2012 State of the Dodgers Minor League System - Relief Pitching

Shawn Tolleson during the Dodgers Winter Development Program this past January

Now that we've gone through all the offensive positions, we will now look at the Dodgers minor league pitching depth by reviewing the relievers. As I've already mentioned many times before, for the list below I am providing the overall preseason rank that I gave to each player (Pre Overall) and of course their current ranking within the position. You'll notice that some players have an N/A next to their preseason rank. That is because the player is new to the Dodgers or new to the position since my preseason ranking. Like my pre-season rankings, I will only include guys who are under 28 years of age and are considered prospects (less than 50 IP and less than 30 appearances).

I am including all players that are in the Dodgers minor league system except for the recent international signees who have not yet played in a professional game because there simply isn't any information about them out there. I will also be providing how each player was acquired, their age, height, weight, and current level.

I have split the pitchers between starters and relievers based on where I believe the player will eventually end up. Some of the pitchers below may currently be starters, but for those guys I think they'll be better out of the bullpen in the long run. Because the list is so long I have put it after the jump, so click below for the ranking and the brief analysis.

Current Name Draft Year, Round Pre Overall Age Height Weight Throws Level
1 Shawn Tolleson 2010, 30th 17 24.57 6' 2" 215 R MLB
2 Steven Rodriguez 2012, 2nd New 21.33 6' 3" 215 L AA
3 Josh Wall 2005, 2nd 29 25.56 6' 6" 220 R AAA
4 Stephen Ames 2009, 17th 38 24.42 6' 1" 205 R AA
5 Scott Griggs 2012, 8th New 21.26 6' 3" 185 R Ogden
6 Yimi Garcia Signed 1/29/09 54 21.99 6' 1" 175 R HiA
7 Javier Solano Signed 1/18/08 44 22.37 6' 0" 177 R AA
8 Cole St. Clair 2008, 7th 46 26.04 6' 5" 225 L AAA
9 Eric Eadington Signed July 2011 68 24.51 6' 2" 220 L AA
10 Red Patterson 2010, 29th 64 25.26 6' 3" 210 R AA
11 Juan Rodriguez Trade w/Red Sox 30 23.67 6' 5" 195 R LoA
12 Michael Antonini Trade with Mets 51 27.02 6' 2" 200 L AAA
13 Matthew Shelton 2011, 24th 93 23.70 6' 4" 205 R LoA
14 Michael Thomas 2011, 35th 128 23.60 6' 2" 185 L HiA
15 Carlos Frias Signed 1/3/07 71 22.75 6' 4" 170 R Ogden
16 Geison Aguasviva Signed 12/15/05 61 25.03 6' 2" 166 L AA
17 Luis Vasquez Signed 10/20/03 65 26.37 6' 4" 175 R AAA
18 Matthew Reckling 2012, 14th New 23.39 6' 4" 210 R DL
19 Craig Stem 2011, 15th 113 22.61 6' 5" 215 R LoA
20 Juan Noriega Signed in 2011 (Mex) 108 21.95 5' 7" 145 R LoA
21 Freddie Cabrera 2011, 26th 126 22.55 6' 5" 210 R HiA
22 Alfredo Unzue 2012, 32nd New 27.00 6' 1" 175 L DL
23 Jharel Cotton 2012, 20th New 20.57 6' 1" 197 R Ogden
24 Joel Lima Signed 2/22/08 106 23.02 6' 0" 165 R LoA
25 Daniel Tamares Signed 9/26/06 69 22.65 6' 3" 170 R ?
26 Blake Johnson Signed in 2012 New 27.17 6' 5" 200 R AAA
27 Bret Montgomery 2010, 46th 131 27.02 6' 6" 250 R HiA
28 Sawil Gonzalez Signed 5/7/10 184 22.39 6' 3" 180 R Ogden
29 Jordan Roberts 2008, 28th 129 26.61 6' 2" 200 L HiA
30 Kazuki Nishijima Signed 11/12/10 97 23.46 6' 1" 190 L Ogden
31 Ryan Acosta Signed on 4/19/11 154 23.78 6' 2" 170 R HiA
32 James Campbell 2012, 12th New 20.90 6' 1" 195 R Ogden
33 Steve Smith Signed in 2008 122 26.25 6' 2" 210 R HiA
34 Daniel Coulombe 2012, 25th New 22.80 5' 10" 185 L LoA
35 Wes Roemer Signed June 2012 New 25.85 6' 0" 205 R AA
36 Carlos De Aza Signed 10/24/07 124 22.28 6' 3" 178 R Ogden
37 Alan Garcia 2012, 22nd New 21.64 6' 4" 253 R Ogden
38 Owen Jones 2012, 19th New 23.17 6' 1" 190 R Ogden
39 Matthew Laney Signed in 2011 140 23.95 6' 4" 235 L Ogden
40 Jason West Signed July 2011 148 24.04 5' 11" 185 R Ogden
41 Samuel Taveras Signed 2/17/11 180 22.90 6' 5" 175 R Arizona
42 Francisco Villa Signed in 2011 (Mex) 127 20.37 6' 0" 194 R Arizona
43 Garrett Bolt 2011, 23rd 130 22.89 6' 4" 215 R DL
44 Jordan Hershiser 2012, 34th New 23.91 6' 8" 245 R Arizona
45 Aris Angeles Signed 11/5/09 188 22.93 6' 0" 179 R Arizona
46 Eammon Portice Signed May 2012 New 27.16 6' 2" 185 R HiA
47 Gregory Downing 2011, 47th 162 21.77 5' 10" 175 L Ogden
48 Mike Drowne 2010, 28th 159 24.05 5' 10" 175 R Ogden
49 Willie Canelo Signed 5/5/2011 NR 20.22 6' 2" 180 L DSL
50 Ricardo De La Rosa Signed 5/29/09 186 21.32 6' 0" 184 R DSL
51 Ricky Perez Signed in June 2012 New 22.23 5' 10" 185 R Arizona
52 Simon Binns Signed 4/17/2011 165 19.12 6' 3" 170 R DSL
53 Jose Moreno Signed 10/26/10 203 22.12 6' 0" 187 R DSL
54 Andrew Shellon Signed 8/20/10 151 19.60 6' 2" 150 R DSL
55 Luis Silverio Signed 6/9/10 171 21.16 6' 3" 190 L DSL
56 Sean O'Connell Signed June 2012 New 20.67 6' 4" 181 R Arizona
57 Luis Jimenez Signed in 2012 New 19.21 6' 0" 178 R DSL
58 Ariel Pena Signed 6/26/09 160 20.60 6' 4" 208 R DSL
59 Ronny Lugo Signed 1/30/09 175 22.49 6' 2" 170 R Arizona
60 Geuris Alcantara Signed 10/26/10 200 20.21 6' 2" 185 R DSL
61 Nelson Sandoval Signed 2012 New 18.46 6' 0" 190 R DSL
62 Travis Jones Signed June 2012 New 23.23 6' 2" 200 R Arizona
63 Daniel Lantigua Signed in 2011 194 20.21 6' 3" 180 R DSL

