State of the Dodgers Minor League System - Right Field

Blake Smith at the plate for the Quakes before his injury

We round out the offensive positions in the "State of the Dodgers Minor League System" with right field.  As always, I am providing the preseason rank that I gave to each player within the position (Pre Pos.), their pre-season overall rank (Pre Overall), and their current ranking within the position.  An N/A next to their preseason rank means that a player is new to the Dodgers or new to the position since my preseason ranking, and I will only include guys who are under 28 years of age.  Players who have been released or are no longer in the organization are also included at the bottom of the chart, and finally I have ranked each player at is the position that I believe is best long term position for the player.  It may not be the players' current primary position, but it is where I believe each player will ultimately end up should they make the major leagues.

Pre Overall Pre Pos. Current Name How Acquired Age Ht Wt Bats Level
12 1 1 Jonathan Garcia 2009, 8th  19.71 5' 11" 175 R LoA
17 2 2 Kyle Russell 2008, 3rd  25.08 6' 5" 195 L AA
20 3 3 Blake Smith 2009, 2nd  23.63 6' 2" 220 L HiA DL
27 N/A - CF 4 Scott Schebler 2010, 26th  20.80 6' 1" 208 L Pio Rook
132 N/A - LF 5 Gregory Pena Signed 2010  19.61 6' 0" 175 S DSL
190 5 6 Ronny Lugo Signed 2009  21.43 6' 2" 170 R Arz Rook
N/A N/A 7 Juan Garcia Signed 10/26/10  18.12 6' 1" 180 L DSL
N/A N/A 8 Rutinel Sosa Signed 11/17/10  20.11 6' 2" 170 L DSL

At first glance, the position of right field may appear a little thin due to the fact that I only have 8 players listed in this post.  At further investigation you should notice that we have quality over quantity, however, which is definitely more important that simply having a bunch of organizational players.  The top four guys all ranked in my pre-season top 30, and without doing a complete re-ranking I would say that each would still be in my top 30 as of today.

I'll start with Jonathan Garcia, who has shown good power this season but has been very streaky.  He got off to a great start in April, but besides his 16 bombs his overall numbers are pretty average.  That being said he is still just 19 years old and has probably done more that most expected of him in the Midwest League, so he remains on track to potentially be a good player for us one day.  He has a strong arm and plays solid defense, but he doesn't have much speed and he needs to cut down on his strikeouts a bit.  I doubt they'd have him repeat with the Loons next year, so it will be interesting to see him in either Rancho or possibly even Chattanooga next year (although that's a long shot).  Kyle Russell is another guys that continues to struggle with his strikeout rate, but he also continues to hit balls out of the park and is on pace for another 20+ homer season despite playing in the pitcher friendly Southern League.  It'd be nice if he could get his average up a big, but the good news is that he has a decent eye so his OB% is relatively decent.  Kyle's now 25, but I do think that he eventually makes it up to the big leagues to help a big league club in some way, especially since he also plays solid defense and has a strong arm.

Next we have Blake Smith who was performing very well in the California League before a sports hernia injury put him out of action.  He had started off the 2011 season pretty slow, but had a 1.118 OPS in the 10 games prior to the injury and had his HR total up to 14.  Also, he has a cannon for an arm which makes him very valuable in right field.  At 23 years old I don't think this injury will set him back too much, and even if he doesn't return this season I wouldn't be surprised to see him in AA in 2011 where he'll get a real test.  Scott Schebler is another player that has a lot of potential as he has a good combination of speed and power, but it's too early to tell if his skills will turn into big league success.  He's having a good season so far with the Raptors, although a recent slump has dropped his OPS below .900 and has driven up his strikeout rate.  Given that he has more experience than some of his fellow teammates that were drafted out of high school I wouldn't be surprised if he got a late season promotion to the Loons, but even if he doesn't he's a candidate to start 2012 in the California League.

The bottom half of this list is extremely raw and I'm not going to spend much time discussing them.  Greg Pena is slightly intriguing because he's a young switch hitter and Juan Garcia may have some potential given that he just turned 18 years old, but both are hitting below .250 in the DSL so we'll just have to wait and see how they progress over the next 12 months before making further judgment.  Finally Ronny Lugo got a surprise promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2011 and is actually holding his own, but there just isn't much to discuss in terms of prospect status as he had a combined OPS of less than .650 in his previous 2 seasons in the DSL.

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