Development Minicamp, and hopefully he’ll continue to get good coaching during spring training.  I do expect to see Martin back in the California League to start the 2011 season, but if he does well he might make it up to AA at some point next year.

 

Why #7: Ethan Martin still has a ton of potential in my book and has the ceiling of a #2 starter in the big leagues.  Therefore I decided that he deserved to stay in my top 10 although he did drop a few spots due to the emergence of other Dodger prospects.

 

6.  Kenley Jansen, RHP (27 games in AA, 18 IP in HiA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 11/17/04

6’6”, 220 lbs, 23.5 years old

5-1, 1.60 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 1.27 FIP, 15.60 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 16;     Pre 2009 Rank: 36

 

Since Kenley Jansen burst onto the scene in Los Angeles last season and dominated major league batters, almost everyone already knows his story.  Nevertheless, I’ll give a little background on the Dodgers rookie phenom.  The former catcher was signed by the Dodgers out of Curacao as a 17 year old, and made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League.  After showing some offensive potential in his first season, things went downhill for Jansen at the plate over the next 2 and a half years.  But then something amazing happened as Jansen found new life on the pitching mound.  He started throwing blazing fastballs and was striking batters out at an astonishing rate.  Even though he had immediate success on the mound, nobody could have imagined how well he would do in 2010.  Jansen dominated the minor leagues for a few months, and then went on to record the 4th lowest major league rookie ERA in major league history with the Dodgers (minimum 25 innings) at 0.67.  Armed with a mid 90’s fastball that can get up to 100 mph and a developing slider, Kenley is the perfect late inning relief pitcher and definitely has closer potential.  He also throws a changeup on occasion, although it is a work in progress and he basically hasn’t needed to use it yet.  Despite his outstanding big league debut, however, there are a few things keeping from ranking in my top 5.  His walk rate last season was much too high, and he currently only has one plus pitch.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Jansen as a prospect and Dodger, but if he doesn’t improve his secondary stuff I’m sure major league hitters will eventually figure him out.  When the 2010 season ended it appeared the Jansen was a lock for the Dodgers 2011 bullpen, but now things seem more uncertain given that the team has signed or acquired several relievers this offseason.  Even if he doesn’t start the season with the Dodgers, there is no question that he will still be a big part of the Dodgers’ plans next year.

 

Why #6: Jansen has already dominated big league hitters, and has a very bright future as a late inning reliever and/or closer.  As I mentioned above, his lack of a plus second pitch keeps him from being ranked any higher, but he still should be a very good bullpen arm for a long time.

 

5.  Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (51 IP in AA, 59.1 IP in LoA in 2010)

Signed by Dodgers 7/2/07

6’1”, 170 lbs, 22 years old

7-2, 2.37 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 3.16 FIP, 7.67 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 35;     Pre 2009 Rank: 51

 

