Here is the next part of my Dodger prospect countdown, and this post completes the first quarter of my list. There should be some familiar names in this group, including the struggling brother of our current right fielder. Overall the talent in this group isn't all that bad, and I was surprised that I was forced to rank some of these guys this low on the list due to the players that are ahead of them.
Also, just to provide a little more detail on my ranking for anyone that has forgotten, I am providing a summary of virtually every player in the Dodgers minor league system who meets the following qualifications: (1) is within the Dodgers organization as of December 14, 2011; (2) is under 28 years old as of Opening Day 2012; and (3) is still considered a prospect by Baseball America standards, which means that pitchers must have less than 50 innings pitched (or 30 appearances) in the majors, and hitters must have less than 130 at bats in the majors. Like Baseball America, I do not take into account service time, and therefore it is possible that I have included prospects who will not technically be rookies in 2012.
160. Ariel Pena, RHP (23.2 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 6/26/09
6’4”, 208 lbs, 20 years old
1-1, 5.32 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 4.72 FIP, 5.32 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 140; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Ariel Pena’s professional career has consisted of two subpar seasons in the DSL, yet I continue to give him some respect in my ranking due to his ideal pitching frame and youth (he played all of last season as a 19 year old). In addition, the Dominican native did show some improvement year over year as he increased his strikeout rate, reduced his walk rate, and decreased his FIP from 7.14 in 2010 to 4.72 in 2011. That being said, Pena didn’t have a good enough year to warrant a promotion to a US based league, he’ll most likely return to the DSL for a 3rd season in 2012 and will need to show even more improvement if he wants to continue his baseball career beyond that.
159. Mike Drowne, LHP (9.1 IP in LoA, 23.2 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 28th round
5’10”, 175 lbs, 23.5 years old
1-1, 6.00 ERA, 2.27 WHIP, 4.53 FIP, 10.36 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 151; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
When the Dodgers selected Mike Drowne in the 28th round of the 2010 draft out of Sacred Heart University (Connecticut), he was a leadoff type batter who had hit .313 with 33 stolen bases and set a school record with 65 runs scored in his final year of college. Despite signing quickly with the Dodgers, Drowne played in just 4 games in 2010 because the Dodgers wanted him to focus on switch hitting, so he spent more time on the practice field than in games. Then during last year’s spring training, the Dodgers decided he would be better off as a pitcher. In an interview with Hugh Bernreuter, Drowne admitted “At first, I was disappointed because I spent all winter working on hitting left-handed. But they drafted a lot of outfielders and there are a lot in the system. There aren't as many left-handed pitchers." He later came to the realization that this would be his best move, and also told Hugh “Actually the transition wasn't that tough. I was the ace for my high school team and did a little pitching in college.” After spending some time in extended spring training, where reports were that he was touching 93 mph and had a good slider, the Dodgers were aggressive with Drowne and sent him Great Lakes. Unfortunately he really struggled with the Loons and was demoted back down to the Pioneer League after allowing 13 walks and 14 runs in just 9.1 innings. Down in Ogden Drowne was slightly more successful, although his walk rate was still sky high and he was probably a bit lucky because 11 of the 23 runs he allowed with the Raptors were unearned. His only bright spot was that he had an excellent strikeout rate in Ogden, posting a K/9 of 11.8. Drowne will probably get another shot with the Loons in 2012, but given his small stature and his inability to find the plate I doubt he’ll have much success on the mound for the Dodgers unless he greatly improves his control.
Follow the jump for #'s 158 - 151
158. Charlie Mirabal, SS (2 games AAA, 33 games in LoA, 34 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 3/1/07
5’11”, 180 lbs, 25 years old, switch hitter
.290 average, .711 OPS, 3 HR’s, 35 RBI’s, 12 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 165; Pre 2010 Rank: 161; Pre 2009 Rank: 79
As I’ve written before, Charlie Mirabal has an interesting story. He was signed by the Dodgers out of an open tryout before the 2007 season, and made his professional debut as a middle infielder in the DSL. After some initial struggles, the Dodgers decided to try him out as a pitcher during 2008, and he put up some great numbers. He posted a 1.99 ERA in 32 innings and had an outstanding strikeout rate. Despite his success on the mound, for whatever reason the Dodgers decided to move him back to shortstop in 2009, and that’s where he’s been ever since. He was promoted to the Arizona Rookie League in 2010, then shocked the world by making his 2011 debut all the way up in AAA. He only played two games for the Isotopes, however, and ended up splitting most of his season between Ogden and Great Lakes. Overall Mirabal had a pretty good season for a middle infielder, although most of his damage was done in the hitter friendly Pioneer League. He hit the first 3 homers of his career, and struck out in just 16.7% of his plate appearances. At 25 years old, however, Mirabal is probably not much more than organizational depth at this point, and he’ll most likely fill the backup infielder role for the Loons or Quakes in 2012.
