Michael Antonini was called up to the Dodgers twice in 2012, but never made a big league pitch - Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE
Things are getting more interesting as we move closer to the top 50 Dodger prospects
Here's the next installment of my minor league countdown to get us through another Spring Training off day. As we continue to move towards the top 50 the names on the list are getting more interesting, and this group in particular boasts a few notable players who have been drafted or signed within the last year.
80. Christopher O'Brien, C (80 games in HiA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 18th round
6’0", 219 lbs, 23.5 years old, switch hitter
.252 average, .683 OPS, 7 HR’s, 44 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2012 Rank: 86; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
Chris O'Brien, the son of 15 year MLB veteran Charlie O'Brien, was drafted by the Dodgers in 2011 after an outstanding junior season at Wichita State. In that final season with the Shockers Chris hit .410 with 10 homers, 25 doubles, and 70 RBI's and had an incredible 40 to 18 walk to strikeout ratio. O’Brien made his professional debut with the Arizona Dodgers and had a strong season with a .855 OPS, but his promotion to HiA to start the 2012 season was still a bit of a surprise. Unfortunately the move didn’t really pay off as his OPS fell to an ugly .683 and he finished the season in an awful slump. While the switch hitter did have a plenty of success against left handed pitching (.351 average over 81 at bats), that was really the only highlight of his season outside of a handful of homers. Despite the struggles O’Brien should be given some slack since he was playing in just his first full season as a professional and was challenged with an assignment to a relatively advanced league. He also has good bloodlines and has shown offensive potential in the past, and while his defensive is still a work in progress he did have a pretty good season behind the plate in 2012. At the end of the day Chris still has a good amount of potential, so hopefully he’ll use last year as a learning experience. While he’ll probably start 2013 back in class A, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think he’ll make it to AA at some point during the season.
79. Juan Noriega, RHP (6.1 IP in HiA, 68 IP in LoA in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers in August 2011 out of the Mexican League
5’7", 145 lbs, 22.5 years old
3-2, 3.51 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 3.50 FIP, 6.90 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 108; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
Probably one of the most interesting players in the Dodgers system, Juan Noriega is listed at just 5’7" and 145 pounds. His contact was purchased from the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League back in 2011 and he immediately got some attention because in his professional debut (split between the Arizona Rookie League and the Pioneer League) Noriega didn’t allow a single run over 17 innings and walked just 2 batters while striking out 27. That performance earned Juan a promotion to LoA in 2012 and he picked up right where he left off, starting the season with 13 scoreless frames. He continued to thrive with a 2.78 ERA through mid August, and then he was promoted to HiA to finish off the season. While he had some trouble in the California League it was a small sample size so it’s difficult to judge. The one thing that did decline pretty significant in 2012 was his strikeout rate, and I’m sure that’s due to him playing against more advanced competition. While I still don’t have an official scouting report I did receive some information from somebody who saw him pitch, and they said that Juan has a fastball that tops out at 91 mph to go along with a decent curve, a changeup, and apparently a knuckleball. So take that for what it’s worth, although if he really threw a knuckleball I would have thought it have gotten more publicity. Noriega will probably spend 2013 back in the California League and with another good season I’m sure we’ll start to hear more information about him.
78. Delvis Morales, SS (38 games in LoA, 30 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers 10/22/09
6’1", 146 lbs, 22.5 years old, switch hitter
.261 average, .669 OPS, 0 HR’s, 23 RBI’s, 12 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 70; Pre 2011 Rank: 176; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A
Delvis Morales got a little bit of a late start on his baseball career as he didn’t sign with the Dodgers until he was 19 years old. He made his professional debut in the DSL in 2010, but hit just .220 and made 17 errors in the field. He did steal 18 bases for the Dominican Dodgers, however, and walked more than he struck out. Apparently that was good enough to earn a promotion to the Arizona Rookie League as that is where Delvis spent the 2011 season as the Arizona Dodgers’ main shortstop. Even though Morales didn’t have a great season for the Dodgers, he was impressive enough to get mentioned by Baseball America in their chat about the Arizona Rookie League where they said Morales was the team’s second best prospect behind Alex Santana (in their opinion). Baseball America also compared Delvis to Dee Gordon, saying that he is extremely athletic just without the plus-plus speed. The Dodgers also must have liked what they saw from Delvis as the promoted him up to LoA to start the 2012 season. Like many players before him, however, Morales found the Midwest League to be quite challenging as he hit .160 as a part time player over 38 games and was finally removed from the roster in July. After a few weeks off Delvis re-emerged in the Pioneer League and had way more success, hitting .341 with 9 doubles and 2 triples in 135 at bats. Overall Morales seems to be an intriguing player in the Dodgers system, especially since he is a switching hitting shortstop. Given his struggles in LoA there will be questions remain about whether he’ll be able to hit as he moves up through the system, so we’ll have to wait and see how he performs in 2013 when he’ll most likely be back with the Loons.
