Minor League Notes:
Tons of news this week with the rookie leagues getting into action. Before we talk about that, let's focus on the Midwest League All-Star Game where a few of the Dodger prospects displayed their wares.
Lambo, Kensley Jansen, Steve Johnson, and Miguel Ramirez all made the all-star team. Steve Johnson had the honor of starting the game but he didn't fare to well. Miguel Ramirez was the last pitcher for the East and while he struck out 3 of the 5 he faced he also gave up the game winning home run in the 10th inning. Lambo and Johnson were expected to make the all-star team. I was a bit surprised to see Kensley Jansen on the team. I remember last winter when he was on the Hawaii team that his defensive skills were excellent so maybe that is what got him the berth because it wasn't his .213 BA.
The California League announced their All-Star selections and only only two Inland Empire players made the list. Carlos Santana faced stiff competition as the league is loaded with good catchers but he made the team as a reserve. To go along with Carlos they picked local boy Paul Koss to handle relief duties. The game will be played on June 24th, in Myrtle Beach, SC as the California League takes on the Carolina League.
Rookie short season leagues got under way so now we can see where the kids of interest are playing for Ogden. 6'5 First Baseman, Kyle Orr was placed at Ogden. Still only 19 with a ton of upside it will be interesting to see how he fairs. So far so good as he bashed his 1st home run of the year today and is carrying a 1.000 OPS after 5 games. Pedro Baez had to be one of the top disapointments of the year so far. After being named one of the top 10 prospects in the GCL Rookie league he was promoted to Great Lakes Low A and struggled mightily. He has been demoted back to the Ogden Rookie League team in hopes of rediscovering his game. High 2008 draft pick Kyle Russel is playing in the outfield and showing off his power. He comes in with the reputation as a slugger with excellent plate discipline but also someone who strikes out at such a rate that Andrew doesn't hold out much hope he can have success in the major leagues. Both Orr and Russel are 6'5 left handed sluggers. Slender LHP Jon Dutton was sent down from Great Lakes to join the Ogden rotation. He had been pitching in long relief for Great Lakes and was having some control problems. Other players of note are Geison Aguasviva, Robert Boothe(from Tokyo), Michael Watt(2nd round pick 2007), and Devaris Strange-Gordon.
The GCL Dodgers have also started their season and I'll get into their roster next week. For now I'm looking forward to seeing what Chris Jacobs can do. He's another 6'5 slugger who is supposed to have tremendous power. Until I started doing this I had no idea that Logan White was drafting a basketball team. How many 6'5 guys have made an impact in the major leagues that weren't pitchers? According to Baseball Reference only 18 players have had a career OPS+ > 100 who were 6'5 or taller. Tough odds for Orr, Russel, and Jacobs.
Vegas - Major league retread Jason Johnson has been toiling for Vegas as an insurance policy. It almost came due when Penny and Kuroda couldn't make their starts but Johnson pitched his gem on Tuesday and would have not been able to make the Saturday start. Another retread Matt Riley has 12 punchouts in 8 innings over his last 4 appearances.
Suns - James McDonald made his case to be brought up but he did it on Wednesday which also ruled him out of the start on Saturday. Jesus Castillo is having a solid year for the Suns. Nothing splashy but he's getting the job done more times then not. My excitement at Scott Elbert's return to the Suns has been dulled by his use in the bullpen and by his command and dominance. I'll chock it upto rust but I hope and expect more from him. It takes more then 5 k's and 5 walks in 9 innings to get the ticker ticking these days.
Inland Empire - Time to talk about Glenn Austin Gallagher who has replaced the injured Josh Bell at 3rd base. The LH hitting Gallagher is only 19 years and is doing more then holding his own in the high A league. He's another one of those 6'5 LH hitters that Logan White keeps drafting. I have no idea how his defense is at 3rd base, but at 6'5 we don't have many comp's for someone able to handle the hot corner at that size. Troy Glaus has done it and Rolen is a big boy but not 6'5. Not that we need any 3rd baseman in the near future.
Great Lake Loons - Victor Garate continues to get my seal of approval. Since joining the rotation he has been the best pitcher for the Loons, even outpitching all-star Steve Johnson over the last month. The caveat is that he is 23 pitching in Low A so my enthusiasm is tempered but I love the dominance. Daigoro Rondon was booted out of the Loons rotation and for good reason. The incredible control he displayed last year for the GCL Dodgers disapeared (4 walks in 65 innings) but he has the strikeout pitch working now. In his last 3 appearances covering 8.2 innings he has 18 punchouts.