157. Raul Burgos, RHP (67 IP in LoA in 2011)
Acquired in 2009 minor league portion of Rule 5 draft
6’1”, 210 lbs, 24.5 years old
2-4, 4.16 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 4.86 FIP, 5.64 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: 158; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Raul Burgos was signed by the Giants out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2005 season. After spending two seasons as a position player in the DSL, Burgos was moved to the mound because he was unable to get his average above .190 in either season. He spent 2007 pitching in the DSL, and then was moved to the Arizona League where he spent all of 2008 and 2009 and had a combined ERA over 5 over 26 innings. After the 2009 season, Raul was selected by the Dodgers in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft and was sent to the Pioneer League for 2010. After a mediocre season with the Raptors, Burgos was promoted to the Loons in 2011 and was big part of their bullpen. While he walked almost as many batters as he struck out and had a lackluster FIP, the “Bodyguard” was able to limit the damage against him as he posted a solid ERA of 4.16. In addition, the Dodgers liked Raul enough to re-sign him for next season (he was a minor league free agent). He’ll probably continue to climb the ladder and spend the 2012 season with the Quakes in Rancho Cucamonga.
156. Chris Henderson, 1B/3B (61 games in LoA in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 21st round
5’11”, 190 lbs, 23.75 years old, bats left handed
.220 average, .573 OPS, 1 HR, 10 RBI’s, 2 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 112; Pre 2010 Rank: 129; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Chris Henderson was an amazing college player at George Mason University. In 2009, his final season with the Patriots, Henderson hit.413 with 14 homers, 58 RBI and 70 runs scored. He also had a ridiculous .487 on-base percentage and a .702 slugging percentage. In addition, he did all this as a catcher and was named one of the three finalists for the Johnny Bench Award for the nation’s best catcher. The other two finalists were the 2009 #4 overall pick Tony Sanchez, and the Dodgers own Jeremy Wise. Since signing with the Dodgers, however, Henderson has put his catching equipment in storage as he has split his time between 1st and 3rd base. After an uninspiring debut in the Arizona Rookie League in 2009, Henderson had a big season for the Ogden Raptors in 2010, albeit without much power, as he hit .341 with a .429 OB%. That earned Henderson a promotion to the Midwest League in 2011, but like many of his Loon teammates he struggled mightily at the plate. Henderson never hit better than .250 in any month, and ended the year with an ugly .573 OPS. He was also limited to just 61 games and was even sent back to extended spring training at one point due to his struggles. With a career minor league fielding of .870% at 3rd base, “Hendo” seems like he’ll be limited to 1st base or DH moving forward. That’s not a good sign given his lack of power and his overall offensive struggles last season. I expect Henderson to spend another season with the Loons in 2012, and he’s going to have to really step it up if he wants to have any value to the Dodgers.
155. Edinson Bock, RHP (7.1 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers before 2011 season
6’2”, 190 lbs, 17.75 years old
1-0, 3.68 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.25 FIP, 11.05 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Edinson Bock, who was signed by the Dodgers out of Venezuela prior to the 2011 season, is the second youngest players in the Dodgers minor league system. He won’t turn 18 until April 15th, yet put up some pretty interesting stats in his limited professional debut. Bock allowed just 2 hits in 7.1 innings which calculates out to a .083 batting average against, and also struck out more than a batter per inning. The bad news is that Edinson also walked more than a batter per inning, which is what caused his WHIP to be 1.50. At 6’2” the right-hander has a good pitching frame and will certainly get more innings when he returns to the DSL in 2012.
