If reading a player profile for the 51st rated Dodger minor leaguer (per TrueBlueLA's resident prospect expert Brandon Lennox) doesn't get you fired up for the upcoming season, then I really have to question your dedication to the Dodgers. Michael Antonini, by virtue of being added to the 40 man roster this past off-season, will theoretically be in the mix for a starting pitching or bullpen spot at some point during the 2012 season and will be getting a look during spring training.
Antonini was aquired by the Dodgers in the winter of 2010 in a trade with the New York Mets which sent Chin-Lung Hu out of Los Angeles. Hu was a failed prospect who was out of options and likely would have ended up being DFA'd anyway. In that sense, getting a player with options remaining for a player with no options remaining is certainly a nice upgrade from an organizational depth standpoint. In his one year in the Dodgers system Antonini spent all of 2011 in AA Chatanooga where he posted a pedestrian pitching line of 4.01 / 4.07 / 4.02 SIERA (stats from Minor League Central) in 148 innings pitched. According to Baseball Cube's statistically-driven scouting reports, Antonini's best attribute is his control as his walk rate of 2.55 per 9 rates positively compared to his peers. Antonini is also a left-handed starting pitcher which is in fairly short supply in the Dodgers system.
Antonini is a Philadelphia area native and was actually drafted after his junior year at Georgia College and State University by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 41st round. Antonini did not sign and instead returned for his senior season after which he was ultimately drafted by the New York Mets in the 18th round.
As Antonini was only added to the 40 man roster for the first time this past winter, Antonini has 3 option years remaining and 6 seasons of major league service time which would be under Dodgers club control.
Previous Dodgers Player Profiles
|2010 (AA - Binghamton)
|2010 (AAA - Buffalo)
|2011 (AA - Chattanooga)
|2012 Projections - Age 26 Season|
My initial reaction when considering Antonini's prospects for 2012 (at the major league level) was to say "no way." After all, as a starting pitcher, Antonini is likely behind John Ely, Nathan Eovaldi, Allen Webster in the prospect ranks plus a few minor league free agents that tend to pop up. On second thought however, his non-prospect status and options make him a pretty attractive 1 or 2 day call-up in a pinch. The option year is going to be burned in 2012 anyway so Antonini can bounce back and forth between the minors as many times as necessary and as a non-prospect you aren't terribly worried about hurting his development. Per Brandon Lennox's minor league rankings, Ned Colletti mentioned at the Winter Development Program that Antonini was in the mix for a left-handed bullpen spot going into the season. While I think there's no chance Antonini breaks camp with the Dodgers, I could see a scenario where a taxed Dodger bullpen needs minor league reinforcements for a short stint.
I predict an ERA of 4.50 in 2 innings pitched out of the bullpen.
What is your prediction? Be sure to guess Antonini's ERA, number of innings pitched, plus anything else you would like to predict.