77. Rafael Ynoa, 2B/SS (113 games in AA in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers 7/8/05
6’0", 180 lbs, 25.5 years old, switch hitter
.278 average, .715 OPS, 0 HR’s, 37 RBI’s, 23 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 110; Pre 2011 Rank: 74; Pre 2010 Rank: 172; Pre 2009 Rank: 89
For a guy that had was coming off back to back seasons during which his offensive numbers should probably be described as below average, Rafael Ynoa sure did get a lot of attention this off-season. It started when he was sent to the Arizona Fall League with some of the game’s best young prospects, although when the AFL rosters were first announced he was mostly an afterthought. Then he actually started to hit in the AFL, and although he was one of the oldest players in the league it was still impressive to see him lead the Solar Sox with a .330 average. Then came Baseball America, who highlighted him as one of the players who might possibly get taken in the 2012 Rule 5 Draft. Part of their story said "While power bats and power arms tend to be the biggest draws in the Rule 5 draft, every year a handful of middle infielders are selected…Ynoa is a capable switch-hitter with a good approach and plate coverage. Defensively, he's an average-solid defender with soft hands and good arm strength. ‘He's a good sleeper,’ said one evaluator. ‘He's not much of an impact player but he could help a club as a backup middle infielder for sure.’" So at that point people started talking about possibly adding him to the 40 man roster, although I remained very skeptical. Of course he didn’t get added to the 40 man or taken in the Rule 5, but now he’s on everyone’s radar. At the end of the day Ynoa’s best case scenario is to be the next Elian Herrera, although quite a few players would have to go down with injury before Rafael would ever get a chance. He’ll probably spend the upcoming season in AAA where his offensive numbers will probably improve given the hitter friendly environment.
76. Kelvin De La Cruz, LHP (115.2 IP in AA in 2012 – all with Tigers)
Signed as minor league free agent in 2012
6’5", 190 lbs, 24.5 years old
5-8, 4.92 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.84 FIP, 7.18 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
Signed by the Indians in 2004, Kelvin De La Cruz made his way onto the Tribe’s 40 man before the 2010 season despite undergoing Tommy John surgery at some point . He was designated for assignment in February of 2012, however, and was subsequently traded to the Rangers. What makes that trade interesting is that he was dealt back to the Indians less than a month later for cash. Just a few days after that he was designated for assignment again, and this time was picked up by Detroit where he spent 2012. After the season he was granted free agency and signed on with the Dodgers where he got a chance in spring training as a non roster invitee. While he has already been re-assigned to minor league camp, he is still an intriguing player. He has a good frame and apparently he has a very strong fastball, although he's been a bit wild in the past. He’s also effective vs. lefties and should be a decent guy to have in the system. He'll probably spend 2013 in AA where I expect him to perform pretty well.
75. Michael Medina, OF (Did not play in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers as international FA in 2013
6’2", 185 lbs, 16.5 years old, bats right handed
No stats in 2012
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
Michael Media is yet another big dollar Dominican player signed by new ownership, and as far as I know his bonus of $275K was the biggest given to an internationally signed position player in a long time. He’s another guy I obviously don’t have much information on, so I’m going to have to use the Baseball America scouting report on him that says (in an International Prospect League all-star game) "He showed a projectable frame with good bat speed, power and the ability to use the opposite field. He most likely projects as a corner outfielder, with a solid arm that could fit in right field." As with all the international players it’s difficult to know if I’m ranking Medina too high or too low, but hopefully 2013 will provide some clarity when he will almost certainly spend the season in the Dominican Summer League.
