The next part of my series takes a look at another interesting set of players. We've moved past most of the no-name DSL players, and in this group in particular we are looking at several guys from the US based rookie leagues. All of these players appear to have some upside, but are still along ways off from being legitimate prospects. Hopefully some of them will take big steps forward in 2012.
140. Matthew Laney, LHP (24.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers in July 2011 as a non drafted free agent
6’4”, 235 lbs, 23.5 years old
2-0, 0.74 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 2.46 FIP, 8.88 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Matthew Laney was one of 8 non-drafted free agent pitchers to sign with the Dodgers during 2011. He started his college career at Miami Dade Community College and was selected by the Phillies in the 42nd round of the 2009 draft, but he instead decided to attend Coastal Carolina. Laney spent two years with the Chanticleers and posted decent stats as he had an ERA around 4.25 and struck out a batter per inning, but after his senior year in 2011 he didn’t get drafted. Shortly after he signed with the Dodgers, he said “It was very stressful in wanting to continue my dream to play pro ball. After the draft, there was nothing to lose pretty much, so I signed as a free agent; and I’m going to pitch as well as I can and see if I can continue to play for a couple of years.” Matthew joined the Arizona Dodgers in mid July and became one of their best bullpen arms. Laney actually didn’t allow an earned run until his last appearance of the season, and overall he threw 24.1 frames while allowing just 12 hits. The 6'4" lefty throws in the low 90's and while he was one of the older players in the Arizona Rookie League, his stats are hard to ignore. Given his age and success in 2011, I would guess that Laney will get a chance to play with the Loons in 2012. While non-drafted pitchers don’t usually have much of an impact, maybe he’ll buck the trend and turn out to be a decent find for the Dodgers.
139. Andrew Edge, C (41 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 24th round
6’2”, 230 lbs, 24.25 years old, bats right handed
.253 average, .831 OPS, 8 HR’s, 28 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2011 Rank: 137; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Andrew Edge was selected by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2010 draft out of Jacksonville State, and he was ready to sign right away. Upon getting drafted, he said “I was just hoping to get picked up by anybody. I’m actually happy with the Dodgers. I like the team and hopefully I can work hard and make my way up there. They told me to enjoy it right now. I’m kind of on cloud nine and waiting to see what I need to do.” While at Jacksonville State, the catcher had a very good senior season as he hit .330 with 11 homers and 64 RBI’s. Edge made his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers, but after a hot start he slumped to end the season. After getting promoted to Ogden in 2011, Edge followed similar path as he was killing the ball through the month of July – hitting .316 with 6 homers and an OPS over 1.000, but he again hit the skids as the season came to a close and ended the year with an average of .253. In addition, he incredibly struck out in almost half of his plate appearances while with the Raptors (48.2%), which lead to an amazing batting average for ball in play of .464. In terms of his defense, Andrew has done a solid job thus far as he’s thrown out 42% of would be base-stealers so far in his professional career and has a decent fielding % of .972. Looking ahead to 2012, it’s going to be tough for Edge to play in a full season league given his terrible contact rate, but he’ll probably get the chance to hold down the backup role with the Loons given his age, power, and defensive abilities.
Follow the jump for #'s 138 - 131
138. Giordanny Chavez, RHP (47.2 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 1/29/09
6’3”, 185 lbs, 20.75 years old
3-4, 3.78 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 3.56 FIP, 5.48 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 110; Pre 2010 Rank: 139; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
After a terrible debut in the DSL in 2009 (6.38 ERA in 18.1 innings), Giordanny Chavez had quite a turnaround in 2010 as he recorded a 1.85 ERA over 68 innings. However his peripherals didn’t really compliment his ERA because the Dominican native had a FIP of 3.73 and he only struck out 6.22 per 9 innings, so it’s no surprise that he came back down to earth in 2011. In his 3rd season with the Dominican Dodgers Chavez had a 3.78 ERA and continued to post a low strikeout rate. His did have a decent WHIP, however, and his FIP remained pretty steady at 3.58. In addition, Chavez has a good pitchers’ frame at 6’3” and is still relatively young at 20 years old, so I think he’ll get promoted to the Arizona Rookie League for the 2012 season where he still could turn into a legitimate Dodger prospect.
