Eric Stephen | True Blue LA
The 17th round pick out of Gonzaga has been a dominant force in the bullpen on his rise through the Dodgers farm system. That figures to earn Ames a spot on the big league club at some point in 2013.
Steve Ames was one of two players, along with Matt Magill, added to the Dodgers' 40-man roster in November. Ames, who turns 25 in March, has had quite a run through the Dodgers farm system, similar to a reliever who made his debut in 2012, as I noted back in November:
Ames had a dominant season out of the bullpen with Double-A Chattanooga, with 72 strikeouts and 13 walks in 63⅓ innings. Ames, who was drafted in the 17th round in 2009 by the Dodgers out of Gonzaga, had a 1.56 ERA and 18 saves in 2012. He will be 25 in March, and is actually two months younger than Shawn Tolleson, who rose rapidly through the farm system and spent two thirds of 2012 in the Dodgers' bullpen. Ames and Tolleson had similarly stellar marks in the minor leagues.
Tolleson & Ames Minor League Numbers Pitcher IP Saves BB BB% K K% ERA WHIP Tolleson 120 47 28 6.0% 178 38.4% 1.35 0.942 Ames 172⅔ 55 35 5.1% 236 34.6% 1.93 0.996
The highest ERA Ames has put up at any level so far is the 2.54 mark he posted in Class-A Great Lakes in 2010, and that came with a remarkable 44 strikeouts against just three walks in 28⅓ innings.
In 96 innings in about a season and a half with Double-A Chattanooga, Ames has a 1.88 ERA, 113 strikeouts, and just 20 unintentional walks. He has abused right-handers in the Southern League, to the tune of .199/.239/.277 against, with one home run in 218 plate appearances.
The flip side is that Double-A left-handed batters have hit .297/.354/.428 against Ames, but his strikeout rate of 25.3% of lefties faced and walk rate of 8.2% have been solid.
Ames won the Dodgers Pride Award in August 2012 for Double-A Chattanooga by allowing one run in 14 innings, with 18 strikeouts. It was his third sub-1.00 ERA month of the season.
Ames was added to the 40-man roster in November, and has yet to make his major league debut. He will use one of his three option years in 2013.
|2011 (A - Rancho Cucamonga)
|2011 (AA - Chattanooga)||23||32⅔||3.03||11.30||2.48||2.89|
|2012 (AA - Chattanooga)||24||63⅓||1.85||10.23||1.56||1.95|
|2013 Projections - Age 25 Season|
Those projections really jump off the page for Ames, someone who could contribute to the major league bullpen right now. He faces a depth chart issue with five relievers under contract, three more relievers with major league experience and options, an injured Scott Elbert ready to return in May, plus a few non-roster hurlers who will be in the mix for a roster spot. But Ames will likely pitch for the Dodgers this season, and if he keeps throwing like he has throughout his career he'll be in Los Angeles sooner rather than later.
Be sure to guess how you think Ames will perform in 2013, for either the Dodgers or in the minors. Include ERA, number of major league innings, and whatever else you wish to guess.