74. J.T. Wise, C/1B (121 games in AA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 5th round
6’0", 210 lbs, 26.75 years old, bats right handed
.278 average, .822 OPS, 9 HR’s, 70 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2012 Rank: 63; Pre 2011 Rank: 56; Pre 2010 Rank: 48; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
J.T. Wise has been a very consistent hitter since the Dodgers selected him in the 5th round of the 2009 draft. He has a career .295 average, a career .869 OPS, and 46 career home runs (in 343 games). So why doesn’t Wise get more attention as a prospect? The first issue is that J.T. has always been a little old for the leagues he’s played in. Drafted when he was already 23, Wise has made the natural progress through the minor league system but 2012 was the first time he was way too old for the league. He was still one of the older guys as a 26 year old in AA, but that’s better than a 25 year old in HiA. The other problem is that it’s never been a sure thing that he will stick behind the plate, and since his other position is 1st base that causes him to lose a lot of value. That fear came true in 2012 when Wise spent only 4 games behind the plate, playing the rest of the time at 1st base. While this was mostly due to the Lookouts already having two other catchers on the roster, I would think the Dodgers would have gotten him more than 4 games at catcher if they really wanted him to continue working behind the plate in the long term. Finally the third issue is that while J.T. still had a pretty solid season in 2012, it was his worst to date from a statistical standpoint. Overall if Wise really has what it takes to stay behind the plate, his bat could potentially take him all the way to the show as a possible backup catcher. If he’s going to move forward as a 1st baseman, however, it doesn’t seem that he has much of a chance to make it past AAA. In 2013 my guess is the Wise moves up to Albuquerque where he’ll split time with Scott Van Slyke at 1st base and continue to get the occasional start at catcher.
73. Michael Antonini, LHP (82.2 IP in AAA in 2012)
Trade with Mets for Hu
6’1", 210 lbs, 27.5 years old
2-7, 5.71 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 5.92 FIP, 5.92 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 51; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
Michael Antonini was originally selected by the Mets in the 18th round of the 2007 draft and his career got off to a great start as he posted outstanding numbers in the low minors and even made it up to AA in just his 2nd professional season. That got Antonini noticed by Baseball America as he was named the Mets’ 15th best prospect heading into the 2009 season. Over the next two years he held his own as he split his time between AA and AAA and then he was traded to Los Angeles for Chin-Lung Hu in December of 2010. In his first as a Dodgers Antonini was Chattanooga’s workhorse as he logged a team high 148 innings and posted solid stats. That season (along with the fact that he was left handed) earned him a spot on the Dodgers 40 man roster in November of 2011, and to the surprise of many he was actually called up to the big leagues just a few months later. While he didn’t get into a game in his April call up, he got another opportunity in May with the Dodgers but again failed to appear in a contest. That would be his last chance of the season (and possible his career) as he was designated for assignment at the end of July. During his time in Albuquerque Michael went through a transition as he started the year in the rotation, but was moved to the bullpen a few months into the season (most likely due to the Dodgers lack of left handed relievers). Overall he didn’t pitch very well, but you can blame that mostly on the hitter friendly field at Albuquerque as he had a 9.36 ERA at home and a 2.38 ERA on the road. In 2013 Antonini will be heading back to AAA, although I’m not sure if he’ll be back in the rotation or in the bullpen. Either way he’s going to need a good showing if he wants another chance at actually pitching in a big league game.
