Dodgers 2013 Minor League Countdown: The Top 30

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Here are my top 30 prospects in the Dodgers organization as we celebrate minor league opening day 2013

After another long process of counting down all the way through the Dodgers minor league system, I'm finally going to release my top 30 prospects heading into the 2013 season. While I usually like to have this posted earlier in the spring, I figured this year that it would be fun to have my final post up on minor league opening day.

So here we go, the top 30 prospects in the Dodgers organization heading into the 2013 as ranked by yours truly.

30. Alex Santana, 3B (24 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg, 24 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 2nd round
6’4", 200 lbs, 19.5 years old, bats right handed
.254 average, .671 OPS, 2 HR, 31 RBI’s, 5 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 21; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Most likely the Pioneer Rookie League

Why #30: Viewed as an overdraft since the day he was selected, Santana has been a disappointment since turning pro. After a mediocre debut in the Arizona League in 2012 Alex was sent to the Pioneer League to start the 2012 season, but after struggling with the Raptors the teenager found himself back in the Grand Canyon State. The former 2nd round pick still has a decent amount of upside, but after striking out in 38% of his plate appearances in Arizona and hitting .240 over 26 games I have some reservations about the 19 year old. His defense is also very shaky 24 errors last season. Despite his struggles Santana does have a good frame and solid bloodlines, and the fact that he is still so young gives him time to progress and improve. For that reason I’m keeping him in my top 30, and I can see him moving either up or down significantly in my rankings at this time next year.

29. Jeremy Rathjen, OF (68 games in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 11th round
6’6", 190 lbs, 23 years old, bats right handed
.324 average, .943 OPS, 9 HR’s, 53 RBI’s, 16 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: LoA – Great Lakes Loons

Why #29: Jeremy Rathjen was a 2012 11th round pick of the Dodgers, and he’s a lanky kid as he stands at 6'6" and weights about 190 lbs. He size reminds me a lot of Kyle Russell, but according to scouting reports he makes much better contact than Russell thanks to great bat speed and outstanding hand-eye coordination, although he has less raw power. Rathjen probably would have been a higher pick had he not torn his ACL in college, but he made other teams pay for overlooking him by dominating the Pioneer League in his professional debut. Jeremy ranked 3rd in the entire league with his .943 OPS, and he also walked almost as much as he struck out. He can also play all three outfield positions as he has good speed and a solid arm. At 23 he’s the kind of guy who could move quickly through the system and I could see him making his way up to AA at some point during the 2013 season if a spot opens up for him.

28. Scott Barlow, RHP (Did not play in 2012 due to injury)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 6th round
6’3", 170 lbs, 20.25 years old
No stats in 2012
Pre 2012 Rank: 28; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Most likely the Pioneer Rookie League

Why #28:
Scott Barlow is a tough player to rank because he is coming off of Tommy John surgery which caused him to miss the entire 2012 season. It’s a shame he was injured because he was just coming into his own as a pitcher during the 2011 fall instructional league where as he gained a few ticks on his fastball and showed good command of a curveball. He was also throwing a slider and changeup to give him a solid 4-pitch mix. We probably won’t know his full potential until 2014, however, because the Dodgers will probably bring him along slowly after the injury. That being said, if he can come back healthy he’ll be a guy to watch closely because he could move quickly up the prospect rankings given his repertoire and feel for pitching.

27. Stephen Fife, RHP (135.1 IP in AAA in 2012)
Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson
6’3", 220 lbs, 26.25 years old
11-7, 4.66 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 4.27 FIP, 6.18 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 53; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AAA – Albuquerque Isotopes

Why #27: I’m not going to spend too much time on Fife because we’ve all seen him pitch. To be honest I really didn’t think he was much of a prospect after we acquired him from the Red Sox, but after seeing him fill in so nicely at the big league level when a spot starter was needed, I realized that he deserved some respect in my rankings. He’s never going to be a top or even a middle of the rotation starter, but I could definitely see him making a decent big league career out of spot starting and/or filling the role of a long reliever on a club. Given the depth of the Dodger rotation he probably won’t see LA any time in the near future, but he could get some September innings and eventually get more time in the big leagues with another organization.

