We are finally into my Dodgers top 30 prospects, and this is where things really start to get interesting. What’s fascinating is that even though I made my ranking before Baseball America came out with their top 30 Dodger prospects, as bhsportsguy pointed out, the players in my top 30 are very similar to the players in Baseball America’s top 30. The only differences are that I included Matt Magill, Jon Link, and Javier Solano in my top 30 while BA included Mario Songco, Derek Cone, and Luis Vasquez in their top 30. That goes to show that there is at least some sort of agreement as to who the top players are in the Dodgers system. However, there are obviously greater differences in where I rank each player in my top 30 compared to BA. As always let me know your thoughts on where I ranked guys, including who you think should be higher or lower. Also, since it’s sometimes difficult to justify a ranking without knowing exactly who else is ranked ahead of them, here are the 20 names of the players who are ranked ahead of these guys, in alphabetical order: James Baldwin, Ralston Cash, Rubby De La Rosa, Scott Elbert, Nathan Eovaldi, Jonathan Garcia, Dee Gordon, Garrett Gould, Kenley Jansen, Zach Lee, Jake Lemmerman, Joshua Lindblom, Ethan Martin, Aaron Miller, Trayvon Robinson, Kyle Russell, Jerry Sands, Blake Smith, Allen Webster, and Chris Withrow.
30. Jon Link, RHP (60.2 IP in AAA in 2010) Acquired in trade with White Sox for Juan Pierre 6’1”, 190 lbs, 27 years old 3-2, 3.71 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.55 FIP, 8.16 K/9 Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A Jon Link, who was acquired from the White Sox when the Dodgers sent Juan Pierre to Chicago, was originally a 26th round pick of the Padres back in 2005. In his 5 professional seasons prior to joining the Dodgers, Link had put up solid career numbers as he had struck out over a batter per inning and had an ERA of around 3.90. After joining the Dodgers, he spent most of the 2010 season in AAA 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 4 saves and 3 wins. In addition, Link made his major league debut in 2010 as he was called up by the Dodgers 6 different times during the season. However he was used sparingly during his callups and his MLB sample size is too small to analyze. 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 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).” In terms of his stuff, Link has a 3 pitch mix that starts his with low 90’s fastball. His best pitch, however, is his slider which is a legitimate strikeout pitch. Give the Dodgers pitching depth, Link will definitely start the 2011 season in AAA, but I’m guessing he’ll find his way back to LA at some point again next season. Whether he is a starter or reliever, Link is a solid arm for this organization and gives the team depth. Why #30: Even though Link is going to train as a starter in 2010, I think his ceiling is that of a middle reliever at the big league level. If the Dodgers were short on arms I think Link would be able to provide adequate middle relief at the big league level for this upcoming season, but since the Dodgers bullpen appears to already be full for 2011 he’s going to have to continue to perform in AAA if he wants to see time in the MLB again.
30. Jon Link, RHP (60.2 IP in AAA in 2010)
Acquired in trade with White Sox for Juan Pierre
6’1”, 190 lbs, 27 years old
3-2, 3.71 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 3.55 FIP, 8.16 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Jon Link, who was acquired from the White Sox when the Dodgers sent Juan Pierre to Chicago, was originally a 26th round pick of the Padres back in 2005. In his 5 professional seasons prior to joining the Dodgers, Link had put up solid career numbers as he had struck out over a batter per inning and had an ERA of around 3.90. After joining the Dodgers, he spent most of the 2010 season in AAA 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 4 saves and 3 wins. In addition, Link made his major league debut in 2010 as he was called up by the Dodgers 6 different times during the season. However he was used sparingly during his callups and his MLB sample size is too small to analyze. 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 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).” In terms of his stuff, Link has a 3 pitch mix that starts his with low 90’s fastball. His best pitch, however, is his slider which is a legitimate strikeout pitch. Give the Dodgers pitching depth, Link will definitely start the 2011 season in AAA, but I’m guessing he’ll find his way back to LA at some point again next season. Whether he is a starter or reliever, Link is a solid arm for this organization and gives the team depth.