137. Kevin Taylor, 2B (2 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 36th round
6’0”, 200 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats left handed
.000 average, .168 OPS, 0 HR’s, 0 RBI’s, 0 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Kevin Taylor played his college ball at Western Nevada Community College, and was in the same league as Bryce Harper in 2010 when both freshmen were named to the Scenic West Athletic Conference All-Region 18 First Team. While Harper went on to become the #1 pick of the 2010 draft, Taylor decided to stay one more season at Western Nevada and the Dodgers picked Taylor in the 36th round of the 2011 draft. He initially turned down a Dodger offer as Campbellsville University announced that he would attend their school in the fall. At that point, the Campbellsville baseball coach said “We are really excited to sign Kevin…Offensively, Kevin is a pure hitter who can hit with power to all fields and defensively, he could play all nine positions. He can run the bases as well." It turned out that Taylor did sign with the Dodgers at the deadline, but because he inked his deal so late he only played in two games in the Arizona Rookie League last season. In college Kevin hit for a solid average and drove in a lot of runs, but based on his stats he seemed to have more gap power rather than raw power. Overall I think Taylor was a solid late sign for the Dodgers, and it will be interesting to see how he does in 2012. My guess is that because he played two years of college ball – not to mention in a wood bat conference – that he’ll get an opportunity to spend next season with the Raptors in the Pioneer League.
136. Chris Handke, RHP (25.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 41st round
6’11”, 235 lbs, 24 years old
0-1, 6.66 ERA, 1.99 WHIP, 6.36 FIP, 9.47 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 135; Pre 2010 Rank: 154; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
I’ve written about Chris Handke’s interesting background before, but I figure it’s worth mentioning again. Prior to signing with the Dodgers, the giant pitcher was actually a much better basketball player at Cornell College, averaging 9.8 points per game and setting the single season record for blocks with 45 during the 2008-2009 season. In addition, Handke had a 3.92 GPA while majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. And by the way, his career pitching stats at Cornell looked like this: 0-1, 10.12 ERA, 25 walks, and 11 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. So needless to say it was a bit of a surprise when he signed with the Dodgers, although he was influenced by the fact that the Dodgers allowed him to finish his degree in the offseason. Handke only got into two games in his professional debut because an injury shut him down, and then in 2010 he threw pretty well over 22.1 innings for the Arizona Dodgers despite being extremely wild. In 2011, Chris was promoted to the Pioneer League where he was supposed to be in Ogden’s rotation, but he continued to struggle with his control so he only made 4 starts before moving to the bullpen. Handke walked 29 in just 25.2 innings and posted a devilish ERA. That being said, he didn’t allow many hits and had a strong strikeout rate so his season wasn’t a complete failure. Overall, tall pitchers are historically late bloomers, but now at 24 years old Handke is running out of time to impress. Give his age he really needs to play in a full season league next year, so his performance in spring training will be extremely important.
135. Pedro Guerrero, 2B/3B/SS (39 games in HiA in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 7/10/06
6’3”, 185 lbs, 23.25 years old, bats right handed
.274 average, .704 OPS, 0 HR’s, 4 RBI’s, 2 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 99; Pre 2010 Rank: 92; Pre 2009 Rank: 67
Pedro Guerrero was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006 and played two seasons in the Dominican Summer League before making his U.S. debut in 2008. He produced average numbers in the rookie leagues during his first two years in America, and then Guerrero was promoted to LoA for the start of the 2010 season. Unfortunately he struggled so badly with the Loons that he was sent back to extended spring training in May before finishing the year in Ogden. In 2011 Guerrero received a surprise promotion to the Quakes, but he was used very sparingly and was actually taken off the roster several times during the season to make room for other players. When he was on Rancho’s active roster he was used in a utility role as he split his time between shortstop, 2nd base, and 3rd base. At the plate he had a mediocre season, but his sample size was very small and he didn’t show any speed or power. Overall, I had considered Guerrero a fringe prospect in the past, but he's shown very little offensive ability over the last few seasons and he now appears to be more of an organizational player. He’ll probably reprise his role as a Quakes utility infielder in 2012.
134. Yimy Rodriguez, RHP (44.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 27th round
6’2”, 215 lbs, 24.5 years old
3-3, 4.06 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 3.63 FIP, 8.73 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 139; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
When Yimy Rodriguez was selected by the Dodgers out of Peru St. College (Nebraska) in the 27th round of the 2010 draft, he became the first player from school to make it to the professional ranks. After the draft, PSC President Dan Hanson said, “This is a great day for Yimy and Peru State College baseball. In addition to making Peru State history, Yimy’s baseball success will undoubtedly inspire legions of young athletes from the area long into the future. I congratulate Yimy on his amazing accomplishment and the Dodgers on a great new recruit.” At Peru, Yimy had a 3.83 ERA as a junior and a 4.52 ERA as a senior. After spending his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League, Yimy played for the Raptors in 2011 and was the team’s token long reliever. Rodriguez accumulated 44.1 frames in just 16 appearances and posted an ERA of 4.06. His peripherals were slightly better, however, as he struck out almost a batter per inning and had a FIP of 3.63. In terms of his stuff, I read somewhere that Rodriguez does have a strong fastball, but outside of that I’m not sure what his repertoire consists of. At 24 years old Yimy will definitely move to a full season league in 2012, and it will probably be the defining year of his professional career.