26. Rob Rasmussen, LHP (54.1 IP in AA, 87.2 IP in HiA in 2012 – all with Astros/Marlins)
Trade with Astros (Ely)
5’9", 160 lbs, 24 years old
8-11, 4.25 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 3.81 FIP, 7.54 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #26: I’ve been following Rob Rasmussen for a long time because he played high school locally at Pasadena Poly, then spent his college years at UCLA. I could never believe how good he was despite his short stature, but he has seemed to find success where he goes. Not only that, but he is also a workhorse as he’s logged over 140 innings in each of his first two full seasons as a pro. He has a 4-pitch mix and while he maxes out at 92 mph, it’s his curveball, slider, and location of his pitches that allow him to get by. While I don’t think Rob will ever be a great big league pitcher, I do think he has what it takes to eventually settle into the back of a big league rotation. He’s proven he can compete with the best of them, and it will be interesting to see where his career goes from here.

25. Pedro Baez, RHP (78 games in AA, 50 games in HiA in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers 1/22/07
6’2", 195 lbs, 25 years old, bats right handed
.221 average, .681 OPS, 11 HR’s, 59 RBI’s, 7 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 47; Pre 2011 Rank: 23; Pre 2010 Rank: 12; Pre 2009 Rank: 11
2013 Destination: HiA – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Why #25: The discussion started way back in 2008 after a Pedro Baez throw from 3rd base to 1st base was clocked at 94 mph. At the time Baez was still young and had a lot of potential with his bat so it was mostly a joke, but the thought was always there that if he failed as a hitter Pedro could move to the mound. Then after watching Kenley Jansen successfully transition from catcher to big league pitcher the grumblings got louder about moving Baez, and by the time the 2012 season ended and Baez hit just .221 it seemed like it would only be a matter of time. Well the Dodgers finally pulled the trigger on the transition this off-season and the early results are encouraging. Early in spring Pedro threw in front of Sandy Koufax and according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com "Baez showed Koufax a natural delivery, a fastball in the mid-90s and a curveball more advanced than many of his fellow Minor Leaguers who have been at this pitching thing for years. Koufax told other staff members he'd like to see Baez in a game this spring." While he didn’t see much big league game action this spring, he’ll definitely be a guy to keep an eye on down in the California League, which is the same place that Jansen got his start as a pitcher. Our own Craig Minami saw him pitch last week and Rancho and said that his fastball was the only pitch he could get over for strikes, but hopefully the command of his curveball is something that will come soon.

24. Aaron Miller, LHP (121 IP in AA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 1st round
6’3", 200 lbs, 25.5 years old
6-6, 4.45 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 4.41 FIP, 8.16 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 14; Pre 2011 Rank: 14; Pre 2010 Rank: 9; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #24:
Aaron Miller was the Dodgers 1st round pick in 2009 out of Baylor, and while he has shown some flashes of greatness since turning pro, his career to this point has been mostly disappointing. His biggest issues have been injuries and a loss of velocity, although he did get through the 2012 season without issue and at times sat in the low 90’s. There are times when his fastball is only in the high 80’s, however, and that makes his plus slider and decent changeup less effective. Now 25 years old Miller isn’t quite as young as he used to be, so if he wants to make it as a starting pitcher in the big leagues he’s going to have to show improvement and take his game up to the next level. If he can’t do that he can still be valuable as a left handed reliever, which is why I continue to rank him in the top 30. My gut tells me that he eventually does make it to the big leagues, just not quite in the capacity that we thought when he was drafted in the 1st round 4 years ago.