Why #30: Even though Link is going to train as a starter in 2010, I think his ceiling is that of a middle reliever at the big league level. If the Dodgers were short on arms I think Link would be able to provide adequate middle relief at the big league level for this upcoming season, but since the Dodgers bullpen appears to already be full for 2011 he’s going to have to continue to perform in AAA if he wants to see time in the MLB again.
29. Javy Guerra, RHP (27 IP in AA, 2 IP in Arizona League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2004, 4th round
6’0”, 205 lbs, 25.25 years old
2-1, 2.48 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 4.51 FIP, 9.31 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 25; Pre 2009 Rank: 47
Drafted as a 4th round pick back in 2004, Javy Guerra had a solid debut in the Gulf Coast League but was then sidelined for portions of the 2005 and 2006 seasons due to Tommy John surgery. He returned to full time action in 2007 and was used as a starter, but the results were disastrous as he had a 6.27 ERA in HiA. 2008 saw the beginning of Guerra’s conversion to reliever, and he has been in the bullpen ever since. In 2009 Guerra split the year between LoA and AA and had a strong season, prompting the Dodgers to add Javy to their 40 man roster. Guerra spent the 2010 season in Chattanooga, but injuries limited him to just 29 total innings. He was sent to the AFL after the season to get in addition work, and DeJon Watson said “He was off-and-on with his health this year [shoulder tendinitis]. He has a chance to be a legitimate bullpen piece. He has a 94-mph fastball and a tight slider with a change. He needs innings. And he's more than likely going to Mazatlan to play in the Mexican Winter League and carry that into Spring Training to make up for the innings he missed while he was out.” Unfortunately Guerra suffered a deep cut on his hand while washing dishes toward the end of the AFL season so he didn’t end up throwing again until the Dodgers Winter Development Minicamp in January. Since Guerra already has a strong fastball and a hard slider, the one thing holding him back from being a big league reliever is his sporadic control. His career walk rate is 5.3 free passes per 9 innings, and he was even worse at 7.3 walks per 9 during his 2010 season in AA. He wasn’t any better during his AFL stint, walking 6 batters in 10 innings. Since he’s on the 40 man roster Guerra will be training with the big league club in spring training, but he has no chance of making the team out of camp. He’ll probably spend the 2011 season in AAA and hopefully will improve his control.
Why #29: In short, Guerra is a power reliever with control problems. He has already shown that he can have success in the upper minor leagues, and if can ever learn to find the plate then he has the ceiling of a solid late inning reliever.
28. Javier Solano, RHP (19.2 IP in AA, 44.2 IP in HiA in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers in 2008
6’0”, 177 lbs, 21 years old
3-1, 2.94 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.56 FIP, 10.07 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 111; Pre 2009 Rank: 139
The Dodgers purchased Solano's rights from the Mexican League's Monterrey Sultans before the 2008 season for $250,000. According to Baseball America at the time of his signing, they said that “Solano's two best pitches are an 89-93 mph fastball that sits around 91 and a plus 75-78 mph curveball. He also has some feel for a changeup and uses a slider as his fourth offering.” Assistant GM De Jon Watson also chimed in with some comments when Solano signed, saying that he's thrown "exceptionally well" and is "very advanced for a 17-year-old, with an above-average fastball and curveball.” Javier spent his first two professional seasons in the Pioneer League, but his stats were uninspiring and he didn’t get much attention from Dodger prospect junkies. However that changed in 2010 as Solano made a big splash in his first year playing in full season leagues. He started the year in HiA, and despite being the youngest player on the team he was by far the best relief pitcher on the 66ers. While his stats weren’t eye popping, he was very consistent and had great peripherals. He finished his Inland Empire season with a 3.22 ERA, but his FIP was even better at 2.39. He also struck out about 10 batters per 9 innings. That earned him a promotion to AA in August and Solano actually posted even better stats with the Lookouts through 19.1 innings. When you combine his stats for the season, Solano had the best strikeout to walk ratio of any Dodger minor leaguer, the 3rd best FIP, the 5th best K/9, and the 5th best WHIP (all minimum 50 IP). And to emphasize his youth again, he did all this as a 20 year old playing in HiA and AA. So what isn’t there to like about Solano? The only real downside I can think of his height, as he is actually shorter than his listed measurement of 6’0”. The reason I know he is shorter than 6 feet is because I found a picture of him standing next to Manny Ramirez (who is 6’0” on a good day), and Solano is a good two inches shorter than Manny. Also, Charlie Hough specially mentioned to me that listing Javier at 6’0” is very generous. In addition, in searching through other pictures of Solano, I’d also say that he’s a little heavier than his listed weight of 177, and that’s not because he has put on extra muscle if you know what I mean. Anyways, despite my concerns about his physical makeup, Solano clearly has the tools to succeed against advanced competition. At just 21 years old, he is well ahead of the game and seems to be on the fast track for the big leagues. Nevertheless, he is going to have to continue to put up good numbers or else he’ll be forgotten just like numerous prospects before him. He’ll probably return to AA in 2011 and will most likely remain there for the entire season since the Dodgers have no reason to rush him.