72. Matt Angle, OF (115 games in AAA in 2012)
Claimed off Waivers from Baltimore
5’10", 180 lbs, 27.5 years old, bats left handed
.303 average, .788 OPS, 5 HR’s, 47 RBI’s, 13 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
After spending 5 seasons with the Orioles, the Dodgers claimed Matt Angle from Baltimore last February after he was designated for assignment. While he immediately joined the Dodgers 40 man roster, he was pretty far down on the outfield depth charts and never really had much of a chance to make the big league club. Therefore Matt spent the entire season in AAA, and while he had a rough April he actually did very well for the rest of the year as he hit over .300 in every month from May – August. Part of that was due to the hitter friendly conditions of Albuquerque’s ballpark as he hit .348 at home (compared to .255 on the road), but overall it was still a solid season. Unfortunately the Dodgers didn’t think that was quite good enough to keep him on the 40 man as he was again designated for assignment in October, and was eventually out righted to the minors. It’s also worth mentioning that Angle has played in the majors as he spent 31 games in Baltimore in 2011 (although he hit .177 over 79 at bats), and that he is a very good defensive outfielder with a great arm based on Baseball America’s Best Tools awards over the past few years. In 2013 Matt will return to AAA where he’ll continue to provide outfield depth, but now that he’s off the 40 man roster he’ll be buried even further down on the depth charts.
71. Michael Thomas, LHP (11.1 IP in HiA, 51 IP in LoA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 35th round
6’2", 185 lbs, 24.25 years old
4-2, 1.59 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 2.81 FIP, 10.54 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 128; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
Last year I mentioned that Michael Thomas might turn out to be a steal as a 35th round pick, and after his 2012 campaign I’m happy to report that I could be right. After striking out over 12 batters per 9 innings in his professional debut, Thomas thrived as a key member of the Loons bullpen in 2012 as he help opposition hitting to a .190 average and accumulated an ERA of just 1.24 over 37 appearances. That earned the lefty a promotion to HiA in August found the competition to be a bit more challenging, but still held his own in the hitter friendly California League. While I’m still not sure how hard he throws or what types of pitches Thomas has, the fact that he’s had so much success and has been able to rack up so many strikeouts gives me reason to believe that he has at least a couple of above average pitches. The fact that he is a lefty adds to his value as well. The only thing working against Thomas is his age as the 24 year old was a little mature for his completion last season, and while he’ll probably return to HiA to start 2013, if he is able to work his way up to AA at some point in the season he’ll be right on track in terms of his age and the level he’s at.
70. Noel Cuevas, OF (40 games in LoA, 13 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 23 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 21st round
6’2", 187 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats right handed
.267 average, .702 OPS, 2 HR’s, 39 RBI’s, 35 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 49; Pre 2011 Rank: 52; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A
The Dodgers selected Noel Cuevas in the 21st round of the 2010 draft, and after a lengthy holdout he finally inked a deal with the club for $100K. The outfielder from Puerto Rico was just 18 years old when he signed, and according to Baseball America he had "intriguing raw power". Even though Cuevas only had 3 professional games under his belt heading into 2011, the Dodgers sent Noel to the California League that May. Cuevas was mostly overmatched against the advanced competition, however, and after hitting .220 the month long experiment was over as he was sent back down to the Pioneer League. Noel fared much better in Ogden as he saw his OPS rise from .538 with the Quakes to .814 with the Raptors, and he ranked 3rd on the team with 29 extra base hits. Given his success with the Raptors Cuevas was sent to LoA to start the 2012 season, but like many players on the team he got off to a very slow start. Heading into mid-May his OPS stood at just .609, but before the Dodgers could demote him Noel suffered a hand injury and missed a month before joining the Arizona Dodgers on what you might call an extended rehab assignment. While Cuevas wreaked havoc on the base paths in Arizona with 22 stolen bases in 23 games, his other stats were less than impressive as he only collected 6 extra base hits. While he ended the year with a short, yet solid return to the Pioneer League, he never showed the power that scouts once talked about as he finished the season with a combined total of just 2 homers. The good news is that while was initially pegged as a left fielder, he has been able to handle all 3 outfield positions over the last two seasons. At 21 years old Noel is still very young, but I was still hoping to see more out of him in his stage of his career. Cuevas will probably return to class A in 2013 and hopefully he’ll show some improvement and some of that raw power that scouts once talked about.