23. Scott Griggs, RHP (11.2 IP in LoA, 11 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2012)

Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 8th round
6’3", 185 lbs, 21.75 years old
1-0, 3.97 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 3.42 FIP, 12.71 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: LoA – Great Lakes Loons

Why #23: As a UCLA fan I've been following Scott Griggs since he was recruited by the Bruins, but was disappointed when he only threw 26 innings over his first two years of college. He had a breakout season in 2012, however, setting a school record with 15 saves and striking out 64 batters in 37.1 innings. The Dodgers selected the local boy in the 8th round of the 2012 draft and signed him for $135K, then sent him to the Pioneer League to start his career. With the Raptors Griggs allowed just 5 hits over 11 innings and struck out 18, but his ERA was over 4 because he issued too many walks. In August he moved up to LoA where he again had good numbers outside of his walk rate. Control is something that Scott has struggled with throughout his career as he averaged almost a walk per inning in college as well. Scouts think it’s because he overthrows, which makes sense given that he can get his fastball all the way up to 98 mph. He also has a hard curve and uses a changeup as a "show-me" pitch. Once he irons out his control issues Griggs is a guy who should move quickly through the system, and some scouts see him as a future big league closer. In 2013 Griggs will return to LoA, but I could see him making it all the way to the AA bullpen at some point in the season if he able to keep his walk rate in check.

22. Scott Van Slyke, OF/1B (95 games in AAA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 14th round
6’5", 250 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats right handed
.327 average, .982 OPS, 18 HR’s, 67 RBI’s, 5 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 25; Pre 2011 Rank: 55; Pre 2010 Rank: 28; Pre 2009 Rank: 123
2013 Destination: AAA – Albuquerque Isotopes

Why #22:
Scott Van Slyke is another guy that we’ve already seen at the big league level so again I won’t spend too much time on his background. We all know by now that he’s the son of Andy, and that he’s raked over the last two seasons in the minor leagues. The problem is that he struggled immensely at the big league level which is why he has found himself back in Albuquerque for 2013. In addition, even if he had done well with the Dodgers last year the reality is that there isn’t room for him on the big league roster, so he’d be stuck in the minor leagues anyways. At the end of the day we know that Scott can hit bad and mediocre pitching, but he’s going to have to hit great pitching if he ever wants to stick in the big leagues. My guess is that Van Slyke eventually catches on with another team, but I just don’t see him as more than a major league backup at this point.

21. Steve Ames, RHP (63.1 IP in AA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 17th round
6’1", 210 lbs, 25 years old
3-3, 1.56 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 1.95 FIP, 10.23 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 38; Pre 2011 Rank: 38; Pre 2010 Rank: 53; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AAA – Albuquerque Isotopes

Why #21: Since getting selected in the 17th round of the 2009 draft out of Gonzaga, Steve Ames has been nothing short of dominant out of the bullpen. He has a career 236 to 35 strikeout to walk ratio and a career 1.93 ERA. While he doesn't necessarily have outstanding stuff, his ability to locate pitches and pitch to contact has gotten him a spot on the Dodgers 40 man roster. His fastball can get up to 94 and his out pitch is his slider, but he also throws a curveball and changeup on occasion. I don’t think he’ll ever be a big league closer or even a setup man, but I do believe that Ames could be a cheap relief option for the Dodgers as soon as this season. When he eventually does make it to the big leagues I think he’ll have a long career in middle relief which is something every team needs.

20. Yimi Garcia, RHP (10.2 IP in HiA, 41.2 IP in LoA in 2012)
Signed by Dodgers 1/29/09
6’1", 175 lbs, 22.5 years old
6-5, 2.92 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 1.38 FIP, 14.10 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 54; Pre 2011 Rank: 79; Pre 2010 Rank: 47; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #20: Outside of a hiccup in 2010 when he was making his US debut with the Arizona Dodgers, Yimi Garcia has had an outstanding career. It started with a solid season in the DSL as an 18 year old, but where he really started to get noticed was in the Pioneer League in 2011 when he posted a K/9 of 12.2 over 52.1 innings. Garcia kept up the good work in 2012 as the Loons closer, and finished the year by striking out 22 batters in just 10.1 innings after getting promoted to the California League. The Dodgers liked Yimi enough to give him some looks this spring, and even let him pitch in the freeway series where he looked quite good despite giving up a game winning homer. He throws hard, and his slider is his out pitch. AA will be a good test for the 22 year old in 2013, and if he succeeds there he could be well on his way to the Dodgers bullpen as a late inning reliever.