Why #28: Solano obviously moved up quite a bit in my rankings this year, but before I get too excited about him I’m going to wait and see what he does in 2011. He had great stats in 2010, but his physical makeup really does scare me. His ceiling seems to be that of a middle to late inning reliever at the big league level.
27. Scott Schebler, OF (5 games in Arizona League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 26th round
6’1”, 208 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed
.294 average, .863 OPS, 0 HR’s, 1 RBI, 1 SB
Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
The Dodgers selected Scott Schebler in the 26th round of the 2010 draft after a huge season at Des Moines Area CC where he hit .446 with 20 jacks and 82 RBI’s. However his asking price to sign was $300K - $500K and he had a strong commitment Wichita State, so both Scott and the Dodgers played the waiting game. After getting drafted Schebler participated in the Northwoods League, a wood bat college summer league, to boost his stock. He did just that as he smacked 10 more homers in just 218 at bats. While negotiations went down the wire, the Dodgers eventually signed Schebler for $300K and a commitment to pay for his college. After inking the deal, Schebler said “It was an extremely hard decision. A lot of thought got put into it. It was an opportunity I didn’t think would come around again. It was a combination of me having leverage, being as young as I am, and the money I got. For the money I got out of this draft, I would have to be a very high draft as a junior.” An outstanding athlete, the Dodgers got a very solid player in Schebler. According to Baseball America, he has plus-plus speed and plus-plus raw power to his pull side. The only question is his defense, which is fringy at this point. He definitely has the speed to play center, but doesn’t have an accurate arm or the best instincts so he may end up in left. If he continues to hit like he did in 2010, where he plays doesn’t really matter because his value lies in his offensive abilities. At 20 years old, the Dodgers might push Schebler to Midwest League since he does have a decent amount of experience under his belt. He is definitely a prospect to watch, especially given his combination of speed and power, and I have the feeling he’ll move pretty quickly through the Dodgers minor league system.
Why #27: Schebler might be my biggest sleeper in this ranking since he hasn’t really been mentioned much yet as a prospect. However, I love his combination of speed and power and can see him developing into a legitimate outfield prospect that can play both left and center field at the big league level. He could move up or down quite a bit in my rankings for next season depending on how he does in 2011.