69. Daniel Coulombe, LHP (19.1 IP in LoA, 6 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 25th round
5’10", 185 lbs, 23.25 years old
0-1, 3.20 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 2.77 FIP, 13.14 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
After Daniel Coulombe declined to sign with the Dodgers as a 17th round pick in 2008, Los Angeles finally got their man in 2012. Not much happened to Coulombe in the four years between drafts other than the fact that he attended three different schools and had Tommy John surgery. He started his college career at USC but made just one appearance and headed South Mountain CC in 2010. He again made just one appearance for his new team, this time because he was injured most of the year. In 2011 he headed to Texas Tech and actually was their opening day starter, but TJ surgery ended his season in March. He came back strong in 2012 and pitched mostly in relief, striking out more than a batter per inning and posting a 2.53 ERA. Upon joining the Dodgers Daniel had immediate success in Ogden, then was wildly effective after a promotion to the Loons. In Great Lakes Coulombe issued 17 walks in 19.1 innings, but he also K’ed 29 and opposing batter hit just .217 against him. Based on his 2008 pre-draft report Daniel has a 90 mph fastball, a plus curveball, and a solid changeup, but that may have changed over the years. He’s not very big which gives me some concern, but I love his strikeout numbers and think he will be a solid left handed reliever in the minors. He might even move up to HiA in 2013 and I do believe he is another late round pick who could be a bit of a sleeper.
68. Bryan Munoz, RHP (10 IP in DSL in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers as international FA in 2012
6’2", 180 lbs, 17.5 years old
1-0, 1.80 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 3.60 FIP, 10.80 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
Right around the same time that it was announced that the Guggenheim Group would take over the Dodgers, the organization made their first big international signing since 2001. The $300K that Munoz received was the biggest given to a Dominican player since Joel Guzman, and marked the Dodgers re-entry into the international market. At the time Bryan was still just 16 year old, yet he already boasted a fastball that reached 90 mph. He sat out the first part of the Dominican Dodgers season, but once he turned 17 he joined their bullpen had a good amount of success. While he only threw 10 innings over the course of a month, Munoz struck out more than a batter per inning and allowed just 2 runs to score against him. He even collected a save in his final appearance of the season and allowed opposing batters to hit just .243 against him. Despite his age, I expect Bryan to join the Arizona Dodgers in 2013 because upon signing, his agent mentioned that Bryan would be with a US club to start his career. While that wasn’t quite the case in 2012, I do think he’ll make his way to Arizona for the upcoming season.
67. Matt Shelton, RHP (67.1 IP in LoA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 24th round
6’4", 205 lbs, 24.25 years old
3-5, 2.81 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 3.24 FIP, 9.36 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 93; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
After pitching four years at Sam Houston State, Matt Shelton was selected by the Dodgers in the 24th round of the 2011 draft. In his four seasons with the Bearkat Shelton had some solid stats, including a 1.99 ERA as a reliever in 2009 and a 2.87 ERA through 94 innings as a starter in 2011. Matt signed quickly with the Dodgers and was assigned to the Ogden Raptors where he became one of the team’s best bullpen arms. In 2012 Shelton was promoted to LoA where he picked up right where he left off, holding opposing hitters to a .215 batting average and striking out more than a batter per inning out of the Loons’ bullpen. Matt was especially effective against right handed batters who he held to a .177 batting average. I’m still not 100% sure how hard Shelton throws, although I have been able to confirm that he has a curveball and changeup in his repertoire. As we head into 2013 I believe that Matt will get a promotion to HiA where he’ll be watched closely. If he has success in the California League he could become solid trade bait a la Logan Bawcom in 2012, although if the Dodgers really like him Shelton could hold onto him to see if he can become a solid bullpen arm for Los Angeles in the future.