Rubby De La Rosa was signed out of the Dominican Republic on the first day of international signing period in 2007.  After throwing just 6 innings in 2007, De La Rosa played a full season in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and put up some very impressive numbers.  His stellar season prompted the Dodgers to bring De La Rosa to Camelback Ranch for spring training in 2009, and it was there that Rubby began to get noticed.  Keith Law was the first to report on his strong fastball and overall great stuff, and that was enough to get me interested.  However, after appearing in just 5 games with the Arizona Dodgers in 2009 and recording a 6.06 ERA, De La Rosa sat out the rest of the season for what some have called disciplinary reasons.  That caused many to forget about Rubby as a prospect, but I saw his potential last season and ranked him favorably at #35 last year.  That brings us to 2010, which is when RDLA truly had a breakout season.  Rubby joined the Loons in late April, and was initially in the Loons bullpen where he picked up 6 saves.  After he was stretched out a bit, RDLA joined the Great Lakes rotation and continued to show plus stuff.  He reached 100 mph with his fastball on multiple occasions, and showed a lot of potential with both his slider and changeup.  Loons manager Juan Bustabad said that Rubby reminded him of Pedro Martinez, although Rubby throws harder.  De La Rosa was promoted to AA in late July and spent the remainder of the season in Chattanooga.  He got off to a great start by not allowing an earned run in his first three starts, and after posting a 3.19 ERA in LoA RDLA actually lowered his ERA to 1.41 with the Lookouts.  After the season, Lookout manager Carlos Subero raved about Rubby’s ability to add extra velocity late in games, and compared De La Rosa to Edinson Volquez.  The one thing that worried me about Rubby’s season was that he jumped from 16 innings in 2009 to over 100 in 2010.  However, DeJon Watson put my worries to rest when he told me “The Dodgers are not concerned with his workload this year because he threw way more than the listed 16 innings in 2009…the 16 innings are just what you have listed in your book.”  Watson also said that “Rubby’s skill set is what caused the Dodgers to promote him to AA.  In particular, his poise, his demeanor, his fastball command, and his ability to make adjustments inning to inning and batter to batter.  He has come a long way in a short period of time.”  De La Rosa’s season culminated with him winning the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year award and an invitation to the Dodgers major league spring training.  In 2011, Rubby will return to AA to continue refining his game.  His strikeout rate dipped quite a bit in 2010 despite his outstanding fastball, so getting more swings and misses is something he’ll probably work on.  If he continues to put up solid stats, however, a call up to Los Angeles towards the end of the 2011 season isn’t out of the question.

 

Why #5: Rubby De La Rosa moved up quite a bit in my rankings, and at just 22 years old his youth is just one of his many valuable assets.  With three potential plus pitches Rubby’s ceiling could be as high as a #2 starter in the big leagues, although I still have this feeling that could end up in the bullpen where he would also be very good, just not quite as valuable. 

 

4.  Chris Withrow, RHP (129.2 IP in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round

6’3”, 195 lbs, 22 years old

4-9, 5.97 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 4.50 FIP, 8.33 K/9

Pre 2010 Rank: 2;     Pre 2009 Rank: 8

 

After getting selected by the Dodgers in the 1st round of the 2007 draft, Chris Withrow’s professional career got off to a rocky start.  A freak accident involving a snorkeling mask and a case of tired arm limited Withrow to just 13 innings in his first two seasons, and some people were starting to get worried about the top prospect.  However, in 2009 Withrow silenced most of his critics by staying healthy and putting together a very solid season as a 20 year old.  He split the year between HiA and AA, and his most impressive stats that season were his K/9 rate of 10.4 and his 3.13 FIP.  2010 started off with a bang for Withrow as he wowed fans in Spring Training with two near perfect innings while striking out 5 of the 7 batters he faced.  He then returned to Chattanooga for the 2010 minor league season, but as most people already know things didn’t go so well.  He had a couple of good streaks, including a solid month of June when he had a 2.89 ERA and a .226 batting average against, but overall he had very ugly stats.  For the season as a whole Withrow had a 5.97 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP, although his FIP was a little more favorable at 4.51.  One of his biggest problems was his ability to keep the ball in the park as he allowed 13 homers, compared to just 5 allowed in 2009.  Despite his dreadful statistical season in 2010, Chris continued to show good stuff off the mound.  His mid 90’s fastball shows good movement and has been clocked as high as 99 mph, and according to Baseball America he has the best curveball in the Dodgers minor league system.  After the season I talked to DeJon Watson about Withrow, and he said Withrow has made big strides in the past one and a half years.  He also said that Withrow was only the age of a college junior during the 2010 season, so he was still way ahead of most 21 year olds.  In terms of Withrow’s struggles, DeJon said that his mental composure needs to improve for him to pitch more effectively.  After the season Withrow participated in the Dodgers instructional league, but unfortunately he suffered a herniated disk in his lower back which limited his throwing until the Winter Development Program.  When I saw him throwing during the Winter Development Program he luckily looked fine, so he should have no trouble being ready for spring training.  Chris will almost certainly spend 2011 back in AA and hopefully this time he’ll have better results.  At just 22 years old there is no need to rush him, so at this point Withrow’s MLB debut will be in 2012 at the earliest.