26. Brian Cavazos-Galvez, OF (121 games in LoA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 12th round
6’0”, 215 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed
.318 average, .863 OPS, 16 HR’s, 77 RBI’s, 43 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 34; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
As most people know by now, Brian Cavazos-Galvez is the son of a former Dodger minor leaguer who actually conceived Brian while he was playing AAA ball in Albuquerque for the Dodger affiliate then called the Dukes. While the two lost contact, Brian grew up in New Mexico and played his college ball there before being selected by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2009 draft. BCG started his professional career with the Ogden Raptors and destroyed the Pioneer League in 2009, earning league MVP honors and leading the league in runs, hits, doubles, HR’s, and total bases. In 2010 Brian was promoted to the Midwest League and got off to a tough start with Great Lakes as he posted a.256 average and .669 OPS prior to the All Star Break. However he really turned things around in the 2nd half of the season which is when he smacked 14 of his 16 homers, recorded a 1.043 OPS, and hit .375. In fact, his strong 2nd half was good enough for Galvez to claim the Loons RBI title with 77, and also win the Midwest league’s batting title. In addition, Brian paced the Loon’s with a surprising 43 stolen bases, and was very versatile in the outfield as he played 23 games in left field, 43 games in center, and 24 games in right. Overall, Brian Cavazos-Galvez is probably one of the more interesting prospects in the Dodgers minor league system, which also causes him to be a wildcard in terms of where people rank him in prospect lists. Some people have BCG in their top 10, while others don’t even include in their top 30. During the TBLA voting, he seemed to be the one player that people argued about most, as many felt strongly that he should be ranker higher than 20, yet he simply didn’t get the votes. Me personally, I haven’t completely bought into Brian Cavazos-Galvez yet so that’s why he didn’t break into my top 20. I realize that he’s has two outstanding season’s under his belt, but I simply want to see what he does against more advanced competition since he is already 23 years old. His extremely low walk rate (2.3% in 2010) has also always scared me because I’m worried he’ll get exploited at the higher levels. Furthermore, I believe Brian is destined to be a left fielder because he isn’t a great defender, and even admitted during his time in the Dominican Winter League “Who would have ever believed that I would be a defensive replacement? Not me.... I have always been the one getting replaced.” I’m guessing that BCG will start 2011 in the California League, but will make it up to AA at some point during the year. It’s what he does in the Southern League that will help me decide if he should be considered one of the top Dodger prospects, because right now I’m still skeptical that he will ever make it up to the big leagues.
Why #26: BCG showed a rare combination of speed and power in LoA, but he is already 23 years old and has yet to face more advanced competition. I really don’t think he has what it takes to be a center fielder in the big leagues, so his ceiling is that of a major league left fielder. Given the offensive requisites that come with left field, BCG is going to have to continue hitting if he wants to make it up to the show.
25. Ivan DeJesus, SS (130 games in AAA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round
5’11”, 190 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats right handed
.296 average, .740 OPS, 7 HR’s, 70 RBI’s, 6 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 13; Pre 2009 Rank: 5
Sometimes I sit and wonder what life would be like if Ivan De Jesus hadn’t broken his leg back in 2009. The McCourts probably wouldn’t be divorced, California probably wouldn’t be bankrupt, and there definitely would be world peace. In all seriousness, while the world would not be different, the Dodgers might actually have a different team right now had DeJesus not gotten hurt. Ivan was coming off a great season in AA in 2008, and he probably would have spent the next two years getting seasoning in AAA before taking over 2nd base for the Dodgers in 2011. If that had been a reality, we probably wouldn’t have Juan Uribe right now, and we possibly could have allocated that money to a bigger name free agent. Instead, DeJesus is still a step slow due to his prolonged recovery which is limiting his potential. While he had a decent season in AAA for the Isotopes and posted a .321 average in the Arizona Fall League, he is still at least a year away from making an impact on a major league roster. In addition, DeJesus has always had a poor work ethic and has had issues with authority, which definitely scares me a bit. After the 2010 season, DeJon Watson said, “With Ivan, we want to keep him playing, keep him moving. He's coming off a broken leg and missed all of 2009. He'll play second base, and we'll mix him in at third, just to get his bat in lineup, not because that's where we see him as a player. And after the Fall League, he'll continue working at Camelback.” Another thing to point out is that Ivan’s father was a major league shortstop for 15 seasons, so Ivan has a great baseball background and is a very intelligent player. Overall, I see Ivan’s future as a major league backup infielder without much pop. Since he is now strictly a 2nd baseman, his value has dropped significantly. DeJesus will spend 2011 in AAA and will probably make his Dodger debut in September as an expanded roster call up.
Why #25: As you can see, Ivan De Jesus Jr. has dropped in my rankings since he broke his leg in 2009. While I still believe that he has the ceiling of a starting major league 2nd baseman, I think he’ll realistically be a major league backup player at best.