19. Josh Wall, RHP (53.2 IP in AAA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2005, 2nd round
6’5", 215 lbs, 26 years old
2-1, 4.53 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 4.19 FIP, 8.72 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 29; Pre 2011 Rank: 61; Pre 2010 Rank: 57; Pre 2009 Rank: 49
2013 Destination: AAA – Albuquerque Isotopes

Why #19:
Josh Wall has never put up big numbers at any stop in the minor leagues, but since being converted to a reliever in 2011 he has been a solid option out of the bullpen. In fact that Dodgers liked him enough to put him on their 40 man roster, and they even called him up to the big leagues last season where he fared relatively well in limited playing time. His best pitch is his hard fastball that has been clocked at 100 mph in the past, although he’s typically more in the 94 – 96 mph range. His slider is his best out pitch, but he can also throw a curveball and a changeup which he used as a starter back in the day. There is currently no room for Wall at the big league level, but when an injury does occur it will probably be between him and Shawn Tolleson to get the call. Overall I don’t think Wall has a whole lot of upside, but he could carve out a decent career as a big league middle reliever.

18. James Baldwin, OF (123 games in LoA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 4th round
6’3", 190 lbs, 21.5 years old, bats left handed
.209 average, .627 OPS, 7 HR’s, 40 RBI’s, 53 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 7; Pre 2011 Rank: 13; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Great Lakes Loons - LoA

Why #18:
After showing a good amount of promise over his first two professional seasons, James Baldwin had a disappointing year in 2012 with the Loons. While he led the Midwest League in stolen bases, he also led the league in strikeouts and hit just .209. His 7 homers were also a lower total than most expected, and there were times when he simply looked lost at the plate. That being said I’m still a believer in James because he is an extremely athletic player and I just don’t think that he’s had an opportunity to fully mature as a player. He still has a lot to work on, but he has good tools and speed you can’t teach. He’s also a very good defensive player that shows great range in center field. He’s returning to LoA in 2013 and hopefully he can get his career back on track because I think he could be an exciting player to follow as he moves up through the minors.

17. Julio Urias, LHP (Did not play in 2012)
Signed as international FA in 2012
6’0", 170 lbs, 16.5 years old
No stats in 2012
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Probably Arizona Rookie League

Why #17: I’m going to be honest in that this ranking of Julio Urias was a shot in the dark. The fact that some are saying the contract he signed had a bonus of $1.8M makes me think he deserves to be this high, but I could be completely off. I don’t know much about Julio other than he is from Mexico and throws left handed. A Baseball America scouting report has his fastball anywhere from 88 – 92 mph, and also says that his changeup could be a "plus-plus offering in the future". Hopefully it turns out that I actually ranked Urias too low, but we won’t know much of anything until we see him get into some professional games.

16. Ross Stripling, RHP (36.1 IP in Pioneer Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 5th round
6’3", 190 lbs, 23.25 years old
1-0, 1.24 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 1.66 FIP, 9.17 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: HiA – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes

Why #16:
Ross Stripling was the Dodgers 2012 5th round pick out of Texas A&M, and he had a unique season in his professional debut because heavy college workload limited his availability once he joined the Ogden Raptors. While he was allowed to pitch deeper into games as the season progressed, for the most part Stripling threw 3 innings or less per outing. That didn't stop him from dominating the opposition, however, as Ross gave up just 1 earned run through the month of July and overall had an ERA of 1.24. He also struck out more than a batter per inning and was the club's #1 starter as they made their playoff run. Coming out of college Ross was known as a great athlete that was able to repeat his delivery well. According to more recent scouting reports he mixes a mid 90's fastball with a plus curveball and a developing changeup. At the end of the day it sounds like the 23 year old could be a fast mover through the system, and while his ceiling doesn't seem to be all that high, my guess is that he could a decent back of the rotation starter in the big leagues if he continues his current trajectory. I’m not quite as high on Stripling as some are, but I can learn to like him even more if he performs well in the California League in 2013.