Here is my ranking of Dodger relief prospects from last year. Because this list is such a beast I'll keep my analysis brief because there is already so much to look at and I'd be impossible for me to review even half of these players. I'll start with Shawn Tolleson who still qualifies as a prospect, and at this point he has to head this group because he's already had success in the big leagues and looks like he'll be a major league fixture for a long time. I'm not sure he has the stuff to ever be a closer, especially since he struggles vs. lefties, but he should be a strong late inning reliever for years to come. Newcomer Steven "Paco" Rodriguez immediately becomes the #2 Dodger relief prospect in my opinion, and as many have already discussed on this site he is the type of player could potentially make it up the big leagues this September even though he was drafted just a few months ago. While roster space may push his debut to 2013, the talented lefty should at the very least be a solid LOOGY at the big league level. So far in the minors he's also had good success against right handers, however, so he should eventually be the type of major league bullpen arm that can get multiple outs. As I wrote in my post draft report, Paco has a upper 80's cut fastball but can also dial it up to the low 90's when needed. He also has a slider, and very good control.

Josh Wall checks in at #3 on list despite a 5.01 ERA for the Isotopes. Once Wall gets away from the hitter friendly environment of Albuquerque he is much better with a 3.75 ERA, and he also leads the Pacific Coast League with 23 saves. Josh already made his big league debut a few weeks ago, and at 6'6" with a hard fastball he just looks like a major league player. He's another guy would could be a cheap relief option for the Dodgers for years to come. Steve Ames has done nothing but impress since joining the organization, and this year is no different as he has a 1.69 ERA over 53.1 innings for the Lookouts with an outstanding strikeout to walk ratio. He can't be too far down on the Dodgers bullpen depth chart and should be yet another player who could get a shot at the big league bullpen in 2013 if numbers permit.

Scott Griggs might be a bit of a surprise at #5, but I like his stuff and think he could be another fast mover through the system. He's already in LoA and will likely see AA by the midway point of 2013. Yimi Garcia might be another stretch to have this high on the list, but he's been outstanding over the past two years and has really shot up the prospect charts in my mind. I've always had my eye on him as I ranked him #47 in the Dodgers minor league before the 2010 season, and now that he's at Rancho he should start to get more exposure. Javier Solano has been one of the most consistent relievers over the past few years as he continues to perform very well in AA. His size and work ethic continue to be questioned, however, so I am just not sure how his stuff will translate at the higher level.

Lastly a few more quick statements, Cole St. Clair isn't too far down on the left handed reliever depth charts, but he's another guy who's stuff might not be able to consistently get big league outs. Eric Eadington has moved quickly after signing as a non drafted free agent, and a lot of scouts like his stuff from the left side. Red Patterson has made a smooth transition to the bullpen and looks good in Chattanooga, while Juan Rodriguez continues to struggle with control but still has a live arm.

Overall the Dodgers have quite a few solid relievers in their system who could come up and help out the big league club over the next few years, and that's always important because they come cheap. Hopefully this group will stop the Dodgers from doing another long term deal with an expensive veteran because those deals just never seem to work out. Finally, if anyone has any specific questions about anyone else on the list I didn't discuss above, feel free to ask me in the comments.

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