24. Matthew Magill, RHP (126.1 IP in LoA in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round
6’3”, 190 lbs, 21.25 years old
7-4, 3.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 3.75 FIP, 9.62 K/9
Pre 2010 Rank: 44; Pre 2009 Rank: 78
Matt Magill is from my wife’s hometown of Simi Valley and was picked by the Dodgers late in the 2008 draft due to his strong college commitment to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. At the time he only threw about 90 mph, but the Dodgers liked his plus slider and 6’3” frame. After a solid professional debut in the GCL, Magill spent 2009 in the Pioneer League and was a mainstay in the Raptors rotation. While he had a good ERA of 4.00 while with Ogden, his batting average against of .224 was even better. That earned Magill a promotion to LoA in 2010 where he had his best season yet. While I’m sure many thought that he’d do well in the Midwest League, I’m sure nobody expected that he’d lead all of minor league baseball with a batting average against of just .194 as a 20 year old. In addition, his 3.28 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 9.6 K/9 all ranked among the Dodgers minor league leaders, and his 135 strikeouts were 2nd most in the organization. However, there should probably be an asterisk next to Magill’s 2010 stats because he had two very bad outings erased by rain, which earned him the nickname the Rain Man. In terms of his overall pitching ability, fans and scouts seem to disagree on his potential. I see a young kid with a big frame who has already put up strong stats and has a nice four pitch mix, including a 94 mph fastball and an above average slider (both which I saw during a game I watched online last year). Multiple scouts, however, have described his stuff as fringy and think that his slider, which is getting him outs now, will be exploited by more advanced hitters. Even DeJon Watson hinted that Magill wasn’t sexy, which earned him another nickname during last season (Mr. Unsexy). Given his age, I’m going to ignore the scouts for now and continue to believe that he has what it takes to one day be a back of the rotation starter in the major leagues. He’ll probably spend 2011 in HiA, and hopefully he’ll continue to limit the number of hits against him despite the hitter friendly environment. Finally, it should be noted that at least one young lady finds Magill sexy because he is currently engaged to be married.
Why #24: Magill profiles as a #3 or #4 starter at the big league level, and at 21 years old he has plenty of time to reach his potential. While I am a bit worried by what scouts say about his stuff, I think he deserves to be in the top 25 given his youth, pitching frame, and solid stats in 2010.
23. Pedro Baez, 3B (7 games in AA, 75 games in HiA, 2 games in Arizona League in 2010)
Signed by Dodgers 1/22/07
6’2”, 195 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed
.263 average, .661 OPS, 6 HR’s, 45 RBI’s, 5 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: 12; Pre 2009 Rank: 11
Pedro Baez was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200K before the 2007 season. Because he was already 19 years old, the Dodgers sent Baez straight to the Gulf Coast League in 2007, and he has steadily moved up through the system ever since. After a couple of mediocre campaigns, Pedro had a solid season in 2009 as he hit .286 for Inland Empire with 10 homers in just 79 games and was selected to participate in the Futures Game. Unfortunately that season was cut short due to a knee injury in mid July. In 2010 Baez returned to the 66ers, but this time he had a pretty disappointing year. Even though he played in the Futures Game for the second straight season, Baez hit just 6 homers and had a dismal OPS of just .656. I know he was injured a bit during the season, but that is no excuse for his below average stats. Baez also made 21 errors in the field, which led to his .903 fielding percentage at 3rd base. His only saving grace was the he did pretty well when he was promoted to AA for the final week of the season. Despite his down season, Baez still has a few plus tools that may one day get him to the show. Pedro has outstanding raw power and will crush fastballs that are left out over the plate. Baez also has an outstanding infield arm, and has been clocked as high as 94 mph on throws across the infield. Because he has a great arm and poor plate disciple, some have suggested that Baez should move to the mound a la Kenley Jansen. If he has another poor year at the plate in 2011, which he’ll most likely spend in AA, that could become a reality. Overall, you can see that Baez has dropped a bit in my rankings since last year, but I am still hopeful that he’ll make an impact with the Dodgers at some point in his career, whether as a hitter or as a pitcher.
Why #23: Pedro Baez is really the Dodgers only 3rd base prospect to play above rookie ball, so despite his poor stats in 2010 I still have high hopes for him. I still believe he can be the Dodgers starting 3rd baseman of the future, although that reality gets further and further away with every passing season. In addition, with his ability to throw 94 mph he can always be moved to the mound, so that increases his value as a prospect.