15. Jesmuel Valentin, 2B/SS (43 games in Arz Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 1st round
5’10", 174 lbs, 18.75 years old, switch hitter
.211 average, .668 OPS, 2 HR’s, 18 RBI’s, 5 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Most likely the Pioneer Rookie League

Why #15: The son of former big leaguer Jose Valentin, Jesmuel has obviously grown up around the game has good baseball knowledge. He has a similar build to his dad at 5'10" and 175 lbs, but scouts don't project that he'll have the same power as his father (249 career HR's). He's a natural right handed hitter, but he's been working as a switch hitter over the past year and a half. Defensively he is currently a shortstop, but he had a .907 fielding % in the Arizona League last season and some think he may end up at 2nd base. He had a rough offensive season as well as he hit just .211, but he isn't the first 18 year old to struggle in his professional debut so I'm not going to read too much into his stats at this point. At the end of the day I believe Valentin has enough tools to one day make it to the big leagues, but he’ll probably be more a utility player rather than a full time starter. His bat is what will make or break his career so hopefully he hits more in 2013.

14. Alex Castellanos, OF (94 games in AAA in 2012)
Trade with Cardinals for Rafael Furcal
6’0", 200 lbs, 26.5 years old, bats right handed
.328 average, 1.010 OPS, 17 HR’s, 52 RBI’s, 16 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 24; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AAA – Albuquerque Isotopes

Why #14:
Alex Castellanos is knocking on the door of the major leagues, but it doesn’t seem that the door is ready to open just yet. Since joining the Dodgers in the Rafael Furcal trade of 2011, Castle has torn the cover off the ball in the minor leagues. He batting .322 with the Lookouts in that first season with the Dodgers, then in 2012 he had an OPS of over 1.000 with the Isotopes. Yet when given a chance at the big league level, whether it was during the 2012 season or during this past spring training, Alex has yet to seize the opportunity. He batted just .174 over 23 at bats for the Dodgers in 2012, then this past spring he hit just .220 during a time when Don Mattingly was giving him some nice compliments and looking for a way to get him on the 25 man roster. Also, defense has been an adventure for Castellanos as he was tried in the infield last year, but as of now it seems that the Dodgers will keep him in the outfield. Overall Castle doesn’t really have any standout tool, but he has shown the ability to hit for power and for average at the minor league level. He may or may not have what it takes to be an everyday big league player, but as with all Dodger minor leaguers it’s really going to depend if the Dodgers ever have room for him at the major league level.

13. Matt Magill, RHP (146.1 IP in AA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2008, 31st round
6’3", 210 lbs, 23.25 years old
11-8, 3.75 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.93 FIP, 10.33 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 45; Pre 2011 Rank: 24; Pre 2010 Rank: 44; Pre 2009 Rank: 78
2013 Destination: AAA – Albuquerque Isotopes

Why #13:
After showing glimpses of brilliance over the first four years of his minor league career, Matt Magill broke out in 2012 with an outstanding performance in AA. Even though his ERA wasn’t overly impressive, the 23 year old dominated the older competition in the Southern League as he led the circuit in strikeouts and posted a FIP of 2.93. The biggest reason for the improvement was an increase in his fastball velocity as he went from 89 – 91 mph in 2011 to 94 – 95 mph in 2012. His slider has always been top notch, but when he started mixing in a hard fastball instead of an average fastball he suddenly got results. Matt also throws a changeup which gives him a solid 3 pitch mix. At the end of the day I’m not high on Magill as some people are, but I do think he has what it takes to be a big leaguer at some point in the future with the ceiling of a #3 starter.