 

Why #4: While he struggled in 2010, I still believe Withrow has great stuff and can be a top of the rotation starter in the big leagues.  I see him as the second best pitching prospect in the organization behind Zach Lee, and think he will have a solid rebound season in 2011.

 

3.  Dee Gordon, SS (133 games in AA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 4th round

5’11”, 150 lbs, 22.75 years old, bats left handed

.277 average, .687 OPS, 2 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 53 SB’s

Pre 2010 Rank: 1;     Pre 2009 Rank: 9

 

Dee Gordon was a bit of a surprise as the Dodgers 4th round pick in 2008 because he had been ruled ineligible as a college sophomore due to transcripts problems and didn’t even play baseball in the spring of before the draft.  Nevertheless he had a great professional debut in the Pioneer League in 2008 and has been a top Dodger prospect ever since.  His 2009 season in the Midwest League was one to remember since he was named league MVP with 73 stolen bases and a .301 average, and that earned him a promotion AA in 2010.  While Gordon was caught stealing 20 times and posted an on base percentage of just .332 while in Chattanooga, he showed a ton of raw talent and was voted as the most exciting player in the Southern League.  He was also rated as the Dodgers best defensive infielder by Baseball America despite making 37 errors for the Lookouts.  He already has a plus arm, and his athleticism leads scouts to believe that he’ll be able to make spectacular plays at the big league level.  In addition, several scouts ranked his speed as an 80 and the 20-80 scouting scale, which is a rating rarely given out.  Gordon has improved his bunting skills over the past few years, but he does need to be more patient at the plate and learn to take more walks.  He also needs to put on more muscle, which is something he struggled with since turning pro.  After the season Dee played in the Puerto Rican Winter League and led the league with a .361 average with a career high .889 OPS.  He then participated in the Dodgers Winter Development program, and was invited to the Dodgers big league spring training even though he isn’t on the 40 man roster.  Gordon will turn 23 years old this upcoming April, and will most likely spend 2011 in AAA.  He is the Dodgers heir apparent at shortstop, and if Furcal’s option doesn’t vest he could be the team’s starter as early as 2012. 

 

Why #3: Dee Gordon has the potential to one day be the Dodgers everyday shortstop, and could steal 50+ bases on a regular basis in the big leagues.  He’ll never have any power, but he could be a plus defender one day and is a very exciting player.  I almost put him #2, but I like Sands’ power more than Gordon’s speed. 

 

2.  Jerry Sands, RF (68 games in AA, 69 games in LoA in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 25th round

6’4”, 225 lbs, 23.5 years old, bats right handed

.301 average, .981 OPS, 35 HR’s, 93 RBI’s, 18 SB

Pre 2010 Rank: 23;     Pre 2009 Rank: 81

 