22. Joc Pederson, OF (3 games in Arizona League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 11th round
6’1”, 185 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats left handed
.000 average, .417 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Joc Pederson grew up in Northern California, and was a very solid athlete for Palo Alto high school. On the football team he was a First-Team All League wide-out, and on the baseball field he hit .515 with 8 homers during his senior season to lead his team to the Central Coast Section championship game. He had a strong commitment to play baseball at UCS in college, and even talked about walking onto the USC football team. His college commitment and big bonus demands caused Pederson to fall to the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. Had he been drafted on talent alone, he was projected to go around the 3rd or 4th round, and Baseball America had him ranked as the 154th best prospect in the draft. After the draft, Pederson said “I have all summer to think about it, so I'll take my time and see what happens. I was surprised it was the Dodgers. A lot of teams were calling to see what my (salary) number was, so that may have affected where I was picked.” After a long summer of going back and forth, Pederson finally signed with the Dodgers right around the deadline for $600,000. Because he signed late he only appeared in 3 Arizona League games, and basically either walked or struck out in his limited plate appearances. In terms of a scouting report, scouts say that has the potential to be a 5 tool player, although none of his 5 tools have a particularly high ceiling. He has above average range on defense and good speed, which means he has a good chance of staying in center field. He also shows good bat speed and has projectable raw power, and has solid bloodlines as his father actually played for the Dodgers briefly in 1985. In short, Joc has ability to one day be a big league regular, but he’ll probably never be a major league star. A comparable player that comes to mind is Ryan Spilborghs, although his frame reminds scouts of Jim Edmonds. Because he’s just 18 years old, I expect Pederson to play a full season in a rookie league in 2011, with the Pioneer League as his most likely destination.
Why #22: Joc Pederson is extremely young so it is difficult to project his future right now. If I had to guess his ceiling, I’d say he could be a major league center fielder who plays solid defense and hits .290 with 15 homers per year.
21. Leon Landry, CF (57 games in Pioneer League in 2010)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 3rd round
5’11”, 185 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed
.349 average, .909 OPS, 4 HR’s, 38 RBI’s, 13 SB’s
Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Leon Landry played his college ball at LSU, and helped the Tigers win the 2009 College World Series although he was overshadowed by several players on that team. That changed in 2010 as he established himself as a more elite player by hitting .338 with 6 homers and 16 stolen bases, striking out just 25 times in 240 at bats, and making just one error in center field. The Dodgers selected him in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft and Landry signed quickly for about $285K. Leon made his professional debut in the Pioneer League and had an outstanding season for the Ogden Raptors, ranking among the league leaders in several offensive categories and hitting very well both at home and on the road. He’s also an outstanding defender, and according to Raptor radio man Brandon Hart “Landry should be defined by his defense. It is what got him drafted in the 3rd round. He has a second gear in the field. The comparison to Pierre with less speed and more power I would feel is fair but (and I hate to compare him to someone on the Giants) he is a lot like Andres Torres. Landry is better than Pierre. Pierre got on base because of his speed. Landry will drive the ball to get on base. Great defense and good speed. Has a bit of pop but he should not be described as a power hitter. Gap hitter.” I watched a few Landry play a few times myself last year and he holds the bat low during the windup and wiggles it around, then bring hands up slightly as the pitch is thrown. He has a quick swing that is relatively short, but you can tell that he is able to generate at least decent power when he makes solid contact with his quick wrists. The only negative about his game is his below average arm, although at this point most people believe he’ll be able to stay in center field because of his other defensive tools. At the end of the day, Landry is a four tool talent who doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the world, but seems like he could be a regular one day in the majors. He’ll most likely spend 2011 in class A as the everyday center fielder for either the Loons or the Quakes.
Why #21: I think Landry profiles as a solid defensive outfielder at the big league level who can play either left or center and hit .280 with about 10 homers per year. Still just 21 years old, 2011 will be an interesting year for Landry and will really let us know what his potential is.