12. Garrett Gould, RHP (130 IP in HiA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2009, 2nd round
6’4", 190 lbs, 21.5 years old
5-10, 5.75 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 4.52 FIP, 8.52 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 5; Pre 2011 Rank: 10; Pre 2010 Rank: 5; Pre 2009 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: HiA – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes


Why #12: The Dodgers 2nd round pick in the 2009 draft, Garrett Gould had a solid start to his career before breaking out in 2011 with a 2.40 ERA as a 20 year old in the Midwest League. That earned him a promotion to HiA in 2012, and while Gould kept up a solid strikeout rate he struggled in the other aspects of his game. His 5.75 ERA was more than double his prior year total, and he allowed 19 homers which ranked 2nd worst on the club. He was also the subject of several trade rumors toward the end of July which must have caused him some distraction. His biggest problem last season was a dip in his velocity, as he was barely hitting 90 mph which was a drop from 94 mph in the past. Luckily his plus curveball and solid changeup allowed him to get by, but without the hard fastball he was simply less effective. Still just 21 years old, Gould is still a solid prospect because he’s young enough to eventually regain his velocity. If he is able to do that I think he has the ceiling of a middle of the rotation starter at the big league level.

11. Zach Bird, RHP (39.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 9th
6’3", 197 lbs, 18.5 years old
1-2, 4.54 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 2.90 FIP, 10.44 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: LoA – Great Lakes Loons

Why #11: I couldn’t help but buy into the hype that is Zach Bird. Selected in the 9th round of the 2012 draft, Bird showed outstanding stuff in his professional debut and left scouting wondering why he didn’t be picked sooner. Playing as an 18 year old Bird struck out more than a batter per frame in his 39.2 innings of work, and also flashed a 96 mph fastball. His curveball showed good promise, and while his changeup was still a work in progress it seemed like it would eventually be a solid 3rd pitch. Arizona Dodgers manager Matt Martin said "I've never seen anyone at this age that had such good swing-and-miss stuff." Overall I love Bird’s raw ability and projectable frame, and I’m hoping that he continues to succeed in the Midwest League despite being one of the youngest players in the league.

10. Tim Federowicz, C (115 games in AAA in 2012)
Trade with Red Sox for Trayvon Robinson
5’11", 215 lbs, 25.5 years old, bats right handed
.294 average, .832 OPS, 11 HR’s, 76 RBI’s, 0 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 13: Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Los Angeles

Why #10:
Tim Federowicz has proven to the Dodgers that he’s good enough to be on their 25 man roster, and in turn he’s proven to me that he should be considered a top 10 prospect. After a solid season with the Isotopes in 2012 FedEx came into spring training as the front runner for the backup catcher, and despite hitting just .227 during the spring he was given the job. While he has yet to show what he can do as a part time player at the big league level, his defense and ability to hit the ball demonstrate that he is a valuable player given his cheap price. It’s yet to be determined if he has what it takes to be a big league starter, but if that does happen my guess is that it will be with an organization other than the Dodgers.

9. Chris Withrow, RHP (60 IP in AA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2007, 1st round
6’3", 215 lbs, 24 years old
3-3, 4.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 3.62 FIP, 9.60 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 3; Pre 2011 Rank: 4; Pre 2010 Rank: 2; Pre 2009 Rank: 8
2013 Destination: AAA – Albuquerque Isotopes

Why #9: I’m holding strong onto my ranking of Chris Withrow despite his move to the bullpen and the fact that he is often injured. While his injuries do scare me a bit, I’m actually excited about his transition to the bullpen because I really think that he could be an electric late inning reliever. He will now have the ability to let loose for an inning at a time and pair his upper 90’s fastball with his late breaking slider. He can also mix in his solid curveball, but his success will really depend upon his ability to throw strikes. After four straight seasons in AA Withrow will finally make the move to Albuquerque in 2013, and if he can find success in the Isotopes bullpen I would guess that he’ll be ready to help the Dodgers later this season.

