As we continue to celebrate the Dodgers big win over the Braves, let's take a quick look at the Arizona Fall League which starts today. The Glendale Desert Dogs will be the team to follow as it will feature 8 players for the Dodgers organization, along with prospects from the Marlins, Reds, Twins, and White Sox. The Dodger players (and White Sox players) should feel at the Desert Dogs will be playing their home games at Camelback Ranch for the first time after a move from Phoenix Municipal Stadium.
To quote Eric Stephen from his initial AFL article, the Desert Dogs will be managed by Twins Double-A skipper Jeff Smith. Class-A Rancho Cucamonga hitting coach Johnny Washington will serve as hitting coach for the Desert Dogs and Tom Browning, who pitched a perfect game against the Dodgers for the Reds in 1988, will serve as pitching coach.
The Desert Dogs will play a 31 game schedule, and for the most part they will take the field every day from now until November 14 (except for Sundays). First pitch today will be at 12:35, with Alex Meyer (Twins) taking the mound for Glendale in the opener.
Below are the Dodgers playing for the Desert Dogs, ranked in order of the prospect status.
Corey Seager (SS) - The 19 year old Seager is by far the most interesting Dodger prospect on the Desert Dogs, and he is also the youngest player on the team by over a year. After posting solid stats for the Loons and then struggling upon his promotion to the Quakes, Corey will look to get some valuable experience against some of the games top players. It will also be interesting to see if he continues to be strictly a shortstop, or if he'll see some time at 3rd base as well.
Yimi Garcia (RHP) - The 23 year old Garcia followed up a very impressive performance in 2012 with an even better campaign in 2013. With the Lookouts Yimi posted a 2.54 ERA and had a K/9 of over 12.5. He also held opposing hitters to a .164 batting average and had a WHIP of 0.81. He throws hard, has a great slider, and is a reliever who could help the big league club as early as next season.
Pedro Baez (RHP) - The converted infielder was no Kenley Jansen in his first season as a pitcher, but Baez held his own as he combined for a 3.88 ERA in a season that was split between HiA and AA. The AFL is a perfect place for a guy like Pedro to continue to get pitching experience and work on some of his secondary pitches.
Jarret Martin (LHP) - A late addition to the Desert Dog roster, the 24 year old Martin was converted to a reliever halfway through the 2013 season and will most likely continue to work out of the bullpen for Glendale. As a starter Jarret always piled up high strikeout totals but overall had pretty average stats, so a move to relief should allow him to focus more on focusing his energy on a few batters. In his late season stint with the Lookouts he posted a 1.69 ERA over 10.2 innings, although he did walk 12.
Mike Thomas (LHP) - Like Yimi Garcia, Thomas put together his second straight outstanding season in 2013 and has really moved up the prospect charts over the past 12 months. The 24 year old was originally a 35th round pick in 2011, but his career ERA of 2.75 and K/9 of 10.8 prove that he has been a valuable pitcher to the organziation. Add in the fact that he's a lefty and he is another guy who could get a look at some point in 2014.
Pratt Maynard (C) - The 23 year old Maynard has been mostly a bust since getting selected in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft, posting a batting average below .250 in each of his three seasons and accumulating a career OPS of just .693. He's also had trouble staying healthy, which is why getting some extra at bats in the AFL is a great opportunity for him. He still young enough to turn things around, and hopefully that happens soon.
Brian Cavazos-Galvez (OF) - The oldest position player on the Glendale roster at 26, BCG will try to get back on track after a lackluster performance in 2013. His best case scenario would be for him to recapture the form he had in 2012 when he hit .310 for the season, including a .354 average over a 57 game stint for the Isotopes.
Chris O'Brien (C) - O'Brien is another 2011 draftee who has struggled since making his pro debut, but he's not as much of a bush since he was picked in the 18th round. Considered a sleeper by some a few years back, the 24 year old hit below .200 this past season and is most likely on the team because they were short on catchers.