In the third and final part of my chat with Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus, we look at his 9th and 10th ranked Dodger prospects, pitchers Onelki Garcia and Victor Arano plus some thoughts on LHP Victor Gonzalez, outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo and infielder Adam Law.
In his 2013 Dodger prospect review, Parks ranked LHP Onelki Garcia seventh, but dropped two spots. In his first full professional season, Garcia made two stops, mostly in Double-A Chattanooga where he started six out of his 25 games and then he went to Albuquerque for 10 more relief appearances. Garcia came up to the Dodgers in September, perhaps as a candidate for postseason play but in his limited three-game appearance, he did not pitch well.
Parks has projected Garcia as a set-up man though he could be a closer, Parks said that while relievers are down-played in the prospect writing world, they are valuable.
"A good solid reliever that you have under team control, man there is a lot a value in that," Parks said. "I think [Garcia] will contribute this year"
Garcia has a two-pitch combo of a low 90s fastball and a solid curveball. Consistency and pitchability are concerns that take him out of the mix as a potential closer but Parks believes "[Garcia] is a major league pitcher."
The 10th name on his list was someone I had not recalled too much about, RHP Victor Arano. LA Times scribe Dylan Hernandez tweeted about his signing last April:
#Dodgers sign RHP Victor Arano, 18, and OF Antonio Torres, 19, of Mexico; OF Ibandeal Isabel, 17, and IF Samuel Ortiz, 16, of Dominican.— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) April 7, 2013
Arano spent his first season in pro ball in Arizona, pitching 49⅓ innings, striking out 49 and walking 13.
"I started hearing things about Victor Arano when other teams started contacting me asking me if I had things about Victor Arano," said Parks.
So while Parks told them he heard of Arano, those calls peaked his interest about why other teams were interested in him, so Parks started compiling his information.
"I got the velocity reports, I got the secondary reports, there was one team that really wanted to acquire him in some fashion down the line," Parks said. "Arano is not the most projectible arm, a little more polished than the average AZL [Arizona Rookie League] arm, the body is a lot more mature than the other kids in that league."
Parks added that Arano "is 6'2" maybe a little shorter than that, he's a got a little bit of belly already, that said he is already pumping low 90s fastballs, arm is loose, delivery is very easy. He can throw a curveball for strikes, he can turnover a changeup."
Parks was complimentary about the Dodgers' recent international signings and their international program in general.
"I like the track record of those guys signing out Mexico recently, I like the new wave of Latin American signings, like their new approach, I like the Dodgers player development department," he said. "A guy like Arano, that I know the Dodgers are high on, needs to have some light on him, more than just On the rise, so I put him in the top ten."
Parks concluded his thoughts on Arano saying that while he could pitch in a full season league in 2014, "he needs a lot of refinement on his secondary pitches, he could become a 92-95 guy pounding the lower zone. ... There is no need to rush him so I wouldn't be shocked if he went to [Rookie league or Full season league.]"
Parks had mentioned various concerns about player's bodies in his top ten list and he said that he has seen Arizona Rookie League and Gulf Coast League kids "blow up because they are just eating crap."
"While teams spend so much money on free agent talent, they don't spend a whole lot of money on nutrition for the younger kids, that is not to say don't spend it all but it is not as much as you would think they would given the investment they put into these players," Parks said. "Is nutrition an issue, I think it is a systemic issue in the minor leagues and could be addressed a lot better."
Parks adds three prospects that he calls "on the rise" to his list, the first one was LHP Victor Gonzalez, part of the first group of prospects signed in July 2012 during that international signing period. Gonzalez also pitched in the Arizona rookie league last summer, he pitched in 11 games, starting 10. In his 38 innings, he struck out 45 and walked 12.
"I got good reports on him and he was good looking in [instructional league]," Parks said. "Maybe the body becomes a little bit of an issue.
"[Gonzalez has] a good fastball," Parks said. "The biggest thing for [Gonzalez] is that he can turnover a really good change up, its got good action, it plays pretty well against his fastball. The problem with [Gonzalez] and we will see if it gets dealt with, you can either spin a breaking ball or you can't. I am not sure [Gonzalez] has one in the hand, it is certainly not a good pitch right now."
Parks thinks that if Gonzalez can get a "40-grade slider that he can throw for strikes," it will add to his potential ceiling as a major league starter.
Outfielder Jacob Scavuzzo was his next player on the rise. Scavuzzo played in Ogden last year and had a good season, the just-turned 20-year-old 2012 draft pick had a .927 OPS in 63 games in the Pioneer League though he only walked 17 times in 266 plate appearances.
"He's 6'4", he's lean, he's athletic, he's got good raw power," Parks said of Scavuzzo. "He's got a good chance to be exposed a bit in a full season."
Parks says that Scavuzzo has a lot of raw tools that you want to see translate into game skills this year, if he can do that, he can take a step forward because "there is a lot of ceiling there."
Adam Law is the third and last player on his on the rise list, Law turns 24 next week but it should be noted that he spent two years on his Mormon mission so he has not been playing baseball all that time.
"[Law] has good baseball bloodlines, he's Vance Law's kid," Parks said. "I don't think he's a third baseman, he's more of an outfielder."
Parks think he could play in Rancho Cucamonga this year, Law has a "ton of speed ... He can [hit] and he can run. He could put up big numbers in the desert and then finish the year in AA."
As we concluded our talk, we talked about the 2014 version of the Baseball Prospectus Future Guide that will be out this spring, that book contains every team's top ten prospect list, for a look at last year's book, go here.
Jason will be in Arizona in March and he plans to be around Camelback so check his twitter @ProfessorParks and maybe you can talk to him there or come to the Baseball Prospectus 2014 Stadium Tour stop at Dodger Stadium on April 26 and talk to him then.