8. Onelki Garcia, LHP (2 IP in HiA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 3rd
6’3", 220 lbs, 23.5 years old
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, -0.80 FIP, 18.00 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #8:
After getting selected in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft Onelki Garcia was a bit of a mystery until he finally debuted with the Quakes at the very end of last season. Once the Rancho season ended he actually joined the Lookouts playoff roster and actually struck out 7 over 3 innings of no-hit ball in his only appearance. He also spent a little bit of time in the Arizona Fall League after the season but only threw 4 innings. So while he is still mostly a mystery, at least now we know he has some very good stuff. Also thanks to Baseball America I’ve learned that he throws in the mid 90’s and can touch 97 mph, and also has a very solid changeup. He also mixes in a slider/cutter and a changeup every now and then. Despite his lack of experience Garcia will start this season in AA and could move quickly through the system. I even guessed in my Dodger prediction that he’ll join the Dodger bullpen at some point during the 2013 season, so hopefully I’m right.

7. Paco Rodriguez, LHP (13.2 IP in AA, 6 IP in LoA in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 2nd round
6’3", 220 lbs, 21.75 years old
1-0, 0.92 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 1.01 FIP, 14.64 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Los Angeles

Why #7:
I usually don’t rank relief pitcher this high, but there is something about Paco Rodriguez that I like. While I initially thought Rodriguez would have the ceiling of a major league LOOGY, I now believe that Paco can be more than that. While he’ll probably never be a closer, Paco has what it takes to be a late inning reliever for years to come. His deceptive delivery keeps opposing hitters off balance, and while he doesn’t throw all that hard his cutter is very good and is especially effective against right handers. Given that he made the opening day roster it shows the Dodgers confidence in him as a bullpen arm, and my guess is that he stay in the big leagues for the rest of his career.

6. Chris Reed, LHP (35.1 IP in AA; 35 IP in HiA in 2012)

Drafted by Dodgers 2011, 1st round
6’4", 195 lbs, 22.75 years old
1-8, 3.97 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 3.51 FIP, 8.57 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 4; Pre 2011 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #6:
A controversial 1st round pick by the Dodgers in 2011, Chris Reed made his way all the way to AA in his first full season in 2012. Blister problems hindered him throughout the season as he threw just 70.1 innings, although he did make up for some of that lost time by throwing 10 frames in the Arizona Fall League. When he did pitch Reed was relatively solid, holding his own as one of the younger players in the Southern League despite the fact that he never went deep into games. At his best Reed’s fastball is at 96 mph with good sink, and his plus slider was his strikeout pitch as a closer in college. Now that he’s in the rotation, however, he’s had to learn to use his changeup more often which is still a work in progress. My gut tells me that Reed eventually ends up as a dominant force in a big league bullpen, but the Dodgers are adamant about using him as a starter where his ceiling seems to be that of a #3 starter. Either way I think he has a successful big league career at some point in the future.

5. Joc Pederson, OF (110 games in HiA in 2012)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 11th round
6’1", 185 lbs, 20.75 years old, bats left handed
.313 average, .913 OPS, 18 HR’s, 70 RBI’s, 26 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: 9; Pre 2011 Rank: 22; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #5:
After dominating the Pioneer League in 2011, Joc Pederson was promoted to HiA in 2012 where he got off to a slow start. Once the calendar turned to July, however, Joc regained his stroke and tore the cover off the ball during the second half of the season. He hit 15 homers over the final 2 months of the season and increased his OPS from around .750 to .913. He even made his way up to AA for the Southern League playoffs, and that is where he’ll start the 2013 season despite being just 20 years old. As I’ve mentioned in years past I’m not sure that he has any one plus skill, but Joc’s a hard worker and he does a lot of things well. I think his ceiling is that of a major league center fielder who plays solid defense and hits .290 with 25 homers per year, and it’s a good thing he’s so young because there doesn’t look like there will any room for him at the big league level for at least a few more years.