To say Jerry Sands came out of nowhere in 2010 is a bit of an exaggeration since he’s shown tremendous power dating back to his college days.  During his 3 years at Catawba College in North Carolina, Sands had a .381 career batting average and hit 61 home runs.  His power numbers continued during his debut season with the Dodgers as he hit 10 HR’s in just 46 games, and he then smacked 19 bombs in 2009 despite logging just 267 at bats.  Even still, nobody could have predicted Sands’ meteoric rise through the Dodgers minor league system in 2010, although I came pretty close in my write-up last season when I said: “Sands is a very intriguing prospect with a very high ceiling.  With 29 home runs in 119 games over the past two years, that projects out to almost 40 HR’s over a 162 game schedule.  I'm not saying that Sands is ever going to hit 40 HR's in the big leagues, but I think that if he continues to improve, he has the chance to be a solid MLB regular.  That's pretty good for a former 25th round pick.  2010 should see Sands return to LoA to start the season, but by the end of the year he may find himself in AA.”  In 2010 Jerry didn’t quite hit 40 jacks, but he did have a monster season as his 35 homers were just one shy of the minor league HR title.  Sands also hit .301 with 18 stolen bases and a .981 OPS despite playing in two pitching friendly leagues, and ended up winning the Dodgers minor league player of the year award.  Scout say that he has power to all fields, above average bat speed, and very strong wrists.  When you look at Sands’ splits between LoA and AA, his batting average, slugging %, and on base % all dropped a bit in Chattanooga, but he had no trouble maintaining his power numbers as he hit 17 homers in just 68 games.  In addition, Sands was able to make decent contact throughout the entire season, and his strikeout rate actually decreased from 21.3% in LoA to 20.5% in AA.  After the season Sands played in the AFL where he continued to put up very solid stats against the advanced competition.  The big question that people have about Sands relates to his defense.  Is he an outfielder?  1st baseman?  DeJon Watson answered that question by saying that he can play both and that the Dodgers don’t have to limit him.  Watson thinks that Sands’ versatility will help Ned Colletti down the road when he is building his team, and went on to say “His defense is fine, his base running is fine, and his arm is above average.  Also his approach at the plate has been consistent all year.  However, you can’t put a time table on when he’ll make the big leagues, and it is going to come down to how he continues to progress and when the Dodgers have a need for him.”  Personally, I believe that Sands is a good enough fielder to play 1st base, left field, or right field at the big league level.  He might not ever earn a gold glove, but I’ve seen him play enough to know he can handle each of those positions.  3rd base, however, seems very unlikely.  My gut tells me that he’ll probably start his career as a left fielder while getting occasional starts in right, but that he’ll end up at 1st later on down the road.  2011 should see Sands start back in AA, and as Watson said his major league debut will really depend on when he’s needed.  No matter where he plays, I expect another big season out of the 23 year old.  Finally, Sands got engaged this offseason and is set to be married on November 19, 2011.  Sorry ladies.

 

Why #2: I really like Sands as a prospect, and I believe he has what it takes to be a big league regular for years to come with the potential for a .300 average and 30 homers annually.  The only reason I have him behind Zach Lee is because I think Lee is going to be a stud pitcher.  See below.

1.  Zach Lee, RHP (Did not pitch in 2010)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 1st round

6’4”, 210 lbs, 19.5 years old

No Stats in 2010

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

 

When the Dodgers drafted Zach Lee last June, I immediately had mixed emotions.  Since I knew Lee was going to be one of the toughest players to sign in the draft, my initial reaction was that we had wasted a pick due to high bonus demands, and I was very upset.  However I did have a small glimmer of hope that we’d somehow find a way to sign him, and that made me excited because I knew how good of a player Lee could be.  Well we all know what happened next, as the negotiations with Lee went down to the wire before the Dodgers miraculously lured him away from LSU baseball and football for $5.25M.  When the news broke of his signing, that was probably the best Dodger news I’d heard all season given the team’s poor performance.  Considered by some to be the 2nd best pitcher in the entire 2010 draft behind #2 pick Jameson Taillon, Lee is very advanced for his age and has a great feel for pitching.  He has an outstanding pitching frame with lots of projection, and has the potential for three plus pitches.  His fastball sits around 93 mph and hit 95 mph as recently as the Fall Instructional League, and it has good movement.  His changeup is very advanced for a high school pitcher and will only get better as he gains experience.  Finally he has a power curveball/slider that again has the potential to be a very good pitch.  When you combine those pitches with his plus control and clean mechanics, you have the makings for a very successful pitcher.  Zach will start his professional career in LoA, and he’ll probably remain with the Loons all season given that he is just 19 years old and there is no reason to rush him.  For 2012, however, I can see him making the jump up to AA, and while he probably won’t reach the major leagues as fast as Kershaw did, I think he can move quickly through the system.  He should be a very fun minor leaguer to follow over the next few years.

 

Why #1: From the moment Zach Lee signed with the Dodgers I knew he’d be my #1 Dodger prospect in this ranking.  I know Lee hasn’t thrown a professional pitch yet, but I rank players on their big league potential instead of basing it on their stats.  Of course it all still comes down one’s own opinion, but I personally think that Zach Lee will have a much more successful career in the big leagues than anyone else in the Dodgers minor system.  It’s really all about ceilings and the likelihood that a player will reach the ceiling, and I think Zach Lee has a strong possibly of being a #1 starter.

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