66. Brandon Martinez, RHP (83.1 IP in HiA, 23 IP in LoA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 7th round
6’4", 160 lbs, 22.25 years old
5-9, 7.19 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 5.29 FIP, 6.09 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 37; Pre 2011 Rank: 32; Pre 2010 Rank: 27; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
After a rough season in 2012, I finally decided it was time to drop Brandon Martinez a bit in my rankings. He has admittedly been one of my favorite prospects to follow since the Dodgers drafted him in 2009, and while he is still only 22 years old, he just hasn’t shown me anything that deserves a top 50 ranking. Coming of a fairly decent season in the Pioneer League in 2011, B-Mart was promoted to LoA to start 2012. After 5 very tough outings his ERA was sitting above 7, but the Dodgers inexplicably promoted him to the Quakes who played in an even tougher pitching environment. While he actually showed solid improvement over his first 8 starts for Rancho, he gradually regressed and had an awful end to his season which again took his ERA above 7. Overall I still haven’t completely given up on Martinez, especially given his age, his 6’4" frame, and the fact that he has a solid 3 pitch mix. According to DeJon Watson a few years back, Brandon can reach 93 and 94 mph on a good night, and sits comfortably with a slightly above average fastball at about 90 to 92 mph. Watson also said that his breaking ball is solid average, and his changeup is developing. In 2013 Martinez will almost certainly return to either HiA or LoA where I’m hoping he’ll get better results.
65. Cole St. Clair, LHP (80.2 IP in AAA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 7th round
6’5", 225 lbs, 26.5 years old
3-3, 4.24 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 4.09 FIP, 3.90 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 46; Pre 2011 Rank: 46; Pre 2010 Rank: 29; Pre 2009 Rank: 20
2012 was a strange year for Cole St. Clair. Heading into the season the big left hander had a career strikeout rate of 9.5 K’s per 9 innings, which made perfect sense give his frame and his ability to locate pitches. Then for whatever reason, his K/9 plummeted all the way down to 3.9 for the 2012 season. Not down to 5 or 6, but all the way down to below 3. While I don’t really have much of an explanation for it, I wanted to point out how strange that is. My best guess is that his fastball velocity, which has never really been his strong point, decreased even further to the point that he was only throwing in the mid to high 80’s. Because he has excellent control and a couple of solid secondary pitches (a curveball and a changeup) he was still able to get results, but he just simply couldn’t get many swings and misses. Strikeouts aside, Cole really didn’t have too bad of a season given that he was playing in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. While his ERA and batting average against were both career highs, he did manage to hold lefties in check and allowed just 4 homers over his 80 innings. Overall, St. Clair just doesn’t seem to be the pitcher or the prospect that he once was. While he still has an outside shot of one day making it to the big leagues as a left handed reliever, the drop in his strikeout rate makes me believe that he just doesn’t have the stuff to survive against top notch hitters. Cole will surely return to AAA in 2013 and it will be interesting to see if the K’s come back or if they continue to stay at a remarkably low level.
64. Jon Michael Redding, RHP (10.1 IP in AA, 130.1 IP in HiA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 5th round
6’1", 195 lbs, 25.25 years old
11-8, 4.54 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 3.93 FIP, 7.10 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 48; Pre 2011 Rank: 72; Pre 2010 Rank: 46; Pre 2009 Rank: 37
After a breakout season in 2011 which saw Jon Michael Redding thrive in the hitter friendly California League with a 3.66 and a K/9 of almost 9, the former 5th round pick had a less successful campaign in 2012 despite playing for the same team. Redding actually started the 2012 season in AA which made sense give his age and his prior year accomplishments, but after allowing 7 runs in 4 relief appearances that spanned just 10 innings he was sent back down to HiA. Upon his return to Rancho Redding was still pretty solid he maintained a 3.93 FIP and actually led the team with 130.1 innings pitching; he just wasn’t quite as good as the year before. The one stat that stood out to me was his batting average against, which has always been a struggle for him during his career but was something that he was able to bring down to .250 in 2011 before seeing it increase back up to .285 in 2012. In terms of his stuff, Redding has a low 90’s fastball and started using a cutter in 2011 which replaced his slider. He also has an effective curveball and keeps hitters off balance with an occasional changeup. At the end of the day Redding is the type of pitcher who Baseball America once projected as a #3 starter, but as of now it seems unlikely that he’ll ever even make it to the show. He has solid tools and should be a serviceable starter in the upper minor leagues for the next few years, but he doesn’t really stand out as someone who is going to ever really break out and take it to that next level. He’ll probably spend 2013 in AA.