4. Zach Lee, RHP (65.2 IP in AA, 55.1 IP in HiA in 2012)

Drafted by Dodgers 2010, 1st round
6’4", 220 lbs, 21.5 years old
6-6, 4.39 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 3.95 FIP, 7.66 K/9
Pre 2012 Rank: 1; Pre 2011 Rank: 1; Pre 2010 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #4: Zach Lee has been my favorite prospect over the past few years, and while I ranked him #1 the past two years there was nothing I could do but drop him to #4 in my list this season due to the emergence of other players. Zach did nothing wrong in 2012 as was solid in the hitter friendly California League then held his own as one of the youngest players in the Southern League, but he definitely didn’t wow anyone. All his stats were pretty average, including a K/9 of less than 8. He still has four solid pitches (mid 90’s fastball, a plus curve, a tight slider and a good curveball) and a great pitching frame so I still believe he can be a #2 or #3 big league starter at the big league level, but I just couldn’t rank him above any of the players I have ahead of him. He’ll still be one of the youngest players when he returns to AA so he still has plenty of time to season his game before he makes his way to the big leagues.

3. Corey Seager, 3B/SS (39.2 IP in Arz Rookie Lg in 2012)
Drafted by Dodgers 2012, 1st
6’3", 195 lbs, 18.75 years old, bats left handed
.309 average, .903 OPS, 8 HR’s, 33 RBI’s, 8 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: LoA – Great Lakes Loons

Why #3:
In previous years Corey Seager would probably would have been the #1 prospect for the Dodgers, but after the new ownership spent a boatload of money on international talent he ranks only at #3. A lot has already been written about Seager but I think the best part about him is that he is what many scouts call a pure hitter. He probably won’t ever hit 35 homers in a season, but he has a very clean swing and is a great line drive hitter. The power should eventually come as he matures, but again I don’t see him as a plus power guy. He had a very good professional debut in 2012 in the hitter friendly Pioneer League, but LoA will bring a much bigger challenge. While he currently plays shortstop I really do think that he’ll eventually move to 3rd base. At 18 years old Corey still has a long ways to go before the big leagues, but I’m very hopefully that he’ll he our next great 3rd baseman.

2. Hyun-jin Ryu, RHP (Did not play in 2012)

Signed as International Free Agent Dec 2012
6’2", 255 lbs, 26 years old
No stats in 2012
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: Los Angeles

Why #2: I’m not really a fan of ranking guys like Hyun-jin Ryu who aren’t really prospects because they signed straight onto the big league club, but he is technically a rookie so here you go. I have him #2 on my list because he is already starting in the big leagues, which is more than most guys on this list will ever be able to say. Also the fact that we spent so much money on him makes me think that the scouts know what they are doing, not to mention that he looked really good this spring. The only reason he isn’t #1 was because of the dominance of the guy ahead of him.

1. Yasiel Puig, OF (14 games in HiA, 9 games in Arz Rookie League in 2012)
Signed as International Free Agent June 2012
6’3", 245 lbs, 22.25 years old, bats right handed
.354 average, 1.076 OPS, 5 HR’s, 15 RBI’s, 8 SB’s
Pre 2012 Rank: N/A
2013 Destination: AA – Chattanooga Lookouts

Why #1: What else is there to say about Yasiel Puig. He was given a huge contract last off-season that some through was outrageous, but he tore the cover off the ball in spring training and almost broke camp with the team as a 22 year old. Even before this spring I never had a doubt that I’d rank him #1 after simply seeing his physical makeup. I think he’ll be a great player for the Dodgers for years to come, and the only thing that remains to be seen is when he’ll make his big league debut.

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