Dodgers 2012 Minor League Countdown: 130 - 121

Here is the 8th part of my Dodger minor league rankings heading into the 2012 season. As we get closer to the halfway point, I'm sure the names will become more and more familiar. This particular group of players has some real wildcards in it, including three 2011 draftees who all seem to have a strong fastball. There are also a few guys signed as international free agents who could be big movers (either up or down) after the upcoming season.

130. Garrett Bolt, RHP (8.1 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 23rd round
6’4”, 215 lbs, 22.5 years old
0-2, 6.48 ERA, 2.04 WHIP, 4.88 FIP, 14.04 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Garrett Bolt grew up just a half hour away from where the Great Lakes Loons play. He watched Clayton Kershaw pitch for the Loons in 2007, and shortly after he set his high school’s record with 122 strikeouts in a single season. After graduating Bolt attended Muskegon CC where he had an outstanding season in 2010 (1.19 ERA, 35 K's in 29.1 innings). Upon transferring to Western Illinois, however, things didn’t go so well for Garrett as he threw 17 innings and had an 11.65 ERA with just 10 K's. The Dodgers didn’t mind his ugly stats because they knew he had a 95 mph fastball and a good slider, so they decided to select Bolt in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft. After the draft, Garrett said “It would be pretty awesome (to pitch for the Loons), because everyone from around my hometown could come watch. (Being drafted) is a step closer to what I've always wanted to do." Bolt signed quickly and threw 9 games out of the Arizona Dodgers bullpen before getting shut down for the season in mid July. In his limited professional debut Garrett was a bit wild, but he posted great strikeout numbers. I love Bolt’s size, and with his mid 90’s fastball it appears that he could move quickly through the system. A move to the Loons bullpen in 2012 isn’t out of the question, although he’ll probably start the year in extended spring training since he saw such limited action last season.

129. Jordan Roberts, LHP (71.1 IP in HiA in 2011)

Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 28th round
6’2”, 200 lbs, 26.25 years old
7-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 3.28 FIP, 7.32 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 129; Pre 2010 Rank: 152; Pre 2009 Rank: 150

Jordan Roberts was a first team All-American out of the NAIA college Embry-Riddle in Florida and was selected by the Dodgers in the 28th round of the 2008 draft. In his senior season at Embry-Riddle, Roberts finished the year 12th in the NAIA in ERA (1.94) and ranked 24th in K/9. His professional debut in 2008 was a little rocky, but since then Jordan has been very good. He had a 2.70 ERA and .216 batting average against with the Ogden Raptors in 2009, then as a follow up he posted a 2.95 ERA with the Loons in 2010. In 2011 Roberts spent the year in the California League and again had a great season with a 3.03 ERA through 71.1 innings. He was one of the Quakes most effective relievers, and despite his unattractive strikeout rate he posted a solid FIP of 3.28. At the end of the day I’m not sure how hard Roberts throws or what types of pitches he has, but he’s been solid so far in his professional career and he’s poised to make a move to AA. The 26 year old lefty may never make it up to the big leagues, but he should be a solid organizational talent over the next few years.

Follow the jump for #'s 128 - 121

128. Michael Thomas, LHP (13.2 IP in Pioneer Lg, 21.2 IP in Arz Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 35th round
6’2”, 185 lbs, 23 years old
2-3, 4.58 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 3.06 FIP, 12.23 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

When the Dodgers drafted Michael Thomas in the 35th round of the 2011 draft, they may or may not have known that he already had a connection to the organization. You see Mike’s grandfather, George Thomas, was a teammate of Tommy Lasorda way back in 1950 when they were both members of the Montreal Royals. That team was managed my Walter Alston, and the team finished 2nd in the International League that season. For his career, George Thomas played 7 minor league seasons and finished his career with a 4.45 ERA. Getting back to Michael, the left hander spent four seasons at Rider University and he left there as their all time leader in wins and strikeouts. He had a career 3.53 ERA in college, but really thrived as a senior when he went 9 – 3 with a 2.34 ERA and 92 K’s in 96 innings. Thomas signed quickly with the Dodgers and made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League. At 22 years old he may have been a little old for the league, but was pretty dominant in his 4 starts and 8 relief appearances with a 2.49 ERA, a 1.78 FIP, and a K/9 of 14.1. That earned Thomas a promotion to Ogden for the final month of the season, but he struggled with the Raptors and posted a 7.90 ERA over 13.2 frames. I’m not too concerned about Michael’s performance in the Pioneer League because he’d already pitched a full college season, so I’m sure he was fatigued as the year was coming to a close. Heading into 2012 I wouldn’t be surprised if Thomas got a chance to play for the Loons given his age and experience, and based on what I’ve read and seen so far I think he could be a bit of a steal as a 35th round pick.