63. Josh Henderson, OF (8 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 16th round
6’0", 185 lbs, 19.25 years old, bats left handed
.208 average, .522 OPS, 0 HR’s, 6 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
Josh Henderson was the last player from the 2012 draft to sign with the Dodgers because he was in a bit of a unique situation. Because he was home schooled he wasn’t allowed to play ball for the big public school in his home town, and instead had to play at a smaller private Christian school that faced inferior competition. Therefore the Dodgers wanted to watch him play with the Peninsula Pilots of the Coastal Plain League before deciding how much they wanted to spend on him. After he hit .379 over 11 games he was offered $200K (along with additional funds for college) and signed right at the deadline. He only played 8 games for the Arizona Dodgers in his professional debut so there isn’t much to analyze there, so instead we’ll look at his pre-draft reports. While I found a few articles that suggested he would have been drafted in the first 5 rounds had he played against tougher competition in high school, Baseball America said that "Henderson gained some attention on the showcase circuit last year as he has a knack for squaring balls up, but the rest of his game leads scouts to think he'll wind up in left field so they're not quite ready to buy him out of anything yet. His power doesn't profile for a corner spot right now and he's an average runner with a below-average arm." To me it sounds like Josh was definitely worth the $200K and a 16th round pick even if he doesn’t have the highest ceiling in the world, so I’m glad the Dodgers were able to get him signed. In 2013 he’ll probably return to Arizona given his lack of experience against elite competition and it will be interesting to watch his progress over the next few seasons.
62. Theo Alexander, OF (27 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 7th round
6’1", 195 lbs, 18.5 years old, bats left handed
.237 average, .530 OPS, 0 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 1 SB
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
The Dodgers used their 7th pick of the 2012 draft on Theo Alexander, and were able to lure him away from a commitment to UC Santa Barbara for about $150K. Because he signed quickly Alexander was able to spend the entire season with the Arizona Dodgers, and while he struggled in his professional debut he can at least use the excuse that he was the youngest player on the team. Theo’s struggles extended beyond just the basic stats, however, as he collected just one extra base hit all season long (a double) and struck out in 35.6% of his plate appearances. Defensively he played all three outfield positions, although Baseball America seems to think that he’s best suited for left field as they describe his speed as average and his arm as below-average. All that being said, Baseball America also described Alexander’s hitting as a plus skill, making it sound like teams will overlook his secondary skills to take him in the draft. While his power potential seems to be an unknown at this point he seems to possess the pure hitting skills that will help him move up through the system as he matures. At just 18 years old Theo will probably return to Arizona for the 2013 season, although an assignment to the Pioneer League also isn’t out of the question.
61. Geison Aguasviva, LHP (64 IP in AA in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers 12/15/05
6’2", 166 lbs, 25.5 years old
2-5, 2.53 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 4.06 FIP, 5.63 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 61; Pre 2011 Rank: 39; Pre 2010 Rank: 33; Pre 2009 Rank: 40
I didn’t realize how good of a season Geison Aguasviva had in 2012 until I started doing this write-up. While his FIP wasn’t very attractive due to a low strikeout rate, the left hander had a very impressive 2.53 ERA and opposing batters hit just .189 against him. He was also proved to be quite durable as ranked 2nd on the team with 50 appearances, which is important when you consider that he missed most of 2011. Another thing to keep in mind is that this wasn’t Geison’s first stellar season, as Aguasviva posted a 1.58 ERA over 62.2 innings for the Loons in 2009 and was also solid for the Quakes in 2010 before an unknown injury caused him to miss most of 2011. While I don’t have an up to date scouting report on him, the last I heard was that Geison sat in the low 90’s and had a very strong changeup which projected as a plus offering. Also, while Aguasviva’s career strikeout rate is relatively low at just 7.4 K’s per 9 innings, he makes up for that by allowing very few homers. Heading into 2013 I expect the 25 year old to make the jump to AAA, although if there is a roster crunch with veteran relievers he may end up back in the Southern League. With another good season he could be a candidate to eventually make it to the big league club as a cheap left handed reliever.