2011 Dodgers Player Profile: Jon Link, The Connection Between Albuquerque And Los Angeles

Will Jon Link see Los Angeles in 2011? (Jon SooHoo / Dodgers)

Jon Link has done quite a bit of traveling during his six-year professional career.  He’s been traded twice, and during his first season with the Dodgers he was a frequent flyer between Albuquerque and Los Angeles.  He was called up six different times, and his 2010 transaction log looked like this:

Called up on 4/18/10 (after 11 games, 14 days).  Sent down after game on 4/20/10 (after 13 games, 17 days).  Recalled after game on 4/24/10 (after 17 games, 21 days).  However, because was recalled on April 24 due to the injury to Padilla within 10 days of being sent down, those four days count as major league service time.  Sent down on 4/28/10 (after 20 games, 24 days).  Called up on 6/7/10 (after 57 games, 64 days).  Sent down on 6/8/10 (after 58 games, 65 days).  Called up on 6/25/10 (after 72 games, 82 days).  Sent down on 6/28/10 (after 75 games, 85 days).  Called up on 7/11/10 (after 87 games, 98 days).  Sent down after game on 7/18/10 (after 92 games, 106 days).  Called up on 9/6/10 (after 137 games, 155 days). 

Despite making six trips to LA, Link only threw 8.2 innings for the Dodgers in 2010.  He was much more useful in Albuquerque, however, and in my opinion was the pitching MVP of the team.  The workhorse of the Isotopes bullpen, Link threw 60.2 innings and recorded a 3.71 ERA.  His FIP for the year was 3.55 and he picked up four saves and three wins.  After the season Link was sent to the Arizona Fall League, and despite being a reliever his entire career DeJon Watson said “We'll use him here in a starting role to get him stretched out. We know he can pitch in the middle of the bullpen at the big league level. We want to get him stretched out here to create more value going into Spring Training.”  Jon was pretty mediocre as a starter in the AFL, but during the Dodgers "Young Guns" pitching minicamp in January 2011 Rick Honeycutt re-emphasized that Link will continue to work as a starter since he “can always go back (to relief).” 

Link didn’t get much love this off-season in terms of prospect rankings as none of the major publications had him in their top 30.  I personally had him ranked #30, and in terms of his stuff I’ve learned that Link has a three-pitch mix that starts his with low 90’s fastball.  His best pitch, however, is his slider which is a legitimate strikeout pitch. 

Trivia

When Jon Link made his major league debut on April 20, 2010, he became the first player drafted from Bluefield College (Virginia) to play in the major leagues. 

Contract Status

Link has 47 days of major league service time, although he is still considered a rookie since 25 of those days were in September when service time doesn’t count against a player’s rookie status.  Therefore he is under team control in terms of his salary.  His major league salary will be around the major league minimum of $414,000.  If he is in the minors all year, however, the minimum he’ll make is approximately $94K since his cannot make less than 60% of his 2010 salary ($109K major league salary in 2010 plus his $47K estimated minor league salary in 2010).  He has one option remaining, which will definitely get used up in 2011.

Stats

Year Level     Age IP W L ERA WHIP K K/9 BAA FIP
2008 AA 24 56.2 5 4 3.02 1.32 66 10.5 .223 3.09
2009 AAA 25 56.1 1 2 3.99 1.46 66 10.5 .256 3.56
2010 AAA 26 60.2 3 2 3.71 1.42 55 8.2 .274 3.55
2010     
MLB 26 8.2 0 0 4.15 1.85 4 4.2 .333 3.54
2011 Projections - Age 27 season
Source IP ERA WHIP BB/9 K/9 FIP
Marcel 29.0 4.19 1.38 3.41 7.14 4.08
ZiPS 63.0 4.43 1.51 4.43 7.14 90 ERA+
Baseball HQ 29.0 3.10 1.34 2.80 6.50 3.88 xERA

2011 Outlook

The Dodgers pitching staff is extremely crowded, both in the rotation and in the bullpen, so Link will almost certainly start the 2011 season back in AAA.  He’ll probably continue to work as a starter with the Isotopes, but I would guess if he gets called up to the Dodgers during 2011 it will be as a reliever. 

What are the TBLA community projections for Jon Link in 2011?  Be sure to include your guess for his IP with the Dodgers, his ERA, and WHIP.  Also, take a guess as to how many different times he’ll get called up during the season…remember his previous record is 6.

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