154. Ryan Acosta, RHP (3 IP in AAA, 12.2 IP in HiA, 41 IP in LoA in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers in May 2011 as a minor league free agent
6’2”, 170 lbs, 23.25 years old
2-4, 4.76 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.66 FIP, 6.04 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Before I get into his baseball career, it should be noted that Ryan Acosta has an interesting back-story as his father was former minor league baseball player and then became a coach in the Yankees organization before tragically dying in a car accident when Ryan was in high school. It was obviously a tough time for Ryan, but he continued playing baseball for his dad and was eventually selected by the Cubs out of high school in the 12th round of the 2007 draft. He was given a $225K signing bonus upon signing, but despite his hefty bonus the Cubs released Acosta for an undisclosed reason after just one full season, so he was a minor league free agent heading into 2009. The Yankees then scooped him up, but he was released again his 2010 campaign despite a 3.50 for their class A affiliate. From there Acosta joined the Dodgers, and actually played for three different Dodger minor league affiliates in 2011. The majority of his season was spent with the Loons where Ryan posted a solid 2.85 ERA over 41 innings despite a K/9 of just 5.5. Given his history it’s extremely difficult to predict where Ryan will play or how he will perform in 2012, but I think he’s worth keeping around especially since he is still just 23 years old.
153. Faustino Oguisten, SS/2B/3B (25 games in DSL, 13 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 1/19/09
6’2”, 165 lbs, 21 years old, bats right handed
.326 average, .792 OPS, 0 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 10 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank, 175, Pre 2010 Rank: 163; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Faustino Oguisten struggled through his first two seasons in the DSL, so he started 2011 back in the Dominican Republic. He got off to a hot start for the Dominican Dodgers, however, and earned a rare mid-season promotion to the Arizona Rookie League in early July. After arriving in the states Oguisten was used sparingly and only appeared in 13 games, but he managed to hit an even .300 with the Arizona Dodgers and struck out just twice in 20 at bats. Despite the improvement Faustino showed in 2011 and his defensive versatility, he doesn’t really offer a whole lot of upside as he’s collected just 10 total extra base hits in his career (248 official at bats) and has a career fielding % of just .909. Nevertheless, the fact that the Dodgers gave him a chance in the US shows that he has some value, so we’ll just have to wait and see how he does when he gets more consistent playing time in 2012.
152. Devon Ethier, OF (27 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2011)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 32nd round
6’0”, 165 lbs, 21.75 years old, bats right handed
.119 average, .441 OPS, 0 HR’s, 2 RBI’s, 0 SB’s
Pre 2011 Rank: 85; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Devon Ethier, Andre’s much younger brother, was drafted by the Dodgers in the 32nd round of the 2010 draft. He is almost the complete opposite of Andre as Devon hits and throws right handed, and is a light hitting yet speedy offensive player. In his sophomore season at Gateway Community College in Arizona, Ethier hit .315 with 34 runs scored in 50 games, and stole 21 games in 24 attempts. He also threw 23 innings and posted a 4.70 ERA. After the draft, Devon said “I don't believe in any way or form that I'm in his (Andre's) shadow. I'm a completely different person and player. I'm on my own path. For me, it's amazing he's in The Show (big leagues) and with the Dodgers. It's a big 'Wow' for me. You don't find many people who have older brothers playing in the major leagues.” Devon signed late with the Dodgers in 2010 so his first real professional season came in 2011, and boy was it ugly. Ethier only collected 5 hits all season long and ended up batting .119 for the year. He also struck out in a third of his at bats, and due to his struggles was used very sparingly and only participated in 27 games. He didn’t even get to show off his speed because he basically never got on base. I’m not sure what the Dodgers will do with Ethier in 2012 because he’ll be almost 22 years old, but his stats don’t warrant a promotion. I’m guessing he’ll return to the Arizona Rookie League for another season but if he continues to struggle I don’t think he’ll be around much longer.
151. Andrew Shellon, RHP (18.1 IP in DSL in 2011)
Signed by Dodgers 8/20/10
6’2”, 150 lbs, 19.25 years old
2-2, 5.40 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 5.98 FIP, 6.38 K/9
Pre 2011 Rank: N/A; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
Signed out of Panama in August of 2010, Andrew Shellon made his professional debut in the DSL in 2011. The Dodgers were careful with his 18 year old, limiting him to just 15 relief appearances for the season, and he responded by having a very inconsistent year. He proved to be somewhat unhittable as opposing batters hit just .172 against him, but he was also very wild and all didn’t have a great strikeout rate. He is still very young, however, so his control is something that he can hopefully improve next year. In addition, he has frame that is similar to Rubby De La Rosa’s when he signed as an 18 year old, so hopefully he’ll get better nutrition and gain some weight just like Rubby did. Overall, despite his pedestrian stats and his extremely high walk rate, I have a good feeling about Shellon and consider him a sleeper heading into 2012.