133. Bryant Hernandez, SS/2B (5 games in AAA, 58 games in LoA, 19 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 9th round
5’8”, 170 lbs, 24 years old, bats right handed
.235 average, .658 OPS, 4 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 6 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 105; Pre 2010 Rank: 84; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
The Dodgers first noticed Bryant Hernandez when they were scouting his University of Oklahoma teammate J.T. Wise, who ended up getting selected four rounds earlier than Hernandez in the 2009 draft. While Bryant is listed at just 5’8” and 170 pounds, in his junior season at Oklahoma he batted .351, hit 12 HR’s, and tied Wise for the team lead with 62 RBI’s. He was also a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, presented to the nation's top shortstop. After the draft, Logan White said that Hernandez “is a kid that had good numbers, could hit in the middle of the night, could play short or second and he's a sure-handed fielder with some pop in his bat.” After a mediocre debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009, Bryant split the 2010 season between LoA and HiA but had a terrible time at the plate as he hit a combined .179 with a .524 OPS. In 2011 Hernandez returned to the Midwest League where he was used as a backup middle infielder, but he again struggled mightily and was sent back down to the Arizona Rookie League at the end of July. A strong month in Arizona got him a surprise promotion to AAA for 5 games, but that was more out of necessity for Albuquerque who was short on infielders as their season came to a close. Overall, Hernandez and his .228 career batting average will probably never make it to the big leagues, but he can help the Dodgers as an organizational player over the next few years. In 2012 I predict that Hernandez will spend the year in Rancho Cucamonga where he’ll again serve as a backup middle infielder. Finally, here are a couple videos of Bryant; one of him taking some batting practice, and one of some game action where he hit a walk off single.
132. Moises Tamarez, RHP (18 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers in 2009
6’3”, 195 lbs, 20 years old
0-0, 2.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4.14 FIP, 5.00 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank; 104; Pre 2010 Rank: 87; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
2011 was an odd year for Moises Tamarez. In his 3rd season in the DSL Tamarez posted by far the best ERA of his career, but he was limited to just 18 innings after hurling a combined 75.2 frames over the previous two years. It didn’t appear that his limited use was due to injury, however, since his 8 appearances were spread all throughout the season. Whatever the case, Moises had more than just a solid ERA in 2011 as his batting average against was .185. In fact, he only allowed 1 hit to left handed batters all year long. The one negative about his game, however, is that despite his solid pitching frame Tamarez continues to record very low strikeout numbers and his career K/9 is only 4.6. Overall, Moises is still very young as he won’t turn 20 years old until this upcoming March, but with 3 years and almost 100 innings of experience I believe he’ll get promoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012.
131. Bret Montgomery, RHP (4.2 IP in HiA, 90 IP in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 46th round
6’6”, 250 lbs, 26.5 years old
7-1, 2.66 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 2.29 FIP, 8.46 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 143; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Bret Montgomery is a local boy who was the Dodgers 46th round pick in 2010. He was born in Thousand Oaks, and played his college ball at Cal State Dominguez Hills. During his 3 seasons with the Toros, Montgomery had a cumulative 2.95 ERA in 36 appearances, amassed 191 strikeouts, and threw a no hitter against Cal State LA in February of 2010. After getting drafted, Bret said “I am more relieved than anything that I can keep playing baseball. Overall I am very happy that it is with the Dodgers, after idolizing their players and always watching them as a kid it is a dream come true but it was also great being a Toro for three years and I will definitely keep track of our guys.” Upon signing, Montgomery spent most of his professional debut with the Ogden Raptors, and while his ERA was 4.99, he had a solid strikeout to walk ratio and an excellent FIP of 2.49. Here is some footage of him throwing for Ogden. Montgomery was promoted to Great Lakes in 2011 and had an outstanding season for the Loons. In 90 innings “Monty” posted a 2.60 ERA and led the club with his 1.07 WHIP and 2.09 FIP. He worked mostly in middle relief and was probably the team’s most valuable bullpen arm since he remained in Great Lakes for almost the entire season. At the end of August he did get moved up to HiA where he appeared in two games and allowed just 2 hits over 4.2 innings. Overall, Montgomery is obviously quite old to be playing in class A, but he does have some value given his outstanding control and ability to keep the ball in the park. He throws in the low 90’s and possesses a good slider, and while it is very unlikely that he’ll ever play in the big leagues he should continue to be a solid organizational guy that could make his way all the way up to AAA in the next year or two.