127. Francisco Villa, RHP (15 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before the 2011 season
6’0”, 194 lbs, 20 years old
1-1, 7.80 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 4.33 FIP, 9.00 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

The Dodgers signed Francisco Villa out of Mexico as an 18 year old, giving him a bonus of $80K. I couldn’t find any scouting reports on him, however, so he’s a bit of a mystery to me outside of what I see on his player page. Francisco turned 19 on April 1st, and then made his professional debut in the Arizona Rookie League where he spent the season in the Dodgers bullpen. He had a tough season as he recorded a 7.80 ERA over 11 appearances and had a .348 batting average against, but one positive was that he struck out a batter per inning. In addition, he is still very young so that gives me some hope that he’ll improve as he gets older. Heading into 2012 Villa will probably return to Arizona for another year of Rookie ball, especially since he only has 15 professional innings under his belt.

126. Freddie Cabrera, RHP (10.2 IP in HiA, 21.1 IP in Pioneer Lg, 15 IP in Arz Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 26th round
6’5”, 210 lbs, 22 years old
2-2, 5.94 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 5.18 FIP, 6.89 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

A Puerto Rican native, Cabrera played at his college ball at NAIA school Central Methodist and as a junior he went 6 - 4 with a 3.06 ERA through 82.1 innings. Rumor has it that he as a 95 mph fastball, so the Dodgers selected him in the 26th round of the 2011 draft. Freddie started his professional career in the Arizona Rookie League, but then received a surprise promotion to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in July. Cabrera had a tough time in the California League, however, and eventually ended the year in the Pioneer Rookie League. His overall stats were relatively unimpressive, but a mid 90’s fastball and a solid pitching frame give me hope that he has future as a Dodger prospect. In addition, he played ball in the Puerto Rican Winter League this offseason and threw very well with a 2.63 ERA over 24 innings with a .220 batting average against. My guess is that Cabrera will start the 2012 season with Great Lakes where he’ll get a shot in the Loons starting rotation.

125. Josmar Cordero, C (42 games in DSL in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers 3/10/10
5’10, 175 lbs, 20.5 years old, bats right handed
.283 average, .779 OPS, 2 HR’s, 20 RBI’s, 4 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 156; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Josmar Cordero was signed out of Venezuela prior to the 2010 season, and had a very solid professional debut. Cordero built upon that success in 2011 as he improved virtually all of his offensive stats, increasing his average from .255 to .283 and his OPS from .705 to .779. For the second consecutive season he also showed strong defensive abilities behind the plate, and was praised by Baseball America for his solid “catch-and-throw skills” in their 2010 international signee roundup. Given his age and success in the DSL over the past two seasons, I definitely expect Cordero to make the jump to the Arizona Rookie League in 2012. A good season there could really put him on the map as a legitimate Dodger prospect.

124. Carlos De Aza, RHP (33.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 10/24/07
6’3”, 178 lbs, 22 years old
2-2, 7.02 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 4.61 FIP, 6.75 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 94; Pre 2010 Rank: 67; Pre 2009 Rank: 127

In his professional debut in 2008, De Aza was awful in the DSL as he posted a 6.53 ERA and 2.08 WHIP. Then in 2009 Carlos completely turned things around as he recorded a 1.30 ERA through 27.2 innings and allowed batters to hit just .149 against him. His stellar 2009 season earned De Aza a promotion to the Arizona League in 2010, but he had a rude awaking as he got dominated by the more advanced competition to the tune of a 7.13 ERA. Despite his ugly stats, the Dodgers decided to promote De Aza again in 2011 as he found himself in the Ogden Raptor’s bullpen. Unfortunately De Aza again struggled in his new environment as his ERA was over 7 for the second straight season. He does have a good pitching frame and he did show some improvement year over year as he lowered his WHIP and FIP from 2010 to 2011, but overall De Aza mostly seems lost. Heading into 2012 Carlos will be just 22 years old so he still has time to improve, and I’m sure he’ll return to the Pioneer League where he’ll try and produce some better results.

123. Enlly Morales, 2B (25 games in Pioneer Lg, 3 games in Arz Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 10/12/07
5’11”, 168 lbs, 22.5 years old, bats right handed
.264 average, .639 OPS, 0 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2011 Rank: 91; Pre 2010 Rank: 73; Pre 2009 Rank: 91

Signed after the 2007 season as an international free agent, Enlly Morales had a strong professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and then was even better in the DSL in 2009. That earned Morales a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, but since coming to the US he’s been quite unimpressive. Over the past two seasons he’s accumulated 153 at bats in Arizona and 77 at bats with the Ogden Raptors, but has just 11 total extra base hits (all doubles). That led to a combined OPS of about .630, which just isn’t going to cut it. He also doesn’t have much defensive value as a 2nd baseman, so at this point he’s probably lost most of his value as a potential prospect. I’m sure he’ll stick around for a few more seasons since he is still just 22 years old, but unless he really catches fire in 2012 he’ll be nothing more than an organizational player.

122. Steve Smith, RHP (69.1 IP in HiA in 2011)

Signed by Dodgers before the 2008 season
6’2”, 210 lbs, 25.75 years old
5-5, 3.63 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3.78 FIP, 7.66 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 124; Pre 2010 Rank: 141; Pre 2009 Rank: 160

Steve Smith was signed by the Dodgers in 2008 as a non drafted free agent out of the University of New Mexico, where he was a teammate of fellow Dodger minor leaguer Brian Cavazos-Galvez. He wasn’t overly impressive during his senior season with the Lobos, posting a 5.01 ERA and 58 strikeouts in just under 74 innings, but the Dodgers decided to give Smith a chance anyways. Smith struggled in his 2008 professional debut, but he has dramatically turned things around ever since. He spent two seasons in Great Lakes and was one of the Loons most effective bullpen arms, posting a 2.67 ERA in 67.1 innings in 2009 and a 2.69 ERA in 73.2 innings in 2010. That earned Smith a promotion to the Quakes in 2011 where he again served as an important bullpen arm. Smith was used mostly as a late inning reliever for Rancho Cucamonga and collected 9 saves throughout the course of the season. His strikeout rate wasn’t great, but he had a decent ERA and FIP and was surprisingly effective against left handed hitters who batted just .203 against hin for the year. I remember watching Smith pitch live at a Quakes game last season, but I don’t remember his velocity or types of pitches. Heading into 2012 he could receive another promotion to AA, but at 25 years old I’m not sure that he has the stuff to ever make it to the show.

121. Andrew Pevsner, LHP (42.1 IP in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 16th round
6’3”, 205 lbs, 23.5 years old
1-1, 4.25 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 5.23 FIP, 7.23 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 96; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A

Andrew Pevsner is a southern California native, and as you’ve probably heard by now he was born on the day that Kirk Gibson hit his famous World Series home run. Coming out of high school Pevsner didn’t get a lot of attention from Division I colleges, so he decided to go to the Division III Johns Hopkins University because it has strong academics and a respectable baseball program. As a freshman he only threw about 80 mph, but a workout regiment increased his velocity to the upper 80’s by the time he graduated. As a senior in 2010 Andrew had a 4.17 ERA, but struck out over a batter per inning and only allowed a .209 batting average against. He wasn’t really sure he’d get drafted, so he was surprised to get picked relatively early in the 16th round. After the draft he said “It was literally a dream come true. I think it took me about 48 hours for my heart to slow down and to stop shaking.” Pevsner made his professional debut in the Pioneer League where he had a very good season in terms of ERA (1.91). However he struggled a little with control and allowed a few homers during the season, which is why his FIP in 2010 was 4.26. After the season Pevsner said his goal was to make a full season league out of spring training, and that’s what happened as he spent 2011 in the Loons bullpen. Unfortunately “Pevs” struggled against the more advanced competition as his strikeout numbers dropped and his walk rate increased leading to a very high WHIP. I’m guessing his lack of velocity also contributed to his less than stellar season. Last year I speculated that Pevsner could eventually develop into a left handed specialist, but opposing lefties hit .281 against him last season so at least for the moment that seems unlikely. In 2012 Andrew will almost certainly spend another season in class A, I’m just not sure if he’ll be back with the Loons or if he’ll play with the Quakes instead.

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